Nixon Fernando for BeyondHeadlines
The nation cannot accept the BJP because its inherent communal beliefs can lead to bloodletting. And the nation cannot throw out the BJP because the nation needs an alternative to the Congress; and there is no other party that is big enough to fill those shoes. BJP therefore represents a party which the Indian can neither swallow nor spit out. If, however, the AAP stands up to its destiny India can release the BJP from its misery.
The following ten points will bring to fore the various ideas that are contained in this debate. Let’s see the points first and the merits of the case will become readily apparent.
1) In the last days of his life Gandhiji proposed, among other things, that the Congress split into two formations, one under Nehru and the other under Sardar Patel and fight elections against each other.
2) The reason he said this was because: a. if in the future (it was 1940’s at that time) the congress failed to live up to the high ideals of the freedom struggle then the citizens of India needed an alternative b. The alternate ideologies that existed at that time were divisive. They did not have the vision to take India forward as one nation of united people; all of them propagated fragmented nationalism. c. Gandhiji wanted the political atmosphere in the country to be free of chauvinism and fragmentation; or in other words he wanted to avoid the poison of groupism based on cooked-up human barriers.
3) A look at today’s situation proves that Gandhiji was again right–as he most often was: a. As Gandhiji feared, the Congress has let values slip–a long way–and it has not stood up credibly to the ideals of the freedom struggle. b. There is no alternative basic political ideology that unites Indians. None of them take India forward as a homogenous unit; none of them treat Indians as one. c. The alternative that came up in 1998 was created out of one of the divisive ideologies that existed in Gandhiji’s times; besides using the divisive ideology to spread unrest in society this alternate team too patronized a system that was not free from corruption.
4) The episodes of 1984 and 2002 demonstrate how the difference in founding ideology matters to the nation. In 1984 when goons went on to the street their ideology screamed at them to “Stop it”; in 3 days the mayhem stopped. Though of course, true to the fall in values–of the Congress–those responsible have not been made to face the law. In 2002 however the ideology itself said “continue”… and so the mayhem went on for months together. This ideology is dangerous for the
nation… This particular ideology is essentially fascist in nature.
5) And the most amazing thing is that though it claims to stand up for Hinduism it is truly anti-Hindu. The tussle is between the Hindutva of Godse and Hinduism of Gandhi. True that the charge on Congress that it practices pseudo-secularism has some truth in it. But the pseudo-Hinduism of the right wing is far worse. In the garb of ‘nationalism’ Godse acted like an insane man; this approach is apparent even in today’s extreme right. The line that separates courage and foolishness is very narrow; similarly the line that separates nationalism from fragmented nationalism is also narrow. Godse’s was a fragmented nationalism.
6) Also do not bother about those who would encourage Arjuna not to fight the Mahabharata war but instead go to a forest and do penance. In today’s system there are no hereditary kings… instead there are political parties and elections. The success of today’s democracy requires that people must take up assignments in the political hierarchy as part of their ‘duty/dharma’. AAP you must do your duty for the nation. And when some people tell you that ‘you are in politics just for selfish interests’, tell them in return that ‘all drivers learn driving only because they want to put sudden break so that girls will come and fall on them’.
7) The moment is opportune. The well-meaning voters of India are on the desperate lookout for an alternative party to give direction to this nation. Those totally unsatisfied with the Congress are even contemplating giving a divisive ideology one more chance–this tells you how desperate they are.
8) AAP you have it going your way since you stand up: a. Against corruption b. Against all kinds of divisions in society.
9) Along with the above two you must also ensure that you inherit the legacy of the Gandhian struggle for freedom; for values, for the poor, for peace and prosperity.
10) Set up systems; set up procedures; pursue the alternate politics you have come to represent. There is enough grey matter in India to guide you as you go along. If you can institutionalize your uniqueness it holds great promise for the nation.
(The author is associated with Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai. Views expressed are personal.)