Leaderless India

When a society is in the thrall of a crisis as severe as the one engulfing India, there is no alternative except to stage a cultural revolution.

Mr. Sam Rajappa is one of India’s outstanding senior journalists. He recently wrote an article in The Statesman entitled “Leaderless Congress”.

He started off by recalling the sad confession at the end of his career by the late opposition stalwart Madhu Limaye that there was no alternative emerging to the Congress which was why it needed to be strengthened. With his usual brilliance Mr. Rajappa analyzed the decline of the Congress through the years. Near the end of his article however he fell into the trap that bedevils India’s thinking class. He wrote:

“If the Congress could purge the dysfunctional satraps through internal elections and bring in a new crop of cadres dedicated to democratic principles as opposed to dynastic succession, it could still win a majority.”

In other words Mr. Rajappa hopes for a solution to emerge from the creators of a horrendous problem. This is much like Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, Medha Patkar and other social activists who highlight problems and seek redress from those responsible for creating them. Do they expect a sudden change of heart in those who are the source of the rot as being the only solution? Alas! If Auntie had a moustache she would be Uncle! But that will never be.  

My grouse with social activists as with Mr. Rajappa is that at the heart of their thinking lies not realism but defeatism. Just because Madhu Limaye became a defeatist at the end of his career is no reason to follow him. Just because India’s opposition parties have also deteriorated in the shadow of the Congress is no reason to become defeatist. When a society is in the thrall of a crisis as severe as the one engulfing India, there is no alternative except to stage a cultural revolution.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, revolution can only come through outlining a simple and relevant agenda for reform, followed by a nationwide movement to propagate it, the creation of a new party comprising its followers, contesting the general election, winning power, and introducing the desired change through effective governance. Many of the existing participants stagnating in the current political paralysis could redeem themselves by joining and strengthening the process. But to do that they must first realize that this is the only way. There are no shortcuts to reform India.

Doubtless intellectuals, activists and politicians would consider this solution impractical. I would request them to appraise the current reality to appreciate what they are dealing with. Forget the dismal record of the last few years. Consider the day’s news.

Yesterday, Thursday June 7, 2012, a fire broke out at two rooms of the Finance Ministry's North Block office at 3.45 am. Six fire brigades and electricians were rushed to the spot at 5.45 am,(exact time gap = 2 hours) following which the flames were put out. However by the time fire brigades reached, room number 14 and 15 had been gutted. Many, many crucial files could not be saved from destruction.

The reason for the fire of course is still not known. This should be considered in light of the background. The Finance Minister’s offices had been bugged earlier. After discovering the bugging, private investigators were hired to probe it.  Official police agencies under the Home Minister were bypassed. There was a trust deficit within the cabinet. The results of that private investigation were never made public. In the same manner the full list of the files allegedly destroyed and the subjects they dealt with will never be revealed. 

This is just one piece of the day’s news. There is another item. A TV channel has just  tracked down the main lynchpin of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda who was involved in the Rs 4000 crore mining scam. Koda’s key aide was found to be in a remote Indonesian town. He is Anil Bastawade. The CBI claimed it could not track him. Another aide of Bastawade, one Ashish Tuli, has revealed that Bastawade had been doing business with top Indian firms. The Enforcement Directorate has swung into action to probe the affair. The Ministry of External Affairs likewise is pursuing the matter in Indonesia. The Home Ministry remains red faced and tongue tied. Without taking away any credit from resourceful media, it may be safely assumed that the leak of this stunning exposure came from elements within the establishment.

One asks: Are we dealing with a cabinet or with rival gangs locked in fierce infighting? Can one place the slightest hope on this body of politicians to suddenly reform their conduct and the institution which they serve? All thinking politicians, intellectuals, social activists and citizens should reflect and decide whether there is any alternative to undertaking the long hard task of creating a genuine new alternative. 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3326      Comments: 4

Comment Sir, in any political party, there will be factions and groups, for political philosophy will have shades of thoughts, ideals (hardliners and softliners). Then, there may be individual ambitions. There is no point lamenting. India is a multi-faceted country. There are religious groups, linguistic groups. There are rich people, poor people. There are interest lobbies. Imagining mesiah is of no use. It is but natural that India will have a Mayabati, a Mamata, a Jayalalita, a Sonia, an Uma Bharati. It will have a Yedurappa, a Mulayam, a Lalu, a Jagan. India's political scenario is a rich tapestry of its people. Ministers are supposed to advise the Head of the Nation. A Government can be coalition, making decision making slow. Quite naturally, coalecing wishes of 120 crores is a difficult task. But revolution is no good. Revolution is hurried single-minded approach. It is like putting the dust under the carpet. Which political party is ideal? If one swears by secularism, there is appeasement for vote bank. Everybody is scared of loosing hold for being bold. That is the bane of practical democracy. Simplistic solutions in the mind yield nothing. As is a society, so is its leaders. Let us not talk about revolutions. Revolutions are no good. The price of democracy, as somebody said, is eternal vigilence. Let us be honest. Let us be diligent. Let each one of try to contribute to society. Let us be a little apolitic.

11-Jun-2012 06:19 AM

Comment Sir,

Thank you for highlighting the reality of present day governance, let's stick to it. With that it is futile to expect anything good for the nation out of congress.

The same reality existed in 2005, 2006, 2007 and so on, it is sad that it is recognized so late.

I completely disagree with kind of ideas that there are no alternatives to Congress and hence Congress needs to be strengthened - these are the kind of opinion responsible to misguide genuine interested people in large numbers.

We may also recall that first BJP govt lasted 13 days, because the prospective coalition partners demanded xxx that BJP leadership did not agree to (as claimed by Mr. Vajpayee in hints) ?

Those coalition parties sometimes drift into NDA camp and other times to UPA camp, what good can be expected from them as well ?

And if a new party is floated, without formidable leadership it won't do anything significant in 2014 elections or in near few years.

The alternative has to come from BJP else something exceptional should happen as in Egypt or else some hero should appear from dark and start cleansing system from one end - CJI, CAG etc. are working in that direction but not effective enough to bring permanent change. Or else, let's expect dark future for our coming generations.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
10-Jun-2012 13:41 PM

Comment It is one another interesting and inspiring piece of writing by Mr Puri.

But the problems with India and Indians are, majority of them, pardon me, basically very selfish, avaricious and lazy. As long as things go for them by hook or by crook they care the least about the nation. If the nation has that much of conscience in her there wont be exodus of IITians and other intellectuals to go, earn and settle abroad. Accept the bitter fact that India had been in fragments under the rule of different rulers small, medium to high and it was the British who brought them together by power. We may not have the small kingdoms like we had earlier but every state has regional parties to substitute that....again caste, and class politics another dividing factor...unfortunately now the money flow is abundant..good or we can never expect any cultural or otherwise revolution in India..we can expect more useless shows of dharna, lawlessness, agitation etc. only...

G Swaminathan
10-Jun-2012 08:51 AM

Comment The party is rotten from the top downwards and cannot be changed unless all of the current leaders are purged. The ideal method would be to keep them out of power for 25 years; they deserve nothing less for the mess and the corruption wrought over the last 9 years. Except for a short duration with L.B.Shastri, they have a 3rd rate record anyway.
This arson is the latest incident in purging all their misdeeds. By now, their leaders are clearly anti-national and have been that way for a long time.
To consider a British generated "club", as A.O Hume put it, as a solution is deeply flawed thinking and pandering to nostalgia: they are a part of the problem; get rid of them.
Anybody watching closely now will realize that there are several international conspiracies intertwined with this "organization".

09-Jun-2012 23:40 PM

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