Continued from “Constitutional Amnesia”
The Indian State with its dominant Muslim minority and its shortsighted Constitution was bound to be politically stymied to the hurt of its Hindu majority. And the politics of the country as it evolved only compounded the Hindu emotional misery. It was not long before the majority interest became subservient to the stakes its politicians developed in the minority franchise. Besides, the way the Indians went about using and abusing their hard earned freedom makes no rosy reading either.
Though Hindustan got rid of the Islamist misrule, it is as if the politicians of free India retained the governing ethos of the Musalmans as the sarkari legacy for posterity.
In what was left as the secular India, the princes of democracy have come to rule the land as per the age-old Hindu political credo - unto each his own province. The Westminster system of governance that the Union of India adopted and its political devolution that the regional aspirations demanded, brought Bharat into the domain of a Raja in Delhi, Sultans in its State capitals and Sarpanchs in its Panchaayats, of course with their hangers on, vying for its politico-economic pie. Besides, the democracy brought into positions of power the jaagirdaars of the National Parliament and the thaanedaars of the State Assemblies with their minions in tow for a like calling. And lest the favored lot of the powers that be should miss to savor the creamy cake of the world’s most populous democracy, there are the councils of ministers, chairmen politicians for assorted boards and umpteen bodies. Thus, even as the interests of the minor deities of the Indian politics are well served, the democratic temples of Bharat are being ruined by their political parties, which, barring exceptions, are but family owned hereditary setups. That being the case, isn’t it stupid even to murmur that we are a democracy, leave alone proclaim that ours is the world’s biggest democracy?
Though Hindustan got rid of the Islamist misrule, it is as if the politicians of free India retained the governing ethos of the Musalmans as the sarkari legacy for posterity. After all, now as ever, it’s the personal interest of the regional political masters that prevails over the national interest, and what is worse, in the Indian democratic domain, the high ideal of ‘nursing the constituency’ though marketed in ugly packages of parochialism is considered even a virtue! Maybe, the presidential form of democracy on the American model would have served the nation better but then that would have made so many sundry politicians redundant, a scary thought for the political class, which turned politics into the best business that there is. Maybe for that very reason, the founders of the nation State chose the survival route that every generation of politicians would find it expedient not to deviate from. So, one can expect the political satraps to keep the parliamentary circus on, for everyone knows whose interest in the end prevails in the mobocracy of India. After all, in the land of Aryavarta, the privileged class had always been apart, and that came to be a part of its socio-political ethos, and since the Brahmans are, anyway, out, let the politicians be in, so seems the rationale of the Indian democratic process.
But this faulty political model lifted the morale of the depleted stock of the Indian Musalmans in an unexpectedly way! Since their vote mattered in numerous constituencies, the politicians grasped the electoral merit in playing the Islamic fundamentalist footsie with the Mullahs and the Maulvis. However to start with, the Congress political lenience towards the Muslim religious sentiment, conceived by the Nehruvian naivety could have been well intended to reach out to the masses of the Indian Musalmans, orphaned by the exodus of their classes to Pakistan. It was as though Nehru wanted to be a Jinnah to the Musalmans of Bharat, oblivious to the fact that the Hindus too were sorely in need of a leader to address their hurt at the loss of a large chunk of their ancient land to Pakistan. Though for centuries, the gods, who paid a deaf ear to the Hindu prayers to get them rid of the Mohammedan rule, granted them their ‘man for the moment’ in Sardar Patel but they had to contend with Gandhi the autocrat, who by then was deified by them as the Mahatma of the time. Well, Gandhi had cleaned the public toilets alright but did he not force his wife to do the same against her will, and in embracing celibacy prematurely had he not deprived Kasturba the warmth of his marital embrace. Won’t that make food for thought?
Whatever, Patel, who filled the Hindu emotional space like a colossus, should have made it to the Delhi gaddi, but Gandhi’s undemocratic weakness to Nehru had ensured that it didn’t happen. That was, in spite of the overwhelming support the Sardar received from the congressmen and women of that era, from all over India. That’s about Gandhi’s democratic ethos, and fondness for the favored, not discounting his prejudice towards an upright Prakasam. Wonder how in the Gandhi thrall, we all gloss over the fact that while his steely resolve helped India to get rid of the British yoke, yet his naivety of Hindu Muslim amity had imposed many an Islamic constraint on free India.
While Nehru’s foolhardy in taking the Kashmir issue all the way to the United Nations and his credulity of a plebiscite pledge therein, it was Patel, who had coerced the recalcitrant Nizam and other vacillating Rajas, into the Union of India. While the Sardar was not destined to live long to see Mother India bear the fruits of his sagacity, Nehru had survived to witness the divisive effects of his plebiscite folly in the valley that gave Pakistan a potent stick to beat India with at every international forum that was till his daughter Indira forced Bhutto to revise the rules of the Kashmir game at Simla. Thus, while Nehru deservedly earned the disregard of the Indian nation, Patel became a living legend of its nationalist sentiment.
If Jinnah couldn’t consolidate the gains for Islam in Pakistan, Nehru failed to formulate a socio-political code in India that took into account the Hindu sensitivities and the Muslim interests in the same nationalistic vein. And to add insult to the Hindu injury, the Nehruvian foreign policy was fashioned to address the fundamentalist ethos of the Muslim minority rather than to serve the national interests of the new India. Thus at best, Nehru was a sophist in shaping the foreign policy that understandably became a political Veda for the Congress party, and at worst, it can be said that he eyed for a secular slot in the pan-Islamic history, but to no avail. Nonetheless, his place in the Indian history should be secure as the founding father of its democracy, though he could have become the Caesar, and what is more, besides diligently nursing it in its infancy, he meticulously guided it into its adulthood; if Gandhi got freedom to India then Nehru mothered it into a democracy, which later his daughter Indira had set on a dynastic course.
When Nehru died broken-hearted, after the demise of his pet Panchsheel in the ignominy of a defeat at the Chinese hands, the Indian democracy had had its first triumph as the humble Lal Bahadur Shastri made it to the premier post. After his brief rein though, the Congress and India came into the dynastic clutches of Nehru’s devious daughter, delivered to her on a platter by the petty Syndicate to deny Morarji Desai his due. Predictably, Indira stretched her father’s Muslim leanings to ludicrous lengths in claiming the membership for India in the Organization of Islamic Countries on the premise that it was the home for the largest body of the Musalmans in the world! Naturally, the Rabbat snub, engineered by Pakistan, rubbed salt into the wounded Hindu pride, which the Congress party didn’t mind to amend.
However, Indira exhibited both courage and statesmanship at times, and became the apple of the Hindu eye and the solace of the Hindu hurt for the way she exploited the Bangladesh crisis to dismember Pakistan. And that even made Vajpayee deify her as Durga, even as the media dubbed her as the Empress of India. But her maternal weakness for her roguish younger son Sanjay, in time, afflicted her personal character and affected her political judgment pushing Mother India into the political abyss of her Emergency Rule. That was before Sanjay’s death, and it was only a matter of time before the ‘political devi’ became the ‘devil’s advocate of graft’ by infamously stating that corruption was a global phenomenon.
Whatever, her death was as poignant as her life itself, which had put the thoughts of the East and the West on the same philosophical page. While her destiny of a violent death could have led her into nurturing the Frankenstein Monster of a Saint Bhindranwale to politically browbeat the Akalis, proves the karma siddhaanta - governs destiny the actions of man, her insistence to retain her Sikh bodyguards in the aftermath of the ‘Operation Blue Star’, to set an example of a secular conviction and the personal courage, would prove the Western philosophy true that – man’s destiny is but his nature.
However, her Islamic gimmicks for electoral withdrawals from the ‘Vote-bank de Mohammedan’ that became the political ethos of the Congress party, while not helping the Indian Musalmans, economically or otherwise, had only succeeded in earning for them the Hindu resentment in fair measure. Never mind, it had always been the electoral calculus of the Congress party that given the caste divisions in the Hindu majority, politically it pays to cater to the Muslim religious proclivities to win over their votes en block. Whatever, the final nail on the Nehru dynastic coffin seems to have been struck by her credulous son, Rajiv Gandhi, whom the sycophantic Congress culture imposed upon the nation that is notwithstanding his son Rahul’s late entry into the fray. If it was Rajiv’s naivety in allowing himself to be caught between two emotive stools - that of Shah Bano’s sharia and Ayodhya’s Ram mandir – which caused his political fall, Rahul’s vacuousness, coupled to his dithering 'to be or not to be' persona that was a psychic byproduct of his mother’s initial 'daughter or son on the throne' dilemma, might forever handicap him for Sonia to realize her dream of seeing him in Delhi’s kursi. God forbid, should he make it to it, who can say how boundless our voters’ stupidity could be, then he is bound to make Muhammad bin Tughlaq seem the personification of pragmatism in comparison.
But, sadly for Rajiv, in the end, his naivety in allowing himself to get entangled in the vicious web of Tamil separatism seems to prove, as in the case of the Musalmans of Pakistan that to its own hurt that ant grows wings. After all, it was his Sri Lankan military misadventure, meant to tame the Tamil Tigers, which outraged the ruthless Prabhakaran, the overlord of the Tamil Elam, and it was only time before Dhanu, the human-bomb, exploded in Rajiv’s face at Sriperumbudur. And that would have put paid to the Nehruvian Dynasty in the normal course but then India had to contend with the Italian Sonia, Rajiv’s power-hungry wife, who, after a short hiatus as a widow, took the reins of the Indira Congress.
That was before Narasimha Rao’s post-Rajiv Congress, having had a reprieve from the dynastic dominance, did what it was otherwise capable of doing to the country. The intellectual pragmatism of Rao had seen the imperative need for reforming the style and structure of the Indian economy that Nehru thought it fit to mold in the socialistic pattern. However, instead of giving him a second term to clean the socialistic stables and rid the Congress party, and thereby India, of its baneful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, the ignoramus masses of Hindustan, egged on by the antique socialists and caste crusaders, ousted, rather unceremoniously, the Architect of Change from the gaddi. So the ungrateful nation was saddled with, though for a while, by a non-Congress kichdi cabinet of notional netaas headed by Deve Gowda with the backing of regional satraps like Chandra Babu Naidu.
Meanwhile, what with the Congress party having been reduced into a flag bearer of Sonia’s self-interests, if anything, the electoral tactic of Muslim appeasement was turned into the party’s obsession to keep her at the helm of the political power. Nevertheless, as she failed to surmount the Hindu emotional obstacles for her Italian ascent to the gaddi, she chose to catapult the wily but silly Manmohan Singh to the gaddi as her proxy. What a tragedy that Narasimha Rao’s aide-de-reforms had allowed himself to be reduced into Sonia’s camp clerk, well, as the adage goes, one gets what one deserves, and so ‘we the people of India’ have her family retainer as our Prime Minister, sworn to serve the corrupt Congress household to our disservice.
However, the dynasty’s real disservice to India lay in denying the due political space for the leadership of the backward classes in the Congress arena, and that hurt the Indian democracy, rather, grievously at that. The independence that saw the beginning of the end of the Brahmanical order and with it the advent of the universal literacy, in time, raised the hopes as well as the abilities of the teeming millions of the backward classes and the other backward castes. If only, their legitimate aspirations of political ascendancy were allowed to come to fruition under the Congress banner, the politics of the day would not have degenerated into caste combinations and communal permutations. While the dynastic order blocked the top slots for the emerging leaders of the backward castes, and what is worse, it blotted the lower rungs of the party with the sycophantic upper caste men and women.
It was thus, the dynamic leaders from these overwhelming classes began to float their own political outfits to fashion their own caste suits to which the two wily Yadavs, Mulayam and Lalu, added the ‘Ace of Islam’ to stump the Congress in the strategic cow belt in the Hindi heartland. After all, it doesn’t require the brains of an Einstein to realize that an electoral alliance between the Yadavs and the Musalmans would ensure political dividends in many a constituency in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. What with these two Yadavs successfully calling the minority bluff of the Congress at the hustings, the secret was out; that it is the 12% or so Muslim vote of the Indian democracy, which is vital to the Hindu politicians to enter into the portals of power. That the Mayawatis and the Nitish Kumars too have come to master the winning formula and what is worse; down the Vindhyas too as the politicians are not taking chances any more with the miniscule of a minority vote that is there, it gives no hope for the progress of democracy in India.
Now that the cynical Hindu politicians made the time-tested tactic of the Mohammedan despots their own – give the poor Musalmans more of Islam that keeps them calm, the franchise of the backward castes combined with the Muslim vote came to dominate the Indian politics, debilitating the country’s democratic vitality, hampering its social integration and degrading its citizens’ intellectual integrity. What might even be worse for the country is that as calamities follow the follies of man, more and more of India’s political future could be mortgaged in the Muslim Vote Banks, and the bankers do become confiscators for their defaulting clientele.
When the minority vote swells up to a healthy 20% or more, as it may be sooner than later, this ‘power at all costs’ electoral pursuit of the shortsighted politicians is bound to boomerang on them not to speak of the Indian nation. Why vote for a Hindu when we have the numbers to elect our own, so could be the logic of the Indian Musalmans at some point of time in the years to come. Who cares about that, anyway, as the Hindu wisdom was never known to factor the Islamic expansionist ethos into the Indian realpolitik. So, the majority community’s cynical ‘minority politics’ is bound to facilitate the growth of Muslim separatism, which in turn would bring about the inevitable disorder of the Indian political order. And nearer to our times, we might as well see the spectacle of the de facto merger of the six Districts of Assam namely Nagaon, Dhubri, Cachar, Barpeta, Sonitpur, and Kamrup with Bangladesh, which to build the Muslim vote-bank, the Congress Party allowed them to be infested with the illegal Muslim immigrants. That being the case, why should the Indian politicians of the day bother about the later-day travails of Mother India?
It is another matter though, that all this has robbed the Nehru-Gandhis their invincible sheen and the Congress of its pan India winning ways. While it was Annie Besant, the English woman, who helped the Congress form, Sonia Gandhi, Dame de Italian, might help in its eventual liquidation, of course, with the helping hand from an uninspiring Rahul, her political heir apparent! If not the maturity of the Indian electorate, at least the public allergy for the Congress’ insensitivity to the national ethos could ensure that, and as and when it happens, it could be one of the many ironies of the chequered history of Hindustan.
Why blame the Brahmans of yore for messing up things on the socio-political front? We all are human after all, the Brahmans included, and what about the current intellectual state of theirs, who once gave the Upanishads to the world? The Hindu intellectualism, spearheaded by them, is stymied by their ignorance of Islam as a cult even as the hypocrisy of the Musalmans misleads the gullible Hindu secularists. And the so-called educated Hindu of the day, ignorant as he is of the nuances of his own dharma, is oblivious of the insatiable urge of the Christianity on one hand and Islam on the other to proselytize regardless.
And the less believing Musalmans, instead of resorting to self-introspection over the inimical aspects of Islam, tend to gloss them over with such clichés as, ‘Islam is a religion of peace’, and of late, ‘terrorists have no religion’ et al. But the gullible Hindu intellectual bites the bullet and ends up joining the Islamist chorus that it’s all the fault of ‘the others’, the Hindu fundamentalists included. Wish the moderate Musalmans apply their minds to the rights and wrongs in their faith to separate the wheat from the chaff of Islam, and then try to distribute the grain amongst the umma for a proper religious diet. More so, only when the educated Hindus familiarize themselves with the ways of Islam to engage the Musalmans in an informed debate would there be a dawn of the genuine secularism in India, but that is unlikely to happen, at least in the foreseeable future, and till that happens, India would remain a stymied state.
Continued to “The Wages of God”