Saturday, August 13, 2011

Is Indian Independence worth the blood, tears, toil and sweat?

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The celebration of Independence Day has become a hollow ritual. The tricolour which once inspire a whole generation has become the symbol of a corrupt, facist dynasty which runs the Congress party. The speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort has the contrived quality of a ritual whose day has passed. Does the idea of India inspire any hope?

The rampant corruption of which the 2G Spectrum Scam and the CWG scam are but the most egresious examples will have their impact on the electorate in thr next general elections. The Indian people are not concerned with political corruption if it is within managable limits. What has now happened it that the people have realised that the sole purpose of politics is to gain power and pelf and use both to cultivate a "vote bank" as the Congress party has done over the past 40 years. Is this the Freedom for which so many countless martyrs laid down their lives. Had they known that within a few decades of Independence India will fall prey to dynastic fascism, I am sure many would have wondered if freedom is woth the candle.

The Indian politician, like the post-colonial intellectual was the first to realise the absolute goldmine in the form if "identity politics". Starting first with language which led to the division of India along linguistic lines, then caste identities were politisised by V P Singh and his cohorts which in turn led to caste blocks becoming the vote banks of politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadava and Laloo Prasad Yadava. The absolute criminalisation of the political system can be seen in those parts of India where political parties representing caste blocks rule the roost. I, of course have Karunanidh's restwhile regime in Tamil Nadu and Mayavathi's regime in Uttar Pradesh in mind. Is this the freedom the martyrs faught and died for?

Apart from the criminalisation of Indian politics due to the strangle hold of identity politics there are other disconcerting aspects. The electoral process has lost its neutral character. P Chidambaram's declaration as the victor in the Sivagangai Parliamentary elections in 2009 is itself proof of how the rich and the powerful are able to subvert the system. And this man is now the "Home Minister" of India a position once occupied by Sardar patle, Lal Bahadur Sastri and Hon'ble L K Advani. Is this the freedom the martyrs of India died for?

The Indian state is crumbling from the weight of its own monstrous crimes. The entire tribal belt is under the sway of the naxalites and given the disgust the people of India feel toward the political system, it is only a short step toward an alliance between the disgruntled elements and the violent naxalites. Civil society activists like Anna Hazare will be co opted into this corrupt political system, leaving the field wide open for Baba Ramdev.

We have to see whether the India that we know will survive another 25 years. The 4 southern state together with Gujarat and Maharashtra already account for nearly 45% of India's GDP. Regional disparities will lead to the undermining of the political fabric. Unfortunately the whole political system is obsessed with its dynastic fixation aand has no time to think of the problems of India. Is this the India for which the martyrs died?

China has shown that a country can progress in spite of centuries of social and economic stagnation. The Universities in China like Beijing University have risen to the very top of the list of global universities and India is struggling at the rock bottom. Is this the Freedom the martyrs died for? I think when historians look back on the post Independence period of India's past they will not hesitate to conclude that a glorious dream was betrayed by dynastic fascism and corruption.

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