State of the Union: Mera bhashan hi mera prashasan hai

Manish tiwari Fri, 16 Jun 2017

State of the Union: Mera bhashan hi mera prashasan hai

On 26th May, 2017, the NDA/BJP government completed three years in office. The time has come to evaluate performance on both quantitative and qualitative benchmarks. The four indices are social cohesion, internal security, economic development and international relations. In the past three years, social cohesion has been the biggest casualty. This is primarily because the current government does not believe in the founding vision of India. In their perceived moment under the sun, they want to recast the liberal and pluralistic idea of India that has held the field for the past 70 years. The ideological godfather of the current government, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, always had a bigamous position on India’s Partition. While in 1956, RSS supremo M.S. Golwalkar articulated, “Our motherland has been partitioned… We have to pledge resolutely not to rest content until we have wiped out this blot,” on August 17, 1965, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (predecessor of the BJP) even passed a resolution at its meeting in Delhi, which stated, “India’s tradition and nationality has not been against any religion. Modern Islam should also not be an obstacle in the way of unity of Indian nation. Real obstacle is separatist politics. Muslims will integrate themselves with the national life and Akhand Bharat (undivided India) will be a reality unifying India and Pakistan once we are able to remove this obstacle (separatist politics).”

Interestingly, the poster boy of Hindutva, Veer Savarkar, had the following to say on the two-nation theory on his election as the president of Hindu Mahasabha. While addressing the 19th session of the Mahasabha in 1937 in Ahmedabad, he declared: “There are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India. Several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so… India cannot be assumed today to be a Unitarian and homogenous nation. On the contrary, there are two nations in the main: the Hindus and the Muslims, in India.” Therein lies the dichotomy wherein the ideologues of the current government believe that if religious Partition could not be implemented in its essence in 1947, that is, India for Hindus and Pakistan for Muslims, it should be done now by transforming India into a majoritarian theocracy. The instruments being used are mass communalism masquerading as nationalism, cow vigilantes being let loose, specially on minorities, creative freedoms being proscribed, freedom of speech and expression being brutally crushed and the demonisation of the other by a hysterical, right-wing coopted and kept media. However, what the Prime Minister does not realise is that he is skidding on a slippery path whose consequences would be portentous for India.

This ideological agenda is impacting governance generally and the management of internal security specifically. Nothing reflects this better than the absolute mess in Kashmir. The ideologically incongruent alliance between the People’s Democratic Party and the BJP has proven to be a disaster. The fall in voting percentages from a high of 65.52 per cent in the Assembly elections in the fall of 2014 to mere seven per cent turnout in the parliamentary byelection for the Srinagar constituency in the summer of 2017 underscores the deep alienation of the Kashmiri people. The fact that the Election Commission is unable to even conduct the other byelection in Anantnag only serves to accentuate the gravity of the situation. Similarly, it has been unable to articulate a policy towards left-wing extremism in central India where casualties of the paramilitary forces are mounting on a daily basis. Rather than trying to fathom that Maoism is more than just a law and order issue that requires a multipronged approach not merely focused upon the use of the state’s hard power, the government is trying to deflect attention by targeting academicians who may have a certain worldview, but are defiantly not a part of some hydraheaded octopus whose head lies in the dense jungles of Abujmarh.

Turning to north-eastern India you are confronted with the apparition of the mythical Naga peace accord, later rechristened as the framework rate of GDP growth was 7.9 per cent. It dipped to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17. If you de-horse the statistical jugglery, that is, changing the base year for measuring GDP from 2004-05 to 2011-12, that gives a fictitious bump of two per cent, the effective rate of GDP growth is only 5.1 per cent. The Index of Industrial Production grew at a rate of 2.6 per cent between April and February 2016 as opposed to a mere 0.4 per cent for the corresponding period between April and February 2016-17. Again, the eight core infrastructure sectors registered a growth of only five per cent in March 2017 as opposed to 9.3 per cent in March 2016.

The growth of money supply on a yearon- year basis also tanked from 10 per cent as on March 31, 2016, to 7.3 per cent on March 31, 2017. This is the demonetisation’s effect on the Indian economy. And, finally, the dollar that stood at Rs 58.57 on May 17, 2014, climbed by Rs 5.46 and was trading at Rs 64.03 on May 17, 2017. The net effect of this gross macro economic mismanagement has been that India is now hostage to a spectre of jobless growth. Just one comparative data point illustrates this reality. During the three years, from 2009 to 2011, as India’s GDP was galloping at an average 8.5 per cent, notwithstanding the great economic meltdown of 2008, the organised sector was creating, on an average, 9.5 lakh new jobs every year. In the last two years, 2015 and 2016, the average employment generation has dived to less than two lakh jobs a year. This is fewer than 25 per cent of the annual employment generated before 2011.

Now turning to international affairs, the recent One Belt, One Road conference in Beijing exposed India’s splendid isolation in the transnational arena. Despite a valid claim that one of the strands of OBOR the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor violates India’s sovereignty, the government was not able to carry a single neighbouring country with the sole exception of Bhutan, what to talk of world powers. On Pakistan, the government has tied itself in knots as a consequence of the repeated flip-flops, U-turns and summersaults. It has failed to finesse the power dynamic between US, Russia and China and India’s perceived US tilt saw the Russians doing military exercises with Pakistan for the first time in 70 years. There has been no movement on India’s permanent membership of either the United Nations Security Council or the Nuclear Suppliers Group in the past three years. Therein lies the message for the Opposition that “mera bhashan hi mera prashashan hai” syndrome underscores that even messianic oratory and demagoguery can substitute for governance in our nation.

 

The author is a lawyer and a former Union minister.

Courtesy: Asian Age