Picking Battles

With one year in office and yet no stability in sight, the saffron camp does not look jubilant. They have very little to cheer about—despair in every field. In truth the BJP rule is synonymous with disaster. The achievements as projected in the propaganda manual are so lack-lustre that they do not enthuse even the die-hard saffronites. Inadequate school, homes, healthcare and alarming joblessness are some of the yearly highlights. The shameful inequalities between rich and poor hardly trouble the ruling and opposition parties, they are too eager to see the free market really becoming free, albeit the free market continually and adversely affects the marginalised. The Bharaitya Janata Party finds it increasingly tough to maintain the status quo as its frontal outfits are restless to redefine hindutva ideology before it is too late. Strangely, the so-called secularists are on the defensive in countering the renewed saffron offensive. They cannot do much other than shouting secular chorus. It is much easier for opposition parties to bash the volatile enemy than it is for them to come up with viable solutions for the evils plaguing the society. While the official BJP is trying to become a purely gandhian platform to occupy political space left by the Congress party, the registared gandhians are themselves in a dilemma as to how to keep their secular boat floating.

The Congress Party, the bitter ‘critic’ of hindutva nationalism, is itself aping the saffron brigade by refashioning its Seva Dal in the mould of RSS.

As Sonia andhi’s Congress gets closer to Vajpayee’s BJP, anticommunal chorus sounds ludicrous. With Vajpayee’s lieutenants like RSS chief Sudarshan hawking ‘new’ national attitudes rather aggressively, sometimes banking on obnoxious ideologies, the gandhians too would like to be more nationally focused than anti-nationally.

The impact of new economic policy is now being felt in every sector of the economy. The euphoria over direct foreign investemnt is evaporating quickly. The systematic decontrol of government over capital allowing foreigners to loot the country as they please, has virtually destroyed whatever self-reliant culture India developed in the yester years. Privatisation is the buzzword for all ills affecting the economy despite massive dislocation of traditional industries and labour force. Free market is in full play much to the delight of the overseas investors. With economic crisis deepening, secondary issues like communalism, minority phobia and Pakistan’s ISI have come to dominate the entire political arena, sidetracking the real issues. And opposition parties too dance to the tune set by the BJP — in a way the saffronites still decide the agenda while their parliamentary adversaries follow. That the political elite representing right ideology plays it safe on the naivete of the public is understandble. The tragedy lies elsewhere — even the leftists are not even ready to fully evaluate the impact of mercenary approach of foreign capital. They too play it safe by blaming it on non-existent enemies that seldom bother common people. The return of the Raj is a fact of life. This time dollar rules, not pound.