Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ramachandra Guha's Comical Defense of Congress I

Firstly, a minor quibble with Dr. Ramachandra Guha in that he assumes Congress I is INC. In case Guha hasn't noticed, INC died in 1969.

Dr. Ramachandra Guha talking to Rediff about the state of Congress I while a bit realistic then his earlier stance, still defends the corrupt and deprived party.

Guha's defense of the worst decision, that which castes a long shadow of economic and political degradation of the nation, by Gandhi, to appoint Nehru, a socialist, is flimsy at best; self serving at worst. When Guha himself says he compares Nehru on par with Sardar Patil and B. R. Ambedkar, the defense of Nehru's appointment by Gandhi falls flat right there. Is Guha's, and Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Gandhi, explanation of Gandhi's autocracy believable when Gandhi himself offered the post of prime ministership to Muhammad Ali Jinnah during partition turmoil? Even if one were to ignore Nehru's absolute derision towards Hinduism, the same derision that current leaders of Congress I show, if Gandhi was so interested in nation building, what did he think the nation was going to do after Nehru's term? (This is the core of the problem with India since 1947 - it is not laws and institutions driven, but is driven by personalities and these personalities make up things as they go along.) The damage Gandhi did to political democracy in India, by overruling INC party democratic election, is huge and we still are living with it's severe consequences. Indira, Rajiv, and Sonia can always point to what Gandhi did for their own autocratic ways in the party.

And is to say nothing of what Nehru himself did to the country, its economy, its politics, its borders, its nationhood, and its foreign policy. While we are slowly emerging from Nehru's long and dark shadow on economy; we are still stuck with his politics of vilification of RSS and Hinduism, promoting his brand of disgusting JNU secularism; stuck with his definition of borders – on of the most key pieces of land of Indian nation, not controlled by India, that would connect India to Afghanistan and central Asia, and to Russia, is treated with such nonchalance with so little understanding of international security and politics or strategic thinking (we are told Nehru regretted taking J&K issue to UN. Fine. What exactly did he do after that to change the situation to our advantage? Not much); stuck with his flimsiness of nationhood with no participation of northeastern states in development, even if it was the socialist kind, suffering the consequences of Chinese intrusiveness and with growing, not diminishing, anti-state insurgencies; stuck with his foreign policy on Tibet, on UN, on power dynamics and the submissive culture of our babus – even now foreign minister S. M. Krishna begs the Chinese for consideration for permanent UNSC seat for India which China predictably rebuffs with delight.

It's nice Guha wants to defend what he says is the current vilification of Nehru. That Nehru is being maligned now means people are actually paying attention to the deprecate legacy of Nehru, that JNU secularists like Guha continue to defend. What normal people need to consider is what the state of India would have been if Nehru was a capitalist, as any thinking sane person would be, and did not consider profit to be "evil"; if Nehru understood the international power dynamics – how Tibet and foreign occupied J&K would impact Indian security in the long run; how cutting off Northeast from the rest of country increased the threat to nationhood. Just consider one issue that Nehru is praised for by secularists. Instead of depending on western nations to build the few IITs, if Nehru initiated the process internally – asked the best and brightest administrators and professors in India to start and develop 30, 40, or 50 IITs across the nation and provide access to young and adult to join those IITs (and not just in technical but legal, history, and other non-technical fields). It would have done wonders to the psyche of Indians that they can manage their own affairs at a national and global scale. In reality, any chance that Nehru got, he would look to the west help even as he disparaged them as Coca-Cola capitalists. Just as we would have showered praise on Nehru if his ideas succeeded, we, as Indians, looking at his actual record, are unimpressed. We acknowledge Nehru's contribution to Bharatiya freedom struggle, but post-independence Nehru is not an impressive figure. We wished he studied actual history rather than Fabian history during his formative years.

Going beyond Nehru, while his shadow is long and dark for India, Guha defense of existing Congress I is laughable. Being a typical secularist, he gives an example of rise of Angela Merkel of Germany, ignoring the example of rise of Sushma Swaraj, from a middle class girl to leader of the opposition in current parliament, in the BJP, that Congress I leadership should emulate. The apparent sin of BJP was that L.K Advani consulted with Mohan Bhagwat, which Guha rightly recognizes as social-culture organization. But why won't Advani consult with RSS leadership when it provided so much foundation for BJP's existence. If Arun Shourie begged RSS to give some direction to BJP when BJP was in crisis, we can understand the extent of crisis that BJP was in. We always thought RSS is a net negative weight on BJP's neck – mostly useless weight that contributes little beyond feet on the ground - but that itself does not take away from what BJP stands for.

Guha, quite unamazingly, dodges the pointed questions on Congress I increasing anti-Hindu and anti-Bharatiya narrative to appease Muslims. In fact, Guha would have been the right person ask about current Congress I anti-Hindu stance – he could have easily pointed to Nehru's anti-Hinduism. The meek “corruption is human weakness” response shows the extent of degradation of liberal and secularists value in India, much like it is around world now. While they see non-existing anti-Muslims demons in Karnataka (and in Gujarat) of BJP, they ignore, or worst justify, the malaise and rot that permeates Congress I under the leadership of Nehru's family for three generations.

We do agree with one idea that Guha has caught on to now which he did not see when he wrote his book post-independence history of India. That precedence. especially at the create of something as important as a newly defined nation, is everything. The precedence of Gandhi dictating nomination of Nehru even has INC office bearers voted for Sardar Patil (we would have been more than happy if Gandhi played Kautilya's political intrigue to twist others arms to get Nehru elected directly – at least then we won't have to put up with the notion what a great saint Gandhi was. In fact, we hazard to guess that if Gandhi was a normal political strategist acting in the long term interest of the nation, he would understood what havoc Nehru would have played on the new nation and would have stuck with Sardar. We agree, again, with Guha, that Gandhi and Nehru are one of kind who were completely out of touch with corrupt way of men and nations, meaning the real world, much to the later misery of the newly defined nation); the precedence of Nehru's economic, foreign policy, and amending constitution, beyond recognition, at his whim; the precedence of Nehru not stepping down after serving two terms as prime minister; the precedence of Nehru dying in office; the precedence of Indira's and Rajiv's corrupt ways; and the precedence of Nehru's family take over of leadership of Congress I.

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