Sunday, May 24, 2009

The New Right

BJP is at the cross roads. The People of India have soundly rejected it.

In order to remain relevant in Indian polity, I believe BJP has to choose between Integral Humanism (as proposed by Deendayal Upadhyaya and practiced by Vajypayee and Sushma Swaraj) and Hindutva (as proposed by Savarkar and practiced by Sangh Parivar, Advani and Modi). Riding the twin horses is no longer possible.

The following are according to me, the founding principles of a conservative, humanist, right wing party in India. But there is little evidence that BJP is interested in becoming one. We shall see.

1. Espousing free market principles.

Abolition of all monopolies including and especially Government monopolies. Every PSU shall be listed on the stock markets. Government will not stand in the way of business. Ex: allow private players to enter terrestrial broadcasting. Government recognizes the fierce urgency of alleviating the poverty of its citizens in their own lifetime.

2. Conservative Economics and Fiscal responsibility.

Low interest rate regime. Discouraging immoral loans like Credit cards, Home loan, car loans etc. And instead ensure easy credit for farmers, industry, students and self-help groups.

3. Secularism.

Government recognizes no religion and will not interfere in the religious activities of its citizens under any circumstance. No tax benefits for religious institutions. Temples like Tirupati to pay 35% corporate income tax on their earnings. Abolition of Haj Subsidy and Waqf boards. Having said this all religious places of historical importance shall be owned by the government but run by autonomous bodies.

Governmet re-affirms the right of Indian nationals to preach and convert others to whatever religion they like. But foreign nationals found in missionary activity shall be arrested and deported. Foreign donations to Indian religious institutions will be illegal.

4. Uniform Civil code.

All citizens of the country are equal in the eyes of the law. All citizens shall be subject to a Uniform civil code concerning marriage, divorce, adoption and inheritance.

Gays cannot adopt/raise children even if the child is born of the sperm/womb of one of the parents. But homosexuality is not illegal. The state has no role to play in the sexual preference of its citizens. Its only concerned about the emotional and social upbringing of child citizens of India. State recognizes marriage as the union of a male and female (one each) citizens.

5. Rule of Law and the Constitution.

Maintaining the checks and balances inherent in our constitutional framework. No more abusing Election Commission, CBI, Governor's post. Supreme Court will not be allowed to legislate from the bench. The state shall not make any law that cannot be implemented.

6. Recognizing and adhering to the federal nature of the Indian Union.

Abolition of article 370 and 356. No central govt can dismiss a state govt. Governors appointed by Central govt will have to be ratified by the respective state legislature with a two-thirds majority. India shall remain a union of Linguistic and cultural nation states.

7. Respect for life.

Abolition of death sentence. Espousal of ethical eating. Recommending the killing of animals and plants (for food or any other purpose except in self-defense) to be treated as a punishable offense.

8. Practicing caste system of any kind punishable by law.

No educational institution can ask any student which caste or religion he/she belongs to. A campaign against using caste and varna names as surnames (yadav, jha, sharma, gupta, verma, thakur).

9. Freedom of speech.

Abolition of laws that inhibit the freedom of speech like “speech provoking communal disharmony” etc. Citizens are free to burn the national flag and the constitution, if they want to.

10. Humanism.

Non-violence and peace as foreign policy tools. Disclosing the current stockpile of nuclear weapons. Signing the CTBT. Signing the NPT provided they let us replenish our constant and pre-disclosed nuclear weapon stockpile.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Packing gay rights into uniform civil code was a bit like packing the recent gun and national parks law into the credit card rights bill. However, that's a debate for another day.

Infact, thanks for spelling out your pipe and wet dreams !!!. Educational institutions cannot ask for your religion and caste ? What part of caste-based reservations do you fail to understand ? If any party does 10 % of what you said (that is just one clause)... ah, I am dreaming too.

What do you think happened ? I am shocked at the victory of the UPA. Makes me suspect the veracity of the election results. Was there suspicion of heavy rigging ? I was always told that EVMs are vulnerable. After all the terrorism related blood-shed, I thought UPA would be ousted, not that I believed any body else would solve the problem.

Seeing the effort you put in to BJP's campaign is heartening. Good luck.

Balaji said...

Uniform civil code is about marriage, adoption, divorce, inheritance etc. How is the question of Gay marriages and adoption, not part of the Uniform Civil Code?

I support Caste based reservations. But there is no need for educational institutions to ask caste/religion. Even a school Transfer certificate mentions them now. A student's caste matters only when he has almost become an adult. i.e when he enters college. He can present his caste certificate (which just has to mention OC/BC/MBC/SC/ST) obtained from Taluk office. No need for any mention of caste or religion. Throughout my schooling/college, my friends knew what caste I was and I knew some of their castes. Poison in the young minds.

no, no. there is no need to suspect EVMs. UPA won fair and square. yes, I'm very disappointed that people didn't punish UPA for their meek surrender to terrorists. lets hope Chidambaram does a better job this time.

I see 2 reasons for the result.

1. the avg indian irrespective of his class, thought BJP leaders are indecent compared to congress ones and that BJP has become much more extremist.
2. congress thrashed the third front.

Vijay said...

I am fine with everything except the "one each" part :)

Palahalli said...

Balaji, I will like to connect with your article and respond to it on my site sometime today. I think it's time Hindus contemplated political theory now. In a sense, resume a habit that got discarded. That's the only way we can generate practical ideas to implement or sell to powers that be. Thanks for your effort even though I have my disagreements.

Balaji said...

sure. looking forward to reading your views.

Palahalli said...

Hello Balaji,

I have posted a response.

Please review and comment.

Other readers might want to comment too if they please.

Thank you.

Balaji said...

Pallahalli,

I read your post. you have raised very pertinent questions. will respond to them soon. In the meanwhile, can you pls enable comments on your blog?

Palahalli said...

Hello Balaji,

The method of comment posting is different. I somehow found it better to show comments as part of the main body of the article under "Varta". Please feel free to write me your response on palahalli.s@gmail.com

I am eager to read and post your response!

Raju Jampani said...

'Recommending the killing of animals and plants (for food or any other purpose except in self-defense) to be treated as a punishable offense'. Perhaps you only mean animals and not plants ?

Balaji said...

actually no.

i don't think there is any difference between eating animal meat and plant meat like potato, onion, carrot etc.
jains and fruitarians don't eat plant meat. i myself hav been trying for few years now but with limited success. but my parents hav quit plant meat in the process!

anyway, killing another human and a potato plant shud be treated equally before the law. unless its an act of self defense (say rats, pest or grass spoiling the crop), its murder.

so human citizen can claim that his individual liberty is violated becos he cannot kill and eat other species. state has provided the means to procure food by non-violent means and citizens who disobey shud be punished. for instance hunting is already illegal in many places.

Raju Jampani said...

'killing another human and a potato plant shud be treated equally before the law' Are you serious ?

I think there is a significant difference between killing a sentient animal (like a human, cow, sheep or chicken) and a plant. Plants do not have a central nervous system, they don't have an interest in avoiding pain and hence they don't suffer. There is no evidence that they do.

Also, its impossible to breath, talk or walk with out inevitably killing bacteria, insects and even plants. Do all these things come under 'self-defense' ? If so why not eating plants? I don't think there is any scientific evidence that people can thrive on a fruit-only diet.

Balaji said...

being sentient isn't the only criteria. being a conservative, I'm more interested in conserving life.

avoiding pain is a dicey concept. in a typical US slaughter house, animals are stunned before having their throats slit. its very possible to say gas them and make it even more painless. and studies show that when cattle are marched down the blue corridor, they aren't agitated to suggest they sense impending death. so its a dicey concept.

pain can also be used to justify any number of suicide and euthanasia. i don't want the society tread down that path. having said that I support euthanasia if the person chooses it exercising his/her right to personal liberty and the doctors can certify that their services are no longer sufficient.

hope you see where I'm coming from.

besides I don't advocate fruitarianism. milk and un-fertilized egg are fine with me as long the animals have been treated properly. ofcourse I avoid them as a matter of choice.

take corn for example. almost everything an average american eats is made of corn. and apparently corn cannot reproduce on its own and needs human intervention. seems like a perfect food to me!

anyway, I'm planning to write a new post 'The Herbivore's dilemma' soon. ofcourse I recently finished reading the book The Carnivore's Dilemma which I recommend to anyone who is interested in this topic.

Raju Jampani said...

Sorry, but I find you arguments to be ridiculous and the ethical code you are advocating is very impractical, inconsistent and vague (as you don't define 'self-defense')

For example, by your logic:

1. The crimes committed by Hitler (or any other mass murderer) are much less than that of an average vegetable farmer.

2. No one should buy fruits/vegetables from a farmer/supermarket as all farmers kill the crops during harvest or after their peak production time.

3. As I said before, no one should talk, walk or take medicines as doing these inevitably causes the death of bacteria, insects and plants.

I think if a person truly believes and follows what you say then they must commit suicide. Thats the only logical implication.

Also more importantly, I don't agree with your views on milk and eggs. Do you know that practically everywhere, the production of milk involves the continuous killing of male calves, and killing of male chicks (not to mention the torture endured by the chicken raised in close confined prisons through out their lives). So consuming milks/eggs are wrong even by your definition. Hope we both agree at least on this one:)

Balaji said...

well, being cynical is easy. but once you make conserving life an important goal, things fall in place.

and ofcourse its vague. i'm not advocating this with an agenda coming from religion (sin?!) or righteousness. conserving life is a theme. we shud conserve as much we can. plant meat eaters looking down upon animal meat eaters is very hypocritical. at the same time, there are millions especially in India who are committed to ethical eating. some of them don't even harm insects.

true, paddy farmers need not fell the crop during harvesting. they cud just take the fruits and let cattle eat the rest, cows first and pigs later. in absolute terms, its killing too. but cows and pigs will manure the field and help conserve the soil and make it good for further produce.

Balaji said...

i said milk and eggs are ok if the animals have been treated properly. surely in the examples you site, that isn't the case. In the US, I dropped out of milk products becos animals are treated cruelly across the board. in some cases cows are fed beef which leads to mad-cow disease etc.

there is no question of eating eggs in the US. i learnt that no animal is treated more cruelly than egg layng hens.

but in a typical Indian household which has a solitary cow and its calves, I see no problem if some of the milk is procured by the householder.

Raju Jampani said...

You didn't touch upon the 3 implications I mentioned before (about Hitler, and being unable to shop, talk or walk). Anyway, this is my last comment about this and you can have the last say :)

You say 'plant meat eaters looking down upon animal meat eaters is very hypocritical'

and then you say 'they cud just take the fruits and let cattle eat the rest, cows first and pigs later.'
That sounds hypocritical to me, you are raising cows and pigs so that they can do the dirty job (killing the plants). I also wonder why you raise pigs for. Pigs are raised only for their meat as far as I know.

You say
'but in a typical Indian household which has a solitary cow and its calves, I see no problem if some of the milk is procured by the householder.'

You conveniently don't mention about (adult) male cows. Have you ever wondered what happens to male buffaloes and cows? Almost everyone sends them to slaughterhouses. Otherwise it is very uneconomical. Most milk in India is produced by buffaloes, and since they are not valued as much, they are much more likely to be sent to slaughter houses. Note that the farmers simply sell their cattle to the middlemen, which in turn sell them to slaughterhouses. So if you want to consume milk then the only ethical option is to raise your own cattle (and bear the economical burden). The more practical alternative of course is to simply avoid dairy (and egg) products even in India.

Balaji said...

milk consumers need not lose sleep over what happens to bulls. he/she is not responsible for their fate. the rancher can use the bulls for farming.

i don't think comparing farmers with Hitler is necessary. although some philosophers do mention that several centuries from now, today's meat eating will be considered an unspeakable barbarism far more condemnable than the holocaust itself. so even ethical eaters may well be accused of not doing enough to prevent it.

if I were a farmer, I'll not plants for meat. but if some farmer feels like a soldier with regard to killing, I'm ok with it. as I said, for me, killing animals and plants for meat are the same. but not necessarily a crime or sin that I cannot forgive. ofcourse I wouldn't eat animal meat more out of habit and also becos eating food that high in the food chain is very wasteful.

pigs can be raised only for cleaning up! even rats, rabbits etc can be raised for the purpose. why shud they be slaughtered? if the population becomes too much leave them in the jungles. in some farms they maintain a forest around the land and control access to boars as required.

yes, avoiding dairy even in India is a desirable solution. but I understand dairy/poultry farming is a good source of livelihood for the poor and wouldn't want to advocate dairy boycott too forcefully.