Sunday, May 18, 2014

On the Liberal path ....

In summary, I think this election has been good for the Indian Republic.

The Conservatives have got a clear mandate from the people. An extremely corrupt and cynical party, Congress has suffered its worst defeat in history. Many political dynasties have been rejected. A nascent party arising out of a civil society movement has been given the best feedback possible from the electorate. That its heart (bringing in good people to politics) is in the right place, but irresponsible behavior (49 day bhagoda govt, silly contests in Varanasi/Amethi) will not be rewarded.

Having been a supporter of the BJP in my younger years, I have always felt the resentment of the Sangh towards outsiders who didn't agree with their Manuvaadi and later Hindutva ideology. With the ascent of Shri. Mohan Bhagwat, the purge of the outsiders began. I'm glad I took the cue and left the party in 2009. In hindsight, this clearing of the house and the determination to stand by their ideology has paid of. The tamasha of RSS not taking responsibility for the actions of its political wing, is no longer possible. This can only be good for our polity.

I admire (and hence fear) the steadfast loyalty of Shri. Narendra Modi to his beliefs. I have written about it in the past, but I think we now know for sure, what Modi stands for. It takes lot of courage to stick to one's ideology even when the stakes are extremely high. A silly example of this is Modi's refusal to wear a skull cap when he has no qualms wearing a Sikh pagadi and a tribal head dress in Arunachal. Hindutva doesn't accept Muslims and Christians as Hindus (Indians), while Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Apatani religion are 'unorthodox' Hindu (Indian) religions. We may not agree with this Conservatism, but not understanding this thinking can only be our fault.

On the Left, CPM model has completely collapsed in Bengal. For many years now, the movement left has deserted the parties and identified with Maoists, student unions and the likes of Ms. Medha Patkar, Ms. Aruna Roy, Ms. Arundhati Roy and Mr. Udayakumar. Now they see a ray of hope in the Aam Aadmi Party. I desperately hope that AAP gets better consul and takes a principled left-liberal turn, instead of being mired in ideological confusion. Anarchy is not a sustainable ideology. Swaraj (village self rule) and standing up for the downtrodden, to protect them from Corporate excesses and deliberate crony capitalism, is a worthy endeavor. Left liberal people have something concrete (AAP) to work on.

And finally, the (right) Liberals. We have always remained divided and hence paid for it. Considering Liberal parties have almost never won any election anywhere in the world, not willing to cooperate is a weird choice. Swantatra Party had 44 MPs in 1967. I just wish those who want to emulate Swatantra (Mr. Jaswant Singh who was a member, Loksatta Party which adopted the 5 pointed star, Swatantra Bharat Paksha) and the nascent Navbharat Democratic Party, all work together to provide a credible Liberal alternative to the Indian electorate.

On my part, I'm determined to continue supporting all Liberal forces in the country. I voted for Mr. Nandan Nilekani (who I think is Liberal, though somewhat left), campaigned for Mr. Jayaprakash Narayan in Malkajgiri (Loksatta President) and Mr. Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi (because he was taking on Narendra Modi).

I'll continue to be a member of the Loksatta Party (still the only viable Liberal party in India) and support Takshashila Institution, Center for Civil Society, Center for Public Policy, Liberty Institute, India Enterprise Council and Freedom Team India in their activities.

As I said above, if there is one thing that we can learn from Mr. Narendra Modi, its his courage to stand by his beliefs. My belief in Liberalism (as a means to human organization and happiness) only became more resolved this election season. Looking forward to the future, with hope.


Pamphlet distributed by Together with Nandan team during their door2door campaign in our apartment complex, Bangalore South constituency. April 05, 2014.

Loksatta Party's Malkajgiri candidate Jayaprakash Narayan campaigning for the party's nominee in Jubilee Hills assembly constituency. April 19, 2014.

Aam Aadmi Party's Varanasi candidate Arvind Kejriwal campaigning in Sarai Dengri village, of Rohania assembly constituency in Varanasi. May 03, 2014.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

JP speaks highly of Namo and at one point LS was close to tie up (if not for the TDP). Infact in terms of economic beliefs Lok Satta is much closer to BJP than it will ever be to AAP. What would you have done if they had tied up?

Your choices are confusing. Don't make any sense at all. Maybe it is born out of some sort of hatred for the BJP & Modi rather than anything else. Both in terms of Policies and Governance potential, anybody picking Kejriwal over Namo, needs to get his head examined.

JP's not tying up and his eventual defeat is definitely a loss to India's current politics. Would have been a great addition to Namo's team.

Balaji Chitra Ganesan said...

As the post says I'm a liberal. Meaning we want more personal and economic freedom.

BJP is not liberal because it does not believe in personal freedom and wants to govt control over private lives. Like supporting article 377, demanding that other people stop eating beef, banning books/movies etc.

AAP is not liberal because it wants govt to control the economy. It tried to revoke FDI in retail. Has opposed nuclear energy, privatization of water distribution etc.

I believe Modi is a fascist. I don't say this in a derogatory sense. Savarkar and Golwalkar were fascists even before it became unpopular because of Mussolini in Italy. Savarkar was influenced by Mazzini. Modi is a fascist on those lines. I have had misgivings about Modi even when I was a member of that party.

In any case, I used to be a member of BJP because there was no viable Liberal party in India. After Swatantra, Loksatta has come closet to being a viable Liberal party. Hence I'm a member.

Supporting other party leaders once in a while is not confusing. Just being non-partisan. I felt Modi should be defeated in Varanasi and hence campaigned for Kejriwal.