(Chinese Mao Zedung’s Long March was between October 16, 1934 and October 22,1935 )
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is busy advancing on a long march , receiving bricks and bats, with an unprecedented prudence and patience facing boldly innumerable difficulties and adverse situations in the society. The national statistics on 26th May 2014 , when the new government took over the reigns of power at the federal level in India , the scene was not at all favorable for a new regime to assume political power , leave alone the fiscal scenario. Modi’s socio-economic background and standing invited adversaries naturally to belittle his authority and bemoan his social prestige.
Moreover , the burden of huge expectations to be fulfilled, dreamt by the poor and the downtrodden must have kept Modi on his toes. He did not shy away. On the other hand , the polity showed several cracks at various administrative echelons . It is believed that those who were sure that most of the then incumbents were destined to become out-goers, made most of their fortunes .PM Narendra Modi perhaps is the first Prime Minister after several decades , with the exceptions of Jawaharlal Nehru (and perhaps Lal Bahadur Shastri) , who was acquainted with the society , its ancient history and its roots , and who too applied his mind to explore the possibility of building a new society and a new India. The perception of India of these two leaders was quite different from each other but the intention and the honesty of each of them was beyond doubt. There can be a dispute over Nehru’s intentions and plans and his vision of India. He was responsible for laying the foundation of a modern India with a scientific vision and an urge for industrial development. He was a great utopian . Many freedom strugglers who were his colleagues , at times never concurred with him and yet never failed to admire him.
Importantly , one has to remember that Nehru was born in a illustrious and fairly wealthy family. His illustrious father Motilal admitted young Jawaharlal in UK to prosecute his studies for graduation ( B.Sc. Natural Sciences ) and further into law in Lincon’s Inn ( he was a Barrister ) Though a typical British product – in the way of thinking and understanding things , and yet he was a die hard nationalist who learnt and inculcated nationalism by studying English literature. He was aware of ancient Indian literature , but his icons were English. In an affirmative sense , he was a perfect product as had been envisaged by the great Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay ( 1800 –1859 ) whose reference was made in the words as , ‘vestiges of Macaulayism are also seen by many Hindu nationalists as a mechanism of British neocolonial control in India.”
Macaulay was elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in 1830 as a member of the reformist Whig party and four years later Macaulay was named as an inaugural member of a governing Supreme Council of India. Macaulay spent the next four years in India, where he devoted his efforts to the reform of the criminal code of the colony and the establishment of an educational system based upon the British model. ( Source : Wikipedia ).
Described as Hindu Agnostic, Nehru thought that religious taboos were preventing India from going forward and adapting to modern conditions: "No country or people who are slaves to dogma and dogmatic mentality can progress, and unhappily our country and people have become extraordinarily dogmatic and little-minded." . ( Source : Wikipedia ).
A rationalist will certainly find a large amount of truth in this observation. There was nothing wrong in what Nehru had said. For the rationalists , it is the western society which is an ideal one to emulate and compare with. The assumption is that the western society is worthy of imitation and therefore an ideal one. The tragedy is that rationalists have always treated everything native as bourgeoisie , outdated and worth rejecting. Visualizing modern way of life does not necessarily mean undermining the native value system .Marxian ideals have always served this platform . The typical materialists and the existentialists symbolize this particular psyche , for whom the individual and the family are the influencing obstacles on the path of progress, which need to be undermined if not destroyed. These elements treat progress or the freedom of the individual as something beyond the society or the nation.
In the aftermath of the 1857 rebellion by the British-Indian military battalions across British India , several administrators in UK and in the British colonial territorial areas , as witness to British political reforms in UK , were contemplating to sow rudimentary political seeds and strengthen the colonial roots. A prudent and very wise programme launched by an eminent British civil servant Mr. Allan Octavian Hume CB (6 June 1829 – 31 July 1912) who was a civil servant, political reformer, ornithologist and horticulturalist in British India. He was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress, a political party that was later to lead in the Indian independence movement. (Source: Wikipedia ) .
The Indian National Congress acquired all the above mentioned characteristics . INC naturally inherited all these traits who later imbibed these into several thousand people in India and even elsewhere in the British colony. There is a school of thought which believes in that it is this evil influence that has ruined the country. This , in other words is also known as the Macaulay effect.
A sort of superiority complex ingredient in the colonial-rule psyche was seen fully imbibed in the subsequent generations in India -a queer blend of partly native delirious pride and largely incompatible uprooted western secular impressions. It was neither Indian ,or Hindu or traditional nor any brand of Western trait. They never found themselves mingled in the Indian traditional ethos nor could they find any solace or acceptability in any other community else where..They were nationalists without any faith in the nation.
Nehru was a representative character of such a psyche .He interpreted India and the nation differently. Of course , as an intellectual he had the right. Right or wrong , he had his point of view. The solid mandate which is granted to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi heralded several impending challenges. Voters not only voted Narendra Modi in power merely as a political party man. They had faith in him. They had faith in his sincerity , in his acumen and skill and of course his personal integrity .
INC came into being in 1885. Soon afterwards in 1925 another school of thought came into being. the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS ). Narendra Modi belongs to it. In fact , RSS philosophy and programmes built Modi’s character and personality . He too studied ancient Indian history and the ancient icons .The strength and weaknesses of the society here . This school of thought too had studied Macaulay and his grand plan of colonization of Indian nationalism. Of course, one has to keep in mind that Macaulay was not an Indian. He had arrived in India to serve the British imperial interests in India .
It is fair enough. He prepared a education policy ( 1835 ) for British India and submitted to the Crown whereunder a administrative service would be produced and trained to serve the empire ( and not India ). If you study the British imperial history and the role played by the top politician Whig reformist First Baron Thomas Macaulay of Rothley in it ,why should anybody blame him ? Moreover, his greatest service to the British Empire and even the British India was the introduction of the legal system throughout the Empire which has prevailed upon against all odds. Even the Indian Penal Code 1860 in India , has stood all the tests of the times and remained more or less undisturbed till today.
The legislative story of Indian independence which began on the floor of the House of Commons in UK reveals as following:
Parliament of the UK:
|Long title||An Act to make provision for the setting up in India of two independent Dominions, to substitute other provisions for certain provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, which apply outside those Dominions, and to provide for other matters consequential on or connected with the setting up of those Dominions.|
|Citation||10 & 11 Geo. 6 c. 30|
|Introduced by||Lord Mountbatten, last Viceroy of India in 1947.|
|Royal assent July 15 1947|
Source : Wikipedia.
“Many people in India still believe that a Dominion status is equivalent to an absolute independent status. All those who so believe should go back to elementary school to re-learn their English. According to the Oxford dictionary, a ‘dominion’ is a country of the British Commonwealth having its own government. This same mistaken belief was also held by all Congress leaders in those days who openly proclaimed that there was no difference between dominion status and independence and accepted the dominion status in their all party conference of November 1929.
This same confusion was furthered by the approval of dominion status in the Lahore Conference of 1929. But later Subhash Chandra Bose proposed that independence meant complete dissolution of any relationship with the British; for this he was labeled a terrorist and foreign agent. Only on January 26th 1950 when India became a republic was the word Dominion replaced by Republic.”
Of course , one has to understand and take into account the compelling conditions during those hard times when the INC leadership had to accept whatever was granted to them . It is interesting to study the Macaulay-colonial psyche of then political leadership of India which quietly consented the above cited Indian Independence Act 1947 which created two Dominions in India and which substituted the Government of India Act 1935 .
Modi has the challenge to fight this colonial psyche and rescue the Indian society.
Many educated Indians considered the era of 1857---1947 was an extension of the period of East India Company Rule from 1600 to 1857 and further up to the period of 1947 The INC , although it led the freedom struggle albeit on the forefront , too considered a constitutional continuation. ( Macaulay effect ). There is a lot of debate held on this aspect. However , later the Constitution of India by its Article 395 promptly repealed the Indian Independence Act 1947 in 1949 , passed by the British parliament on 15th July 1947.
There is a deep fervent thought behind the slogan ‘ Congress Mukta Bharat ‘ roared by Modi. In fact it was not against the political party as such. The slogan was an appeal to the voters to ponder over the disastrous state of affairs of the society and the nation that was in , forced by the INC. The INC could not produce Prime Ministers who would talk of the society , the people , the nation, the family , the mother, the sister, the daughter , the deities , the temple , the village and so on all unheard of.
The importance of some one at the top , talking and discussing such non-political matters with the common man in the street, on issues so dear to him has been , perhaps the first step towards de-politicising the society and the polity. It is felt that India and Indians have of late become too much politicized . A well known statesman late Pt.Deendayal Upadhyaya once stated that ,’the soul of India is essentially a cultural one ,’ what he did not express was that it was not “politics” . Narendrabhai Modi is treading the same way.
In fact Narendra Modi has been trying to undo what some of the preceding governments had done to the society. In the latter half of the previous century ,rapid urbanization, global industrial expansion, aftermath effects of Second World War , cold war between the super powers ,scattered empires, easy and quicker communication amongst the intercontinental communities all over the world, these and several factors contributed to the changes brought about all over . The Indian society too was subjected to these currents to a great extent.
1857 Indo-British military rebellion or to describe more appropriately –‘war of independence’ had stretched in several regions of India , all fought fruitlessly but initiating social convulsions in the society. The turmoil raged in the socio-economic history of British Indian colony sent waives of reforms in the society and the polity. The law and order , judicial system, trade , blow to the customs and traditions were compelled to fall in line with the new upcoming legal system , new English based and initiated educational system and it is interesting to note that Sanskrit and Pershian studies were discarded from the 6th Standard school curriculam too Macaulay had gone , but his reign continued ) ,every contention made , convulsed the society and the family system hitherto staunch and solid , appeared tottering. A global call , as if it were , youngsters murmured, elders grumbled, ultimately acquiesced . The foregoing narration is made as it contains the roots of the present .
Modi is making serious efforts to improve and bring about appropriate modifications in the present ‘status report’ of the society . Macaulay jolted the impeccable value system prevalent in the Indian society. The meaning of father , mother , family , son ,daughter etc was reduced to biological connotations and conclusions .Economic and materialistic considerations superseded warmth and family attachment which culminated into split and separated family structure and threw the individual at bay. Urbanization and factory culture tore the dreams and ideas of the lower income group and the rural poor of a peaceful life. Unemployment in the rural areas , poverty and scarcity , inadequate infrastructure, insufficient power supply , lack of strong transport system—all these dimensions added to the complications of life of the common man in the street. Modi unlike his predecessor Prime Ministers , has experienced all these vagaries of poverty himself and had toiled hard to eke out for livelihood during his childhood. One must take a note of the fact that Modi has never blamed anyone for his poverty , nor has he held responsible anybody in the social structure. His poverty never dampened his positive attitude and work culture.
Hhypocrisy and twists was seen adopted by the political leadership in the freedom struggle for the mass consumption (then as a matter of strategy ). However the same continued even after we became politically independent . Was it continued only to mislead the masses and hide the facts advancing self interests ? Mahatma Gandhi’s observations that the ‘ I NC be dissolved ‘ should be viewed from this point of view . Gandhiji perhaps must have read the future . He had the social health of the society in mind..
Modi’s long march includes his efforts to identify the nation’s lost identity. There is a school of thought which believes that a nation is subordinate to world affairs. The contention is not fully acceptable. E.M.Forster in his ‘ A Passage to India ‘ exclaimed and went on record , ‘India a nation ! What an apotheosis ‘. Thank god he was not a reactionary or a bourgeoisie .
It has become a pass-time and mischievous fashion or a usual practice to take objection or criticize anything which is associated with a traditional matter or ancient reference esp. anything of the glorious past or Hindu , Vaidik or religious appeal. However this school of thought is fast fading away with little effect leaving behind.
Modi has a big task to counter the cynicism which is symbolic of such a Macaulayan impact. Modi’s long march includes this battle as well . In fact INC too is symbolic of Macaulayan perspective .The political cynicism has eroded the legitimate authority of the ‘executive’ paralyzing the policy-making function as well as its implementing aspect. The ‘executive’ finds itself unable to execute properly its legislated as well as executive functions throwing its popular mandate at winds. However , it is interesting to note that the ‘Executive’ all over the world ,is under tremendous pressures , moreover it is prevented from discharging its legitimate functions and duties keeping public interest at bay.
Moreover , media world both –print and electronic –has of late emerged as a devilish weapon which has kept the ‘executive’ on its toes compelling to defend itself rather than doing development business. Cynicism has become the soul of the media. The epidemic is not confined to Indian territory alone , it is all over the world . The tragedy is that the ‘general will’ is under the chronic spell of this specter. The intellectuals and philosophers have ceased to guide and mould the individuals and the society . It is the media world ,unfortunately , reigning the people’s initiative .Media is more and more ‘news-maker’ rather than ‘news informer’. The electronic channels have now assumed a new role –i.e. ’the propagandist’. Propaganda at all costs. Many a time , news are prepared and broadcast or telecast without ascertaining the truth or facts about it. There are umpteen number of cases and instances where presumptuous ‘stories’ are circulated. Several blackmailers have crept in the electronic media world who are alleged to have been engaged in these malpractices. Such elements are not bothered about any truth , they are paid salaries per month to put up twisted stories and at times blackmail victims . They create commotion and exaggerate issues beyond proportions and instigate the common man . After every two days , the story is forgotten by everybody and the voyage to truth is buried for ever. These elements do not seem to have anything to do with either public interest or national prestige.
Modi has the task before him to cleanse this dirt. The dirt saturated in the sluggish bureaucracy, pampered lower party leadership , believers in the exaggerated definitions of democracy , undue role visualized for the excessive emphasis on human rights activists , high level of indiscipline and lawlessness on the part of criminals and rogue politicians are in prominence which Narendra Modi is facing the turbulent state of the society and seriously cracking the tendency. These remarks and observations do not cover cent percent media world in its entirety. All that is suggested is that the media has become unfettered and unbridled in the discharge of its functions and therefore it needs statutory regulations. Mere talk of self-restraint is not enough. The intellectual standard of the media personnel is required to rise very high , high enough to take a rationalistic and mature approach .Modi is exploring the new path.
Modi is equally keen on reshaping and redefining Indian foreign policy. He sounded the bugle on the very first day of his government , by inviting all the neighboring SAARC countries for his oath-taking ceremony. They did turn up. It was a wonderfully designed plan. Modi extended a warm and assuring gesture . It will certainly help in the long run, he is convinced , at least he made his sincerity clear. He is trying to remove India’s ‘Hamlet’ position in the international sphere. He is consolidating his argument for a decisive ‘say’ in international affairs by advancing his demand for a permanent seat in the ‘Security Council’. Of course he doesn’t seem to move away from the earlier ‘Nehruvian non-alignment policy’ ,which is a wise act.
His domestic and international political policies seem to be on the basis of trade and commerce. Students of international politics are well versed with the contention that the toughness or flexibility of the international policies of a nation are often guided by the economic and commercial interests of every country. The Prime Minister’s focus therefore is on economic and commercial policy-based decisions. The Prime Minister’s visits to various States is a matter of routine affair , and Narendra Modi’s visits need not be made exception to these ones. His visits do emphasize the significance and relevance of India’s being in the international affairs. One can observe that his every visit signifies overseeing of the Indians residing in those respective countries. This is how and what a head of the government has to be like. His predecessors too may have done this , but Modi’s fervor is distinct . It is a family approach and his attitude matters.
Parliamentary democracy is Modi’s first concern and it is that which has become a serious issue. We are aware that the entire Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha monsoon sessions were almost washed away. The sole reason was the pitiably reduced Indian National Congress was determined to wash it. The ruling party members and millions of TV viewers of the House proceedings were left stunned and helpless , former watching it from inside and the latter from all over the world . The hearts of the poorest of the poor bled. Indian democracy was weeping. The pseudo liberals and the intelligentsia in the country kept on advising the ruling party to arrive at a amicable compromise and settlement without bothering to search the truth in the alleged episodes.
The political scientists and the sociologists in India are genuinely worried over the current affairs in the Indian parliamentary polity. Stalling the proceedings of both the Houses of the Parliament by a handful of dejected party MPs , is a matter of great concern and of course , shame. No fortune-teller is needed to forewarn the future of the Indian polity. It is not a political matter. It is not a political party affair. It is not a matter of defeat or victory in electoral battles.
The unruly , unjustifiable inexcusable behavior of the INC party MPs who are perhaps not even aware that their behavior is the death-nail of the hard-won Indian parliamentary culture. We cannot forget that only a few decades ago the same INC could not digest the fact that their Prime Minister was unseated from the Prime Ministerial Office by a judicial fiat and resultantly the entire country was thrown into an unprecedented era of ‘ill-famous emergency’ during which all human and civil rights were suspended and the citizens were thrown at the mercy of the Indian State for 20 months. Is the history going to repeat ? The INC party leaders give an impression as if it is the inherent right and responsibility of the INC alone to rule the country. That they have been deprived of it , is something bad in law. The need of the hour is to ponder over the status report of the recent political facts. Nobody needs to be panic over these episodes. The making of the political society of India needs a strong , effective , rigorous , severe and tough willed legal frame-work to correct the flow.
On the whole , Narendra Modi is on a long march tackling several challenges of repairing and bridging the break-downs and the caste-ridden crevices in the post-Macaulay Indian society from within with a view to strengthening parliamentary democracy in the ultimate interests of the common man in the street. Modi represents him.