In the last few days, there has been an upsurge in political maneuvering over the communal tensions that have been witnessed sporadically in India or to say in peculiar states. It has been alleged that since Mr Narendra Modi assumed the leadership of the country, the communal elements which were in hibernation mode before May 2014, have popped out in the open. It is also alleged that the Prime Minister who is generally vocal about all the issues and even non-issues has adopted a blind eye towards such incidents. Also there are some who retaliate to such aspersions on the Prime Minister with a counter-allegation of agenda driven ‘selective outrage’. But amidst all this political crusading of allegations and counter-allegations, the larger question remains unanswered. The question that remains hidden in the subconscious is that even if the ‘most communal person’ has assumed the leadership of the country, still does the ‘idea of India’ allow us (as Indians) to be manipulated strong enough to kill the ‘Indianness’ of ours and let the community driven identity to dominate our national identity?
Personally speaking, I completely reject the above notion. India was not coerced to be secular but we all in one clamour demanded it in independent India, especially after witnessing the perils of constant communal tensions during the British Imperialist rule. Unfortunately, there is hardly any family in India even today whose forefathers did not witness the rampant destruction of communalism during the British rule. That is why we yearned to be secular to keep the communal forces at bay. Therefore, the ‘idea of India’ cannot be identified by a handful of ‘anti-national’ people, and it is much beyond the storms of communalism. I call the communalists as anti-national because they have allowed their national identity to be dominated by their communal identity, therefore consciously/unconsciously surrendering their nationality. So, the argument that the regime change had promulgated communalist ideas is both bogus and elementary. Yes, we can take the same argument at face value, only if you are willing accept that you failed to bridge the identity gaps in the society in the last 68 years. If you failed to unite the diverse population under one national identity, then the fault lies in you and not the contemporary dispensation. The acceptance of the above argument implies that the political and social ideologies that ruled India for the last 68 years failed miserably in establishing a national identity amongst the population. So, the acceptance of your argument reinstates the current demand of replacing the erstwhile feeble-minded political and social ideologies with something that suits our contemporary demands.
It is said that the only thing constant is change, but unfortunately this change in Indian political ideologies did not arrive in the last 68 years. One party dominance, one ideology dominance, one society dominance and monopoly over power and decision making for 68 years crippled the country's intellectualism. So, the counter-argument that this ‘Award Wapsi Drama’ is nothing but the dying groans of a political ideology that enjoyed monopoly in India since independence stands logical. It is natural that any change, especially such a big ideological change would invite stiff resistance from the erstwhile monopoly holders. They would use every political tool left in their bag to resist the change and demean the relevance of the new ideology, no matter how progressive or regressive the new one is, which itself is a separate issue to debate. In French Assembly of 1789, there were three political wings i.e. Left, Centre and Right but later on, the neo-left and neo-right emerged which were also called Centre-Left, Centre-Right. Contemporarily we all know that moderation is the key to effectively govern a society and politics in every society is very different from another. Not just this, but politics in one society at one time is very different from the politics in the same society at any other given time. Therefore, such allocation of groups of left, right and centre do not effectively project the exact political scenarios and are static propositions. In the context of Indian political scenario, the ‘so-called’ left wing enjoyed monopoly over Indian society, ranging from publishing one eyed history books, political science studies, economic studies and precisely all major decision making at the highest echelons. It effectively resisted all the changes to its monopoly by minuscule reforms in itself (neo-left emergence) till the augmentation of 21st century, when the economic situation, guided by sub-prime crisis and other major economic hardships enlightened people of the country to smash the opaqueness of left wing or the neo-left wing and try out the right wing political ideology. Such a major change was augmented by the failure of neo-leftists to predict and prevent economic hardships and political and bureaucratic corruption that socialism carries with it as a heavy baggage. India which was suppressed by such hardships looked for an opposite camp (right-wing) which promised economic prosperity and political and bureaucratic reform. It also ignited the nationalistic upsurge among citizens by highlighting ‘glorious history’ and presented a positive ray amidst the atmosphere of failure. As the left-wing in our society reformed itself from time to time to resist a major change and transformed itself to what is known as neo-left today. It could do this only because it was in power for the last 68 years and the dialectical method of hypothesis presented a contemporary, reformed and new or neo-left wing to the people, even though it was still rejected by the people due to obvious failures. Today’s Right wing stands at the 1947 era and wants it to be compared with the 1947 era left wing, which is obviously nonsensical to do. But the reason behind such regressiveness is that the Right wing never got into power and therefore it never got the chance to rectify its loopholes through constructive criticism. Therefore, the need of the hour is to let the right wing to adjust itself with the passage of time and give constructive criticism to make it more suitable to our needs.
The proposition that the elevation of a certain leader to the chair of the Prime Minister has invited such atmosphere is both flawed and myopic. In 19th century, an Italian social scientist, Vilfredo Pareto gave the theory of ‘Circulation of Elites’, the axiom of which states that the changes of regime, revolutions, and so on occur not when rulers are overthrown from below, but when one elite replaces another. In simple terms, when one ruler (elite) vacates his seat, another ruler (elite) acquires the same. Therefore, such process of replacement occurs within a group of elite and there is an agreed upon prohibition for the entry of others from the heterogeneous society. In the context of India, when a leader from a very humble background assumed power with such a thumping majority, breaking all the records of the past, infiltrating the elite territory with pride, responsibility and determination to reform each and every section of the society and to put an end to all socio-economic hardships, the club of the elites could not digest it. As I mentioned earlier that there is a general prohibition to enter the club, therefore it is almost unacceptable for the elite club members to jeopardize their monopoly over power to the hands of a ‘non-elite’. In India, this elite group, studied from Oxford, Harvard, St Stephens, Cambridge and others could not see the end to their monopoly over power and that too for over 5 years. The members of the club are afraid that this non-elite would break the backbone of the elites and control the power structure for another 10-15 years which obviously means an end to the return of elitists in power in future also. Therefore, the elites from both opposition and from the ruling party got together to defame the person with their maneuvers to those who identify themselves with community and not the nation. It is easy to manipulate them according to our needs. Generally, someone who attains power automatically enters the elite club, but in Indian context the definition of elite club is quite different and they cannot stand to be ruled by non-elite. It is up to us, the people to understand this strategy and act as if we want to disband this elite club or to be ruled by them even in the years to come.
The ever-expanding dream of India is not forlorn enough to be threatened by a single person, nor is it so regressive that it would fail to accommodate a new ideological change. It is high time that we realize the truth behind the uproar and not get swayed by the highly irresponsible Indian media. This is a battle of ideologies, a battle of elite and non-elite but most importantly, this is the battle of ‘Unity’ and ‘Diversity’.
P.S. – Over the years we emphasized on the ‘Diversity’ part more than the ‘Unity’ one in the self-made phrase of ‘Unity in Diversity’. It is high time to put the same in our to-do list and rectify the same through the undergoing changes in Indian political and social structure.