Friday, August 31, 2007


Reading the column by Sagarika Ghose in the Hindustan Times of today was a relief. A dignified way of saying what needed to be said, without getting into the gutter, as it were.

Yechuri’s arguments in his column yesterday were nicely countered and the hollowness of the stance of the Left exposed effectively without abuse and without sounding like a lackey of the Congress. Ghose was dead right about the grim truth: India’s powerful are closet-monarchists whose contempt and scorn for the people is so deep-seated that they prefer to live in fortresses from where the public can barely be seen. I may add that it is not just the public that they barely see; even the country seems to disappear from view. Much like in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries when petty princes saw nothing beyond their fiefdoms and wound up giving India away to British traders for a song. Then, of course, there was no “India” politically to identify with as a nation. Now, even when a resurgent Indian state strives to move forward, politician-princes still insist on seeing only their short noses.

What is the ‘vision’ of the communists of the India of the future? Yechury says it is “championing of multi-polarity and its traditional leadership role of the developing countries”. That is all the communists can think of for a huge nation of 1.2 billion people. If Chinese communists had similar aspirations for their country in the 60’s and beyond, China would still have been struggling as a starving third world state of no global consequence. Fortunately, they were not Indian and clearly envisioned their country as a major global power, no less than the US, given their size, population and resources. Ideology was rightly placed well behind national interest. That is why China has reached where it has and that is why the US is willing to bend all rules to give India the deal in question. The irony is that it is the US which has had to think big for us. Our politicians simply are not equipped to understand power play beyond the petty political realm. The nuclear deal is less about energy and more about strategic military power. This is something which should really be engaging the attention of our princes, but they are too caught up in displaying their power of bringing governments down, no matter what the cost to the country.

What do you expect from learned and educated parliamentarians who want to bring down the defence budget simply because relations with Pakistan and China are improving at the moment? They are either blind to what China is striving for militarily and economically or simply do not understand what it takes to become a large nation of any consequence. That is why Yechuri’s vision of India is so pathetic. The BJP’s response is even more tragic. That party claims to be one for a strong India. Yet, embarrassing the government takes total precedence over the national interest it espouses loudly otherwise.

Unfortunately, all this is a consequence of the vicious street-level politics that has marked our parliamentary ‘mobocracy’ that some are actually proud of! Ghose is right. Our closet-monarchs need to be pulled out of their make-believe world and made to see the Nation first. Political parties and groupings need to remember the words of Chetwode: “The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first always and every time”. The sooner they do the better because they really are the biggest drag in the march forward of the country they claim to represent.

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