75 Years Later

With the Opposition in total disarray, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now doubly encouraged to mark the 75th Independence Day with a lot of fanfare to show the world that it is the biggest functioning democracy. But this biggest show-case of democracy is also the biggest prison house of the socially and economically disadvantaged people. They are out to assimilate the legacy of tricolour, albeit they never fought for independence. On the contrary their ideologues from the RSS camp were at one stage apologists of British imperialism. Only the other day Chief Justice of India N V Ramana expressed concern at indiscriminate arrests, prolonged incarceration, prisoner’s indefinite wait for bail or trial, and the violation of fundamental and human rights through unlawful eviction. In India’s criminal justice system the process is the punishment. The CJI said the 6.1 lakh prisoners in the country’s 1378 prisons were among the most vulnerable in India. For all practical purposes it is a dictatorial regime. No dissent is allowed and yet it is the biggest democracy! Independence Day has very little appeal or no appeal to prisoners, particularly those belonging to marginal communities. They want freedom, freedom from injustice and Modi’s authoritarian rule. After 75 years of independence India is now competing with Sub-Saharan Africa in international rankings. On the global hunger index India stands at 101 out of 116 countries ranked by international agencies. With every passing day the overall political and economic climate of the country is becoming worse---more and more people are going below ‘official poverty line’.

The rise of BJP and decline of Congress is a hard reality today in Indian politics. The fall of Congress seems irreversible. Not that Congress was pro-people in yester years. Nor did it try to execute Nehru’s vague concept of socialistic pattern of society. Under the garb of mixed economy what it developed was bureaucratic capitalism a la Soviet model. It nationalised core sector industries without really empowering the toilers. And now BJP is all set to de-nationalise them and hand-hover public assets to private players. Modi’s bulldozer of reforms has aggravated inequality in society. The billionaires are increasing in numbers. The total wealth of all Indian billionaires was bigger than the size of the Union Budget for 2018-19.

The point at issue is BJP, the ultra-right face of Indian politics, with its perverse ideological thrust of Hindutva, is re-writing history, rather distorting the history of India’s freedom struggle as well, to its advantage. The anti-nationalists of yesterday are today super-nationalists!

For one thing rightist swing in economic and political affairs is an international trend. Opposition parties are trying to fight BJP without attacking its economic base. And it won’t work. The saffron assault on education and culture is so pervasive that opposition parties’ naïve approach is simply meaningless. They are dribbling in the mid-field without advancing an inch. Then BJP is making the 75th Independence Day a special occasion to polarise people on divisive lines.

What requires special attention on the eve of 75th Independence Day is how India is slowly but steadily getting integrated into the American strategic defence umbrella under the Modi dispensation. India’s entry into QUAD or what may be called Asian NATO is going to change geo-political landscape of South Asia and Indo-Pacific region. QUAD is an American initiative to contain China and India under Modi is part of it. India’s strained relations with China frequently created many a flash points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) recently. And India’s QUAD membership is not going to ease tensions across the disputed border left by history. If anything the global order is changing very fast after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The American dream of unipolar world has been shattered, particularly after the emergence of Russia- China axis as a counterweight to American military and economic hegemony. In India-China conflict Russia never came to support India. With the formation of Russia-China bloc India can hardly expect any favourable treatment from Russia in case of a border war between the two Asian nations, the possibility of which cannot be ruled out because of Indian and Chinese build-ups on both sides of Line of Actual Control.

Opposition parties don’t oppose BJP’s foreign policy. Nor do they fight its communal politics seriously. And yet they think they will be able to oust Modi in the next general elections.        


Back to Home Page

Vol 55, No. 7, Aug 14 - 20, 2022