Friday, June 6, 2014

The Debate Continues

[ With Kaul responding with vigor, there are more responses. However these are by regular contributors to this blog. Welcome as they are, we look forward to wider participation. So this is to request all who are seeing this blog to come in with their views. This debate, as Krishnarajulu suggests, is likely to influence in important ways the future course of LJA. 
The notes below were received through mails. Please write directly on the blog, not as comment but as post. Comments apparently do not go directly to the mail boxes of subscribers. To write a post subscribers need to go through 'Sign In' given at the right top on the blog.         - LJA Secretariat ]

Mohini Mullick , Delhi ,  June 5, 2014 

I want to come in on one or two points of the debate that has started on the assumption that it was largely the the LokVidyadhar samaj  that voted Modi in. We must not forget that the 330+ seats of the NDA were won on 31% of the votes polled. The opposition was severely fractured. So the very premise  of Kaul's original  post is questionable. 
Two, let there be a serious effort to get the statistics of Gujarat's journey during the last 10 years and more. All kinds of figures were bandied about during the election. But some authentic information should not be impossible to get. On many social indices Gujarat we were told ranked very low.. A disinformation campaign carried out by highly skilled media managers--and I say this with some (grudging) admiration-- won the day. RSS pracharaks , highly disciplined and no doubt well paid, also started work along with Amit Shah months before polling in UP. Think of the astronomical sums spent by BJP on this election.
To believe that Modi will not want to do a top down job on India as he has done in Gujarat is a pipe dream.. That is why the sensex soared.
As  for MHRD, surely the agenda is clear to all. Wait for changes in NCERT, ICSSR and ICHR. Yes the Congress removed Chairpersons as well. Well, take your pick or work towards a third alternative. The point about Irani is her 2 different affidavits apart from suitability. On the latter, she is eminently suitable to carryout 'educational reforms'!
Leaving out comments on other points raised about LJA and science, for now.

Lalit Kaul, Hyderabad, June 6, 2014

Before I respond to Amit’s take on RSS, I want to position myself in regard to RSS & CPM. From my childhood days I continue to have some kind of revulsion towards RSS & CPM for the reasons that I could not connect the discipline in RSS drill to the discipline of those individuals in their personal lives while interacting with the outside world to fulfil their needs and requirements of day to day life & in case of the CPM its very symbol personified violence for me which I always detested. It may sound very irrational, but that how it has been and that is what has kept me conscientiously avoiding any contact whatsoever with them.

Every political party has strived to keep caste based divisions intact and Mandal politics indeed sharpened the divisions. It was argued those days that ‘Mandal’ tends to provide a sense of empowerment for the different castes in that one amongst them could be ruling the society hitherto dominated by the upper castes; while acknowledging a possibility that this kind of politics may not accrue any benefit to these castes in terms of their socio-economic uplift. So the likes of Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, & Lalu Prasad came to hold the reign of power. This phenomenon, in my understanding, gave birth to coalition politics and ‘national parties’ got marginalized. No body, for example, can discount the sense of redemption of honour among SC community when Mayawati became the Chief Minister of as big a state as UP.

So RSS cannot do anything further in this direction. What indeed RSS, BJP & its affiliated organizations can do is to recognize that Modi achieved landslide victory because people chose to transcend divisions perpetuated in the name of caste, religion, and gender. The fact repeatedly acknowledged by none other than Modi himself. Hence a strategy to be evolved so that over a period of time the divisions become more & more blurred & that cannot happen by sheer sloganeering, but by adopting policies that truly embody inclusive growth. What is inclusive growth? RSS, et. al; have their own perceptions & definitions. Herein comes the role of LJA: M K Gandhi has to be invoked & LJA is competent and qualified to do it. M K Gandhi once said (I hope I reproduce it to best of my memory),” If a small country like UK had to colonize three fourth of the world for attaining prosperity, imagine if a country of the size of India had to adopt similar/ same philosophy (means) for its people’s growth and development, how many worlds would it have to colonize!” M K Gandhi’s analysis has indeed become prophesy.

Therefore LJA need to put across Modi that no matter what level of industrialization and concomitant automation (by whatever means) he may bring in, it is not going to encompass that 80% of the population that continues to be left neglected post independence; building of expressways & high rise buildings; growths in use of cement & steel cannot be an index of peoples’ growth & development. Here is where the importance of Lokavidhya can be put in the right perspective. Modi is not going to disappoint the big business, but Modi cannot afford to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to a new (unexpected) vote bank, if he wants to rule for 2-3 terms. Therefore LJA need to strategize how to put across to him the aspirations of Lokavidhyadhar Samaj based on their vidhya. Many channels at various levels in a state can be tapped; especially in UP, MP, Bihar where in my opinion LJA is proactive. It can also be attempted in other BJP ruled states.

A new concept of the existence of a multi-civilization society is to be put in to Modi’s head. Modi wants to rule; he may, in my understanding, one day show RSS et. el; their place, but may not dismiss the legitimate, reasonable, and genuine demands of his new found vote bank. Keeping 2019 in our minds & strategising for that; LJA need to expose the farce (!) of Modi, if indeed it is.

There is only one religion that does not believe in pluralism. Therefore Hindu bashing does solve the issue of pluralism. In any case, Modi cannot allow persecution of a religious group in a civilized dispensation. Modi may concentrate on (at least) minimizing terrorism within the country and that cannot be defined as being anti (some) religion. If India is a modern state, religious pluralism cannot become the reason for undermining its very existence. So long as we accept ‘modern state’, there is no other choice; the only counter to it is Lokavidhyadhar civilization where every individual contributes based on his/her vidhya & therefore transcends all divisions & distinctions. Civilization based on Lokavidhya has this inherent capacity to allow different religious communities to organize themselves as per the ‘rights & wrongs’ as decreed in their religious philosophies.

Modi understands that Muslims have indeed voted for him. BJP never had any strategy/ understanding on how to bring Muslims in to their fold. ‘Secular’ parties always succeeded in portraying BJP as the villain of the piece; yet this dumb party had no clue on how to get rid of this ‘anti Muslim’ tag slapped on them. It is Modi who won the elections; not BJP. Modi has been trusted by the voters of all hues, not the BJP; Modi is clever enough not to miss this opportunity on consolidation of Muslim votes. Muslims are a predominantly ‘Karigar samaj’; and honest ones at that; Modi is bound to be seen as doing something meaningful for the Karigar samaj. Any step taken by him in the socio-economic uplift of this samaj is only going to increase the faith of Muslims in him. Remember, it has been the Congress policy to encourage minority ‘intolerant’ sect of Islam; but there is a vast majority of Indian Muslims that follow Sufi Islam & Modi is intelligent enough to concentrate on them. LJA can also play a significant role in achieving this aim.

K.K. Surendran, Pune, June 6, 2014

I am totally opposed to the Samaj developing a Modi centric development of its politics, even when that politics is yet to emerge and its leadership, when it does, may not be in the hands of LJA. Mahatma Gandhi, when he had ceased to have much political power was murdered for what? Datta Samant, even when he had lost his leadership, was murdered for his opposition to the sale of the Textile Mills Land in Mumbai. And what makes anyone so sure that the day Modi is against the complete displacement of tribal communities for the sake of efficient exploitation of India's natural resources, he won't be removed? The main attraction for 'development plank' is that it is the sign of good democracy; and the attraction for 'democracy' is to declare publicly that that you are not 'communist' /'socialist'. These are rather old , post WW-II positions, kept alive by the wars of the day.

Each time in any country, if in a reasonably normal situation a leader gets big majority ( and even Benazir's husband got it), people are supporting him through ballot or whatever, cutting across existing social divisions. That is sheer arithmetic. It does not prove sudden obliteration of various fault lines or caste divisions,or imaginations (sankalp). If I understand correctly, globalization is like gaining political independence for the global finance capital(ists).  In a definite sense they and their 'collaborators' are the only ones who are free. May be up to third neighbors on the relationship tree. LJA can 'sankalp' a different freedom, may be carry on a Cultural Revolution; but then, so also can the Buddhist monks. Sufi masters and church fathers can join too, if their 'sankalp' of heaven finds some match.

B. Krishnarajulu, Hyderabad, June 6, 2014 

The point is- does the current 'space' created by the ascent of Modi riding on a 'development' agenda not provide an opportunity to take the main LJA demands(Multai declaration) to the centre stage of national politics?

I think it does. We need to formulate the modus operandi of doing this at Nagpur. The points raised by Kaul, Surendran and Amit are all very pertinent and have been in our minds for some time now.
We also need to kick-start a widespread discussion (and hopefully some activity) within Lokavidya Samaj about the perception of caste-hierarchy and possible directions of activity to bring about an equality-based unity.

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