Politics

Left, Right And The Opportunistic Secular Parties Of India

No this is not about driving cars in India are anywhere, this is about politics. This is about the politics of the extreme, where other opinion do not matter.  Like any country in India we face the problem of left parties and right wing nationalism. But wait there is another party which champions itself as true representative of the people. The party which takes advantage from the left and right. There are four Major religions in India and there are the subsets. It is very complicated and one would have to make a chart. We will explore how these four religions are used and politicized in India and how the politics of election will play out in this time.

The left claims to be secular since religion does not play any role in their day to day functioning. And the right is not secular which is a foregone conclusion.  But is the left in reality a secular party. A true leftist does not believe in god. So, they disagree with the majority of the population. Now if one would check the term secularism in dictionary, it says “the belief that religion should not play a role in government, education, or other public parts of society”. It does not preclude citizens from practicing their religion. Does the political playbook of the communist parties in India allow its member to practice his or her religion? Now the right wing parties of any country, India or otherwise is not secular nor do they believe in secularism. They want to indoctrinate and promote their religion into government and education. So in a way they are same as left. One wants to take religion away and the other impose it. Well it does not sit well with the spirit of secularism.

What the above quote means is religion should not have any role in government or government funded education. I.e. Separation of church and state. The left parties want no church and the Right wing want to impose religion.

And then there are the parties who call themselves centrist. True secularist or are they in India. Let us examine some of the so called secular parties.Some of these parties are The Nationalist Congress Party of SharadPawar, Samajwadi party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal and some affiliates, AkaliDal , DMK and AIADMK.Perhaps they are more dangerous than the left and the right because the left and right parties are predictable.

The above mentioned parties, they latch themselves as “remoras” on the so called secular bandwagon. But the so called centrists are the slippery customers. They hide behind the vile of human weakness and play vote bank politics.

Congress party is the grand old party of India from the time of our independence struggle. No party has played more polarizing role in India then the Congress Party. They have used the religious right and the left to cling to power for over 50 years. But this article is not a clean chit to BJP; god knows they have some fixing to do in their backyard. But this article is about who really stands for secularism.

The BJP is the only known major rightwing political party of India and it would not be wrong for anyone to say that. They are supported by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),Vishva Hindu Pari?ad (VHP) and Shiv Sena to name a few, but collectively known as Sangh Parivar. So how they can claim to be a secular party when many of its leaders have agendas which can be only be construed as rightwing ideology.All those who are against the BJP call themselves secular and the BJP in return say the other parties practice pseudo-secularism. They are both right

In the western countries like USA, UK, France and Germany, it is not very difficult to differentiate political parties and what they stand for. They are either left, center left, liberal,, center, liberal right, center right or Sieg heil. But in India it is very difficult to differentiate who from whom. Politics is local and it absolutely fits in India. With the decline of congress party we have not been able to have a stable government at the center for 30 years and what it means is, a party which can govern without interference and pressure of coalition politics?

Coalition form of government has become the only way out.  To be part of central government, political ideology became a blurred line. However this changed in the summer of 2014 when the BJP was able to get absolute majority but since then fringe elements have taken spotlight away from Prime Minister Narandra Modi and his silence in this matter is also not helping.

So the question is who is secular in India? The answer is the people of this country. People of this country are predominately moderate and very tolerant of each other and the middle call leads the way forward. That is why no political party can ever take an extreme stand and if the BJP under PM Modi would like to succeed they will have to take a centrist approach otherwise we will again get caught in coalition government and then the practice of putting regional interest over national interest will take dominance which will only make us weak and vulnerable to threats from outside and more importantly from within.

India got its independence from the British in 1947 and Sarder Patel gave us a united India making us one of the biggest countries on earth. All the princely states agreed to be the part of new India. We finally became a republic in 1950. It was the end of the Maharajas and Nawabs, but it was only technical. Over the years we have been subjected and subjugated to the rule by the same people. The political royalty of India.

Meet the new Boss same as the old Boss. This proverb applies fully to Indian politics. If we check all the candidates running in any election, you would find most of them come from political background. Yes if we check their family tree, someone in their family first tried very hard to make a name for themselves in politics. But most prefer to ride on the coat tail of their ancestors. Strong word but the fact remains that we have now third and fourth generation of politicians who have already entered into India’s political mainstream.

We will start from North to South and check each political dynasty along the way.

We first start with the Nehru-Gandhi family. This family has the distinction of having four generation of politicians. Three of them went on to become Prime Ministers of this country.  The next family is the political mainstay of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.Three generation of Abdullah’s have governed that state and not much to report.

In Punjab the Barnala family, the Badal family and the Royal Family of Patiala have been around a long time .The Badal family which has been in power for over a decade has business interest all over the state of Punjab. All the major political offices are controlled by the Badal family. Right now the Great state of Punjab is facing drug problems and the politicians are making money.

In the state of Haryana the Hooda family, the Chautala’s and the Bhajanlal family have dominated the state for decades and in that process have made lot of money.

Utter Pradesh politics is dominated by the Mulayam Singh Yadav- family of Samajwadi Party. With so many members as MP’s and MLA, this family is a mini party on its own. In Bihar the Yadav family under Lalu Prasad Yadav. Both Yadav’s of UP and Bihar have or had two chief ministers from their family.

In the west in the state of Maharashtra the Pawar family, the Thackeray’s and the Patil family are in full charge and the Pawar family have large stakes in the sugar industry. In Madhya Pradesh the Royal family of Scindia. This family has its tentacles in both BJP and Congress party. When Madhavrao Jivajirao Scindia died his son took his place. In fact the entire family never really lost their royal status it was just the title and they are more powerful than ever.

Out east in the state of Orissa the Patnaik family and down south the Gowda’s in Karnataka and in Tamil Nadu the Karunanidhi family controls many businesses and all the sons, daughter and extended family are in politics.

This is just a synopsis of the names which dominate our countries politics the list is very long. The challenges we face in this are much deeper. In other countries people enter politics to serve, but in India it is to serve themselves. These political families have corrupted the very essence of our democracy. If the husband cannot fight election due to some inconvenience, the dutiful wife will take over. When Lalu Prasad Yadav had to resign as chief minister (CM)of Bihar and was sent to prison, he got his wife nominated as the new CM, a person with no education or political experience.  The worst thing is when they are fighting elections they have a tacit understanding with other parties not to field any strong candidate against their family members. In recent times the daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Dimple Yadav fought election without anyone contesting against her. This is not an isolated incident, it is something all political parties practice.

Due to one’s family influence and background anyone from that family can join politics and hold office of power and influence. If father dies the son takes over. The husband goes to prison or cannot contest due to legal constraint the wife will fill the seat. In Indian politics the system of merit has given way to system of Hypocrisy and Nepotism. Many politicians who grow powerful within their own party would some time revolt and form a party of their own and then surround themselves with family members or extended family. The DMK, SP, NCP, Shiv Sena and National conference are such parties which will never allow an outsider. It is very difficult to break the glass ceiling of Indian politics when it is actually a concoction of reinforced concrete and the secret recipe is the family.

Statistical analyses have concluded that nearly 30% of politicians come from political families of which congress party has the largest share. We have allowed the whole process of representation degenerate to such levels that we may not even require to vote. We can simply go back to being ruled by kings and Nawabs. Come to think of it; aren’t we already being ruled by the blue blood?

The very sprit of democracy is being destroyed from the inside and we are on our way to a new kind of aristocracy due to these people and their sense of entitlement.