Of Mangoes, Oranges ..... and the idea of India !

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
25 March 2014 20:03 IST

2014 !! The crucial election that will determine India's course in the coming decade is just around the corner.
Strangely enough -- and as though Gandhi's Ghost was keeping an eye on India -- all communal agendas have taken a back seat. Modiji is spending time getting photographed with the Muslims. Muthalik, that shining star of Hindutva, has been denied entry into his alma mater- the BJP. Peace reigns all over !

The Aam Aadmi party -- literally translated -- mango peoples' party -- is making its own, distinctive noise. Again, as though under the watchful eye of Gandhi's Ghost, they posture themselves as the guardians of a truly secular India. Their speeches and writings emanate a typical blend of anarchist, Anandmargi philosophy and a certain Gandhian style of Direct Democracy with the ending of all forms of representation, all forms of power brokerage. Their topi reminds us of Gandhi topi albeit sans Gandhigiri. Their zhaadoo reminds us of Gandhi's kaathi albeit sans the compassion.

So the over ripe, saffron oranges and the not-so-ripe mangoes fight each other to replace this anachronism called Congress at the national level. Never mind the fact that this anachronism gave birth to India and nurtured it for last six decades, in whatever ways it could.

"Aall izz well" to put it in the language and spirit of Three Idiots ! ... But is all really well ?

Politics of exclusion is the hallmark of the politics of the oranges and the mangoes. BJP remains the exclusive domain of the RSS certified candidates, while AAP is exclusive to Kejriwal certified "clean" candidates -- never mind that these 'clean' candidates have scant respect for the law of the land. And Kejriwal certified 'clean' need not mean income tax or wealth tax certified "clean".

Kejriwal has stars in his eyes while Modi has stars and stripes !!

BJP talks of "trickle down economy" a la United States; while AAP talks of its reverse -- a "capillary action" economy or a "mushroom economy" -- whatever that means !!

In all this commotion where does the idea of India stand ? Is India a rich Nation ? Is India a poor Nation? Or is India a truly economically and socially diverse Nation where the world's richest are trying to co exist with the world's poorest ?

What distinguishes the upcoming elections from all the prior ones India has had is the brazen contempt of the newly developed and growing Indian middle class for the traditional Indian upper class and the not so extinct lower class.

BJP represents the contempt of the middle class for the Indian lower class while AAP represents the contempt of the middle class for the Indian upper class.
Both BJP and AAP are centered around divisive politics.

And where is the good or bad old congress in all this ? Congress has become an underdog because it has failed to keep pace with the brave, new, divisive ambitions of the Indian middle class. Congress cannot digest the philosophy of division, or the philosophy of exclusion -- thanks to Gandhi's ghost again !! Never mind that it has opportunistically followed divisive actions some times. Secularism runs through the veins and arteries of the Congress as against communalism or majoritarianism which runs through BJP. Again never mind the fact that both Congress and BJP have opportunistically wavered from their stated principles of secularism and majority communalism (respectively), sometimes.

The difference between Congress and BJP lies in the fact that a decade after anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Congress could form a Government with a Sikh at the helm who served as Prime Minister for two consecutive terms, while BJP can never be led by a Muslim even in India's wildest dreams a decade after the anti Muslim riots of Gujarat (2002).

The philosophy of the Congress has been inclusive, right from when the Indian National Congress was founded, through India's independence, till date. Congress has always comprised of leaders and workers of diverse levels of intellect, diverse levels of maturity and understanding. Diverse socioeconomic strata. Diverse modes of income - some good, some bad, some ugly. Writers, businessmen, black marketeers, goondas, thieves, good Samaritans. All this is Congress. When its leaders had caliber, these negative elements could not remain negative. The greatness of the leaders rubbed on them and washed away their sins. Congress truly represents the idea of India even today -- but its leaders are incapable of washing away the sins of some of its members. The inclusive philosophy remains, but the purification is gone.
What today's India needs is a purified Congress -- reminiscent of Gandhi-Nehru days -- where people from all walks of life can take a dip and wash away their sins ! This is what I would call a Gangetic Congress!

Not that the corruption factor in Manmohan Singh government has to be overlooked or wished away. It is important to realize that corruption is intimately related to the self interest of the giver and the taker. Power corrupts. More the power, more the corruption.

The philosophy of exclusion of BJP and AAP is based on RSS certification and Kejriwal certification, respectively. This philosophy cannot run a nation as diverse and as much used to freedom, as India. This philosophy can only divide India along the various fault lines in its social and economic structure.

Unity, peaceful coexistence of its diverse economic streams; and political stability are the prime needs of today's India. Economic development will follow automatically. The pace of this economic development cannot be and should not be compared to that of the more homogeneous and less populated nations of Europe or North America.
India is unique and so are the issues facing it. These issues cannot be resolved overnight by American, Japanese, Chinese or such other model.

In these upcoming elections let us all vote for an inclusive India, where the central theme is unity in diversity; where there is respect for all types of humans; where Law carries on its work unhindered and in a progressive rather than a reactionary manner and above all where peace prevails despite the diversity of progress.

In 2014, let us end the philosophy of exclusion once for all ! Jai Hind !

Blogger's Profile

Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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Previous Comments

once a congress stooge is always a congress stooge isnt it!!

- Sandesh Anvekar, Mapusa | 28 th March 2014 13:07


So to cut long story short. Vote for corrupt congress again.

- skl, Goa | 27 th March 2014 12:42


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