Sunday, March 1, 2009

Political literates versus Rahul Gandhi


Being raised in a leftist family of Bengal, I often stumbled across the two worlds of reality about Gandhi family. While Indian leftists assessed Rajiv and Rahul as politically illiterate emperor of Gandhi dynasty, I wondered why these "illiterate" Gandhis made far too less mistakes compared to so many political pundits of leftists put all together. More importantly I also failed to understand how power has corrupted and transformed CP(I)M into a fascist monster in West Bengal where as despite being in power in the whole country and for a longer time, Gandhi doyens have been able to maintain democracy in whole India-an unique feature among all third world countries, for which, India has been applauded in high respect all over the world. I travelled across Europe and North America. I noticed my westerner friends respect India for our ability to uphold democracy in this diverse and unique nation. But in a small state like West Bengal, democracy has been lynched to death by political pundits who are proud to be leftist and claim to have the best political knowledge of the world. Isn't that an irony? Or is there a science behind it?

To me, it was bizarre and absurdity at best.

Therefore I did thorough soul searching as to why Rajiv was more successful than his seasoned political rivals. Even today, Rahul Gandhi is also scoring high over his political counterparts in BJP and CPM despite their acclaimed political maturity and knowledge. I will not say that Rajiv Gandhi committed no mistake at all-indeed he did with Sahabanu case which paved the way for rise of Hinduvta and fanatic Muslim force. But overall, Rajiv was first to galvanize this nation with political and economic reform which catapulted India into center of the world both economically and politically after a long stagnation. Why then Rajiv was successful to transform this nation while political pundits could not? Even today, we see Rahul is propounding the vision of future while our old and the best political pundits are trying to extract water out of quagmire.

This led me to a deeper question about political theory and ideology. Does empiricism-attempt to formulate laws out of past political experience works at all in practice? In philosophy of social science,
this has been made extremely clear. Very few of the social observations can be said to be manifestation of laws of the society or history. To give you an example-let' s talk about historical materialism of Marxist school-a vision of history that formulates evolution of history and every social event as manifestation of class struggle. Or let say Leninist vision of imperialism-which he formulated as the highest stage of capitalism from famous work of British political theorist Hobson.

Now see the troubled part of this kind of empiricism. With technological evolution in USA, my housemaid, who cleans my house twice a month, drives an old Mercedes. She earns more than my wife who is a law clerk. By classical Marxist definition, my wife is a Bourgeoisie and my housemaid belongs to proletariat class! Yet this proletariat is materially better off because of technological revolution as she is no more an ordinary housemaid-she knows how to run the state of the art cleaning machines and works as a proud cleaner. As the more technological revolution would take place, robots would replace most of the works done by the proletariat and the proletariat would transgress into expert machine operators for which they will work as independent or skilled workers. Of course in democracy there will be conflict of different interest groups but by no means, in a functional democracy such conflicts can not be resolved through ballots. Bottom line-Marxist reductionism of class is at best a fuzzy suggestion and class struggle is even a furthest stretch of political fiction.


Now notice the peril of Leninist reductionism. Indian lefts opposed US-India nuclear deal citing imperialistic design of United States which undoubtedly resulted from Leninist theory of imperialism. But in reality, although US has a long history of imperialism, that deal was simply a civilian trade deal that India badly needed for her energy security as Nuclear energy would dominate the world in next couple of decades.

Last example would show political ideology is actually a hindrance than a help. West Bengal today is one of the worst state in India in terms of industrialization, education, public health and political violence. This all happened because ruling left wanted to run West Bengal according to obsolete Leninism and in process industries fled from the state. This state is a glaring example that political ideology does not work at all or worst, how political ideology can ruin a state. It didn't work for Russia or Iran-neither will it ever work anywhere in the world. Reason is simple. Any empirical political law is a kind of reductionism. We try to reduce some set of observations to laws and try to apply that empirical experience elsewhere. Like our communists tried to import Russian Bolshevik experience to India. It never worked in caste infested Indian society as admitted by CP(I)M times and again. Reason is simple. We can formulate physical laws of water because water consists of water molecules that are identical in its property and behavior. But society is composed of human beings where everyone of them is different in their aspiration and objectives. Therefore, no such statistical laws can be formulated around a society and at a given time, to solve a social problem, best alternative has to be adopted without any preconceived bias of ideology.

There lies success of Rahul Gandhi. He entered into Congress and observed perennial weakness of Congress organization in terms of nepotism and frustration of its grass root workers. He realized organization needs democratic reform so that grass root workers can select their own leaders. This is only thing CPM does perfectly about their party organization. Also it is extremely clear Rahul is resolved to take this country out of casteism and communalism. He has emphasized Muslims as human beings and Indians rather than alienation as Muslim. Even leftist leaders could not show this level of resolved courage fearing reprisal from fanatic Muslim community leaders who want to retain Muslim identity to benefit from their community leadership.

Overall, Rahul remains truthful to his own conscience and experience. This is the most important quality for a leader. Besides he also has truly western character of exploring the situation in person and he does not form opinion unless he investigates the incident by himself. This is an extraordinary scientific ability because as I said, instead of forming opinions swept by ideology, for a better tangible solution, a leader has to probe the problem like a true doctor-that is to inspect the patient by eyes and ears. That's where Rahul Gandhi stands as the best.

Unfortunately, Congress worker's off-balance enthusiasm about Rahul is harming his image. After Rajasthan election, Congress supporters were shouting about Rahulji where as true architect was Gelhot. Same happened in Delhi. This sent out a reactant message and insipid taste to majority of Indians who love Rahul Gandhi but is not fanatic to the extent that they would not spell out who deserves more credit. Such fanatic behavior of Congress supporters about Rahul Gandhi only exposes intellectual bankruptcy of Congress abrogating extensive hard work of Rahul to lift the party and the country.

One must be thankful to Gandhis to keep this nation on right path. If we would have gone to extreme left, we would be awarded with a West Bengal like situation-unemployment and tragic condition of economy. On extreme right, you may get a Gujrat where despite wealth, it's literacy rate remains average. Therefore, only a balanced approach to business and society or a harmonious vision between society and business where growth happens without disparity is the need of the hour. Right now, Rahul is the only sane voice for that delicate balance that India needs. He has rightly pointed out that future India lies in technological advancement in rural area. Best thing about him is always about how he investigates the problem being with people without being carried out by any baggage of ideology or pundits.

He is a traveller with a bag and without a baggage. That's the destination of a true traveller. Young India would certainly love to travel with him with a bag and without baggage.

1 comment:

subhankar said...

বাম বাঙ্গালীর সমালোচনা করে আপনি মমতার মত চটি জুতো পরে নিজেকে আলাদা ভাবার যে প্রবণতা সেই বিশেষত্বের প্রবেশ করে নিজের অজান্তে আপনার আমিত্ব ই বেশি প্রকাশ হল না কি???এটাই সাধারণের থেকে একটা আলাদা ব্যক্তিত্বের অন্য একটি রূপ-
শুভঙ্কর সরকার