Monday, June 8, 2009

It should be the Ganga now

While Ram temple agitation symbolised the awakening of the Hindu society to deterioration of secular values (what Advani called Pseudo Secularism). Today it has lost its usefulness. And I don't mean as an instrument for political gain, but as an instrument to take forward the Hindu society to the next level and as a force to unify the Hindu society. 

I heard a political commentator attacking the BJP on TV post election results saying that it was our duty to provide leadership to the Muslims who chose to stay back in India after the partition and the BJP has failed in that duty.

My view is that we can leave much of that task (of providing leadership to the Muslims) to the Congress and so called secularist formations. As a right wing party, we have a more important task of providing the leadership to the Hindus. 

I think that while the RAM temple can and should wait for an amicable solution to be worked out, saving the Ganga (and all the rivers in India) cannot.

There is a need to move in a new and the more urgent direction. The Hindu people have to move beyond yesterday’s issues and grievances, towards the kind of society we want to build for the future based on our values and traditions.

Ganga represents the urgent concerns of today and tomorrow an in, the Degradation of our natural wealth; Poisoning of our water, food and air; Failure of the management of our cities and towns’ Unsustainablility of the present pattern of development; Unbridled development, Degradation of our forest and farms, with the huge economic cost of that burden falling on the poorest. Indeed our very survival is as threat. The dying of our rivers are the ominous signs of it.

Ganga is as much part of our traditional, spiritual and religious symbolism as Ram is. Indian people are as much emotionally attached to the Ganga as they are to Ram.

Ganga symbolises what the young, the intelligent and the ordinary people in India would find easy to connect to. It is also something that cannot be dismissed as a divisive agenda. If anything it will be an even greater unifying force. Saving the rivers will benefit as much the Hindus as the Muslims and Christians. It will be the Hindu society fighting to save something that benefits all, reaching out to not just a larger Hindu society, but the whole nation and indeed the world at large.

The social & political causes (represented by article 370, Ram Janmabhoomi, Common Civil Code etc.) that the BJP fought for in the 90’s must now become subservient to the more urgent environmental, health and economic causes. Represented by the drive to save Ganga (rivers), the drive to popularize Traditional (and Preventive) Health Care, to arrest the spiraling health care costs; Equal Opportunity & Benefit to all, to check the kind of Crony Capitalism practiced by the current government that benefits a few with least regards to the common good; and so on.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Support Entrepreneurial India

SEZs, FDI, auctioning of Telecom licenses, awarding contracts on bids for PPP project, are all forms of crony Capitalism, that usually benefit the most moneyed. Worse still they benefit the favored capitalists. That's the kind of crony capitalism passed on in the name of reforms and development by the Congress in its last term in office.

And while it is important that these initiatives be taken-up in earnestness and with urgency for the sake of general good, it must be ensured that the process ends up providing opportunities to the most number of entrepreneurs and that the most number of people benefit from it.

An estimated 95% of India's labor force works in the unorganised sector (are self employed). There are an estimated 45 million businesses in India. Essentially this is where India gets its resilience and growth from, when and where big capital and big businesses fail to deliver.

This must be the BJPs agenda. As a right wing party, it must ensure that government spending ends up benefiting the widest possible number of entrepreneurs and not the favored few.