Thursday, January 14, 2010
Which way will the Lotus tilt?
Being the only national party in the opposition, it is very important for BJP to get its act together. Since its clear defeat in National elections in May'09, we are yet to see any concrete change in the outlook of the party. Leadership roles have been revisited but the its connect with the RSS ideology has not gone through the lens of critique and objective enquiry.
In this recent speech of Mohan Bhagwat, where he makes some pertinent points on the issue of identity based politics (ironically) and also on the fact that we should learn to milk nature for our economic needs but not exploit it. The same point on the attitude we need to have towards nature has been expressed by eminent international thinker like Fritjof Capra in his book Network Connections where he makes a strong case for nature to be seen and related to as a mentor.
But at the same time, the comment can actually be made without talking about the Hindu culture or else criticising the Western style of living. The moment religion is interspersed with political debate at any level, we run the risk of losing the capacity of our own eye for loopholes that exist in our own backyards. Not all Hindus in India believe in a life of 'thoda hai thode ki zaroorat hai'. In fact you will find the most greedy and selfish of people thronging temples at specific occasions - in all parts of the country. If religion and its implications on behaviour are not at all clearly expressed in our social behavior then who are we to criticize certain other group.
Are the principles of democracy an Eastern product? Are the principles of economics that sustain the society today an Eastern or Hindu principle? Where does the fountainhead of technology and high quality education lie? Why doesn't BHU produce the most excellent scholars?
Secondly, the more you try to talk about religious stand point in things, people would tend to ignore you in the name of being communal though there may not be anything communal in the particular thought- just like the thought on sustainability. Also, why is the party not able to understand that the youngster today one doesn't seek too much to get into understanding religion (which has other negative implications) and secondly, he is not really able to get too excited about religion based hysteria that has been very successfully generated by the same party in the past. This can surely be stated about the youth which is staying in the metros. The reasons for this are umpteen, primary being the lack of capacity of this hysteria to bring about fundamental change in our economic well being.
Nitish Kumar has learnt the right tune for Bihar and no wonder he got recognized for his efforts and his life now is going to be much easier if he only plays the tune of development in the way that he has been doing. Its going to be really difficult for the opposition to challenge him.
While at the same time BJP is not really recognizing the vantage point from where it needs to really challenge Congress. Its struggling with its legacy and is not able to realize that the strategic repositioning may call for questioning some very fundamental assumptions. The risk being that if the same is not done now, then 2014 results also may not be too different.
BJP needs disruptive change. Though politics in India has never been about disruptive changes. How to make it happen is the biggest question for Gadkari as he assumes a very important position.
To me it appears the most difficult leadership problem for BJP at this stage.