Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ruminations on December 6, 1992

December 6, 1992 happened in the backdrop of the anti- Mandal Commission upper caste upsurge,the liberalization of Indian economy and the fall of 'existing' socialism in Eastern Europe. It was followed by the capture of the Indian political center stage by the Right wing Hindutva family.

The Bombay blasts, formation of the BJP led NDA government, nuclearization of the sub- continent and the Gujarat pogrom are some of the other major events that impromptu come to mind.

Thirteen years after that day of ignominy, the rising graph of the Hindutva's political arm the BJP, has been brought to a grinding halt. The backward caste mobilization is subdued but still strong in the Hindi heartland and the Left is back in the Parliament with its highest ever number of MPs. Internationally, the wiping out of 'existing' socialism is complete for all practical purpose, China's swing to state led capitalism accelerating and only Castro miraculously continuing to survive. The rise of the 'New Socialism' represented by Hugo Chavez is exciting for those who wear a patch of the red in their hearts.

The Indian Left parties, despite the derision of the neo- rich and the middle class that is increasingly benefiting from the FDI inflow and the flight of the manufacturing and the services industry to India, is probably the only consistent and conscious voice of the poor. The Dalit and various OBC formations are clearly personality based and open to hijack, the "Samajwadi" Party's leading light being Amar Singh for example.

December 06, 1992 represented the raw revolt of the emerging middle classes as well as the broad spectrum of the Hindu youth against an imagined enemy. 13 years later, and one year after the BJP- NDA lost elections- less because of its anti- secular stand and more because of its economic policies, the perceived threat of Islam seems to have subsided. But then as Pramod Dasgupta it was I think who commented that scratch the skin of a middle class Hindu, and he will turn out to be an RSS sympathiser.

December 6 continues to be alive though not roaring at the moment. With the Congress- Left alliance at the Center continuing with its right wing slant the situation is not any less despairing than it has been in the intervening years. The Left is not able to shift the priorities of the government to where it matters- the poor. Their anger may yet bring the BJP and the Hindutva parties back to power, despite the recent stirrings in both the BJP and the Shiv Sena.

The Left has to manage the contradictions inherent in the current coalition and direct the policies to where the Left gets support from- the poor and the deprived. It continues to be more articulate as a defender of the salaried classes rather that the poor. Socialist theory too has not been able to come to terms with the notion of FDI and export led growth.

2 comments:

kamesh said...

A very nice and articulated post, though its leaning towards the left a bit more ;-) (and I can understand that).

I think the left needs to re-orient its economic and foriegn policy's. It cannot have double standards vis-a-vis FDI. People have to understand that a consistent economic growth will benefit the poor in the long run. Just look at the other side of the border for a nice example.

The left cannot claim that it is the only consistent and conscious voice of the poor. The poor of India felt that the economic prosperity is not reaching them and that is the reason they have overthrown the previous goverment. Though they gave more seats in the parliament to the left. The role of the regional parties should not be underestimated in this case.

The people heading the left have come from a previleged background and it does not somehow gel if they claim that they are working for the poorer sections of the society.

bhupinder singh said...

The Left's "double standards" is the reflection of the inability of socialist theory to grasp the role of FDI. The Left still remains by and large inspired by theory.

>The left cannot claim that it is the only consistent and conscious voice of the poor.

Which other party or parties today speak against the middle class driven economic agenda? Whatever be its limitations (and there are many), the Left is the only political formation that is consciously (even if contradictorily) opposed to neo- liberalism. The BJP and the Congress have near- identical economic and foreign policies.

> The people heading the left have come from a previleged background

This may be true of the CPM but not the CPI and the fringe CPI- ML groups.

>and it does not somehow gel if they claim that they are working for the poorer sections of the society.

Practically the entire leadership of the Indian freedom struggle came from well off sections of the society. That did not make them- for example, Gandhi and Nehru less genuine.

The same point used to be made earlier in regard to Marx and Proudhon. Marx came from a fairly "well- off" family while Proudhon came from the working class, but in ideology Proudhon represented the petty bourgeious while Marx represented the working class.

> though its leaning towards the left a bit more ;-) (and I can understand that).

For those of us who were inspired by Marxism and also by the initial years of Perestroika, it is difficult to criticize the Left in times when it is under siege. I (we) had, and have reservations about the organized Left.