Rahul not good enough but so is the alternative



The scion of the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi, was a damper in his interview with a private Indian news channel on Monday evening. Rahul looked badly lost and it seemed he didn't know what he was babbling about. I was amused to hear that he wants the media to be brought under RTI and that he never felt in him the thirst for power. Nor did he ever undertake any quest to achieve power, he said.

But, is  he qualified enough for the quest? His PR team has failed the test. He showed how miserable he has been in putting into use sequitur. His efforts to compare himself with Arjuna of Mahabharata did not jell well with the audience.

Pithily, Rahul never appeared so unprepared and so unfit for the position of Indian prime minister.

Thankfully, for at least next five years, we would not be seeing or hearing much of him. Congress is sure to be out of power. And the danger to the nation, of course, lurks here. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the possible successor, would be a bigger disaster.

A churning is indeed currently underway changing India's traditional political equations and firmament once and for all. They indicate a changing polity in which major political parties, including the Congress, Marxists and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have fast been losing relevance in a rapidly evolving socioeconomic genius loci. The political parameters emitting out of the churning are substantial and extremely startling. The shapes that are emerging are in sync with the models of the twenty first-century where matrix of political existence and even relevance will be determined in accordance to the market dynamics of the time now. Future of Indian political system, therefore, is ironically dreary yet promising.

Darwinian concept — survival of the fittest — is most applicable to the political ambience of India today. Ability to evolve with the changing environment and the ability to strike an intelligent balance between evolving expectations of the electorate and antiquated ideologies have now become the mantras for survival of political parties.

During my recent visit to India I could clearly discern how relevant what Harold Wilson said almost half a century ago still is. The two-term British Prime Minister and one of the most prominent English Labour politicians in the latter half of the 20th century forcefully goaded his party to change and grow with the changing socioeconomic dynamics of the post-World War II period saying "He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery".

The prevailing polity in India, I am afraid, is fast turning into a cemetery. In the conflict between archaic ideologies and emerging political compulsions driven by a fast changing social and economic scenario, major and almost all political parties are rapidly turning into architects of decay unable to live up to the challenges of a new, bold and dynamic corporate India. And it is this inability that makes Indian political parties increasingly irrelevant today.

Herein I would like to refer to the celebrity Indian political analyst M. J. Akbar. He was right in suggesting that defeat in elections is the distance between a bedtime story and a wake-up call. The former (Congress) starts with 'Once upon a time...' and lulls the voter to sleep. The second (BJP) is an energiser that addresses a fresh dawn.

Taking Akbar's concept as the bedrock in analysing the current Indian Politics, it is more than perceptible that the difference between bedtime stories and wake-up calls is what is turning Indian polity increasingly into a cemetery. Ideologies like Marxism, Socialism, Gandhism, Nehruvism, Hindutva etc are passé and are bedtime stories in which the twenty-first-century India is no longer interested in.

The BJP, which was considered the party, ruler and the face of India in twenty-first century, has today turned out to be a major disaster and disappointment. Turning itself totally incompatible to a resurgent India the BJP has failed miserably to address the challenges of the new millennium and stumbled badly in a political milieu that now, unfortunately) appears so heavily in its favour.

BJP's kinetic energy of Hindutva is extremely out of relevance to the new and resurgent corporate India which led to its complete 'nihilification'. Its stereotyped ideology of Hindutva now cuts little with
the resurgent Indians. The BJP has failed to gauge the India's eclectic changing psyche. With all its primitive tribal proclivities, the part stood in sharp contrast as an utter misfit in an ambience where jean-clad and brand-conscious youth, high on MNC culture, prefer cooing into their IPhones, doing sit-ups rather than partaking on sit-ins and to sway to the rhythm of their IPods than to engage in serious but antiquated national dialogues.

Yet, the Indians are seeking to bring in  the alternative  which had failed the nation earlier.

The party with its antediluvian core agenda of Hindutva is a dinosaur today. Once the weltanschauung of India's middle class, Hindutva is no more a toast now — a utility that has outlived its merit in an ambience that mirrors a drastically altered the nation's 'political and social landscape wherein sociocultural inequities have disappeared, mind sets have changed and a tangible threat to the nation no longer exists'.

It certainly would be edifying for the BJP to hark back on the lessons of history where societies, cultures, civilizations and even political parties have become architects, rather products, of decays and turned into footnotes in the annals of history. Standing poised to shrivel into a non player, India today, faces an unprecedented tragedy. Its yearning for  change will make it irrelevant — a catastrophe which the nation certainly does not deserve.

Cry my beloved country, cry!

The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman.


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