Posts Tagged ‘BJP’

Should We Forget Nehru

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Should We Forget Nehru

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The BJP Government of Rajasthan has revised its text books to eliminate the mention of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first prime minister of India. Our honourable Prime Minister wants a Congress “Mukt” (free) Bharat (India). It is only natural that his party men will try to erase the memory of great leaders that the Congress Party has produced and hope to improve their standing with him. This pathological hatred of the Congress Party, particularly the Nehru, Gandhi family is unbecoming of a great leader. Respect begets respect. Hatred begets hatred. This action of eliminating the name of Pandit Nehru, like many other controversial dictates of BJP governments like banning possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra (since set aside by the High Court), Gujarat and Haryana, closing dance bars (since set aside by the courts), saying “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, singing “Vande Mataram”, teaching Sanskrit, Indian culture and Manusmriti at engineering colleges is now a matter of debate in the media, coffee shops and teas shops. May I also be allowed to say my bit?

Pandit Nehru’s role in India’s freedom struggle is neither unique nor spectacular. Many well known persons like Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi and many unknown freedom fighters have made greater contributions or sacrifices. I agree that Pandit Nehru need not be remembered as a freedom fighter. I also agree that his becoming prime minister could have been an act of favouritism on the part of Mahatma Gandhi. He is unfairly held responsible by many for Partition and the Kashmir Problem. (It was the “Direct Action” riots started by the Muslim League in 1946 that forced Partition.) I hold him responsible for introducing and tolerating a culture of corruption and nepotism among the political class and government servants which has continued unabated till today. I also blame him for weakening the armed forces and leading the country to a disastrous defeat in the 1962 war with China. Nehru also neglected agriculture which led to our being dependant on US PL480 food aid program. I cannot say how many of these mistakes were committed in good faith and how many were due to lack of administrative experience. Whether he should be forgiven or not is for each one of us to decide ourselves after due diligence and not based on BJP propaganda? (Will Modiji be forgiven for “Demonetisation”? Only time will tell.)

I am a great admirer of Nehru the visionary, a man who dreamt big and set India on the way to be the knowledge, industrial and economic powerhouse that we are today. I want to chronicle his contribution to the modernisation of India for the knowledge of the younger generations who are unaware of his enormous contribution to India’s growth and are encouraged by those who envy his achievements not to give the man his due. Please remember that he was Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964. Let us see what he achieved during these 17 years.

Field of Education

Nehru could visualize the need for professional and technical education to take forward a resurgent India. He founded the Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai (1958), Delhi (19610, Kanpur (1959) and Kharagpur (1956). Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act 1956 founded the basis for these institutions. Institute of Technology’s Act 1961 created 16 Engineering colleges all over India. Over 350,000 students strive to join the IITs every year. Do they know who started them?

Nehru established the Atomic Energy complex at Trombay in 1954. This was later renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre 1967 and is the bedrock of development of Atomic energy for peaceful and military purposes. He established the Indian National Committee for Space Research 1962 which became ISRO in 1969. India is now the third ranked power in space technology after the US and Russia. He established the Defence Research and Development Organization 1958 so that India’s requirement of Defence equipment could be developed and built in India.

He was responsible for setting up the IIM Kolkata and IIM Ahmadabad in 1961. The inception of almost every institution of higher learning that we have today was due to Nehru’s vision of the educational needs of the people of a vibrant, modern, industrialized and prosperous India.

Field of Industry

Nehru was the originator of “Make in India” concept but not the slogan. Unlike other developing countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria etc, Nehru set India on the path to industrialisation. He set up three public sector steel plants at Bhllai 1955, Durgapur 1960 and Rourkela 1959. Chttaranjan locomotive works established in 1950 has produced 2351 steam locomotives from 1950-72. It now produces electric locomotives. Integral coach factory Chennai set up in 1955 built coaches for Indian railways. Mazgaon dockyard was nationalized in 1960, Garden Reach workshop was established in 1960, Hindustan Shipyard Vizag nationalized in 1961, and Goa Ship Yard set up in1967 to build ships.  Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was formed in 1964 as the pioneer of our aeronautical industry. Heavy vehicle factory was set up at Avdi 1965 to build battle tanks. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) set up in 1964 is a world leader in turbine manufacture. Bharat Electronics established in 1954 pioneered manufacture of radio, telephones and radars. Bharat Earthmovers established in 1964 pioneered productions of earth moving equipment in the country. Bharat Petroleum 1952, and Indian Oil Corporation 1964 are the pioneers of crude oil refining and distribution of petroleum products in the country. Heavy Engineering Corporation Ranchi established in 1958 produced heavy machinery for steel and other heavy industries. HMT established in 1953 produced machine tools and watches. ONGC established in 1956 pioneered exploration and production of crude oil in the country. India is perhaps the only developing country where the oil industry is not controlled by foreign companies. Shipping Corporation of India, was established in 1961to meet our shipping needs. Uranium Corporation of India started producing uranium in 1967. Nehru along with the Tatas, Birlas, Munjals, Mahindra was the founding father of industrialized India.

Field of Health Care

Nehru was responsible for the setting up of AIIMS Delhi 1956. Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd was set up in 1954 to meet our immunization needs.

Irrigation and Hydro Power

Nehru understood the importance of harnessing the rivers of India. Damodar Valley Corporation was set up in 1948 on the model of Tennesse Valley Authority. It has four dams producing hydroelectric power Maithon, Panchet, Tilaiya, Konar 1948-1959. He initiated the Bhakra and Beas projects in Punjab. Bhakra Dam was built in 1963. Pong dam on Beas started in 1961 was completed in 1974. Project Hirakud Dam was constructed in 1957, Tungabhadra dam in Karnatak1953 in 1953. 234 dams were built between 1951 and 1961. The Farakka barrage on the Ganges was started in 1961.

Agriculture

Nehru did not do much to encourage farmers. He concentrated on creating infrastructure to support farming. Hindustan Insecticides was established in 1954, Fertilizer Corporation of India in 1961, Food Corporation of India in 1965, National Seed Corporation in 1963. The benefits were to come later.

Conclusion

India is the second most developed developing country not because of the vision of the Sangh which seeks to take us back to medieval India, but because of the vision of Nehru and his actions to introduce professional education and make India self reliant in manufacturing. He did not coin a slogan. He actually set up manufacturing unit. His Public Sector employed more people than required. Under the Modi Government there are over a few million vacancies in every government department from the judiciary, administrative services, school teachers, college professors, nurses, doctors and so one which the government simply refuses to fill to save the wage bill. Engineers and graduates are applying for jobs of security guards and sweepers. Some have taken to snatching chains, stealing motor cycles and taking to other forms of crime.

BJP and Mr. Modi should also realize that the hundreds of thousands of Indian diaspora who organized functions for him all around the world and cheered for him got there and became prosperous because Nehru started IITs and IIMs from which most of them graduated.

You may want to forget Nehru, I never will. I was not taught to be ungrateful by my parents and Gurus.

Do We Know the Real BJP

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Do We Know The Real BJP?

The run up to the 2019 general elections have started with some important states going to the polls. The Hindutya Brigade, the moral police and the “Go-Rakshaks” are having their free run with official patronage, taking charge of institutions, and dividing up society based on religion, caste and ideology. The “Modi Wave” is on the wane over unfulfilled promises and a down turn in the economy though his speeches still enthral people. The time is coming for us to vote again. Should we not know a little more about the origin, ideology and economic policies of the BJP?

BJP is the successor of Bhartiya Jan Sangh. In 1977, when the Emergency was lifted, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janta Party. Janta Party defeated the incumbent Congress in the 1977 general election. The Janata party broke up in 1980 after internal power struggles. The members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvened to form the BJP. BJP won only two seats in the 1984 general elections. It became the largest party in the parliament in 1996. It was invited to form the government but lost the trust vote. Thus the first BJP government lasted only 13 days. General Elections were held again in 1998. BJP led coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed a government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This time the government lasted 13 months before it was toppled. NDA returned to power in the fresh elections which followed. The NDA government, again headed by Mr. Vajpayee, lasted a full term in office. The NDA suffered an unexpected defeat in the 2004 general elections. The BJP swept to power in 2014 under the leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi with an overwhelming majority.

Origin of BJP

Bharatiya JanSangh (BJS)

Dr. S P Mukherjee founded the BJS on 21 October 1951 in Delhi with the help of Mr. MS Golwalkar, the Sarsangchalak of RSS and became its first president. BJS was meant to be a national alternative to Congress. The party was a proponent of Hindu Nationalism. After the death of Dr. Mookerjee, the RSS elements in the party forced out politicians with different ideology and made it the political arm of the RSS. The BJS was thus ideologically close to the RSS and derived most of its workers and leaders from the RSS ranks. In the 1952 elections, the BJS won three seats in the Parliament. Many BJS leaders also initiated a drive to ban cow slaughter nationwide in the early 1960s.

It is of interest to note that Dr. S P Mookherjee, the founder of BJS started his political career in Congress in 1929 before switching over to Hindu Mahasabha. He was the President of Hindu Mahasabha from 1943 to 1946 and joined the Interim Cabinet formed after Independence as Minister for Industry and Supply. He resigned from Hindu Mahasabha and founded BJS. Dr. Mookherjee resigned from the Nehru Cabinet on 8 April 1950. Dr. Mukherjee was firmly against the establishment of minority commissions and guarantee of minority rights. He was strongly opposed to Article 370 which gives special status to J&K and wanted it abrogated. This agenda of BJS has been espoused by the BJP.

Hindu Mahasabha

The Hindu Mahasabha is a political party formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India. It was a reaction to the formation of the All India Muslim League in 1906 and the creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Moreley-Minto reforms of 1909. Mr. Veer Savarkar was its president from 1937 to 1941. He enunciated the concept of “Hindutva” and played a role in formation of RSS in 1925. Hindu Mahasabha had profound influence on the RSS, the Sangh  Parivar and the BJP’s ideology and functioning.

The Hindu Mahasabha identified India as a “Hindu Nation” and believed in the primacy of Hindu culture, religion and heritage. The Mahasabha considers Sikhs, Jains and Budhists to be Hindus in terms of national and political identity. It calls Islam and Christianity to be foreign religions. They also consider that Indian Muslims and Christians are descendants of Hindus who were converted by force, coercion or economic inducements. The party called for the re-conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism and this “Ghar Wapsi has been organized by RSS and VHP in many parts of India. The Hindu Mahasabha opposes Westernization, which it regards as a decadent influence on Indian youth and culture. It calls for a revival of Sanskrit and the primacy of Hindi. The Mahasabha opposed socialism and communism as foreign ideologies. It continues to support the caste system and argues against reservation which it regards as the political appeasement of lower castes. RSS supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat has often spoken in favour of doing away with caste based reservation in education and government jobs. In 2015 vice president of Hindu Mahasabha, Sadhvi Deva Thakur, stoked a controversy saying Muslims and Christians must undergo sterilisation to restrict their growing population which was posing a threat to Hindus. It will be clear that RSS and BJP has inherited much of its ideology and political thinking from the Hindu Mahasabha.

Rashtriya Sayam Sevak Sangh (RSS)

Mr. K B Hedgewar, a political activist in Nagpur was troubled by the weaknesses of the Hindu society against foreign invasions. He was impressed with Hindu Mahasabha leader Veer Savarkar’s concept of Hindutya. He visited Savarkar in March 1925 and discussed ways of organising a Hindu Nation. He started RSS in September that year with the aim of creating a Hindu Nation. Mr. Golwalkar assumed command of RSS after Mr. Hedgewar. He said that the religion of India is Hinduism. “Those only are nationalist patriots, who with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and Nation next to their heart are prompted [...] to achieve that goal.” The rest are “traitors and enemies to the National Cause”.

Role in India’s Freedom Struggle

Hindu Mahasabha and RSS did not actively participate in the Indian Freedom movement. They did not participate in Mahatma Gandhi’s non cooperation movement of 1930 and actively opposed the Quit India Movement of 1942. In 1939, when Congress ministries resigned in protest against the Viceroy announcing India’s participation in the World War II without consulting the Indian people. Hindu Mahasabha seized the opportunity and joined hands with the Muslim League and other parties to form governments in Sindh, NWFP, and Bengal. It is a travesty of justice that RSS and its political wing the BJP who did not participate in the Indian Freedom Struggle and formed opportunistic coalition with Muslim League to share political power are lecturing all sections of society on “Patriotism”.

Political Ideology of BJP

The first is subjugation of individual freedom. Pandit Deem Dayal Upadya headed BJS after the death of Dr. Mookherjee. He had joined RSS in 1937 and was sent by RSS to BJS as Dr. Mookherjees deputy. His doctrines were adopted by the BJS in 1965 as its official doctrine. Upadhyaya rejected individualism. In line with his thought, BJP has been trying to restrict individual rights like right to free speech and right to eat, dress and marry as per ones choice.

The second is Hindutva. Hindutva is a term popularised by Veer Savarkar in 1923. The BJP adopted it as its official ideology in 1989. Savarkar defined a Hindu as one who was born of Indian parents and regarded India as his motherland. It included the followers of all Indian religions including Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but excluded the followers of “foreign religions” such as Islam, Christianity, Judaisim and Zoroastrianism.

The BJP advocates social conservatism in women’s rights, dressing, and free mixing. It is against love marriage and women frequenting pubs and clubs. Unquestioned obedience of elders is desirable.

BJP advocates the abrogation of Article 370. It favours the building of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya over the Babri Masjid. It is also for the implementation of a uniform civil code.

Economic Policies of BJP

There is considerable difference on economic issues between BJP and RSS. According to Mr. Upadhyaya, the primary concern in India must be to develop an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at center stage.  RSS seeks to strike a balance between the Indian and Western thinking on economic development. It is against rapid industrialization, consumerism in Indian society, social disparities and regional imbalances in economic growth which have failed to alleviate poverty in the country. This has been rejected by BJP under Vajpayeeji and Modiji. Both followed neo-liberal economic policies which favour the rich and multinationals at the expense of the ordinary Indian.

Non State Actors of BJP

RSS is the patron of BJP as well as a non state actor. The RSS established a number of non political organisations after Independence to carry its ideology to various sections of the society. We know them as the “Sangh Parivar”. The most important among them is the “Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) which was set up in 1964 with the objective of protecting and promoting the Hindu religion.  VHP cadres are used to further BJP’s agenda of Hindutva, seeking votes on basis of religious ideology like construction of Ram Mandir and starting Shiv Pooja at the Taj Mahal. It supports Hindu militancy in the form of moral policing, “Go Rakshaks” and fighting CPM cadres in Kerala, Trinamool Congress Cadres in West Bengal and militant secularists in Karnataka.

The VHP was founded in 1964 by Mr. M S Golwalkar, head of RSS and Mr. S S Apte who became its founder and first general secretary. Its stated objective is “to organise and consolidate the Hindu society and to serve and protect the Hindu Dharma.” It has been involved in controversial issues such as banning of cow slaughter, prevention of religious conversion, and reconversion of Muslim and Christian converts. The organisation has been described as “extremist”or “militant” for its activities like spearheading the Ram Janmabhoomi movement that led to the demolition of Babri Masjid. Human Rights watch believes that VHP and Bajrang Dal had been involved in riots against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Their members have been involved in lynching of Muslims and Dalits suspected to be involved in smuggling cattle or consuming beef. They have been involved in forcible separation of mixed religion couples and even killing them. They have vandalized churches on suspicion of converting Hindus to Christianity. In such activities they are provided assistance and protection by the administration in BJP ruled states. Offenders on bail are provided jobs in public sector units. The BJP leader from the VHP, Acharya Giriraj Kishore has said that the life of a cow was worth more than the lives of five Dalits.

Conclusion

BJP is the political wing of RSS and the Sangh Parivar. Our President, Vice President, Prime Minister, most of the Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states, BJP legislators and office bearers are from the Sangh Parivar. Its mission is to gain and hold political power so that the Sangh Parivar can pursue their Hindutva agenda unhindered and make India a Hindu Rashtra. Its economic policies are elitist, focussed on bullet trains, expressways and airport and eliminating social security measures like subsidies and MNREGA. Its neo-liberal policies are aimed at gaining accolades from the World Bank, IMF and foreign investors.

I am not here to tell you who you should vote for. We are adults and should be free to do our own thing. Only, we should know what we are doing and the consequences.

Will the Secular Members of BJP Please Split and Form a New Party

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Will the Secular Members of BJP Please Split and Form a New Party

By

Col Bhaskar Sarkar VSM (Retd)

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter.com@COLSARKAR

The RSS has recently given up its pretense of being an apolitical organization dedicated to social upliftment of Hindus and announced its ambition of gaining political power through the BJP. It has tried to display its hold on the BJP leadership by nominating Mr. Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. It has also directed its affiliates, the Sangh Parivar to assist the BJP in election campaigning, mustering voters and booth management. The RSS is doing this because it believes that the Congress is at its weakest and this is the best opportunity for the RSS to gain political power and push its agenda of making “Bharat” a Hindu State and Hindutva as its culture.

The RSS move has dismayed the secular Indians who support BJP and put them in a quandary as to whether to vote for BJP. It has prompted its long term ally JDU to leave the NDA. It has made it difficult to forge pre election alliances and post election coalitions. Many like me believe that an RSS dominated BJP with Modi as its prime ministerial candidate will not get 100 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections. Secular supporters of BJP will have no option but to vote for the Congress as there is no national alternative to the Congress. The Communists, with their rigid ideology, have lost their pan India appeal. The Aam Admi Party is an unknown quantity.

There are many reasons why the BJP should split into BJP (Secular) and BJP (Hindutva). Some are listed below:

Mixing Religion with Politics is Dangerous

Muslims have been trying to have religion influence politics and governance. Taliban did it in Afghanistan and sent the country’s development backward by a century at least. We have seen the effects of religion dominating politics in Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt where Muslim Brotherhood have sized power in elections. In Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood dominated government are slowly doing away with secularism and imposing restrictions on women, drinking and other personal freedoms. This has resulted in protests. In Tunisia and Egypt it has created social unrest, violence and chaos. I have no doubt that if RSS gains political power, it will start chipping away at our secularism and try Hindu Talibanization of our society.

We Must Respect the Demographic Reality

India has about 15 percent Muslims and about 3 percent Christians. That means that there are about 180 million Muslims and about 36 million Christians in India. The numbers are too large to be ignored. We have to learn to respect all religions and life styles and live in harmony. Otherwise there would be no peace or progress.

The Sangh does not Accept Women as Equals

Women are almost 45 percent of the population and voters. They cannot be ignored. But the Sangh does not accept women as equals. In Hindu culture, women are not persons but things. That is why they are given away (Kanyadan) at the time of marriage along with cash (Dakshina). A woman is not supposed to return to her parents till she died. A woman is supposed to obey her father till marriage, her husband after marriage and her son if she becomes a widow. She is not supposed to be educated and is required to be a house wife at the service of her in-laws.

Women are not members of the Sangh. There is a cosmetic Durga Bahini but their members are rarely seen or heard. Sangh does not like women as chief ministers. They got rid of Uma Bharti in Madhya Pradesh. They reportedly ensured defeat of Vasundhara Raje in the last elections. They are against Sushma Swaraj being made the prime ministerial candidate. They are against giving one third of the seats to women. Like the Taliban, the Sangh wants women in “purda” and at home. If Sangh gains political power, moral policing will increase and women will have to marry according to the wishes of the parent whether the groom is a doddering old man or unacceptable to the girl due to looks, level of education or any other reasons.

No Party Can Form a Government on its Own

Given the diversity of India and current trends, no party will be able to form a government on its own. No party other than AIDMK and Shiromani Akali Dal will align with a Sangh dominated BJP with Modi as prime ministerial candidate. But BJP (Secular) will not be untouchable and will have a better chance of forming a non Congress government.

Conclusion

It is always safe for BJP leaders to play second fiddle to the Sangh and maintain a low profile. It ensures personal security and perks. But if the secular members of BJP are secular at heart and believe that RSS ideology and Hindutva is not the right approach to govern India, they must muster courage, leave the BJP and form a new party. That way you will give secular Indians and women an alternative to corrupt and arrogant Congress to vote for.

RSS and the Sangh are great organizations in their own right. They are patriotic and torchbearers of Hindu culture. They have a glorious record of service to the Hindu society. I respect them for what they are and what they have done. They should stick to their role serving Hindu Society and stay away from politics and governance.