Pulakesh Upadhyaya
Negativity And Hope
This article originally appeared in centreright.in. CRI content has now been subsumed in swarajyamag.com. The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of swarajyamag.com

The Prime Minister seems to be suffering from some sort of an identity crisis. The recent references to the Prime Minister being complicit in crimes of omission and commission by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government apparently irked him. What did not irk him was the ineffectiveness of his government and the economic mess he has pushed the country into.

This precisely reflects a hierarchical mindset that has afflicted our political class, and not untouched is our scholar Prime Minister. Ideological differences apart, this only goes to show how the most educated of politicians can be blinded by the arrogance of power. Every now and then, we need to remind ourselves that we are a democracy nonetheless, but we are a democracy in some sort of crisis. The political class is not frowned upon for any reason; it is for its highhandedness rather than the ineptness alone.

In this scene emerges Arvind Kejriwal, who targets the government for its highhandedness, but hardly makes a cry over its ineptness. Why is this so? The apparent reason is that Kejriwal’s solutions are only a repackaging of the age-old policy of Nehruvian socialism that has left the nation’s growth rates stumble, and its people poor. Although the theme of highhandedness struck a chord with Indian middle class, his solutions which consist of further strengthening the doses of socialism do not strike a chord with the aspirational mindset of middle class India.

High-handedness of those who roam about the corridors of power is definitely a problem with Indian democracy, but when combined with ineptness and inefficiency, can lead any functional nation to crisis. The same has happened with India. The root causes are the extraordinarily large roles government still plays in the individual lives of citizens, and the inability to come out of the mindset of entitlement and state sponsored largesse. It shows that we as a people lack the motivation to work hard for what we need, and there is no stimulus for people who do so. Rather there is stimulus for non-performance and for inefficient entities like Air India.

The Opposition, and this does not only include the BJP, has also not been decisive in the legislative process, has fallen for the pressures of electioneering, and has partly misunderstood the national sentiment. It appears that it has downplayed the role of people within the party who hold a substantial support, and have been opposed to schemes like the Food Security Bill, which are faulty in design, leave alone implementation.

It takes a really corrupt media to stand by the misdeeds of a corrupt government. But, it also takes a really hypnotized lot of people not to see through these nefarious designs. Plainly speaking, we know who the problem is, but we have not been able to analyze two basic questions:-

  1. What long-term policies of previous affect our growth process in the long run?
  2. Has the present government done any course correction?

We cannot have an immature populist model, based on the electoral interests of the ruling party alone. “Sonianomics” some would say, but when economists and thinkers are moved more by the influence of people above them rather than knowledge, commonsense and wisdom, it is very easy to guess the direction in which the nation is expected to go.

What still drives India is the aspirations of the people. The youth, which is a driving force in a democracy like India, is not going to be satisfied with mere platitudes. Although the change is slow, it is definitely visible that in a globally connected world, people have started envisioning things like never before. We are moving towards an India which needs growth, opportunities to work, and prosper.

2014 may not exactly be the time when this force will get its act together, but predictably in the near future, collective aspirations will make them elect better governments and also inspire them to be better people. This is not to say that the youth is somewhat incorruptible, but it is definitely more equipped to give shape to its desires than ever before.