Kamal Morarka

Don’t accepted foreign studies uncritically

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sardar_patelTwo events occupied headlines recently. The first one was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary, which was celebrated on 31 October. Sardar Patel was a personality whose life and works are in people’s hearts and minds. He is not an ordinary leader who needs government’s endorsement to be remembered. Indeed, his biggest achievement was the merger of 500 princely states into Indian dominion. When the British left India, they divided the British India into two – India and Pakistan – and left the princely states to decide their own fate. The princely states were free to join either India or Pakistan, or remain independent. The British thought that India would slide into anarchy. But India got Sardar Patel, a man of exceptional resourcefulness, as the Home Minister. He independently signed merger treaty with every raja, maharaja and nawab. At the same time, Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General of India, had too contributed immensely by giving go-ahead to Sardar Patel in his efforts. He did it because he loved India and wanted to see India prosper. No maharaja or nawab can ignore the fact that the police and the forces were under his command. But the most important virtue of Sardar Patel was that he understood the psychology of every Maharaja and dealt with them accordingly. He resolved the issue amicably and with immense dexterity, barring three or four princely states of which Kashmir is still a problem and Nizam of Hyderabad came along very late after police action.

Now the BJP is trying to appropriate Sardar Patel as if he was member of the BJP or RSS. However, diametrically opposite was the case. After Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination RSS was banned by Sardar Patel. He was perturbed that Gandhiji was killed in the name of religion. Appropriating Patel, in fact, is the BJP’s election tactics. They want to project Nehru as a villain, as if his becoming prime minister was detrimental to the country’s wellbeing. They believe that Nehru dynasty rein in India, and Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are part of that dynasty. This is absolutely wrong claim. How can a dynasty survive in a democracy? Elections are held at regular intervals. If a dynasty was ruling the country, how could Narendra Modi become the Prime Minister? Then, is it that you wish to interfere into the matter of another party? Generally, one who attracts votes becomes leader of a party. BJP chose Narendra Modi as its leader in 2014 surpassing seniors like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar only because the party men thought Narendra Modi was more popular among the people. The argument in his favor was that that his connect with youth was better than anyone else. There was nothing wrong in that. And today If Rahul Gandhi pulls crowd for the Congress, do you think Ahmed Patel should be made president? If they think they can damage congress by chanting Nehru-Nehru ad nauseam as if it is a bad word or invoking dynasty, then they are mistaken. No one will buy their arguments. The public is very smart.

Rahul Gandhi being is given warm welcome in Gujarat, which is considered BJP’s stronghold. Why suddenly so? It is not because of the fact that Rahul Gandhi has suddenly become popular there. It is because the people are fed up with the BJP. The government has not fulfilled the promises it has made. Its policies are bad and lopsided, and on many counts it is steps ahead of the Congress. When they castigate dynastic politics of Congress, where do they fix the issue of Amit Shah’s son Jai Shah? Is the issue not fall under the category of dynastic politics? How come he becomes a skilled businessman like Ambani or Adani! Atal ji has once rightly put it, “sabhi partiyan hamam me nangi hain.” Holier than thou attitude will not always work. These are all political gimmicks and they are doing politics. The Congress has never spent as much money as the BJP is spending on elections. It gives rise to the question as to where does this money comes from? Does it come from the poor? Everyone knows where the money is coming from? The question is not that. Good governance requires seriousness. Elections and governance are two different things and required different approaches. One can win elections on Jumlebazi, but governance demands serious deliberations.

The government is suddenly stated installing statue of Sardar Patel. Interestingly, it is being made in China, and installed in Gujarat. Why so? Why they evoke Sardar Patel at this point in time? He died in 1950. Let’s concede that until Nehru was alive, the Congress did not give due attention to him, but where were you? Why did you people not say that Sardar Patel was being treated unfairly? Do you know who honored Sardar Patel with Bharat Ratna? It was our government under Chandrashekhar ji in 1991. Chandrashekhar ji was the Prime Minister, I was a Minister of State, and Subramaniam Swami was with us. We did not honor Sardar Patel in order to enhance his stature, but we honored him to correct a longstanding mistake. By invoking Sardar Patel now, they are behaving in a manner as if they have invented something new.

The second event is related to the World Bank’s Index on Ease of Doing Business. According to this, India has improved its ranking from 130 to 100. Whereas, it is being said jocularly that the World Bank has mistakenly used the phrase “ease of doing business”, it should in fact be “cease of doing business”, as trade in India is on slide and businesses are closing down. As for the ranking, it may be proper, because such study is done on some technical and theoretical assumptions. If India improves its ranking from 130 to 100, what difference does it make? Improvement in ease of business is not yielding results. Not to speak of foreigners, even Indians are not setting up their plants and factories.

moodysLet us juxtapose this index to the Social Security Index. In terms of social security of elderly people, all the western studies give India poor ranking. They bemoan that the government does nothing for the elderly people. America and other western countries provide pension, necessary provisions and old age homes to elderly people, but here in India a son’s house is old age home for his parents. Only dumb can found this ranking relevant for India; in India parents have not to go anywhere until their last breath, the son and daughter in law will look after them. This is the country we live in! Do they think that we need to see our country through western prism? We have a government which talked of Hindu culture. When they rose to power in 2014, it was apprehended that they might impose Hindutva on this country. Leave Hindutva aside, now they are hell-bent on transforming India into America. Now the government wants to open the old age home here, so that the son admit his parent into it, and India can improve its position on Social Security Index. In this backdrop, what is the benefit of this index? There is no need to pay attention to these things. The government should worry about providing livelihood to the masses.

I also run NGOs and stay in touch with people. During the last 6 months, I met three persons who were looking for matches for their daughters. They were ordinary village people. Although dowry is a social evil, even today people believe in giving dowry to their daughters. They arrange the money through all their means – by selling land or by taking loan. However, those three people told me that if they can get a boy with a government job, then they will feel that they have found suitable match for their daughter’s, and their lives is settled once and for all. The government longs to change this mindset, and talked of “Standup India” and “Startup India”. The government cracks cruel jokes on the people, saying instead of seeking job they should provide jobs to others. It means every person is supposed to open an industry and provide jobs to others. In what world are they living! There is couplet of Nida Fazli ‘Pundit-Mulle mujhe achche nahi lagte / jitney ham hain utne sachche bhi nahi lagte’. All in all, the thing that an ordinary man can understand is beyond the government’s comprehension. The government’s controls all the recourses in the country and still wants people to become job provider instead of becoming job seeker. An union minister went a step ahead. He maintained that reduction in job is indeed a good sign, because those who lose jobs will open industries. What a bottomless buffoonery is it!

One can understand the compulsion of the government, as elections are being held in Gujarat and once again they have to resort to jumlebazis. Do use it during run up to the elections but don’t use it in government’s functioning. Also do not give too much weightage to foreign indices. Do not praise Sardar Patel in order to make Nehru a dwarf. Even if they read the letters exchanged between Nehru and Sardar Patel, then they would find that they are not where in that. They do not even have the capacity to compliment Sardar Patel. After Gandhiji’s assassination, Nehru wrote a letter to Sardar Patel that not even four days have passed since Bapu’s assassination and we are all in darkness and people have started telling tale about our differences. Sardar Patel immediately responded that we have worked together for such a long time and our mutual affection is so deep that whatever were being said was meaningless. This was his working style.

The prime minister threw himself completely in Gujarat Elections. Winning or losing Gujarat will not make any difference. He is the prime minister of India, and should concentrate on 2019. But for him every election is vital.  He pours out all his energy in Himachal Pradesh, which sends only four members of parliament. It seems Indian has become a country of election. I see no light ahead. In every five years elections will be held, the country will be governed the way it is governed now, there will be no taker of the poor, it will be no one’s concern whether new industries come or not. There is a country in Africa wherein only one person is in power since last 25 years. Every five years elections are held and he declare himself the winner. He got the support of army. There is no one to challenge his authority. If this is the future of India, then it is a matter of great concern.

Whatever abuses the BJP hurls at Jawaharlal Nehru, even they cannot deny the fact that Nehru has spent almost 10 years of his life in prison. Neither Gandhi, nor Patel and nor Maulana Azad spent that much time in jails. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in Gujarat boastfully said that Nehru too fear the RSS. Today the whole population is under the spell of fear; will you call it an achievement! If thieves, criminal and unscrupulous elements fear government, then it is alright; but if they are happy and common people are suffering, then it is altogether different matter. The outcome of the elections does not make any difference to me, because I am not in the Congress. But this country belongs to all of us. Our responsibility is to leave the country in better shape for future. If we can make it better, at least we should leave as it is.

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