Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time to gloat

I haven't blogged in a number of days. One reason (not the only one) is that I didn't want to write about the elections, fearing to add myself to the list of fools who apparently can't even predict tomorrow's date correctly...

But now that it's over, I'm savouring every moment. In a few days India will go back to being the mess that I love to complain about, but today it is a country where democracy has triumphed and stability is more or less assured. Moreover, some people have got what they richly deserved and I wish to gloat about their forthcoming political demise.

Let's start with Mr L.K. Advani. Apparently few people have a clear memory of his divisive and mean-spirited rath yatra in 1990 and the ensuing Babri Masjid campaign that led to the loss of 2000 lives for absolutely no gain to the nation, but a definite electoral gain to the BJP. Even though I assume he didn't kill any of the 2000 people himself, I've always felt that Mr Advani personally was responsible for their deaths. On numerous occasions Mr Advani has placed party and political interest before that of the nation, most notably during the Mumbai 26/11 attacks when he launched a typically vicious verbal attack on the Indian government even as the attacks were taking place instead of having the decency to show some solidarity for the country's sake. I commented about this on my blog at the time. Mr Advani's impending exit is a source of great joy to me, though unfortunately the evil he did will outlive him.

On to Mr Prakash Karat. It's clear to everyone except, perhaps the CPM Politburo (and Mr N. Ram?) that even if his disagreement with Dr Singh on the 1-2-3 deal was genuine, he overplayed it because of a medieval mindset and also personal reasons (i.e. a monstrous ego). He got the Left to pull out from the government hoping that this would destabilise it, and he attacked the deal and the US with all the fervour of an Iranian mullah denouncing the "great Satan". His fears that any deal with the US government would harm India were rooted in the belief that India would always be an inferior partner incapable of defending its own interests. This is a view that an unlikely collection of people, including George W. Bush, Manmohan Singh, Barack Obama and last but not least myself, would disagree with.

One of the many pleasing consequences of yesterday's elections was that former speaker of parliament Somnath Chatterjee, expelled by Karat for refusing to step down when the Left quit the government, has now called for Karat's expulsion. Let's hope it happens. Among other potential leaders of the CPM I think Sitaram Yechury - for all his faults - is a much better person and clearer thinker than Karat, and I hope he will now become more powerful in his party and steer it in a saner direction.

Finally, some minor journalists who in 2004 savaged Sonia Gandhi for having the cheek to lead the Congress will need to take a long vacation, preferably in the Swat valley. The racist and other abuse heaped on her at the time by those people, lapped up by an insecure upper-middle-class, shocked me at the time. I still remember Anil Thakraney reproducing a children's tale in Italian in his daily column to show his contempt for Sonia-ji, as well as Tavleen Singh's venomous personal attack. It led me to hope Sonia would somehow show them up and it's now clear that she's done just that. Of course, if you're one of the people who feels Thakraney or Tavleen should lead the nation, please feel free to contact them in Swat.

6 comments:

Rahul Basu said...

didn't feel like gloating, at least publicly (dashed bad form, old chap, what?) but since you have chosen to throw caution to the winds, all I can say is -- Jai Ho! (with knobs on..)...

Sandip said...

Out of academic curiosity, what indicators would you use to establish that India would not 'always be inferior' to the US, militarily or otherwise?

Sunil Mukhi said...

Sandip: I didn't say we would not 'always be inferior' but rather that we wouldn't "always be an inferior partner", which is different. China is militarily inferior to the US but seems not to end up being an inferior partner in their trade agreements. We, likewise, are militarily and economically inferior to the US, but that doesn't mean (in my view) that in any deal we strike with the US we would inevitably be an inferior partner.

Whether we were in fact an inferior partner in the 1-2-3 deal we struck with the US is something I can't prove either way, but some scientists I greatly respect have argued that we emerged with a good deal.

Sandip said...

I understand scientists have argued on either side of the treaty. But returning to the issue I wish to understand, our planet consists of a Nation that is superior (read advanced) in absolute terms and then Nations that are inferior in relative terms. To get into a comparison between India and China, I'll have to dig up the trade deficits US has with each and the respective dollar reserves; so I use the term relative-whats good for China is not necessarily good enough for India. Now, do we believe we can close this gap and direct our policies accordingly or do we believe that this gap is permanent; the only way we can get out of here is by changing the rules of the game?

Gamma said...

Admitting to being inferior, parner or not, is your agreement to submission. Superiority begins in the mind.

Ashim said...

I may sound wrong here......but wasn't LK Advani together with Vajpayee bring together a right that could challenge the left of centre Congress party.....yeah Babri Masjid was fundamentally wrong but wasn't the coming of BJP actually symbolize the rebirth of Nationalism and a rejuvenated middle class.....i may not be making much sense.... LK Advani atleast deems a certain degree of respect for being one of the founders of a party that has actually led the nation