Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bhagwan Josh : Nationalist core of Indian politics (1993)

This article appeared as an opinion piece in The Times of India on August 4, 1993

Any serious analysis of the lndian polity today must begin by taking note of the basic fact that the Hindutva movement has reached such proportions because the much desired ’Left-left-of-centre consolidation’ (Future of Indian Polity by Mr Rajni Kothari' July 19) has failed to emerge. This seems to be the basic lesson of history that neo-fascist movements begin to take root only when the Left and radical movements reach a dead end. Moreover a study of the Indian Left has led us to the conclusion that the Indian left cannot unite in itself and for itself. It will remain ’small and growing’ but without moving in the direction where it could fulfil some of its radical promises. 

Historically speaking, the Congress has remained in power by adjusting and representing three codes of mass consciousness, the codes of class, caste and community. It's encompassing vision of nationalism cuts across these sectional codes in order to bind them together into a flexible unity. Unlike the Congress, the opposition groups and parties have generally derived their strength from more or less one of these codes while simultaneously flirting with others, especially the code of nationalism [. . .]. Download PDF for the full text:

Also see
Rethinking Secularism by Bhagwan Josh, Dilip Simeon & Purushottam Agrawal (1990)
Symptoms of Breakdown: The all‑round crisis of the Indian polity, with its many social, economic and political aspects, has finally burst into the open. Today, many people are challenging the Constitution and the way in which this has been operated over the past decades. There is an insurgent situation prevailing in Kashmir and Assam and the North‑East in general. In Punjab, the Khalistani movement has succeeded in pressurising even the Central Government. In central India and the Gangetic plain, the RSS/BJP/VHP have unleashed unprecedented violence against the Indian Muslims, and launched a tirade against what they call "pseudo‑secularism". In the process the state machinery has become increasingly subject to communal/ ethnic/regional sentiments and rendered ineffective. The Indian Army has taken on what is now accepted as a stable role in policing Indian society. Today, what is at stake is not the future of this or that government, but the concept of a united India, and the very political structure known as the Indian Union ... Why is there so much ethnic and communal unrest and dissatisfaction with the concept of India? Part of the reason lies in the inheritance of a fragment of the colonial empire, without restructuring the concept of the Nation...

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