The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page

Marxist opponents of the Bharatiya Janata Partyís current orientation towards globalization and communalism are correct in pointing out the interconnection between the two. They state that the consequences of globalization are increase in poverty, disparity between the rich and the poor and unemployment. These social imbalances create a group of youngsters who can be easily drawn to communalist ideologies preaching destruction and hatred. A state of mindlessness and surrender of judgment among the young and the inexperienced follow globalization naturally.

Eric Frommís Fear of Freedom, provides an example of this in the turn away from democracy and towards Nazism in Hitlerís Germany. The drifting youth had no vision of the future, did not know what to do and how to think for themselves and looked for someone who would do these for them. In their frustration, they wanted an enemy and a saviour. The answer came in the Jews and the Nazi leadership.

A similar situation may arise in India given the attempts of the fanatical sangh parivar and its followers. Their experiment has been successful in Gujarat giving them the impetus to replicate it in other parts of the country. If it does succeed, it will be because of the failure of secular forces to make sense in todayís times and to the new generations.

Left is right

The crusaders against the current form of globalization and communalism confuse their problems with other issues. Take the case of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Those who agree with Medha Patkar are not necessarily opponents of either the globalization drive or communalism. Again, many who are opposed to communalism are also opposed to her campaign against the construction of the Narmada Dam. This does not mean that she or her movement ought to be shunned by those campaigning for secularism and against globalization.

The Marxists have a strong case, but not strong enough to be insisting that their theory be accepted by all those opposed to communalism. They ought to reflect on the fact that the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch is as vehemently in favour of communalism as they are opposed to globalization.

It is worth considering whether one should separate the two issues of globalization and communalism. The distinction becomes important as very little effort has been made to work out an alternative to the two. Can autarky be an alternative to globalization' Can secularism replace communalism' Analysis, discussion and debate can provide the answers, but it is more important for such deliberations to look into our history, especially our post-independence history.

Solution at hand

After independence, we were faced with questions about the nature of the state to be built and the characteristics of the consciousness to be inculcated in the society. The Constitution was the nationís answer to its questions about its present and future. It envisaged a secular, civil, libertarian, parliamentary, democratic and multi-party state with a goal of socio-economic egalitarianism. The state would promote the development of the civil society in a way enabling the people to become participatory citizens in it.

Coming back to the question of communalism and its remedies, the Constitution has armed us well enough to battle against communal forces in the political and social spheres. Except for certain left groups who are opposed to the Constitution, the rest should have no problems in using its provisions to combat communalism.

For the economy too there is an alternative. The Nehruvian economic strategy was necessary not only during the first phase of the functioning of the planned economy, it is relevant even today. Its importance will be best realized once it is combined with the concept of the new international economic order of Indira Gandhi, Fidel Castro and Boumedienne. Once the theory is amended, revised and updated, it will provide the best solution to the crises of our economy.

Email This Page