The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 18 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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The Opposition continues to berate the government even when the schemes make sense in the long term and are imperative to extricate India from the clutches of middlemen, who have exploited and mauled the poorest of the poor as well as the richest of the rich and all in between. To find fault with every single move is easy, but to debate and fine-tune the necessary interventions require hard work and courage. The latter option can be operationalized only if there is a real and palpable commitment to India and its people. All initiatives will come a cropper if the primary motive is to better the ‘self’ alone. The inclination to criticize for the sake of criticism is becoming predictable and tiresome as this young nation state is compelled to wallow in anarchy.

From the time of Indira Gandhi, when she introduced colour television and came under assault for seemingly patronizing the rich at the expense of the poor, to when Rajiv Gandhi introduced modern technologies such as computers, to today when direct cash transfer to specific beneficiaries is being launched amidst much protest, the cacophony has been deafening and it makes one squirm. If there are features that need to be adjusted or rewritten, the need of the hour is for all opposing factions to sit around a table and give the executive the necessary inputs. Thereafter, the elected government can do what it deems fit and in the best interests of the people.

Two steps back

To subvert every initiative without suggesting an alternative, or to attempt to evolve new processes and mechanisms, is regressive. The attitude of ‘we must attack everything because we are the Opposition’ is destroying India and imposing a status quo, killing all forward movement out of poverty and despair. The argument trotted out is that the direct transfer of money will be used by the men to get drunk and beat their women, and therefore, it is doomed to fail. Ouch, is all I can say in response, because that position suggests that India will continue to remain a feudal and anarchic country with gaping disparities. A new generation aspiring to make good and lead a life of dignity will act and perform differently. We have to undergo the changes that often come along with new and dramatic initiatives till the mechanisms settle down and the benefits are visible to the user. That is life.

For an intelligent Opposition in the world’s largest democracy to downgrade and abuse every initiative without suggesting a well-crafted alternative that will deliver similar results, leading to a more inclusive social order where the citizen is treated like a true stakeholder, is untenable and wholly unacceptable. Yelling in the air is detrimental to India’s growth and development. Then there are those who move about in fancy, expensive, imported SUVs even though they wear dhotis and kurtas. These individuals ape the lifestyles of wealthy Westerners but pontificate on swadeshi and suchlike, indulging in the worst kind of hypocrisy. This kind of politics is demeaning to Indians across the board.

If the Bharatiya Janata Party wants to posture as a responsible party that can orchestrate a future for India in South Asia and in the world, it will have to get down to do some hard and creative thinking about the ‘idea of India’. It cannot transform itself into a party that is synonymous with a national entity without a clear vision.

This ‘good cop-bad cop’ game has been played out. It is time to come together in the larger interest of the country and resist the urge to score petty brownie points. The days of that kind of politics are over. India will not accept polarized politics even if the middle class is looking for danda rule that suppresses the needs of the larger mass of people.