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In the specific context of our country India and its polity, as well as, the issues which hurts the very edifice of the Indian nation we find that the cosmopolitan society of ours is much varied in its features as well as in its genre. So, to depict a bird’s eye view of Indian politics is like looking and capturing all the colours of a spectrum via naked eyes. Therefore, this piece of writing is only a microcosm of the Indian society and the political issues which hurt and haunts it.
The term ‘politics’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Polis’ which means the city. So, Politics literally means the study of city life organised in the state. On the other hand, the social science that deals with human life in relation to ‘State’ may be termed as Political Science. Hence, from a layman’s perspective, Political Science is the branch of the formal study of Politics. In the ultimate analysis, Politics may be defined as the study of human behaviour as a citizen of a state. At the same time, Political Science begins and ends with the state. Hence, in a nutshell, if Politics is the means the state is the end as far as the study of Political Science is concerned.
Here, by the term ‘State’ we mean people organised by law within a definite territory. Therefore, for a harmonious state, we need the establishment of the ‘rule of law’ in it. In simple words, the nearer we are with the concept of ‘rule of law’, the earlier we are to the path of establishment of harmony in a state and thereby ultimately establishing a harmonious society. On the contrary, the more we are far from or devoid of the concept of ‘rule of law’ in a state the more we open the gates of mass anarchy and bohemianism in a state. As it is rightly said by Plato that ‘state is the individual writ large’.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES WHICH HURTS AND HAUNTS THE POLITICAL SYSTEM OF OUR COUNTRY: –
The pathway to a homogeneous society is the equality of sexes in it. The more gender equal a society becomes ultimately the more prosperous it becomes. Gender disparity since time immemorial has been a core issue of Indian societies thinking vis-à-vis leading to lack of equality of the sexes. Whether it is the literacy level, political representation in the various legislative bodies or in the sphere of overall economic equality the fairer sex seems to be lagging their opposite counterpart. Whatever perspective we take, looking at the prevailing gender gap in the Indian society the ultimate answer to the problem seems to be the prevailing patriarchy in it.
Coupled with it when the western countries are marching ahead in matters of gender equality we Indians seems to be not much concerned with the diminishing girl child in the Indian society. Thanks to the advanced Prenatal diagnostic testing and its illegal penetration and the resultant disappearance of the girl child. The consequent result of all these prevailing gender-inequality and its overall impact on the Indian polity and particularly on the overall Indian society seems to make each of them an unsettled and unkindled one.
The way ahead, especially for the Indian polity, seems to promote in the true sense of the term an egalitarian society where there is equality of the sexes. At the same time, equality of the sexes may be promoted only when both the sexes in our country get equal opportunity for their holistic development. In this way, to break the shackles of gender disparity, we need to undo our way of looking at the various issues of female sex or feminism. As a person, cannot stand on one foot, so does a society cannot prosper without gender parity.
Youths are the backbone of a society. It is rightly said that the old order gives rise to the new. In similar terms, it may also be said that to break all the bottlenecks that a society faces, can only be overcome by an active and agile youth of that society. All these will penetrate into a new order in any society giving a goodbye to all the old lacunas in it and thereby setting the pace for a new order in it.
In this regard, the Indian sty is no exception. What only seems to be lacking in it is its youth’s calm and prosperous minds in most of the cases. The resultant scenario has been that of youth’s unrest. Instead of being innovative, invigorating and inquisitive most of our youths seems to be becoming more aggressive and unrest. The result is to make these youths to feel aloof from the mainstream society than having a feel-good factor among them. Our youths today seem to have fallen in the cobweb of the dragon net of consumerism and the market economy in this era of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation.
The way out for most of the youths seems to be what Noble Laureate Dr Amartya Sen has preached which is to ‘think global and to act local’ in this era of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation. At the same time, they need to be imbibed with a feeling of patriotism by the whole society by integrating them with the mainstream society. Then only they can take all the realms of the society to a new height which also includes the Indian polity. In other words, our youths must become a true torch bearer of our civilisation. In this endeavour, youths rather becoming restless should only be guided by a feeling of patriotism by the guidance of all and sundry of the society.
TERRORISM—A CURSE TO NATIONALISM
If terrorism is a menace for the Indian society which also includes the sphere of politics then, the youths of the same Indian society are the perpetrators of this menace of terrorism. India as a country as well as Indian nationalism as a distinct identity of our countrymen unites the whole country. At the same time, we Indians need to remember that if our sense of nationalism unites the whole country then the menace of terrorism divides the whole country. All these make terrorism a curse to nationalism.
Coming specifically to that aspect of terrorism which has hurt and haunt the whole nation which is its perpetrators. Youths are the perpetrators of terrorism. Youth age acts as the stage of a pivotal period of life as far as the nation-building is concerned. Then how can a nation like ours prosper in the true sense of the term if our youth indulge in anti-social activities via the menace of terrorism? This seems to be the moot question for our countrymen as well as those who are at the helm of affairs in the country.
As said above ‘nationalism unites and terrorism divides’ the whole society. In such a scenario, how can mutual understanding among the countrymen be increased if there is the divisive force of terrorism in our Indian society? For our political system, to bring out our youths from the cob-web of terrorism can only be done, by harnessing the exuberance of the youth age and thereby guiding the youths to the path of nation-building. This can be possible only by a political system which has the potential and the urge to guide our youths in the right direction. Our political system cannot shy away from all these tasks.
India as a country and Indians as an identity lies in the very fact of its principle of ‘live and let live’. In other words, since time immemorial Indians have been a promoter of the principles of universal brotherhood and mutual understanding. India as a country has been an epitome of world peace. Moreover, Indians very core principle of politics has been its adoption of the principle of secularism. Indians very tolerant nature for both his friends and foes as well as his principle of secularism goes hand in hand.
Of late Indians tag of tolerance has been crippled by the divisive forces of hatred of one section, community or religion with that of the another. This has not only been a dividing factor for the society but also has hurt our age-old principles of ‘sama-bhaba’ that is mutual love and respect for each other. The thread of mutual love and respect which used to unite the whole nation irrespective of caste, creed and religion has if not totally broken down but certainly it has become brittle.
Therefore, our political system itself needs to be reoriented by making it a coordinator and a unifying factor for the whole society. Our politics should shed itself from being a divisive one. Rather it should become an epitome of the promoter of Indian nationalism. Nationalism for any country is a unifying factor for it. So, this very sense of nationalism should be such which sheds any colour of skin, belief, faith as well as the ethos of our countrymen. On the contrary, our political system should create and later sustain such a movement in our country where the masses love each other from the core of their hearts and shed all other strenuous factors of life. All in all, in the long run, it will embolden the political system itself by ultimately opening the floodgates of ‘sad-bhaba’ or in other words, the good feeling among the people of our country.
THE NATIONALISM VERSUS MODERNISM DEBATE
India as a nation and Indians as nationals of this country are united by a binding force and the same force may be termed as Indian nationalism. On the other hand, modernism is a process which is associated with a force, and the same force may be termed as a force associated with the process of change. Thus, with modernism lies a process which yearns for a new paradigm change, giving rise to a new order in the society. In this way, if nationalism is a binding spirit for every country which emerges as a witness of change associated with that country.
Coming specifically to our country India, the nationalism versus modernism debate is a relevant issue in our country at the present time. We got independence from the British rule by the guidance of a great soul named ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, the ‘father of our nation’, whom former British Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill called a naked fakir. Our very spirit of freedom and thus in a larger paradigm our nationalism is associated by boycotting British goods and products whom this very imperialistic power, Britain termed as modern. At the same time, we the Indians need to ponder over the fact, where we now stand after about seven decades of independence about our concept of modernism especially after the process set by Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation since the early 1990s.
The same country which boycotted foreign goods and products during the nationalist movement has after seven decades of independence has engulfed the world market by adopting Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation as an economic policy. The result is unexpectedly but inevitably the adoption of foreign products by bidding good-bye to a large extent our own indigenous products. Here it is worthwhile pondering where has gone our nationalistic spirit of adopting indigenous goods like Khadi rather than welcoming foreign goods. Doesn’t it prove that the land of snake charmers has taken the toll of McDonaldization at the present times? At this juncture of the nationalism versus modernism debate, we need to consider where we are heading for in this bandwagon of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation. Whether we should while adopting the new world order of economic liberalisation, we should shed our nationalistic spirit as was prevalent during the freedom struggle or we should merge ourselves with the new world order of the global world economy as guided by the forces of liberalisation. All these pivotal facts for we the Indians make the nationalism versus modernism debate more relevant than never.
POLITICS OF WATER
India is a hinterland country. Moreover, it is strategically located in the Indian sub-continent where it is surrounded by water by three sides. At the same time, of late with the three necessities of life ‘food, clothing and shelter’ on which most of our politics revolved after independence the politics of water has also heated up in Indian polity. Water, water scarcity and water disputes has certainly become co-terminus terms in Indian politics.
The victory of Aam Admi Party in the last Delhi Assembly elections revolved around the issue of water scarcity. Moreover, Disputes like the Cauvery Water dispute mainly between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well as the Indus Water Dispute between India and Pakistan is a pointer towards the heated issue of politics of water in a hinterland country like ours. At present, in our country, there has been a shift from the politics of caste to that of the politics of water. This transition of politics in our country is a pointer towards the fact that there is something wrong in harnessing and managing the water resources in our country. In a nutshell, we can say that in a hinterland country like us, we are in a situation of ‘water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink’.
To overcome the water crisis in our country we need to conserve and preserve our huge water resources. In this regard, the Inter-State Council under Article 263 of our constitution as well as the Central Water Commission may make a huge impact as far as managing the water resources in our country is concerned. At the same time, politics of water should not revolve around damaging the serenity of the eco-system by constructing huge dams rather sustainable approach towards the environment is the need of the hour while constructing dams on water bodies. But, Narmada Bachao Andolan led by Medha Patkar as well as the movement led by Akhil Gogoi in Assam regarding hydel-power projects especially in the Subansiri river is a pointer towards the contrary facts. The policy makers of our country need to remember that water is a huge natural resource as water is the very nectar of the world being’s life. So, this nectar of life will taste sweet for all of us only if we shed petty politics revolving around it and rather we should welcome a politics of consensus on water issues by all the contending parties as far as water politics is concerned.
NORTH-EAST INDIA AND THE FEEL ALOOF FACTOR
North-east is connected with the rest of India by the thin chicken-neck Siliguri corridor. North-east is a bounty both in terms of human resources as well as natural resources. Probably, that is why, our present Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi has termed the conglomeration of eight states of which north-east is composed of as “Asta-Lakshmi” or in other words, the eight incarnations of goddess Lakshmi. At the same time, we need to ponder how much of this part of the country is emotionally attached to mainland India. North-east youth’s bullying, ostracization, eve-teasing., are quite common in the metros. The peculiar Mongoloid appearance of most of the north-east people makes them easily recognisable in mainland India. Hence, the result is the prevailing ‘chinky’ phenomenon, mostly in the metros of our country. All these facts make the North-east people feel aloof from mainstream India.
What has compounded the feel aloof factor among the Northeast people is the fact that with low GDP, low level of industrialisation, poor health facilities and lack of infrastructure in comparison to the mainland India has led to the development in this part of the country in a snail’s pace. Moreover, despite having a huge potential of human and natural resources, this part of the country even in the new millennium has not got the due recognition that it deserves. The result of all these has been agitation, youth’s unrest, insurgency to name a few in this regard. All these have compounded a feeling of aloofness among the people of the North-east.
I think the rest of India needs to give more interest in the affairs of the whole of the North-east. People to people contact, more cultural exchanges with mainstream India and a feeling of oneness with the rest of the country may somewhat pacify the feel aloof factor among the people of the North-east. At the same time, people of the North-east should also have a feeling of the inclusiveness of the values which mainland India promotes. People living on both the sides of the chicken-neck Siliguri corridor should be joined by a bridge of love and amity, where there is no aloofness among them and they all become one and equal. All Indians should consider these to be the essence of their nationalism.
Society is the playground of politics. Both society and politics cannot be made devoid of each other. At the same time, gone are the days when our country as during the pre-independence day’s politics under the able guidance of our respected freedom fighters was basically value-based. Values of life predominated the politics of those times. Ahimsa, Non-violence and Satyagraha formed the core values of the politics of Pujya Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology. Thus, truth formed the core issue of the politics of the freedom struggle. But after the seven decades of our independence, the politics of our country have shifted from being value-based to that of issue-based. Here we need to remember that, issues changes with time in politics but values in politics or value-based politics are indestructible.
Looking at the pros and cons of the state of politics in our country, we may state that it is high time that we Indians, especially to reinvigorate our sense of nationalism and thereby enlighten our nation, we need to reorient our politics to that, which is based on the values of our life than that of issue-based politics. Issues in the life of our nation will emerge and disappear but what will remain as everlasting are the core values of politics in the form of value-based politics.
This Essay was shortlisted in the Third Edition of the National Essay Writing Competition on Nation and Nationalism 2019
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