NEW DELHI: “I tell all my media friends present here, please be critical of my book while reviewing it. I would be looking forward to all that you have to say….” That was vintage S Jaipal Reddy, he of long and varied innings in politics, at the release of his book Ten Ideologies — The Great Asymmetry between Agrarianism and Industrialism.
It was clear from the rather nuanced messages on offer which of the ten ideologies he belonged to. In the book, he dwells on nationalism, democracy, liberalism, capitalism, evolutionary and revolutionary socialism (interesting distinction there), feminism, environmentalism, nuclear pacifism and globalism.
What comes when we go beyond globalism, which the world is witnessing now, is not within the ambit of the book — though Jaipal Reddy projects his thoughts on a vast canvas where he does not just see growing ideological threats to humanity but to the survival of the planet itself.
“I’ve been deeply disturbed about the increasing ignorance of ideologies and the de-intellectualisation of politics….therefore have undertaken this plain presentation to rekindle intellectual interest in the political process,’’ he said.
The news of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi had not yet reached Delhi. The demise of a political titan who dominated both state and national politics for over three decades would have inevitably led to revisiting some of the ideologies and political processes he had initiated and the intellectual debates they triggered.
Though Reddy lamented that thought has gone out of fashion and politics has acquired a kind of thoughtlessness and anti-intellectualism, there was plenty of it on offer on the occasion.
Former PM Manmohan Singh, for instance, warned about the resurgence of ‘nativism’, and ‘protectionism’ in the West — both “disturbing” forms of anti-globalism.
Appreciating Jaipal Reddy’s “effort to build a new approach to meet the current crisis”, Singh admitted that “old and tried approaches may not suffice’’.
In fact, it was interesting indeed that Reddy tried to link nationalism to even environmental causes, saying any form of hyperventilating on national identity may lead to degradation of all other isms, including the safeguards required to preserve the planet.