Let go of myths and superstitions 
in order to gain national greatness

Let go of myths and superstitions in order to gain national greatness

Neither the euphoria of the Opposition nor the ill-disguised despair of the ruling dispensation should blind us to the glaring threats to the nation’s unity and integrity that have been exposed.

The top leadership of the BJP may be putting up a brave face at the moment but there is no denying that there is egg on lots of faces trying to force a smile to proclaim that nothing has changed. Their body language tells a different tale. Forget the adage about history repeating itself from tragedy to farce or dogged insistence that ‘Modi hai toh mumkin hai!’ To use the buzzword in vogue, however hard the spin masters try to set the ‘narrative’ the discordant discourse isn’t going to change.

The self-proclaimed incarnation’s fall from grace is glaring. The dazzling aura of the charismatic Prime Minister has dimmed and the chinks in his not-too-shiny armour are visible even to those with impaired eyesight. One can’t simply wish away the loss of Ayodhya and the drastically reduced winning margin of ‘Ganga putra’ Modi in Varanasi. In the end it was the much-hyped ‘double engine ki sarkar’ that derailed BJP’s Victory Train. How could it be otherwise when a bulldozer was yoked in front instead of a locomotive? But we digress.

It would be naive to analyse the election results in terms of gains and losses for the BJP. What made it possible for the PM to ‘create’ history by forming a (coalition) government for the third time was the performance of its NDA partners—Naidu garu and Nitish babu. Let’s not make the mistake of calling them crutches or tails that can wag the mastiff. They, like Mamata didi and Stalin have proved that they are satraps who can’t be browbeaten or bullied into submission.

Similarly Sharad dada, the ‘Lion in Winter’ retains the strength to maul rebel cubs. None seems to shed tears for Navin babu whose dreams to ride gloriously into the sunset with a sixth coronation as the patriarch CM have been shattered. It’s curtains for Behenji Mayawati with charismatic Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan emerging as a Dalit leader.

Congress, the political party, doesn’t have much to gloat over. It failed to forge a winning coalition. On the contrary, Nitish, Mamata and AAP kept their distance. Rahul Gandhi has grown in stature but remains a reluctant politician. The Family retains primacy. With new dynasts emerging in the BJP that charge has lost its sting but it would require years of hard work to rebuild the organisation and to regain its traditional votebank to take on the BJP, richer in money and muscle.

Kharge saaheb valiantly tried to relate to the grassroots. No one else is in sight to replace him in this role when he retires after a well played innings. There is no dearth of witty, soft-spoken but hard-hitting erudite voices to take on abusive spewers of venom on the other side but let us not forget that electoral battles aren’t debate competitions. As the BJP has (hopefully) learnt, event management alone can’t deliver simple majority, forget two-thirds.

Everyone is busy shifting focus from seats and states to the larger picture. Shellshocked analysts are forced to look at the near future when Assembly elections will be contested scattering more straws in the wind. The millennial vision and the shifting goalposts to 2047 will have to wait for a while. No doubt we shall be bombarded with figures of rising GDP, India pushing steadily up from the fifth to the third place in global ranking of largest economies.

Our scientists, sportspersons likewise will continue to earn laurels. However, its extremely unlikely that all this can distract citizen and voters from ‘bread and butter’ issues, inflation, unemployment, lack of education and basic healthcare. Constitution and fundamental rights, reservations and judiciary’s ambivalence to ensure equality before law and reining in the rampant investigative agencies that are allegedly independent will continue to stir public debate.

Neither the euphoria of the Opposition, nor the ill-disguised despair of the ruling dispensation should blind us to the glaring threats to the nation’s unity and integrity that have been exposed. In the state of Punjab jailed and convicted separatists have won seats in the Parliament. Son of an assassin of ex-PM Indira Gandhi as also ex-CM Beant Singh found favour with the voters. In Kashmir, Arshad Engineer incarcerated in Tihar routed Omar Abdullah. Contraband trade in drugs and arms across the border is allegedly the source of their funding. The complicity of foreign government inimical to India can’t be denied.

However, it would be counter-productive to taint all Opposition by the brush wielded by the foreign hand.

CPI(ML) has secured a few seats despite both Manmohan Singh and Modi identifying the Maoists and Naxals as the greatest threat to the nation. Despite warnings, the ultra Left retains pockets of support and can influence elections.

Demolitions are inevitable when the past is erased and grand monuments are erected for the future. Unfortunately, the process causes grave collateral damage. Today heaps of rubble clutters the mind-scape with myths trumping history and superstition humbling science. This has to be remedied urgently to combat colonial conspiracies and regain national greatness.

Pushpesh Pant

Former professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University


The New Indian Express