Of ideologies!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Jan 2019 11:29:13

THAT the country is witnessing presently and will keep doing so a battle of ideologies, as stated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Mr. Amit Shah, makes the ensuing Lok Sabha elections very critical to long term national interest. There is no doubt that the two main parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, represent ideologies that are diametrically opposed to each other, almost in a black-and-white manner. Naturally, this political reality marks the national discourse in a profound manner. The outcome of the Lok Sabha elections, thus, will put its signature on the method and manner the country will adopt in the next five years -- to deal with its challenges and overcome obstacles. 

The difficulty of India’s political discourse, however, is not in the difference of ideologies; it is in the manner in which we, as a nation, handle the differences and whether we seek a consensus on certain issues that have little to do with ideologies. This is the most unfortunate part. For, our public discourse is full of cantankerous arguments that lead us nowhere, that have no destination, that have nothing philosophical or ideological. Some ideas that hardly fall in the category of ideology -- like individual and collective discipline -- also come in for criticism for no rhyme and reason. They are opposed by Y just because X has proposed those or worked on those. Whatever happened after India’s successful surgical strike on Pakistani positions, was a matter of shame, thanks to senseless criticism and doubt.

Something bigger, too, happened in 1998 when India conducted successfully five nuclear tests. Just because Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, as Congress President, had opposed the tests at least initially. When she understood the people’s jubilant mood, her party slowly and slyly changed its approach. Countless such examples can be given to prove that a lot of portions of our public discourse are senseless and do not pertain to ideological difference. At best, or worst, they belong to the political domain where sensible and sensitive thinking enjoys no premium. In many areas of public interest, what India witnesses is not any ideological battle but only a political tussle for grabbing credit or depriving credit to others. By no standard can this be called an ideological battle.

There is no doubt that Mr. Amit Shah has brought India’s public discourse to the ideological high-ground, which we appreciate. In the same tone, we expect the discourse to remain really at that level and not dip to lower levels of political credit-seeking or depriving. Let us not demolish good work only because it had been done by one party or person. Let us stop being politically-judgmental, and start being patriotically-oriented. There is no doubt that we have matured very well as a democracy in its physical form. Now, we need a maturity of the spiritual zone in which we treat all ideologies with respect, and not with a disdain that we see currently in a big but undesirable abundance.

This may be too tall an order for the present-day Indian society and its political community. Some may even describe this wish as a utopia. Yet, that does not stop us from highlighting this expectation in clear words. As a newspaper caring all the time for public good, we insist that India’s public discourse must rise to higher zones where a sublime sense of togetherness despite disagreement on issues becomes our religion.