A brief history of the past 70 years

The Hindu, March 22, 2017
A brief history of the past 70 years*
Pulapre Balakrishnan

"The midnight reminder
While the Congress’s leadership has said little publicly on its defeat in U.P., some of its spokespersons exhibited a thoughtfulness on television soon after when they spoke of a need to reflect deeply on the inability of the party to come up with a winning formula, so to speak. If the party ever gets down to such an exercise seriously, it need do nothing more than study Nehru’s conduct as Prime Minister. And they could make no better a start than to listen to his public address at midnight on August 14, 1947. There, between the weary voice and measured cadence, members of today’s Congress party would find a purpose worth reclaiming. Nehru had spoken of independence as essentially an opportunity for “end(ing of) poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.” There is clarity in this, for Nehru could see that without it Independence would amount to no more that replacing a colonial autocracy with a native one.

It is interesting that while even “prosperity” makes an appearance later in the speech ‘secularism’ is altogether missing from it. Does this mean that Nehru was somehow lacking in commitment to it? Not even his most ardent critics would dare propose this. Or can it be said that Nehru could afford to not foreground secularism in a way that the Congress must today as the climate has changed considerably since? Hardly. Nehru was speaking even as communal violence enacted a deathly dance around him. And his subsequent actions speak not only for where he stood vis-à-vis the question of the role of religion in the nascent republic but also of the role of the government in ensuring the safety of India’s Muslims post Partition. Eyewitness accounts speak of him as a man possessed haranguing roving gangs of Hindus seeking revenge on Delhi’s streets in August 1947."
Relevance of history*

This refers to Pulapre Balakrishna n’s  well-researched article “A brief history of the past 70 years”(The Hindu, March 22). To comprehend the happenings in India during the last seven years which will rewrite the hitherto projected future of this country for the next seventy years, a clear understanding of the content of this article is essential. The developments from the India Against Corruption(IAC) movement led by Arvind Kejriwal to installation of Yogi Adityanath a mahant as Chief Minister of the largest state have their roots in the continuous neglect of the spirit of Indian Constitution.
The deep-rooted communal divide has a history as old as independent India.
The British handed over India to Indian National Congress and that party’s pre-independence clout made it difficult for any opposition party think in terms of coming to power until there was a  real crisis of leadership in Congress. Congress also failed to earn the confidence and respect of Muslims who opted to remain in India and allowed separate organisations to grow to safeguard minority interests and even went ahead allowing separate Muslim-majority districts like Malappuram (in Kerala).
The era of the coalition-politics that followed left the electorate wondering whether there was any difference in ideologies of different political parties other than sharing power!  
Political parties like Muslim League prospered taking advantage of the neglect of minorities within other political parties. This is not to justify the present ‘aggressive’ stance of BJP on political issues, but to emphasize the point that the heavy price we are in the process of paying can be attributed to the neglect of the Preamble and Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution by those who were in charge of governance during the last seven decades.
Rampant corruption was a byproduct similar to the venom spit out by Kaliya during Palaazhimanthan, of the political system we allowed to flourish along with the democratic system of governance we accepted as Amrut. Let us watch the remaining story unfold.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
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