39 years ago this early morning in Bathinda was rudely woken up by Punjab Police, who came to arrest a Comrade, known as Professor. Professor also departed some time ago, but in 70’s when police repression was at its peak, he was arrested and taken to much notorious interrogation centre of Amritsar, known as ‘butcher house’ those days. How he faced those moments, story tries to depict that. This author has very few stories or poems to his credit, this story was published by eminent playwright of Punjab Gursharn Singh, who also edited literary journals-Samta and Sardal.
Has anything changed after lifting of emergency in March 1977, perhaps a lot, but not for better, perhaps for worse. Ruling classes have learnt their lessons, not to impose visible direct censorship on media, manage it! So media is finely being managed and it is so pliable and saleble item now! Middle class has grown bigger, information technology has transformed life a lot. Fattened and corrupted middle class has become a big bullwork to stop revolution. Working class, peasantry, agriculture labor, Dalits, Tribals, women are subjected to much worse repression. But middle class is allowed to print radical journals,which was not allowed during colonial regime, when even non radical nationalist journals/journalists were subjected to much bigger repression-arrests, jails etc.Situation is much grim with rightist religious fanatics are ruling the roast and holding political power, may resort to open fascism any time! Just posting the story to remember those days of 70’s:
Balwant Gargi is known for his plays and sketches of writers, but he wrote fiction as well. Here two of his writings are being introduced:, one already on the blog-Loha Kutt, on an earlier page.
- Sultan Razia, Punjabi play, Balwant Gargi, 2011 ed. Is ted. 1973, Navyug Publishers, Delhi, pages 74, price Rs. 100/
I am beginning the readings in year 2014 with this first book of the year. After joining in Central University in Bathinda, my interest in Razia Sultan grew, being imprisoned in fort here, which I knew from childhood, but never aware of its historicity. With the interest growing in history after leaving Bathinda in 1977, the return to the city, marks to revisit these historic monuments and their related history. Balwant Gargi, known as ‘The Bania of Bathinda’, wrote this play, but I never paid any attention, even when he was Professor of Eminence in Punjabi University Patiala for two years, appointed by then VC J S Puar. But reading his play on Razia gives satisfaction at two levels-remembering Balwant Gargi, iconic Punjabi writer from Bathinda, now being forgotten and going through Razia Sultan time events. Bathinda fort, now renamed as Razia Sultan fort, spoiled in between by Patiala kings, is more than one thousand years old, constructed perhaps during king Anangpal time, gone through many different kingdoms, Bhatti kings as well. The region may not be called Punjab in those early times, could be Sindh or Rajsthan or any other name. I have with me Mewa Ram’s huge Hindi novel of the same title-Sultan Razia-plan to read that too later.
Razia Sultan was the first queen of India in 13th century. Daughter of Sultan Alatmash or Ilatitmash, she was favourite of her father, whose sons were spoiled and his servant turned wife Shah Turkan was bent upon getting her son Rukan ud din made king, when king was on his dyeing bed and was not able to speak up his successor, he was trying to utter ‘Razia’, but was not able to do so. Later Rukan ud din was pronounced king, but he remained drunk and enjoyed women, not paying any attention to administration, which was misused by his mother, who was too cruel towards people and got even 12 year old innocent brother of Razia-Kutab ud din killed. Razia rebelled and she had support in Altunia and her brother in law Gyasudin Balban, powerful feudal lords of the kingdom. Altunia wanted to marry her, but Razia, fiercely independent woman refused. Turkan, Rukan du din were killed in revolt and Razia was pronounced queen, but her path was full of thorns. She tried to be a benevolent queen, treating all citizens equally. She gave rights to black race warrior Yakut, with whom she fell in love too, which angered her supporters like Balaban and Altunia. Many of her regional lords rebelled, some of which she forgave also, but they again cheated her and stabbed her in the back. She came towards Bathinda, where Altunia was her appointed governor, who also joined rebellion. Yakut was killed and she was imprisoned in Bathinda fort, later she along with Altunia moved towards Delhi to reclaim her kingdom, but was killed on the way unknown and unsung, Altunia also being killed. She was buried in Delhi as per her desire. Behram Shah, her half brother became king. This is the event line depicted by Gargi in his play dedicated to Surekah Sikri and Manohar Singh-famous actors of National School of Drama in seventies. The play was staged in Urdu language by Ibrahim Alkazi and was later published. Gargi made revisions in the play after its stage production and wrote its introduction in Punjabi on 15th June 1973. Gargi mentioned in introduction that he had his childhood playing near the fort of Bathinda, where Razia was said to be imprisoned and which was scaring for child Gargi. He had different image of Razia, which was shattered after reading history of the period, which was a saga of betrayals, mutual killings of courtier lords.
Balwant Gargi in his interpretive historical play had also echoed today’s talk of ‘Aam Aadmi’-commom man, where Razia talks of fighting corruption and cruelty of her predecessors and ruling like aam aadmi, which of course she fails and meets a tragic end.
2. Kakka Reta’(Dry Sand), a Punjabi novel, Balwant Gargi, 1993 ed., Navyug Press, Delhi, pages 100, price 70/ rupees
This novel’s reference I got recently in context of Bathinda life. First book of the year in Bathinda, I read was Punjabi play Razia Sultan by Balwant Gargi and it is now his this novel, whose first publication is difficult to identify, as Indian languages publishers have this bad practice of not mentioning first or earlier editions, only the present edition year is mentioned, which is at least 25-30 years later date.
This is autobiographical novel of the writer, even name of hero, main character is kept as Balwant, whose life from early schooling of 2nd, or third class until Matriculation is depicted. Balwant studies in Bathinda and his mother’s place is at Tapa, where his grand maternal mother and maternal uncle live and where he visits in summer vacations and get the feel of first innocent love with an agricultural labourer’s daughter Rummy, who just spend few days together in vacation period, just roaming aimlessly, enjoying each other’s company. This is when he had passed eighth class exam, could be of 14 years or so and the girl may be of 12-13 years. And when he stops for a day after doing Xth class and going to join college in Patiala and stops for a day at Tapa , he gets the news that Rummy was married some time ago and no more lives there. He goes for a walk to her side, but could not meet even her father Raju, who is away to his brother’s place. Such melancholically incidents happen in most lower middle class families in early years and the literature recreates these sensitively. Krishan Baldev Vaid’s novel Uska Bachpan like novels are little more focused on this theme. Balwant Gargi has depicted school atmosphere of those days, with teachers being a terror for students, in home and around in pre partition Punjab healthy atmosphere of boys-girls playing together, even all communities children playing together. Gargi has dedicated novel to his mother, whose abuses he accepts as flow of butter…Malwai language of Bathinda region is again very fascinating. Some words may have even gone out of usage now-like “Jhagga’(Shirt), The novel is realist also in terms of depicting social reality. Balwant’s aunt dies of burns after giving birth to a male child and uncle marries few weeks after rituals are over. Presence of Bhua-father’s sister and her affection for her nephews is another interesting feature. Fairs and those of animal fairs were also regular feature of rural/semi urban life, which brought cheer for children etc. are narrated. The novel has been titled as Bathinda’s geographical feature, as the region being close to Rajasthan, had lot of sand hills and area’s defining feature. Now these hills are nowhere to be seen. This is not one of great novels, but interesting and region specific!
It was perhaps on 23rd March 1969, when I attended Bhagat Singh martyrdom day memorial meeting in Public Library Bathinda. The meeting was organised by CPI and conducted by District secretary Joginder Singh Bhasin. Editor of well known Punjabi literary monthly journal Preetlari, Navtej Singh was the key speaker. Probably I also spoke with some emotion, which impressed them. I was trying my hand at translation in those days by transllating in Punjabi from Manmathnath Gupt’s Hindi book-Bharat Ke Krantikari, which cost in those days just one rupees, now its price is 100/rupees. Manmathnath Gupt himself was famous revolutionary convicted in Kakori case in 1927 for life imprisonment. I used to buy Hind Pocket Books of nine rupees by paying eight rupees as Book Club member of Hind Pocket Books Delhi. I had become a member of Public Library Rampura Phul, my home town in 1964 and started my reading from Premchand’s Godan novel in May 1964. Since then I was avid reader of Hindi books. Since I was impressed by this book, so I wished to translate it in Punjabi for readers of my mother tongue.
Preetlari was started in 1933 by eminent Punjabi prose writer Gurbux Singh Preetlari, who still was chief editor and his son Navtej, himself a good short story writer was editor and CPI activist. He invited me to send the translation to Preetlari and when I sent first piece, to my pleasant surprise it was published in September 1969 issue of the same year. It gave me immense pleasure and encouragement for further writings. I translated all the 16 or 18 sketches of Indian revolutionaries from this book and these were published within next two years in different Punjabi journals like Aarsee, Nawan Sahit , Jagriti and all of these were serialized in Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Jalandhar journal, edited by Baba Gurmukh Singh Lalton in those days. Unfortunately all the issues of Desh Bhagat Yaadan were lost by me and I could not recover it even from Jalandhar, Desh Bhagat Hall also lost these, due to perhaps police terror in those days in the name of crushing Naxalites. Now I am left with only five of these sketches, published during 1969-71 in various journals, which I shall share here. This very first one is being posted today. I will digitize all my publications in journals in due time.
- Loha Kutt, Punjabi play, Balwant Gargi, 2011 ed., Ist ed. 1950, Navyug Press <Delhi, Pages 58, Price 75/Rupees,
This is one of Balwant Gargi’s most known plays, which was first written in 1944 and staged. This was not allowed by Gurbax Singh to be staged at Preetnagar theatre, being ‘not moral’ as per Gargi’s introduction to 1950 edition of the play. Prof. Mohan Singh liked play and he published it with pleasure. Play was first broadcast by Lahore radio and Iqbal Mohammad played the role of its main character Kaku Lohar(ironsmith). Like today, iron-smith association as damaging representation of their class objected to it, but they did not create social tension like today, they were convinced with writer’s justification. Gargi wrote another forward for 1991 edition of play and wrote last forward for 1998 edition, when he was Professor of eminence at Punjabi University Patiala. In this forward Gargi refers to Malwai language being part of his bones. His first play was ‘Bebe’ in 1943. The play is written by inspiration from real incident of Gargi’s village. A blacksmith’s wife had run away with his lover after 19 years of marriage. Gargi has woven two real incidents into one in the play. Baino, the young girl of the play was daughter of some other person, a beautiful girl who ran away with her lover. Santi, Kaku’s wife also ran away with his lover after 19 years of marriage, Gargi liked both the women, despite negative feudal chatting in village about both. Gargi in his play made Baino daughter of Kaku and Santi, who ran away with her lover Sarban after her father, fixed her marriage. She rebels and confronts her father boldly. Kaku in the play murders her and buries in the house. Santi who had loved Gajjan in her youth and who still lives in the same village, one-day rebels and runs away with Gajjan. Gargi recreates the story with some imagination. He does not run after Santi and kills her, rather he reconciles and just lives with his son. He is drunkard and oppressor of Santi and her daughter, First Baino, his daughter rebels and then Santi. While incident may be real, but the dialogues of Santi are intellectualized by Gargi and are not spontaneous. Overall play is good and effective. It is divided into three acts and six scenes. It has characters like Kaku, Santi, Baino, Deepa his son of 12 years, Gajjan, Bachni, Banso and his friends. The action is around 1944 in some village of Malwa . The whole play at Kaku’s Bhathi iron. Gargi became major writer of Punjabi after the success of this play.
- Plassey se Vibhajan Tak:Adhunik Bharat ka Itihas, Shekhar Bandopadhyay, Hindi translation of original English book, Hindi translation-Naresh Nadeem, Orient Longman (Now Blackswam), Ist ed. 2007, pages 566, Price 188/rupees.
This is Hindi translation of Shekhar Bandopadhyay’s English text book prepared for New Zealand. The historian is teaching in Victoria University Wellington in New Zealand. He has delineated History of India under British colonialism, from 1757 Plassey war to 1858 under East India Company and then from 1858 to 1947 under direct British colonial rule. This is history of Indians struggles against British colonial rule. The struggle which is just not Indian National Congress story, but all struggles, some of which hardly find reference in history text books. Book has been translated by experienced translator Naresh Nadeem.
Book is divided into eight chapters, apart from that; there are five maps of different times, introduction, terminology, Postscript, appendix-Time span of British rule in India, References and Index.
In his introduction, writer has acknowledged Sumit Sarkar’s ‘Modern India’ as his reference point for writing this book. David Hardiman, S R Mehrotra Ian Capland etc. have also impressed the writer. Writer has been teaching in Kolkata University before moving to Wellington.
Writer begins his story from focusing on Transition period of 18th century in first chapter. He refers to establishment of Moghul empire in 1526 by Babur, reaching its zenith during period of Akbar and slides to down fall after the death of last great Mogul emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. Within fifty years of Aurangzeb’s death, India came into control of East India company, who got license to trade in India from Moghul king Jehangir in 1613 after establishing factory in Surat in 1612. Bengal, Hyderabad and Awadh were three main Moghul centres after disintegration of Moghul kingdom’s central rule. Sirajudaula who assumed Murshidabad throne in 1756, was defeated and killed by East India company with treachery support of Mir Jafar in 1757 and started ruling India from inside. During East India company period, there had been lot of wars, which include Panipat’s third great war of 1761, when aggressor Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked India. Maratha rulers like Shivaji had been fighting Moghul empire earlier. In Punjab British could enter at the last. Ranjit Singh established Khalsa Raj in 1809, which continued for forty years till 1849, when in second Anglo-Sikh war, British won. In South Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan had free Mysore state till 1799, when British defeated Tipu and killed him. With 1764 victory in Buxar battle, British controlled whole East India. French controlled Pudduchery and Chandernagar and Portuguese controlled Goa, all other parts of India came under British rule till 1947.
In second chapter-British colonial power in India, writer elaborates the gradual control of British in India. They established Calcutta Madrassa in 1781, Royal Asiatic Society in 1784, Sanskrit College Benares in 1794. Fort William College in Calcutta was set up in 1800. Different land revenue systems were in practice during British period-Permanent Settlement, Rayyatwari, Mahalwari etc. Police system was put into practice in 1800 or so. East India company recruited Indian army also from 1757 onward under its control. Indian civil service also began during 1780-1830,leading to ICS in 1892, with a little number of Indians in it. 20 to 30 lakh people died in 1943 Bengal drought. Railways came up after 1853.During British period, Indian industry developed in Jute and textiles after 1920’s
In third chapter Shekhar begins to focus on Early Indian response: reform and rebellion. Orientalism is related to Warren Hastings. British education in India started by charity schools in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras in early 1800. Press was also set up by Christian missionaries in that period for printing Bible in Indian languages.languages. Rammohan Roy worked for English education in 1825 in Kolkata and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan by setting Scientific society in Aligarh in 1864. Derizio proclaimed atheist in Calcutta . Pandita Ramabai in 1870 in Maharashtra reforms. Brahmo samaj in 1828 in Bengal, split many times. Arya Samaj in 1875 by Dayanand.
Tribal-peasant revolts- 1799-1805-Palagar revolt in South , Vellu Thampi in Travancore in 1800-, Rangpur revolt in Bengal in 1783, Sanyasi revolt 1763-1800, Titu Mir in 1831, 1855-56-Santhal-Hul revolt,leading to 1857 revolt-crushed brutally.
Fourth chapter is based on The rise of Indian Nationalism-Dinabandhu Mitra play Neel Darpan in 1860.Peasant revolts against money lenders-1907-Ajit Singh Lala Lajpat Rai movement, 1885-Congress set up by AO Hume.
Fifth chapter is- Early Nationalism: Resentment and Resistance-1893-Nagri Pracharini Sabha in Benares, Ganpati puja by Tilak in Pune from 1894, Shiva ji festival from 1896. Theosophical society set up in 1882. Singh Sabha in Amritsar in 1873, Bal-Lal-Pal politics, Bengal partition-1905-swadeshi movement-1905-11-partition annulled, Congress split in 1907. Terrorism story from 1902 in Bengal, from 1897 in Maharashtra with Chapekar brothers. Muslim population in India 20% in 1881-1855-first Mohemedan association-Anjumane Islami between 1907-9-Muslim leagues in all states.
Sixth chapter-The age of Gandhian Politics –Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 and took over Indian leadership in 1920, after Tilak’s death. In 1918-19, due to drought one crore 20 lakh to 30 lakh people died. Indian Opinion, Young India and Harijan papers of Gandhi. Khilaft for Hindu-Muslim unity. AITUC in 1920 in Bombay. 1922 non-cooperation movement. 88 communal riots during 1923-27. 1931 Irwin-Gandhi agreement controversy. Govt. Of India act 1935, 1937 elections-Congress majority in five out of 11 provinces-Madras, Bihar, Odisa, United Province and Central Province. Bombay-Bengal also close, ministries in 8 states
Seventh chapter-Different voices of Indian Nation-Indian Muslim League in 1906, in 1924-Hindu Mahasabha. Rehmat Ali in 1933-Pakistan with four provinces-Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan. Independent Labour Party by Ambedkar in 1936.
Eighth and last chapter is Freedom with Partition-Congress Socialists and Communists’s impact, Kisan Sabha adopted Red flag in 1937.Working class movement. INA movement, Navy revolt-1946. Partition time-80% foreign investment, 25% trade with Britain.
I got this film perhaps two years or more ago and was wishing to see, yet could see two hours film only today. The film has been so touching and inspiring that I wonder how I am ignoring my strong desire to watch films and read-just wasting time of face book or other social sites. The film based on Che’s famous book of same title-Motorcycle Diaries, was made in 2004 by Walter Salles in Spanish with subtitles in English and other languages. The roles of Che Guevara and Alberto his friend have been played by Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna. Both friends started their 14 thousand plus kilometer journey in 1952 from Argentine to Venezuela, crossing Chile, Brazil, Peru, Columbia and more of Latin America. Che was 23 years old and celebrates his 24th birthday with lepers of Sao Pablo by swimming dangerous river in the midnight. Alberto, biochemist and Ernesto, a medical student start their journey of 500 wat motorcycle-Poderosa, which breaks down in Chile and they had to drop it there and move on walking or hitch hiking to reach Sao Pablo leper colony in Peru. They had fun on the way, but film and life takes serious turn when they come across Communist couples, indigenous people whose lands had been snatched by corporate. All these experiences change Che and he becomes revolutionary after his return from this journey. The climax of the film is swimming of dangerous river by asthmatic Che on his birthday night to be with lepers on other side. The first political speech made by Che at the farewell given by Doctors and patients of Sao Pablo, he focuses upon essential unity of whole South America and regrets division in smaller countries, the view held earlier by Bolivar! In one scene of the film, Che is pretty bad condition because he is not able to get asthma control injection for him in due time.
Che is shown in love with Chichina on first leg of his tour, later Alberto is shown enjoying the company of woman, but the main focus of the film is on the sensitivity of Che towards poor and struggling people. How they refuse to wear gloves and shake hands with leprosy patients shows their sensitivity towards humanity. A very touching and inspiring film, must watch! Film shows real Alberto at 80+ age living in Habana with his family, he was invited by Che, by then Commandant of Cuban revolution, who comes and establishes a hospital in Cuba. Alberto died quite recently in last 2-3 years at mature age of 90+. He was to celebrate his 30th birthday in Caracas in Venezuela on 8th August 1952, he hides his real birthday to pretend 2nd April to ‘motivate’ the early completion of journey, they could reach Venezuela capital in July end only, where Alberto reveals his real birth date, which Che responds by saying that he knew it before!
It is just third film, I watched in first five months of the year!
Yesterday I posted this post in a bit of spur of moment. I have been reading Balwant Gargi’s novel and play and linking my stay to Bathinda, while writing it extended to Malwa, but then I left out some references, now I wish to fill some gaps in this memoir of early days linked to present. It was in 1972, we organised Punjabi Sahit Sabha in home town Rampura Phul,after I returned from Panjab University Chandigarh after competing my M.A. in Hindi and getting connected to many writers of Punjabi and Hindi. Prem Prakash once conducted a discussion in my hostel room with Mohan Bhandari, Bhushan, Gurbux Soch and me for Lakeer, which was published in that very year. Punjabi Sahit Sabha remained active till emergency in 1975 and some time later too, though I had left Rampura Phul. We did many activities through Sabha,one of main activities was holding anti fascist writers conference on the occasion of Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, whom we called unregistered those days, the other older was registered one. Dr. Surinder Singh Dosanjh was its main leader and I was one of the secretaries. We held unity talks with other Sabha,which was represented by Jaswant Singh Kanwal and two more writers.I along with Prem Prakash and one more writer had represented unregistered Sabha. Unity formula signed by six of us was published in Sardal perhaps.Sardal had brought out a special issue on Punjabi Sahit Sabha Rampura Phul as well, which carried poems from Ranbir Dhir(on face book now), Bhura Singh Kaler, Attarjeet, Boota Ram etc. Labh Singh Kheeva was also part of the Sabha then. Perhaps it can be said that Attarjeet, Boota Ram, Bhura Singh Kaler and few more good writers of today are product of this Sabha. Those days Barnala was known for its two literary organisations and Tapa also had active Sabha with C. Markanda. In Mansa also, Likhari Sabha has become active. Ajmer Aulakh was spirit of Sabha there, which later brought to focus Ram Singh Chahal, Bhikhi and more writers. While writing about Malwai writers yesterday, I skipped Aulakh and Mansa writers, reminded by Surinder Chahal. Incidentally those were the days, when Hem Jyoti was most popular radical literary journal and we all were attached to it. Later with political alignment Punjabi Sahit Sabhiachar Manch was formed, which included Amarjit Chandan, Waryam Sandhu, Surender Hemjyoti, Ajmer Aulakh,Pash, Niranjan Dhesi, Boota Ram, myself and many more. I remember its 3-4 meetings held at Niranjan Dhesi, Pash, Ajmer Aulakh and my place in Rampura Phul. I am including Ajmer Aulakh among major Malwai writers produced in Bathinda, Faridkot, Mansa and Sangrur districts. Mansa and Faridkot were part of Bathinda district in 70’s
While now about six month stay in Bathinda, after a gap of four decades, I am fascinated towards reading Balwant Gargi-called Bathinde da Baniya, though not born in Bathinda, he spent his early life in Bathinda town of 18 thousand people, as he himself describes prior to 1947. He was born in Shehna village near Tapa Mandi, incidentally Devender Satyarthi another Punjabi stalwart was also born in same village, though he is linked to nearby village Bhadaur. At one time we linked Tapa Mandi to Punjabi poet C Markanda. Two more writers of my area have earned fame. Laltu Hindi writer, who never lived in his village Mandi Kalan, lived mostly in Kolkata. Attarjit, again from Mandi Kalan near Rampura Phul. But four writers which have become classic are-Gurdial Singh, living in nearby Jaitu Mandi, Satyarthi, Balwant Gargi, and Gurbachan Bhullar, born in Pitho village near Rampura Phul. Satyarthi and Gargi are no more. But I had the pleasure of meeting both. Satyarthi once in Punjabi University Patiala long ago, when he was living in a hostel with some student.Gargi many times in Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University Patiala, where he was made Professor of Eminence for two years, I visited even his Kasturba Gandhi house, where he lived in Delhi for long. Perhaps once met his American wife Jeanie too. With Gurdial Singh and Gurbachan Bhullar, though elder in age from me, but can claim friendship also, due to very long association. With Gurdial Singh used to take walk in the evenings at Jaitu, when I spent some tine there.I translated his novel Kuvela in Hindi in those days. With Gurbachan Bhullar, I kept regular contact in Delhi. Suddenly my own language Malwai has attracted me a lot,so fascination for reading Gargi is fascination for my own Malwai as well Read two of his books in last two days-Novel-Kakka Reta-Dry Sand and famous play written in way back 1944-Loha Kutt. He wrote a play on First Indian queen imprisoned in Bathinda fort-Razia Sultan also.
Random thoughts on 16th Lok Sabha Elections
By 10 am on 16th May 2014, the whole country was almost shaken by the trend of results. Not only that all the exit polls were proving correct, the results were even going beyond what was predicted. Chankya exit poll result was widely considered of the mark, but that was proving to be nearest the mark. Narender Modi had swept the polls beyond any doubt and Congress, left, JD-U etc. had been swept away in the wind. Except that Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab proved to stop the Modi wind, all other places just went Modi way. Yes Jaya in Tamilnadu, Naveen in Odisa and Mamta in Bengal saved their fortresses, but in Bengal, Communists got swept away and BJP got 17%+ votes, shaking everyone. How and why it happened?
Congress party had unexpectedly won 2009 elections without support from left parties, rather left had lost much ground to Mamta and Congress in West Bengal. Between 2009 and 2014 Congress pursued neo liberal policies with much more vigour than during 2004-09. Social welfare measures like MANREGA and RTI etc. had been brought during earlier 2004-09 phase. In 2009-14 phase Congress did not take any social welfare measures, nor passed Women’s reservation or Lokpal acts like popular measures. Worse still, Congress and allies ministers indulged in unabashed corruption, scandals were the news all through. Anna Hazare started movement against it in 2011, which went through many phases. Arvind Kejriwal was his chief lieutenant, but the movement got on its board all sorts of forces-BJP minded people were there in large numbers-V K Singh, Kiran Bedi, Ramdev etc. were all trying to pull different strings. December 2012 Delhi rape case issue exploded into mass movement led by leftist forces, but resulted in strengthening rightist forces. The stringent laws, shrill cries for fansi do fansi do…Kill kill became the order of the day, despite left forces principally being against capital punishment. Arvind Kejriwal had group of young people with him, which created mass appeal among youth but different from BJP. Old socialists, leftist groups joined Kejriwal platform, which got a political shape in the form of Aam Aadmi Party. Things were fast moving and Delhi assembly elections held in charged atmosphere and AAP sprang big political surprise by reaching almost half way mark in assembly. Arvind Kejriwal inflicted crushing defeat on Shiela Dikshit, the most popular Congress face in Delhi for last 15 years. AAP upset BJP apple cart too, who were just ready to hold the reins of Delhi. Congress played smart games by offering support AAP, who were also got into bind. In an abusive political atmosphere, AAP formed government with Congress support. On one side they were dependent on Congress for survival, on the other they were attacking Congress govt.’s misdeeds aggressively. Result was not unexpected. Govt. did not complete even 50 days in office, neither AAP wanted to get more time. General elections were announced for whole of the country and AAP jumped into the fray in big way. Though AAP was strong in Delhi, somewhat in Haryana, yet its Punjab unit brought more pleasant surprise for it.
When Manmohan Singh Govt. sent an ordinance to protect convicted MP’s to President for promulgation, Rahul Gandhi in impromptu press conference spoke in tearing away the ordinance, insulting Prime Minister in public in September end, just seven months before general elections.. Though ordinance was controversial and deserved to be withdrawn, but Rahul Gandhi’s immature or churlish conduct made the weakened Congress even paralyzed. So with onslaught from BJP media blitzkrieg and AAP’s rise in Delhi made Congress more vulnerable. And the way corporate world pumped money in these elections that was unheard before. Narender Modi ran his campaign aggressively in very professional manner and a big social media team was working for him. Congress was almost in stupor condition and only resistance to BJP blitzkrieg was coming from AAP, who put up candidates in 434 constituencies, more than BJP, but less than Congress party. Regional satraps were strong in case of Tamilnadu, Seemandhra, Telengana, Odisa and Bengal, but swept away in UP and Bihar, proving BJP strategy to succeed. The whole north and western region was BJPied in big way, even when the ruling parties were different there. UP, Bihar and Maharashtra with more than 150 seats betrayed their regional players and went away with Modi phenomenon. AAP by spreading itself too widely lost the chance to work in similar constituencies. Mamta in West Bengal reduced left to just two seats from almost 30+ at one time. Only Punjab proved to be an exception in this overwhelmingly BJPied scenario. Aam Aadmi Party which could have performed well at least in Delhi and Haryana got to zero, yet in Punjab, they proved their mettle. Here the anti incumbency was at two levels. People were against Congress party, but they were against Moditva forces, particularly Akali party because of their high handed behaviour against peasants, workers and other working classes. The drug menace spread by Drug mafia made Punjab common people angrier with Akalis, than corruption menace. People believed that Drug mafia was patronised from Akali party bosses themselves. Incidents of crimes like abducting young girls and forcibly marrying to some Akali goon also angered people to no small extent. Earlier Congress party also had indulged in such crimes. So AAP proved to be an attractive alternative here, which turned into their unexpected electoral success. Aam Aadmi Party put up candidates for almost all seats in Punjab, but was successful in four constituencies. It was close to victory in two other constituencies as well. Akali-BJP (NDA) combine could secure respectable victory only in case of Vinod Khanna and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, whose lead crossed one lakh votes in Gurdaspur and Khadoor Sahib. From Congress side only Amrinder Singh could have lead of one lakh votes against Arun Jaitley of BJP. In other ten seats-AAP scored highest lead of 2 lakh plus votes in Sangrur constituency from where Bhagwant Mann won against veteran Akali leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, relegating Congress MP Vijay Inder Singla to third position. Prof. Sadhu Singh of AAP again scored an impressive victory with second highest margin of one lakh and seven two thousand plus votes against Akali candidate Paramjit Kaur Gulshan. Akali Dal’s victory in Bathinda constituency of now minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, daughter in law of the chief minister is not only shallow by just 19 thousand votes, but this victory has a shadow of muscle and money used in abundance. Highest no. of complaints of buying of votes have come from Bathinda constituency and many polling and presiding officers have in private confirmed so. In many villages, voters did not come to vote till late in evening and they came only after they were able to secure big price of their votes from ruling party candidate’s agents around. Had the elections been free and fair from money and state power/muscle power use, nephew of Chief Minister Manpreet Singh Badal would have comfortably won. Manpreet Badal made a political miscalculation also in choosing Congress party support and not acceding to his own Punjab People’s Party (PPP) request to go with Aam Aadmi Party, which could have got him tremendous goodwill and support and neutralized the money/muscle power impact of Akalis. The victory margin of Prem Singh Chandumajra (Akali), Vijay Sampla (BJP-the lowest margin of 13 thousand) was almost on losing side. So was Ravneet Bittu(Congress)’s victory margin from Ludhiana against H S Phoolka of AAP, of just 19 thousand plus. Only AAP candidate with less victory margin was of Dr. Dharamveer Gandhi from Patiala, who defeated Parneet kaur-three time MP and two time minister by 20 thousand plus votes. But Dr. Gandhi’s victory was historic in the sense that he won from a seat, considered fully safe for Patiala royal family as was Bathinda seat considered safe for neo royal family of Badals.
In these elections NDA as a whole touched 334 seat mark and BJP alone got full majority by securing 282 seats alone, ten seats more than simple majority. Earlier it was in 1977, when Janta Party secured 345 seats with its allies, 298 alone with 43+% vote share and with 51% total vote share, first time in electoral history of India that some party crossed the benchmark of 50% vote share. But in 2014, though NDA score is 334 seats, vote share is just 31% or so. In 1977 elections Janta Party was formed with merging of many parties-Indian Lok Dal, Bhartiya Jansangh, Swantantra Party, many factions of Socialist Party, breakaway faction of Congress party led by Jagjivan Ram. 2014 election results are someway culmination of process started from 1977 Janta Party experiment. Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishan Advani were made ministers with plum portfolios in that year. All other merged parties were put off by Vajpayee-Advani RSS connections and they were forced to quit the government or leave RSS. They chose RSS and today RSS achieved its mission of achieving power in India through Narender Modi ace. Parties which were part of Janta Party kept on splitting and some parties became state level parties like Biju Janta Dal in Odisa or RJD in Bihar, Janta Dal (U) in Bihar, Janta Dal (Secular) in Karnatka etc. Since all Janta Dal kept on splitting again and again, RSS kept on keeping its house in order and achieved big success in 1998-99, by forming Bhartiya Janta Party from erstwhile Jansangh and getting allies like Shiv Sena, closest to RSS Hindutva agenda, but some secular state formations also like Telugu Desam, Akali Dal, DMK or AIDMK etc. While in 1999 elections BJP needed hundred more MP’s from other parties to form Government, in 2014, they on their own scored absolute majority and don’t need other parties support. Yet due to diversity of the country and their seats limited to North and Western/Central regions of the country with few no. of seats/influence in South, East and North East, they need to keep allies with them, even if they don’t need them for numbers.
2014 election results have brought into centre focus many burning issues. The issue of scoring vote share and scoring seats. Parties like BSP with 4% vote share drew blank, where as AIDMK with 3.3% share got 37 seats or Mamta in Bengal got 34 seats with 3.8% vote share. In many countries, including Nepal nearby, there is a system of proportionate representation in parliament on the basis of vote share, which perhaps is more democratic in nature. Another frightening aspect of these elections is culmination of money and muscle power pumped by corporate houses in the elections. Gone are the days of early sixties, when candidates will move on cycles, walk through to home after home, hold meetings in Mohallas, villages, towns with meager resources and try to instill some kind of consciousness among voters. It was a kind of creating political awareness among electorates and they chose candidates with some conviction. There were no waves in elections prior to 1977 elections, not even when Indira Gandhi won handsomely in 1971 with the slogan of ‘Garibi Hatao’! 1977 elections can be said which created a wave among electorates, that too a silent wave. Nobody imagined such humiliating defeat for Indira Gandhi and her party, but that was a real protest wave among Indian people, who suffered at the hands of state oppressive machinery and more so Sanjay Gandhi’s fascist methods, which have somewhat now acquired by his son with BJP tag, a rightful place for the legacy! Janta Party started a process, which gone through many phases of non Congress rule at different times, but 2014 has proved the culmination of that process. Janta Party was combination of different contradictory political forces brought under one umbrella by Jai Prakash Narayan, due to compulsions of the time. But this umbrella created a respectable space for Jansangh/RSS, who had strong organisational network throughout the country, but little acceptability among liberal minded Indians. By joining Janta Party and serving in the Morarji Desai Government on powerful positions, RSS laid down ground for long term goals of one day reaching the thrown of India. With Janta Party getting into splitting mode, Jansangh party of RSS took the shape of Bhartiya Janta Party in 1980 and won only two seats in 1984 elections but scored nearly 8% of the votes. RSS and Sangh Parivar of Bajrang Dal, Vishav Hindu Parishad like organisations started polarizing Indian society on the base of Hindutva plank. In 1992 Lal Krishan Advani took Rath Yatra throughout the country for polarising society to build Ram Temple at the place where Babri Masjid stood since 1528. And Sangh Parivar succeeded in destroying Babri Masjid, with complicity of Congress Prime Minister Narsimha Rao. That laid the foundation stone of 2014 BJP success. Congress party had abandoned Nehruvian secular model during Indira Gandhi period itself. Daughter of an agnostic scholar Nehru, Indira Gandhi started appeasing religious bosses of all religions, but more of Hindu religion. Rajiv Gandhi went a step further and not only opened the gates of so called Ram Lalla, but appeased Muslim fundamentalists as well in Shah Bano case, after his massive victory in 1984, thus completely destroyed Nehru vision of India. Sanjay Gandhi had shown his teeth during 1975-77 emergency periods, when criminality was made respectable inside Congress party courtesy Sanjay Gandhi, the early face of fascism in India. Rajiv Gandhi did not encourage such elements but neither he could get rid of such elements in the party. Congress party’s such misdeeds were helping RSS and Sangh Parivar to expand its hold over society.
Post 1990 or even after Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980, neo-liberalism has entered Indian socio-economic conditions of India, with 1991 Narsimha Rao government with Manmohanomics in centre focus it grew tremendously. Manmohan Singh’s academic and personal gentle status made its growth much deadlier. All post 1991 regimes, some of which had support of progressive left forces as well, have been serving the cause of spread of neo liberal economic policies with occasionally offering some social welfare steps like MNREGA scheme. Since 1984 massive Congress win, no party ruled India with absolute majority in Parliament till recent 2014 elections. Congress was still lucky to rule most of the period in these three decades, leaving just about one decade to opposition to rule under different heads. By 1996 BJP grew stronger and in 1998 it was able to come to power through-13 days, 13 months and 13 years formula, the last one failed to materialize, though it was sure of scoring majority under ‘India Shining’ campaign in 2004. 2004-2014 period under Congress party, crony capitalism combined with feudalism developed in its worst form and BJP and Congress were now partners in its development, despite being political rivals. The so called Gujarat model is nothing but the worst of crony corporate exploitation of working class and peasantry with sops to middle classes. In fact the phenomenon of corruption is by product of Corporate Crony capitalism, it is cut to middle classes offered by this corporate world. It hardly matters whether Congress party found itself at receiving end for this in 2014, in some other year BJP can face the same music in much worse form, as their allies in Punjab- Akalis face now.
It is estimated that 2014 elections may have been fought with 30 thousand crore rupees spent by major parties, most by BJP and Congress party. Some report says that BJP alone spent ten thousand crore dollars! It is estimated that BJP may have spent one thousand crore rupees on media itself and Congress may have spent half of this amount. Much more money has been spent in purchase of votes, which never get focused in media, as they have already received their cut. At least one hundred out of 543 seats won by all parties could have been won sheer with the money power of vote purchase, by any party, not just one, but the larger share by ruling parties. It is being said that for first time, elections in India have been fought on US style, where in last Presidential elections Obama and his opponent spent billions of rupees on electioneering. When so much money is pumped in elections and so effectively, where is the chance for parties like those of the left orientation, who can neither afford to spend so much money, nor can they reconcile with this style of elections sans all political awareness among electorate.
These elections have brought to the fore the Marxist understanding of the bourgeoisie elections. No illusion of democratic process can hide the real content of such bought up elections. So what is the way? Does the boycott of bourgeoisie election system help? It could help if people’s consciousness has risen to that level, when they can see through the reality, that situation has not yet risen up. Does the armed struggle led by Maoists help? It could, if they had expanded their base to the extent that they can assert hegemonic position in political balance of forces, also if they had established moral authority by their ideal social conduct, which could have impressed even their enemies. That situation also does not exist. Then what to do? Sit back and watch the macabre drama of Corporate-feudal oppressive exploitation of natural resources and of Indian working classes! Or find ways of resistance! Perhaps one way of resistance lies in fighting the battle on their terms too-that is demanding reforms in electoral system and fighting with their tools to reach people for resistance. Emphasis on building and nurturing strong mass organisations of different type or working people is a must, long neglected by left political forces. These mass organisations should be the core of democratic movements in reality, to influence decisions in Parliamentary system. These should function like ‘Occupy Movements’ throughout the world! The rotten election system or Parliamentary system could also be used to highlight its chinks and emphasis upon its reforms in its own terminology of democracy. One can demand proportionate representation of political parties/forces in Parliament on the basis of vote percentage and not by one vote one pass system. Secondly one could demand public funding of the election process and the complete ban on private electioneering. The whole election process may be conducted by election commission itself at official level. Public political meetings may be organised by inviting all candidates together to face the electorate to address and face questions. Complete ban on money spending by candidates is desirable to give a fair play and level playing ground to all candidates. A person with zero income has as much right to present him or herself for elections as a billionaire has. Both must be given the level playing ground to reach people and people should judge from their ideas, which can represent them best!
In a multi-cultural, multi religious, multi lingual and multi ethnic society like India, the exploitation of people’s emotions on the name of religion needs to be strictly prohibited. 2014 elections are the worst elections in India, in which the worst kind of propaganda and most indecent language has been used by candidates/parties. If this trend continues, the situation could turn explosive and there could be mass killings of people as was in Delhi or Gujarat in 1984 and 2002. It seems that Congress party cannot rise to the occasion for demanding these reforms, as it is the beneficiary and agent of bringing things to this pass. BJP will never want it, as it is through this game of religious polarization that it has reached at Delhi’s thrown. Rather it will fiercely resist any such reform demand. It is only socialist/communist/Dalits/Adivasi sections of society, who can demand such reforms and also a party like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who can try for leading such reform movements. Aam Admi Party is also combination of different conflicting forces as Janta Party was, but the difference is that AAP has more of liberal/progressive/socialist elements in it and lesser no. of RSS/Congress style people. If it takes lead in some direction the internal balance of forces will take shape and the excess baggage will be shed in due course and then perhaps it can acquire political space vacated by Congress, but it must not become another Congress. It should try to acquire the best from all political movements of the past and present, but must not become combination of conflicting ideologies. AAP can revive the broad socialist and scientific perspective of Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Subhas Bose, Lohia and Nehru and also appropriate progressive anti communal tradition of Gandhi and Jai Prakash Narain, but if it cannot even resurrect atheist assertion of Ambedkar, Nehru, Lohia and Bhagat Singh and fall in trap of religious forces to show off at temples, Gurdwaras and mosques, then I am doubtful of it performing any effective meaningful role of change in Indian society. Religious fundamentalists of all religions have crushed Indian society with their violent methods and any progressive political force must shed public appeasement of religion and religious forces. They can take few more years to take deep roots, but those roots will be stronger than roots taken with help of hypocritical appeasement of religious forces. Secular parties should learn from the appeasement of all religious groups by Congress and its outcome in BJP getting more and more strengthened, throwing Congress away. Even today at least Communist groups and BSP like parties don’t indulge in public display of going to temples, Gurdwaras etc. Why Arvind Kejriwal is doing so? If he comes to Punjab, why does not he goes to Bhagat Singh memorial to pay homage and begin his tour than starting from bowing to religious places? If he goes to Bengal, rather than visiting Kali Mandir, he should visit Subhas or Master Surya Sen memorial for paying homage. The golden rule of separating religion and politics must be the core principle of secular party like AAP. During 1998-2004 NDA rule, lot many Central and state Governments guest houses and offices have been filled with statues of Hindu deities. The Hindu religious practice of Bhoomi Pujan on the occasion of laying foundation stone for some building or ‘Saraswati Vandna’ and lighting of lamps on seminars even in left front rules states has already spoiled atmosphere. Consequently, now in Aligarh Muslim University or Jamia Milia Islamia or BHU Varanasi or Punjabi University Patiala and all Sanskrit institutions start seminars with different religious invocations, which does not leave good impression in international seminars with foreign delegates present.
Another issue is of archaic colonial laws still on statue book. When Arvind Kejriwal resisted offering personal undertaking or bond for release in defamation case or the way RSS supporter Dina Nath Batra is terrorizing even the international publishers like Penguins, Orient Blackswam, Oxford University Press etc. to bend and crawl before him to save their skin and money due to presence of Section 295A on law books, which is as draconian as is blasphemy law in Pakistan with same no., which can even hang a person! In all the noises of independence and ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speeches at midnight 15th August 1947, no body, neither the Constituent assembly bothered to look at 1861 Indian Penal Code(IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code(CRPC), which contains notorious Section 377 to harass sexually differently oriented people. Now when matters reach even Supreme Court, no political party or judges feel ashamed that the whole judicial system, which is so torturous and killing machine for poor people, is in fact legacy of colonial Raj, which none of the political parties attacked all these years, not even Communist/left parties, ruling for more than three decades in some states. Parties like Aam Aadmi Party can forcefully focus upon the chinks in Indian independence of 1947, given with legs of new nations tied to colonial laws, made to suppress freedom struggle! Incidentally Pakistan and Bangladesh continue with same laws that is the essential unity in pre 1947 land of undivided India! When Jai Prakash Narayan called his movement as second freedom struggle and now AAP says third or second freedom struggle again, unless they underline the continuation of colonial legacy in the form of colonial era laws kept in statue books without change or with much worse amendments to these! It simply proves Bhagat Singh’s observations to be correct that ‘it does not matter whether Lord Reading/Lord Irwin rules or Purushtom Das Thakkar/Tej Bahadur Sapru rules, if exploitative system is not smashed, there is no freedom for the common people-Aam Aadmi of the country’!
Actually the struggle for freedom continues from pre 1947 times to this day and all the phases and movements in post 1947 period also, in a way are continuation of trends emerging during pre-1947 freedom struggle. Indian National Congress started as platform to mediate between Indian people’s aspirations and British colonial masters until Lokmanya Tilak like leaders turned into a radical platform for freedom from British colonialism. Mahatma Gandhi on his return from South Africa took its leadership, but he got feudal landlords/Indian capitalists to poor peasants and workers on this platform, whose interests could not be reconciled with each other. Mahatma Gandhi tried to make it a multi religious platform as well and lot many Muslim leaders like Badshah Khan, Abul Kalam Azad and more remained part of it. But largely Muslims and Sikhs formed their own organisations and treated Congress party as Hindu party. Congress also became platform for many ideologies as well. From Feudalism to socialism-all trends were part of it. Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Bose represented socialist trend, whereas Purushotam Das Thakkar etc were representatives of Capitalist thought and system. Communists also joined Congress Socialist Party, even Bhagat Singh and Master Surya Sen like revolutionaries had some interactive links with Congress party, particularly with its left wing. This common but contradictory platform continued even during and after 1947. The liking of BJP for Patel is not out of place, Patel did represent the trend within Congress party, what BJP is openly representing now. Congress party may try to appropriate and defend Patel legacy for itself, but BJP certainly had more closeness to Patel ideologically. The kind of interests Rajendera Prasad and Patel represented in Congress and Nehru’s reluctance to take them head on, made Ambedkar so frustrated that he had to pull out of the Nehru Government.
Communists came out of Congress Socialist Party and worked in their own organisations, but Socialists came out only after 1947 and remained divided in many groups-Praja Socialist Party (PSP), Socialist Party, Sanyukat Socialist Party (SSP) etc., later they remained divided in various Janta Dal factions like JD (U), JD(S), Samta Party, RJD etc. Dr. Ambedkar formed Republican Party, which was also doomed to be divided in many factions. Kashi Ram and Mayavati succeeded in creating and keeping united under Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Comrades of Bhagat Singh and Master Suurya Sen and also Ghadar party activists joined largely in Communist movement and continued their struggles for people’s real freedom from exploitation and oppression.
Due to power sharing in Parliamentary system, many groups/parties and individuals of libertarian ideologies got corrupted with the crumbs of system, like Lalu, Mulayam Yadavs or Mayavati etc. Even Communists could not continue with their ideals that gave rise to frustration among youth and other people. This frustration took shape of rightist movements like Khalistan movement, Islamic Jehadis or Hindu terrorist movements on one side, Naxalite or various People progressive movements like Narmada Bachao Andolan etc. on other side. Aam Aadmi Party is also product of this churning process of political/social movements and it has become platform for honest idealist movements and individuals with different ideologies, but broadly progressive. Most of the young followers of AAP are ardent admirers of Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary ideas. The kick-start to the party in Delhi elections made it jump from its feet and lose touch with reality, which was set right during 16th Lok Sabha election results, which gave them mixed signals. On one side AAP got swept off everywhere, but on another Punjab gave its boost, even Delhi kept its hope alive, though no seat came from there. Lot many political blunders were committed by AAP leadership in impulsiveness and a to some extent arrogance of ‘Touch me not’ attitude. Still the rise of BJP as majority party and strengthening of Communal fascist tendencies in society, Congress party getting swept over, in fact AAP’s broom has hit Congress party hardest and indirectly helped BJP to gain tremendously, ironically AAP was the strongest critic of BJP. Congress party was hardest hit because AAP targeted it as a patron ruling party of corruption and other ills and by defeating it in Delhi, gave impetus to people elsewhere to treat it same way. But the essential difference was that in Delhi AAP could reap the benefits, elsewhere it was BJP, who reaped the crop of the ground prepared by AAP. Has AAP phenomenon not occurred, Congress would not have reached this pitiable condition, it could have got reduced to 150 or around, but not in such condition? People were already telling even in Delhi, that they may vote for AAP in Delhi, but they will vote for Modi at national level. I wonder how Yogender Yadav like expert psephologist could not read people’s mind accurately. While AAP by putting candidates in maximum seats in country wished to show the people that it is the option to Congress and BJP, but in their hurriedness to reach this goal, they committed many blunders. Throwing away Delhi Government in a childish manner could not project them as ‘saints’, who don’t run after power, rather their opponents were able to project them as ‘escapists and anarchists’ in people’s minds. By not concentrating on Delhi primarily and Punjab, Haryana secondly, they lost not only in whole of India except Punjab, but lost even crucial 4-5 seats in Delhi-Haryana. At least few of their stalwarts could have reached Lok Sabha by proper electoral strategy like Arvind Kejriwal himself from Delhi, Rajmohan Gandhi, Anand Kumar from Delhi, Yogender Yadav also could have won from Haryana, had AAP not fanged all over India, but remained rooted in Delhi-Haryana-Punjab. Outside this region selective candidates should have been put up, like Medha Patkar in Maharashtra, Soni Sori in Chhatisgarh and so on so forth. They could have put up at least one eminent personality in each state of India, to give AAP an image of genuine third force in the country, apart from BJP and Congress, which during elections media did project it, despite AAP’s love-hate relations with media. By putting up selective candidates, AAP certainly could have come up with 15-20 seats in Lok Sabha and not just four in Punjab only. One lesson AAP should learn from this electoral shock is that without proper organisational structure, no political party can have a long political life, already its NGO background had made its left critics make fun of it. Still the damage is not unrecoverable. Since Indian society and people do need a political force like AAP, it can still recover the lost ground, but for it will have to come out of smugness and arrogance of ‘Touch me not’ and ‘I am the only correct’ approach of various Naxal groups in the country. India is such a vast country that no single political group or party can think of steering it through, there have to be combination of multi-layer political groupings of likeminded and common goal oriented forces. To that extent AAP can still be a viable political platform with multiple but like minded political ideologies, broadly of Socialists and Communists with Liberals. The common goal could be anti neo liberal and pro working people socio-economic-political agenda through democratic means. To achieve this goal, they need to learn from South American experiments like that of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil etc, who broke away neo colonial neo liberal chains of USA and came out with alternative system through democratic electoral process. These nations were partly successful due to being smaller countries, but still their experiences in achieving certain pro people transformation is system can be studied and tried to be repeated with linking it with local conditions. Here AAP leader Dr. Dharamveer’s underlining of Hugo Chavez during his election campaign can become a model for other AAP leaders as well.
The success of South American radical leaders like Chavez is also linked to their appropriation of their national legacy of earlier revolutionaries like Bolivar in Venezuela or Jose Marti in Cuba by Castro earlier. Also their interaction with world’s leading radical scholars and intellectuals like Istvan Meszaros to Noam Chomsky. This needs to be paid attention by AAP leadership as well, who themselves have rich intellectual leadership itself like Yogender Yadav, Anand Kumar, they had the earlier support of radical economists like Prof. Amit Bhaduri, which they lost like their other blunders. They again have to get that kind of support back. AAP leadership should focus on appropriation of historic tradition of liberation of Indian people. They have to appropriate the tradition from 1757 onwards-from Plassey war defeat of Indian people led by Nawab Siraj-Ud-daulah, at the hands of British colonial rulers, with all the tribal struggles of Tilka Majhi, Sidho-Kanu, Birsa Munda and then 1857 onwards-Bahadurshah Zafar-Tatya Tope-Lakshmi Bai-Nana Phadnawis-Azizmudin-Jhalkari Bai to hundreds of struggles ignored in the history due to so called ‘mainstream struggle for freedom led by Congress’! Struggles from 1907 peasant struggle led by Ajit Singh in Punjab, martyrdom of Madan Lal Dhingra in 1909, Ghadar party movement of 1913-15 and martyrdom of Kartar Singh Sarabha-Pingley, Bengal partition and after revolutionaries like Khudi Ram Bose, HRA struggle and Ram Prasad Bismil-Ashfaqullah like martyrs and later Bhagat Singh-Chandershekhar Azad tradition, Master Surya Sen and Chittagong struggle, Udham Singh or Mohd Singh Azad struggle, Praja Mandal struggle and Sewa Singh Thikriwala martyrdom, 1942 Quit India movement, INA struggle led by Netaji Subhas Bose and Navy revolt of 1946, Tebhaga and Telangana peasant struggles of same period. These and many more people’s struggles, like that of Narmada Bachao Andolan of post 1947 period are all grand legacy of AAP. If AAP is able to touch people’s hearts and minds through emotional chords of these martyrs and movements, it can surely achieve what Chavez achieved in Venezuela. Political movements and social transformations are long drawn processes, they are not like one Naxalite leader prediction that ‘There would be revolution in India by 1970’s’! But long drawn movements with clear political perspective do achieve the tasks, if their cadres remain committed and idealism of martyred patriots keep on inspiring them and keep their life style close to the life of Aam Aadmi-Common People, who are hardworking workers, peasants and other kind of non-parasitical people.
Aam Aadmi Party has both options-to give a spark and get lost in wilderness or rather than small type sparks of Delhi Govt. style, work for liberation of long exploited honest Indian people, suppressed not only due to corruption, which is symptom of rather bigger disease of Corporate-Feudal loot of India and its resources and labour of Indian people. It will require lot of patience, hard work, many times frustrations, occasional falls like 2014 16th Lok Sabha election results, yet objectively there is need of such movements and if led by visionary leadership, it can lead to success despite attacks by Corporate and Feudal forces, represented by parties like BJP and Congress. AAP also has to shed its inhibition or arrogance of not entering into political dialogues or some common arrangements, like with left or socialist oriented parties in electoral arena or governmental arena. It has to learn to respect that earlier too, Chief Ministers like EMS Namboodripad and Achhuta Menon, (Kerala) Nripen Chakrabrati, Dasrath Deb and presently Manik Sarkar (Tripura) have set the standards of simple life style and honest governments. Even the left front government in West Bengal in its earlier phase lived up to standards of simplicity and honesty and pro people policies. Individuals like Satya Pal Dang of CPI as minister in Punjab or Inderjit Gupta as home minister of India have also lived up to standards of honesty and simplicity. Even Socialist government in Kerala and some other places like Karpoori Thakur in Bihar, have also lived up to AAP ideals in the past.
Results of 16th Lok Sabha, though have been shocking for leftists like us initially, as we were keeping our eyes shut and living and creating some illusions as in Varanasi battle, yet now the results are being internalized and being analysed dispassionately. The results have leftists and liberals shaken and woken up and the new government may not touch them for some more time, yet their freedom of thought with enjoyment of state provided privileges as available during Congress and non BJP regimes are not going to be there, nor the respect of dissidence is going to be allowed, so honest and committed intelligentsia also has now to face the issue directly-“On whose side you are partner?”