The Congress Party was established by British officer Alan Octavian Hume. He was worried that native Indian people might take to armed resistance against British rule. Historian Romesh Dutt quotes from a memorandum written by Hume: ?Many entries (in Government records) reported conversations between men of the lowest classes, all going to show that these poor men were pervaded with a sense of hopelessness of the existing state of affairs, that they were convinced that they would starve and die, and they wanted to do something. They were going to do something, and stand by each other, and that something meant violence.? Historian Dutt explains that the Congress was formed to provide native Indians with a forum to vent out their anger. Dutt says that Lord Dufferin told Hume that it would be very desirable that Indian politicians should meet yearly. The Congress was established to provide such a platform. Dufferin set the following objectives for this platform as follows: ?Amongst the natives I have met, there are a considerable number upon whose loyal-cooperation one could undoubtedly rely.
The fact of their supporting the government would popularise many of its acts which now have the appearance of being driven through the legislature by force; and the government of India would cease to stand up, as it does now, an isolated rock in the middle of a tempestuous sea, around whose base the breakers dash themselves simultaneously from all the four quarters of the heaven.? The Congress was established to neutralise the tempestuous sea of native Indian which was dashing all the four sides upon the British government. The Congress was to be a safety valve for the oppressed natives to vent out their anger.Gandhiji tried to turn the Congress around and make it an instrument of true independence. But he succeeded only so far. Gandhiji was willing to accept dominion status for India during the Cripps Mission of 1942. He did not have difficulty in accepting British rule over India. The talks broke down on the question of when domestic self-governance was to be handed over to the natives. Gandhiji wanted this to be given immediately while Cripps wanted this to be given after the war was over. Gandhiji and Cripps both agreed to retain India as a part of the British Empire.
This same Congress has ruled the country for about 50 years since Independence. It has basically continued to fulfill the objective for which it was established. Congress has kept India firmly entrenched in the western orbit except for a brief spell under Indira Gandhi. It has displayed no love for hard nationalists like Bhagat Singh and Subhas Bose. It has pushed the interests of western powers in the last five years of its rule. It has undone the victory of developing countries secured by the BJP at Cancun; it has invested in US government securities to keep the dominance of that country on the world economy intact; it has made the nuclear agreement with the United States to provide entry to their multinationals in this field instead of developing home grown technologies; it has opened the country for clinical trials by western multinationals, and so on.
This character of the Congress is contra the thinking of both the BJP and the Left parties. The BJP is nationalist in its orientation as seen in the Pokharan explosions and the challenge made to the developed countries in the WTO. Similarly, opposing the might of western imperialist powers is high on the agenda of the Left parties. They withdrew support to the Congress government on the nuclear deal. Thus the two have a natural affinity and a solid basis for mutual cooperation. But the two do not see eye to eye on domestic economy. The BJP is often called party of the businessmen. It wants to create amicable relations between workers and industrialists. In sharp contrast, the Left parties espouse ?class war?. They want to organise the workers against the industrialists. This matter has to be resolved if BJP has to work with the Left against western powers. The support given by Left parties to big businesses in Nandigram and Singur should be seen as a tactical compromise rather than a true position. Kautilya says a weak king must quietly cooperate with a strong king until he is in a position to challenge the latter'smight. Following this advice, the Marxists of Bengal have welcomed entry of big businesses with an intention of ultimately doing away with them.
The question is whether the class war espoused by the Left is consistent with or opposed to the Hindu view. I think there is no fundamental conflict between the Left and Hindu views. Sri Ram led an army of vanaras (monkeys) against imperialist Ravana. Similarly Left parties are leading the workers and peasants against western imperialism and its junior partners among Indian big businesses. The Hindu view accepts that the businessman is shortsighted. He is focused single-mindedly on making profits. The consequences of his business activities on the society are of no concern to him. For example a businessman brought back Gandhiji'sarticles with money earned from selling liquor. It is necessary for the government to put reins on the businessman and ensure that he does not undertake anti-social direction. Thus, the Government requires tobacco manufacturers to put a warning on the cigarette packets. The Manu Smriti espouses the same principle when it says that the Kshatriya should control the Vaisya. The Left parties hold that the modern Indian state has failed to establish such pro-people control over the businesses hence the workers have to revolt against the present system and establish a truly people'sgovernment just as Sri Rama had led the revolt of vanaras. This is but dharmayuddha.
Thus far the Hindu tradition espoused by the BJP and policy of the Left parties are similar. Difference arises on what should be the model of dharmic governance after assuming power? Left parties want industries to be nationalised and controlled by the government. They should understand that the government is not successful in doing business. The decline of the Soviet Union and China'swelcoming private businesses both point in the same direction. We had nationalised coal, banking and insurance businesses in the sixties and seventies. Many sugar and textile units were also nationalised with the intention that profits made by them would be used for welfare of the people. Alas! Opposite turned out to be the case. These businesses made huge losses and taxes were imposed upon the people to provide subsidies to them. The Left parties must learn from these experiences and give up their anti-business tirades. Instead they should work with the BJP to devise ways of guiding the businesses in a pro-people direction.
The argument in brief is like this. The western powers are eager to exploit India economically. The Congress was established to further this objective of the British. It has run the country basically as a junior partner of these imperialist powers. BJP and Left have a more nationalist and pro-people orientation. They should cooperate with each other. They should jointly make a programme of controlling and guiding Indian business in the right direction.
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