Dr Jay Dubashi
Is the Manmohan Singh government – or rather, Sonia Gandhi government – preparing the ground for a second Emergency – always with capital E – of the same brand as done by her mother-in-law 37 years ago? That Emergency came suddenly, though it didn’t take many of us by surprise. This one may also come suddenly, unless you are reading this column, which is the first to give you a warning.
The government has made such a mess of everything that only an emergency can provide it with an exit. The parallel between this time and the last is astonishing. It is as if history will be repeating itself, this time with a vengeance. The country is in a kind of siege, from all sides – economic, political and social, and the government has lost the ability to govern, just as it did last time.
The economic situation is beyond control. No matter what the government does, and how hard its economists try, the economy refuses to move. It seems to be paralysed, waiting for some magician to make it move. Inflation is stuck at ten per cent and so are interest rates. Industries refuse to invest and are shipping money abroad for fear they might lose what they have invested so far. Foreigners believe this government is not going to last and are keeping away. Exports are sinking and deficits rising.
Politically, the ruling party, if you can call it a party – it is more like a cabal – is on the ropes, and has lost the voters’ trust. And unless its luck turns, the party is poised for its greatest defeat in the polls due in 2014, if it survives in one piece after Gujarat.
Already, some political pundits close to the ruling mafia are going about saying that the country is going fascist, the surest sign that the ruling party, which is basically a fascist party except in name, is going to do what it is accusing the Opposition of aiming at.
The pundits are saying that the states are increasingly in the grip of fascist political parties. They argue that the regional parties are getting too powerful and are calling the shots, which they say is the surest sign that the country is going fascist. They bemoan, the decline and helplessness of the dynasty which they have been worshipping all these years and are at a loss to understand why the dynasty is losing, or has lost, its grip, and the regional satraps are taking over.
Who are these satraps? The Thackerays in Maharashtra, the Tamil groups in Tamil Nadu, the dalits and others in the north and the footloose Trinamuls in West Bengal. These states were safely in the hands of the dynasty and have slipped its grip. This is precisely what happened in Germany and Italy and what led to fascism in these countries, once paragons of good behaviour, a hundred years ago.
Acutally, it is the other way round. It is not that the regional parties are going fascist, but the dynasty, with its back to the wall, is taking to fascist ways. Hitler & Co. accused his rivals and enemies of going fascist when he himself was preparing the ground for taking over the country – through less than legitimate methods.
The regional parties did not go fascist in 1975; it was Indira Gandhi, alarmed at the prospect of losing power, who clamped Emergency on the country and turned things upside down, in the classic fascist fashion. Fascism and dictatorship are the last refuges of rascals and have been so throughout history, whether it was Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini or Indira Priyadarshini.
It is not an accident that the fascists who flourished in Europe and elsewhere after World War I were almost all of them Roman Catholics. Catholics and Muslims take naturally to fascism and dictatorship. It is in their DNA. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were Roman Catholics. So was Francisco Franco in Spain and Antonio Salazar in Portugal. The dictators in Latin America from Brazil to Argentina were also Catholics. For some reason, Catholicism and fascism go together, just like Islam and dictatorships.
And don’t forget who is leading the Indian National Congress!
I have a feeling that the secular pundits were petrified at the awesome sight of the enormous crowds at the funeral of Balasaheb Thackeray last month, who, for them, was a quintessential fascist leader. The huge crowds suddenly materialised from nowhere, marched quietly and respectfully behind their leader’s casket for hours, and departed as peacefully and noiselessly as they had come after the cremation. This is not the way funerals go in India, or anywhere in the East, least of all, in a city like Mumbai. There was not a single incident of any kind, and the whole thing was as peaceful and orderly as it could be.
I attended Nehru’s funeral in Delhi in 1964 and was pushed on all sides by surging crowds from Tilak Road to Ring Road, until I was rescued by my uncle, who was a much older man and barely escaped with his life in the hysteric throngs. This did not happen in the case of Thackeray, which, say the pundits, is the surest sign of fascism!
There is only one fascist party in India, and that is the Indian National Congress, the only party led by a foreigner, who cannot and does not speak our language, hasn’t the faintest idea who’s who and probably doesn’t care. The Congress loves dictators. Its first dictator was Mahatma Gandhi, whose word was law. Gandhi was so dictatorial in his thinking and actions, and so contemptuous of the so-called smaller leaders in the party that he never consulted them. Gandhi carried on his negotiations with Jinnah behind the back of other leaders and offered him the prime ministership of free India without a word of consent from the party leaders, most of whom were in jail at the time. His “Quit India” movement took everybody by surprise, but that didn’t bother him. Gandhi was the “Sole” leader of his party – just like Jinnah – and this tradition has continued ever since.
The party has been led by “Sole” leaders since Independence, mostly Nehrus and Gandhis, who have never cared for anybody else outside their small circle, and who have always treated the party as their family property.
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, along with Francisco Franco and Antonio Salazar, did the same, and so did Lenin and Stalin, because they were leading fascist parties and all cause to power when their countries were in difficulties. The Congress party is no different. It is led by a single family or a single person in the family, and brooks no opposition, whatever the pundits from English media might say. It has declared an Emergency once and may do so again; in fact, it will almost certainly do it again. And when it happens, don’t forget you read it first in this column!