Who is secular and socialist in the real sense, is for the people to decide?
Mulayam Singh Yadav, popularly known as Netaji by his followers, leaves no chance to brand himself as socialist and secularist. He claims himself to be a staunch follower of Ram Manohar Lohia, but his birthday bash at Rampur clearly contradict his statements. Lohia known for ‘Teen Aana Pandara Aana’ controversy had raised his voice against Nehru for over spending. He perhaps would never have sanctified such a lavish birthday bash.
Netaji is one among those who parrot socialism and secularism every time and term others as communal and pro rich. He and his tribe feel these words are their birth right and use them for unity against right wing BJP or for befooling the masses.
No doubt, everyone has a right to celebrate his birth day, but what makes things murky is the hypocrisy behind celebrating birthday as a Raja on one side and talking about poor on the other. To experience the extravaganza at Netaji’s birthday, kindly go through the preparations at Rampur where the birthday was celebrated – flowers brought in from Netherland, a 75 Kg fresh fruit cake ordered to mark Netaji’s 75th birthday, presence of 40 ministers including Akhilesh, and a victorian style buggy imported from London.
Rampur was agog with fireworks at midnight and after a day when every nicety was fully enjoyed Netaji finally remembered the 25 crore people failing to get meals in India. What a mockery of socialism and joke on poverty? He has taken people like the 75 Kg sacrificial goat which was sacrificed in Lucknow to celebrate his birthday.
It is a fashion with the tribe of socialists to associate themselves with freedom fighters or with those who cared for masses. Certain associate themselves with Gandhi, others Lohia still others associate themselves with Jai Prakash Narayan for they know they have nothing of their own to show to people. These namesake socialists actually work for their own families. They do not realise that times have changed and that the people have the right to know where their money is being spent, and that anyone should not get annoyed by such questions from press.
Funny socialism of Samajwadi Party and naming Ram Manohar Lohia as their mentor is absurd. Lohia fought in real sense for, mitigating the gap between rich and poor, caste inequalities and worked for the nation rather than for his family members. He thought of ‘Roti Beti’ for social integration. This is against the present samajwadis because they want to establish themselves as givers and people as takers. These so called socialists have purposely cultivated the constituency of poor and downtrodden with an eye on their vote bank, and are least interested in their development.
In the first thirty years of our independence, while East Asian and South East Asian countries were becoming Asian tigers, our country was paying a high price for Nehruvian socialism based on license, quota and permit. Nehru, Indira version of socialism proved to be a failure compared to market related models at that time.
Indira realised her mistake of adhering to socialism of Nehruvian type and tried to reverse her policies of socialist era in 1980 through decontrol. Morarji Desai in 1977 tried to change the restricted economic policies by establishing Alexander committee on Export import policy and committee on controls and subsidy (Dagli). But unfortunately, the recommendations of these committees could not be applied because Desai government did not survive its full term.
During this era, Private business was suppressed through controls in every area, nationalisation of large industries and banks led to monopolization and killed the competitive spirit in business. Secondly, there was obsession with heavy industries at the cost of labour intensive industries; the rigid labor laws, accompanied by a bureaucracy resembling to colonial or princely rulers further deteriorated the business environment.
It is an irony that despite Mahatma Gandhi being an icon of humanism, his version of socialism based on the development of human soul, trusteeship, attention on village and individual development was least taken into consideration. He did not believe in big industries, disliked socialism based on negativity alone and even felt it was against the principle of non violence. He differed from Nehruvian socialism. Nehru wrote “sometimes he (Gandhi) calls himself a socialist but he uses the word in a sense peculiar to himself which has little or nothing to do with the economic frame work of the society which usually goes by the name of socialism. Following his lead, a number of prominent congressmen have taken to use and have resulted in a kind of muddled humanitarianism.”
The tectonic shift in India’s economic policies in the post 1980 era lead to an increase in its economic growth rate, and the needed boost to the economy came from liberal reforms and by abandoning Nehruvian socialism. In the present times, Modi’s version of socialism based on the concept of integral humanism is hardly based on negativity. It works to facilitate manufacturers to create more jobs and growth in the economy. This may involve labor reforms, land acquisition laws and doing away with unnecessary laws, privatization of low performing public sector units, and more FDI etc. There is an utmost need of developing investment friendly environment; however, it has to be kept in mind that the changes made should not be at the cost of common man.
The other much talked term by Netaji’s tribe is secularism, which usually signifies Muslims, who comprise a big chunk of the total population and who are neglected after the elections are over. Muzaffarnagar riots, Bhagal-pur riots, Sikh roits of 1984, migration of Kashmiri pundits etc took place during the rule of secularists but still they are pure because they have got certificate from heavens. In the last 67 years of independence it was the secularist rule except 5 years of NDA, still the position of Muslims has not improved for good. The real picture of minorities in Gujarat under Modi gets clear from the report of Sachar committee, appointed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005; the report holds that the monthly per capita income of Muslims in rural Gujarat is Rs 668. This is Rs 24 higher than the same for Hindus in rural Gujarat (Rs 644), Rs 141 higher than the same for SCs (Rs 527), Rs 74 higher than the OBC figure (Rs 594) and Rs 115 higher than the per month per-capita income of Muslims in rural India (Rs 553). In urban Gujarat, per capita income of Muslims is Rs 875 which is Rs 71 higher than the per capita income of Muslims in urban India (Rs 804). A comparison of Gujarat with Uttar Pradesh under secularists confirms that the secular governments have given doles to minorities with an eye on their votes without improving their economic condition. Mayawati included Muslim girl students in Savitri Bai Phule scheme for promoting girl child education in which every girl student of class XI was awarded Rs 25,000 and a bicycle. She made the provision of issuing certificates to Muslims under Other Backward Classes (OBC) category for public services, and 38 economically and socially backward classes among Muslims were getting benefit of the OBC quota in UP. Akhilesh Yadav too is following the same pattern of providing doles rather than making them independent and an integral part of economic growth. For sure they would know doles develop a habit of dependence.
Prof MK Bhat (The writer is the Deputy Director of MAIMS, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi)