It is obvious that national polities demands and is guided by national interests while the UPA coalition polities is more concerned in keeping the divergent political allies like DMK and Trinamol Congress together whether these political associates are more concerned with the political interest of their states and their parties or of the nation. Our PM is under UPA President and follows her directions. But even Sonia Gandhi, UPA Chairperson cannot go to the extent to annoy leaders like Krunanidhi and Mamta Banerjee, even if they are upto some actions which are not in national interest at large because Sonia Gandhi cannot afford to lose their support and let the UPA government fall.
In politics of India, as of any other country national interest and nationalism are the fundamental issues and subjects, whether it Mahatma Gandhi’s idealistic nationalism or Sardar Patels nationalism of making India united and powerful by merging 500 princely states or that of Jawahar Lal Nehru to raise India’s stature in world polity through founder and leader of non-aligned countries union. All these top-ranking leaders of India’s Independence movement and of Independent India after 15th August 1947 were strong nationalists in their own philosophy, reality or being in comity of nations.
However, unfortunately during last 5 years or so since UPA came to power with Sonia Gandhi as UPA Chairperson and Manmohan Singh as PM, there has been no or little interest in national polities to raise India’s prestiege at home and abroad. If one looks back, even Babar and Akbar recognized India’s greatness. Similarly Clive and Churchill too felt great after having conquered and administered India for more than a 100 years and it is well known that when after Second World War negotiations for India’s independence from British rule were going on with Cripps and Attlee Churchill refused to participate saying: I have not become His Majesty’s First Minister to preside over liquidation of empire. As a result after losing India Mughals became insignificant and Muslim rule and rulers in the world became non-entities, not to be bothered about. Similarly after India’s independence British power and status in world got a great set back- from rulers of an ‘empire where the sun never set’ UK became just one of the dependent countries of USA for a long.
Inspite of virtual indifference by UPA Govt to raise India stature in national and international level, India is rising and shining despite one of the worst crisis and recession in the world. In this connection I reproduce below comments of Tobias F Engelmeier which to our pleasure compare India and USA almost equal in many ways, after his views on nationalism in India.
“Nationalism and the process of nation-building in India were precarious and contingent. They were neither popular nor driven by a larger historical dynamic, material or phenomenological. They were not strongly based on symbols of the past. Nationalism was a product of thought rather than of actual conditions. It was, furthermore, a product of agency rather than of a phenomenological dynamics, and it was based on a mobilization linked to a very selective view of the past in an abstract rather than concrete way. Had it been otherwise, the outcome (the state) would likely have been different. There was a serious lack of ‘natural’ emotional stability.
Except for the challenge of forming a nation out of a highly diverse people, India and the USA share important founding myths, both have to been colonies (both have been colonized by Britain), both were able to create a national idea around a struggle for independence, towering leadership (Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, Gandhi, Nehru), and a set of values that set them apart from both their colonizer as well as from the evil, violent ways of a European world in general.”
It is high time, as UPA has still more than 4 years to rule and because of virtual break-up its rival BJP, it may another 5 year term to rule, it should wake up and rise above petty matters covering its partners like DMK and others and draw a composite Policy for raising India’s stature at home though raising the living standard of poor villages and also abroad by showing unity of action to raise India’s standard and importance as much as that of China.
Nehru was Prime Minister of India, even during interim government before 1947, of cabinet of equal number of ministers from India (Hindus and Sikhs) and Muslims. But Nehru did not have much say as Liaqat Ali Khan (a nominee of Jinnah who later became PM of Pakistan) was Home Minister. Jawahar Lal Nehru did not have much say except in International Affairs which, too, were insignificant. Similarly after independence when Nehru was PM and Sardar Patel was Home Minister and minister of states Nehru did not have any or much say except in Foreign Affairs.
Similarly after 2004 our economist PM Dr Manmohan Singh does not have much say in Home Affairs and in other matters even in economic matters Finance Minister is all in all. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister in the government of Narsimha Rao was well respected as he brought liberal economy in place of ‘closed’ socialist economy since Nehru. But from 2004 Manmohan Singh is virtually a Foreign Minister. He had dozen of trips abroad meeting George Bush, Obama of USA mainly for nuclear agreement and visiting other European Countries for international collaboration and visiting for International conferences of various categories.
But luckily, to the credit of Dr Manmohan Singh, during 21st Century Foreign Policy of India vis USA, Pakistan and some other countries of Europe and Asia has become more important than ever before. It has become more complicated and ideological than ever before. India’s Foreign Policy is now being compared with that of USA.
Now Foreign Policy is quite much important for nation building. If India has good relations with countries like USA India stands to gain in International prestiege despite USA’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and even Pakistan. India as an Independent country is not approving US actions in the above mentioned countries. Though as part of foreign policy and broader interest we do not, as a government, criticize USA though many political parties and even some members of UPA openly criticize US involvement in these countries we have to follow – strategy in Industrial Affairs and foreign policy which does not go against India’s basic idealism of peace and non-involvement in other countries affairs. Here to substantiate my and India’s point of view in foreign policy. I would like to reproduce some extracts from the book by Tobias F Engelmeier who is though born in Germany is founder and Director of environmental consulting company:
Since India, in his view, is still militarily and economically weak for the foreseeable future, it should adopt a diplomacy based on wit, moral discipline, persuasion, the intelligent pursuit of self-interest and the use of ‘soft power’. In order to do so, it needs to be more flexible and engagingly active than it was in the past.
The idealist element, so the argument goes, creates goodwill and political capital. ‘Legitimacy is certainly a good in itself; but it also has instrumental value, and is part of the armory needed to conduct realpolitik’. India ‘must be willing to play a role in the global ‘battle of ideas’. Focusing on its democratic and pluralist value – legitimacy, Khilnani believes, will give India considerable power and assures its independence as well a its indispensability. This is not only good for India – it is also good for world.
The international system is not the only significant determinant of foreign policy in India. While structural realism may still be the leanest, most elegant overall theory of international relations, trusting entirely in it will lead to ‘errors in judgment and theory’. India, this great and difficult political experiment, requires a much closer look.
From the above comments which are intensive and of far reaching consequences it will be clear that India can not go by Gandhi’s Idealism that “ends and means and morality and reality are inseparable” India has to pursue realistic Foreign Policy keeping the interest of India, its unity and integrity always in mind.
During last 4 – 5 years lakhs of employees of hundreds of companies have been laid off. What the UPA Government has done for these companies and their employees many of whom have been laid off and many others have been working on reduced pay. It is only big companies like Indian Air lines prestige.
Besides thousands of small companies, hundreds have closed down and the remaining are trying their best to survive with reduced number of employees. Art and crafts are suffering the most because these are unorganized and there are no foreign purchases.
Here are few examples of dying crafts. Wooden to making, carpet manufacturing and silk weaving. There are other crafts too, shawl making embroidery on clothes which were made in demand in India and abroad.
An award winner toy maker, R Acharia Lembhiah who is 95 years old and had been making wooden tags throughout his life. When 60 years ago lost NIZAM of Hyderabad sat on the throne, the tag maker had created a “huge banana with gold colored petals”, the petals unfolded and showered on Nizam. Nizam was ecstatic and showered patronage on the toy maker. But today the same toy maker and others are without work as no one is purchasing their wooden tags which are fetched Rs 15 to 5000 and some specially commissioned once even huge amount of Rs 55000 which today would be about Rs 7 to 10 lakh.
Ashok Das has suggested following there steps to be taken by the government for the revival of such a splendid art:
(1) Lifting the ban on the raw material, Puniki wood . (2) Pension to all eligible artists after 60 years
(3) Stipend for anyone willing to join the trade
(4) Providing funds for marketing
(5) Insurance came for all artists.
Dr Manmohan Singh
India’s Prime Minister for second term, was born in 1932 in a small village in Jehlum Distt of West Punjab now in Pakistan. He comes from an ordinary family. In his own words Dr Manmohan Singh says: “I grew up in a small village with no electricity, no roads and no safe water and had to walk for miles to go to the nearest school.” After partition his family like lakhs of other Hindu Sikh families migrated to India. Manmohan Singh’s family settled in Amritsar. As he was very intelligent and studious, from the age of 15, young boy Manmohan spent whole heartedly all his time and energy to studies. Thus in 1954 his efforts brought fruit and honour not only to him but to his entire family as he got 1st class first in MA Economics and was awarded fellowship/scholarship of Cambridge University in England. There he did his PhD and became Dr Manmohan Singh.
After a couple of years he had arranged marriage with a school teacher Gursharan Kaur who has stood by him all through and also developed as an intelligent sober 1st lady accompanying the Prime Minister in all his visits abroad to meet Presidents and Prime Ministers of various countries like USA,UK and other, with dignity and grace befitting First Lady.
Dr. Manmohan Singh first taught in Delhi School of Economics and then went abroad to USA for assignment in World Bank etc till he was offered prestigious appointment as Governor Reserve Bank and thereafter Secretary to Govt of India in Finance Deptt and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission. It was Narsimha Rao who chose him as a modern economist in 1991 and appointed him as Finance Minister in his cabinet, because of his competence as an economist and being man of integrity and honesty. Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, with the support of Narsimaha Rao liberalised Indian economy. This was a great break from the past closed economy which was in due cause appreciated and hailed by all political parties and leaders. Thus Dr. Manmohan Singh became apostle of liberal economy and free trade.
After the fall of Narsimaha Rao and Congress and thereafter of BJP which ruled under able leadership of Shri Vajpayee for full term of of 5 years, in 2004 Sonia Gandhi who being from Gandhi-Nehru dynasty though Italian by birth, did not know much about constitution of India Indian polity. She could hardly speak a few words in English and Hindi that too from notes prepared and supplied by her coterie. She could not assume the responsibility of Prime Ministership though it was said she ‘sacrificed’ this high status. After lot of deliberations and discussions with other congress leaders, the choice of Prime Ministership felll on Dr Manmohan Singh because he was a renowned economist of world fame, man of highest integrity and honesty and in addition he was not a politician. He once stood for elections in Lok Sabha in 1999 from New Delhi Constituency but lost. Thereafter Manmohan Singh did not have courage to stand for Lok Sabha elections but remained contented with nomination from Assam to Rajya Sabha. He was leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha in 1999 and thereafter when Congress won the 2004 elections, he was the obvious choice for Prime Ministership. Thus Dr. Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister of India.
During the 1st term 2004 to 2009 he remained very cool and considerate. He was more concerned with signing nuclear deal with President Bush, though this nuclear deal has become controversial.
In a recent interview, Amartya Sen Nobel Laureate had all the praise for Manmohan, as he called him, both for his economic policy of liberalism as well as his courteous behavior with every one whether it is “George Bush or King of Bhutan”. It will interest everyone to quote Amartya Sen as under:
“I don’t think these policies have been neo-liberal. Had they been we would have done much worse in economic crises. As an old friend may I say that people seem to miss? He is immensely well behaved with absolutely everybody, people say things like “when I saw him with Bush he looked so happy and so supportive” . But you see any picture of Manmohan and he always looks friendly and supportive….. I would defy you to find a picture of Manmohan looking angrily at any one. I haven’t seen one in 54 years I have known him. Whether that is a lacuna in a politician…. But if there is a fault, it is a fault of generosity and courteousness.”
I don’t Think what glowing tribute Amartya Sen had paid to our Prime Minister, as an economist, as a courteous politician and as a superb smiling human being, Amartya Sen has paid to any other living politician or economist in India and even abroad.
Here I have my personal experience about Dr. Manmohan Singh’s regard for talent, hard work and born handicap of an ordinary individual. I had met Shri Mani Ram Sharma who, despite his handicap of deafness by birth passed IAS examination thrice but was rejected on madical grounds. Maniram himself told me “that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself called my file and on it ordered that I should be given class I job because of my talent and hard work. So I got a class I job in Communication Ministry for the last few months and am getting Rs. 30,000 PM and sending home to my old parents Rs. 10,000/- every month.” So this is our Prime Minister a splendid economist with sublime feelings for the poor, talented and needy.
During 2009 election campaign, L K Advani of BJP who thought and loped to be Prime Minister went out of the way to accuse Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he is the weakest Prime Minister, has no say in UPA Government and does what Sonia Gandhi says or wants. This was highest provocation. Manmohan Singh might have ignored Advani’s outburst but Sonia Gandhi goaded Prime Minister to give Advani befitting reply. This Prime Minister did. For the first time he spoke like a seasoned politician blaming Advani the Dy Prime Minister for the release of terrorist on the conditions dictated by them. Thereafter Manmohan Singh once again became his true self as stated by Amratya Sen, a symbol of generosity and courteousness.
While election campaign was in full force, 77 year old PM Manmohan Singh underwent heart surgery: it was the third one. But after only 10 days rest after surgery he started attending to the office work. 2009 General elections gave humiliating defeat to Advani and BJP and glorious victory to Congress and UPA. Manmohan Singh became PM for second term.
But there seems to be no rest or respite for courteous and generous Manmohan Singh. Sharamal Sheikh agreement with Zardari which mentions Baluchistan has raised havoc for Manmohan Singh and Congress Government BJP, in particular,was vociferous in condemning it as India’s submission to Pakistan without any reason as Baluchistan was just a province of Pakistan which like NWPP is in turmoil because of activities and sabotage by Baloch Taliban.
Now Pakistan alleges that Raw intelligence agency of India is helping with finances and arms in Afghanistan with the help of India’s Consulate in Kabul as well as India’s Consulate in Zahedan, Iran, close to Baluchistan. Pakistan’s allegation that India supports Baluchistan Liberation Army leader Brahandogh Bugti and says that it has given documentary evidence of Bugti’s meeting with Raw officials. There are many other allegations in the Pakistan dossier provided to India like Raw is running safehouses in Afghanistan for Baloch rebels with the help of Indian Consulate there.
Though PM and Sonia Gandhi are not apparently upset by strong condemnation of Sharmal Sheikh agreement by opposition more vigorously by BJP and even by a section of congressmen though there opposition is mute. But Manmohan Singh said, he had similar problem when he signed nuclear deal with USA. He went on to say that in 1991 he had dedicated himself to economic reforms saying “I was criticized by the Right, by the Left” he added “Fifteen years down who will today say that what I did then was wrong The Nation Stands Tall, proud fast growing”. In the same way Monmohan Singh defended the nuclear deal in Parliament, saying “we have achieved an agreement that is good for India and good for the world – The agreement with the United States will open new doors in capitals across the world”
In the case of Sharamal Sheikh agreement PM has this to say that despite opposition even from a number of congress numbers this is an opportunity to resolve differences between neighbours, India and Pakistan once for all. Here I quote last para from article by Sunita Gupta:
“Unfortunately for Manmohan any defence of his position by party members has been muted. But if history is any indication it is unlikely that the all-round criticism will be an obstacle for the PM. For by now the country is familiar with the fact that behind Manmohan’s mild manners is steely resistance, he has vision for the Subcontinent at peace with itself and he will pursue it”
This is another tribute to Dr. Manmohan Singh that he is man of steely resistance just as Amratya Sen’s tribute was to Manmohan “ He is immensely well-behaved and absolutely happy and supportive – generosity and courteousness”