Recently, I came across a news piece published in the ‘Indian Express’ in which Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had claimed that they have changed the narrative of politics. There has been a grand debate ranging from the end of history to the end of ideology since the last decade of the past century . This propagated ‘endology’ apparently meant that an ultimate ideology/system had been achieved in the form of neo-liberalism. So, the need for some other ideology in the world is gone forever. This ultimate ideology is referred to by many names, for example, high-capitalism, corporate-capitalism, market-capitalism, consumerist-capitalism and so on. One may also put it simply as neo-imperialist capitalism. A world-wide system of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had been created to address the immediate problems arising in the system built under this very ideology. The people running this system have been seen, symbolically, as the ‘children’ of Ford Foundation in this article.
The children of Ford Foundation can make any claim, because it is their own system. Now they also practice politics by using India as its gateway. Like free economy, their politics too is ‘free’ even from the Constitution. There is a declared prohibition for any ideology, present or possible, other than neo-liberal ideology in their politics and political narrative. The number of the children of Ford Foundation is steadily increasing in India. Those who undertook election campaigns of political parties with a promise to ensure them victory have also started venturing into active politics.
One can witness the fact that under the sway of neo-liberal or corporate politics, while the language of politics has rapidly sunk from bad to crass on the one hand, the meaning of political terminology has degenerated from corrupt to evil, on the other. Let’s see in what sense Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has changed the narrative of politics. The narrative of neo-liberal politics, obviously and undoubtedly, will be ‘new’. There is no point in nursing the hope that the children of Ford Foundation would do something different, or not do what they are already doing. The only suggestion that can be made is that there should be no gulf between their words and deeds. This is to say, that what they do, should be spoken in the same way. But this does not happen. Their advocates who very often come from progressive and secular camps disguise their words and do not tell the truth. Rather, they coin a decorative term like ‘post-ideology’ for their politics.
In the context of the political terminology that is increasingly becoming corrupt, I would like to write about only one term i.e. revolution. According to the children of Ford Foundation, it has been six years since ‘revolution’ began in Delhi. Governmental communists have three political parties in India. All three are supporters of this ‘Kejriwal-Kranti’. The idea of socialist revolution in the world and India has been seen, firstly and usually, in association with communists and communist parties. The proponents of India’s democratic socialism or the social democrats of Europe are not perceived to have reached the level of true revolution – be it theory or strategy. The Communists’ continuous support to AAP suggests that even if they do not consider ‘Kejriwal-Kranti’ as a total/complete socialist revolution, they definitely consider it as an effort or experiment being carried out in that direction. Prakash Karat had compared Kejriwal to Lenin during the Anna movement itself, a fact that I mentioned in an earlier article while reviewing that movement. I had also stated that constitutional secularism is of no value to Kejriwal or AAP. There is nothing to add to that except to reiterate here about the confusing and corrupt methods of AAP’s work-style. All of this is a study in eyewash – the spending of billions of rupees of public money on advertisements, the transaction of tickets, firstly in the Rajya Sabha and now in the Delhi assembly elections, and so much more.
It is pertinent to know why do the communists support the neo-liberal ‘revolution’ taking place in the era of neo-colonialist capitalism. The reasons for this can be explained in the communists’ understanding about the character and the role of colonial capitalism. There is no room or opportunity for a serious analysis or details here. But only one practical reason could be considered here and, to some extent, analysed. In the last sixty-sixty-five years, the governmental communists have got addicted to government positions and awards. It is well known that the RSS thrived in one of the arm of the Congress and the communists in the other. The RSS continued to work on its agenda by taking advantage of that space, the communists too grabbed the possession of government institutions and related positions as well as the awards for the ‘revolution’. As long as the Congress was giving them this opportunity, it was fine, but now that Kejriwal is giving it, they are with ‘Kejriwal-Kranti’. Obviously, it is not confined to being just a matter of opposition to the RSS/BJP. At least in Delhi, where AAP has been formed and suddenly uplifted, the Congress is the second largest party. Despite being letdown by progressive/secularists in tough times, it stood second in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. But the communists do not want to take any risk regarding the positions and awards. The communists have a big role in creating the uproar and slogan of ‘Kejriwal in Delhi’. The spell is such that even Modi-devotees want to lend a good support to them in this matter!
Some ‘feel-good’ socialists came under the leadership of Kejriwal with the hope of making him a socialist. When they were expelled unceremoniously, the communists celebrated because the positions and awards will now not have to be shared. The ideology (lessness) of the Aam Aadmi Party was not questioned by the socialists. Yet the question of internal democracy in the party triggered the big trouble.
The dictatorship of neo-liberalism is going on uninterrupted in the country’s politics. The socialists might not take note of the simple fact that under this dictatorship, internal democracy cannot prevail in parties.
In this context let us accept that the record of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been the best in terms of internal democracy in the party. But today the same party remains the largest model of individual-dictatorship. The BJP is currently the largest political party in the country, but not a single leader can muster the courage to raise his/her voice in favor of internal democracy. This is a miracle not of Hitler-inspired fascism of the RSS but a result of the blind-faith in corporate capitalism. Manmohan Singh, the father of New Economic Policies in India, is a renowned economist. He implemented the New Economic Policies in a classical method. Prime Minister Narendra Modi plays blind. Just as Modi likes blind-devotees, in the era of corporate politics, the corporate houses of India and the world also need blind leaders/intellectuals. This single phenomenon of the elimination of internal democracy in the party can become a major reason for BJP’s decline in the future. However, the communists want AAP government in Delhi at any cost. Not for secularism, but for occupation of positions and awards and for some share in power.
I would like to briefly mention four episodes to elaborate the point: (1) I was recently talking to my teacher, Dr. Vishwanath Tripathi. He has received the Delhi Hindi Academy Shalaka Award. He humbly said, ‘Brother, say whatever you like, but Kejriwal has made water and electricity free’. I felt quite amused thinking in my mind that the socialist revolution which started with the slogan ‘Wealth and earth will be divided’ (‘dhan aur dharati bant kar rahenge’) got diffused only with the promise of free water and electricity! (2) My two teacher comrades Tripta Wahi and Vijay Singh are Stalinists. Their daughter was an AAP candidate from East Delhi in the Lok Sabha elections. Tripta ji reached a meeting of our party, which we held on the first death anniversary of Justice Rajindar Sachar, to gain support for her. I was quite surprised. (3) In February 2014, comrade Akhilendra Pratap Singh undertook a 10-day fast in Delhi on various issues. Kejriwal had become the Chief Minister of Delhi by that time after a humiliating defeat of the Congress. I used to go to the fast venue almost every day. In my speech in the last days of the fast, I mentioned the slogan suggested by Comrade Narendra : ‘Karporet Ke Teen Dalaal, Modi Rahul Kejriwal’ (Modi Rahul Kejriwal are three brokers of corporate). Comrade Narendra was present in the gathering. Despite the poor health, Akhilendra ji got up and announced on the mike that he does not agree with this slogan. Reason being he did not consider Kejriwal a part of corporate politics.
(4) A program of discussion was held in Delhi on 29 January 2015 on the book ‘Bhrashtachar Virodh : Vibhram Aur Yatharth’ (Anti-Corruption : Illusion and Reality). The book was a collection of my articles which I wrote making a parallel review of the anti-corruption movement held under the aegis of India Against Corruption (IAC). Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi in December 2013 with the support of Congress. However, one of the important leaders of AAP, Prashant Bhushan said at that time that AAP should form government with BJP and not Congress. Kiran Bedi also expressed the same opinion. At that time, Prashant Bhushan had described the Communist Party of India (CPM) as a corrupt party. On the demand to support a few candidates of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad (SJP), he said that those who seek to gain benefit of ‘Kranti’ should join the party. But Kejriwal and his supporters were running very fast. Kejriwal resigned from Chief Minister and contested Lok Sabha election from Benaras, so that the victory of Modi could be ensured. After a gap of about a year in Delhi, the assembly elections were to be held again in February 2015. Although ‘Modi in the country and Kejriwal in Delhi’ had already been decided in the corridors of power, two colleagues Sandeep Pandey and Apurvanand, who were invited as speakers in the program of discussion did not have complete consolation. They bypassed the content of the book and made the program a platform of election campaign for victory of Kejriwal and AAP.
These references are given to describe/inaugurate a particular tendency, not for personal criticism. The unilateral political business of deceit, hatred, enmity, arrogance, hypocrisy, confusion, and lies cannot last long. It gets a long life only when other parties are also involved in it. The neo-liberal ‘revolution’ is a collected narrative of today’s Indian politics. There is no place in this political spectrum for those who term neo-liberal ‘revolution’ a counter-revolution.
(The writer teaches Hindi at Delhi University)