We Indian sometimes don’t realize that we are gradually becoming a country of rhetoric. We don’t realize what we aspire? How could we achieve it? And what sacrifices we need to achieve our goal?
Two slogans have been cornerstone of our nationalistic aspirations for last few decades. One, we are about to become super power and territorial integrity and unity of country has been taken for granted as Hindutva alone can insure the unity and integrity of country. With this mindset the surge of Hindutva in Indian polity since 1989 has been considered as a starting point for Indian revivalism.
It is very much true that Hindutva movement has energized India but polarized it as well and the most negative part had been the lack of strategy to achieve the goal and acute deficit of knowledge of global power equations and Indian role and clout in it.
Since concept of nation state evolved in international relations most of the nations adopted the path of emotional appeal of culture, race or linguistic bondage to keep the nation intact but there should always be a clear distinction between rhetoric for domestic nationalistic constituency and strategy to achieve the goal of national ambitions.
For a long time India had been part of British empire and when it achieved its independence we adopted the model of British Westminster parliamentary democracy but our constitution does not solely emulate British system in Toto. However our elections are performed and governments are elected with that format but institution of Prime Minister and bureaucratic system is more near to presidential system of USA. In Indian system Prime Minister matters more and reflection of his personality, political will power, his knowledge, exposure and attitude towards policies give the shape to those policies that are not part of daily routine work.
For a long time India have been the colony of European imperialism and since independence our aspiration to become independent voice without being living in European imperial hangover has defined our nationalism and it has also created a deep distrust and insecurity on foreign intervention.
This distrust and insecurity runs deeper in our consciousness and sometimes it take over rational thought process to such extent where we are unable to make a distinction between European imperialism of 19th and 20th century and reality of international relations and power equations of today.
Almost one century ago when first world war took place and ottoman empire was fragmented and distributed among European powers the beginning of a new nation on the map of Middle East or West Asia became very real which later called “ Israel” but our great leaders who were leading the freedom struggle had their own calculations for present and future power equations and in that calculations they find it unsuitable to go with “ Israel” as it would had antagonized Indian Muslim population which was at that time very much under the influence of global Khilfat movement and later when country got independence and world divided into two camps Indian leadership was worried for Soviets directly intervening with Pakistan and Pakistan getting the support of Arab nations to create trouble in India via Kashmir. This power equation holds India back for a long time to directly engage with Israel until Soviet Russia collapsed in 1991.
Now in 2015 when we are discussing the global reality we need to take the whole issue in new perspective.
In this new century the concept of European Imperialism is much less sell-able idea and USA does not represent the classical imperialism as thinkers with left leanings want to portray. Definitely after the collapse of Soviets USA is an empire and empire in its own term always carries hostile forces and ideological baggage with it but in spite of that the present global power equation gives enough elbow room for India to stretch herself .
In preparing our self to that role we need to revisit some of our basic ideas. When we look to our electoral system we always find it attractive to emulate the presidential like system of USA but I find it not only impractical in country like India which has its consistent cultural, racial, linguistic diversity as well as diversity in the interpretation of spirituality which is the base of India ethos. USA was formed on the basis of new ideas which its forefathers gives it in the form of constitution and drew its inspirations from Roam empire which is known for its contribution in giving law to western world and . India also has constitution as its highest authority but in the formation of this constitution our forefathers did long deliberations to incorporate our civilizational, spiritual antiquity and cultural continuity as well as socio, political and economic realities which gave shape to India from ancient time to its present day. It does not mean in any way that India should stuck into its history but it also not imply that India can move forward without connecting herself with its civilizational continuity .
In the modern concept of Nation state if any nation comes near to India it is Israel. In new realities we should think more to emulate the political, economic and strategic vision of Israel which is more practical for us. Israel has almost adopted the all party cabinet system even having the political parties with their respective ideologies and they fight bitter war of words during their campaign but they have drawn some red lines on the issues of national interest and their civilizational identity which they never compromise and have learned to work together with differences because democracy is an art to live with differences. Democracy cannot be run in royal or monarch fashion with centralization of power in one or two people. It is also the typical European empirical model which is based on ancient royal model of governance but in present democratic set up when people have become more freedom loving and don’t want to give up their free space and only want governments to look after their welfare and unity and integrity of the nation it becomes almost impossible to take a nation forward without building a consensus and taking every apsirational group together.
20th century started with intra fighting of European states and regimented nationalism and organizations controlled the entire century but 21st century is all about freedom, liberty, assertion of individuality and creating more space .
As 20th century begin with inner fight between aspirations and ambitions among European states and inner contradictions led the situation to two world wars, the 21st century is facing the same situation in Asia where in west Asia the inner contradiction between Islamic states and ambition of China, resurgent Russia and ambitious Iran will lead the situation where old dynamics will change and every nation will be forced to restrategise herself.
If India wants to become a major player in this great game it needs to work seriously on few fronts.
- The fragmented domestic politics needs to be managed in a new format and idea of all party cabinet should be thought seriously to change the present electoral system where Prime Minister should be nominated from the largest party and largest party should be decided on the account of how much votes they are polled and then Prime Minister should include representatives of every political party in his cabinet in proportion to the vote polled to respective parties. If any member of cabinet disagrees to any decisions on ideological ground he or she will be allowed to quit the cabinet and should fight the by-election on the issue of that very policy decision and within three months if he get elected with more than 20% votes it should be considered as referendum and his dissent should be respected but if he loses the previous decision should ride.
This change could scuttle the difference between governance and ideology and more dissent voices would be part of mainstream policy making and syndrome of permanent distress group among society would be satisfied and country can move forward with more consensus with its civilizational obligations.
- India needs to come out of its seized mentality and break the stagnant strategic position of being content with merely a regional power and should bear the burden to raise its clout on global stage.
- The idea of reaching out to Muslims of India via Kashmir or Pakistan is an old idea with colonial hangover and imperialistic baggage. Indian Muslims have changed in last one decade particularly since 2001 when sectarianism within Islam has posed a real challenge before Islam itself the fantasy of Indian Muslims with having an Islamic caliphate is no more in real world and they realize the importance of being part of India once watching the situation in other parts of Islamic countries. One other important development has happened among Indian Muslims is they are diverting their money of “ Zakat” into the welfare of their community as education, Hospitals rather than spending it more in “ Jihad” or other activities which had potential to go in rogue hands.
The real challenge before India is to curb the sectarian movements within Islam and isolating Pakistan and Saudi Arab along with other oil rich gulf countries who are funding in the name of welfare of Islam and which are being misused for other nefarious purposes.
The current situation which has emerged in west Asia is going to last long and this volatile situation has again provided Pakistan more strategic role in West Asia and South Asia. India cannot afford to watch Pakistan with more leverage in current scenario and India needs to arrest this trend as quickly as possible otherwise Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan become pivot to another great game and Pakistan will again become crucial for western powers.
This is the situation which demands policy shift to guide the nation for decades and rhetoric alone will not work this time. We need to show the metal if we really want to come out of our shell and if we really mean this we need more consensus at domestic front, our changed view to Indian Muslims and to be more confident and open for international exposure without being hung in insecurity of western domination on economic issues to dailouge with Abrahmic faiths.