People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 11

March 14, 2004


 India: A Superpower?


AFTER the lie (everybody feeling good), the damned lie (India shining for everybody) and the statistics doled out by the Vajpayee government, now comes the slogan of India being a "superpower". 


Like, in order to make everybody feeling good, in order to have the shine reflect on everybody in India, it is necessary to ensure that the communal and opportunistic coalition under Vajpayee's leadership is defeated, so is the case with the desire to make India a true superpower.  Everybody in the country would like India to be a superpower (of course, not modeled on the rogue superpower like US) but the status of being a superpower can come only on the foundations of a solid economy, society and polity. The policies pursued by this government rather than making India a superpower will make it the exact opposite. To put it simply, for India to be a superpower, the NDA, led by Vajpayee, must be kept far away from office.


First, let us take our society. India's strength lies in celebrating its diversity.  Its plurality is not only in terms of religion but in every other conceivable aspect: language, culture, habits etc etc.  Instead of celebrating this diversity and strengthening the unity of this country by strengthening the bonds of commonality amongst this diversity, the RSS/BJP seeks to impose uniformity upon this diversity. Its communal agenda that seeks to convert the secular democratic Indian republic into a rabidly intolerant fascistic "Hindu Rashtra" is completely opposed to strengthening India's social order as a solid foundation of a superpower. 


The relentless pursuit of the communal agenda during the last five years has seen the outbreak of obnoxious communal violence all across the country.  The highlight of this is the State-sponsored communal genocide in Gujarat. Advani has recently stated that Gujarat is the sole aberration of their  five-year rule! He wants this country to forget the numerous other vicious campaigns unleashed by this communal octopus that led to the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. The inhuman torching of Graham Staines and his children for instance. The Jhabua rape and the  anti-Christian terror for instance.  The numerous attacks on Christian minorities in the Dangs district of Gujarat for instance. The continued terrorising of the Muslims in Gujarat again, for instance. The brazen partisan role of the Gujarat state government and its agencies in protecting  the  perpetrators of the worst of inhuman crimes again, for instance. The escalation of tensions and terrorising accompanying the  distribution of trishuls again, for instance. The list can be endless.  These five years have seen systematic use of the institutions of administration and State power to patronise communal strife and to spread discord.  Far from strengthening the Indian pluralistic society, the policies of this Vajpayee government have only undermined the social cohesion of our society so vital to convert India into a superpower. 


Let us now take the economy.  The last five years have seen India achieving the dubious distinction of registering the largest number of impoverished people in the world (India is home to 25 per cent of the  world's impoverished while it's proportion in world's population is only 17 per cent). India has slipped further down in the index of Human Development Indicators.  The largest number of starvation deaths in India took place in these five years; likewise the largest number of distress suicides by Indian farmers took place during these five years. 


Through these columns in the past and elsewhere in this issue, we have documented how our economic fundamentals are being systematically undermined by the policies of this government. No country which treats its human resources as a liability rather than an asset can aspire to be a superpower. The Vajpayee government adopts policies precisely in this direction -- i.e., decimate the internal strength of our economy so vital for India to become a superpower.


Let us now come to the polity.  The often tom-tommed "achievement" of this government is that it has made India into a nuclear power.  The whole world knows that since 1974, India had the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb but chose not to do so since that gave India a greater leverage in international politics to pursue the noble goal of universal nuclear disarmament.  By choosing to reverse this course and conduct nuclear tests, this Vajpayee government only ensured that Pakistan responds in a similar fashion. With Pakistan also acquiring nuclear status, the traditional immense superiority that India had over decades in conventional arms was  negated in one stroke.  This government's singular achievement was to reduce India's superiority to the level of Pakistan's.  Nuclear deterrence has emboldened Pakistan to intensify its attacks on India like in Kargil or support to cross border terrorism. 


In the process, India's foreign policy, far from being that of championing and, on many occasions, assuming the leadership role of the developing countries of the world (through the Non Aligned Movement and other fora) has been reduced to being exclusively Pakistan-centric.  From a world leader, even from a regional leader, India has been reduced, under this Vajpayee government, to a country in perpetual conflict with one neighbour.  This, in turn, provided imperialism the   opportunity to intervene in the name of brokering "peace" in the region.  Even the current rapprochement with Pakistan, universally welcomed by all, has been long delayed by such a pre-occupation of this government which views Indo-Pak relations as a domestic issue of considerable political profit for it.  This was more than evidenced by Advani's linking up of improved Hindu-Muslim relations in India with Indo-Pak relations, thus signalling, once again, that the patriotic credentials of Indian Muslims is suspect. 


Within the country, the federal polity has come under severe stresses and strains because of the policies contrary to the spirit of federalism consistently pursued by this government.  Centre-State relations have been dealt primarily on the basis of who holds the governments in the states a friend or a foe.  Such blatant discrimination has often led to the further undermining of a healthy federal content of the Indian polity.


In sum, therefore, if India were to emerge as a superpower, what is required is the reversal of the policies this government is pursuing.   In the past, mostly in jest, the NDA was often referred to as the National Disaster Alliance!   Unfortunately, the balancesheet of the last five years confirms such a description. For India, to be a superpower, this communal combine must be kept as far away from State power as possible.