Arun Shourie Shares His Take on India’s bogus secularism, leftist canards, NaMo’s performance & prospective role in BJP, MF Hussein’s islamist hypocrisy, corruption, pernicious influence of money in electoral politics.
- Moderator seems a leftie, an Amartya Sen acolyte. Arun makes the leftie eat his words after leftie refers to what he calls powerful example. Leftie refers to Hindutva, but has trouble defining it.
- Makes pieces of leftist shibboleths by citing facts and reality. Blasts India’s perverted secularism, divisive politics.
- Ascribes BJP’s organisation weakness for its election loss in 2004 and onwards.
- Describes NaMo’s remarkable performance in Gujarat and how he can electrify BJP’s moribund electoral organisation.
- Says it is OK if communal minded muslims dont vote BJP. Alludes to BJP working on native consolidation.
Arun says much more. Listening to audio alone will do justice to the perspectives he brings out. It is unfortunate that Indian journalism with men like Shourie in Mainstream, that took on corruption in the establishment has degraded to a state where deceits like Shekhar Gupta and NDTV-Barkha Dutt collude in the sly with corrupt Government.
SHORT TRANSCRIPT OF THE SESSION:
(Captured by Yossarin)
Long introduction by the master of ceremonies refers to Arun Shourie’s recent pieces critical of the state of affairs in the BJP, doesnt miss an opportunity to recall “Alice in Blunderland” wisecrack at Rajnath Singh.
First question is on soul searching by Arun Shourie.
Arun Shourie starts with attributing the confusion in the Party and the defeat of the Party feeding on each other.
Arun Shourie On Soul Searching
never a good time to do it in hierarchical organisations
Organization should be current not just an electoral machine
conduct of individuals must be exemplary
greater need for soul searching within RSS than in the BJP
decision making in all political parties has been reduced to a small privileged clique
small privileged cliques resist soul searching
Second question is on winning confidence of Indian Muslims
BJP should stand for true secularism
Individual should be the Unit of State Policy
Rejects Communal or Caste based Group Entitlements Policymaking
We should not give to a Communal group what we would deny to a Secular group
Shourie on Affirmative action and caste based reservations
Absurd levels of reservations with sub-castes within sub-castes
Points to absurd promotions in government to fill up quota vacancies
Disputes the label “backwardness” being applied to groups like Jats,Rajputs, Vokkaligas, Lingayats etc.. which are politically so “forward” they are able to force the hand of the State to be labelled backward. Political strength rather than social standing decides who is backward. Shourie refers to his work “Falling over Backwards”
Cant believe that a man like Manmohan Singh could have issued a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office to Nationalised Banks on maintaining records of loans given to Muslims
Asserts that in the long run BJP stands to gain by standing for True Secularism
Next question is on whether BJP should dilute its policies to gain Muslim Votes
believes that Muslims themselves will see credibility in BJP if it sticks by its beliefs and doesnt succumb to temptation of appeasement
If we can identify BPL for PDS why not for targetting socio-economic backwardness in Muslims
Next question is on need for Affirmative Action to address exclusions due to discrimination. Refers to study by Carla Hoff World Bank economist on Caste exclusion.
Shourie questions the wisdom of reinforcing Caste prejudices by asking for Caste to be identified in employment and other State services
Asserts the wrong lessons being inferred from this World Bank example
Questions the use of “criteria” that reinforce the prejudices in State Policy
Next question is on whether Caste neutral policies can deliver on Social Justice
points to notings by British census officers till 1930 on why caste should not be used an enumeration since it is “meaningless and fluid”
refers to an example of a Caste’s population dwindling from 800k to 100k between 2 Census cycles because a certain caste got elevated to a higher caste. Shows that ‘caste’ traditionally was a dynamic rather than static entity.
Points that with Caste based politics we have a race to backwardness to the bottom of the pit to be the most depressed weak caste
Makes a plea against regurgitating cliches on Caste prejudices that have been internalised in Indian public discourse
What are the most important legitimate and serious criticisms of the BJP
1. We have to find a way of relating advancement within the party to performance. Confident that its how things will evolve in the future
2. There has to be an Institutionalized and Objective framework for leadership to evaluate performance
3. Greater clarity on Economic Issues. In Mr. Vajpayee’s Cabinet many leaders mutated into Nehruvian Statists. There has to be a deeper reflection and study of Economic issues. All debate is reduced to one-liners. There has to be deep study and deeper reflection to arrive at a considered view rather than reduce to evening news headlines.
4. Stop reacting to what Governments are doing. Stop reducing all politics to merely agitations on people’s problems. We have to convince people about solutions. We have to convince people we have better ideas and better credibility on execution.
5. On BJP being inclusive it should be a True Secular Party and not one that appeases Muslims. BJP should have a pan-India ideology and appeal that doesnt exclude anyone
For those who are less familiar with Indian politics, explain what Hindutva means in terms of Hindu religion
That question is best addressed to those who use the word Hindutva and like to describe themselves as Hindu Nationalists, I dont know.
As a word everybody keeps using it but I have not got a coherent reply on what it means, even Islam is a way of life.
Is there anything special about Hindutva and BJP
BJP has essentially taken up issues on rebound.
BJP has been unique in taking up issues that were peddled in the name of Muslims if not actually in their interests
Bending to religious fundamentalists like Bhindranwale
More specifically on Congress bending to pressures from those claim to speak on behalf of religions
It was these issues that got BJP the label
I still maintain these are not primary ways to convince voters
BJP has to convince voters by delivering on Governance – superior policies and implementation
Who is most responsible for rot in BJP ?
Those outside BJP who use these characterisations, those who drifted state policy towards appeasing groups
Several of the Hindu values not very different from buddhist values were evident in the personal lives of RSS leaders, previous generation BJP leaders – austerity, pride in native traditions, and its relevance, are no longer evident in BJP
On changing levels of tolerance and openness in Indian Society – Mangalore pub incident, cases against M.F. Hussain, Raj Thackeray etc.. was India more tolerant in 1960s 1970s than now
India is an ocean, these incidents are deplorable they have nothing to do with religion or tradition, these are fringe individuals and groups
Mangalore incident was stage managed. Ready presence of TV camera crews at the site of incident is a give away.
On MF Hussain absolutely no justification whatsoever for him to be in exile for him to be berated or attacked
How is it that MF Hussain that with his great skill has never felt an urge to paint the face of the Muslim Prophet but has always found the inspiration to paint Indian Gods without any hesitation ?
It is a double standard, it reflects the selective way in which critics on both sides frame issues draws attention to paintings showing Sita deriving erotic pleasure from Hanuman’s tail while no paintings on Prophet’s wives
On vegetarianism and buildings brilliant Market based solution – let us build more buildings so there are many alternatives and those who are exclusionary are passed over
On Narendra Modi – should he be projected as a future Prime Minister or should that be off the table to build a winning BJP
1. This is a question that requires an extended answer
2. We should not underwhelm or trivialize his Development track record and on Governance
3. His work on development is exemplary
4. When he brings water to Kutch or Saurashtra its not that water is only to Hindus and discriminating against Muslims same goes for fruits of development from Roads and Power. Why dont we see that track record ?
5. His critics have made him a national figure today. I personally saw this.
6. One day I was travelling from Delhi to Manipal in Karnataka. It happened by coincidence when assembly election results from Gujarat came out. I was in the Plane and I was working the election was out of my mind. In the middle of the plane the Air Hostess comes to tell me that the Captain sends you a message that Narendra Modi is doing well in Gujarat. In the airport the porters came to congratulate that Modi was winning. Many hours later in Mumbai people in the airport came to me to congratulate. The baggage handlers in Mangalore airport embraced me when Modi’s tally in Gujarat crossed 121 seats.
7. Can he be the future of the winning party – he will immediately electrify the party if he comes to Delhi but there will also be deep divisions in the country. He will have to overcome those divisions if he has to make it a winning Party. But no doubt he will immideately electrify the Party.
We should not under-estimate his potential to be elected to High Office if the current trend of religion based entitlements continues
Open House questions followed.
What should BJP’s future economic policies be India versus Bharat ?
Yashwant Sinha gave a very good answer to this.
How is it that in Punjab those economic reforms got the BJP seats but in Haruyana BJP got wiped out. That they lost in Maharashtra gained in Gujarat. Lost in Andhra won in Karnataka.
The cliche of India Shining versus Aam Admi is a media inspired cliche