What A Relief!

Several people phoned this morning to say that after a long time they had sound,undisturbed sleep.I had to reply that I too had the same feeling of deep relief.As though a dark pall of cloud had lifted from our mind showing clear and blue skies.A Muslim friend said that for some years past he had been wondering whether he really belonged to the country of his birth,the land where generations of his family lived and died.After the results he felt that it was indeed his country.Very much so.

The poll results have decidedly cleared the miasma of the Modi myth and magic.That some people have asked for his resignation is understandable. For he had been campaigning for months to the neglect of his minimum official duties,and practically in his own own name as an agent of God.It did not gel.Even his own seat  has been retained with a much reduced majority.The latest blunder had been the clumsy attempt to foment anti-Muslim phobia now that the clamour about ‘Vikash’ has met a blank wall of ennui.

The opposition has fought well,though one wished bickerings among members had died down much earlier.For the dismal results of Delhi may well be a fall-out of the ill-tempered barbs of Kejriwal and counters from Congress until practically the last minute.

One notices with pleasant surprise Rahul Gandhi’s patient and open-minded negotiations with various regional leaders for alliance and his skill in patching up rifts in it.The earlier obstinate and unrealistic demand for pre-eminence has given way to a seasoned acceptance of modest fellowship.During the press conference after the results the importance given to alliance and partnership in response to probing and teasing questions from the press revealed the same maturity.Incidentally this maturity was seen in his cameraderie with Akhilesh Yadav,which saw to a stunning collapse in BJP’s hitherto impregnable walls in UP.

Rahul declared in the press conference that the striking performance of the INDIA alliance stemmed from its stout defence of India’s constitution.The common people responded to the calamities of high prices of everything that makes life sustainable and the scorching unemployment.But in a way they had certainly voted for the Constitution,for it is the Constitution that compels the rulers to enable people to live a life of dignity,free from nagging want and demeaning poverty.The cash transfers under welfare schemes are welcome in conditions of severe drought of money,but a life of dependence as a beneficiary surely lacks dignity.Dictatorship and despotism in conditions like those in our country usually follow from a will to suppress such dignity.

The INDIA alliance too has any number of ‘beneficiary schemes’.But while that is necessary as palliative,it hardly meets the basic problem of neo-liberal economy.The latter allows business tycoons to store essential vegetables and staples of daily meals for unlimited periods in expectation of higher prices while their prices soar in open market.Or huge chunks of them may be exported while people starve as these become unaffordable at home.While one cannot think of just snapping out of it recklessly,there has got to be neasures to moderate its heat.

Rahul Gandhi quipped that the Adani-Modi nexus is proved by the rise and fall of the stock market with changing fortunes of Modi regime.Actually it is not Adani shares alone,but ALL shares that mimic the ascent and  decline of the Modi government’s fortunes.For it is basically a government tied up with big business houses.That is neoliberal state in a nutshell.It is geared to the monopolists relentless,maniacal and heartless pursuit of profit to the peril of life and livelihood of the common people, the culture of co-operation and human fellow-feeling as well as the natural environment of all life.

Modi’s speech accepting the results from Vajpeyee Bhavan bore the same characteristics of his histrionics and rhetoric.But the verve was lacking,the long-drawn periods forced and mechanical.He congratulated the people for upholding democracy.

It is ironic if a little frightening that one with patent dictatorial pretensions should proclaim such devotion to democracy.Whatever he means by it.But it IS a vast relief to find that the people have shaken off their stupor to reclaim their ownership of the government,something the preamble to our Constitution so compellingly articulate.

There are many people who think that the alarm about EVMs had been false and groundless. But with the ECI so oddly acting like an agency of the government in power and itself formed in such conditions of dubiousness, there was no guarantee that when everything else of value had been traduced they would not have tried to hack its programming.It was only the vigilance of the people including civil rights activists,IT experts,former bureaucrats,responsible lawyers and former judges,that appears to have deterred miscreants from mischief.

The courts have had their fair share of blame and public censure when they fell far short of expectations in this critical phase of our history.But to be really fair one has to concede that the SC at this crucial juncture acted several times to indirectly inject vigour into the flagging campaign for democracy,as when it swatted the blatant rigging of election of Chandigarh’s mayor,when it blew the whistle on the Electoral Bonds scam,or when it cut down to size Baba Ramdev,whose brazen impunity had left most people incredulous but helpless.

Yes, all of us have tried and done our bit for our beloved country and out cherished Constitution.The next steps must also be taken with a mixture of courage and circumspection.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

Courtesy: CounterView



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