Will this be the last battle?
Columns, Point of View

Will this be the last battle?

March 19, 2019

By T.J.S. George

This is going to be the make or break election. It will either make the idea of India viable, or it will break it completely. The ruling dispensation knows that if they don’t win this time, they won’t win for a long time. And if they win, they’ll make sure they don’t lose again. Get ready for the bitterest, most cold-blooded election in the history of our Democracy.

Early symptoms of the power play were already on show. In a short span of 30 days the Prime Minister declared open 157 projects, from an airport in Sikkim to a highway in Kanyakumari. They were all publicised in ways seldom seen in our country before. And most of them were crowned by no-holds-barred election speeches. Even the inauguration of the National War Memorial in Delhi saw the PM attacking the Congress’s dynastic leadership. The Election Commission helpfully waited until the ground was prepared by all these shows and speeches.

India’s electorate is famously under-literate. Yet the savvy with which the illiterate and semi-literate voters of UP defeated Indira Gandhi after the Emergency is part of legend. Part of a more shameful legend was the way literate Kerala became the only State to vote for her in that historical 1977 election. The question that came up then was: Who is better for Democracy — the literate or the illiterate?

This time the question is more complicated because religion is involved. So is nationalism in its new avatar. The rise of Hindutva has given a new emotional dimension to religion. It helped the BJP create some waves although, like all waves, they dissipated quickly. Dissipation happens because Hindutva activists resort to extreme steps that violate Indian sensibilities. Lynchings and whippings and killings in the name of religion repel more than they attract. The IS is an example. Islam’s concept of martyrdom was an attraction for over-enthusiastic youngsters to volunteer for suicide missions. But even in Muslim societies, IS lost the prestige it once had.

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There can be healthy arguments over nationalism, like Ravindranath Tagore initiated with his notion that humanism was right and nationalism wrong. But it is something else when an Indian, born and brought up as an Indian, is asked to prove his bonafides as a nationalist. Diversity is the essence of this nation of many languages and diets and dress habits and cultural backgrounds. Unity in diversity is the ideal for such a kaleidoscopic nation. And it proved workable. To discard that in favour of a monolithic culture will be to invite disaster.

The highlight features of the last five years will have to be a guide to voting decisions this time around. Topping all lists of major policy decisions are demonetisation and GST. The passage of time has not helped paper over the disastrous impact of both, especially of demonetisation, which wrecked the lives of thousands of ordinary people and small businesses. Many deaths were reported due to exhaustion waiting in queues and to newly experienced poverty that blocked access to food and medicines. The Government blocked all attempts to get relevant statistics about the deaths.

Many autonomous institutions had zealously preserved their independence to ensure checks and balances in governance. One by one these were compromised, none more worrisomely than the Reserve Bank of India. High profile economic advisers like Arvind Subramanyam and Arvind Panagariya resigned as they discovered that the Finance Minister neither needed nor desired advisers. An RBI Governor abruptly resigned over issues relating to autonomy; the Government appointed a bureaucrat in his place.

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In short, the BJP Government has been focusing on a partisan agenda to transform the basic democratic structure of the Indian polity. Its trump card has been the personality of the Prime Minister. There is no one in India today to rival his energy, his oratory and his nonstop campaigning style. He also has a capacity to attract sycophancy. Consider this India Today web desk item of May 2017: “The popular leader has completed three years, but the excitement on his being the Prime Minister has not died down.”

That excitement will be kept at high pitch during the voting weeks ahead. Is that the best for us? A kind of answer was given by a 19th century American columnist named Peter Dunne. He wrote: “A man who expects to train lobsters to fly in a year is called a lunatic. But a man who thinks that men can be turned into angels by an election is called a reformer and remains at large.”

Beware of reformers.

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17 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Will this be the last battle?”

  1. Subramaniam says:

    “Will this be the last battle – by TJS George”
    This is a highly biased column, by someone who refuses to see beyond what is portrayed by Congress-biased media. The article is patch work of the bits and pieces we have read over the past few years. India has not changed beyond looking to Gandhi family since our independence. Whether anyone likes or not, this is the fact. Our country is not fiefdom of Nehrus or Gandhis. The mindset has been entrenched deep. Much like a third world country. Go to Nigeria, you will see like India few steps further down. The non-Gandhi PM has been trying his best to change the fabric of what has been entrenched – of bribes givers and takers. Even now when a policeman stops for checking in Mysore, one of them expects you to bribe him, away from the prying eyes of his superiors. I myself has been deprived of my hard earned money for no fault of mine by these bribe taking officers. For the past 4 years this has come down, as the bribe takers have seen a sense of embarassment. Talk about what has changed. How India is changing, rather than taking a uni-dimensional view of what the columnist thinks of diversity and religion. That India is a multi-religious country – no one can change that. On the core of India is Hinduism and its oft repeated “Sarve jana sukhino bhavantu.” India has changed for the past 4 years and this change has been for the good. Try to see it for yourselves. States which has adopted the change have improved, those which didn’t have lagged behind and taken refuge in mud-slinging. Thank you.

  2. Samir says:

    Urban naxals are a new threat to India! George is a classic case of one! They seem to support the weak to destroy the one in power! But if Congress ruled, his hatred is against congress and BJP will be his favorite! They are like the paid prostitutes! Even prostitutes may have some conscience but these people don’t have their only ideal is to create chaos! KANHIAH, mani shanker iyer are a few samples. He did not mind approaching pakustan to remove modi! George is trying to tell us that all democracy is destroyed by BJP today Rahul calls Modi a CHOR, Congress calls him a Naamurd meaning impotent, every abuse and manufacured lies are hurled at modi and what more democracy and freedom of speech he wants! Indian economy is booming, Modi is respected in almost ALL counties including the Islamic nations yet, George thinks we don’t have democracy after abusing modi in such foul language, people like George are still waking on the street, isnt it an indication of democracy? What is hurting them? Inability to loot? Kill hindus!? Drive away Hindus or kill them like they did in Kashmir to Kashmiri Pundits? What is paining you George? Are is it attacking terror groups or stopping Christian funds for propaganda or conversion? Are you wanted to see more RSS men murdered like in Kerala? Please let us know the source of your pain! Somehow dome SOM staff seems to be in some kind pain becausebof modi !
    India has to watch out so that these urban masala are identified and eliminated from public life before they eliminate us! Currently anything Hindu is their target ! We need to see through their intentions and the hidden agenda

    • Srikrishna Bhagwan says:

      You lost me when you say “these urban masala are identified and eliminated from public life before they eliminate us!”.

      I know you are frustrated and hurt by TJS George’s comments. But that is the price you have to pay to live in a free and democratic country.

  3. @Srikrishna, TJS George should also accept the fact that BJP came to power democratically, and accept his blessings that he (and Owaisi!!!) live in a democratic country where he is allowed to spout his sinister piffle! He is free to leave India anytime he chooses!

  4. Raghu says:

    TSG is copying the sentiments from Aston gehlot a Rajasthan congressman who says if Modi wins, there will not be any elections anymore and India becomes China!Scare tactics! But at the same time George is a big fan of China and uses Chinese was media as a source to criticise Indian GOVERNMENT! He does not trust our army, soldiers, wants proof for every action army says it did just like KANHIAH! He freely abides RSS, but and modi in public and writing yet brands them as curbing the freedom of expression
    Mental institutions should offer free services to treat him!

  5. Amused! says:

    I find it amusing when one disagrees with another, it is always the other guy who needs medical attention. IMO, both of them needs to see a shrink!

  6. Nagaraju says:

    TJS George is a Congress Boot licker

  7. H says:

    Dear Mr George, it is understandable each of us have our political affiliations and likes.but this sort of biased, prejudiced writing masquerading as journalism is nauseating. Do not further spoil the quality of your writing oppose, as a gentleman, write like a gentleman, so that decent people may read your stuff.

  8. Ironically Mr.TJS George appears prejudiced and biased towards the motley group of self centred politicians presently opposing Modi’s BJP.He is totally wrong to warn that there will be an extinction of democracy if Modiji returns to power after the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. On the other hand let him remember that nearly a decade long Manmohan Singh regime which preceded Modi rule was very detrimental to our democracy as it has been known more for wanton abuse of powers and rampant corruption triggered by shameful back seat driving by Sonia Gandhi and her coterie within the so called national party, the Congress.

  9. Rama ramesh says:

    Coffers empty, cheque bounce,non payment of bills for many months, funds diverted

  10. Patriot says:

    There is another George, just like TJS another Kerala Christian convert, who is now in the state cabinet. This same person when he was a minister in S M Krishna’s cabinet, made a comment in response to the People who died in Gujarat’s earth quake that it was (His)God’s punisment of Hindus for their sin of intolerance towards converts like him. What did S M Krishna do? Instead of booting this convert out of the cabinet, he did nothing!

    Why are we so afraid to push these Georges back? Kodagu, and Karnataka, is in danger of assault by these Kerala converts.

    IMO, people like these Georges are a greater threat to India than the Muslims.

    You pseudo secularists scream as much as you want, I don’t give a damn!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I recommend the book “Advice and Dissent: My Life in Public Service” by Y.V. Reddy former governor of RBI.

  12. Hari Prasad says:

    As a mysorean leaving outside now, i always read SOM and columns. I always find TJS columns most illogical and factless. As an Engineer, i look for some fact/data presented in their argument, however it seems like SOM has given liberty to TJS to write what he wants.

    Agreed that not all electorate have complete awareness, however TJS seems to be stating the electorate is becoming dumb over the last 70 years, the dumbest in the last 5 years.

    Mr Ganapathy – not sure if you pay for these columns, but TJS is waste of money if you do. You can find better columnist, that maybe biased but still have some data to backup their arguments in the column. As long time SOM/MM fans and readers, this would be worth the money.

    • Rahul says:

      The disgraceful cartoonist also need to be booted out!all his cartoons lack sense of humor, must modi hatred and morbid ! Somewhere SOM lost its plot! These cartoons are not supposed to be a platform to display your personal hatred! They should rather be factual!

  13. Srinivasan says:

    Rubbish article as always…I don’t know why SOM wants to publish such biased and senseless article. In the name of so called freedom of speech one can’t write crap and another one for want of filling news paper page publish it. I think SOM should restrict itself to publish local news of road repair, water and electricity supply…don’t think you are well qualified to publish articles pertaining to national issues if your source is people like George.

  14. The legacy of Congress is deprivation of intellegentia. Square pegs in round holes is the result of congress rule. Emergency itself was an anachronism in vibrant India. The pogrom unleashed against Sikhs has no parallel in history. All veterans of congress are associated with scams like Bofors Agusta Westland national herald hdw submarines jeep scandal commonwealth games scam coal scam chopper scam Tatra truck scam Adarsh scam Tatra truck scam Adarsh scam telgi scam insurance scam telecom scam fodder scam Ketan Parekh scandal taj corridor case oil for food programme scam Bombay stock exchange fraud Madhu Koda solar ice cream parlour case bar bribery Saradha scam rose valley scams.23 prime ministerial aspirants will clash regarding kissakursika. Better allow blooming of a billion national flowers. Misinterpretations manipulations false propaganda etc exist here.


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