There have been several kinds of fascism that pitted one human being against the other: Racism, Religious Fundamentalism, Tribalism, Casteism, Monarchy, Dictatorship, Linguistic Parochialism to name a few.
In the last century though, two forms of fascism have stood out. They are Islamic fundamentalism and Communism. Both have the potential to destroy our human world as we know it.
However, a third kind of ideology has been gaining ground recently all over the world that is at once insidious and virulent. It is Socialism.
The word socialism itself is not new. There has been a tendency to use communism and socialism interchangeably from the beginning. China and Russia called themselves socialist too, more often than not.
Under Nehru though, at least in India, the word got a new meaning. It was supposed to be the best of both worlds Capitalism and Communism offered. The kind of ideology that was supposed to suit the special conditions that prevailed in India. According to Nehru, China, Russia and India were all socialist countries, though neither China nor Russia never believed India was anything but a pseudo-capitalist country, which immediately tells you one man’s socialism is not another’s.
The word socialism is an ambiguous beast. The closest most of the people would agree upon, is probably this: In socialism, people have the right to possess private property. But the government is responsible for the general well-being of the people and hence has enough discretionary powers to make that happen. How much private property one is allowed to have, and how much power the government has to ensure the welfare of the people are the flexible parameters here.
Given the above definition, communism can be considered as an extreme case of socialism. In communism, the individual owns nothing and the state has every power at its disposal.
Similarly most of the capitalist societies also practice some degree of socialism. If you take America, the government has been playing a bigger and bigger role in providing all kinds of amenities to the people. So, though America is the closest idealistic capitalist society we have, it’s not 100% capitalist either.
Nehru used socialism as his ideological foundation on which he tried to build India. When he started out as India’s first Prime Minister, he truly believed that socialism would deliver. I have no doubt of that. However, he also must have realized that things weren’t progressing along as he hoped them to. He wasn’t statesman enough to backtrack and try a different approach, but his earlier conviction was genuine enough.
However from the time Indira Gandhi took over the reins of India, she continued with socialism not because of her ideological affinity, but because she quickly figured out it could be cynically exploited to create a vote bank out of the poorest. She was targeting the kind of poor who had every stake to go to the polling booth on the Election day and vote, not like the educated classes who weren’t really interested in the their right to vote.
By that time, most of the communist thinkers had already figured out that communism would not work anywhere. But they still held on to it. Some of them had spent their whole lives believing in its efficacy and were loath to admit they were wrong. Regardless, communism and it’s derivative, socialism, were moribund philosophies.
But even Indira Gandhi, or Rajeev Gandhi who succeeded her, didn’t understand the full range of benefits a demagogue can extract out of socialism. Not until China turned communism into a form of controlled capitalism, did all the unscrupulous politicians wake up.
Now evil politicians all around the world realized that it was better to allow some people to make money. That way there will be a bigger pie to loot from. Also, they didn’t have to abandon their vote bank of poor either. In fact, they could strengthen it, by sharing some of the wealth thus generated.
The equation is simple, really. Mathematically speaking, if 49% of the people can be made to pay for the rest of the 51%, continuance of power is assured. The grateful 51% would keep such a benevolent government in power.
Two things need to be be noted here:
1) Even during the best of the economic times, there would be no progress since whatever wealth is being generated is being frittered away, by a non-working population.
2) Slowly the people from the working 49% of the population would get disenchanted and start joining the other group.
Soon 30% working members of the society would be supporting themselves and the 70% of the non-working members. Afterwards, 20% would be supporting the rest of the 80%. This arrangement is destined to break at some point, when the money being generated by the worker ants will not be enough to pay for the lazy ants.
But who cares? At least, not a party like Congress. They can play this charade for one or two terms depending on how much surplus the previous government had left them and how long people are willing to play along. If this balance is upset, they are willing to sit in the opposition for sometime. After all they need time to spend all the loot they collected.
So, here’s the rub. Before 2014 elections, Congress will do its darnedest best to befriend the non-working members of the society. They will rush to get an Aadhar card to everybody, so they can use it as an instrument to transfer cash to the poor, thereby effectively converting them to beggars who would need the Maibaap Congress Sarkaar to keep protecting them. Congress will play every cynical move, stoop as low as it can possibly go, to come back to power for a third term.
Here’s rub number two. Even if Congress loses, BJP is going to inherit a sordid mess. It will probably take them more than a term to sort it out. When people would have to go through difficulties because of the political and economic reforms BJP must undertake, they would suddenly remember the golden days of Congress rule, and all the blame would be squarely placed at the door of the BJP.
So, even if BJP comes to power in 2014, the struggle doesn’t and must not end. It must be ensured that Congress never comes back to power again.
To make sure Congress doesn’t return, BJP and its friends must make sure that a sustained information campaign goes on explaining the truth of the matter. They need to work extra hard, since the national press won’t help at all. Movies must be made, books must be written, camps and meetings must be held. In short whatever is necessary to keep reminding the people that socialism is the reason why they are in trouble in the first place.
Even if the BJP has to dilute its agenda, it should, because there is nothing more important than keeping Congress out of power permanently. I would go as far as to say it’s the duty of every patriotic Indian.