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Our India, their Bharat... - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Mar 31, 1997

    Our India, their Bharat...

    The recent actions of Mr Sitaram Kesri, supposedly with the full support of his colleagues in the Congress Party, have shown - yet again - the two countries that we 950 million people live in within these national borders.

    There is our India which is trying to correct the mistakes of the past 50 years imposed on us by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. A dynasty so caught up in its own image and power which managed to debase the lofty ideals of a grand "tryst with destiny" into a bondage with poverty for 400 million Indians.

    And there is the Bharat of the likes of Mr Kesri and the parties that they represent. Opportunists who wish to control the Indian electorate with the arithmetic of numbers and put their own selfish quest for power ahead of the interests of the nation.

    In our India people aspire to be just and fair and when a crime is committed, the guilty are punished quickly and suitably. For justice delayed is justice denied. What is the sense in sensationalising the discovery of another scam, another diary, another forgery, another tender scandal, another sackful of currency notes when those same crooks are living lifestyles that would put the rich and famous of America to shame.

    In their Bharat, they can wear white khadi and hang portraits of our great spiritual leaders on badly painted walls, and sell anything and everything and put a price tag to it: licences, murders, and national security.

    In our India, when we make a promise we keep it because our word is something sacred to be honoured, to be respected. If I support you in your endeavour, it is because I believe in what you are doing and unless you break my trust, my support stays with you.

    In their Bharat, you make promises to each other always keeping in mind that the only sanctity of your words is the perceived distance between you and the position of power and the timing of the next general election.

    In our India, bold men stand up in front of criticism and hostility and give us a vision of how our economic strengths can be realised. In 1985 we had V P Singh, in 1991 Manmohan Singh, and in 1997 P. Chidambaram. Each of these three individuals, in their own way, had the courage to say that the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty was wrong in their actions. And each of them gave us a glimmer of hope that we people mattered in the overall scheme of things and that India, which became a Bharat, must try to become India once again.

    In their Bharat, visionaries and idealists are not welcome and are a nuisance. These honourable men make the people worry about things like corruption, inefficient controls, and the plunder by a few under the garb of subsidies. Honour and truth educate people and educated people are a loss of votes.

    In our India, we try to live in harmony with our neighbours irrespective of their religion or caste. We try to be patient and understanding and we are tolerant. When people are persecuted because of their religion, we fight for their rights.

    In their Bharat, we are numbers. We are Hindu, Muslim, backward, forward, rich, middle-class, or poor. We are the pawns that they use - these grand old men who love to remind us how they have been to prison fighting for our independence. They will divide and sub-divide until there is only a nothingness left to rule.

    In our India, we have a democracy that systematically elects representatives to various offices of power with the expectation that they will serve us and remember how they achieved the positions of authority and responsibility which they presently occupy.

    In their Bharat, we are the stepping stones to wealth and get- rich quick schemes and, once in power, their authority is misused and their responsibilities forgotten. The servants of the people become the masters and, once every few years, they come down to greet us with folded hands and false promises and tell us about their love for the country and its people.

    In our India, businessmen do their work with honour and integrity. They are trustees of our social wealth and use their advantages for the betterment of society. They will not set up factories which they know can cause pollution and nor will they (even jokingly) say that their polluting products are actually helping to curb the population problem.

    In their Bharat, anything goes as long as there is money at the end of it all. They will pollute our rivers, our waters, our air and justify it on the grounds that life in India is cheap and environmental concerns are a luxury of life which a poor country cannot afford.

    In our India, we have simple wishes like the need to give our children good education, have a home to live in, electricity, food, and clothes. Things that many people in the world have because their servants - the politicians - planned well and delivered.

    In their Bharat, every deal must have a reward for the approver and money allocated to projects is lost between the weak links that separate giver and receiver. That is why even after so many years and piles of money spent on social causes, the only thing we have to show to for ourselves is the pathetic state of this country and the lack of facilities for its citizens.

    The actions of the Congress Party on March 30 was a rude reminder about the different objectives of the governed and those who govern. The two incompatible countries we live in within these 3 million square kms of land mass. For too many years now the Bharat-vasis have told us that they are committed to building a great nation that "will awake to freedom". For too many years we have allowed ourselves to be ruined by people whose only objective in life is to grab power at any cost, at any price. What is equally frightening is that many of us move from the ideal world of India to the ground realities of a Bharat in our own individual lives many times every day. What we tolerate on a personal level, we have to accept on a national level.

    The withdrawal of support for the United Front government was probably motivated more by self preservation than by any national interest of keeping communal forces at bay and compromise on the country's defence. Enough statistics have been published in the past to show that there is more communal trouble in states ruled by the Congress than in any other state. There has been sufficient evidence to show that it was the personal political ambitions of Mrs Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress party which they controlled that took the problems in Kashmir, Punjab, and Sri Lanka to civil war proportions.

    The irony is that, 50 years ago, with the achievement of Independence, Mahatma Gandhi suggested that the Congress - a party set up to win freedom from the British - be disbanded. Future generations of sociologists will probably record that the inherent fight for survival at all costs, which seems to be the only objective of this animal called the All India Congress Party, was a result of Mahatma Gandhi's suggestion. A declaration of death led to this insatiable appetite to remain alive.

    For too long now the politicians have been fooling us about this great divide between urban India and rural Bharat: foreign is bad, and khadi is good; rich are wicked and the poor are holy; we are the masters and you are the servants. But events of the past fifty years have shown that India does not want to be the Bharat that the politicians have made it out to be and the poorest people in this country are the in rural areas and city slums - the vote banks of these politicians.

    As the days go by, better sense may prevail and the national good - the immediate proxy for which is the budget - will be left intact and passed into law. But the next election will be another choice for us. My recommendation is Buy India, short sell Bharat.



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