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Recasting Thought

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Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy declared that the Modi Government had taken ‘decisions that would have a positive impact on generations to come’. In this context he naturally mentioned the abrogation of Article 370, the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the coming Citizenship Amendment Bill, overhaul of the banking sector, etc. Basically, he tried to alter the perspective on India’s goals in the context of the kind of narrative in which the rise in onion prices becomes a major talking point. It is not that onion prices and the far more important subject of rape-murders don’t matter. It is just that change even on these issues will come from fundamental reforms undertaken in a long term perspective. This requires a minimum political consensus across all sections, otherwise an enormous amount of effort and money can be wasted just to settle petty scores, as is being seen in Maharashtra these days. This attitude can even endanger the nation’s security and jeopardise delicate strategic initiatives. India’s hard freedom, even, can come under threat. It is a fact that, in the face of the BJP’s present dominance, the other political parties – particularly those that have limited support bases – are feeling greatly threatened. It is a matter of sheer survival for them. And, indeed, it would not do for India to have no alternative to the present ruling party. What is just as important, however, is the manner in which it is done. This requires a major element of sophistication and understanding of the contemporary Indian psyche. As Rudy emphasised, this cannot be obtained by those whose concerns for the nation are expressed from the comfortable confines of Delhi’s five-star hotels. The environment for this has to be created by the intellectual class, which, unfortunately, has limited itself to the traditionally, conformist way of thinking. Sadly, this can be rightly attributed to the links many established and celebrated intellectuals have to the Congress, burdened as they are by the many favours received in the past. It is a changing world and unless those at the cutting edge of this make their contribution, a full understanding of the issues will not be obtained. At the present, what many intellectuals are contributing are merely opinions that are best used by Pakistan in its case against India on international forums. India’s political class, basically, will not be able to rise above its current obsessions unless the intellectuals, experts and scholars open new pathways of thought for them. India awaits this important revolution.