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Farewell to our Humid Weimar

July 11, 2008

Dear All,

I find it sad that all those who live in India are being sent headlong into a period of turbulence following the unilateral  decision by the so-called Left parties in response to the Indo-US  Nuclear Deal to withdraw support from the UPA government. This decision is not a response to basic issues like the rising cost of living, but in support of the chimera of ‘sovereignty’ in military affairs. It is shameful that parties that continue to call themselves communist should feel no embarassment at all in exhibiting the worst and most pathetic form of militarist nationalism, premised on the maintainance of an obscene Nuclear military policy. In all likelihood, if the government of the day fails  to pass the test of numbers on the floor of parliament, India will head straight for early elections.It will do so entirely because of the ‘Patriots’ on the so called ‘Left’.

The likely beneficiary of this  process will be the Bharatiya Janata Party, and if, going by the extensive coverage that  the Hindu, usually the mainstream media mouthpiece of the so called Communist Party of India (Marxist) has given to L.K. Advani (the billowing PM in waiting of the BJP), then, it needs to be read as a  sign of things to come. A covert entente cordiale between the so-called Left and the Right in Indian politics.

Or, in other words, Prakash Karat handing L.K. Advani the prime-ministership on a  platter. A decade or so ago, while Harkrishen Singh Surjeet was  ‘managing’ the Congress on behalf of the CPI(M), a similar covert  entente cordiale between the so called Left and the Congress (which  matured into a full fledged partnership) was as unthinkable, as what  augurs, when the ‘Patriots’ of the Left and the Right begin dancing their secret tango.

In this entire episode, everyone has come out in glorious colours,  the Congress with its pathetic kow-towing to US interests under the stewardship of George Bush, the Left with its myopic Nuclear  patriotism and its abdication of any responsibility towards developing a coherent political programme that is in any way critical of the Indian state’s military Nuclear ambitions, the BJP with its sabre rattling, the Socialists (Samajwadi Party) with their usual cynical opportunism.

And so ends the brief humid Weimar of the Indian Republic. Let us celebrate its demise by recalling how pallid and banal it has already become.I guess we should all now get accustomed to the idea of  Narendra Modi as a possible Union Minister of the Interior in the forthcoming  years.

best
Shuddha

(Apologies for cross posting a post substantially similar to one already posted by me on the Reader-List.)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Aditya Nigam permalink*
    July 12, 2008 11:54 AM

    I missed your earlier, very lucid post on the Hyde Act, Shuddha. Away where I was, I had really poor web access. So I just managed to read both that post as well as this, very timely intervention. I must say that I found myself completely in agreement with you general reading of both the nuclear deal as well as the WWF-like rhetoric indulged in by Karat and Co.
    However, I do think that sometimes even the Karats may have a limited use. The point certainly needed to be made that hell is not going to break loose if India (or any other country) parts ways with the US. The way the hysterical media analysts speak, it would appear that a break with the US would be the end of the world. There are many countries in the world, even today, even in the US’ own backyard, which are not doing too badly without its overlordship. Argentina even managed to recover from its endless economic crises (disaster, actually), only by breaking with the orthodoxy that thinks that the sun shines from the US (and IMF-WB) ass.
    The only real question here, it seems, given the really low credibility of the ‘Left’ at this juncture, is whether this point is made at all! If the upshot of all this sabre-rattling is simply going to be that it will pave the way for a BJP comeback, the ‘Left’ will of course have a lot to answer for.

  2. July 13, 2008 8:19 PM

    Why is the blind hatred of BJP enough to justify any harakiri? Are you really suggesting that the Communists should support the nuclear deal and the strategic-military alliance with the US. Why is standing by one’s principles not a virtue among India’s middle class voters?

  3. sonnket permalink
    July 20, 2008 11:58 AM

    I have some questions listed below:

    1)Is it as per the democratic norms to go ahead with a contoversial but important deal when the government does not have clear majoritiy in the parliament? More so when the left has been firm on it’s stand since day one.

    2)No single nuclear reactor has been commissioned in US in last 23 years.If nuclear energy is such a miracle solution for India’s energy problem,then why is it not so for US?

  4. Aditya Nigam permalink*
    July 20, 2008 1:34 PM

    Your second point is absolutely spot on, sonnket. At least in my view and I suppose in Shuddha’s as well. However, it does not sit very easily with the first one. For two reasons. First, the very idea of nuclear energy (not just nuclear weapons) requires high degrees of centralization, secrecy and a military security establishment. Democracy in nuclear matters is a contradiction in terms. You cannot therefore, have nuclear energy AND democracy go together. Second, once you give up the nuclear energy option (which, as you rightly point out is unviable, apart from being dangerous), you are free of the US’ nuclear embrace. The Left’s position is hypocritical in this respect. The ambiguous noises made by the CPM leadership (sometimes for and sometimes against n-energy) are misleading precisely because they are entirely sold on the idea of an nuclear power drives security state.

  5. Shuddhabrata Sengupta permalink
    July 20, 2008 1:45 PM

    Dear Sonnket,

    I agree with you on both counts. Of course, the UPA government’s decision to plunge into the Indo-US nuclear deal is un-democratic. Of course it must be opposed. The question is, what are the terms on which this opposition is articulated. At the moment, the so called Left led by the CPI(M) and the BJP more or less oppose the deal on identical terms, despite the performance of difference. If you analyse the so called Left’s documents on the nuclear deal, the basic nub of their opposition hinges on the questions of IAEA safeguards as to the separation of the civilian and military structures that pertain to nuclear energy in India. I am not for a moment suggesting that civil use of nuclear energy is a good option, and I endorse your scepticism about it. My problem is, a position that commits to an integrated cloaked civil-military nuclear infrastructure, which is the status-quo that the so-called Left wants to defend (in consonance with the BJP) in the name of ‘sovereignty’, commits India to a nuclear military arsenal, and legitimizes this position, despite their rhetorical gestures towards peace and de-nuclearization, which, everyone makes, and which are meaningless in the absence of a coherent anti-militarist position. That is why, I view the so-called Left’s opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal as being just as dangerous, as the Congress’s desire to broker the Indo-US nuclear deal. There is no lesser evil here. These are both disastrous positions, and should both be subjected to rigorous criticism.

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