It is not about size, scope or ideology. Rather, it is about getting things done.
Indian scholarship is doubly bereaved, for it has lost a fine teacher and a good man.
Bipan Chandra’s life celebrated the virtues of revisionism.
Chandra was a passionate historian, but he never let political affiliation get in the way of personal and professional ties.
The bubble of euphoria that is making a disturbingly large number of Indians see the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in soft focus needs to be pierced before it is too late. And, as someone who has been wary of Arvind Kejriwal, Anna Hazare and friends from day one, I consider it my duty to perform this task. It will make me less popular than I already am with Leftists, secularists, Stalinists, Leninists et al, but I did not become a political columnist to win a popularity contest. So the venom they spew worries me not one bit. The truth is I worry much more when they agree with something I say, and it is partly because of their unstinting support for AAP that I feel the need to start ringing alarm bells.
No matter how good AAP looks at the moment, no matter how humble Kejriwal’s demeanour and how sweet the song he sang at his inaugural, we need to be very, very careful. Incidentally, the song that he said was the AAP anthem is from an old Hindi film called Paigham, and it was disingenuous of him not to mention this. I thought it had been written by AAP’s resident poet and was quite astonished when a friend pulled it up on YouTube and I spotted Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala in starring roles. But, a small deception compared to the bigger deception that AAP is trying to pull off politically and economically, with the unstinting support of Leftist hacks and a caboodle of semi-retired ‘professionals’ who have leapt on the AAP bandwagon. These include bankers, businessmen, dancers and IT whiz kids, most of whom appear not to have noticed that the economic policies AAP stands for are the opposite of those they made their money from.
So let’s talk about AAP’s economic vision. It is usually best expressed by Prashant Bhushan, who unfailingly makes it clear that he despises the private sector for ‘looting’ resources that in his view belong to the people of India. He forgets that this is exactly what Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi believed, so they banned the private sector from most areas of enterprise and poured people’s money into the public sector. It was when public sector companies failed to make profits (except for corrupt officials) that the private sector was allowed in, but only in a small way. No matter what the losses of ‘Coalgate’ and 2G, they are minuscule compared with the losses caused by coal that burns in underground fields and the natural gas that is wasted daily because public sector companies do not have the technology to exploit it.
AAP’s ideologues know that corrupt officials have ruined India. That is why there was the movement led by the mighty Anna Hazare for a strong Lokpal. But what is puzzling is AAP’s solution. This continued…