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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 34, August 10, 2013

August Revolution and Present Scenario

Editorial

Monday 12 August 2013, by SC

Seventyone years ago in this very week under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi the people of this vast nation had risen as one man to decree that the alien rulers must quit forthwith leaving the country to be governed by Indians themselves.

Seventyone years after that memorable August Revolution of 1942, what is the spectacle we behold today? Free India is beset with numerous divisions on caste, communal, linguistic, regional lines. This has been exemplified of late by the mounting demands for Statehood in different parts—from the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal to Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills as well as the plains where the Bodos reside in Assam, from eastern UP to the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra—following the Centre’s considered decision to set in motion the process of realising a new, 29th, State of the Indian Union: Telangana carved out of Andhra Pradesh. At one level these growing demands for Statehood for various ethnic and regional entities are an expression of democratic aspirations of the public at large—mirrored in the ‘Quit India’ movement seven decades earlier. However, at another level there are apprehensions of such movements culminating in fissiparous tendencies which would be a negation of the 1942 revolution.

The selfless crusaders in the last phase of the freedom struggle have been replaced at present by the corrupt, criminal-minded, self-serving politicians. Witness the paradox: some of those claiming to be the real inheritors of the ‘Do or Die’ campaign—the socialists now mobilised in the Samajwadi Party that runs the government in the nation’s most populous State—are up in arms against a young IAS officer who was waging a spirited struggle against the illegal sand mining mafia hand in glove with the powers that be linked to the real estate business which generates massive amounts of unaccounted money eating into the vitals of our polity. And it is in the hands of these worthies that the State’s political fate rests. This glaring irony is enough to enfeeble and weaken the democratic foundations of the Indian state laid in that outstanding battle for freedom seventyone years ago.

And in the wake of these developments the danger of a renewed confrontation with our northwestern neighbour has once again assumed a serious dimension, thanks to the machinations of terrorist groups like JeM and LeT operating with impunity from across the border with the direct participation, in their activities, of the military personnel and intelligence of Pakistan. These elements have lately perpetrated acts of unprovoked violence killing several of our jawans in cold blood. Some political leaders and parties of the Oppo-sition are falling prey to the nefarious provocative designs of these external enemies of the nation through strident jungoist calls whereas a concerted campaign for peace, amity, cooperation and friend-ship among peoples of the two states is the perfect antidote to the anti-Indian conspiracies of the warmongers in Pakistan.

As darkness springing from pessimism spread by such negative incidents envelopes us, the only beacon of hope is to be found in the words and teachings of the Father of our Nation who, while scrupulously eschewing violence, called for the steadfast pursuance of truth in standing by the Daridranarayan, and also reinforcing peace and promoting friendship with all states in general and our neighbours in particular. Following his path alone can we overcome the present adversities in the task of transforming our society for the benefit of the poorest of the poor as we carefully guard the values of peaceful coexistence on which we painstakingly built our foreign policy under the guidance of our first PM.

That indeed is the best way to carry forward the legacy of the August Revolution even if several of its outspoken champions have strayed from its basic ideals and principles in today’s allround neoliberal environment.

August 8 S.C.

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