Thursday, September 6, 2012

Politically Incorrect: Part Duh

1) Any organization that has not gone extinct over a 100+ year period must be doing something right in terms of organization theory, whether it is retaining the most productive employees, or the biggest contributors/stars/power-brokers, or the best man/woman-managers, or the biggest salesmen/women. While this truism is easily grasped when someone mentions technology companies such as IBM, GE, Ford, etc., that same truism escapes when one talks of the Congress Party or Hinduism. Despite fond wishes of many in the wild world that is out there, neither organization has gone extinct. And neither looks imminent to go extinct anytime soon despite fond hopes/wishes/fears of many. All that remarkable cussing aimed at the Congress Party in one's angst ignores the simple fact that the Congress Party is home to hundreds of years of top-notch management experience that is decentralized so that Barabasi's famous "take a few nodes out and you are safe and dry" result will not kick in.

The Congress Party has not shied away from hitting out at people it has deemed to have crossed a certain limit, whether they be Sheikh Abdullah or the Sikhs or based out of Bhagalpur or out of Nellie. If Narendra Modi is a monster for ruling Gujarat during the Godhra-riots and doing nothing (1169 dead), by the same yardstick, here is a list of major riots under the Congress Party rule:

1969 – Gujarat, Congress Government, Jagan Mohan Reddy Commission, 660 dead.
1983 – Nellie, Congress Government, Tribhuvan Prasad Tiwari Commission, 2191 dead.
1984 – Delhi, Congress Government, Nanavati Commission, 3296 dead.
1989 – Bhagalpur, Congress Government, R. C. Prasad & Shamsul Hasan Commission, 1070 dead.
1992 – Mumbai, Congress Government, Srikrishna Commission, 900 dead.

Clearly, the repeated electoral triumphs in Assam shows that the Congress Party has been "forgiven" if electoral mandate is the modus operandi of legitimacy in a democracy. That trend is true not only in Assam, but also in Punjab and Bombay where we have seen the Congress Party come back to power time and again. It cannot be rationally argued that the Congress Party is an aberrant deviant foisted on the people by all-pervading external powers when it is a fact that it has been repeatedly accepted by the people of the state independent of the fact that whether people had better choices or otherwise. A simple lesson that the political Opposition can learn is to realize that it is not sufficient to fight a battle, but it is necessary to fight a battle sophisticatedly. Whatever the Congress Party lacks (leaders or otherwise), it does not lack cunning. In short, the BJP needs to transform itself from being like the Indian cricket team of the early-90s and do a Dada's Lord's dance, at least for the sake of the health of a still-nascent democracy. If the noisy rank and file and the empathizers/sympathizers club of the Party are any indication, the Party seems to have less brain than bravado, less rationality than cries of victimhood, and less brawn than is needed to become an automatic choice for the ruling party.

2) Corruption has been the number 1 issue that this "cunning" Opposition has tried to tackle the Congress Party on. While that plank displays the bankruptcy of ideas in the Opposition camp, the fact that corruption has become the number 1 issue amongst the Gen. Y shows how remarkably callow and lead-able the new generation is/can be. Let me take a polar plank and claim that corruption is NOT the number 1 problem in India. And fixing corruption is NOT going to fix India. The problem with the current state of India is not corruption because corruption is rife in most places that thrive economically today: whether it is called "lobbying" (the US), or "party politics" (China), or "the price to conduct business" (Singapore and West Asian states) or any other nuanced phrase (much of Europe and the UK) that embellishes a simple fact that overheads is a part of life, academic or otherwise. India (or any other superpower for that matter) cannot rid itself of corruption in a time-bound manner because corruption will exist till the last corrupt man/woman exists and that will be true till the last man/woman exists. While a philosophical viewpoint that everyone is corrupt is a truism, what India needs to focus on is to rid the simpler/least economical aspects of life from corruption in a time-bound manner. While few Indians can see the real impact of 2G or the assorted set of mining-related scams or Commonwealth Games scam, most of the poor can feel the pinch of having to bribe to file a FIR, having to bribe to get a driver/commercial license, having to bribe to get a ration card/passport/UID, etc. "India against corruption" would be wise to rename themselves "India for inflating away corruption from the common-man" even if the acronym would be a nice ii-a-cc which in the classical rendition of Madras Tamil would be uttered as "ai-ai-ah-chee-chee".

3) That brings us to that other successful "organization" in my first point: Hinduism. While many religious folks would find branding of Hinduism as an organization offensive, the very fact that it has survived for hundreds of years of Buddhist/Jaina polity followed by a few hundred years of Sultanate and British rule means that fears of complete annihilation and destruction are a-bit-over-the-top. To cut to the chase, Hinduism has survived because of favorable demographics and when push comes to shove, most Hindus fight a battle to the death (even if they are members of the Congress Party). In that sense, the Hindus are no exceptions to any other set of religious folks: most religions fight to the death when it comes to existential questions, or else they will perish. Even the peace-loving Buddhist/Jainist traditions are no exception to this Darwinian rule. The eternal claims to victimhood of many Gen. X/Y Hindus display more about the person claiming to be a victim than about the idea to which he/she subscribes to. That does not mean that one should sit idle if one sees a blatantly shameful act that exploits the state's obligation to certain rights for everyone, but one should learn to educate themselves in terms of cunning, whether it is legal or otherwise.

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