அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


This is all what we can possibly do.

This is more than what anybody placed in similar circumstances and endowed with similar power and resources can hope to do
There is none else to do even this!

The Congress in power, at the Centre as well as in the States, is putting forward these three arguments, with confidence and vehemence and the ordinary citizen is almost floored.

The tone is fast approaching the dictatorial and the manner is that of an injured benefactor.

"We are straining our nerves to serve these dumb millions, spending sleepless nights in formulating schemes for their welfare, and yet they parade their pettiness of mind, and dare assail us by demonstrations, strikes and the like. What a bad lot these people are! And how easily are they inflamed!"

—The Congress leaders argue thus of course they took the cue from Pandit Nehru, and have made improvements and additions.

They seem to think that the people, whatever be their troubles and tribulations, should thank the stars , for having given them men with no other motive than service, leaders with no other aim than lifting up the level of the masses.

Of course when the great Pandit enunciated this argument, there was almost the paternal touch in it - but this has now become, the stock-in-trade for all and sundry.

True, the prospects for some other party ousting the Congress from power, and taking up the reins of government is bleak—but that should make the Congress realise the added responsibility, and should not be utilised to silence the public, by a sort of bravado.

The Congress is today what it is simply and mainly because of the implicit faith that the millions have placed, and not by some divine right! Having placed the Congress on such a high pedestal—so high indeed that no other party can hope to come very near that pedestal—the people have got every right to expect and demand tangible results.

And when they find that they are not assured of even the most elementary needs—food, clothing, shelter—then they have their right to demand the powers—that be to be up and doing.

"What else can be done? Who else is there to do even this?" are lame excuses which the Congress should not offer.

The Britisher offered such excuses.

Political Climate Polluted
"The problem is so vast—the difficulties are of such dimensions, that it is simply not humanly possible to solve them all, in a day or even in a decade! We do not have the magic wand! And we are after all humans!!" —were not the Britishers advancing such velvet arguments, and did not the nationalists slash and shatter such arguments?

To come now, after ten years of continuous power, with an argument which the alien was fond of mouthing, is un-national and undemocratic.

Yet, the Congress swears by democracy !

Most of the leaders of the Congress party, whenever they are a bit jolted by adverse criticism, take shelter under an excuse—and that a faked one!

They say that the Britisher sucked away the very life blood of the nation—he left us next to nothing—the country was desolate dirty, poverty-stricken—and it is not possible to mend all in a decade. It takes time. A century and more of alien rule created such a sore and stink, that the national balm will have to be applied for a long, long time.

We do not want to make a total denial of an argument which acts as a smoke-screen to our rulers. We do not desire to deprive them of their device in toto. But we would just point out that there is a limit to such excuses. It can’t be stretched too far—but that is exactly what the Congress is trying to do.

Granting that the sore and scar created by an alien rule is of such depth and dimension, is it to be advanced as an argument for impotency? Certainly not! Should not this very fact, goad the ruling party into a more vigorous activity? Were not the people given hope by these very men that everything would be set at right as soon as the alien rule was ended?

Why come now, with an apologia?

If to point out the depth and dimensions of the difficulties, is an argument for inactivity or mal-administration, why, did not the Britisher argue in the same way before?

“Long centuries of ignorance and poverty” argued the imperialist “curses of tyranny and social disintegration make the Indian problem bristle with a thousand difficulties, and it makes it almost impossible to mend all in a short span of time”

He, of course was pointing to the caste system, tyranny, lethargy, ignorance, and the other ills and said that to infuse some hope and courage in the minds of vast masses, is a task, un-attempted by others.

Neither we nor discerning men at distant climes, did concur with this view. The imperialist engaged in his nefarious activity is just trying to hoodwink the public—that was our verdict.

And yet those very men who sat in judgment over the imperialist, are adopting the very technique that they one denounced.

The Congress is bold—bolder than the Britisher—for the latter had only the Bulletts to aid him whereas the Congress has got the mighty strength of the Ballott Box, in its favour.

And this, has gone into the heads of most of the Congress leaders and hence they almost challenge. "Well, this is all what we can do! What are you going to do, about that?”

“You have the right” the Congress bosses thunder forth, “to take stock of the political situation and if you think that we have fallen short of your expectations, there is nothing to prevent you to get a set of new masters! None prevents you! You are having the fullest freedom.”

Men with meaner thought, do also say, that had we desired we could have set up a dictatorship even, but we in our magnaninity have given the fullest political freedom to the people!

And, there is this freedom in abundnnce none can deny that.

One can express what one feels—of course within the orbit of decency—one can organise opinion—organise parties—contest elections—dethrone the rulers, and establish a new pattern of Government. There is nothing to prevent—fullest freedom is granted—on paper!!

We cannot run counter to the public opinion—says the astute politician of the ruling party and amazes his hearers and silences the critic.

That no party can remain in power despite public opinion, is a dictum accepted by democracy. Theoretically it is the purest of dictums, but the difficulty arises when one translates this theory into an actuality.

“Any public opinion finally is strong to the degree that it is organised and organisation is largely a function of economic power.” says Laski.

Present day political power rests very much on this economic power and none but the depraved would come forward to deny the truth that the Congress as the ruling party has got this economic power in an abundant measure.

Democracy in golden fetters !

Companies like Tatas have openly stated that they are contributing heavy sums for the Congress and this matter has gone up to the courts as well.

Though the custodians of justice pointed out the inherent defect and danger in this method, they had to act up to Law and held accordingly that companies had the right to contribute to the funds of political parties.

The Congress was not ashamed to own that organisations like the Tatas contributed princely sums

When the Congress as the ruling party has got the chance to draw freely from the coffers of companies like Tatas, what other political party can withstand its competition? Economic power, thus accumulated, strengthens the chances of the Congress party, to shape and to make public opinion subservient.

It has now become notorious that the Congress as a political organisation controls economic power, and thus stifles public opinion!

This is throttling democracy—practically.

The Congress, as the ruling party, has got ample claims to the contributions from rich companies. Besides this, there is the other and more important factor—the Congress is the only organised party strong enough to maintain the status quo—and hence the capitalist sections of society look to this organisation as their sheet-anchor, and they rightly think that they fall when the Congress falls.

So, the idea of self-preservation acts as the motive behind the lavish contributions that these companies make.

The Congress prides itself about the fact that it would not allow revolutionary changes to take place, in the economic set up.

It swears by Socialism but is guided by co-existence.

Socialism as interpreted by the Congress is not annihilation of the capitalist sector altogether but the “taming” of it

Amidst an array of antagonistic elements, organisations like the Tatas, find to their supreme satisfaction, the Congress, advocating Socialism and at the same time rebuking the rebels. Hence these companies think that it is part of their job to keep the Congress going!

Hence, the Congress is in a position to accumulate economic power, so essential for mobilising public opinion, in its favour. The stronger this economic power, the easier it becomes for the Congress to beguile the public, and the surer its chances of retaining the hold!

This is the drama that is being enacted today—and after this art of hoodwinking the public—it becomes easier for the Congress to boldly proclaim that it is ready to step down if only the public desire it.

On analysis anyone can see the anamoly—the public being made a willing party in this sordid affair—but on the face of it, the affair is prefectly legal.

“The division of society into rich and poor” says Laski, "makes the legal imperatives of the state work to the advantage of the rich.”
The Congress is the most powerful organisation today, in maintaining this division and hence it is to the advantage of the rich to maintain and strengthen the Congress and keep it as the ruling party.

Professor Laski is lucid when he states,

“What occurs in any state where there are great material differences between classes is simply a perversion of the end of the state to the interests of the rich. Their power compels the agents of the state to make their wishes first object of consideration. Their conception of good insensibly pervades the mental climate of administration. They dominate the machinery of the state”.

If what Laski writes happens to be true with regared to countries, wherein democracy had had its sway for decades, how much more so it ought to be here, where democracy is but an emaciated infant in the cradle, unattended and almost uncared for!