அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்

The Sukarno Spell !

Dr. Sukarno's spell has succeeded remarkably well. There is a lull in the turmoil and the country seems to have become a silent volcano, the eruptions of which caused much alarm in Indonesia and also outside for many weeks. The rumblings are but showing that Indonesia is cracking up—many observers said—some with a sort of glee too. But today, it is said that Sukarno has succeeded in restoring the normal conditions, though to lead the country to prosperity will need much time, energy and imagination. But even this lull, seems to be a mighty achievement, in view of the fact, that the reports about Indonesia, were of a terrifying nature.

The common man in many countries, never thought that Indonesia was in the grips of an ugly situation—for there was a sunny smile, a friendly twinkle and fine flavour of speech, wherever Dr. Sukarno visited. Here is the President of a New Republic, happy and confident narrating the history of the freedom fight, and cataloguing the possibilities of the future—thought the common man in all the countries, where the Doctor was welcomed.

The Doctor was lavish in his tributes to Lincoln, rapturous at the sight of the New Chinese way of life—and it seemed that he never expected any shock in his own country in the future—distant or immediate.

But just as if, Indonesia was waiting only for the arrival of its hero, from world tour, trouble burst forth with atomic speed, as soon as he landed and the after effects of the explosion seems to be more dangerous than the explosion itself. Dr.Sukarno rushed on to take, what might be termed as drastic steps to stem the tide—and we find today a lull, though there are critics—with good intentions too who say, that this is no lull, but a death-knell of democracy. The Doctor refuses to deny the charge in its entirety, but offers an explanation, that democracy is not given up but there is a slight change in the form—"We have evolved a system of government based on the present moods and needs of the time—this is not a Peking or Moscow brand—this is Guided Democracy!" says the Doctor—and because, the masses of Indonesia have no doubt about his good heart, they do not trouble to probe into the head and have taken his explanation with all the warmth that they are wont to show, for whatever comes from Dr. Sukarno.

Dr. Sukarno pays a tribute to and issues a sentence against Democracy at the same time, when he coins the new dictum 'Guided Democracy'.

Democracy is the best form of Government he wants for his country. But to make it work effectively, he will have to guide!!—that seems to be the explanation.

Unless the Doctor is prepared to admit, that the people of Indonesia have not got the necessary quality in their character, to get the best out of Democracy, he can't possibly talk of Guided Democracy,

Dr. Sukarno, seems to have evolved a system first, and then invented a theory!

Anyhow—the present political method is guided democracy!

There is a Parliament; but no Party government.

There are political parties but the principle of majority rule is not adhered to.

The Parliament is engaged in a series of postmortems, and not medical check-ups. But one should admit, that all these are not due to any fancy or fad of the amiable Doctor —but entirely due to the disturbing situation that has arisen in Indonesia.

Indonesia, connot be called as one country—in the strictest sense of the term—it is a bunch of islands large and small, numbering about, 3000! Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes are the larger ones! Bali—noted for its dance throughout the world of art—forms another picturesque island in this bunch.

The total area, is 7,35,865sq. miles and the population is estimated at 8,00,00,000—Moslems form 90% of the population.

Composed of many islands, scattered hither and thither—with no well-knit means of transport it is natura! that political theorists find the situation puzzling!

The upsurge, during the freedom-fight ably and heroically conducted by Dr.Sukarno, kept a sort of coherence—and taking the illusion to be the actuality, the framers of the Constitution voted for centralized administration—and the root cause of the trouble today there, is an antipathy towards this Centralisation!

The name of Dr. Sukarno creates a throb and thrill, no doubt in the hearts of the millions, in all of these islands—but there is a strong feeling against the Doctor's prescription—over-Centralisation!

The provinces—the regions—are being fleeced by the Centre—is the one complaint that is made by all the 'rebels' they are termed, because they have taken the law in to their own hands.

Perhaps, we may not be in a position to get, the details about, honest attempts made, the Constitutional approaches and the like, which those who are now dubbed as rebels, took before they embarked upon this dangerous path; but whatever may be the judgement about the method, none can deny this fact, that underneath all these ugly deeds, runs this current of discontent against Centralisation.

"We are being bleeded—and the Centre is being loaded with luxury ! We are the herds, and the Centre brandishes the big stick! This is no self-government—this certainly is not good government"—many leaders of the provinces say and they say it with a peculiar kind of vigour.

The Doctor strongly confident about his own influence over the people, brushed aside all these requests-warnings-for a long time—perhaps for too long a time.

Perhaps he might have thought—like Pandit Nehru here—that petty minds alone will think about, this or that particular region, to the detriment of Indonesia as a whole!

Possibly he was all along thinking that the pernicious talk will die a natural death.

But, to his dismay he finds that the situation has grown from bad to worse, and he is forced now to adopt methods, which he might not have favoured during calmer times. He has ordered for a guided democracy !!

A cabinet is formed—consisting of 'Experts'!

A National Council is constituted and representatives are almost picked up from political parties and also from outside.

The President becomes the Supreme Guide!

The Army is given a superb position—and since the President is at the same time Supreme Commander—everything is now in the strong but paternal hands of Dr. Sukarno.

"After 11 years of independence, Indonesia is among the world's worrisome trouble spots" writes the New York Herald Tribune.

Djakarta, the capital is snubbed by East Indonesia and Sumatra. Rival governments are set up! Declarations of independence are issued! The Central taxes are withheld!

Law and order defy definition and direction. Battalions are disbanded and new camps spring up! Verily it is a pitiable plight!

And above all there is soul-killing corruption in all spheres.

None escapes the suspicion and the people look down upon one and all of the leaders!

Bank frauds—export scandals, bribery—nepotism— jobbery—the thousand and one evils that are let loose, when a nation and country begins to degenerate—are to be found in this land—and no wonder, the people are fed up with even their independence!!

No day passes without one leader or another being taken into custody! Everyday people are presented with some kind of corruption detected, or fraud found out! The army officials today have been given full powers to put down this corruption and the 'cases' detected by them, are of such a nature that the stink is unbearable.

Dr.Sukarno is using the magic wand of his popularity and influence, in infusing hope and courage by putting down corruption and lawlessness with a strong hand by a guided democracy as he is pleased to term his benevolent dictatorship.

And he is also attempting to soften the provinces by catering to their needs and even by cajoling them with a promise of more power and responsibility.

But, the crux of the problem is: Can there be a lasting solution to the malady, through the methods adopted by Dr. Sukarno?

Instead of relying too much on his "spell" —is it not necessary for Dr. Sukarno, to formulate real remedies, that would not merely soothen the sore, but curb out the disease altogether?

Will it not be to Indonesia's advantage, if this Canker of Centralism is checked in time before it eats up the vitality of a nation?

It seems to us however magnetic the Doctors' personality is, however enchanting his "spell", one day or other, normality returns..... and then......!

We refrain from being a cynic!

But, let us not forget, that the Indonesian spectacle has got its own lessons to offer to students of political system—especially here.

(Editorial : 23-06-1957)