INDIA, WORLD’S BIGGEST democracy was never as close to the world’s greatest democracy, the United States of America, as it is today.
The ‘comrades’ who drove the country into what was the Communist camp of the Soviet Union before it broke up, regret this. Political differences on the issue can be debated at length, and both sides can be right on some points.
But there can be no differences on the fact that we seem to always learn the wrong things from other countries and religions.
Watching the funeral eulogies of Senator John McCain, who died on August 25, just 4 days before he was to turn 82, reminded me of how leaders of the Majlis Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (MIM) in Aurangabad Municipal Corporation opposed an obituary resolution on the death of one of India’s most successful and respected of Prime Ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died on August 16, just because he was a Hindu. They were thrashed and chased out by the Bharatiya Janata Party members.
McCain, a staunch Republican who lost a primary contest to President George Bush and a presidential race to President Barack Obama, had just before his desired that his funeral eulogies should be delivered by George Bush, Barack Obama and the Democratic Vice-president of Obama regime, Joe Biden.
This brings into focus what I just heard in an audiobook (in preparation for the coming blindness) by Joe Biden on the death of his son Bo ‘Promise Me, Dad – A Year of Hope, Hardship And Purpose’. In the touching narration of his son’s last days of battle with cancer and his own dilemma over contesting for presidentship after Obama, Biden says the Republicans were just his rivals and not enemies.
Both parties have their own vision of a united America, its people’s aspirations and values and their beliefs. Contesting against Obama in the primaries and against Bush in the presidential race were just democratic actions, not a war.
He has his own values but accepts the rivals’ right to their own values and goals. And he was all praise for McCain’s sincerity and beliefs, though he differed.
True, I sat through in Parliament in Press gallery, when leaders of all parties paid tributes to departed MPs of all parties in many ‘obituary references’. But they were all mere formal rituals None sounded so true as the eulogies by Biden or Obama. Not one was memorable.
The political culture nurtured by decades of Congress party rule in India is one in which the political rivals are enemies, some parties are deemed “untouchable” and dynastic rule is sought to be made legitimate. What Modi says has to be opposed even if right and in people’s interest. You can align with Muslim League and MIM, put up candidates on the basis of caste and religion, organise genocide of one community and regularise refugees of one faith to build religion-based vote banks. But those who talk of the majority Hindus are ‘communal’!
Even after 71 years of Independence, Indian polity is yet to mature