Political parties, ideologies, student bodies and freedom of expression
There are two types of parties in India – cadre based and mass based. On the ground level, only Left-wing parties and BJP are cadre based parties. Rest like congress, BSP and AAP are all mass based. Cadre based parties are always ideology driven. They have clear ideologies and cadre join these parties conforming to ideology. In this form of political party, leaders are given less important and collective decisions are preferred. Mass-based parties generally rely on leader’s charisma. They appeal directly to masses. These parties don’t adhere to fixed set of ideologies and change stances very frequently if require. While both types of parties are involved in vote bank politics, there are many constraints to the former (cadre based). For example, Congress can appease Muslims by reversing the apex court judgment in the Shahbano case and then realizing backlash can paddle on soft Hindutava by invoking Ram (Rajeev Gandhi), but BJP will have to stick to its ideology, otherwise the cadre will force it to course correction. That’s why BJP is finding it very hard to explain coalition with PDP to its voters, but Rahul Gandhi can easily be seen supporting left based student union these days without caring about any opposition of NSUI for same.
Some people say that Modi has transformed BJP to a cult based party from a cadre based party. Nothing can be farther from truth than this. Modi projection from CM to PM candidate was a direct result of pressure from lower cadre despite of reservation in top brass. On a contrary, Congress cared a little about opposition by its workers against Rahul Gandhi.
Ideology based parties have an inherent disadvantage and i.e. resistance to change. That best explains the death of communist movement in India. In spite of evidence around the world of failure of the communist model (even in its birthplace USSR) and socialist model in India that led to Indian bankruptcy, communists in India till date are allergic to the idea of privatization and liberalization. BJP has avoided the fate of communists by timely understanding that swadeshi focus of its parent organization RSS shouldn’t mean opposition to globalization. In fact, BJP in 90’s widened its sphere from a cultural right party (Ayodhya movement) to include economic right also.
Every party needs 2 types of people for its success — intelligentsia and political class. Apart for this, they need connect with masses to understand their problems and capable administrators to implement the solutions. Left had both
Left had both — intelligentsia and political class, both developed during the freedom struggle. But due to lack of capable administrators or may be inherent contradictions (faction in the communist movement was always opposed to democracy and communist party’s participation in the election) it failed to succeed even if first non-congress government in India was of communists in Kerala. Slowly masses were disillusioned with communism and moved on as communism remained stuck in 1950’s and became detached with masses. Their ideology is now unable to cope with growing aspirations of masses. Their ideology is now unable to cope with growing aspirations of masses.
Growth of intelligentsia in the right wing had been slow. There were very few like C. Rajagopalachari during Nehru’s tenure. Even staunch opponents of Nehru like Lohia were socialists. The situation remained same, if not worsened in the latter period. That’s why BJP always faced a dearth of intelligentsia after its rise as its primary focus was earlier only on political movement. It had a few in the party that shaped its vision but they were not sufficient to fill various ranks in the party to be capable of constantly guide its policies. BJP, since Atal Bihari’s tenure, has focused on developing right academically. Slowly right is showing its presence. It has able to catch on middle-class aspirations and attracted many to its circle. RSS had developed a chain of schools in the name of vidya mandirs and shishu mandirs and without a doubt, no other organization(except government) can claim to have so much penetration and such a wide network in lower and middle education. But they only were/are capable of catering to its cadre or vote base. Intelligentsia is derived from higher educated class. Failure of BJP was that it had been unable to tap such a large chunk of students of RSS school due to lack of right wing affiliated college/universities in higher education. At best BHU can be termed as somewhat tilted towards right among top universities.
Congress seemed to focus only on political class and outsourced work of thinking to left after death of Nehru. Congress, like communists, had both political leaders and intellectual circle with original thinkers due to freedom movement. But by the time Indira gained prominence they either deserted the party or died. International and National events resulted into Indira adopting more robust socialist model. USA support to Pak made it necessary to India seeking close relation with USSR while in domestic politics Indira government was in minority after vertical split in organization and it formed coalition with CPI (USSR oriented communist faction).With Indira focusing on international policies and made India regional power of South Asia it was happy to lend domestic policy sphere to left. Leftist “historian” Saiyid Nurul Hasan became Union Education Minister in 1971. He, through the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) tried to gear Indian education system to left. In the same period, JNU was established that in no time became one of the top institute in academic excellence in India and till date is axis of leftist ideology. Naxalbari movement fuelled the rise of ultra-left in academia of JNU. A famous alumnus who became our top diplomat said,”At JNU we consider CPM a dangerous right-wing party”. That’s why CPI (M) affiliated SFI has little presence in JNU while AISA affiliated to ultra left CPI (M-L) is most popular student body.
Problem with left ideology in India is that section of it had never accepted that India gained independence (You will hear same from far right some time but their voice is almost feeble). It still considers that independence is incomplete and bourgeoisie has still colonized India. Half-heartedly it has entered a democratic system but still lost no love for lenin-mao model of state. Non-violence was never a trait of communism and that’s why violent naxalite movement aimed to over threw state violently still find its supporters in top left academicians. In 2010, some of them distributed sweets and took out celebrity processions when 75 CRPF personnel were killed by Naxalites in Dantewada. Moderate left parties ruled west Bengal for 30 years and in Kerala in alternate terms. It’s no surprise that these two states are in top in political killings and targeting opposition cadre. A rough estimate between 1994 and 2002 is that around 800 political opponents were murdered in these two states by communist cadre . Recently police nabbed 6 CPI(M) workers for brutal murder of RSS worker in Kerala. In this scenario it was no surprise that some students affiliated
In this scenario it was no surprise that some students affiliated to left wing were regularly carrying anti national activities from celebration of CRPF deaths, mourning Afzal death to raising slogans “death to India”. They never had faith in Indian state and so in Indian judiciary and had always aimed for violent overthrew of “oppressive” state. But what’s surprising is that till now it was never considered to be an objectionable al by other students of university. Students on whom the Indian taxpayer spends between two lakh rupees and three lakh rupees per student every year can’t claim that propagating idea of Balkanizing (disintegrating) India is freedom of speech.