Saturday, August 06, 2005

Very good advice ...

... to the BJP from Pradeep Ravikumar of 7 x 6:

    How do you get the support of this large section of "unwashed masses" (I do not refer to education/wealth here, merely to economic literacy) by following counter-intuitive yet sound economic policies?

    And thus we come to the topic of what motivates people. The post till now has talked about one prime motivator: material prosperity. But what the post has said is that a sound economic policy would actually make people protest against it due to short term losses or economic illiteracy. So, we need something else to rally people behind the political party. This something could be,
    a. religion
    b. nationalism
    or even better, a heady cocktail of both.

    So, a party that wants to pursue sound economic policies should pander to and generate-froth-in-the-mouth-of the majority religion; as well as cater to jingiostic nationalism. The economically literate would turn a blindish eye to its religious/nationalistic rhetoric, while the religious/nationalistically swayed unwashed masses would turn a blind eye to some inconveniences caused by its economic policies, at least in the short term.

    With reference to India; all those largely middle-class people who say that the BJP has to become more moderate in order to gain power; are sadly applying their colored middle-class lenses to the situation.

    The BJP shall have to increase its Hindutva rhetoric, strengthen its ties with RSS and VHP; and under the ensuing adulatory cover from the BIMARU belt, pursue the economic policies that it must. Alongside sound economic policies, short-term-gain measures like cutting taxes can also be used to buy the loyalty from the armchair middle-class crowd.


At 4:23 AM, Blogger Aswin said...

Hey, link not working!

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Ganesh Gopalasubramanian said...

Anand !

Though the advice seems to be a very good one, I could hardly believe that getting hold of religion will benefit the BJP andante. May be I am applying my colored lens to the situation :-)

But overall a good examination in terms of policies against beliefs.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Gypsynan said...


That did not quite work when the BJP was in power, did it? Sure it helped them get into power. And doddering old congress is not doing too bad with the economy, no? May be the masses are smarter than you think. The havenots in the BIMARU states know very well that BJP is an upper caste appeasing party with no real agenda for comprehensive development. They knew this before middle class India did. the BJP agenda is getting in power - through jingoism of various hues - but nothing beyond that. If they appeared business friendly its because business funds them, out of their own hatred of minorities/ low caste - not necessarily because they see BJP having some brilliant economic agenda. What say you?

At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ashwin -- Link is working, right?

Ganesh -- Well, I don't think that advice is a good one. I was just quoting 7x6. In my opinion that's what the BJP has been doing anyway in its last tenure. They had Ayodhya and Gujarat to mask the economic policies that they were pursuing, and the economic policies to mask the Ayodhya and Gujarat. But both 'India Shining' and Gujarat failed miserably when it came to the voting machines. That they didn't succeed in either count shows the vibrancy of our democracy to some extent.

Gypsyman -- I agree with you. As I said earlier I was just quoting 7x6, and I don't subscribe to that view at all.

Aside: Just had a look at your blog. Pretty interesting.

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

I am always tickled by the frequent derisive and dismissive references to the "BIMARU" states. As if yeah, it's those backward guys who will fall for this stuff, not us more sophisticated fellows from the other states.

As far as the BJP goes, some of its most adulatory support has actually come from states quite far from BIMARU: Gujarat and Maharashtra (Bombay in particular).

The mistake here is in even giving the BJP the tick mark for "sound economic policies". For one thing, I'm not sure they were sound. But more important, any party that winks at the destruction we've seen in this country in the name of religion over the last 15 years or so deserves no credit for anything else they did. This is one reason I count ABV as the single worst PM we've ever suffered. (And that's some achievement, considering the people has has for competition).

At 4:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dilip -- Nicely put. Yes, ABV's is an achievement considering the competition!

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Saheli said...

Sigh. Is it to much to hope that someone might consider using religion as inspiration only, like the good old Quakers. . .

At 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In order to gain popular support for economic policies that favour only a few, a political formation has to formulate a supra-political platform to which the masses can pledge allegiance. This supra-political platform is usually based on one or more bogeys.

The BJP's current political dilemma is begat from a long line of rightwing regimes who have successfully deployed this strategy. Think Hitler, think Cold War US, think Pak Army generals, think George Bush.

With such sterling examples to follow, the BJP can only go right:-)

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed Partisan. Golwalkar, the most prominent Sangh ideologue, did not even try to hide his admiration for those like Hitler and Mussolini (cf. Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar).

At 8:08 AM, Blogger seven_times_six said...

I see this post is quite old and it'd quite late to leave a comment; but reg. one of your comments, "...That they didn't succeed in either count shows the vibrancy of our democracy to some extent.",

would they have succeeded if Gujarat had not happenned? I definitely think so. A section of the BJP went overboard (if in response to being provoked first) with the religious angle and they paid for it.

As regards the economic angle; inspite of the negative sophistry-ridden anti-India-shining campaign of the Congress, CPI and their jholawala brigade; the IndiaShining caper would've been pulled off if they'd stuck the course with liberalization, instead as I'd pointed out in that article; due to internal conflicts with old-age socialists and Swadeshi Jagran Manch and small-traders, they wavered.
That; plus no short term sops like tax cuts plus going overboard with religion is why the BJP lost.

Unfortunately this meant the communists' rise to power, which means the country also lost.
Do check this recent post: clicky


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