Friday, March 14, 2014

Eat Your Morals

Of late, social media has been flooded with what I would call 'the last resort.' Having failed to counter the BJP or their PM-candidate Narendra Modi, and with the courts having given him a clean chit on the 2002 riots, the time has now come to make moralistic arguments - how India will cross the 'moral line of no return' if Modi comes to power. Of course, the fact that the alternative is to cross the 'line of starvation' seems to make no difference. After all, we can die, but we must die with our morals. 

I say - eat your morals. Try it and see how long you will last. Get a job with your morals and raise a family with it. See how long it takes for your loved ones to starve on morals. The funny thing is that everyone who talks about morals does not have to worry about finding a job or finding a meal: most of them are foreigners or NRIs who coolly condemn private-sector led growth while sitting in the lap of capitalism. Or, they are from talk-shops, where you can criticize the world and remain firmly disconnected from it. Or, of course, they are the children of rich inheritances for whom a job is rather demeaning thing to do. 

Let's check the facts here: every political party has ruled over riots, the most spectacular example of which was in 1982 Delhi, when for the first time, the state actively sponsored those riots. Nobody is free of this tarnish, least of all the Congress and the BJP. Secondly, secularism is a complete joke in India and has become a euphemism for minority appeasement. The Congress, which is supposedly the great messiah of secularism, is allied with a party (the Indian Union Muslim League) whose constitution forbids a non-Muslim from becoming a member; or a party (the MIM) which quite openly declares that it is concerned only with the interests of Muslims. In fact, forget the allies, Manmohan Singh himself said that minorities have the first right - not an equal right, but the very first right - to India's resources. The BJP never even says that it is concerned with only the interests of Hindus and even if it is, that is somehow morally wrong, while being concerned with only the interests of Muslims is secularism at its best. The absolute hypocrisy of moralists who hold up secularism as some sort of shining beacon is hard to miss. 

The issue is jobs. Under the UPA Governments (both of them), India has seen ten years of jobless growth and the population of unemployed youth holding degrees and diplomas not worth the paper they are printed on continues to swell. And the answer to this was handouts, economic stagnation and, most importantly, a sense of hopelessness. The issue is not morals: an unemployed person who has to feed a family gives a rat's ass about morals and gives an even bigger rat's ass to moralists who themselves never have to worry about their next meal.

The issue is governance. Under both the UPA Governments, corruption reached unimaginable heights even as promises of lowering inflation were made and broken with glee. Policy implementation reached such a slow pace that one began to wonder whether India even had a government. States were partitioned and institutions were destroyed for political gain. The woman who has to beg for money to bribe the 'fair-price shop' owner for her monthly ration gives a rat's ass about morals and gives an even bigger rat's ass to moralists who can buy their way out of ever needing a government. 

The issue is infrastructure. Under both the UPA Governments, particularly when Kamal Nath controlled MORTH, almost no roads were constructed, although plenty were constructed on paper. A fabled nuclear energy agreement that would make sure that a child in Punjab did not have to study under a kerosene lamp's light, as Manmohan Singh himself said he had to, has not generated a microwatt of energy. Manufacturing policies came and went even as manufacturing fell into a steep recession. The businessman who has to shut shop and fire all his employees because he can no longer afford to use a generator in the absence of regular electricity gives a rat's ass about morals and an even bigger rat's ass to moralists who can type away in their air-conditioned villas. 

The issue is leadership. The issue is hope for a better future. The issue is India. And moralists who believe that all these issues are trivial in front of the greater issue of imagined secularism and concocted facts can eat their morals, digest them and leave them where they belong. 

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