Friday, June 13, 2008

Does the BJP believe in fundamental freedoms?

It is rather naive for anyone in India to expect the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to behave like a decent anti-communist, anti-socialist party by standing up for individual freedoms and pit itself against the tyranny of the state as such. It is very unlikely that the generally intellectually crude members of the party would take note of the Cosnervative Party's opposition to British prime minister Gordon Brown's anti-terrorism provision of detaining a suspect without charges for 42 days or seven weeks. As a matter of fact, BJP's leading lights would have supported the Brown porposal to the hilt, and they would have even argued that it should be more than 42 days. And the resignation of David Davis, the Conservative Party's shadow home secretary in protest against the new legislation, would only amuse the BJP leaders. It is really hard to thnk if there is any individual in the whole of the BJP who would stand up for individual freedoms in the manner of Davis.
BJP then is not a conservative party opposed to the collectivist ideologies of the socialists and other lefties. It is another herd party, rooting for another kind of collectivism. In place of Left collectivism, it wants to erect a collectivism of its own -- that of the nation defined in the arbitrary, fascist (authoritarian) and tribal way. The rules of inclusion and exclusion are not rationally defined, and there is the unstated majoritarian prejudice.
In a modern democracy, conservative parties usually stand up for the small man -- usually the middle class and the lower middle class individual, who is poor and upright, but who feels to shy and too ashamed to think of himself or herself as poor, and who wants to leads his life on his own instead of becoming a card-holder of trade union or a workers' party.
On the face of it, the BJP is seen as as a party of the small trader or shopkeeper. The trader/shopkeeper does represent the middle/lower middle class individual to an extent. But does this small shopkeeper care for his individual rights? Going by the Old World experience, the petit bourgeoisie also finds comfort in a collectivity of sorts. The BJPwallahs will argue that theirs is a party of the petit bourgeois of the Old World! And that they will continue to play on collectivist fears.
Collectivities of any hue pose a danger to individual freedoms and to true democracy.
The Conservative Party has positioned itself on the basis of individual rights. And so does the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the United States. And to a great extent does the Republican Party as well.
BJP may not evolve into the higher stage of a democratic party, which will base its ideas on individual freedoms.
The issue is not whether the BJP will change its colours or not. It is the people who have to be clear as to what parties like the BJP are all about. We know what the communists are. Many people are content to believe that the BJP is anti-minorities, especially anti-Muslim. But there is a need to know where the Hindutva party stands on the question of fundamental freedoms.

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