Monday, August 25, 2008

Lakshmanananda Saraswati, the Start of the Naxalite-Hindu Parishad Mahayudha, and a Proposal for a Government of National Unity

There have been skirmishes between various Hindu and Marxist groups in India for several years.

Minor Marxist functionaries have been killed by the VHP and its allies, and minor VHP or VHP-ally functionaries have been killed by the Marxists of various stripes.

This weekend Marxists/ Maoists/ Naxalites killed a senior Orissa VHP leader, Lakshmanananda Saraswati, and four other VHP folk. As far as I can recollect, he is the most senior VHP-type leader that has been killed by the Maoists.

The killing of such a senior VHP figure bodes ill for India. It may be tantamount to a declaration of war by the Maoists on the VHP.

Most members of the Congress, the BJP (the political wing of the VHP) and the administrative machinery of India have occupied themselves mainly with lining their own pockets.

The business community is mostly in hock to the politicians, and provides token help to the poor while indulging in ever-more grandiose displays of wealth and opulence.

The secular NGOs, Churches and liberal intellectuals are the only ones who at least make some gestures towards helping the vast majority of the country who are poor.

Now that Nepal has succumbed to Maoist rule, while inflation has risen to intolerable levels for the average Indian, it seems that Maoists have been emboldened to think that their moment has arrived in India. They may have decided that the main obstacle to taking over power in India is the VHP and its allies.

I therefore fear more attacks on VHP personalities as well as on the general political and administrative machinery in India.

There is no military solution to the Naxalite/Maoist problem in India. The only solution is for all right-thinking people to get together, form a government of national unity and invite the Naxalites to join unconditionally.

What should such a Government of National Unity do?

First, it should apologise to the poor for having focused on looting the country (our brown sahibs have looted the country much more effectively in the last 60 years than the British did in some 350 years)

Second, the new Government should set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission under internationally-known personalities (including from South Africa) to identify the most corrupt people in the country - and to work on agreed actions (including restitution) which would result in their rehabilitation as "normal" citizens ("deshbhakt" instead of "deshbhrashtthh").

Third, none of our 5-year plans (except the First) focused on improving the lot of the rural poor India. A new programme of extensive deregulation combined with genuine national development needs to be conceived and implemented concentrating on improving the lot of the average Indian - who still lives on the equivalent of US$2 a day while having dangled before the eyes the mega-mirages of Bollywood and the monstrous realities of Indiagate.

If we take the murder of Lakshmanananda Saraswati as a wake-up call to the nation, we could still have a solution that can work for the whole country. It is the only solution that I can foresee to the rise of Maoism in India.

My forecast is that we have two years in which to address the issue, or the challenge will be beyond us. Sphere: Related Content

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