Balaji calls for a "New Right"

It’s fun and fruitful to delve into the realm of political theory and possibilities.  I think ideas that get generated during such explorations is what is like oxygyn to any living political ideology and movement.

It may not be enough anymore to merely comment on occured events and offer diagnoses. We must be able to look at events in light of a worldview; our Hindu worldview.  

I am here posting an article from Balaji’s website that offers such a theory of possibilities. His focus is on how the BJP, as one possible face of political Hinduism might transform itself in order to save itself from irrelevance. Naturally, I have a few disagreements and will voice them out as and when I trip on them.

– Namaste

The New Right

BJP is at the cross roads. The People of India have soundly rejected it.

In order to remain relevant in Indian polity, I believe BJP has to choose between Integral Humanism (as proposed by Deendayal Upadhyaya and practiced by Vajypayee and Sushma Swaraj) and Hindutva (as proposed by Savarkar and practiced by Sangh Parivar, Advani and Modi). Riding the twin horses is no longer possible.

Pala S – It is not clear why the said individuals have been chosen to represent particular thoughts but here are the links to both streams – Hindutva & Integral Humanism and a criticism of Integral Humanism ironically sub-titled “The fight against Hindutva”.

The following are according to me, the founding principles of a conservative, humanist, right wing party in India. But there is little evidence that BJP is interested in becoming one. We shall see.

1. Espousing free market principles.

Abolition of all monopolies including and especially Government monopolies. Every PSU shall be listed on the stock markets. Government will not stand in the way of business. Ex: allow private players to enter terrestrial broadcasting. Government recognizes the fierce urgency of alleviating the poverty of its citizens in their own lifetime.

Pala S– If one reviews Balaji’s first salvo in light of Integral Humanism, he will find opposition righ there in Shri Deendayal’s opposition to capitalism.  However, these are sensible ideas that when implemented will need to be regulated by specific authorities.

2. Conservative Economics and Fiscal responsibility.

Low interest rate regime. Discouraging immoral loans like Credit cards, Home loan, car loans etc. Easy credit for farmers, industry, students and self-help groups.

Pala S – How does Shri Balaji reconcile disconnecting a “Low interest rate regime” from the chief instruments of it’s generation which are these various forms of loans? In other words, if I do not apply for a Home loan then on what basis  would I pay any interest on my loan at all..high or low? Why call them “immoral”? I can be an honest businessman or a salaried employee capable of procuring a loan based on valid documents and promise of repayment. I think the point that’s missed is honest borrowing and the will to pay back what one borrows. Easy credit to select groups may not necessarily lead to a will to repay. Easy credit also does not guarantee greater responsibility on the part of the borrower; illustrations of which we witness almost daily in this country.

3. Secularism.

Government recognizes no religion and will not interfere in the religious activities of its citizens under any circumstance. No tax benefits for religious institutions. Temples like Tirupati to pay 35% corporate income tax on their earnings. Abolition of Haj Subsidy and Waqf boards. Having said this all religious places of historical importance shall be owned by the government but run by autonomous bodies. Government re-affirms the right of Indian nationals to preach and convert others to whatever religion they like. But foreign nationals found in missionary activity shall be arrested and deported. Foreign donations to Indian religious institutions will be illegal.

Pala S – Well one can argue that Shri Deendayal’s Integral Humanism is not based on any religion. One can argue too that Dharma is not religion. But should one go to  the other extreme and say it means de-recognizing religion in the eyes of the State? My question is why this is necessary in a country like India with a Hindu National Society? How does one cease being “religious” when donning the robes of the State?

Not until I see a law that is so completely devoid of ANY “religious” significance or basis in “religious” discourse and thought, being legislated upon or being executed by the arms of the State will I even begin to consider the validity of Secularism. Btw, I believe Secularism itself developed out of conflict between the Temporal and Sacral powers of Christian society. Furthermore, does Secularism have any conception of Nation, Nationality, Citizenship, Minority etc? If yes, what are these? Does Integral Humanism answer these questions? Hindutva attempts to.

On taxing religious institutions and places of worship, I will say all such tax monies be invested in the community wherefrom it is collected. Temple money should not go to finance minority development projects.

4. Uniform Civil code.

All citizens of the country are equal in the eyes of the law. Gays cannot adopt/raise children even if the child is born of the sperm/womb of one of the parents. But homosexuality is not illegal. The state has no role to play in the sexual preference of its citizens. Its only concerned about the emotional and social upbringing of child citizens of India. State recognizes marriage as the union of a male and female (one each) citizens.

Pala S – What does this mean? What does “being equal in the eyes of the law” mean? Does it mean citizens and nationals being treated equally under existing laws? Or does it mean groups of citizens and nationals are governed equally by laws that are specfic to them but may not be equal to one another? If the case is of the latter kind, I see no harm done. In fact, implementation of laws would be better and well accepted by society. That is why I would argue for Shari’a for Muslims. Both personal and penal.

I agree with the point about homosexuality. It makes sense. As a distinct group, they need laws specific to them and their condition. They cannot be “equal” to other citizens and nationals being governed by laws specific to their heterosexual conditions.

5. Rule of Law and the Constitution.

Maintaining the checks and balances inherent in our constitutional framework. No more abusing Election Commission, CBI, Governor’s post. Supreme Court will not be allowed to legislate from the bench. The state shall not make any law that cannot be implemented.

Pala S – I find no fault with this. The last rule makes even more sense. A State making laws that are far removed from society’s religious moorings will most always make laws that are un-implementable.

6. Recognizing and adhering to the federal nature of the Indian Union.

Abolition of article 370 and 356. No central govt can dismiss a state govt. Governors appointed by Central govt will have to be ratified by the respective state legislature with a two-thirds majority. India shall remain a union of Linguistic and cultural nation states.

Pala S – I agree with the former rule. However the latter is problematic. India is a Union of Linguistic States, but there is no larger distinct cultural reference made wrt States of the Union. For instance Karnataka is the land of Kannadigas or rather the land where Kannada is spoken but not the land of Lingayats or Vokkaligas or Kodavas etc.

However, I do think a “national” distinction is necessary at the Union level. We must recognize that India is still one Nation. We have the Hindu Nation and minorities. The Hindus are nationals whereas minorities are citizens. The entire concept of Indian nation is untenable and unrealistic fraught with pitfalls and dangers we have seen and will see in the future until such time as this distinction (Nationals and Minorities) gains currency in policy and polity.

7. Respect for life.

Abolition of death sentence. Espousal of ethical eating. Recommending the killing of animals and plants (for food or any other purpose except in self-defense) to be treated as a punishable offense.

Pala S – I would suggest the reverse. Make punishments stringent and non-bailable for serious cases. A convicted rapist should attract capital punishment. Murders must attract capital punishment without exception. There is no meaning in “life imprisonments” for killers. Life imprisonments wherever called for must mean the full extent of life. How can this senstence mean 14 years as it is today? On killing of animals (and plants?) for food is made punishable then I do not see a defence in Hinduism for it. If Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is a representation of man and his varied paths as per his capacities and understanding..then this anti-killing law is unjustified. My worship calls for sacrifice to Gods. No one should take that right away from me. It may be regulated of course just like all worship may be regulated for excess.

8. Practicing caste system of any kind punishable by law.

No educational institution can ask any student which caste or religion he/she belongs to. A campaign against using caste and varna names as surnames (yadav, jha, sharma, gupta, verma, thakur).

Pala S – What does practicing caste system mean? I conduct the Upanayana for my son. Is that practicing caste system or not? I slaughter an animal to my God and distribute it’s meat as prasada amongst devotees. Is that practicing caste system or not? I arrange for my son to marry a girl of a family that values and practices what I practice and value. Is that practicing caste system or is it not? My surname speaks to my heritage, my culture and means a continuity with tradition. Why would I want to give that up? What would happen if I conduct the Upanayana and sacrifice an animal? Would that mean practicing caste or negating caste?

I am against restrictions on occupations. If caste means a linkage with occupation then I am against it. Not otherwise.

9. Freedom of speech.

Abolition of laws that inhibit the freedom of speech like “speech provoking communal disharmony” etc. Citizens are free to burn the national flag and the constitution, if they want to.

Pala S – I would agree with abolition of “hate speech” laws. However, I would not comment on symbols of National identity. My logic – If national symbols are the nation symbolically, then burning or abusing them will invite the wrath of the nationals with appropriate symbolism.

10. Humanism.

Non-violence and peace as foreign policy tools. Disclosing the current stockpile of nuclear weapons. Signing the CTBT. Signing the NPT provided they let us replenish our constant and pre-disclosed nuclear weapon stockpile.

Pala S – Why does one link non-violence to humanism? I think any such policy leads to more and greater violence and degradation. A nation must be militarily strong in order to practice the policy of peace.


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