Politics of Polarization; A Historic Percepective and Idea of India

By Col (R) Ashok Singh

Polarization is a natural process and is reflected in every aspect of life and physical existence. All forces in universe are manifestation of  two shades of energies playing dance with each other. Bipolarity in essence is cause of cosmic dance which sustains lives and is reflected in each and every expression including human behavior and politics.

Since ancient time natural course of polarization in politics has affected socio-economic evolution of mankind and India is no exception.
In ancient times; Parashuram a mixed blood Brahman, used the forces of polarization to check growing political power of Jaduvanshi Kchatriyas. As is said Parashuram united all non Jaduvanshis to launch thity six attacks to push them out of Central India (It appears that these wars were fought between Assyrians and Sumerians being on one side and Jaduvanshi Parthians being on other side and fought in Babylonia. The story is based on Parashuram Smriti, which are stories brought by migrants into India). Alignment of masses in favour of Parashuram gave him strength. It is one of the worst genocide carried out in Indian History ( In Indian context it is the history of people and not only land. Many of People have been migrants. India is land of Migrants).
The polarization created by Parashuram in due course of time gave birth to reverse polarization when Ram, a Kchatriya organised masses and tribes including Vanaras to defeat a Brahman King Rawan who had protection of Parashuram. It may be noted that Bharat was born to Jaduvanshi mother and he was rightful inheritor of throne as per treaty of Dashrath.
Similarly in Mahabharat two groups of descendants of Yayati  (Jajati) who called themselves Partha/ Aryans fought with each other when one force became too dominant and refused to adjust with other peacefully. Alignment of Masses in fovour of Arjuna tilted the balance ( Ram and Parashuram never called themselves Aryans. The use of word Aryan started with Parthians in Mahabharat).
Later in history, when Budhist rulers became dominant, rise of one form of Brahmanism brought by migrants from Babylonia and Egypt, resulted into many bloody battles. Pushyamitra Sunga; A Brahman committed yet another worst genocide of Budhists in Indian History.
The polarization between Budhism and Jainism on one side and Brahmanism on other side saw rise and fall of many kings and resulted into many battles.
By the time of Harsha, Brahaminism was marginalised by Budhism, which by now had mixed with Jainisms, Shaivism and Krishnaism to lay foundation of Sanatan Dharma, Brahmanism was psuhed to align with rising Islam which resulted into many Arab raids into India and finally invasion of neo Islamist of Central Asia . This new alignment of power gave birth to new polarization resulting into marginalization of dominant Budhism in India and emergence of Muslim-Brahmanism Alliance.
Muslims ruled India in close alliance with Brahmanism wherein a power sharing arrangement emerged. Muslims were rulers, Brahmans and their close allies like Kayasthas and some segments of Baniyas, were revenue collector and land record keepers and they together acted as political advisers of Muslims. Many Buddhist kings who with change of power dynamics adopted Brahmanism through a process of purification, retained their power under Muslim rule as their allies.
Aggressive Islamic- Brahman rule created yet another polarization when under Bhakti movement masses organised and staged resistance. It gave birth to rise of Maratha, Jat and Sikh powers with active support of masses. Unitedly they neutralized  aggressive Islamic- Brahman alliance and created a new power balance. The new power equation thus created a process of integration and assimilation to give birth of a Hindustani identity which followed the basic fundamentals of Sanatan Dharma where in Islam and other religions like Christianity were also accommodated. Assimilation with Brahmanism also started. India was settling when British arrived.
When the India was settling to the rule of people and dalits were being given new respect (Marathas, Jats and Sikhs recruited them in their armies and gave them official positions including new names like Mahar, Jatav and Ramgharias), British arrived with much more advanced technology and warfare techniques. Brahmanism found an opportunity and leaving the path of Sanatan Dharma aligned with British power.
Treaty of Vasai sealed the strategic alliance between British and Brahmanism and resulted into British rule.  Once having captured power in India, clever British started neutralizing  political power of Brahmanism. Peshwa was deported to Bithoor in Kanpur. Aggressive British attempted to consolidate political power and created a new form of polarization which led to 1857 revolt by masses.
After 1857, British changed their political strategy in India. They divided Indians into two dimensions of powers and created a very clever separation among them. Soft power of dominating caste of Brahmans, Kasythas and Baniyas and hard power of martial castes spread across all religions and castes including Brahmans and Dalits. Soft power was given space in peaceful democratic soft power politics wherein, It gave birth to Congress and other political parties like Hindu Mahasabha and social groups like RSS. Hard power manifested itself into British Indian Army and Princely States which had martial caste dominance.
British took care of marginalized suppressed dalits and gave space to the rise of leaders like Baba Saheb Ambedkar who staked claim in power politics of India.
Within the hard power structure of India, British gave enough space to Muslims. However absence of Muslim leaders in soft power structure and emergence of dominance of Brahmanism in new form of Hindutwa within it (rise of leaders like militant Tilak & Sawarkar) made some Muslim leaders like Jinnah suspicious. It polarized the soft power space and gave push to emergence of movement for Muslim Pakistan based on two nation theory. Newly emerging argument of fierce Hindu nationalism by many leaders like Tilak and Sawarkar and increased Brahmanised character of Congress in fact strengthened the argument for Muslim Pakistan.
WW I & II shook the foundation of British empire and helped rise of American power with Jews funding. In emerging new geo-political order, it made more sense for British to bi polarize Indian politics to create a fault line based on communal conflict.  Accordingly British with US consent, cleverly exploited prevailing bipolarised political situation in soft power space and fueled two nation theory being advocated by some of Muslim leaders and equally fueled and supported by Hindu Rasthra theory (resurgence of  Brahmanism in new form).
Creation of Pakistan helped power projection of USA and UK alliance in Geo political space against Russia and also created weakness within South Asia by creating a communal fault line based on two nation and Hindu Rashtra theories. If two nation theory polarised Hindu and Muslims then Hindu Rashtra theory created multiple fault lines in Indian society where in it also made other religious and social groups like Sikhs, Jains, Budhists, many tribes, many social groups like Jats, Marathas, Patels, Gurjars, Ahirs, Dalits and many more insecure.
Let us not forget that since inception till Indra Gandhi, though congress has been speaking about secularism but in practice it always was dominated by moderate Neo Hindu Rashtrawadi leaders ( a new avtar of Brahmanism). Hindu Rashtrawad deviates from teaching of Sanatan Dharma to create a religion for political and commercial purpose. The difference between strategy of Congress and Hindu Mahasabha or RSS is only that Congress practiced (till Indra) moderate and passive neo- Hindu nationalism and others aggressive/ militant and proactive Hindu Rashtrawad. In fact both express repackaged  Brahmanism in new form and are two faces of same coin of Brahmanism.
During British rule, emergence of two nation theory and Brahmanist Hindu Rashtrawad destroyed accomodative and assimilative Hindustani culture of Sanatan Dharma as emerging in Pre British Period.
British after creating Pakistan, left India to her fate in hands of Congress dominated by moderate passive Brahmanist Hindu nationalist leaders who put a very clever political strategy in place to take total control over political power. To leaders of soft power as expressed by Congress, martial caste holding hard power were treated a as threat. Prevailing political situation was cleverly polarized in favor of soft power of moderate Hindu Congress by two pronged strategy
1. Gaining political support of insecure groups like Muslims, tribal and dalits and creating a poll winning robust formula of Brahman- Muslim-Dalit/Tribal.
2. Progressive isolation, division, defamation, weakening and marginalization of martial castes.
At time of Partition Muslims in India were insecure and favored congress for protection. Congress cleverly kept Muslim insecurity alive by staging communal riots, maintaining armed dispute with Pakistan and taking help of militant groups advocating aggressive Hindutwa like RSS. In fact all actions of RSS helped Cong politically.

Congress strategy to keep Dalits and Tribal to her side was bit different. They were given reservation in political power structure of India (which was rejected when Muslims during British period demanded same), reservation in govt jobs, certain legal protections, promise of ownership of agricultural lands and generating fear of Goondaism of Martial Castes (Modi in recent election has used the word Goonda playing same politics) . The strategy though helped Congress to remain in power but in reality did not help Dalits in their economic upliftment and assimilation with rest of the society. Yes untouchability to some extent has been diluted but a new identity of Dalits has emerged.

Let us not forget politics of reservation is most deceptive and cunning strategy. In reality it brings only 24% reservation and with almost 50% positions being vacant the real gains in jobs are only 12% whereas real loots is happening though banks where almost 20% of the bulk of bank business loans given to high castes are stressed. In addition 8 lakh temples in India provide a very secure and safe money supply to this lobby. They hold almost 8000 tons of Gold which can remove the poverty of India. India in fact is a rich country of deliberately kept poor people.

Politically, the above strategy polarized Indian society into two. One power center was reflected in Brahman, Muslims and Dalit alignment and other was in dis-organised martial castes. Congress put forth the strategy to weaken martial caste and hard power by:
1. Some of the martial castes of Brahmans and Dalits aligned with rest of them and supported Congress.
2. Initial Isolation of princely states, then their systematic marginalization and then its unconstitutional abolition just after 1971 war when popularity of Indra was at its peak. Please note that Shashi Tharoor in his latest book “An Era of Darkness” has admired princely states for looking after farmers better than British. In fact performance of Cong rule in Independence India has been worst than even British. Shashi Tharoor has kept quite on it.
3. Abolition of Zamindaris and land holdings ( Land Ceiling Act)  in name of socialism. Most of the land holders were martial castes.
4. Putting agricultural products selling and price control mechanism in place in name of creating food security. It created total control of govt over rural economy with no say of farmers. Most of them being from martial castes and communities. They suffered and are suffering.
5. Preventing farmers from change of land usage without Govt approvals thus debarring them from making its use for business by raising debt from banks.
6. Disarming martial castes by Arms Control Act.
7. Not developing education infrastructure & banking in rural areas to keep them in age of darkness. And also not providing same banking and tax advantages as given to business communities (like HUF). In fact almost 90% bank loans for business since independence has been given to high caste lobby.
8.  Defaming martial castes branding them as Goondas, criminals and fools. Post independence movies helped in creation and sustenance of such fear and impressions.
9. Isolating and marginalizing army from political decision making of the govt and reducing the salary, compensation and support systems of soldiers. It further hit the rural economy. After 1973 Indra went ahead to even tweak officers cadres to have her loyalists in key positions.
The above strategy helped Congress till Indra not to govern but rule India. However it also created reverse polarization wherein political landscape saw emergence of third front and political regionalism.
After death of Indra, Rajeev emerged as leader riding sympathy wave. But here was the problem. He was married to a foreigner Sonia Gandhi of a Christian faith and was not seen as a moderate Hindu leader and same was not acceptable to many other high caste temple lobbies. To please them Rajeev even allowed opening of locks in Ayodhya in disputed Babri Mosque but it did not win him their favour and at last he was eliminated.
By now more aware Muslims and Dalits, who were also desperate for inclusive growth, searched for more political options and started switching support from congress. Marginalized farmers most being martial castes were becoming assertive under their leaders like Charan Singh. The extreme polarization which kept congress in power weakened. India thus moved into an era of political coalition and adjustments which brought many benefits.

It is surprising to note that India has made rapid growth in the era of political coalition and regionalism. Governance become more responsive and inclusive. India saw higher GDP growth. Till Indra, when the total political control remained in hands of Congress, the GDP growth of India was lesser than even British period. In fact the era of political coalition and regionalism has opened new opportunities to put India as developing economies.

As political battles became intensive and more divided, it gave prominence to political funding thus giving rise to corporate manipulation of political policies and rise of crony capitalism.

Naturally the era of coalition and regionalism is not palatable to Hindu Rashtrawadis, who till now had ruled India as moderate congressmen. The new power polarization was required to put them back in absolute power control.  Rise of Islamic radicalism in Middle East, Afghanistan and to some extent in Pakistan has provided them an opportunity of polarizing people. The new game thus started and new four pronged strategy as under for grabbing political power has been put in place:
1. Keep face of development as mask. As people in all section of society need development so keep certain populist schemes to keep them mesmerized.
2. Keep political funding in control by assured support to crony capitalists.
3. Polarise people on Hindutwa and Muslim terror lines but do not adopt congress strategy of triggering riots. If riots helped congress to maintain insecurities among Muslims for votes, fear of Muslim terror has helped consolidation of non Muslim vote making Brahmanist Hindutwa more attractive. Keep using Pakistan and few actions by own army to strengthen the argument.

4. Create more social fault lines by creating more identities like maha Dalits and maha OBCs to create more divisions and exploit it for political advantage.

5. Keep conflict with Pakistan alive and use it for polarization. After all it helps politicians on both side of borders. If Cong has best relations with PPP of Pakistan then BJP is having similar relations with PMNL.

The above strategy has succeeded in creating polarization of almost same intensity which was achieved post independence during Congress rule. BJP hopes to rule India for another 15-20 years using same strategy but creation of more social fault lines is a dangerous trend which may result into new reverse poloarised alignments and carries the risk of division of the country if goes out of control.
Political desperation for power using intense polarization strategy and possibility of reverse polarization in same intensity, is hurting the foundation and idea of India. Some in western power block are happy to see new fault lines which may at last check the growth of India sinking her in darkness of violence. Regional violent polarization of Hindu- Muslim in South Asia will also help these vested interests in western block to divert attention radical Islam from west to India. Radical Islam is posing serious threat to global peace specially so western economic power. It needs to be contained and best way is to pitch it against Hindutwa. Most unfortunate part is, many in India are willing to play this west funded game and push India into darkness.
Though power game of polarization and reverse polarization are natural phenomenon but are required to be kept below critical limits of tolerance. Any crossing of lines breaking these critical limits carries risk of violent reactions and shall be avoided.

India has no choice but to follow the path of Sanatan Dharma of Hindustani Tahzeeb. History is testimony to the fact that India has performed best when political debates have been silent and conducted under the principles  of Santan Dharma. Whenever the intense pressures has been used India has witnessed the worst kind of violence.

In given situation and under the present constitution, as long as we have a strong professional military, the pitch of internal political debate for elections shall be kept below critical limits of tolerance.  Our military shall be powerful enough to neutralize any internal or external threat to defend constitution. There is a need to increase the pitch of political debates to the levels of shouting. The graceful conduct is key essential need of the hours as political pitch is surely rising to create intense polarization which is surely a threat to national security.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk. Ashok Singh is an Ex Army Colonel who is now Defense Strategist and Corporate Leader.

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