“The war is too important to be left to the Generals alone”
– President Eisenhower during the 2nd World War
National integration that leads to the prosperity of all sections including the poor is too important a subject to be left to the politicians and the movie stars alone. The recent spat between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is occupying the front pages and headlines of national and regional news. It is being led only by the politicians and the movie stars, not that they do not have the right or duty to do that. But if major segment of society sits as a silent spectator it spells doom for the future of the Indian democracy.
The emotional pitch is high in the war of words between the states. In fact it is the miniscule insane linguistic extremist elements that are actually setting the agenda. The recent hot spot in the country today are the States of Maharashtra Vs Hindi heartland of UP, Orissa and Bihar ; Karnataka Vs Tamil Nadu. The war of words has come openly into the streets not only hurting the private and public properties but also innocent by standers and all the Indians. If we let this happen what happened to the Soviet empire can happen to us.
The rhetoric now is followed up by lumpen elements taking it to the streets be it in Maharashtra , Karnataka and even in Tamil Nadu. Our national pledge of ‘ India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters,’ has become farce. The regional parties, naturally standing up for what they perceive to be in the interest and the right of the region is not unusual. This has pushed the so called other national party BJP ‘to be holier than thou’ by precipitating the relationship between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu making mockery of the whole system and the word ‘national party’. At this juncture it is appropriate to credit UPA partner and Chief Minister Karunanidhi, who has come from the movement which asked for separate country, on the decision to douse the fire even temporarily in the interest of national integration. National parties like Congress or the Left should have taken this opportunity asking their cadres in Tamil Nadu to protect the Kannadigas and asking their cadres in Karnataka to protect the Tamilians.
The real crux of the matter is that while the drama gets played by various players, on various venues including the legislatures what is the role of the silent majority? How, where, and when should they start? The word Private, public Partnership had been used so much of late that it has become a cliché. It is high time the silent majorities take the lead and start a forum of 4Ps (PRIVATE, PUBLIC, and POLITICAL PARTNERSHIP). We as a country are already paying a heavy price because of the majority has been silent on various important issues.
The subject is not water as in the case of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka or job as Shiv Sena is trying to project in Maharashtra . It is the votes the political parties are playing for by kindling the short term emotional outburst. In the long term we will see the result, both in Karnataka and Mumbai. The businesses will shy away which I believe is already starting to happen in Bangaluru. If Kanndigas are hurt in Tamil Nadu the industries that are flocking to Tamil Nadu as land of peace will vanish. People, be it poor, middle class or rich, want to live in peace. It is the peace that brings jobs, business and prosperity to all sections of society.
The intellectuals, press, NGOs, businessmen and industrialists have to join together and start a mass campaign to usher peace and national integration. This can not and should not exclude the main player of the democracy – the politicians. They should partner with political parties and create forum where various issues of State, Region and Nation can be regularly addressed. As a matter of fact, it is imperative now for the politicians of the national parties and regional parties to promote and encourage ‘4ps’ forums like this to promote understanding and consensus on issues of national interest so that it does not get exploited. ‘4ps’ forum should not wait and act at the time when the emotions are running high, but should start the process even during the time of peace and tranquility. They should present case studies of places and the countries where national integration and peace have made a difference to the life of all, especially the poor and under privileged. This should be done in such a way that even the unlettered, who can be easily provoked can understand. This should be done constantly.
In any place, especially in a country like India which is emerging out of the shackles of poverty to be a world power, there are vested interests both in and outside the country which are looking to sabotage our growth. Let some thing positive, a new lotus of “PRIVATE, PUBLIC, POLITICAL PARTNERSHIP IN NATIONAL INTEGRATION” emerge from the murky waters parochialism, regionalism and linguistic chauvinism now and here.
‘Americai’ V. Narayanan
Advisor – Ministry of Panchayati Raj
Government of India
Mobile: 98400 india (46342) or 98410 india