Pune: Renowned psephologist Yogendra Yadav, who is also the Chairman of the Swaraj Abhiyan, said that the current phase is the darkest time for India and the founding principles of the nation state are under severe and incessant attack. He was speaking at the lecture, ‘Defending India’s Swadharma: 2019 and Beyond’, organised by the Pune International Centre (PIC) on Wednesday.
Yadav said that India, unlike other nation states, has a ‘Swadharma’. “According to our intellectual traditions, every object has an inherent quality within them and that is ‘Swadharma’. For India, the Swadharma is not about its cultural legacy, but the legacy of the modern nation state that was based on democracy, diversity and distinctiveness,” he said, adding, “These values are today under an unprecedented attack. This is the darkest time in the history of India post Independence.”
“India’s democracy is not a simple liberal democracy, but has its own basis in popular acceptance, though it lacks procedural morality. But India democratised the idea of democracy. Before India implemented democratic systems, no one would have believed that democracy could be implemented in such a huge country with such levels of poverty,” Yadav said, adding, “We inspired countries world over to attempt democracy in their own conditions.”
“The diversity in the country is not about celebrating differences but was a quiet acceptance of each others’ identities and way of living. It was co-living,” Yadav explained while adding, “Before India, no other nation-state could imagine such a diversity and no one could succeed like India in maintaining it either. The USSR, Yugoslavia, attempted diversity, but could not sustain it.”
Explaining his third component of analysis, Yadav said, “India was also one of the first countries to be brave enough to think about development. The Gandhian approach of ‘antyoday’, or, last person first approach, meant that parting from the European processes, we sharpened the edifice of the welfare state. And in the combination of the three elements, India defined its Swadharma.”
“The values that formed the soul of India, are under attack and if the current government, which does not respect them, gets another term, we cannot imagine the damage that will be done to the Swadharma of the country,” Yadav said, not sparing the opposition and adding, “But on the other hand, one looks at the opposition and instead of dreaming change, one gets nightmares. Only opposition unity might change the government, but it does little to stop the assault on the values.”
Renowned political scientist Suhas Palshikar, who chaired the lecture, said, “While we have been enamoured by democracy, the institutions have failed to deliver it to the person on the ground. This causes a certain anxiety in people, an anxiety which was also there when we took the task of building such a huge nation,” adding, “Understanding politics of the country is not just about the numbers but the deeper issues need to be reflected upon.”