Tripura has been ruled for 25 years at a stretch by the Communist Party (Marxist), less due to success of political ideology but more due to the impeccable image of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. Only the CP(M) and Congress had significant presence in Tripura. In fact, it was the case in most of the states in the North East of India. The BJP hardly had any influence. Today it is ruling the entire region.
Victory in Assam enthused the party earlier, but credit for it went to the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But Tripura tells a different story. Several writers and journalists have interpreted this stunning new dawn in their own way, depending on their affiliation. Some of them viewed it as defeat due to incumbency, others treated it victory for the BJP by default, yet another set thought it was due to the Congress failure. Partly they may be right, but the developments in Tripura demand a new approach altogether.
For one, it was a success for the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), which has always maintained a very low profile, claiming to be an a-political organisation and carried on a programme of social awareness, strengthening and inclusiveness. The opposition continued with their old rhetoric in taking pot shots at it. They erred in calling it the political arm of the BJP(Bhartiya Janata Party) of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The RSS has always claimed to be a cultural organisation in the service of the nation. It has been opposed to the partition of India. It has been portrayed as a Hindu outfit. It is considered The Right, communists as The Left and Congress as The Middle. The left demands to be called “progressive”, the Congress “secular” and together they brand the BJP as Rightist Hindu Party.
Researchers of Fake News, Disinformation, Propaganda will find valuable material in the literature used to discredit the BJP or the RSS in the past 70 years. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by an alleged Hindu Mahasabha Activist gave the opportunity for all shades of progressive, secular and liberal elements in politics, religion and the Fourth Estate to denounce and deprecate not only the BJP (earlier name Jansangh) or the RSS but anyone who spoke for or as a Hindu. Because of such soft attacks, the Hindu in India suffered a lot of discrimination, aggression and deprivation at the hands of these forces, which were abusing the constitutional provisions to further their rabid radical religious agenda and creating social dissension. The RSS and the BJP opposed their efforts. The result was that the BJP was branded as the Hindu Party. It goes to the credit of the RSS that it has weathered all this criticism and nefarious propaganda with tremendous elan and frustrated all the hate mongers and their gospel of political untouchability.
Rational, liberal, progressive, educated, modern and nationalist Indians were concerned at the RSS activities in a big country like India with its unfathomable diversity of thoughts, ideas, languages, religions, cultures, food, skills, traditions, customs, mores, festivals, seasons, assets, opportunities. Largely due to the absurdities of the treatment given to its ideology, plans and programmes as presented by the press, in particular the English language press that dominated the whole space. The Indian Languages press did not enjoy as much proximity to the powers that be as the English language press. Besides, the English language press got all the support from the world press in getting feed or circulation. The vernacular press, even when given some opportunity, failed to cash it in national interest and ended with procuring privileges for their corps. In such a situation, government policies and programmes, indeed legislation, tilted in favour of outsiders at the cost of the people of India. Even after Narendra Modi had won a thumping majority in 2014, apprehensions were expressed about the RSS acting as a drag because of the impression created by the English language press as mentioned in the foregoing. In Tripura, however, it was the RSS that emerged with flying colours as a modern Hindu outfit. But for the work done by the RSS in the North East, whether Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur or Mizoram in the past 25 years, the BJP would not have succeeded in the region so well and certainly not Tripura.
Tripura presented the best contrast between the Left & the Right: between one of the acknowledged cleanest Chief Minister and any of his rivals! On the one hand was a tried and tested globally recognised political ideology of the Marxists, on the other was the Hindu heritage alone in the midst of plurality and diversity.
The communists can boast of the success of the revolutions, the USSR, Russia, China, North Korea. Except for ancient India, there was no Hindu nation to boast about except Nepal, which was brought down by the communists towards the closing years of the previous century. That the RSS could get over such obstacles skilfully and help the BJP win Tripura for it speaks of the hard work it had put in. It did not propagate religion or campaigned against any religion. The secret is that the organisation has evolved. It has made progress. Its cadres are different from its original ideologues. They are members of the modern knowledge society. They understand issues and can analyse them without passion. Today’s RSS is open to all Indians, no more restricted to members belonging to the Hindu community. It is that all encompassing and comprehensive outlook which has brought about radical change in the RSS thinking and actions. Such progressive outlook attracts majority of the people, who were under the spell of leftist ideology which vilified BJP, RSS and the Hindu heritage. The Hindu has been humiliated by the Congress, communists, socialists, casteists, religious fundamentalists who have looted the country and transported the loot to foreign tax havens from where they interfere in Indian elections and governance and nobody catches them. The BJP government is yet to establish the reputation of reaching the long arm of the law to them. It needs to be remembered that nobody has a better claim to personal honesty and highest integrity than Manik Sarkar who was in office for 25 years without a break but lost the mandate to rule one more term.
Manik Sarkar could have won another term only if he could sell communism again. He failed to do so. Communism is dead. At least in India, it has very low approval ratings. The communist party (Marxist) as well the CPI refuse to accept this fact. India has not failed communism; it had already been discarded in the communist nations. Those countries have opted to march with the rest of the world in the interest of their nation. But the Indian communists refuse to do so. They talk a rhetoric which is anachronistic today; their jargon and cliché evoke derisive laughter. They do not understand the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on the production, distribution and employment in the coming decades. They hate God but worship Lenin! They are unable to capture the imagination of the youth of the internet era, smart phone and AI. It led to “dissociation” of the aspiring youth of Tripura from the CP(M).
To sum it up:
- The RSS has grown and evolved to position itself as the rightful heir of Indian heritage and legacy;
- The communist ideology has become irrelevant in the world of today;
- The Indian youth belongs to the modern knowledge society and is empowered by IT and AI;
- The Indian youth is an aspiring educated skilled generation interested in action and not political speeches;
- The government has to deliver on commitments if it wants to stay in office;
- There is no room for hate mongers anymore;
- The New India has arrived.
Change of this kind points to the change that has been occurring in the world since the 2nd World War, Cold War, collapse of the Soviet Union, IT revolution, 9/11, terrorism and climate change. A new World Order is bound to emerge to take care of the current situation. It won’t be long before it gets established.