When India got Independence, it was firmly a Left-leaning nation. That was a time when many people thought that Communism might well be the future of the world. So we had the ruling Congress party, which was Left-leaning and the main Opposition party being the Communist Party of India.
It was a time when only the Left-leaning intellectuals got preference in the general scheme of things. All the major historians were Leftists and wrote textbooks coloured in Red. Most major newspapers were Left-leaning too.
The Congress ruled the Centre and almost all the states for the first 30 years. Jawaharlal Nehru ruled like a dictator till death. Now that sounds more like Communism rather than democracy! Our best foreign country friend was the USSR, to evenly round off things.
One major critic of this Leftism was our first and last Indian Governor General C Rajagopalachari. The way LK Advani coined the term pseudo-secularist for the Congress, Rajaji may well have coined a term called pseudo-communist if it had been the TV age.
Rajaji famously declared in an essay: “…since... the Congress Party has swung to the Left, what is wanted is not an ultra or outer-Left (that is the CPI and other parties), but a strong and articulate Right…”
Rajaji was the biggest critic of the License Raj and was the only major leader who thought it would perish. He formed the Swatantra Party, which succeeded in displacing the CPI as the major Opposition party in the Lok Sabha in 1967.
But that was about it. The hegemony of the Left continued unabated till the late 1980s.
But three huge developments took place in a relatively short period from 1991-92 that changed India forever. It also finally brought out the Indian Right to the forefront.
India’s Grand Old Party swerved firmly to the Right when it introduced liberalization. Economically speaking at least we let go of the Leftist shackles and embraced Capitalism big time. The genie was out of the bottle. Hereafter, it was only the pace of reform that changed and not the character.
Rajaji would have surely approved!
The USSR collapsed, the Berlin Wall came down and Communism went into permanent decline the world over. The CPI and CPM began their slow journeys to becoming fossils. India started flirting with the US and the two started collaborating in ways that was not possible in the 1980s.
IT and outsourcing became hot industries. The US and India became the giants in this space. Right-winger US President George W Bush unofficially offered to make India an official ally. Even after we declined he still strongly pushed for the Nuclear Deal against critics within his own country. The UPA Government too faced collapse over it in 2008. The Opposition unsurprisingly came from the Left parties.
India would have leaned towards the US in the defence space too, but held back due to the superpower’s close proximity to Pakistan. Instead, we are leaning towards Europe now.
Finally the Babri Masjid came down. That polarized the nation like never before. The fault-lines politically divided India into the Far Right and the Far Left. We finally had a battle on our hands and the Right was firmly on the rise in the 1990s.
All this led to the BJP coming to power briefly in 1996 and finally in 1998 in the form of a coalition government. The NDA actually completed a full term, the first ever non-Congress government to do so. India finally had a vibrant Left and Right.
The final battle was fought on the Internet.
While India as a whole had started moving Right in economic and strategic fields the Left’s stranglehold over TV channels, newspapers, civil society, NGOs and the like was still going very strong.
This combined elite scoffed at the Internet and came with a snobbish mindset, behaving like it ruled cyberspace too. That attitude backfired big time. Very soon they were swamped by netizens and didn’t know what had hit them.
The Social Media is a totally democratic world and it is very difficult for a government or the mainstream media to push any kind of agenda. Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere have a life of their own and consist of millions of ultra-active netizens.
So while in the real world the Congress struts around without any Opposition and the mainstream media shamelessly follows its agenda, both get a tough barrage of ideas and opinions against them in cyberspace. So much so that Section 66A seems to be the only answer they have!
In cyberspace, the Congress is dirt, Narendra Modi is already Prime Minister and most of the top journalists are hated beyond their comprehension. Internet Hindu is one such silly and meaningless term which has been created as part of the MSM propaganda.
Of course everything is not so black and white. The Congress is a Left-leaning party, which has taken so many Right turns that one is not really sure what it stands for any more. The BJP is a Right-leaning party, which has had its fair share of Left turns.
And as far as the Social Media is concerned, can it really be called the Right? It is by and large: anti-Left, anti-Congress and anti-mainstream media. Now call it what you will with such a profile!
The only thing that is certain is that the dictatorship of the Left is totally dead.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/