When India adopted its Constitution in 1950, the Preamble only described the nation as a “sovereign” and “democratic” Republic. It was only through subsequent amendments that the words “secular” and “socialist” were introduced into the political grammar of the country. Section 29A(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, required political parties to state in an affidavit that they would adhere to the principles of the Preamble of the Constitution, including socialism, if they wished to be considered as a “recognised party”.
But is it time to throw “socialism” out of the window? On the one hand, the Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu has admitted that socialism is a far cry: “Socialism is not achievable at this point of time. Private capital has to be used for social welfare programmes. Socialism is our political agenda and is mentioned in our party document, but capitalism will continue to be the compulsion for the future.” And the West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has gone on record that capitalism, not socialism, is the only way to industrialise the State.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the Election Commission to explain why the vow “socialist” thrust upon every party should not be scrapped when several parties swear allegiance despite their contrary positions as evident from their manifestos, speeches and programmes. The SC is hearing a petition from a Calcutta-based NGO which says the insistence is “to deliberately tunnel the collective view in one ideological direction is… a grave breach of the liberty provisions of the Constitution.”
Questions: Is it all over for socialism in the country? Are we well and truly in the capitalist era and is there no going back? Has the insistence on “socialism” as a requirement helped or harmed our democracy? Should “socialism” be viewed through the communist prism? Or should it be interpreted as a part and parcel of democracy that takes count of the last man and woman? Will our politics—and the plight of our people—get better if socialism is not required of our parties? Is the socialism vow a “reasonable restriction” or does it limit the canvas for parties which subscribe to other ideologies?
I think India is too big, diverse and complex for one ‘ism’ to work.
In a country where everybody loves a good drought, where farmers are commiting suicide like flies, where pitched battles are being fought against land being gifted away for SEZs, where almost half the population lives on less than a dollar a day, where the digital divide is widening, it is way too early to write the obituary of socialism.
The Commutwits have gone completely bonkers after Singur and Nandigram, and they seem intent on scoring self-goals even at the cost of looking like intellectually bankrupt buffoons. Instead of making a more nuanced articulation against socialism of the subsidy kind that they have championed, the Commutwits are serving us roasted bullshit on toast.
Just because all the parties agree on market reforms, give or take their own spin on the subject, it doesn’t mean the country’s problems have vanished. They haven’t. Socialism is not going to solve all those problems, nor is capitalism. It means we have to recalibrate what our current ‘ism’ to include every last man and woman.
Socialism was never practiced in our country in the true sense. It was always used to keep the poor people impoverished so that the socialists could play on their misery to garner votes and line their own pockets. You just have to visit the locality Salt Lake area in Calcutta, where these socialist thugs have their mansions to understand the utter hipocrisy of these socialist morons.
Hope it’s all over for socialism and all the losers leading the country!!
History tells us that free market economy has won against socialism. The collapse of USSR is a classic case. Today even communist counries like China and Russia are moving towards a free market economy model. I think we took too long to liberalize thanks to visionary Nehru and his not so visionary advisors. If the government had focused on providing infrastructure(roads, telephone and Power) instead of investing in making steel, cars and what not, we would have been a lot better off today. What do we have to show for socialism? Loss making public sector enterprises, inefficient government departments and ministries, chronic power shortage, rural areas with no infrastructure and crowding urban areas with bad infrastructure. With free market economy we have a chance to inject more money into the system, increase employment opportunities and bring new technology to boost agricultural input. Socialism had insulated us from all these in the past. What we now need to be worried about now is the socialist hangover that our states suffer from even after liberalization and whether all those moneys Chidambaram’s men collect in the form of taxes translates into sound urban and rural infrastructure, public health and education.
Socialism needs to be implemented in India in order to make it a developed country