CHURUMURI POLL: Did the Left “save” India?

Jatti kelage biddaroo meese mannu aaga-lilla, is an old Kannada saying. Meaning: the wrestler’s moustache was unsoiled even after he was floored.

The Indian left may be going through its worst phase ever. Its ruling government in West Bengal has been unable to retain the Tata Nano that landed in its lap. Despite its avowed secular credentials, it bowed to the fundamentalists and sent out Taslima Nasreen. In Delhi, the inflexible dogma of Prakash Karat saw the Left severing its support to the government over the Indo-US nuclear issue. And so on.

None of those realities seem to have prevented the communists from making one of the more brazen and bizarre claims in recent times. Namely, that it was their opposition that prevented the Manmohan Singh-Chidambaram combine from going the whole hog on banking and insurance reforms, full convertibility of the rupee, and deployment of pension funds in the stock markets. And this, they say, “insulated” India from the full impact of the global financial crisis.

Has India been saved, or has the salaried, unionised Indian middle class, the bourgeoisie, been saved? Are the communists talking through their hat, or is there a grain of truth to their claim? If communist policies have saved India, why hasn’t it saved China, whose stock markets are doing worse than in India? And if shutting the doors is a good idea to save ourselves from global shocks, should we close our economy?