How will the new Indian government balance the artha and raj dharma?

An interesting piece by EPW edit.

It says how the new govt. will balance the raj dharma which is guided by RSS and Artha which is guided by big businesses:

Narendra Modi is, after all, beholden to both the RSS and big business – dharma and artha (the latter, the desire to accumulate material wealth). So it will all depend on how the RSS, the self-anointed spiritual counsellor of the rashtra, preserves the dharma even as it accommodates the artha. The king, in its view, must be guided by the raj guru in the preservation of the ideology of Hindutva nationalism.

….After the BJP-led government consolidated itself following the 1999 elections, appointments of intellectuals close to the RSS to head institutions like the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Indian Council of Social Science Research began. The then union minister of human resource development, Murli Manohar Joshi, consulted the RSS’s then organising secretary, K Sudarshan on most issues. Key RSS-affiliated intellectuals were placed at the helm of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, the University Grants Commission, the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. There were changes in the syllabus of primary and secondary schools, the works of important historians like Romila Thapar, R S Sharma and Bipan Chandra were removed from the list of school textbooks, authors such as Sumit Sarkar and K N Panikkar were harassed, and even death threats were sent to historian D N Jha for his researches that drew on ancient texts to show that beef was then part of the Indian diet. All these were the outcome of the BJP’s cultural and educational policies.

The BJP’s money has beaten the Congress’s money in the elections to India’s 16th Lok Sabha. It is now reasonable to expect that big business, which made available most of the money, will influence policy. The Vajpayee government did not go by the RSS’s then economic nationalism for it could not but be swayed by the sections of big business that had financed the BJP’s electoral campaign. So the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Bill to allow the entry of big business, including multinationals, into the insurance business was brought in, and the ceiling on the proportion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the paid-up capital of drugs and pharmaceuticals and a whole lot of other business sectors was relaxed, quantitative restrictions on the import of consumer goods were removed and a drastic reduction of customs duties on their import followed, all these despite RSS and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh objections. So also now, the privatisation of public enterprises, the handing over of public sector banks to private managements after recapitalisation and, writing-off of their non-performing assets, a drastic reduction of food, fuel and fertiliser subsidies, a further raising of the caps on FDI – all part of big business’ demands – seem to be on the anvil.

It has been an amazing play of story in last 3-4 months. The debate over dharma and artha has been no less than state and markets as seen in the west. Will have to wait and see which way the tide turns in future..

 

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