By Dr. Sawraj Singh
India seems to continue its drift from its traditional policies. There were two major shifts. First, from the Gandhian model to Nehruvian socialism; and second, from Nehru’s model to second-rated western capitalism. The second-rated, inefficient capitalist model of development has not worked for the majority of people. This became evident when India’s social development index recently came very low (101 rank, out of 133), even lower than Bangladesh and Nepal.
India’s drift from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has also marginalized its role in the Asian and African countries. This became clear in the just-held Bandung Conference. 60 years ago, India played the leading role in the first Bandung Conference. Nehru, Sukarno of Indonesia, and Nasser of Egypt were the towering figures at the conference. How much has India’s role been marginalized can be seen from the fact that the Bandung Conference was hardly mentioned in the Indian media.
The Gandhian model of development, which was completely turned upside down, had three major components:
· Decentralization of resources and development.
· Rural-based development.
· Promotion of cottage industry.
Nehruvian socialism completely reversed these components. Nehru went to Harrow School of London. His concept of development was a highly-centralized urban model based upon heavy industry.
Nehru was also impressed by the Soviet model and also by the anti-imperialist national movements in third world countries. Therefore, Nehruvian socialism was a hybrid form of socialism: a product of a cross between Soviet-style socialism and western subservience. Nehru also tried to keep equal distance from the Soviet block and the western block, and was one of the founders of the Non-Alignment Movement.
After Nehru, Indian leaders abandoned Nehruvian socialism as well as the policy of non-alignment. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, India jumped into the American camp and fully adopted the western capitalist model of development. India has softened its support for the Palestinians and has started tilting towards Israel. India’s relations with Iran have also become less warm. India has been unable to revive its relations with the re-emerging Russia. Russia is warming up to Pakistan. It can be concluded that India is moving away from its traditional friends and continues to move closer to America and Israel. India may be giving the impression of joining America and Israel against China, Russia, Islamic countries and third world countries. Such an impression is extremely dangerous for India.
India seems to be ignoring new and emerging trends and the shifting balance of power in the world. Some of the new and emerging trends are:
· Reemergence of Russia as a world power.
· America’s inability to maintain control over world events.
· Racial divisions are deepening in America and further weakening it.
· Widening of trans-Atlantic gap between America and Europe.
· Emergence of a trilateral axis of Russia, China, and Pakistan in South Asia, resulting in a complete shift of power balance in South Asia.
· Growing isolation of Israel in the world. Israel recently came under heavy criticism in the U.N. for the atrocities that it committed against the Palestinians in Gaza during the war with Hamas.
· Saudi defeat in Yemen and the emergence of Iran as a leading power in the Middle East.
· Russia and Iran coming closer.
· Improving relations between Russia and North Korea.
· Russia’s shift from the West and solidly moving to the East.
All of these factors have helped in shifting the balance of power from the West to the East.
India does not seem to be convinced that from the western-dominated world order of the last two centuries, the world is moving to a multipolar world order with the East in the leading position. Western capitalism is very likely to collapse before the middle of the century (2050). It is ironic that India has adopted the western capitalist model of development when it is almost close to extinction. China and Russia have evolved their own models whereas India has been unable to develop its own model. In a multipolar world order, each country will have to evolve its own model and uniformity of the western capitalist model will end.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the progress and development under the western capitalist model of development have failed to benefit the majority of people. It has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots. It has mostly worked for the rich and the elite. India did not change its educational system, administration, or bureaucracy after it gained independence. Basically, India has retained the infrastructure and institutions that were developed by western colonialists. India has consolidated and further reinforced these by its continued shift to the West. India’s drifting away from the policies that it set for itself at the time of independence means that India is moving back to western slavery rather than becoming a truly independent country.
India needs a radical change in its educational system and administrative and bureaucratic setup. Without that change, India will continue to perpetuate the colonial and slavish mindset. So far, India has only gained physical freedom. Without changing these institutions, liberation of the mind will not be gained. Without a free mind, we will not be able to evolve our own system, which will benefit the majority of our people. It is a great tragedy that while the East is rising, India, the country which is the seat of Eastern philosophy and which truly represents the East, continues to drift to the West. I feel that Sri Guru Granth Sahib represents the zenith of Eastern philosophy and has an alternative model of development. We need an alternative model to the western capitalist model because it has failed.
Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].