Why I hate Congress but loved Indian National Congress

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Actually I did’t remember the exact period but most probably during the times of my secondary education, when I exposed to Indian modern history in a minimal way which has a profound impact on me. It was the time, I felt patriotic and consciousness developed in me, as India is a nation and I am Indian citizen. It was the time, when I began to praise the Indian national movement and the role played by Indian National Congress (INC) in freedom struggle.  But in the year 2004, 14th general elections were held in India and congress party, once which led the national movement and brought freedom to India was not in power for 8 consecutive years, from 1996-2004 and struggling to establish the government in 2004 and aligned with various other parties and formed a coalition government of UPA. It is the first time, I encountered with the dilemma ; why the congress party which led the freedom struggle and attained freedom to India from the shackles of 200 years imperial British rule now struggling to form government and making petty overtures with different regional parties to form government ?. At that time I can’t able to get the answer due to my age constrains, but during these 10 years of time period from 2004 to 2014, I gradually solved that puzzle with time being by closely watching the 2009 and 2014 general elections and my exposure to detailed Indian history. Then slowly, my hatred for contemporary congress increased and respect to INC heightened.

Although INC established by British national A.O Hume in the year 1885, the main backstage role played by the prominent Indian nationalists like Dadabhai Naoroji and Dinshaw wacha. It was formed based on the principles of, to maintain internal democracy within the party and to take any important decisions based on the majority vote and to elect the party president periodically. From the beginning congress was not conceived as party but as a movement. It incorporated in it very broad objectives like secularism, democracy and different political trends and objectives. Although there were splits in the congress party in pre independence period like surat split of 1906, formation of swaraj party and socialist parties, they are rather ideological but not political for personal aspirations. Some of the historic decisions by the congress party were taken after heated debates and on the basis of open voting. For example, the decision to start the Non- cooperation Movement were taken 1920 at Calcutta with 1886 voting for and 884 against Gandhiji’s resolution. Similarly at Lahore congress 1929, resolution sponsored by Gandhiji condemning the revolutionary terrorist’s attacks was passed by a narrow majority of 942 to 794. Sardar vallabhai patel, Maulana azad, Rajendra Prasad C.Rajagoplachari and Jawaharlal Nehru in post independence period maintained the democratic ethos within the party and tried to take decisions based on the majority opinion and does not give preference to individual aspirations.

Death of Nehru was the crucial event the history of congress party and slowly power politics replaced the politics of ideology within the party. Party leadership slowly went in to the hands of group of people aspiring for power called as “syndicate”, initiated the shattering of democratic norms within the party. Nehru never wanted congress party to become a Gandhi-Nehru party but eventually election of Indira Gandhi as the prime minister of India paved the steps for it. Power politics between syndicate and Indira Gandhi were finely tuned over the election of president after the death of Zakir Hussain. Indira opposed the nomination of Sanjeev Reddy, prominent member of syndicate and supported V.V. Giri.  It results to the split of congress party into congress (O) and congress (R). In 1971 general elections, congress (O) of syndicate completely rooted of and Indira Gandhi congress (R) became victorious and only one congress: Indira congress remained in the country. Indira became the unchallenged leader of congress and at this point Indira became congress and congress is Indira, and so congress was no more the congress of 1885.  Role of Sanjay Gandhi played during the emergency (1975-77) and decisions taken by Indira during emergency completely shattered the democratic ethos within the party. After the death of Indira by his Sikh bodyguards, one more principle of parental INC left with the congress was secularism and that too lost in anti-Sikh riots promoted by the congress in avenge of Indira death and killed nearly more than 3000 Sikhs all over the country. Rajeev Gandhi became the PM and added one more new dimension, corruption to the party by indulging in Bofors scandal. Then there is nothing new to talk about the Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as we are seeing their dynastic politics from last two decades. I am very critical to say that, present form of congress does not have the right take over the credit of Nehru, Patel and other prominent leaders of India national movement because it was not at all the party of pre independence era. So at the end, I found answers to most of my puzzles and dilemmas faced one decade ago and that is reason I hated contemporary congress but loved the Indian National congress………………………………

“It is first article in series of articles to be posted about political parties of India, by reading this article, don’t view me as adherent of BJP or any other party and I have my individual opinions and my own way of interpretations about different parties.”

Is right to health should be a fundamental right in India

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imagesIndia is third largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity but what about the position of the India in healthcare access to its citizens? Economically sound country can have their citizens better health care facilities?. A sound economy is necessary for the growth of the country but it can augment better when healthy citizens contribute to GDP of the country. From the times of Nehru, We concentrated more on strengthening steel and manufacturing industries practicably absent in health and education, leaving to private sector. Socialistic measures taken by all  governments till to date are more or less oriented towards building up the economy of the country without constructive measures to build heath care. In post world war II , Japan, completely devastated and war torn country started from scrap became  one of the leading economies by mid 80’s, not only investing in industrial capital but also on human capital like health and education. So by improving quality of life we can enhance the economic development but there are less chances for the vice versa. Even it is true in Indian context, when we take the case of Kerala which invested in human capital having high literacy rate, life expectancy and low infant mortality rate. Kerala once having a poor economy now transformed in to state with highest disposable income per capita in India

          Governmental share of health care in India as a percentage of total health expenditure is one of the three lowest in the world. We are in the company of Haiti and Sierra Leone. We spend 1 percent of GDP while China spends close to 3 per cent and US spends 8.4 percent of their GDP. India is having a poor performance in various healthcare indicators like infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate etc very low when compared to various south Asian countries like Srilanka, Bangladesh and BRICS countries. There are surplus of government schemes but failing utterly in providing primary health care facilities to citizens of India and reality is most of health care in India is privately funded. India’s awful performance in the HDI with 135 rank is mainly contributed by its low performance in healthcare indicators. To a country like India with more than 22 percent of population living below poverty line, catastrophic health expenditures by citizens further deteriorate there living conditions. So there should be effective and affordable universal coverage and health care insurance to be provided to all Indians

India took constructive steps to provide basic education to children by making right to education as a fundamental right by 86 constitutional amendment act of 2002, added article 21-A of the constitution, but heath doesn’t acquired any constitutional status. But Supreme court in various cases like Consumer Education and Resource Centre Vs Union of India, State of Punjab Vs Mohinder Singh held that right to health is essential for human existence and therefore, an integral part of the Right to Life, and It also held in these judgments that humane working conditions and health services and medical care are an essential part of Article 21. The Constitution of India also has provisions outlined in Directive Principles of State Policy, Articles 42 and 47 which promote citizens right to health but these are moral obligation on the state and cannot be enforceable in court of law like fundamental rights.

Traditional notion of access to healthcare is individual centric like access to medical treatment, medicines but there should be a wider interpretation of promotion of health at society level like clean living environment, protections against hazardous working conditions, education about disease prevention and social security measures in respect of disability, sickness and injury. Special emphasis is laid on elements such as women’s reproductive health and the healthcare of children. But public health sector in India is at nascent stage without any special emphasis from government and academic circles for constructive research in those areas. I want to be critical at his point, advance research in health care areas like molecular biology, nanotechnology etc are necessary but when more than half of the population of the India does not have access to primary health care facilities, what is the need for pouring millions of money in the name of scientific research which does not have any effect on the lives of common man. Present rightist Modi government spending more budgetary expenditure on defence in the name of modernizing it, but then what is the doom of living conditions of 1.2 billion Indians by the slashing the health care expenditure which is already one of the world’s lowest.

There is need for right to health as fundamental right like that of, right to food through food security act and right to work through MGNREGA, which is fundamental and will have complimentary effects on education, employment, economy and living conditions of the people.

Afghanistan’s Modern Great Game

Afghanistan is a landlocked and mountainous country sandwiched between middle-east countries, which are suffering from chronic instability and conflict during modern history. During 19 th and 20 th century, it was the centre of great game and acted as a buffer state between imperial Russia and British empire. Its Fate does not change even in the post colonial world and became the arena for cold war power politics, when Soviet troops made an invasion to back the communist regime. Anti communist and jihadi mujahedeen forces were actively supported by America through supplying arms and money with the help of Pakistan. When Soviet union withdrawed its forces from Afghanistan, civil war was protracted.

After the fall of communist regime under Mohammad Najibullah, Islamic state of Afghanistan was formed in 1992. At this stage, Islamic Fundamentalist movement started in Afghanistan called as Taliban. It over throw the previous government and formed a new government called as Islamic emirate of Afghanistan. Taliban drawn from the largest ethnic group of afghans, Pasthuns which were opposed by the alliance of factions. It controlled nearly 90% of Afghanistan until late 2001. Taliban followed extreme form of Islam. It enforced strict interpretations of Sharia or Islamic law. They are condemned internationally for their brutal treatment of women. Mohammad Omar was serving as a spiritual leader of Taliban since its formation in 1994.they got diplomatic recognition from only three states, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and U.A.E.

Al-Qaeda supported Taliban regime with imported fighters from Arab countries and Central Asia. Saudi Arabia financially supported the Taliban regime. Sunni tinge made them nearer. Osama Bin Laden, who was the head of Al-Qaeda and mastermind behind the bombing of US embassies in Africa in 1998 and 9/11 attacks on US. Taliban refused to hand over Bin laden and US initiated aerial attacks in October 2001, under NATO to drive Taliban out of power.

Taliban was overthrown by American led invasion of Afghanistan .Later American backed government under leadership of Hamid karzai was formed, but Taliban later regrouped and continued insurgency movement against NATO led International Security Forces (ISF).

In 2014 elections were held but no candidate gets the perfect majority. A deal was made between 2 presidential candidates Ashraf Gani and Abdulah Abdullah. Ashraf Gani belonged to Pasthun tribe became the president and Abdullah became the CEO which is equivalent to prime minister.  Democratic support began in and power transition takes place smoothly. Bilateral security arrangement was made between US and Afghanistan, in which 13000 foreign troops; mostly Americans remain in country under a new 2 year mission called as “Resolute support”. It is a support mission to train afghan security forces to fight against insurgents. Finally in December in 2014, 13 years old war was ended by the coalition forces led by NATO and stopped its combat mission in Afghanistan.

Critical Analysis

American policy of global “War on Terror” started with Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime, aftermath of 9/11 attacks on US, But Taliban and Al-Qaeda were the Frankenstein monsters created by the US. They have their origins in the mujahedeen actively supported by the US under Regan doctrine against Soviet Union in 1979 invasion of Afghanistan .US dig its own grave by supporting the Islamic Jihad and religious fundamentalism and it became a threat to global peace too. It mapped out a strategy to for long war to address principal security threats from rogue states to 21st century global world order. Under this mask it legitimatized the unlimited range of foreign and domestic policy interventions to protect its global hegemony. It put global peace at risk at the cost of its national interest. Present day terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Hizabul Mujaheeden, Laksheyra-E-Toiba, have their origins in mujahedeen group of 1980’s.Al though war largely succeeded in its initial aim of ejecting Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan but utterly failed in larger effort to defeat Taliban completely and to bring stability and peace to Afghanistan. Finally Taliban insurgents declared defeat to US and its allies in 13 years long war

A variety of theories have been advanced to explain the nature of war on terror. The most influential of these is Samuel Huntingtons “clash of civilizations”. It suggests that larger trend for cultural and religious conflicts assume greater prominence in 21 century global politics.

Pak –Afghanistan policy

Pakistan ISI and military was widely alleged by the by the international community for supporting Taliban. After 2001 US attack on Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Pakistan allowed Taliban bases to operate from the tribal areas of North west Pakistan and Af-Pak border .They believe some factions of Taliban can be used as counter balancing forces to its western neighborhood, India. Still Pakistan believes that Taliban is ally to it but the rise of growing terrorism internally within the country from Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistani Taliban .Although operationally different, these organizations have their roots in Taliban. There are nothing like good Taliban or bad Taliban. All these terroristic organizations are chauvinistic religious fundamentalism questioning the authority of state .So selective actions against the certain factions of Taliban will not give the fruit full results .Recent TTP attacks on Lahore international airport and massacre of Pakistani school children should be a eye opener for Pakistan to fight against terrorism and to ensure regional security and stability of Central Asia and South Asia.

BY

FAIR INDIAN