Stock - Taking

Annadurai, Rajya Sabha, Council of States, Parliament of Indian Union, Feb 1966

General Elections were expected to be held in India in early 1967 and therefore February 1966 was the last opportunity for the Government of the day to summarise its aims, objectives and achievements through that year’s Presidential Address. The Presidential Address was in the nature of a stock-taking on what the Government had achieved. It was also equally an opportunity for leaders of the Opposition to take a critical look at the achievements of the Government prior to the impending General Elections. As the Leader of the DMK Party, who was to come to power in the then State of Madras in early 1967, Anna was utilizing the occasion of the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address to do his own stock-taking of the problems facing the country. He found no rationale for the continuance of emergency legislations and Defence of India Regulations which were enacted following the Chinese attack in 1962 and demanded their repeal. He deplored the non-availability of even drinking water in some parts of the country. He condemned the pathetic dependence of the country on foreign aid and import of food grains even after 18 years of Independence. He spoke of the grinding poverty of the masses and widespread all-round frustration in the country.

Anna’s debating skill consisted in proving the inefficiency, corruption and mismanagement of the Congress Party by quoting from what the accredited spokesmen of that party including its President had said. He quoted the then President of the Congress, Thiru K. Kamaraj nadir to say that his party “has not succeeded in lessening let alone removing the disparity between the rich and poor”. He quoted others like Acharya Vinobha Bhave and Gulzarilal Nanda. Raising the separate of a violent revolution he warned that the angry new generation cannot be fed by the harvest of the gladness of the past generation.

In the General Elections that followed in 1967, the Congress Party at the Centre fared badly and had to depend on the support of the DMK and Members of other Progressive Parties in Parliament for carrying out its policies and programmes till the General Electrions in 1971 following the Congress split gave that Party an absolute majority in the Parliament. In the 1967 General Elections, many stalwarts of the Congress Party were repudiated by the electorates in thei own constituencies including the then Congress President, Thiru K. Kamaraj Nadar. The DMK Party led by Anna was given a massive mandate to rule the State of Madras which was one of the Congress strongholds.

Madam Deputy Chairman, for the second time in the President’s Address, it is unfortunate that it has opened with a poignant note about the sad, sudden and shocking demise of the late lamented Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. Last time the President had expressed poignancy over the demise of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This time, this twice-orphaned nation has been asked to bear the shock of the demise of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. I share, just as everyone here and elsewhere shares, the feelings of poignancy expressed by the President in his Address. He lived and died in harness working studiously, vigorously and considerately for the uplift of this country. Wherever and whenver the pursuit of peace is undertaken by sincere men, the memory of that great soul will remain as a guiding star and lead not only this nation, but every nation interested in peace and concord to chalk out the path of peace. I pay my humble tribute to the memory of that great soul.

My friend, Professor Mukut Behari lal regretted that the President’s Address does not contain the word ‘socialism’. Curiously enough, I am happy that the word is not there, not because I do not like that word, I like it immensely. But to include that word in the policies and programmes of this Government would be a debasement of socialism.

Coming to the last, but not the least, of his achievements, I consider, as many here and outside this country do consider, that the Tashkent Declaration is the morning star of hope. Even those who have their doubts about the Tashkent Declaration, are only apprehensive over the fact that it should not be shadowed into a sort of Munich. They want peace with Pakistan, they want concord and good neighbourly relations with that country. But many or the pronouncements being made from time to time on the floor of this House and outside by people who ought to have been more responsible have created misapprehensions in the minds of genuinely interested people. However, as the Tashkent Declaration leads us to a climate of friendship and good neighbourliness, I welcome it along with many other political parties in this country.

The President in his Address has that our relations demonstrative way. Even a couple of days ago, we had the Hungarian Prime Minister visiting this country and having consultations with our Prime Minister. On that day, as I was walking along one of the bazaars in Delhi city, I found two young men conversing with each other. They saw the two flags flying, fluttering, together and one young amn asked the other, “Who is visiting this country.”? He replied, “The Prime Minister of Hungary is visiting this country.” And the other young man said, of course in a jocular way : “Oh! The Prime Minister of Hungary is visiting the Prime Minister of Hunger.” Now, if this friendship with foreign countries is to have any effect, any fruit, we should have by this time, got ourselves to work to give alleviation to the repatriates from Burma who have returned to India, more especially to South India. They have left their lakhs and lakhs worth of property, their business capital, even their goods with the Burmese Government, the Burmese Revolutionary Government, they call it. Our Heads of Government have gone to Burma more than once and they have returned and declared hopes and pious wishes, but nothing has happened till now. If the President means that friendship is only to be this, then I think the less said about it, the better. If we want purposeful friendship with foreign countries, we should have developed by this time comradial contacts with the emergent African States; we should have created a sort of Commonwealth of South-East Asian nations; we should have taken into our confidence Japanese industrialist and Japanese economists. What the Japanese are now proposing, the Asian Conference, should have been convened by India. But what the President possibly means by friendship, is the visit of foreign heads of State here and the possible visit of the head of this Government elsewhere. But that is not a sort of purposeful friendship.

As far as the President’s Address is concerned, it is woeful that no mention has been made about the Emergency and the DIR. This Government is still keeping the Emergency and the DIR. I am not asking them to lift the Emergency and the DIR, because I am apprehensive of any political consequences for this or that party. We can take it, we have taken it. Its continuation, even after the Tashkent Declaration will be misconstrued. There is no doubt about the fact that we have not taken it to our heart in the Tashkent spirit. Therefore, at least in the name of that great soul who has passed away, I would request and demand of this Government to repeal this Emergency and this DIR. They have got enough powers with the laws that they have, to deal with any mischief, with any anti-social element. Have we not seen the whole nation rising as one man forgetting all differences of opinion, giving up even agitations, when this country was confronted with danger? Why are they apprehensive of their own people? Why should they distrust the people of this land when they have demonstrated amply and nobly that they can stand up if this country is confronted with danger? This Government and those who are running this Government should not arrogate to themselves the monopoly of patriotism, and consider that others do not have patriotic instincts at all. Therefore I would demand of this Government that they should forthwith lift this Emergency and this DIR, and release those who are kept in jail for a long number of years. And unless and until they do that, they would not have a claim to decency and democracy. To the public the first and foremost and the one question that they will have to answer will be, “Why do you keep this Emergency and the DIR?”

Now, my friend, Professor Lal, has lessened the burden of my job by enumerating the various acts of omission and commission of this Government. Madam, the President’s Address has to be taken as a sort of stock-taking. Specially so, because the present Government, and those who are running this Government, are very soon going to ask the country to give them a fresh mandate. Therefore, though the President has not stated it in so many words, even he, I think, has got his own misgivings. At one place he has stated that measures have to be taken to ensure equitable distribution of the available supply; which means that measures have not been taken. In another place he stated that the investment which we make in the public sector, has to give adequate return; which means it has not given adequate return. Therefore, even the President is not amply satisfied with the performance of this Government.

Nobody else is satisfied with the performance of this Government. When I say nobody, I do not exclude the Members of the ruling party. Curiously enough, Madam, there seem to be in the ruling party, two wings the official wing and the non-official wing. While the official wing goes forward and onwards to defend every act of the Government, the unofficial wing competes with the Opposition Party members, in pointing out the omissions and commissions. One Hon. Member who spoke before me was pleading for drinking water. It is a pathetic sight to see him plead for drinking water. After 18 years of independence, after having announced to the people that once they got Swarajya, there would be rivers of milk and honey, a member of the ruling Party stands up in this august House, and says, “Give us drinking water.” When that Hon. Member sat down, my friend, Professor Lal, stood up to ask for a fair deal for the labourers. I was angry with Professor Lal. “How dare you, a Member of the Opposition Party demand justice from the Government, when a Member of the ruling party is clamouring for drinking water?” Therefore, an appraisal is very necessary.

Madam Deputy Chairman, when we started off as an independent nation, we had something like Rs.1,800 crores of foreign balances to our credit. After 18 years of independence, the present rulers havegot to their credit an external debt of Rs.3,396 crores. When the national flat was unfurled from the Red Fort, we had Rs.1,800 crores of foreign balances, and when delegates went to the Brettonwoods conference, the main problem for the delegates was what to do with this colossal sum, where to invest it, how to take it back, how to utilize it properly? But the present Government has solved the problem. “No. We have no money outside, therefore, no problem at all.” We have debts of Rs.3,396 crores and it is for them to worry, not for us. It is the duty of the creditors to look after the moneys that have been advanced. The picture that has been presented after 18 years, is that our foreign balances have been almost completely wiped out. We owe to the world Rs.3,396 crores.

Even this rupee, Madam Deputy Chairman, has fallen so much, that economists are discussing between themselves whether it is 17 paise, 19 paise or 20 paise. Perhaps the Government will come forward boldly to say, “No, no. It is 22 paise.”

In 1948–49, Madam Deputy Chairman, the total tax revenue was Rs.695 crores, and we have progressed so much in 1965–66 that the total tax revenue is Rs.2,186 crores. In administrative expenses, we are competing with the most modern Government. In 1948–49, it was Rs.295 crores, and in 1963–64 we have reached up to the level of Rs.1,049 crores. Along with this expenditure on administration, along with the colossal sum collected by way of taxes from the public, along with the colossal sum of foreign debts in the three Plans, we have consumed something like Rs. 14,973 crores. And what have we arrived at? After collecting taxes to the extent of Rs.2,000 crores, taking foreign loans rising up to Rs.4,000 crores, and having spent from the plan funds nearly Rs.20,000 crores, what is the present position of this society husbanded by the present Government? Here is Mr.Dhebar giving his opinion. I would be emboldened to pass strictures about the present state of affairs by quoting it. He has stated that over 60 per cent. of the heads of familes cannot provide the basic necessities of life. I would ask Professor Lal : can they claim socialism? It is better they give it up, so that at least the whole principle of socialism is not debased.

According to a recent survey, it is estimated that a man needs Rs.35 to be able to get nutritive food,but the lowest income is Rs.6.60, Rs.9.60, Rs.11.70 and Rs.13.23. After having consumed so much, after having consumed a colossal sum and the colossal time of 18 years, you have left this country and this people in this distress.

Taking again, agriculture, in the three Plans, this Government has spent a total on agriculture and irrigation of something like Rs.3,289 crores. Having spent so much and having created newer and newer dams and projects, from 1947 to 1965, they have been importing food from various countries, especially from America, of the value of Rs.2,634 crores. After having spent more than Rs.3,000 crores on agriculture and irrigation, they imported food worth Rs.2,634 crores.

The price level has risen from 1949, with 100 as the base, to 161 in 1965. Now I am going to ask this Government to present its credentials for continuing in power if this is the sort of picture they are able to present to the country. Yet the President is very rhetorical when he says “Our objectives are known and our goals are clear.” Here, Madam, the tree is known by the fruit, not by the label that is attached to the tree. And if the President says that “Our objectives are known and our goals are clear”, it is strange. If the objectives at least are not known there could be an excuse for this Government’s acts of omission and commission. If they are still plodding to find out the goals for themselves, they can have some excuse for their acts of omission and commission. But they say, “Our objectives are known and our goals are clear.” And our achievement is this. What would have been the achievements if you had no objective and if you were not award of the goal, is something which a tragic dramatist should write on. Therefore, it is no use saying that our objectives are known and our goals are clear. My friend, Mr Dayabhai Patel, said the other day that the sooner they give up socialism, the better. He had said it in one context. I am saying it in another context. For him socialism is anathema. For me you are not the fit person to stand for socialism. That is why I say that the sooner you give it up, the better for socialism, and for this country. We find all-round farm hands are frustrated. The middle classes are frustrated. Certainly so are the Backward Classes frustrated. Professor Lal spoke about the Scheduled Castes; certainly they too are frustrated. Now a committee is touring this country, and they have issued statements to the Press that in certain parts of our country, even to-day, the Scheduled Caste people cannot go unmolested on certain streets, in certain villages. Our Government servants are frustrated. Wherever a dearness allowance is announced, it is preceded by a price rise. There is a sort of race between the price rise and the dearness allowance, and they are frustrated. Our scientists are frustrated; they would like to go back to the country where they have learnt. Our technicians are frustrated. They think that they are not being given their due place in the industrial sphere. And may I add, Madam Deputy Chairman, we non-Hindi people are frustrated. My friend who opened the motion, said that though he is a non-Hindi man, he would dare to speak in Hindi. That shows the mentality of non-Hindi people. Now for a non-Hindi man to speak in Hindi before an audience mostly composed of Hindi-knowing people, one should dare, because he knows that it is not his language. He knows it because, however proficient he might be in Hindi, Hindi-knowing people, people whose mother tongue is Hindi, can find fault with the style or structure.

M.B. Lal : No, we all appreciated it.
Professor Lal says he appreciated it. We always appreciate curios. Let me tell this House, Madam Deputy Chariman, and through you this Government, that the anti-Hindi agitations have not completely died down in Tamil Nad. Those who are engaged in the anti-Hindi agitation, especially students, when they found that this country was confronted by foreign aggression, suspended the agitation, not because they were satisfied with the policies and programmes of this Government. It was because they thought that they should give first priority to safeguarding the country. It is only recently that the anti-Hindi students conference took place in Madras. Here they have stated very definitely, that they are not satisfied with the present language policy. Wherever this language issue arises, I find good advice given, friendly suggestions made and comradely consultations taking place. People ask me and men of my persuasion, they ask me, “Why don’t you learn Hindi? Why should you be against any one language?” But I would point out to this House, Madam Deputy Chairman, through you, that the apprehension in the minds of the non-Hindi people, especially the people of Tamil Nad, are basd on genuine facts. It is not a misapprehension; it is an apprehension strengthened by in the Government of India. Therefore, there is no use saying that they are merely misapprehensions, that they were not real apprehensions. We apprehend that there is a move to create a sort of linguistic ascendancy or a linguistic hegemony, or a Hindi imperialism in this country. That is not going to take place in the South, if I may say so, Bengal too, is not going to allow any kind of linguistic imperialism to succeed in this country of ours. If what you mean by national integration is sincere and serious, please do not think that you can integrate the country only by language. Did you speak in Hindi to me asking me to support the Government of India against foreign aggression? No. was it because I went through Hindi journals that I found out there was a real danger in the eastern and western sectors? Not at all. Loyalty to the country is composed of various kinds of loyalties and loyalty to our language is not less in intensity, less in sincerity, than other kinds of loyalty. In a democratic country, the democratic duty of any decent individual, is to create priorities in loyaltie. No one loyalty can be a substitute for some other loyalty. That is why some people find fault with us and say that we are fighting over the question of language unnecessarily. Here I will have to point out, that even in advance countries where there is democracy, this question of language engages the minds of the masses, and the classes. There is a classic example of the language tangle, in Canada. Canada was created by immigrants from Europe. There are English speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians, and the French-speaking Canadians are to be found in a particular locality in Canada, called the State of quebec and they are in a minority. And the Canadian Government, because they wanted Canada to remain a sort of homogeneous unit, made it, through law, a bilingual State. They have accorded equal rights and equal status, to both the French and the English. Yet, in the working of this bilingual scheme, the English speaking people got the utmost, they went to the topmost rung of the ladder. Now the French-speaking people of Quebec stood up to question it, to protest and even to revolt against this linguistic hegemony, this linguistic decendancy. Therefore please do not run into the line of thinking that there is something wrong in Tamil Nad, that they take up or rake up unnecessary issues. We Tamilians are very calm, because we are very determined. We never engage ourselves in flimsy issues, because we think we are capable of solving fundamental issues. Therefore, in Tamil Nad, the language issue is corroding political party affiliations. That is why we find today, not only students but also teachers, not only political parties but even the Bar Council, coming forward to question and protest against this language imperialism. It is high time the present Government at least announced in unambiguous terms is language policy.

Of course I am conscious of the fact that the present Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi came to Madras during the time of that hectic agitation. She has declared in one of her Press conferences, that after coming to Madras she has understood the necessity for rethinking. Now we do not know where that rethinking had led her. If she could think about rethinking while she was not the Prime Minister, it is more necessary now, when she is the custodian of the destinies of this country, to rethink, to react, to re-shape and re-construct, the shattered hopes and confidence of Tamil Nad. Therefore, I was very sorry that in the President’s Address there was no mention about the language issue. Please do not think that because it is not mentioned, we are not conscious of it. Please do not think that because there are no agitations, the language issue has died down. When I say agitation, I do not mean violent agitations. There is only one time for violent agitation and that is the last time in rebellion and revolt. But in any agitation, when anti-social elements enter, then something about which even the sponsors of the agitation are ashamed, takes place. I would plead with this Government we are frustrated, the non-Hindi people are frustrated about the policy and programme on language, of the present Government.

As I have stated, Madam Deputy Chairman, after having been in power for such a long time, if you are not able to erase the spirit of frustration, how can we have, as the President wants us to have, a spirit of cooperative endeavour? Possibly he means that there should be cooperation between all political parties, that there should be cooperation between the political parties and the non-political parties, that the nation as a whole, engage in a cooperative endeavour. I am all praise for that, Madam Deputy Chairman. But I would ask the Members of the ruling party to sincerely think over this question. Are they capable of giving sincere cooperation to other political parties? May I, Madam Deputy Chairman, give a concrete illustration? This House knows that we of the DMK control the Madras Corporation. For the last six years, we have been controlling the Madras Corporation, and yet we were not politically peevish enough to create any sort of political bickering. It was during the regime of the DMK in the Corporation of Madras, that we have put up a statue for the All-India Congress President, Shri Kamaraj and also a statute for the late lamented Shri Satyamurti, who adorned the other House many years ago. We have passed a resolution, I think the first of its kind in the whole of India, that the Corporation would shortly install a statue of the late lamented Lal Bahadur Shastri. Do you think this is political peevishness? No. But what is the ruling party doing there? In a distant town, Madam Deputy Chairman, in Tamil Nad, a bus-stand is opened and it is named after a DMK leader, unfortunately me. And the whole Congress machinery of Tamil Nad gets so inflamed, that injunction orders are obtained, the board there has been removed, the bill books that had been printed have been taken back, and the case is proceeding. And the President is asking us for a spirit of cooperative endeavour.

The late lamented Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, came to Madras on a triumphant tour, and he addressed a mass meeting at the Marina, Madras, The All India Congress President, Mr. Kamaraj was there. Please do not think that because I mention the President of the Congress, Kamaraj by name, I am inimical to him. I am one of his best friends. He was there on the dais. Nobody grudges that. But if a spirit of cooperative endeavour is to be translated into action, is it not necessary for the Congress and for the Madras Government to invite the leader of the Opposition there who is a member of my party? No, it was not done. And when the question was raised in the Madras Assembly, the Chief Minister said: “We have not invited Kamaraj specially, we sent various invitations and Mr Kamaraj came.” Now in the hope of blackening us, Madam Deputy Chairman, the Chief Minister of Madras has brushed the fair name of the All India Congress President with thick black tar. He said they were not special about it, that they sent various invitations and he came there.
The Deputy Chairman : How much more time will you take?
N.M. Anwar (Madras) : Let him take full time
P.N. Sapru (Uttar Pradesh) : Yes, we want to hear him.

This is why I am doubtful about translating into action all this cooperative endeavour. If the cooperative endeavour is to be translated into action, then the mental make-up of the ruling party has to be reshaped. If they are prepared for that, we on this side are willing to cooperate with the ruling party in fighting against evils, if we are one in thinking what evil is to be fought against evils, if we are one in thinking what evil is to be fought against. We should be clear about the goal. You see, they say the goal is clear. The Members of the ruling party are very fond of saying “We are not ideological. We are going to be pragmatic.” Madam Deputy Chairman, pragmatism does not mean the dilution and debasement of ideology. Pragmatism may be a way for obtaining your objective. But pragmatism ought to be built upon ideology. And what is to be your ideology? “Socialism. Don’t you know that?” That is what the Members of the ruling party say. Yes, yes, we know that your objective is socialism. But why is it so different from the socialism I understood from my professors, from Professor Lal? They taught us that socialism is something wherein the profit motive would be curbed to the minimum and the service motive would be on the top. If the profit motive is kept down and the service motive is lifted up, even then you don’t attain socialism to the fullest extent, but you are on the path to socialism. But here, what do we find? They have got what they fondly call a mixed sort of economy. More than once I have stated in this House and outside, that it is not a mixed economy, but an adulterated economy. More than once I have stated in this House outside, that it is not a mixed economy, but an adulterated economy. You are taking up the bad from capitalism and you are leaving out the good from socialism and you have got a curious mixture. That is what you have fashioned. After eighteen years of untrammeled power, after having spent crores and crores of rupees, you are landing this country in this sorry plight where an Hon. Member gets up and says he wants drinking water. But our goals is clear and out objective is there. Only there are people demanding drinking water. There are people demanding houses. There are people demanding food. There are people demanding work and there are people demanding justice. We have not supplied any of these things. But our objectives are clear and the goal is there Moses said long ago he would take the nation to the promised land. “Follow me my children, I will take you to the promised land,” he said. The people followed, unflinchingly, unquestioningly, faithfully and loyally. But where have you led them? You have led them to the land wherein black appears red and red appears black, because the very vision is blurred.

You do not know how much you produce in this country. We do not know where the food produced goes. We do not even know the results of the Five-Year Plans. I am saying this on very good authority. Here is a structure :

“Although it was now eleven years since the goal of socialisim was accepted, it has not succeeded in lessening, let alone removing the disparity between the rich and poor. On one side we see an affluent class indulging in conspicuous spending; on the other side, masses of people living in misery and squalor. We see production getting more and more oriented to luxury items instead of to the necessities for the common man.”

This is where the Government has led the nation. This is a structure coming not from an economist. If it comes from an economist, you can brush it aside and say that it is too theoretical, if it comes from anyone of us here, this House may say, “Oh, they are disgruntled and therefore they are saying all these things,” But this comes from the President of the All India Congress committee Mr. Kamaraj.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee : From the horse’s mouth.
My Hon. Frient, Mr. Vajpayee, is supplying me with a phrase but I am not taking that. I would say it comes from the mouth which has been fed by the nation for more than thirty forty years politically, I do not mean physically, and the President of the All India Congress Committee, in one of his Jaipur Speeches has stated that, and yet you say that you objectives are known, your achievements are known. How can we be enthused by your objectives? If there is to be a real objective and real goal, you should have taken us at least halfway. Have you done that? Here is another stricture:

“One of the main causes of inflation was concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.”

If Professor Lal were to say that, the Members of the Treasury Benches would retort by saying, “This is your reading.” But this is the reading not of the Members opposite.

“These few people, moneyed people, not only spend extravagantly but also develop a tendency to hoard. This has resulted in prices going up because money that was to be put to productive use, was utilized for destructive purposes.”

Madam Deputy Chairman, nearly thirty years ago, sitting in my classroom, my economics professor taught the very same thing. He said that inflation was caused when money generated was not given to productive purposes. This is stated after eleven years of professed socialism. When the Hon. Sri gulzarilal Nanda stated this, because it was he who stated this, there was an interruption and another Hon. Member, Mr. Malaviya put in a question, “Are we proceeding on the right lines?” What a question to ask, after 18 years “Are we proceeding on the right lines?” And the answer is, Madam Deputy Chairman, still more curious, “If we proceed at the present pace, we shall not achieve anything.” The question is about the line and the answer is about the pace. I would like to know whether we are proceeding on the right lines. If it is on the on the right lines, I would not mind the pace. You can reach it in five years or fifteen years or twenty five years, but I am more concerned with this : are we on the right lines? I am apprehensive of using the word ‘structure’, but I have no other word. My stricture is, you are not on the right lines, because the Government or the party which controls this Government, is not a party welded together by ideology. We find Swatantrites there, we find Communists there, we find the PSP there, we find the SSP there. Unfortunately, I do not have anybody there. It is not a consolidated party, but a party so fluid that anything can flow into it and anything can get out of it. That is why, even after eighteen years, you have not taken this country towards the goal and you have not achieved the objective. You may be feeling happy about this fact that there is nothing wrong with the people, that they are docile. Even before the French Revolution, students of history would know pretty well, just prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, everything was quite all right. There were palatial buildings in Paris, there were academies of literature in Paris, there were architectural monuments in Paris which people from London came to see and to copy, there were poets, ballet singers and ballerinas. Everything was rosy, till hot blood came gushing forth everywhere. This was because of a crack underneath, which you cannot see. You are dazzled by the dome and forget to find the crack underneath. That crack is, Madam Deputy Chairman, the grinding poverty of the masses, the unemployment that is growing into dangerous proportions and the frustration about which I have spoken a little earlier. And yet you point out the objective. The late lamented Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur, has stated, “To my mind, socialism in India must mean a better deal for the great mass of people who are engaged in agriculture, the workers in the various factories, the middle-classes who have suffered so much due to the rise in prices”. You have left in the lurch, all these sectors of society. Yet the President says that the objective is clear, and the goal is there. Therefore, I would say that we should find out whether the goal is really there, whether the objective is really there. When I stated, Madam Deputy Chairman, that the Congress in my State is not adopting a cooperative spirit, there were interruptions and there are bound to be more interruptions on this. The present ruling party bases its strength upon electoral victory and that electoral victory is procured not by presenting a balance sheet of achievements, but by presenting false promises and pious hopes. If anybody is infuriated by it, please do not think that I am the author of this stricture:

“Many goondas had the patronage of Ministers and political leaders. There are so many Walcotts in Delhi, whose photographs are published with those of Ministers and who take undue advantage of their influence on them. The police feel democralised because of their relations with the high-ups. No doubt, goondas are patronized by political leaders who need them for elections to catch votes.

This is what was said about the Congress by the President of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad, just a couple of days ago. I would tremble in my shoes to say this, but I feel strengthened by the structure from the Congress quarter, because I know of many illustrations in my State where vote-catching is based on such things. Therefore, the objective is not clear, the goal is not clear, they are not on the right lines, their political power is itself based upon dubious claims and is maintained not by civilized or democratic ethics. Yet they have stated they have solved most of the problem, especially the food problem because America has promised them enough food, enough and more food.

And when questions were raised from this side of the House whether it was not derogatory on the part of this mature nation, to take a begging bowl to every nook and corner of the world to get a morsel of food, up came the answer from the other side : if not, there would be starvation deaths. I for one, would consider starvation deaths more gruesome than the begging bowl, but may I not ask, am I not entitled to ask, why this begging bowl after 18 years of independence? Why this begging bowl, aftr gigantic amounts have been given to you, after colossal amounts have been given to you and after you have completed three Plans? Therefore, there is something wrong in your Plans. One Member from the other side said that there ought to be something wrong in the Plans. May I, Madam Deputy Chairman, point out that more than a defect in the plan, the defect in implementation is greater and the defect in the mentality of those charged with implementation of the Plan, is more vicious. Therefore unless we get a change in the Government, unless we find a new team altogether to shoulder the responsibility of leading this country, we are not going to solve either the food problem or the industrial problem. And it is not I alone who have come to this conclusion. There are many others. Here is another noble soul. He says :

“It is very unfortunate that after three Five-Years Plans country should import food from abroad. The least that ought to have been done in an agricultural country like India was to make her self-sufficient in food and then do anything else?.”

“I am reminded on the book, Impeahment of Warren Hastings, If this Government were to be impeached on these counts of food, education and defence ; let alone my fourth charge of ignoring the poor, where would it be? Perhaps it may be said that the Government is elected by the people, it is being run with their consent, so the people themselves must be held responsible for what has transpired.

“The time has now come when you should become conscious of your role in a democracy. There is no sense in relying on Delhi and sitting idle at home. In Delhi there flows not only the Jamuna, but also the rivers of wine and liquor. Friends from abroad, coming to Delhi, close their eyes in amazement and wonder whether they are in the Indian capital or in their own city of Paris or London.”

Madam Deputy Chairman, this is a stricture passed by not one inimical to the ruling party but by Acharya Vinoba Bhave. He has asked where would you be if you are impeached on these counts? I repeat that question, and this question will be repeated from every nook and corner, throughout the length and breadth of the country. You will have to answer this question, not of this political party or that political party, but of the frustrated masses. The frustrated masses are the most dangerous element in any political system.

Madam, I am reminded in conclusion of a poem which tallies to a certain extent with the present state of affairs of the ruling part. Here it is :

There was a duck once so long,
He hadn’t any notion
How long it took to notify,
The tail of his emotion.
And so it happened, while his eyes
Were filled with woe and sadness,
His little tail went wagging on,
Because of previous gladness.

You are living upon previous gladness. The President of the All-India Congress has warned that a new generation has come which cannot be fed by the harvest of gladness of the past generation. That is why I find that the President’s Address, thought it has not mentioned in so many words the failure of this Government, is the deadliest stricture on the activities of the Government. In that sense. Madam Deputy Chariman, I thank the President and welcome the Address.

Source :

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Engineer | Rationalist | ARRian | SGian | யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர் | பிறப்பொக்கும் எல்லா உயிர்க்கும் | Author/Translator - | Hypocrite