ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Unlearnt Lessons

of Indira Gandhi and the forces behind per that less than a year after they suffered a stunning electoral defeat, they seem to be well on their way on a comeback trail. Discredited and defeated, the? former prime minister and her henchmen might be; their personal and political crimes might continue in be painstakingly laid bare by the proceedings of the Shall Commission; but the political forces represented by them continue to be the local point of present-day politics; and it is in relation to the Indira Gandhi Congress that all oilier political parties continue to be seen, not merely by others but even by themselves, 'this is hardly a surprising or unexpected development. Given the nature of the Settling of scores' of last March and June, and given the fact that the defeat suffered by Indira Gandhi and her henchmen was essentially an electoral one and not truly political, it was inevitable that the ruling classes who had become temporarily disenchanted with the former prime minister should once again begin to look back nostalgically to those splendid disciplined days, it has always been Indira Gandhi's claim that she served best the interests of the Indian ruling classes, For, in her own way, Indira Gandhi had been attempting to promote some semblance of capitalism in the midst of all the contradictions and unevenness of semi-feudalism in the countryside and the intervention of foreign capital in Indian industry, Despite all the fervour and euphoria generated in March last, the Janata party has never been much more than an interloper in the eyes of the Indian ruling classes. True, by and large the same forces which supported the Congress during the thirty years of its rule supported the Janata party too; but that support was extended solely with the purpose of teaching a lesson to Indira Gandhi and her henchmen who had committed the cardinal sin of breaking the rules of the game. None of the lovers of democracy and freedom protested when the guns of the State were turned against the working class ami peasantry; the suppression of the railway strike in 1974 or the calculated terror campaign against the Left forces in West Bengal earned Indira Gandhi nothing but the warmest applause. It was only when, in pursuit of her dynastic aspirations, she turned these guns against members of her own class that she had to be taught a lesson. The electoral defeat inflicted on Indira Gandhi and her supporters was thus in the nature of a warning; and now that the lesson seems to have been learned, it is not surprising that there is a clamour for a return to the disciplined era Why is it that the ruling classes who, making skilful use of the anger of the masses, put the Janata party m power, seem to he 'disillusioned' with that party? The Janata party for its part has tried its best to woo that section of the ruling classes which broadly formed the constituency of Indira Gundi by not merely not doing anything to affect its well-being, but actively further endorsing and strengthening the various favourable measures Indira Gandhi had taken in her sustained wooing of big business. Quite deliberately, and in an act of blatant betrayal of its own promises, the Janata government has done nothing to dismantle the basic structure of authoritarianism that Indira Gandhi had erect ed, and whose purpose was clearly to provide strength and hope to the ruling classes. In fact, the Janata party has made its own modest contribution to further extension of that structure, in the shape of preventive detention laws in the states

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