In February 2018 I will complete 20 years of work to advance political liberalism in India. I won’t go through the details of my long journey; I just want to highlight a few key next steps.
A few observations first.
First of all – these 20 years did not go waste. We now have a liberal party (Swarna Bharat Party) with which I am personally and closely associated.
Second, this is the first time in a long time that there is a real prospect for liberalism taking root in India. People have experienced socialist parties like Congress, BJP and AAP, and found that these cannot deliver. I’m getting reports that people are willing to listen to an alternative. No, I’m not saying that things are easy. Communists and socialist activists still have the upper hand – there is no end to the amount of nonsense that most
“political” Indians continue to spout.
As you are aware, I had been very reluctant to form a liberal party without first having at least 1500 leaders on hand. But that never materialised. Now I think that forming SBP – and deciding to put real effort to make it grow – turned out to be a good decision.
The key point I’ve decided is that SBP must not stop. It remains the only ray of light in the darkness that surrounds India.
Goethe reportedly said: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
And there is the well-known theory about learning by doing. Just the act of “doing” SBP has taught me a lot:
- how to start and register a party
- the entire logistics and paraphernalia – the huge amount of organisational work involved
- the challenges of building the organisation
- production of a high quality manifesto and (now underway) training material
- production of videos; getting many others involved; identifying and being associated with brilliant people like Sanjay Sonawani
I know many people are despondent that SBP is still so small. One of our founder members left SBP yesterday. He was very pessimistic. I can understand his pessimism.
But human history shows us that social change takes time. SBP has a lot of work to do to communicate and promote the message of liberty.
RSS kept up its message for 75 years till it saw some electoral success through BJP. In Assam, BJP had no presence 20 years ago (just a handful of people); today it is the ruling party.
Political processes and change can take a long time – particularly when we are talking about fundamental changes to the system.
SBP must be remain in the game for the long haul, subject to the ability to ensure basic compliance with Election Commission laws.
In 2019, SBP should contest a few seats to show that it is a real party. In the coming decades, it should expand incrementally till – maybe by 2030 – it becomes a real force to reckon with in India.
This is going to be a long journey – a marathon. But that’s the nature of reality. We are fighting medieval communal forces (BJP) and ultra-socialist forces (including BJP but also all the other socialist parties). These are very big. They are well-funded – mostly funded illicitly.
Yes, the fight is huge and stacked against liberalism.
But now that the party is in place, it cannot be allowed to dissipate and shut down. It represents India’s last and only hope.
I’m in pretty bad shape physically, with severe side effects of prostate cancer surgery. I don’t know whether I’ll ever recover to even 50 per cent of me pre-surgery fitness.
But I’m now firmly of the view that SBP MUST GO ON.
I will do whatever I can to keep this effort going. That’s my firm commitment – to finish the job that I had started nearly 20 years ago.