It is no secret that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue KN Govindacharya has had disagreements with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which he quit in 2003. Govindacharya, who has thrown his weight behind anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s campaign against the land acquisition ordinance, tells Vikas Pathak that he sees the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s policies as pro-corporate and anti-farmer.
Pointing to the suicides of farmers in Maharashtra, Govindacharya has called for a wider movement to oppose the acquisition of farm land for industrial projects. He also listed the changes in the land acquisition law as one of the reasons for the BJP’s defeat in the Delhi assembly polls.
Q. What is your take on the land acquisition ordinance?
A. State apparatus has colluded with the powerful. Taking industrial corridors under public interest is devastating. Consent of gram sabhas has been loosened. There is no social impact assessment.
Q. So you think the state should not acquire land without consent?
A. The state is created to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Even the very raison d’etre of the state’s existence seems to have been forgotten. Union minister Birendra Singh says he knows more about farming than others but in Haryana, he is hardly regarded as a farmer.
Q. What are you planning to do about it?
A. There is no solution except bringing everyone together. The reduction in agricultural land in the country in the last 10 years has been to the tune of 1.8 crore hectares. Ninety-three farmers have committed suicide in Marathwada in the last 45 days.
We have launched a movement from Palwal in Haryana. Anna Hazare, Medha Patkar, Aruna Rai, the Gandhian Subba Rao and Balvijayji of Sarvodaya were present. There were members of six farmers’ bodies, including the RSS-allied Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. There will be demonstrations in Delhi from February 23 to 25.
Q. What led to the BJP’s debacle in the Delhi assembly elections?
A. One reason was organisational aspects. Another was the rough handling of the language agitation of UPSC aspirants. A third reason was ignoring the large Poorvanchal component in Delhi. The fourth was the land acquisition ordinance, which made Delhi farmers panicky.
Q. Do you think choosing a globalised economy is compatible with Hindutva’s claim to cultural indigenity?
A. Indian society is still functioning on indigenous thinking and decentralisation. It is about zameen (land), jal (water), jangal (forest) and jaanwar (animals). An eco-centric rather than anthropocentric model of development is in India’s nature. Hindutva is a universalistic way of life.
Q. Are governments losing track of this intrinsic nature of the country?
A. For the last 20 years, we want to make India another US, Brazil and China. They want to transform Kashi (Varanasi) into Kyoto and Patna into Paris. Bharat ko Bharat banaayen (India needs to be made India).
Q. Any specific disagreements that you may have?
A. Yes, why not install ROs in metro trains rather than making bottled water indispensible? As for the talk about smart cities, one smart city means Rs 70000 crore of investment and the decimation of 700 villages. My question is development for whom and at what cost?
Q. What do you think about corporate espionage in government that has just come to light?
A. This shows how poor the state apparatus is. The government should not indulge in image-building exercises and take strict action.
Q. Any views on the famous suit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
A. It was a non-issue. It would have been better if it had neither been worn nor sold.
Q. Is this government better or worse than past governments till now?
A. I want to wait for the budget. I don’t suspect their intentions but I disagree with their pro-rich policies.
Q. Do you agree more with the Left these days?
A. No, we should be Bharat Parast (pro-India) and gharib-parast (pro-poor). The Left is gharib-parast but has a tinge of being videsh-parast (foreign-centric). Only class analysis won’t do. Yet, if they focus on the last man, they will be able to understand India.
Q. What are your views on the Aam Aadmi Party?
A. I am keeping my fingers crossed. They have promised too much. But people in Delhi want Modi and (AAP chief Arvind) Kejriwal to work together and a partisan approach won’t be good for both.
Q. Are you happy with the RSS’ work?
A. RSS shakhas provide quality of citizenship.