Indian National Congress and its bunch initially, came to be known as Moderates, who considered political pressure and voicing opinions as the only solution to increase their share in the British India Government. As a matter of fact, the idea initially never was to attain complete independence from the Britishers. Moderates and their “moderate” philosophy, well, wasn’t quite successful. While initially they were successful in increasing the elite’s conscience and common man’s understanding of the “drain theory”, the economic conditions of people became worse and neither were they successful enough to pressurize the government to increase relief when famine and plague took place in 1896-97.
It was only after the “extremists” were born within the group, that things started to change. The partition of Bengal, Moderates’ failure to influence major changes and the unpopular dream of having a “self government” was apparently switched to “Purna Swaraj” or “complete independence”. Was this radical group within successful? Not really. How was is better? Well calling it better would be an opinion, but it sure increased the base of struggle-increasing the nationalism within the divided society of ours and hence their long involvement with the revolutions to come in future, which is one of main reasons India got its independence.
What we see here is, a radical group and its radical solution of fighting by both sword and words were better than being a passive-elitist-intellectual-base-supported struggle for “self-government”. Would it be possible if there wasn’t this radical group? Quite possibly. But it would have taken years. Maybe while I write this up, India would have still been seeking independence.
Radical solutions are needed for today’s radical problems, because as the popular saying goes, it takes a thief to catch a thief . But does that mean that for fighting the thief, being a thief is the only solution? This would require some analysis from the current set of problems.
Patriarchy still continues. Females continue to be considered inferior, not only in the rural, but even in the most advanced societies of ours. Dowry tradition continues to dominate the society, although its illegal in India. Thus, Indian girls are considered a “liability” by her own parents. “What will she do by studying so much“, “She’s ageing, get her married” (when she’s 20!) is quite common in our Indian society. Not only a developing country of ours, even developed countries like USA continue to be patriarchal. Women representation in political power or even business(considering CEO’s) continue to give an irksome picture.
Feminism has taken over the world. Infact, radical feminism has taken its shape too. Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. Fair enough, right? Well not really. Radical feminism and some of its propagators have taken the path of pseudo-feminism too. The other day, I was taught by one of my friends how “feminism” was not about equality, but about “female superiority” because that was the only way that the excess of male domination could be brought back to its level. It was like “since patriarchy ruled us such a long time, its time for matriarchy”. Cringe was when a fact was shared by me about how 53.2% of the rapes in India were fake, according to government figures and this was lauded, by the radical feminist idolizer (my friend). So as we see, some if not all, are supporting radical feminism completely ignoring the fact that feminism is all about “equality” and no ones superiority. Surely, radical solution is a solution yet not a solution. Manipulating ideas and calling it “Radical” is not equality.
The world around has been changing from the hitherto liberal society to a change into a more radical one. Political leaders all around the world are using this changed mindset of the original inhabitants of a country, to cook their political cookies. Talking about isolationist policies, moving away from trade agreements meant to increase laissez faire, regulating the people who can travel their country are some of the “radical steps” being taken. Are these steps in the right direction. Yes and No. Yes because, well, every country and its inhabitants must have the right to get a job in their own country. How can you feed the neighbor’s child when you own children are hungry? What if the people entering my country make me skeptical because of the ideology they follow? Fair enough? May be not.
What’s happening in Europe and USA are some examples. Isolationist policies can be accepted, but nitpicking in the name of religion cannot. This only creates a rift in the society, and makes people more vulnerable to clashes. While radical steps like ending free trade agreements and closing gates for further immigrants who are creating chaos in the society can be understood, it should be made sure that things are not biased because of political vendetta and certain pre-conceived notions about how a particular religion and its people are the only culprit.
On November 8th, 2016, Prime Minister of the country demonitized high currency notes. The step was surely a radical one considering the immediate impact that it had, both for hoarders in cash and poor. Right or wrong step? Again becomes subjective. But as we say, each step has to have both positive and negative effects. While it kept the black money hoarders on toes, with CBI raids disclosing unaccounted cash from many, ended the Kashmir unrest for sometime which was allegedly funded by fake currency, and brought down the cost of real state by about 30%, it had a major impact on India’s GDP projection for the coming years. Not only that but the daily workers had to leave their jobs to go back to villages because of being removed due to the cash crunch. The lack of liquidity in the market was a major blow to the shopkeepers and manufactures from all sector.
Black money and cash hoarding is a problem of the real world. Demonetization is a laudable step, but not the most important one. Supplementing it with better legislative laws, steps to catch big fishes and increasing tax base hence would have been further steps. Thankfully, the government has tried its best to bring in these.
While talking about global issues, the issue of climate change is the most apparent one. Clearly, the increasing temperature of the earth allegedly since the Industrial Revolution days has to have solutions to fight the evils hence. Some of the most laudable steps taken in these directions are conventions and Protocols like that of Kyoto, and also the recently concluded Convention of Paris 21 (COP21). Surely, the steps to be taken upon, specially the intended national determined contributions (INDC’s) can bring in positive. But some radical bizzare solutions have also been talked about in the recent past.
Non-vegetarian culture of ours is apparently one of the major contributors to the increasing global temperature. The social movement has been finding places in our ad column of pages we surf where talks of going “vegan” or vegetarian is called for. Livestock population uses a LOT of water and land, it also pollutes air quality and waterways. The UN estimates that livestock production contributes around 18 percent to climate change, while the World Watch suggests a more staggering number—51 percent. If people all around the world switch to a vegan diet, we may contribute to a pleasant world with cleaner air and not-so-warm summers! But quite obviously, thinking that the world will switch to a vegetarian diet is like imagining a horse being friends with grass (which, ironically, doesn’t even contribute to the greenhouse gases)
We see how the world is changing, not only the problems but also the solutions. If not solutions, then surely the ideas. This isn’t a one day event, as history teaches us that we have fought wars to fight a radical, and then cried after it all ended (world war 2 reference). Socially, politically, economically, environmentally, we all have had radical solutions. Whether they are good or bad are all together different, but what we consider as “radical” surely changes everything. Radical – can be called as being “forced” or “violent”, or “conservative”, but the radical that we must believe in is “revolution” and “reform”. Why do we think Raja Rammohan Roy was able to the end the menace that was caused by conservatives, like Sati and Child Marriage? It was surely radical, not “radical” like the ones who believed in Sati, but radical which changed this thinking. Radical is the new liberal, not the new extreme.