The year was 1945. Ford Motor Company Chairman Henry Ford was ailing and had retired, handing over the Chairmanship of the company to his grandson, Henry Ford II, who succeeded him as President and CEO of Ford on September 21, 1945.
However, Henry Ford II was facing a serious problem of how to face the influential elite who, with the backing of the Democrats, the left-leaning trade unions and all Communists who had infested themselves in America – in Hollywood, in academia, in government, in the US Congress, in policy, in industry, in judiciary, in society – wanted Ford Motor Company to face trial on a serious charge: the company had factories and business interests in the Axis Powers- Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, which were opposed to America, Britain, France and Russia (Allied Powers) in World War II.
This was a charge more serious than the charges under the anti-trust law that JD Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company faced in 1911, after which the US Supreme Court ordered Standard Oil to be divided into 34 major companies – the largest of which, ExxonMobil, survives till date. Rockefeller also had the advantage of owing major stakes in all the 34 companies and led a grand life till his death in 1937.
On the contrary, Henry Ford II was in a precarious situation. How could he salvage his company and himself out of it? It was now that the Ford Foundation actively began to promote research and education as well as started giving grants to human rights and peace organizations and activists as well as NGOs greater than before. Most of these organizations were extremely left-leaning in their character.
Unfortunately, in the name of promoting civil rights, the Ford Foundation gave grants to the Left, who took over all activities promoting the rise of immigrants, anti-war activists, agitators, peace movements, disarmament movements, etc. and who also led a number of agitations and caused considerable social unrest.
Matters reached an extremely tumultuous point when Henry Ford II resigned as a trustee of the Ford Foundation in 1977. He had asked the Foundation to give capitalism and the free market system respect as they were the means of generating funds for the Ford Foundation. He also said that the members of the Ford Foundation had developed a rigid mentality and were behaving like the gatekeepers of a society who refused to allow the infusion of fresh, transparent and non-Left i.e. broadly speaking, Liberal, Conservative and Centrist ideas to be a part of the system. People having contrary views were dismissed and an atmosphere of bullying and intimidation was created that was strong enough to persuade the remaining members to strike a conciliatory and conformist tone. The command was clear, ‘Either fall in line or fall by the wayside’.
Thus, whichever country the Communists stepped into, they attempted to make the masses subservient to them. Their writ was final, especially in nations like the US and India, which had sympathetic leaders like Kennedy, Johnson, and Nehru.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives had totally failed to tackle the activities of the Communists. This was particularly so after the 1950s, when they failed to retain their intellectual sheen and were bullied into submission by Communist voices in academia, media, bureaucracy, entertainment, etc. Individual efforts to rebuild a strong ecosystem did not yield good results.
In India, after the Congress split in 1969, Congress (R) was sustaining itself with the support of the Left and regional parties like DMK and SAD. In return, the Congress gave big academic, bureaucratic and media posts to the Left.
The Left was virulently anti-religion, to be precise, anti-Hindu in its outlook. The Five-Year Plans could not yield more than 3.5% Annual Growth Rate, and this was dubbed as ‘Hindu Rate of Growth’ by the Leftist intellectuals. Also, the Hindi-speaking belt of North India on account of their low socio-economic indicators were termed as ‘BIMARU’ states, a play on the word ‘BIMAR’, meaning ‘sick’. Conservative intellectuals were considered as an aberration. Even today, the opinion created by the Left that Conservative intellectuals do not exist is very strong and has sufficient currency among generations of manipulated, guilt-trapped people.
Globally, it was in the 1980s that the Right began to focus on individual liberty, development and law and order. This caused the victory of the Right leaders like the Republican Party’s President Ronald Reagan in the US and the Conservative Party’s Margaret Thatcher in the UK. In India, the BJP was established in 1980 under the stewardship of AB Vajpayee and LK Advani. It was the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement in Ayodhya and Advani’s Rath Yatra from Somnath to Samastipur in Bihar during which he was arrested by Bihar Police on the command of Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav, that the BJP withdrew its support to the VP Singh government at the Centre.
The BJP was also able to cash on the feeling of loss by a major section of the electorate- ‘the forgotten majority’- who felt that the Congress was too elitist, westernised, detached from the masses, had its loyalty only to the leader and was clearly indulging in what they loosely thought as minority appeasement, especially after the Central government overturned the Supreme Court judgement on the Shah Bano case. After that, the government was in a quandary.
The turning point came when the Faizabad District Court Judge asked the government to open the locks of the Babri Masjid and permit Shila Pujan over there. The government complied with this decision and also rightly sent two senior Union Ministers, Buta Singh and Arjun Singh to grace the occasion. The government also decided to telecast the Ramayan, directed by Ramanand Sagar and the Mahabharata, directed by BR Chopra, on Doordarshan as a tribute to Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.
(Read Part II of the two-part series here)
Sauro Dasgupta is pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He is interested in reading, writing, public speaking and his writings have been published in many important magazines, journals and newspapers.
The views and opinions expressed in the above article belong to the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official opinion, policy or position of Lokmaanya.