//Voters verdict threatens status quo in India

Voters verdict threatens status quo in India

By V.B.Rawat

When Nepal was in turmoil, Indian government send a former Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir to talk to belligerent king Gyanendra to pave way for democracy in Nepal. While, Indians went overboard in eulogizing this effort, in Nepal, people protested against this Indian effort to save the skin of a thoroughly discredited Monarchy. Indian establishment's unusual hurry in the internal affairs of Nepal was because of age-old fantasy in mind to keep Nepal under Indian subjugation in the name of Indian interest. No doubt, India and Nepal are friends but that does not give India freedom to support a king who was oppressing people's movement through his brutal armed forces. Indian concern over Nepal comes from the growing clouts of the Maoists in that country. While Nepal has never called Maoists as terrorists or militants, the saffronised Indian 'experts' call them 'terrorists'.

Indian worry is that once Maoists share power in Nepal, they would create problems in various Indian states particularly Uttaranchal, Bihar, Chhatishgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. It is not unusual that every newspaper and electronic media covered this issue widely. There was this feeling that the red zone is getting strengthened from Pashupathi to Tirupathi and that India should do some thing to halt this.What can India do to stop the red march of revolution? Can India government led by the middle class upper castes Hindus, whose interests are well protected in the United States and United Kingdom, do any thing to halt the march of left progressive forces?

If the government thinks that the issue of Naxalism is a mere issue of law and order then it is seriously mistaken. Over the years, the issue of tribal and Dalits have faced with vociferous protests by the 'upper caste' experts in India. When the government decided to give land in the forest to tribal, the 'environmental' experts began to lobby against the same. These champion environmentalists as well as ecological experts have land and guesthouses in prohibited parks also. Then the issue of social justice is violently opposed by the same section of society. Economic policies have played havoc with the marginalized.

The number of farmers committing suicide under compelling circumstances in various parts of the country is increasingly becoming unstoppable yet remain unresolved. Slum dwellers are being thrown away without being offered a fair deal of rehabilitation. Big dams are creating another breed of unwanted people in the city. Political parties have failed to raise the issue of the concern of common man. Right wing think tank has brazenly taken over our intellectual space. The threat to freedom, freethinking has increased and communal, ethnic clashes all over the world.

As the oppression level increases, new forces of assertion will come up and challenge the status quo. Whether government and media like or not, the forces challenging status quo have now started showing sign of their visibility. If indication from the world over are any indication, from Evo Morales in Bolivia, to Lula in Brazil to Hugho Chavez in Venezuela, Latin America is under the new assertion of the left and  progressive forces. The most fascinating part is the victory of the left in Italy where right wing corrupt Berluscony was thrown away by the people. Europe is also showing sign of continuous antipathy to the economic policies which has marginalized the local
population particularly the farmers and indigenous people.

When such is a change world over, can India remain aloof and isolated?  Therefore, despite factual differences of the so-called left parties, it is welcome sign that they have come back to power in Kerala and Bengal. It is the principal of lesser evil to be applied at them. While the mainstream media may condemn the Maoist, they will have to contend with the mainstream communist parties. It is important that the government of the day learn a lesson or two from this. That their policies are completely antagonizing the rural poor. Policies in the name of poor, Dalits and indigenous people are hypocritical and have rarely served purpose. Government need to show more concern on this.

That CPM was able to retain power in West Bengal was a forgone conclusion. There cannot be an alternative from so-called Mahajot. The alternative will have to come from the left forces. In Kerala, Congress paid for its own policies. The farmers in that land of God continued with committing suicide. Big five star resorts have developed another culture of sex trade in Kerala like Goa. Local fishermen feel threatened but all this has never been an issue for those in power. Results in Tamilnadu have shown that the issue of OBC reservation is not that easy to be diluted. DMK has championed the cause of OBCs and would strengthen it further. That Karunanidhi decided to implement distribution of rice Rs 2/- per kg is a tribute to his statesmanship and commitment to the cause of poor of the state.

In Assam, Congress could not muster a majority and the Muslims revolted against it. It clearly indicate Muslim's resentment against the foreign policy of the government apart from that their continuous marginalisation.

The victory of Sonia Gandhi in her pocket borough Rai Barelly was a forgone conclusion yet the margin has some message for others in the Hindi heartland.   One, those who were trying to raise the ugly head of Hindutva have been given a slap on their face by the people. That, people of Rai Barely and Amethi have voted beyond their caste and other local identities. That they consider Gandhi family as their own one makes some interesting analysis. One may also suggest that voting to Gandhi clan in this heartland is basically a vote for development. Uttar-Pradesh which is under the forces of 'so-called' identity assertion has not seen development. The social justice has not trickled down from a few communities to most backward and most Dalit communities, therefore resulting in further revolt of these communities against their own. The fact is that once development reaches the most marginalized one, the forces of caste and identity would disappear.

Emerging from these things are certain trends in India. That there is a demand for development at the ground level. Rural population still considers identity an important tool to assert. That land is one of the most important issue that India has. Development mean livelihood for the marginalized. Now, the so-called nationalist parties can claim to support 'development' yet entirely not in tone with that of the demands of the marginalized communities. Development does not mean destruction like people of Tehri and Narmada faced. Frankly, development does not mean displacement in the name of narrow nationalism. It is also clear that where the governments have failed people have resorted to undemocratic means. If we were a true representative democracy which has enriched people's life in Kashmir, things would not have come to this pass. The situation in the north Eastern states continues to be in terrible condition.

Naxalism has grown in the area where the democratic polity has done very little. Look at Chhatishgarh or Jharkhand, the two states which came into being for Adivasis aspirations. And how come the state is in the hand of right wing forces who have unleashed a religious agenda on a different community, which was nature worshipper and has its own distinct identity.

It is not that these things have happened all of a sudden. The resources of the common man are on the grab. The issues of the nations have been hijacked by an insensitive media which could hardly be described as credible. If one goes by the reporting on Pramod Mahajan and later on reservation issue, we can understand where are the sympathies of this media. It wants to tell us 'truth' it likes. It does not want to hear our 'truth'. Hence there is a tendency of categorization
of truth between us and them.

It makes interesting study with continuous marginalisation of the so-called mainstream political parties. Indian Express's editorial lament about this. It wants India under two party systems. How is it possible? How can Indians have faith in two brahmanical parties whose policies have been anti people? The only difference between the two is that one pretend to be secular and other does openly talk of a brahmanical state based on Manusmriti. Can we say that a united Europe would have only the Torries and Labour Party? No, it has a huge diversity and that should reflect. For India, neither BJP nor Congress is any solution. They themselves are repeatedly becoming marginalized.

The coalition politics is here to stay. If we take state wise situation. Uttar-Pradesh, Bihar are dominated by parties of social churning. One may agree with them or not but they talk of their identities. Bengal and Kerala under the self styled left. Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand under the Hindutva constitutionally but ruled by the Maoists for all the practical purposes, Andhra Pradesh where the strength of Dalits and left progressive forces is growing against the Reddy Raj of Congress or Kamma Raj of Telugu Desham.

Maharastra again could be a stronghold of the Dalit backward forces. Tamilnadu is back to forces of backward identities. So India, clearly reflecting today, ready for change, if things are done carefully. The failure of mainstream left to wean away a large sections of Dalits and Adivasis and create a leadership of them is equally unfortunate like the so-called social justice parties condemning left as their biggest enemy. If this contrast is resolved, one is sure, the feeling of Indian masses who have rejected the new world order would be reflected in a rainbow coalition.

In Bolivia the left forces came to power after propagating an indigenous president Evo Morales. He won with a landslide victory. In Brazil, President Lula, who came from very similar condition. In India however, things are exactly opposite. The background of the leading lights of the so-called mainstream left comes from Oxford and Cambridge. They are landowners of powerful communities and that is why when poor has aspiration and understand dynamics of politics, he gets away from the left parties.

The global media strategy is that when you fail to defeat your opponents, just start co-opting them.   One and a half years back, I traveled to my pilgrimage in Bolivia, at Che Memorial. It was a remarkable journey and I felt proud to be able to see one of the greatest icons of international youth even today, immortal Che Guevara. From Santa Cruz, which is the second largest city of the mineral rich Bolivia to La Hegeuvara, we had posters and discussions about Che. I could see how the Bolivian people were enjoying a film on their TV which jokes about the west and clap when a native Bolivian scold a British or an American bosses of multinationals who had spoiled the natural resources of Bolivia. When I reached the village where Che was executed which nearly had about 25 families today, I found to my deep surprise, a church in the memory of Che. Though every house had a Che painting along with a cross, Che was made a God in the entire identity politics of Bolivia. The church was using Che's popularity to spread its wing among the native people. Ironical, it is, as Che had only international religion and not any particular Godly religion. The more shocking things were in store for me when I learnt that DFID and Care International were to use Che's popularity for the purpose of tourism. They planned to organize tours to Che memorial which was in the mountains and since Che is still one of the most loving heroes in Latin America, people come over there in large number. That time Bolivia was under the World Bank President. Successive government particularly the military government under the orders of the United States had tried to hide this fact of Che Guevara from the people of Bolivia and despite that he still remained as the most revered star in Bolivia and corporate funding agencies are using his popularity for their own purposes.

Something on similar lines is happening in West Bengal where the corporate hunchos are fairly happy with the victory of Buddha Dev Bhattacharya. They started weaning him away from rest of the party making it his personal victory. It is alarming. Buddha may be smiling and the power in Delhi or CII may try seduce him yet he must understand that vote of people of India is against this very seductions. Mighty people have bitten dust world over. People find their alternatives themselves. The aspirations of people are that they want a good life and hope that leaders would deliver. It won't work if Calcutta has a great airport and five star hotels to greet Narayanmurthy but rural Bengal continue to live in misery and hunger. West Bengal's villages need to be upgraded. And yes, let this religiosity that kills people, be one of the objective of progressive forces in Bengal. It looks cynical how left be linked to such tyrannical caste structure in West Bengal where religiosity and age old traditions dominate human life, perhaps worst then Punjab where people rarely read books. The issue of migrant Dalits are important in West Bengal and government cannot absolve itself from the process of social justice by merely saying that 'it does not believe in caste system.'   So mere intellectualism would not work. A clear stand against oppressive policies of both domestic and international level will have to be taken care of.

If the forces of the change want to spread over, India is an ideal opportunity for them. For they cannot ignore the vast anti caste struggle in India. Both anti caste struggle and anti class struggle have to join hand with the forces who are fighting against the tyranny of the global order which remain insensitive to the need of the people. It is therefore important that a federalist approach develops and importance of smaller and marginal identities are strengthened. I am sure that forces of change would not have succeeded in Bolivia if they had not selected Moralisis their leader who belong to indigenous community. Is not it a great honour for an entirely indigenous population and for that matter entire country that they had for the first time, a national leader from their own community? In Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, the left parties represent, not necessarily Marxism, but local, regional and linguistic aspirations of the people. They must realize that such aspirations are also building up elsewhere. India therefore remains hungry because it was dominated by those who gained from transfer of power from the British. Today, there is a hunger among marginalized to become mainstream, to take over the political power. That aspiration has to be taken into account and developed.

The Indian middle class is continuously sounding notorious. It does not fear left. It considers them their friend because of the caste character of their leaders. What it fears most is a caste assertion among the people and it is out to destroy that assertion. It is time we understand this danger of the forces like Hindutva who will destroy this assertion by invoking another grand 'nationalist' slogan and wean away these communities. India got a great opportunity for these forces to join hand in 1991 and since then the Hindu upper caste-upper elite have joined hand, thoroughly communalized to destroy any such assertion. They have worked on their fancies in the new global order. But the result of this fascist order are now out.

Indians do not believe in capitalism but crony capitalism based on hierarchical order. It is not a competitive capitalism which might be there in the west. Here it is some people's birthright to suck our blood. Now, it is the best time to strike. Already, the Hindu upper castes elite are up in arm against reservation and their doctors have come back to their blackmailing by striking the work. An
ti caste, anti class forces should now join hand plan take over India. A change in India would send the right signal world over. Of course, by change, I mean, such forces should unite before the next Lok Sabha elections. A country like India cannot afford to be ruled a few cronies of the ruling elite both in the name of merit and nationalism. In that sense, the voters have given a verdict which can have everlasting impact on Indian political scenario in the coming days.

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