Saturday, March 31, 2007

Obsessive middle class hypocrisy

If anybody with an educative and inquisitive mind goes through Indian history and philosophy, the self proclaimed 'wow' factor would be clearly visible. An age old mountain of traditional burdens, a closed society with unknown fear of unseen future and the incapability to accept the inevitable have been the hallmark of this so called great country and civilization. Indians take pride in their history, culture and what not. Anything and everything which is nostalgic has to have an Indian touch and if something is not praiseworthy it could never have an Indian link. My only question remains - whom are we fooling?
I have dwelt at length in one of my past blog about the double standards present in the Indian mythology and history. We always preach "Adwaita" and believe in twin theories. We have created 33 crores of deities and have told the world that everyone is same. Back home, we were the proponent of casteism and division of labor theory based on social rank. Sudras could not be equalled with Brahmans and they had a different set of deities to pray. Yet we proudly announced the supremacy of our bramhinical knowledge. To have such an open policy of flexible rule only shows our eagerness to maintain the status quo.
We projected women as source of power and used all kinds of heinous crimes to suppress them. We told god is neutral and clarified that he had to do certain things for safeguarding his favorite protege. Our roots have been in deep shambles of fractured verdict though we speak of unified language.
Politics, the next populist brickbat is another prime example. We have all types of political ideologies flowing like rivers and in the back office of power while they are talking of national project of river integration. Here, the left is more right than their opposition and the ruling capitalists fear more of the working class for votes. The rules at center and state are different for the same political party, the economics mean something to prime minister and something else to his cabinet, while the executives are a bunch of hypocrites saved only to follow the lords.
This leaves only citizens to be fair. To my best knowledge, I have never come across anyone (including yours truly) who is fair, justified and rational. A south indian hates north indians in Bangalore but couldn't do without them in Gurgaon. East always believed that they were the unluckiest lot post independence, but never thinks of improving them on their own. Everybody wants industry, but exactly only at those locations where they think would best suit them. Indians say that materialistic world is to be denounced yet when it comes to decide social status money remains the sole deciding criteria. We are ready to discuss what Buddha or Christ did wrong but are not open for discussion about retrogressive hindu laws. We think politics couldn't be in isolation to religion but are opposed to theory if the religion is not Hinduism. We easily criticise Bill Clinton but shudder to even think about such things regarding some of our dear national leaders.
The time has come for the referendum. For the people to think and think from their heart. To come out openly and unequivocally about what they want. If they want a progressive country then north and south has to speak the same language, west has to embrace the qualities from east. We cannot remain indecisive and ask for a decisive verdict from the political class. After all they are only the public manifestation of the society at large.
A decision about whether we need a rule or prefer anarchy to suit our individual needs is the call of the hour.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Racism - here,there and everywhere...

These days my reading habits are on the wane. Its been a long time since I have given a considerable amount of day time to any book and had rather confined myself to unproductive, selfish but refreshing sleep. Technology, namely Internet, has been the sole companion to make me worthless (not in terms of information though) abuser of time. During these testing periods I came across so many wonderful creations (read writings) of my fellow friends (believe me they have extraordinary power of writing, god knows when they will write a book !!) that sometimes I gave a miss to a heartbeat. How I wish I could express myself so freely. The delight has been purely individual and the writer doesn't take any guarantee of wholesome entertainment.
One such post, deals with certain certainties in our lives and ends on a perfect note of questioning. Are we a racist? I am only trying to take a cue by exploding the term from its literary meaning.
What is race ? - "People who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock". If we leave out the term genetic and then replace it with something else (say age or mindset) then how much does the meaning change? A debatable question I guess. So, lets debate.

The person, who is not a racist is either a Satan or medically frantic. Only these two races, I guess would not fall in the said category, rest everybody does. Why so? Why it is that I am hell bent on criticising and sledging the whole mankind? Because I am totally mad and insane.

A child, before he/she is born, spends almost 9 months in mother's womb. After growing up, the umbilical chord starts to weaken - in the name of modernization, in the pursuit of independence or for that matter under the pressure of career. We have globalized families but localized mindsets. So, if parents are a race (and I believe they are and that too an endangered one) we all are a racist. We are a racist of the highest order who have no time for their own genes.
A husband, an educated person with a successful career, leaves his family in the lurch or in the mid sea because they are incompatible with his lifestyle. If he is famous and celebrity then media runs a business on the scoop, if he is ordinary like you and me nobody cares. Either way, the family is neither benefited nor saved. Legal processes only prolongs the death or strangles the darkness. So, if family is a race, these people are racist. A racist of god knows what order - doesn't even spare his - you know what.
A modern society - a great lifestyle and independent mind. It has no time for losers, no humanity for "also ran" communities. The gap between the winner and the contestants is like black hole - It can only absorb and absorb. Infinite input and no output.Those who are left behind are bound to fall in the well. If they start screaming for help - shoot them down, scandalize them or laugh at them by saying they are incompetent for the competition. The best publicity comes if you pity them. You hold seminars, you organize charities and say hundred good things but do nothing. Even if you couldn't manage hell you will surely manage a Nobel peace prize. So, every individual in a society is a racist - a racist who doesn't want to be in a crowd but wants to be alone at the top.
A girl, in her teens, eloped with her boyfriend and it became an instant news. The family hits back - criticizes her, yells at her and even curses their beloved daughter - but could do nothing. The neighbours, till unnoticed and unknown jumps into act. They do everything possible to make life hell, create mountains out of nothing and starts pronouncing judgements. The verdict is out - the sinner girl must die. The girl is unrelenting for saving her love (even though she says she cares for her parents too) - so parents pay the price. Eventually all die or commit suicide - society makes sure of that.So, all such neighbours in the society are - you know what.
God is great - god is always right. God only helps those who are just and in the quest of truth. If the intention is correct and you are on the right side of god - doesn't matter what you do - you would be saved. Such are the sayings in the epics, such are the sayings in the religions. Whatever god does to save right has to be right even if it is apparently not - we are not enlightened enough to understand what he does. So, god, who only favors his protege can do anything to save him/her. The losers may fight it out in the highest court but the verdict could change hardly in favor of them.

So, all said and done - we all are racist. You are so, your neighbours are so, your husband is so, your wife is so, society is so, I am so and above all HE is also so. Racism is omnipresent, omnipotent albeit ambivalent. A Brahman is a racist as well as a Sudra. Then where do we go from here? Do we revolt or should we continue the process of dialogue? Should we kill or get killed?
For me there is only one answer - either we change or perish, because a winning Satan might not be as graceful as Shilpa.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Imported political ideology...

India is a land of wonders. India is a land of uncertainties, of mystique and of great solitude. As Mr.Gurcharan Das writes in his own submission - India Unbound - "It is an elephant that has begun to lumber and move ahead. It will never have speed but it will always have stamina." I am, for sure, as confused as ever and not convinced.
India got political independence way back in 1947 but took almost 50 years to start the process of economic liberalization. The political bankruptcy over the years has only compounded the misery. It is very important for any country to have confident leaders. When an ordinary person does something wrong it is less than half harmful than when a leader does so. Not because we place leaders in a higher pedestal, but as leader's wrong doing inspires the subordinates in the wrong way.
Out of many such compulsory trades India exported mathematics and spirituality but imported communism.
My friends call me a communist and probably a communist I am. An ideological one. The only political (or apolitical?) ideology doomed to be failed. Any sensitive and young person who believe in ideology and equality of human beings has to be a communist. An apolitical follower of the once famous "Das Capital" is only a mirage today. Indian politicians on their part has only compounded this in a unique way.
From independence we were a country not here not there. As pointed out in India Unbound we wanted a business community to serve the country the way politicians wanted, the license raj made sure a slow death of the entrepreneurial abilities of the society at large and created a corrupt bureaucracy to support the wrong doings. One of our leaders never trusted businessman and the other thought their money is needed but not they.So, what are we? A socialist state? A state who is confident enough to fulfill its citizens dreams? We were more draconian state than any communist regime (vide writings during emergency periods), lacked planning and believed that state would do everything for its citizens even if they were inefficient.So, why blame only communist for their doings? When the rightists perform the same things they rename it as a "human face" but the communists are criticized as regressive and anti business. The whole model of 5 year planning is a complete fiasco and self serving failed policy. Yet they are regarded highly in esteem. Is it because they were not created by communists?
I do agree that communists made a blunder of economics when they thought that they can make poor people rich by converting riches poor. But at least their ideology was not flawed. They presumed wrongly when they overestimated the powers of state but were correct to predict the rise of the working class and the perils of raw capitalist regime. But what did the others do to rewrite history in the right manner?
As it is said - two wrongs do not make it right. So is the case with India. We were never on the right side of left and fooled ourselves by walking on the left side of the right.We were friend for both - USSR and USA. We could not decide between non violence and violence and in the process ended up losing in the partition.
Communism is comparatively new to India but not alien to its confused ideology. Communism puts enormous faith in the state so does the confused Indian socialism, Marxists believe in liberating working class and the Indian polity believes in making everybody economically equal. Thus, as we see there is not much of a difference between them - neither politically nor ideologically. But to our much delight and dismay, imported communism didn't work well here. Its track record is even more dismal than imported Islam.
However, the twin sister of Marxism, locally known as socialism has found enormous favor with our policy makers and all the loop holes of capitalism come out in political mouthpieces in the election years. As long back, Marx pointed out, "We see the great advance made by Adam Smith beyond the Physiocrats in the analysis of surplus-value and hence of capital. In their view, it is only one definite kind of concrete labour—agricultural labour —that creates surplus-value....But to Adam Smith, it is general social labour—no matter in what use-values it manifests itself—the mere quantity of necessary labour, which creates value. Surplus-value, whether it takes the form of profit, rent, or the secondary form of interest, is nothing but a part of this labour, appropriated by the owners of the material conditions of labour in the exchange with living labour." The same philosophy has been in usage over the years by all parties in India albeit in a slightly different manner. To create a democracy we needed opposition and hence we have them. They are neither ideologically different nor they are designed in a different manner. The only reason they exist is either they had an internal feud with the parent body for power or they harped wrongly on the religious notes. Hence, their pedigree is always questionable in my view.
To the extent that even Marxism has been Indianized and changed conveniently for the gallery, it has created a yawning disparity among the middle as well as working class. They neither had any historical baggage for India nor did they understand the local philosophy. Hence they crashed badly. In the race of power they became corrupt and opportunist and we kept equating them with Marxism. The gap thus created presented a big advantage to others, who in the name of socialism traded the same path with sure ideological bankruptcy.
So, after 60 years of independence we are neither here nor there. We waited for long on the road for the state to become self sufficient but took almost 50 years to come back to capitalism. We have opened up now but in every election year we still fool the masses in the name of socialism and equality. The result is we have neither a strong working class nor a mass of nation building industrial houses.
We blame communists for failure in Bengal but barring 3-4 states I am not too sure about the improved status of living for the en mass. And even in those states, the pressure came from outside, like the population, business class or like in 1991 - the point of no return.

But, how easily and conveniently we bypass issues by putting the blame on those failed ideologies in the name of communism.The only thing we forget is that an ideological bankruptcy is more dangerous than a political one.