Three Years of Modi’s Rule

The three years of narendra modi’s rule is characterised by several marked features. His pre-poll promise of bringing back the money stashed in foreign banks has turned a big hoax. The reason is that these moneybags are now behind Modi. Trillions of rupees, taken as loans from the banks by the corporate groups, and the strongmen, Modi and his Finance Minsiter, do not have the guts to recover them. His promises of job creation have turned into a fiasco, and generated dissension even among the trade union wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Even according to  the statistics released by the cental labour ministry, two lakhs of persons lost their jobs in the wake of demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, and this figure is presumably an underestimate. This explains why in the latest budget, there was a sudden increase in allocation for the NRFEGA, which Modi’s government considered a symbol of stupidity of the earlier regime. In the information technology sector, there has been a steady reduction of jobs. Of course, large corporate houses have stood to gain by Modi’s policy package, but not the common people including unemployed and underemployed youths.

Yet the results of the UP polls has been hailed as a victory for Narendra Modi’s policies, forgetting that the vote share of his party came nowhere near fifty percent of the total votes polled. The weaknesses of and the disunity among the Opposition contributed largely to Modi’s victory. It is intriguing that Modi has been trying to project himself as a follower of Ambedkar, trying to make people forget that Ambedkar, after a long political journey, came to realise that there could be no social justice for dalits within the Hindu social structure and then formally converted to Buddhism with tens of thousands of his followers. Modi’s gesture coupled with his hypocritical exhortations not to hurt the dalits, is clearly a deceitful trick to dupe the latter. Hehas been propelled to do so after dalits broke into furious protests following continuous murderous assaults by Modi’s saffron stormtroopers.

The country has been witnessing a communal polarisation for quite a few years. And the BJP and the RSS have been frantically trying to promote it, because the failures on the economic front have brought discredit to them, making it necessaruy to devise another strong weapon to make up for their deficiency. It should be emphasised that some measure of success of Hindu communalists in retaining the dalits within the Hindu fold has contributed to it, although dalits have been subject to humiliation by upper caste Hindus for centuries. It may be noted that the Congress and Gandhi never thought of fighting against this discrimination, although Gandhi called the dalits harijans. Oppostion to untouchability and advocacy of the caste system were two intriguingly conflicting aspects of Gandhi‘s philosophy. Gandhi considered Ambedkar an enemy of Hinduism, and so did the RSS. This history, although well-known, has not reached the heart of dalits in general. The reason is that even the socialists or communists did not move much on dalit  issues, and failed to stir them against caste-Hindu domination and in favour of religious minorities. They did not note that caste was not only a part of the superstructure but of the structure as well.  This neglect, coupled with the opportunism of the Congress, is largely responsible for the present state of affairs.

Right now, the RSS or organisations like the Hindu Jagaran Manch are spreading their tentacles throughout the country, but there is no strong dalit movement to match this onslaught and foil this bid of widening the chasm between dalits and Muslims. In some places, dalits have taken uppercaste domination as something axiomatic, and in others, they lack proper guidance and leadership. If dalits
and religious minorities, who constitute the overwhelming majority of India’s toiling masses, get united, this will deal a death blow not only to the RSS etc, but to their patrons, the corporate lobby as well.

Vol. 49, No.46, May 21 - 27, 2017