Modi in Wonderland

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no respite from being haunted by the rising Dalit anger. Harried by the tide of dalit dissent at home, he was equally chased by the spectre of dalit protest abroad. The globe-trotting prime minister, he has already created a record in this regard, went to London to attend the multilateral Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), only to be ‘greeted’ by the overseas Indians with black flags, including alleged Khalistanis and Kashmiri seperatists. The protesters went there raising the demand to be heard and they stayed there till the British Riot Police dispersed them. They described Modi as the official face of Indian terrorism and symbol of discrimination against minorities and weaker sections of society. The media focused only on 'Khalistanis' and separatists with a deliberate twist to divert attention from the broader perspective which was not at all comfortable for Modi in a foreign country. Dalits took to the street to protest against atrocities their brothers and sisters are facing almost everyday somewhere in India. In truth the ascent of Modi to power also synchronises with the advent of dalit assertion in almost every state of India, particularly in Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states.

The point at issue is why do they participate in this Commonwealth opera. This uncommon Commonwealth has no use value other than reminding the world that Great Britain once upon a time colonised about 53 countries spreading across three continents. Even for the British this elite British club has long outlived its utility. The members of this forum today have nothing in common and yet they are being forced to listen sermons from the British crown. It was really ridiculous to observe that the media highlighted Modi's parley with Seychelles president Dany Faure at the sidelines of CHOGM as an achievement in boosting bilateral ties.

While Modi was urging Nordic nations in Stockholm to back India's bid for UN Security Council permanent status people across the country were running from pillar to post apprehending yet another cash crunch as most ATMs in the country went dry. The ghost of demonetisation is back. Even as the Reserve Bank of India has assured the public that there is no currency shortage, SBI Research has a different scenario to present. As per their findings, the cash shortfall in the system is at Rs 70,000 crore which is a third of the monthly withdrawals at ATMs. There is every reason to believe that a second shock therapy is very much in the offing and bank employees are facing flak from customers everywhere. Last week All India Bank Employees Association came down heavily on the Government and RBI and threatened to launch agitation as they were being faulted for no fault of their own. But nobody takes bank employees' tokenism seriously. The problem started with the introduction of Rs 2000 notes after the note ban circular in November 2016. "If the Rs 1000 notes were withdrawn to prevent black money and cash hoarding, it is only obvious now both have become easier with Rs 2000 notes".

The entire digitisation programme, demonetisation being part of it, was sponsored by US State agencies. Demonetisation apart, Aadhar, yet the most notorious digitisation drive is a grand imperial conspiracy against the people. The Modis seem to have compromised India's political and economic sovereignty, hopefully to integrate themselves into America's changing geo-political strategy in the region. Pushing India into forcible digitisation they have created a situation in which social exclusion of a large number of voiceless people will be the logical outcome.

While hearing the Aadhar related matters the Constitution Bench of the apex court has observed from time to time that Aadhar is no guarantee to check bank frauds. Nor is it necessary either to accord the benefits of the welfare schemes to the people. Yet the Modi administration is forcing people to swallow the bitter pill in most inhumane manner. If anything millions of poor already are imprisoned by exploitation and discrimination and because of this forced digitisation they are now doubly imprisoned under chains. The Modis think they could neutralise two adversaries—Pakistan and China—by surrendering national interests to America. But the reality is otherwise. America won't hesitate to act against India if their strategic interests are not served. Of late, Pakistan, a trusted lackey of America since its birth, has no option but to defy American mandates in certain areas and China has virtually ignored India's bonhomie with America.

The saffron power that now rules India is naked fascism. The ominous rise of far Right and authoritarian politics across the world continues. And the BJP foots the bill, both nationally and internationally.

The fascist BJP doesn't really face any effective resistance from any quarters. The Congress move to mobilise public opinion for impeachment of chief justice of India on alleged five charges of misbehaviour and misuse of power, is not going to thwart the BJP's authoritarian rule and partisan utilisation of judiciary. They are silent about the grand digital conspiracy hatched by America and nefarious role played by American multinationals and their Indian collaborators in it.

If the left has lost relevance today it is because they too like their rightist opposition counterpart Congress, do hardly agitate for core issues that affect ordinary people in their day to day existence. When data breach has become outcry internationally, India with inadequate and poor infrastructure is trying to ape America or UK, knowing full well they will soon be compelled to terrorise their own people. And people's agony is not the concern of the official left. Come what may they derive comfort from discussing more of the same--how to unite with Congress in fighting the upcoming parliamentary poll in 2019.

Vol. 50, No.43, Apr 29 - May 05, 2018