Crisis of Immorality

The clash between lawyers and policemen in the Tis Hazari court of the capital city has caught the headlines, and comments of various types are pouring in. The iron man Amit Shah's studied silence is significant because the edifice he and his men had built up is showing signs of crack in so far as the majority of Delhi lawyers, particularly the more affluent ones, are his party's supporters and his own department directly controls Delhi police. Not so long ago, Kanhaiya Kumar and his comrades were severely beaten up by lawyers at the Patiala House court with the policemen remaining a silent spectators, perhaps enjoying the sight of humiliation inflicted on the student leader. The lawyers who clashed with the police and even sought to impose FIRs against the cops are not different in social and economic status as well as in outlook. Nor has the character of policemen who have burst into protests at the treatment meted out to them by lawyers undergone any discernible change. Thus, two important pillars of the political system that we have are at loggerheads with each other, and Shah's ingenuity is not enough to control and reconcile them. The iron man has seemingly been reduced to a man of straw, hoist with his own petard.

Another aspect of the situation is the government's persistent claim that the fundamentals of the economy are strong and robust, and that slowing down of the rate of growth is a world-wide phenomenon. Such sort of growth-centric debate is of little use, and deceleration in the rate of growth of the GDP in other countries is no consolation for those Indians who have already been rendered jobless or are going to lose their jobs as well as for the families of those farmers who are committing suicides. Meanwhile, the government has decided to walk away from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is the largest free trade bloc in the world. Interestingly enough, Mr Pijush Goyel had only a few days ago advocated strongly in favour of India's joining this bloc. Now India has walked out of it. It is feared that if India becomes part of it, cheap Chinese goods will flood the country and India's domestic entrepreneurs will be grievously hurt. But Chinese goods have already been coming to the Indian market in large quantities, and a walk out from the RCEP is hardly likely to improve the situation. What is necessary is to make Indian manufactures, particularly those produced by small and medium enterprises, more competitive, not to give more concessions to the corporate groups. But the Government is sadly incapable of this.

Right now, India is moving towards closer trade ties with the USA, perhaps in order to prove the strength of Modi's 'nationalism.' It is quite possible that India's current position in regard to the RCEP was influenced by US desires, because the functioning of the RCEP would have curbed the US interests most. A rise in the Sensex, i.e. a boost in the stock market, goes with a decline in the rate of growth of output. This is not altogether inconceivable, because share prices do not at all reflect the health of the economy, although Modi's economic advisors may project this phenomenon as indicative of the economy's strength. Nonsensical talks about the cut in automobile output have already proved the stupidity of ministers; their boastful talks about the health of the economy must necessarily be equally stupid. The situation in Kashmir continues to be talked about. As per more authentic and reliable reports, the communications shutdown in Kashmir has resulted only in immense sufferings to workers, artisans and small traders. Mukesh Ambani, who, one week after the abrogation of article 370, claimed that he would hold an investment summit in Kashmir soon, has since maintained a conspicuous silence, as his promise has been deflated like a pricked balloon. As a keen observer has aptly commented, "Promised more jobs, more factories, what the Kashmiris instead have got since August 5 are more troops, more restrictions." The result is that hatred for the Government of India is steadily rising and even the more moderate sections among the Kashmiris are turning hostile. Attributing all these to Pakistani machinations is just an exercise in self-delusion. In Hindu-dominated Jammu too, the initial euphoria at the government's decision has died down because of factors directly affecting the economic lives of the people there. People live on food, clothing and other basic necessities, not on religion or religious rituals. However, Narendra Modi and his acolytes scarcely care for the plight of the people there. They do not realise the immense costs of the alienation of Kashmiris from the rest of India and hardly care for the adverse image created abroad.


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Vol. 52, No. 21, Nov 24 - 30, 2019