'Paper Tigers'

Parliamentary opposition is in limbo. Nobody thinks they have any imitational plan against Modi's authoritarian rule in the Corona virus infected social environment. For Modi Covid-19 is a blessing in disguise. He can do whatever he likes without being challenged on the streets. Walk out in both houses has very little impact on his rule or misrule. What scares the ruling elites across the world is when workers confront them as a class. In India Modi is doubly secure in the sense that here toilers are perennially divided on caste and religious lines. Caste oppression is so endemic that frequent brutality against poor Dalits, particularly Dalit women, now attracts international attention. Human Rights bodies are under attack and now Amnesty International has been shown the doors. Strangely, the parliamentary opposition didn't say a word or two about this most undemocratic action of the Modi government.

Anti-people Bills are being regularly passed in parliament without any hassle because of brute majority of Modi's party—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—in both houses. Opposition is just making harmless noises about notorious Farm Bills, aimed at forcing Indian peasants to mortgage their land and resources to MNCs led by America. These opposition MPs are at best Paper Tigers, having no teeth to bite Modi. America and western countries have long been trying to enter in India's farm sector and now they are successful—Agriculture is in market. Not for nothing capital markets in Mumbai and Delhi are rising and falling on whispers of Modi.

A new era of 'corporate landlordism' is all set to start with Modi's shameless efforts to woo foreign investors at any cost. India has a chequred history of farm suicides because of wrong agricultural policies of the government. And now Corporate Zamindars are going to aggravate the uncertainty in India's peasant life. New farm laws will certainly increase farmers' suicides, in absence of any effective peasant movement.

Parliamentary left, like its rightist counterpart, has nothing to do other than issuing business as usual press statements, condemning Modi's action. And Modi has nothing to worry about so long as he faces passive resistance of the Opposition.

For one thing farm bills have opened new vistas for the left to mobilise peasant masses in their millions against dispossession of land by small and marginal farmers due to contract farming. India is not Japan. Nor is it America. To follow their models in predominantly feudal set up, cannot be anything but suicidal. Small peasants will swell the rank of landless labourers. Having lost their small parcels of land, they will have to toil on their own land as daily wage workers without any social security or trade union rights—after all peasant associations are not trade unions.

The slogan of 'land to the tillers' popularised by the communist left of all hues in the yester years, is a forgotten chapter now. Even that great peasant uprising—naxalite movement—in the late sixties was all about 'land to the tillers'. It is an opportune moment to return to basics. But the million dollar question remains: who will bell the cat? Paper Tigers are actually wandering in wilderness.

Parliamentary left has no agenda other than election. All their political manoeuvring hovers around elections. But these days winning or losing elections involves huge money and corporate houses become the ultimate arbiter in government's decision-making, no matter whether it is saffron or tri-colour. They send their persons of choice to important ministries, somewhat overtly. Only to make this biggest showpiece of democracy a farce.

The main opposition party—Congress Party—is now a paralytic body for all practical purposes, having no power to organise even a mild protest movement on its own, against Modi's virtually unchallenged anti-people policies. Rahul Gandhi, the failed crown prince, said the other day that they would discard the farm bills, if voted to power. Dreaming power is one thing while continually losing poll battle to the regressive saffron brigade is quite another.

For one thing, the minority community people no longer think Congress is a secular party. Nor do poor dalits otherwise persecuted round the year, by the upper caste hoodlums, have any faith in Congress. How much they have done to address the problem arising out of the Hathsras incident is open to question. In truth they have done nothing!

As for caste question, both Congress and official left, do hardly differ in their outlook. Their lip service to caste oppression doesn't cut ice. Meanwhile, Rights activists and journalists, have no respite from being haunted by the storm troopers of Saffron establishment, in relation to Hathras brutality.


Vol. 53, No. 19, Nov 8 - 14, 2020