An Old Story

Moving towards Chaos

Debasish Paul

The recent times have witnessed total criminalisation of politics in West Bengal as it is the general scenario all over India. Elections are becoming blood soaked festival of goons at the grassroots with no cover up or pretention of the party in power.

Rules of carrot and stick are very clear. Take ruling party membership or get lost. Public exchequer running under huge deficit is used generously with a lot of publicity to relieve distressed milieu of voters under storm, flood and drought. But the grant of relief is a misnomer. Most of relief money and goods are disbursed in a partisan way to ruling party workers who are invariably local leading mafia/don. Bengal intelligentsia who once was prominent in the provincial and national politics is now alienating themselves from active politics. In freedom movement and movement for rights of the working class, once Bengal was in forefront. But it is no more. Since nature does not allow void, so also in politics the opportune moment is taken over regressively by bad elements of society ,mostly hoodlums. They found politics under parliamentary system is the easiest way to make money. Universal adult suffrage which allows every adult Indian attaining the age of eighteen the right to vote is farcical by any standard.

This is not a bolt in the blue situation but a climax born out of semi-feudal economic structure unwilling to develop the economy by transition from Feudalism to national Capitalism even after seventy years of independence . India under British rule lacked a homogenous governance. There were a number of princely states who finding the British power formidable, retained their crown subject to paying annual tariff as a mark of subjugation to British. Remnants of this were subsidiaries of State Bank of India in names of princely states. In 2017 all these banks were merged with State Bank of India which was Imperial Bank of India, under the Raj.

Hence Indian national anthem as penned and tuned by Rabindranath Tagore was an eulogy of India as it was originally composed when India was an undivided entity.

It was a case of alliance of imperialism with feudalism by implanting Feudal Zamindari system under permanent settlement by Lord Cornwallis apparently to collect huge land rent with a conceited purpose to thwart capitalist development of India. British star always desired to retain colonies as planets to move around it.

As and when the Mughal rule disintegrated under its own royal contradictions, potentiality of capitalist development of the Indian economy which originates from initial capitalist metamorphosis of agriculture could not be utilised by Mughal rulers who put the economy in a chaotic state .

The pilot of British global imperialism, East India Company entered India obtaining Sanad or permission from Mughals. It was the age of inception of big British industries by virtue of invention of steam power by James Watt who was the whistle blower for invention of steam power operated industrial machinery and mammoth capacity transport called railway engine on road and steamer and ocean-going ship on water.

It was a remarkable age of first generation automation of entire manufacturing industries ,producing complementary capital and consumer goods in large scale automated industries. As industries started churning out huge mass produced goods, the steam engine operated ships as the wanderer of the sea appeared as the vehicle on the sea shacked hands with modern industries in order to sell their products globally. Finding market for products has always been the need of a viable capitalism. Cargo Aero plane was still far away to be genius bird in sky at that time.

Thus modern technology in production and transportation enabled the Great Britain, a small cluster of states the power and potential to colonise the big earth as captive source of fossil fuel and other metallic raw materials as well as market of their products.

India since ancient times ,much before invention of Compass devised rule of thumb to float manually operated ships over sea to cater fine textiles, silk, spices and the like agro-industrial products across the challenging water of deep blue sea and was involved in international trade. Consequently the name of India spread across the globe as big affluent country. So discovery of India became an ambition of sea explorers who constituted not only merchants but also pirates namely Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama et al.

This retrospective discussion is made by the author as it helps to understand the arrival of western socio-political imperial culture along with their merchandise. Arrival of British power in India had been an unconscious tool of history as said by Karl Marx,- strong enough to transform its stagnant society lock ,stock and barrel about governance of society around exploitative economic interest what people call politics.

In truth the concept and idea of nationalism by study of western concepts in English helped progressives, finally drive out the British colonialists from India. Comprador but not national bourgeoisie, took over the reins of new India after the departure of British. Bengal and Punjab economies suffered most due to partition. After liberation Mao tse Tung immediately nationalised foreign companies operating in China but it didn't happen in India.

Years rolled on depriving West Bengal as depicted vividly by Ranjit Roy in his book 'Agony of West Bengal' de -industrialising the most industrially advanced state at the time of Indian independence. Bad coin drives out good coin from market. Eastern Indian Industrialists allured by central and state government incentives to relocate to other provinces sold units to merchants turned industrialists, called lumpen industrialists. As found by Ashok Mitra Commission enquiry funded by Reserve Bank of India found mass sickness of these industries were caused by deliberate mismanagement instead of labour troubles. The new industrialists sucked the primary capital and caused demise of these long living industries moving over to more privileged industrial estates in other alluring states inviting them with red carpets. Thus gardens became deserts. Later on Multistoried housing complex raised heads in industrial burial grounds co-partnered by degenerated labour leaders of different hues with equally greedy promoters. Most qualified people are leaving their own province, own country for making a fortune abroad. Patriotism has taken a backseat. In new colonial era USA and Europe gained by brain drain instead of direct colonial rule.

Unlike nuclear bomb devastated Japan which rising from ashes of war,became most advanced in industrialisation among Asian countries justifying its name as country of rising sun, India is languishing in cesspool of underdevelopment.

What is happening in this place is regressive politics allured after short term gain, reversing course of science, liberal arts and technology by religious fundamentalism. 'Samrajya' is becoming Ram rajya. It is the honey trap of neo-colonialism further eroding the chance of national capitalism.

The congenial field of growth of modern industries under people's Democracy is blocked paving way to lumpen democracy.

Vol. 53, No. 20, Nov 15 - 21, 2020