The TINA Factor?

The prospects of opposition parliamentary parties, including the old horse Congress, coming together to fight the Modi tyranny seem remote. As for the regional parties the less said the better, they are too opportunistic to face the saffron reality. They are more interested in getting doles, more doles, not people’s well-being, though they are vocal enough about the 2024 Parliamentary polls, rather a change at the centre. With the diverse opponents who live at many levels and many a time working at cross purposes, the Modis have nothing to worry about.

The much talked about Covid-19 crisis and yet less explained in its entirety has gone out of control and Modi who is getting flak from most international authorities for his half-hearted approach to this humanitarian catastrophe, has failed miserably. India is now a huge crematorium! That is precisely the image of India abroad. The opposition too like Modi, has failed to articulate people’s anger on corona management. The Congress Party has so far succeeded in releasing a ‘White Paper on Corona and Modi government’ without really hitting the target as Modi’s crime against humanity beggars description. The point at issue is how Modi has utilised corona pandemic as an excuse to silence human rights defenders and civil rights activists. India is moving from one crisis to another while ‘Nero’ is enjoying his unchallenged authority. Agitating farmers are still on the roads but Modi looks adamant not to withdraw the three farm laws. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been camped at various Delhi border points since November 2020, demanding the repeal of notorious agricultural laws passed last year.

Meanwhile, to express solidarity with the farmers Rahul Gandhi drove a tractor to the Parliament house to reiterate his oft-repeated demand of discussion on farm laws in parliament. But this type of tokenism makes little impact on peasants elsewhere in the country. With Modi’s party having brute majority in lower house they could at worst initiate the debate in parliament for the sake of debate. This peasant movement with enormous grassroots support is epoch-making. The laws were framed to help two-three big industrial houses. But the issue is life and death question for India’s peasant community.

For one thing tractor is now the symbol of peasant protest. Protesting farmers have been continually highlighting their one-point agenda of repealing the notorious laws for the last eight months. It’s historic. For them it is almost a do or die situation. The Left’s participation in this movement is too inadequate to make it a massive mass movement, threatening the Modi regime, without which nothing will change for the better. They have no idea as to how to re-address the peasant question against the backdrop of the on-going farmers’ movement. They continue to live in the past without realising the changing context of peasant economy. Peasant movement cannot be organised on old slogans but new slogans are not emerging in communist discourse. They all depend on spontaneity but spontaneous outbursts are no answer to the deep-rooted problem in Indian agriculture where feudalism is shaking hands with capitalism. What is more they analyse everything through the prism of electoral politics. The Tebhaga movement was not election oriented. Nor was the Telengana crusade about election. The economy under Modi is shrinking and shrinking. Major labour-intensive factories are closed, thousands of workers are jobless in the organised sector while the informal sector employees are on the streets with begging bowels. Workers are dying in silence and some are committing suicide. Unless the peasants are back to the field the economy will shrink further leading to a chaotic situation. Leaders of farmers’ unions have a plan to campaign against BJP and Modi in the upcoming state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand next year. No doubt protesters will be able to gain politically from the defeat of BJP in three assembly polls but this electoral defeat or win can hardly make the Centre behave. What is needed is mass upheaval. But there is no revolutionary party to lead the aggrieved masses. Objective conditions are so ripe and yet nothing spectacular is happening.

And now there is Pegasus scandal which illustrates among other things that Modi’s deep Israeli connection. There is nothing new in phone-tapping. The Congress did it when it was in power. And now Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is doing the same thing. This is business as usual for ruling elites everywhere. No doubt Modi is terrorising his opponents by extensively utilising Pegasus Spyware. Names of several Indian politicians, journalists, lawyers , human rights defenders and numerous independent and semi-independent institutions have appeared on the leaked list of surveillance. Massive data leak reveals Israeli NSO group’s spyware was used to target political opponents and social workers globally. NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale, according to a major investigation into the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets. These include heads of state, activists and journalists, including Jamal Khashogi’s family. There are major NSO spyware clients in 11 countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Togo and the United Arab Emirates. For all practical purposes Modi’s dispensation is a police raj---nobody is safe here as some ruling party leaders were also targeted. Pegasus Spyware is a weapon of choice for repressive governments seeking to crush dissent, placing countless lives in peril. And in Modi’s jails dotted across the country thousands of innocent people are being forced to live in sub-human conditions.


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Vol. 54, No. 8, Aug 22 - 28, 2021