Indian Economy of Lumpen Democracy - A Diagnostic Approach

Debasish Paul

Lutey putey khai sob shala swadhinota: Song of Nachiketa Chakraborty
 (Scoundrels en masse plunder public exchequer upon independence)

The recent times have witnessed total criminalization of politics in West Bengal as it is all over India. Elections are becoming blood soaked festival of goons at the grassroots with no cover up or pretention of the ruling party running government. Open attempts to murders at daytime of political activists, govt. employees in polling duty, voters in polling booths and on duty journalists/photo journalists have become rule of the game of numbers to get brute majority abolishing by intent no existence of opposition who are the safeguards of democracy.

Rules of carrot and stick are very clear. Take ruling party membership or get lost. Public exchequer running under huge deficit is used in no time generously with publicity to relieve distressed milieu of voters under storm, flood and draught under package of essentials as gifts. But the grant of relief is a misnomer. Most of relief money & goods are disbursed in a partisan way to ruling party workers who are invariably local leading mafia/don with ample prowess to deprive actual victims of grant of money and food in kind upon natural and mass calamity &infection like of late virus  pandemic calamity. The condition of plunder of public money by ruling party cadres is to deposit back the lion share into party fund. But preventive measures to help building brick and mortar stable abodes which saves homes in heavy rain and storms and building reinforced concrete embankments are not made as permanent solution. Thus, generous revenue expense is made in lieu of capital expense. Prevention is better than cure is not as if not known to them. Each calamity is an opportunity to plunder public money. So, when miscreants are identified, no FIR is made to punish anyone under rule of law. Purging their party membership is a show off. Ruling party later takes all back as essential foot soldiers.

This is distortion of perspective in short term gain, deliberate or not, is termed as good governance instead of true Unnayan (Development) in their books on economics and politics.

 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 mafias/dons. This element has found politics under parliamentary system the easiest way to make money. Universal adult suffrage which allows every adult Indian attaining the age of eighteen the right to vote has become a Pandora’s box.

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 of India, once the jewel in the crown of British empire in The mega sized state as a federation from Kashmir to Kanya Kumarika termed as a sub continent was formed by notorious British diplomacy and superior military war ammunition and effective political aggressive strategy of acquiring one after another native states ruled earlier by Mughal rulers from its inception by Babar.

This India under British rule was not under 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 even seventy years of Indian independence. In 2017 all these banks were merged with state Bank of India which was imperial Bank of India as India’s apex bank ruling over all Banks of India.

Hence Indian national anthem as penned and tuned by Rabindranath Tagore was a sublimated 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 utilized 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 & ocean 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 colonize the big earth as captive source of fossil fuel and other metallic raw materials as well 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 present 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 we call politics.

The uprise of concept and idea of nationalism by study of western concepts in English had driven out British from India by progressive sections of  youth. Comprador but not national bourgeoisie, as evil designed had taken over the reins of new India. Bengal and Punjab economies suffered by partition a huge spinal atrocity in industry, agriculture and above all Imposed communal politics by combination of Mountbatten- Nehru  lobby with plan to divide Bengal and Punjab who led liberation movement and hence British rulers as a vendetta coupled with mutual vested interest guarded by Nehru dynasty. Otherwise new India’s ruling power might go to independence Leaders of Punjab and Bengal. In China all foreign industries of ex- colonial rulers were nationalized by Mao Tse Tung immediately upon Independence.

Years rolled on depriving West Bengal as depicted vividly by Ranjit Roy in his book ‘Agony of west Bengal’ deindustrializing 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 merchant turned industrialists, called lumpen industrialists in Marxian dialectics. 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 inheritors Rajasthani and Gujrati merchants turned 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  are raising heads in industrial burial grounds co-partnered by degenerated labour leaders of different hues with equally greedy promoters. Most qualified people are leaving 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 industrialization among Asian countries justifying its name as country of rising sun; India is languishing in development  of underdevelopment.

What is happening in our 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 progressive
democracy is blocked paving way to lumpen democracy.

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Aug 16, 2020

Dr. Debasish Paul

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