Rafael deal: PM Modi politics and economics

Radhakanta Barik

Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not have a historical sense that he built a statue for Sardar Patel for Rs.3000 crores whereas Patel led simple life without any luxury and with his hand-woven Khadi dress. The present Parliament which is strong enough to last another hundred years he has built central vista for Rs 20000 crores. The same for Ram Temple whereas Ram is a simple person who led a life of twelve years in the jungles with fruits, He does not cover his body but the cost of the temple is going to be huge amount. Construction of the Ram temple will be costing somewhat Rs.60000 crores. Ram was concerned of the prajas but the king of today Modi and Yogi are not concerned of the prajas who want a social security package of 5000 plus free ration. Our grain storage is full with food but people do not get food.

Rafael deal got signed sometime in 2015 but it created controversy around the payment and partnership of the local industrialist. The deal was almost finalized by the UPA government at much cheaper price. Modi went for a higher price and it was supposed to be given to HAL which had got expertise for making arms and armaments and it is a public sector company. He went for a private party who is a bankrupt and no expertise. Anil Ambani remained as the partner of the deal. Then the question arose of a heavy payment to middle man. The case went to the Supreme Court but the government succeeded to blackmail the chief justice of Supreme Court and submitted a reply in the closed envelope which never got opened by Justice Gogoi. He forgot to open the envelope but gave a judgment in favour of the government. Anil Ambani firm got 143.7 Euro tax waiver after the deal commencement. Mystery continued as Anil Ambani declared himself in London court as the bankrupt. Furthermore the Indian Banking association has brought out a list of 150 fraudsters who have taken a heavy loan from the banks and have not paid, Ambani is the number one. In the meantime at the border in Leh the intrusion of Chinese army which Modi felt shy of the matter as he visited 9 times to China and made an agreement with the Chinese counterparts to go for dealing with the Indian companies. Rafael has reached but Modi is playing in a churlish mood and one does not know the use of Rafael as Indian economic crisis has deepened with negative rate of growth and high rate of unemployment and problems of millions of migrant labour who demand for social security package.

In fighting against Covid 19 Prime Minister Modi says that “right decisions taken at right time, India is in stable position." The first case of Corona came in the month of January and Modi announced lockdown without preparation on March 24, after holding a Modi Trump festival in Ahmadabad which is experiencing the worst Corona cases. The workers suffering from Corona have been pushed to other states have spread the disease. He announced that it was a battle like Mahabharata but to be fought in 21 days. At the end the second lockdown declared when there were no testing kits and no PPE for doctors and nurses which created havoc among health workers. The Gujarati industrialists were allowed to import these items from China and according to Delhi High court which has been charged more than market price and defective. We went on one after another lockdown which has destroyed livelihoods of forty four millions of workers and which has pushed the economy to negative rate of growth and 23% of unemployment which is highest in India. No social security package for workers who lost jobs and no food for those without ration cards we go into deep morass after the right decision at right time taken by Modi. Modi used to speak loudly in 2014 that into account of each citizen would be given fifteen lakhs whereas the Corona cases have reached 15 lakhs which shows his timely decision and wise advice to Indian citizens regarding management of Covid 19.

Can Ambedkar and Gramsci be compared? Gramsci is a Marxist thinker who talks of workers' revolution and his article on revolution against capital explains the necessity of party to create situations for revolution. He wrote extensively against fascism and to fight fascism one needs the combined forces who can fight against fascism. He created new concepts of fighting against fascism like war of position and war of maneuver by understanding the strength at a point to create a new situation. He believes in battle against capital can be fought on cultural level against hegemony. These are critical concepts for understanding Gramsci's ideas and those ideas working in Indian context. Here Ambedkar a liberal thinker who conceptualized a battle against dalit oppression in a constitutional politics. Dalits were never under the caste hegemony and they were not like American slaves and they were different who suffered from the practice of untouchability which helped Ambedkar to tell to dalits to educate organise and fight which is a battle to be fought by the dalits. Here united struggle against the caste oppression is necessary perhaps here Gramsci's concept of united struggle against the fascism is relevant. Otherwise Gramsci and Ambedkar are two poles like North pole and South pole.

Omar Abdhullah has written an article in Indian Express telling that he will not contest the election till the abrogation of Art 370 is going to be withdrawn. He was the chief minister of J and K when his father Farooq Abdullah was the minister in the central cabinet headed by Vajpayee, his party and RSS were in favour of abrogation of Art 370. His grandfather Sheikh Abdullah was a progressive person who implemented the land reforms in the state perhaps the first one before Kerala and Bengal went for implementation of land reforms. They joined the BJP under the influence of his former wife as told by many that she was good in astrology on such superstitions the BJP believed in. Today the BJP under Modi has abrogated Art 370 and made Kashmir a central ruled state. This is the time his brother in Law in Rajasthan rebelling against the Congress chief Gehlot with the backing of the BJP and he supported it in the name of democracy. These are spurious arguments and a leader must show guts for his people and stand for democracy rather than supporting the BJP and Hindutva.

Advani as the hero of the Babri Masjid break down does not feel remorse but claims in the court that he is not guilty and he is scared of admitting that he led the hoodlums of his party to attack the 16th century mosque. In his autobiography he claims it. He led the so-called movement of the Ram Mandir with his sakha Modi in the chariot in Gujarat which created massive riots. He is surrendering like his Guru Savarkar who sent an apology to the British official while he was in jail. His sisya today the Prime Minister praised soldiers in the Kargil war twenty-one years back but remain silent over the Chinese entry into Leh in his man ki bat on Sunday. He does not talk to people directly but in the all India Radio. All these so called nationalists are very timid and coward people speaking loudly in showing their false bravado. These perverts should have loudly claimed about the destruction of the mosque and face the consequences bravely as the true servants of Ram. But the spineless meekly surrender before the courts in such safest times n place indicates they're true blue cowards.

One Gujarati became a Fakir after joining politics and another Gujarati became a king with expensive dress and flying only in jet planes. After making a law degree Gandhi returned back to India but he was disillusioned the way law as a profession has taken shape in Indian courts. In the mean time he got an offer from South African Farm which was controlled by a Gujarati Muslim. He joined this organization. His experiences in South Africa made him conscious of his moral philosophy. The importance of moral philosophy can be explained by getting hold of a book by His freedom to protest against the police as he belonged to a different race. This protest further enlarged his freedom to get engaged with “Unto This Last” on Mahatma Gandhi. During a long train journey in South Africa, Gandhi was given a book of John Ruskin (Unto This Last) by one of his friends. About this book, he has written that it brought an instantaneous change in his life and in thinking. Unto This Last" was ... the subversive masterwork of political economy by John Ruskin in 1904. ... In debating with Tolstoy he got a chance to enlarge his moral philosophy to newer horizon. Community farms got organized with the local labour which needed to help these worker’s family to get material and spiritual benefits. He worked as a trustee of this community property where he confronted his son who demanded a scholarship to be given to him for his higher studies abroad. Gandhi’s moral philosophy got further tested on the basis of reality. That his own child vs the children of workers working in the farm. This gave him to test his own self as a trustee. He refused to be blackmailed by his own son. He stood on neutral ground to confront himself in proving self and the other where he acted as a neutral self. His neutrality and objectivity made him aware of weakness of his profession where legal manipulation is a part of his job which he disapproved.

Gandhi brought Muslim masses into politics in non-cooperation movement. He approached the most popular leaders of Muslims Ali brothers for mobilization of Muslims and Hindus into one fold. This was a great experiment for keeping unity of masses. This he experimented ideas elucidated in his book Hindi Swaraj where he argued the ethical basis of Indian society it is not community but family and community who share the same space. This brought them together in politics. This book made him to confront Savarkar in London on the release of the book where Savarkar told Gandhi that he believed in violence which Gandhi replied in a strong word as he did not believe in violence. This confrontation has come to Indian politics after 70 years of Independence in Modi’s regime.
While negotiating with the Britishers in the round table conference demanding for all and that is Self Rule which can provide freedom for each family and community for realizing their potentiality. He opposed the separate constituency for Muslims and Dalits on the moral basis that all share the same space which would bring together to fight for their rights and justice.

Towards the end of his political struggles at the time of Independence he went alone for fighting against communal riots in Calcutta where he went on fasting to control the situation. After Independence he along with Nehru and others built a constitutional democracy for all where each community can grow with others. He blended individual, caste and community into one for his political works which resulted in a great constitutional text which guides everybody. That led him to be a loner in a creative sense that he moved to Nuakhali for controlling communal violence. He used to sing ‘akela cholo’ of Tagore. Today Gandhi's dream of communal harmony and constitutional democracy under the threat from Modi.

A friend of mine has sent a picture of a hospital in Muzaffarpur of Bihar where dogs are sleeping on the beds of the hospital. This brings out a picture that some years back we went to attend an international conference in Patna where a Professor Basanti from the central university of Hyderabad came and she made a joke that while she was coming from her home and her father wanted to know the reason behind her going to Patna. She answered that she would attend a conference on good governance in Patna and her father laughed loudly after listening to her reply. The old man replied that good governance and Bihar both did not go together. His laughter ended. Two states like UP and Bihar are highly populated state but suffer from very poor governance which resulted in poor health infrastructure in both these states according to Niti Aayog of the central government and both are being ruled by the BJP and with its ideology of Hindutva. If Buddha revisits these two states what feeling he will have and here a poem written by me below:

after getting enlightenment in Gaya
denounced the caste system
told, desire is the cause of suffering
today people do not have desire
they lost their jobs in the cities
they had no work
they desired to go home
they had no money or no income
they forced to walk with their children
they went in the migrant trains
many died on the high way and in trains
they went back homes
they were kept in quarantine
they collected food from their homes
they used to eat chapati and dal
today they are eating the same
the flood has come
their houses are destroyed
their grains are drenched
they carry their grains on plantain trees by making a bundle
they have desire to save their rice or wheat
they have no work in the villages
the king has said that they would get free rice
no money no schooling
Buddha want that knowledge can answer the problems
sufferings can be met by the help of knowledge
but schools are closed
children are moving in rains
jumping into river or pond
playing in mud
screaming for food and education
the king says that no schooling but with the internet
we will educate you
children have no mobile
they are forced to buy mobile
the children going to private schools
they have mobiles
but children going to government schools
no mid day meal or no mobile
our inequality has increased
poor has gone to debt trap
rich and powerful even enjoy in the lockdown
the poor today no desire
just they want to survive in the Corona
Sufferings are around us
Buddha was walking on the road from Gaya to Banaras
he wants to give his first sermon
but there is devastation around the road
there is demand for work food and education
children demand knowledge and food
everywhere sufferings
these sufferings are manmade but
The rulers are ignorant and cruel people
In both these states
He started from Gaya and reached in the centre of UP
both these rulers are brutal people
No compassion for their own people
No empathy for their own people
They have created caste mafias which I attacked
they work for these mafias
They forget their own people
they are happy that they rule over people
they have no understanding of
their economic situation
Buddha walks alone
in sober and quiet mood
loneliness prevails all over the place
the green field has been devastated by flood
society has devastated by castes and communalism
Buddha wants of social peace and harmony
people are listening to him
the knowledge can solve their problems
Not ignorance
having a discussion and dialogue
having sober judgment
and non violent social actions
Buddha is angry over the rulers
those who want to make India a tourist place as his birth place
they have no interest in welfare of people
they are cruel and stupid
Here stupidity rules over the river Ganga
the boatmen move slowly in the river
there is no hope
Buddha decides to leave this place
go to South East Asia

Prof Radhakanta Barik (retd), Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

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Aug 2, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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