INDIA AT THE CROSSROADS

The polity seems to be crying out for new politics, politics which is ‘radical’ and ‘inclusive’ at the same time. So I attempt to explore the essential elements of the strategy geared to the search for ‘radical’ and ‘inclusive’ politics which will hopefully reinforce and renew the vision that had inspired the idea of modern India and was crystallised in the formation of our Republic.  

 – S. P. Shukla

The eclipse, the abandonment is the product of the last two decades. The events of the last year or so have only aggravated the concerns. The situation as it had evolved and we faced at that time was disturbing enough. The line of reasoning that I had indicated in my mind, remained valid; indeed the contradictions highlighted therein seem to have deepened. The issues currently dominating the people’s political agenda (as distinct from the agenda of the mainstream ruling and opposition political formations which are best summarised by the almost indistinguishable slogans of ‘India as an Emerging Power’ and ‘Shining India,’ respectively) have their origin in this eclipse and abandonment.
These decades have witnessed the emergence of a new phase in the growth of world capitalism which has taken a more aggressive, more rapacious, more encompassing, global form. At the global level, this has given rise to new and deeper contradictions; it has also produced new crisis situations. The eclipse and abandonment of the elements inspiring the vision of modern Indian polity that we have witnessed and the consequent emergence of the people’s political agenda need to be situated in the contemporary global environment.

The three issues that currently dominate the people’s political agenda are:

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  •     Agrarian crisis.

 

  •     Deep sense of insecurity and alienation of mi¬norities.

 

  •     Assertion of Dalits and virulent negative reaction of the ruling elite to it.

Each one of these issues is directly relatable to the founding principles of the Republic. Their emergence on top of the people’s agenda is the dialectical reaction to the eclipse of these principles. The global environment has encouraged and emboldened the ruling classes to abandon these principles. The economic reforms of 1991 onward signaled the reversal of the self-reliant economic paradigm of the Nehruvian era and adoption of a new paradigm of outright integration with the new global order of capitalism-imperialism. The lndo-US nuclear deal of 2007 seeks to fasten a strategic lock-in to ensure our irreversible absorption into the global order of neo-imperialism.
This global order is intent on forcible control of the oil and gas resources of the globe without which the hegemons of the order are not in a position to maintain their hegemony, indeed, their whole civilisation with its present life-style. This order spells out a new paradigm of land and water use based on corporatisation of the basic resources of land, water and seeds. Last, but not least, this order can sustain itself only by negation of the process of democratisation and the subjugation of the working peo¬ple; in short, by promoting fascist politics.

The last two decades have witnessed the emergence of a new phase in the growth of world capitalism which has taken a more aggressive, more rapacious, more encompassing, global form. At the global level, this has given rise to new and deeper contradictions; it has also produced new crisis situations. The eclipse and abandonment of the elements inspiring the vision of modern Indian polity that we have witnessed and the consequent emergence of the people’s political agenda need to be situated in the contemporary global environment.

Each of the requirements of this order runs counter to the basics of our vision of modern Indian polity. The obsession with appropriation of oil and gas resources is sought to be rationalised in terms of the pseudo-thesis of ‘clash of civilisations.’ This obsession has systematically generated Islamophobia (often couched in misleading and meaningless nomenclature of ‘global war against terrorism’) which has become the inevitable and crucial adjunct of the strategy of the global order of neo-imperialism. Indian polity simply cannot internalise this dimension. The corporatisation of land and water resources will only aggravate the agrarian crisis which is severe as it is as a result of the policies of integration of the Indian agrarian economy with the global capitalist agrarian order driven by agri-business. Further aggravation of the crisis will be explosive. And the fascist politics crushing all democratising processes is particularly lethal in a plural polity marked by age-old social injustice and inequity.

The three issues of people’s political agenda enumerated above have to be seen in the context of three major contradictions manifest at the global level:

  •     North vs South;

 

  •     ‘Growth’ vs Environment;
  •     Aggrandisement of the Corporate Capital vs stagnation of the median and now rapidly growing job losses (in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development  countries, particularly USA) and immiserisation of the masses (particularly in the Third World).

 

 

And the three major crisis situations that are unfolding in the world:

  •     US/Israel military aggression in West Asia;
  •     Decimation of the peasantry, particularly in the Third World;
  •     Fragility and rapacity of the global financial system.

The circuitry of interconnections between the three issues of people’s political agenda, on the one hand, and three contradictions and crisis situations at the global level, on the other, passes through the critical junction built in by the pursuit of ‘globalising growth’ which has been unquestioningly accepted by the mainstream political formations as desirable or inevitable or both. By ‘globalising growth’ is meant growth which is dependent and volatile, unequalising and polarising, environment-endangering and livelihood-displacing. In other words, it is the growth strategy adopted by the ruling classes in most of the Third World in the name of ever deeper integration of their economies with the global order of neo-imperialism.
The fragility and rapacity of the global financial system has already resulted in the worst ever financial turmoil since the 1930’s. But the infatuation of the ruling classes with the ‘globalising growth’ refuses to abate. Nor does the literal decimation of hundreds of thousands of peasants make any impact on their fascination with this goal. And they seem to be unperturbed about (if not covertly welcoming) the NATO military knocking at the north-western border of the subcontinent.
The logic of globalising growth persuades our ruling classes to ignore, obfuscate or minimise the three major contradictions at the global level. More dangerous, it compels the ruling establishment to stand by the wrong side of the contradictions (North, ‘Growth,’ Corporate Capital) and against the right side (South, Conservation of Environment, Poorer Masses). Consequently, in responding to the triple global crises, the ruling classes find themselves either defenceless (as in regard to fragility and rapacity of the global financial system and the threatened decimation of the peasantry) or on the wrong side (as in case of military confrontation between US-Israel and the West Asian peoples).

 

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