Ideologies are myopic
While multinationals have stabilised in India, and recruitment portals are replete with the statistics of employment, we have to look at the various spaces people occupy mentally, while serving the nation.
Ideologies tincture our worlds. We presume that right wing ideologies are totalitarian, but then, so were left wing ones. And those who were fence sitters, representing the right to remain neutral, were generally vacuous. When India won its freedom from the British, the Gandhi-Nehru leadership had it’s moments of extreme tension, since mutual dialogue was not always possible. Industrialisation and Nehru’s “new temples of India,” have always communicated that the nation knows best. As a result rural people are always buttressed between the world they have known, and the rights to tradition, which they hold so sacred, and the sensibilities of the elite, who mark them as backward, ignorant and superstitious. Worse, they often play on these sentiments in a bid to bring them to their side of the fence.
A former naxal from St Stephen’s College, once said that they had to leave the villages because the villagers could no longer feed them. The daughter of a famous BJP politician said that actually they were like everyone else, but for reasons of political gain, they played the Hindutva card. “Like everyone else” in the late ’70s, when the Jan Sangh flags were beginning to flutter in places like Ashram and Lajpat Nagar, in New Delhi, meant “modern, anglophile and looking towards America as the site of popular cultural consumption.”
It is not surprising, then, that forms of socialisation make us perceive agriculture as something that industrialisation should promote, trampling the interests of the farmer with small holdings, underground. That two and half acres is the national average for producing bumber crops is something Indians should be proud of. However, that industrial elites look to colonising everything is a self evident fact. The joint stock companies, sociologists argued in the 1960s, created a buffer between bourgeoisie and proletariat. That was when the factory was the mode of organising, and joint investments integrated a rising middle class into the profits to be made by investing in companies.
Today, however, as the sociologist Daniel Bell foresaw, it is the laboratory that predominates, and since secrecy and surveillance are its bywords, the oligarchy of scientists excludes the common masses from decision making, and “fear and trembling” are the natural consequences.
Socialism, co-operatives, unions all become redundant in these new economies. Political organisation in these new states disclose that federation is irrelevant when it comes to the colonisation of rivers, mountains, fertile lands, deserts, even the sea. The commons are considered to be the right of exploitation by contract to private parties, for enhancement of industrial goals. Tribals and peasants are rendered even more marginal. Craft communities are deprived of their natural skills, as their poverty forces them into manual labour for construction. Since they are dehumanised, they are merely paid minimum wages and left to their skills as a lumpen proletariat to survive in the midst of real problems such as infant mortality, maternal mortality, and decrepitude in old age. Caste comes in as a useful explanation for their condition, as everything is blamed on their previous life.
Consensus about religious participation between upper castes and lower castes leads to euphoric states during ritual events. Merchants and workers combine to engage in participation where the presence of gods and goddesses further elaborates this forced servitude upon the lower castes. The depletion in the numbers of the working class members enrolled in unions is only too apparent.
Socialism by itself, without it’s self regulating mechanisms leads to tremendous inefficiency. The industrial barons, as debtors to nationalised banks, clearly represent the way in which the bourgeoisie are able to thwart the codes of modern banking and send the entire nation into paroxysms as we saw in the winter of 2016. Earlier recessions had not disturbed the Indian economy because of the resilience of post box economies which nestled in the post office, and of course keeping money under the bed, and in cupboard by housewives who always managed to stow away savings for a rainy day. The mountains of cash which surfaced are still to be recycled, after being
shredded, to make notebooks for government school children.
The second example of socialism without legitimation is of course Air India. There is a category known as tickets for LTC, which charges more than the sum routinely charged by Airlines companies for air tickets, by several thousands. If the government employees do not book through a company called Laurie and Balmer (some relic mnemonic from the past) the tickets are not refunded by the government. So this is a form of corruption, as the government siphons money from one account to uphold another.
Susan Visvanathan