17 October 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party of India. On 17th October, 1920, the Communist Party of India was formed under the supervision of the Comintern at Tashkhent. A 7-member committee was formed comprising Mohd Shafi, M N Ray, Evelyn Trent, Roza Fittingoff, Mohammed Ali, Abani Mukherjee and M P T Acharyya. Mohammad Shafi was elected the General Secretary of the Party. After the formation of this Party many Mujjahidins leaving India to fight against British rule from outside joined this party and mainly in the Soviet Union they learnt Marxism-Leninism and became communists. From that time those comrades were relentlessly engaged in building contacts in the country and Mujaffar Ahmmad, S A Dange, Singaravelu Chettiar, Sapurji Shaklatwala etc. like persons became their main source to expand party work within the country. Since the inception of this committee, the Communist Party tried to develop the freedom struggle in India. For that reason after some training in Tashkhent military institute and others the ex-mujahids who had joined the Party tried to return to India. Among them around 10 comrades were arrested and tried in several conspiracy cases. Peshwar and Kanpur conspiracy case were famous among these. Although severe inner problems cropped up within the Party very soon after its formation – mainly due to the clash of the two key role players Comrade MN Roy and Comrade Abani Mukherjee – and hindered the development of a big movement, yet this attempt created the basis for the formation of a real Party within the country. Comrades like Mujaffar Ahmmad, S A Dange, Saukat Usmani, Sapurji Saklatwala, Singaravelu Chettiar and many others came forward to develop the party within the country, as a result of which on 26th December, 1925, in Kanpur, the Communist Party of India was formed within the country. In 1920 we can say the kitchen work of the party building had started.
In this write-up our intention is not to go into the history of the Communist Party of India, but rather to evaluate the past in brief so that it can be helpful to develop a concrete understanding of our past, based on which we can prepare the way to develop the communist movement more vigorously.
First of all, especially in the context of the present situation in India, we need to assert clearly that since the formation of the Party, Communists were the main propagators of complete independence from British rule in India. Though today many erroneously suppose that the Congress was the main force fighting for independence, yet the fact is that before its Lahore Congress the Congress Party did not take the resolution of complete independence. Everybody knows about the fight of the Moderates and Extremists within the Congress. The Moderates were not in favour of complete independence while the Extremists were in favour of complete independence. Most of the time the Moderates were the majority in the Congress. The Communists were working in the Congress and it was in fact their contribution that within the Congress party the Extremists – rooting for complete independence – became strong enough to put up a fight against the Moderates. And in the Lahore Congress, under the pressure of Communists and Congress leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose, Gandhiji was compelled to admit the resolution of complete independence. Another fact is that the Communist Party was banned since the beginning and there were several conspiracy cases against the Communist leaders. Meerut Conspiracy case, Kanpur Bolshevik Conspiracy case etc. were famous among those cases. In this way, through the whole phase of freedom struggle, the Communists led the workers’-peasants’ movement independently and, along with the Congress, were the main qualitative force in the freedom struggle.
In spite of this great sacrifice, vigorous role in freedom struggle, we can say pivotal role in the freedom struggle, the Communists were not able to emerge as the leaders or the decisive force in the freedom struggle. The main problem was that the Indian Communists were lacking theoretically. One of the founder leaders, Comrade Mujaffar Ahmmad, said in his memoirs that our leaders were not so much theoretically sound as the Chinese leaders. On the question of working class leadership in the democratic revolution, the relation between class and caste, the nationality question, the relation between internationalism and nationalism, role of the bourgeoisie etc., the understanding was very poor and in some cases non-Marxist and non-dialectical.
First of all, the Communist Party of India was not able to take the decision that the freedom struggle would be victorious through the leadership of the working class in close alliance with the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie and a small middle bourgeoisie and a section of the big bourgeoisie who were in favour of Nationalism, who were patriotic bourgeoisie. Fraternal parties like China, Britain etc. warned our party about ‘tailism’ of the Indian National Congress. But unlike China they couldn’t take a stand to lead the national liberation struggle. Due to this shortcoming the CPI failed to use the inner contradiction within the Congress and failed to win over the patriotic section who wanted to unleash an uncompromising battle against the British. Most particularly, the Communists made a historical blunder at the time of the ‘Quit India’ movement. When ultimately all sections of the bourgeoisie, including comprador section also (fearing Japan), were mobilized through the call of ‘Quit India’ and the whole nation were aroused by this slogan, the Communists kept themselves away from this movement on the plea that if the British left then that vacant place might be fulfilled by Japanese Imperialism! At that critical juncture the then leadership failed to understand the concrete situation of the country and, at the same time, of the world. If a national liberation struggle against the British was unleashed, that would not have been a hindrance to the formation of anti-fascist alliance with states like Russia, Britain and America. Rather that might have been conducive to develop an anti-fascist front because at that time the British would have been compelled by circumstances to agree to it. Actually the CPI failed to differentiate between the foreign policy of a socialist state and the national liberation policy of a colony. This dialectical thought was missing. It was a great blunder. Due to this, there still remains an impression among the people of our country that Communists were not eager to overthrow British rule. If we see internationally, we will realize that Comrade Lenin and the Bolshevik party as well as Comrade Ho-Chi-Minh later did not make this mistake. Rather they created instances of how to utilize the inner contradiction of imperialism. They really turned the imperialist war into civil war and were able to overthrow the immediate oppressor of the country and thereafter successfully resist the other aggressions. But we failed and this created so much anarchy in the Communist movement that we are still suffering from its effects. It was as a result of this blunder, this inability to take a dialectical approach, that Communists labeled Subhas Bose was supposed as ‘Tojo’s pet’ and created a very bad impression. One wrong idea invites another wrong idea. At the critical juncture, where the British were really weak, the Communists made one mistake after another. Though they played a significant role in the movement for the release of the Azad Hind Fauj prisoners, their position regarding Subhas Chandra Bose obscured their involvement in the freedom struggle. However, it should be kept in mind that it was not only the Communists who dishonored Subhas Bose and disparaged his heroic role. Nehru was far more guilty of doing so. Not only that, Nehru also took an active role so that Subhas Bose could be caught and arrested. He wrote a (now well-publicised) letter to the British Government accusing Russia of giving refuge to Subhas Bose. This is the history. We know that bourgeois media don’t highlight this role of Nehru. But there is no denying that the Communists had made a monumental mistake. The mistake continued in the assessment of and attitude to Gandhi. For a time Gandhi was elevated to ‘Father of the Nation’ and then, later, he was labeled as a traitor to the nation, a stooge of British imperialism. Both assessments are not true. When we are discussing this after a hundred years of the formation of our Party we should consider the question more concretely.
The second point of mistake, we can say, refers to the relation of caste and class. Caste is a unique feature of our country. Indian Communists were against caste discrimination and fought against caste oppression. But on the question of caste eradication they took a reductionist approach. Their standpoint was – through class struggle caste division will be eradicated, there is no need of caste-based organization or need to raise the slogan for eradication of caste system separately. Thus they failed to lead the people who were fighting against caste oppression. Although it is true that Ambedkar’s position cannot overcome caste discrimination and eliminate the caste system, it is also true that the Communists were not able to develop anti-caste movement. Rather they were confined to show how the caste oppression will end after the victory of the revolution. This hindered the development of good relationships with the leaders of the Dalit movement. For instance, when Ambedkar formed the Scheduled Caste Federation and raised the demands of the Scheduled Castes, the Communists criticized this step. It is true that if workers will be divided into many sects it will lead to problems, but at the same time we have to take into consideration the aspiration of the repressed section. The Communists could have refrained from joining this organization but at the same time it would have been wise to refrain from criticizing it. This would have strengthened the unity of the workers and would have left space for all sections of the workers to come together after some time. It is our duty to organise Dalits and for this we have to fight the alien trend also, but at the same time we have to think whether the alien trend consists of a contradiction within the people or with the ruling class. Dalits are the most repressed section in our society. This should definitely be kept in mind and thus the manner of criticism against this alien trend should necessarily be different.
Thirdly, similar problems occurred regarding the women’s question. Though women’s organizations were formed, what was missing was any clear idea regarding the role of women in the Party, weakness in the understanding that women form a repressed section both in production relations as well as socially. For instance, among the seven founder members of the Communist Party two were women, Evelyn Trent and Rosa Fittingov. They were not Indian by birth. But they played a pivotal role in the formation of our party. But are their names or their contributions familiar among the ranks of the Communists? Rather not. The little they are known is merely as the wife of MN Roy and Abani Mukherjee respectively. It is also the Party’s history that books written by women activists were banned for openly criticizing the patriarchy in the party. We know that in this society patriarchal trend remains in every male and female. In the Party also this trend definitely remains. So fight against this should be encouraged. If overreaction occurs, it is the duty of the leadership to understand and explain. But instead of welcoming the criticism, Party leadership discouraged many women comrades from wholetime party service. We are still not well aware about the role of women in the building of our Party. If this propaganda work is taken up, it would encourage more and more women comrades to get the confidence to come forward. Now there is a popular version – much hyped by bourgeois intellectuals and the media – that in the Communist party oppressed sections like women, Dalits and minorities cannot become leaders. We cannot contradict this. That is our shortcoming. That does not mean that we have to start quota system. Rather, we have to create an atmosphere so that the comrades who due to their social hindrance and handicap cannot come forward, may be educated and prepared to take the responsibility of leadership. Actually some questions are concealed, either deliberately or thoughtlessly. Who knows that the first General Secretary of the Communist Party was Mohammad Shafi, a Muslim by birth? Who knows that the main and pivotal role to form the Party was taken by those who were Muslims by birth? Or that hundreds of Muslim mujahids who joined the Party were either executed or sent to exile for several years? Who knows that Guruchand Thakur, leader of the Matua Mahasangh, was also the leader of the Kisan Sabha? Who knows that he and the Matuas have played a heroic role in the peasant movement influenced by the Communists? Actually all these questions remained unimportant in the Communist movement due to the failure to understand the peculiar type of our nation.
Fourthly, regarding the nationality question the Communists made the mistake to take the Muslims as a nationality. Where every Marxist teacher has said that without a territory no nation can be developed, our leaders didn’t follow that teaching. By the time they realized this and raised the slogan of formulating states on the basis of language, it was too late. Pakistan and Bharat were already agreed upon. This was also a big mistake of the Communists. We are suffering from the consequences of these mistakes till now. We know about the debate between the Bunds and the Bolsheviks regarding the national cultural autonomy of the Ehud. But Indian Communists actually took the Bundist position by accepting Partition based on religion.
Fifthly, the question of art and culture was also dealt with from a reductionist approach. The issue was democratic centralism. Artists will produce according to their will. The particular thing which is necessary for the Party and campaign can be produced specially. But we cannot say that a cultural activist should always produce as the party leaders dictate. Sometimes their output may be beyond the party line also. But Communist leaders should handle this flexibly. This is also true in the party democracy. We know that difference is absolute, unity is temporary. That is true also in party life. But although there was so much difference within the higher strata of party leadership, when this difference came out in the ranks then immediate actions were taken! Particularly this happened with the cultural activists.
There was a situation of pre-independence period. But after the transfer of power so many problems developed regarding the immediate action and regarding the analysis of the concrete situation. Again two extreme positions came. One section supposed this was real independence and hailed Gandhi as the ‘father of the nation’, while another section termed characterized it as ‘fake independence’. After the transfer of power, the “Fake Independence” section was the majority in the Party. So in order to turn it into ‘real independence’ another unsuitable insurrection programme was taken and implemented. But naturally it failed. At that time people were not in favour of another insurrection to oust the Congress Government. Though people were not very satisfied with the outcome of independence, they were neither ready for immediate insurrection. Actually the people were to some extent happy and satisfied that the British were no more directly ruling over us. So actually it was distorted, crippled independence, but still it was independence. This is one aspect. The other aspect is that it was not real independence, it was indirect rule of imperialism. India turned from colonial to a neo-colonially dependent country. But the then leadership failed to understand these two aspects of the contradiction and bluntly raised the slogan, “Yeh Azadi Jhuta hai, Desh Hamara Bhukha hai.” Actually this slogan was erroneous as a poverty-stricken country can indeed still be independent from colonial rule. So this slogan failed to point out the real nature of the independence. After democratic revolution in People’s Democratic China, that country was also plagued by hunger, but that did not mean that China was not free! Thus the Indian Communist leadership failed to understand the concrete situation.
After failure of the insurrection and several setbacks another trend was strengthened. Though the heroic struggles of Tebhaga and Telengana were led by the Communists and several workers’ strikes were organized under their leadership, the coming of parliamentary democracy, which was unfamiliar to everyone, gave rise to a new kind of problem. On the one hand, parliamentary cretinism was strengthening and, on the other, the trend of excluding parliamentary struggle was also increasing. The main section of the leadership went to the reformist path. In 1962, at the time of Indo-China war, these two trends split away and in 1964 CPIM was formed. But the question was not resolved. Though CPIM decided to join parliamentary elections, they were still actually unresolved regarding the tasks of the Government. Thus what was written in chapter 112 (that the government will work for relief in this system through a benevolent programme) of their programme, was actually nothing but a compromise solution with the ruling class. In 1967 the real nature of it was practically proved. The United front government in West Bengal where CPIM was majority suppressed Naxalbari movement and CPIM openly supported this. Again the Communist movement split. CPI(ML) was formed through the continuation of Naxalbari movement in 1969. It was CPIML who brought revolution back to the agenda after a long time – something that the Communists had long forgotten till then. But still the problem was not resolved. In its fight against parliamentary cretinism CPI(ML) made great mistakes. Abandoning the question of working class in democratic revolution it was trying to make revolution only through the peasants’ militant struggle. Boycotting elections, mass organizations and even mass movements, CPI(ML) leadership got alienated from the people. As a consequence, a totally mechanical and dogmatic attitude towards history encompassed the whole movement. At the call of CPI(ML) thousands of youth and students plunged into the revolutionary movement but the CPI(ML) leadership not only failed to channelize this spirit to construct positive, continuous, relentless revolutionary struggle, they also trailed behind the inexperienced youth and students’ adventurist will. This was like a populist politics in another sense. Statue-breaking movement and annihilation type movements were some instances.
It is a matter of fact that the course of split in both cases was mainly the revolt against revisionist leadership. But the overall theoretical departure was not there. For instance, at the time of Chinese war both sections took extreme positions. One section supported the Indian government and took social chauvinist position while the other section blatantly supported China. While it was true that China was not the first aggressor, it was equally true that China’s failure to deal with a border conflict led to total warfare. China should have been more cautious because a powerful nascent revolutionary struggle was growing in India at that time. Ultimately the Chinese withdrew but the incident had a huge backlash. So those who blatantly supported China did not act wisely as their immediate aim should have been and they should have called for immediate end of war.
Now this past is haunting us. After hundred years now we are dwelling in a situation where the Communist movement is splintered. A big anarchy is prevailing on the question of theory. So, in this situation, materialist thinking and analysis of our past and rectification of all mistakes and development of a new stream of movement is essential. Developing a developed theory and movement is essential. What is necessary is a Party where there is the scope of raising these types of questions and resolving them through discussion, debate, study and practice. To develop this atmosphere, criticism and self criticism, learning and practice is necessary to build up a revolutionary struggle that can shatter the ruling class and be able to snatch the ultimate victory.
So on this day, on the 100th anniversary of the formation of our party, we can raise the slogan:
Dare to critique, Dare to learn, Dare to build and Dare to Win.
The Secretary General
United Nations, New York
Re: The United Nations Declare a Planetary Climate Crisis
Dear Mr Antonio Guterres,
This petition seeks your urgent intervention in the most pressing issue facing our planet, the looming climate crisis.
Recognizing the need for people to get involved to tackle the climate crisis and the urgency of action, 350 people representing many civil society organizations from five countries in South Asia – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – met in Hyderabad, India, on 18-21 September and launched the South Asian People’s Action on Climate Crisis (SAPACC). Our members include farmer’s organizations, trade unions, indigenous people’s organizations, fisherfolk groups, women’s organizations, indigenous people’s groups, environmental groups and other civil society organizations, youth groups, scientists and other professionals, and numerous concerned individuals from all over South Asia.
Under Article 2 of the Paris Agreement on climate change, member nations/parties to the Agreement agreed to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change”, including by “(a) Holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2oC above pre-industrial temperatures, and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels”. However, there is little evidence that they have done so. Emissions have continued to soar, as have global temperatures.
The impacts of the climate crisis have been particularly acute in South Asia, a region where millions of the world’s most underprivileged people live and who are deeply dependent on what natural ecosystems provide. Glaciers in Nepal have decreased by more than a quarter of their area since 1977. Sea level rise is accelerating in Bangladesh and the Maldives. Pakistan has faced severe flooding and also deaths from heat stress in recent years. In India, the crucial southwest monsoon has reduced in many parts of the country; heat stress is increasing; droughts are spreading, floods and water stress have become frequent—severely impacting the urban and rural poor. A combination of heat and humidity will make many parts of this region unlivable. Accelerated sea level rise will displace tens of millions in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Pakistan. IPCC’s 1.5oC Special Report of October 2018 states we have only twelve years before things get significantly worse.
We welcome your reported statement that “unless we make a course change by 2020, we face the possibility of runaway climate change with disastrous consequences”. We urge you, as Secretary General of the United nations, to ensure that our petition with the demands listed below be placed before the UN General Assembly and other UN bodies concerned with the climate crisis.
We demand that:
a The United Nations immediately declare a planetary climate crisis, and initiate ecologically, socially, economically appropriate and time- bound action plans to mitigate it;
a The greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries be reduced drastically to reach net zero by 2030, and of developing nations by 2040. This should be non-negotiable and binding.
a That all nations take responsibility for the injuries and damage caused by climate change in proportion to their historic emissions, and must include adaptation needs of less developed nations, small island developing states, and South Asian nations;
a Degraded land, water, air, forests, and biodiversity be restored as healthy ecosystems, also incorporating indigenous knowledge;
a A comprehensive policy framework for the rights of full rehabilitation of climate refugees be formulated and implemented; and
a The country emissions accounting framework be restructured to include outsourced emissions in the consuming country’s account.
Sudarshan Rao Sarde, Sagar Dhara and Soumya Dutta for SAPACC n
The aggressiveness of the attacks on any criticisms against the government as anti-national by RSS parivar has intensified sharply after Modi-2 took over. Governments are elected by the people. According to the Constitution, the people and their fundamental rights enshrined in it are supreme. So, people have full right to criticize all actions of the government. Nobody has the right to attack it as anti-national. Those who does it are anti-constitutional forces. After Modi-2 abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution and down-graded the state to two union territories, these jingoistic attacks on anyone criticizing these arbitrary actions have further increased. At the same time, the clamp down over people of the state, especially, Kashmir valley is continuing! A major section of mainstream media is hysterically justifying these violations of the rights of the people and suppression of the media’s rights in the state. All criticisms against these draconian acts are dubbed as anti-national or pro-Pakistan.
Modi-2 and RSS parivar are treating J&K as India’s property, similar to Pakistan’s stand. Both refuse to recognize J&K people’s right to decide its future. The United Nations’ Human Rights Declaration calls for the right of self determination of all nations. India is a multi-national country and its Constitution declares it is a federal republic, not a nation. The unity of federal India is based on the unity of the peoples of various nationalities inspired by the ethos created by the anti-imperialist independence struggle, and if their right of self determination is harmed this unity also will be in danger, which the RSS parivar, intoxicated by their Akhand Bharat concept, is forgetting.
When the British colonialists signed the instrument of transfer of power with leaders of India and Pakistan, it covered only the areas under direct British rule. The large number of princely states had the right to remain independent or join India or Pakistan signing their own agreements of accession. The governments of India and Pakistan succeeded to merge the princely states within their regions signing agreements with them, sometimes even using force as India did in the case of Hyderabad Nizam. As far as J&K, Manipur, Nagaland Sikkim and Baluchistan were concerned, they were not part of British India and as per the agreement, had right to remain independent or merge with either India or Pakistan. Though the leaders of both India and Pakistan had assured they will not act like the successor states of British colonialists with regard to redefining the international boundaries and for the right of self determination of these areas, soon both proved their expansionist intentions; Indian government soon integrated Manipur and Nagaland using military force. Pakisthan did the same with Baluchistan. In 1975 India annexed Sikkim also. When J&K king Hari Singh wanted to maintain it as an independent country, initially both agreed to it. But soon Pakistan tried to annex J&K using armed intervention. So Hari Singh sought military help from India which agreed to assist him after an instrument of accession was signed, based on which the Article 370 of the Constitution was later adopted.
As the UN interfered, it enforced ceasefire and a Line of Control, with both governments agreeing to withdraw their armed forces and hold a plebiscite for the people of J&K to decide their future. But, as both the governments were not for an independent J&K, both colluded to abort the plebiscite and to keep the J&K divided during the last seven decades. The imperialists were happy to keep this spot hot enough, so that they could continue their divide and control policy in the region, and loot fortunes by selling arms and equipments to both. In the interest of the ruling class and corrupt political class on both side, both the governments were competing to whip up hatred with each other, arming themselves to the teeth (even with nuclear arms now)and fighting three wars and indulging in continuous skirmishes, which has benefitted and fabulously enriched the corporate giants, while forcing the vast majority of the people on both side to terrific miseries and impoverishment!
With BJP, the political front of RSS with Hindurashtra goal, consolidated its power in India challenging the Islamic state of Pakistan, the scenario far worsened. For both J&K became a major bone of contention. Modi rule could become a reality and could come back to power by strengthening the majoritarian Hindutva, only by whipping up Islamophobia and hate Pakistan campaign every minute. If Pakistan is already in acute economic crisis, India is also now caught in the vortex of slow down. As the imperialists, especially US imperialists want to overcome their own economic problems and inter-imperialist rivalry with China by using these junior partners smartly, they promote. jingoism on both sides. The conflict between India and Pakistan is bound to reach unprecedented levels, especially after the arbitrary moves of Modi-2, at the peril of the people of J&K and in India! India’s defense minister has announced possibility for re-thinking on ‘no first use’ of nuclear arms. It is soon reciprocated by Pak prime minister announcing his preparedness even for a nuclear war! On 28th August Pakistan test fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear arms. One Pak minister talked about war breaking out in October. It is reciprocated by India’s defense minister declaring not only J&K, even the areas beyond Line of Control are integral part of India! On both sides, jingoistic forces and corporate media are busy in whipping up hatred and war hysteria, while Trump and company are enjoying the game played by Imran and Modi!
In this dangerous situation, it is the right of the people to talk boldly and correctly: J&K is not the property of the reactionary governments of either Pakistan or India. Its future should be decided by the people of J&K through a plebiscite or referendum after both India and Pak withdrawing their army from both sides of the Line of Control. In order to achieve this, all progressive democratic forces should create public opinion to demand repealing of the arbitrary action of 5th August by Modi-2, withdrawal of the army to barracks, and immediate withdrawal of the curfew and clampdown from the whole region. If a nuclear war is unleashed by the religious fundamentalist and fascistic forces, the war mongering governments on both sides, it will be catastrophic for the whole South Asian region. So all progressive forces in this region should mobilize the peoples of the whole region to condemn this jingoism of both these governments and work for building up anti-imperialist unity against their reactionary govts., with the vision of a South Asian People’s Unity!
We appeal to all struggling forces to come together and demand the withdrawal of all suppressive acts of the fascist Modi-2 in J&K! Let us demand bilateral discussion between both governments to politically resolve the J&K problem, involving the people of J&K and based on their right of self determination! Expose and try to defeat the war mongering of both governments and create public opinion against a nuclear war which will be catastrophic to people of not only both the countries, but to whole of South Asia! Just because BJP’s or any other government is in power, we are not its slaves, we have the right to expose and oppose its anti-people deeds! Oppose and resist the barbarous policy of Modi-2 and RSS parivar dubbing all their critics as anti-national! We are the patriots who oppose imperialists of all hues and their lackeys and stand for genuine secular democratic federal India, while Modi-2 and RSS parivar are imperialist stooges who preach Akhand Bharat, but disintegrate country through their divisive Brahmanical manuvadi Hindurashtra! Intensify the struggle for federal people’s India, for unity of people of South Asia! n
When Modi.2 was ascending to power, we wrote in the beginning of June, 2019: “Then the outcome is an extra-ordinary galloping of financial speculation led by the most corrupt corporate class under whom the so called development itself is transformed in to a by-product of money-spinning businesses throughout. Modi’s second coming implies a further opening up of the floodgates of ultra-rightist, neoliberal corporatisation subjecting the working classes and all oppressed to the domination of the most degenerated financial class in every sphere. Its outcome shall be unprecedented wealth concentration in the hands of the most corrupt tiny financial elite and intensified pauperisation and loss of purchasing power for the vast majority.” (“India’s Impending Crisis”, Red Star, June 2019). Now within three months of Modi.2, India is in that horrific situation. Today, even the saffron-corporate media which till now have been indulging in propaganda blitzkrieg on Indian economy’s concocted fastest growth under Modi are now forced to recognise it as in deep recession. As such, contrary to the hollow claims of 8 percent GDP growth claimed by official agencies at the time of Modi.2’s maiden budget in the beginning of July, the growth rate has now plummeted to just half of what they claimed a few months back.
As is widely conceived now, India is confronting the biggest economic plunge since 1947, even as the saffron leaders continue to boast of making the country a $ 5 trillion economy in 2024. Agriculture and industry are shrinking and unemployment is the biggest in five decades. Exports show the biggest decline in seven decades while external value of the rupee at Rs.72=$1 is the lowest-ever. Consumer market including the much trumpeted fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is in doldrums. Transactions pertaining to real estate, housing, automobiles, and textiles are at their lowest level. But the most critical aspect of the economic downturn as reflected in the inability of the common people even to purchase a five-rupee biscuit packet is just casually mentioned in the mainstream discussion. Under the UPA regime, Arjun Sengupta, the Planning Commission expert had estimated that 83 percent of the Indian people earn only Rs. 20 or less a day. However in view of the prevailing historic slump of Indian economy, the percentage of pauperised population devoid of even Rs.20 per day will definitely have gone up. In fact, the plight of the most deprived including the peasants, the tillers of the soil, and the unorganised or informal working class who constitute the largest chunk of the toiling masses in India are the least discussed in corporate media.
However, the entire mainstream analysis of the economic collapse is from a neoliberal”supply-side” orientation implying that it views the disease affecting the economy from the perspective of corporate investors and the plausible threat to their wealth accumulation. On the other hand, Modi’s far-right analysts are reluctant to approach the downturn starting from an evaluation of the abysmal fall in consumption or consumer demand, which depicts more than 50 percent decline in the first quarter of the financial year 20019-20 compared to that in 2018-19 according to World Bank statistics. Obviously this is due to the unprecedented downfall of people’s real earnings and purchasing powerarising from unparalleled job loss everywhere. Therefore, common sense demands an urgent intervention on the part of govt. to overcome the deep recession in India through picking up mass consumption demand byboosting employment-oriented productive spheres such as agriculture, industry, manufacturing, etc.
On the other hand, the sole purpose of Modi regime’s maiden budget presented on July 5, and the four successive ‘booster’ or ‘stimulus’ packages (or so called mini-budgets, quite unprecedented in the economic history of nations) announced since August 23, has been to channel more and more national wealth and people’s money directly in to the coffers of the most corrupt corporate plunderers who themselves are responsible for the present crisis. Meanwhile, along with the Modi govt. that identifies itself as a ‘facilitator’ of corporatisation, both corporate media and neoliberal ideologues also are cunningly engaged in camouflaging the fact that the present stagnation is corporatisation-induced. It is well-recognised under neoliberalism that the so called investors who have got unfettered freedom and access to all corrupt means in the economy are interested only in speculative and money-spinning activities along with direct appropriation national wealth including natural resources that yield fabulous profits within the shortest time, and that both employment and share of wages in national income are slowing down at an alarming rate.
The soaring corporate profits and wealth accumulation are systematically backed by what are euphemistically characterised ‘ease of doing business’, ‘investor-friendly measures’ etc. encompassing biggest-ever corporate tax exemptions and direct wealth transfers to the super-rich. In India, for instance, this reactionary process under Modi.1 and Modi.2, have led to a situation where more than three-fourths of the national wealth generated is now appropriated by one percent of the top billionaires. This corporatisation process is also facilitated by continued by a series of fiscal measures pertaining to expenditure-reduction and austerity steps, casualization or informalisation of the workforce and deliberate reduction in real wages and an outright plunder of nature. While these steps result in biggest concentration of wealth in a few billionaires and multi-dimensional poverty for the broad masses they have transformed India as one of the most corrupt countries in the world today. While these trends constitute the essence of the crisis today, the corporate-saffron fascist regime, the co-opted media, and neoliberal intellectuals revealingly keep silence on the concrete Indian situation as experienced by common people.
As is obvious, the successive mini-budgets or booster packages that follow the July 5 General Budget aimed at directchannelling of public money appropriated from the peoplein to the coffers of the corrupt-parasitic billionaires and super-rich classes, cannot in any way resolve the unprecedented economic slowdown. In accordance with the prevailing neoliberal logic, itunleashes the ‘animal spirits’ (a phrase frequently in use among neoliberal spokespersons today) of the anti-people and reactionary financial class further enabling them to appropriate ever-greater share of country’s shrinking output as manifested in the skyrocketing stock and financial indices thereby leading to hitherto unknown levels of poverty and destitution of the vast majority of working and oppressed people. In other words, the outcomeof all the fiscal and monetary measures implemented in under the guise of alleviating the crisis is an aggressive transfer of national resources to corporate looters imposing heavier burden on the backs of toiling people.
Therefore, every intervention on the part of Modi regime to resolve the crisis is nothing but an intensification of the corporatisation-induced recession with wider and deeper manifestations. In other words, the economic collapse is used as guise for strengthening the neoliberal regime in more vicious forms. No doubt, neoliberal credit rating agencies like Moody’s and neo-colonial institutions led by Fund-Bank combine are also instigating the Modi regime to resort to a further deepening of the far-right economic policies in this regard.
For instance, the latest ‘booster dosage’, the fourth in the series,comprising fabulous corporate tax-exemptions announced on the eve of Modi’s Houston program where he accomplished one of the biggest sell-outs of India to US imperialism, led to a sudden ballooning of the stock market that skyrocketed stock indices by more than 2000 points adding the largest single-day speculative gain worth more than Rs. 6 lakh crore on September 21, 2019. Revealingly, this has nothing to do with increasing productive capacity, employment generation and purchasing power of the common people. Rather, these measures trumpeted as pro-investor measures act as a drag on the job-oriented productive economy.
As such, the crux of the problem today is to politically understand that with every step towards boosting corporate accumulation, not only the economy is collapsing, but the scope of manoeuvrability within neoliberalism is increasingly exhausting. Thus it is clear that any attempt at resolving the crisis is to be sought outside the logic of corporatisation, or rather a reversal of Modigovt’s blind adherence to neoliberalism solely oriented to the ultra-wealthy sections. That implies no short-cut but calls for a political resolution with a program of reversing the far-right policies leading to the oppression of corporate-financial class over the people. So long as that political alternative is delayed, every worsening of the crisis that is inevitable will result in the ruling regime continuing to put far more heavy burdens on the backs of the people in manifold ways on the one hand, and utilising the economic collapse itself as the foundation for corporate-saffron fascism on the other. Along with its divisive, majoritarian Hindutva offensive, fascism in India too, as elsewhere, is the super-imposition of the tyranny of the most reactionary, utterly parasitic super-rich corporate classon the broad masses of toiling people. It is definitely a ‘do or die’ situation before Indian working class and oppressed people and there is no other option except to resist and defeatthis terrorist dictatorship of saffron-corporate capital.
“Fourth Booster” is also Incapable to Revive the Economy : Scope of Manoeuvrability is Fast Depleting
Since the 3 booster packages announced by Modi regime since August 23 aimed at unleashing the “animal spirits” of the corporate looters have done nothing to revive the sinking economy, today, Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister has come out with a fourth booster shot to shore up investor sentiments leading to a sky-rocketing of the Sensex by 1650 points increasing the wealth of corporate speculators by around Rs.2. 5Lakh crore, the highest single-day gain in Indian stock market, while these lines are written. Included in this booster shot are a further reduction of the corporate tax rate from 25 percent to 22 percent for existing companies and to 15 percent for new companies, reduction of minimum alternate tax from 18.5 percent to 15 percent, exemption of listed companies from buyback tax, surcharge exemption for speculative (capital) gains made by foreign speculators (FII), etc., that will result in annual revenue loss of Rs.1.45 lakh crore to govt. in addition to the Rs.8.99 lakh crore corporate-tax exemptions announced in the July 5 Budget and a series of direct wealth transfer measures announced in the stimulus packages announced since August 23.
However, according to the logic of corporate wealth accumulation prevailing today, this 4th booster package that is announced as part of mounting crony capitalism—the unholy nexus between the most corrupt corporate capital and the neoliberal state— is not in any way going to reverse the economic downturn. Today India is in a vicious corporatisation-stagnation trap resulting in a total breakdown of the economy. The exponential growth of the parasitic-corrupt corporate class at the expense of employment-oriented genuinely productive activities threatening the very sustenance of the vast majority of toiling people has been the essence of the crisis today. Therefore, boosting up the very same anti-people corporate-financial class through repeated fiscal and liquidity manipulations will not contribute anything in the direction of alleviating the systemic crisis; rather it is oriented towards an aggravation of the economic collapse further. It is also a clear symptom that the space for manoeuvre is fast depleting under neoliberalism.
Further, the injection of lakhs of crores of people’s money in to the coffers of the corporate plunderers who themselves are responsible for the present historic crisis, without doing anything in the direction of reviving the real incomes and purchasing power of the vast majority of people who are subjected to hitherto unknown levels of deprivation and destitution is an outright fascist act too. It is the super-imposition of the tyranny of the most reactionary, utterly parasitic super-rich corporate class integrated with saffron forces on the working class and the oppressed. It is high time.
Where Modi-2 Government is Leading the Economy to ?
After officially acknowledging India’s historic economic downturn in 70 years, on August 23, 2019, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a series of initiatives including further abolition of corporate taxes and many wealth transfer schemes to the superrich completely ignoring the unprecedented deprivation and destitution borne by the vast majority of common people. Till now, the govt. spokespersons have been working overtime to depict a rosy picture of the economy even manipulating data with official agencies. However, this ‘window dressing’ got exposed itself when global credit rating agencies like Moody’s Investors Service and even the Bretton Woods twin (IMF-World Bank) themselves have come forward strongly confirming a well-defined recession in India. It is in this context that, following Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar’s comment on the threatening financial system and particularly in the midst of Modi’s world tour, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reiterated her govt’s unwavering commitments to corporate capital as announced in the maiden budget along with several fresh corporate-investor friendly measures.
The package of announcements include a series of tax exemptions and tax rolling backs including withdrawal of capital gains tax and surcharges on corporate speculators— both foreign (FPIs) and domestic— in stock markets, infusion of an additional Rs. 70000 crore into banks enabling them to lend another Rs. 5 lakh crore to corporate sector, dilution of violations of Corporate Social responsibility as a mere civil offence, pursuance of a soft approach to tax evaders, empowering bank officials to pursue a soft approach to corporate defaulters and so on, all in essence aim at further encouragement to ‘ease of doing business’ and boosting corporate animal spirits.
While such a mega booster is imparted to the corporate billionaires and foreign speculative investors for sky-rocketing the stock indices, there is not even a mention on the ground reality of the economy or on the extent of deprivation to which vast majority of the toiling people are subjected. In fact, the whole economy has been shrinking on account of withdrawal of productive investment by both public and private sectors, and as a manifestation, post-GST tax collection itself has gone down by 10 percent. Indian rupee’s biggest ever depreciation is also integral part of the all round economic collapse. And even in the productive sphere that is sustaining, on account of the informalisation and casualization of workforce unleashed by corporate capital in its mad pursuit of super exploitation, the real earnings and purchasing power of the workers are shrinking at an alarming rate, even as unemployment rate is the highest in five decades. At the same time, under the Modi regime, with more than 80 percent of the national wealth generated being gobbled up by just one percent of the most corrupt corporate class, India has become one of the most unequal countries in the world.
Meanwhile, under such pro-corporate measures as Demonetisation and GST that while sucking out the life blood of the vast majority depending on cash-based informal and unorganised sectors on the one hand, and fattened the superrich on the other, corruption has grown to such an extent making India the most corrupt country in Asia surpassing Thailand and Pakistan. While there is no dearth of anti-corruption rhetoric from rooftops, the ultra-right neoliberal policies of the corporate saffron regime has done nothing to unearth the accumulation of vast sums of black money by the ultra-wealthy sections in offshore and domestic tax havens. And a major factor behind the unprecedented liquidity crunch that the economy confronts today is the diversion of funds mobilised from various sources to intricate, tax-evading underhand deals.
Along with this, intensified downsizing and rollback of the state sectors coupled with collapse of industry and agriculture and drastic reduction in social spending have led to absolute reduction in the consuming/purchasing power of the people leading to lack of ‘effective demand’. Ironically, even while the economy in general is experiencing a downturn and common people are subject to more deprivation, corporate billionaires are successful in shoring up their super-profits. For obvious reasons, it is well-nigh impossible for Sitharaman even to mention these underlying factors that led to the present economic tsunami in India with its unfolding repercussions in the days ahead.
The slew of neoliberal-instigated tax-liberalisation and wealth transfer measures intended to further replenish the corporate looters now pursued by the Modi regime that resemble a ‘mini-budget’ are quite reminiscent of the “quantitative easing” and “rescue packages” pursued by the imperialist powers ranging from the US and EU to China following the 2008 global economic meltdown. According to estimates, for instance, immediately after the financial crash, around 25 percent of the GDP of US was channelled in to the coffers of corporate-financiers who themselves were responsible for the crisis. But the crisis is still continuing. The outcome of the booster dose now imparted by Modi.2 is also going to be the same.
As the global economic downturn following the 2008 financial breakdown is a continuing process, India’s sudden economic collapse under Modi regime, though connected with many external factors, is different in many respects. For, as highlighted by several international and Indian experts, the Indian economy had been ‘relatively immune’ from the global meltdown of 2008 and as can be guessed from several studies such as the recent one by the Economic Research Department of SBI, the Indian economic scenario was relatively better on the eve of Modi’s ascendance to power in 2014.
However, as reported in the media, now apart from manipulation of data, a despicable move also is there to erase such statistics which are unpleasant to the regime from govt websites altogether, even as under Modi.2 alone Indian stock markets have experienced a whopping loss worth of more than Rs. 15 lakh crore within a span of just three months. This bursting of the bubble itself is a symptom of an extreme crisis where even the corporate cronies integrated with the saffron-fascist regime are losing faith in the economy. That is, the extent of the historic collapse of the Indian economy is incomparable with the contemporary situation elsewhere including that in the leading imperialist powers US and China which are engaged in an unprecedented protectionist tariff/trade war.
Therefore, the ongoing economic collapse is inseparably linked up with the far right shift in economic policies under Modi regime. The root cause of the crisis today is the pan-Indian extension of the Gujarat model of aggressive corporatisation that took away even namesake barriers to corporate plunder. Indian economy today is engulfed in a vicious cycle of corporatisation-stagnation trap. No amount of ‘window dressing’ as that now resorted by the regime can drag the economy out of this crisis which is bound to assume further dimensions. What requires is a fundamental and immediate reversal of the explosive growth of the most corrupt and parasitic corporate class sucking out wealth from the real economy through manifold ways while remaining at the sphere of speculation.
And as the crisis intensifies, along with putting heavier and heavier burdens on the shoulders of the people, all avenues at the disposal of corporate-saffron fascism are deployed not only against workers and all oppressed including dalits, adivasis, women and minorities, but also on political opponents and dissenters. Obviously, there is no shortcut, and the only option is a political alternative capable of resisting and defeating this horrific situation. n
There has been a lot in the press recently about Kashmir and Article 370. Even more on the social media. It is astonishing as to how much of this is plain false. Sometimes propaganda and sometimes just idiotic tweets. To set the record straight, here is the factual history and situation with references.
Kashmir has known human habitation since the neolithic period as can be evidenced by the archaeological digs at Burzahom, Gufkral and Kanispur.1 However, it is the history of the region rather than its prehistory which excites much comment today.
There are references galore in unreliable sources about how Kashmir is referred to in the Mahabharata etc. It is said to have been ruled by the Kamboj kings. However there is no historical record of any such Kings having existed much less of them having ruled Kashmir. Be that as it may, what is known is that Kashmir from prehistory to history had a close affinity to those who ruled in the areas that are today known as Persia and Afghanistan. The Rajtarangini is clearly a history of Kashmir written in Sanskrit by Kalahana in the 13th Century. However, many of its more remote references cannot be believed and it transfers to history from myth as it approaches the 12th and 13th Centuries.2
Many parts of Kashmir were ruled by different kings and dynasties. In around 1320 CE it is generally accepted, Zulju came and defeated Sahadeva of the Lohara dynasty and became ruler of Kashmir. There is a lot of uncertainty about where he came from but was most likely a descendant of the Chagatays from Central Asia (descended from Changiz Khan). It is also unlikely that he was a Muslim.3 After Zulju, Rinchan who was a Tibetan Buddhist from Ladhak and who had been a minister under Sahadeva, became the King of Kashmir, He converted to Islam and is often called the first Muslim king of Kashmir. Why he took to Islam has many stories associated with it. Some say he tried to convert to Hinduism first but was refused by the Brahmins. In any case, we can safely assume that there must have been a large number of Muslims already in Kashmir for him to have made this conversion almost immediately after becoming a king. After Rinchan, his minister, Shah Mir ruled as did his descendants from the Shah Miri dynasty till 1561.
From 1320 till 1561 the Shah Mir dynasty ruled Kashmir. The Islamisation of Kashmir was more or less complete at this time, what with such tyrannical rulers like Sikander Shah or Sikander Butshikan (Sikander the idol-breaker) who forced many to convert to Islam. In 1561, Kashmir was conquered by Akbar who added it to the Kabul subah. Later, under Jehangir, it was made into a separate subah itself. Mughal rule continued till the beginning of the 17th Century when it was run over by the Sikhs in around 1819. However, the Sikhs in turn, lost it to the English in the Anglo-Sikh war in 1846. It is said that Gulab Singh of Jammu was a subsidiary of the Sikhs. However, he kept out of the war till the end when he came out as a mediator of the British. In appreciation – and at the price of Rs.7500000 (Rupees Seventy Five Lakhs) – the British sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh.
Jammu and Kashmir thus presented a very complicated picture at the time of independence. When partition was finally agreed to, the princely states in what was to become India and Pakistan were given the right to either accede to one of these or to remain independent. This right was granted to them under the Indian Independence Act, 1947.4 There were many princely states which almost took positions which were not acceptable to their people – like Jodhpur, Baluchistan and Travancore. These questions were solved and the states acceded to Pakistan or India.
However, Kashmir presented a totally different question Whereas the majority of the population was clearly Muslim in this state, the ruler was a Hindu, Maharaja Hari Singh. He was of the mind to continue Kashmir as an independent entity. This position continued till October 1947. On around 24th October 1947, armed tribesmen from the North went on the rampage, taking over rule into their own hands. They were threatening to overrun the whole of the state of J&K when the Maharaja of Kashmir called upon the Indian Government to come to his aid and signed the instrument of accession on 26th October 1947.
There has been a lot of talk that the instrument of accession only allowed for 4 topics (Defence, External affairs, Communication and Ancillary subjects) be left to the dominion legislature for making laws. However, this was the same as the instrument of accession signed by all other princes and princesses. All were encouraged to form their own constituent assemblies and some of them did5. It was in May 1949 that the states met the leaders of the Indian Constituent Assembly and agreed that they did not need any separate constitutions and that the Indian Constitution would suffice. This is also when the representatives of J&K to the constituent assembly asked that their state be treated differently. But we are getting ahead of the story.
On 26th October Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession. The instrument of accession signed by him was the same as that signed by more than 550 different princely states in India. All of them provided that the Central Indian legislature could only legislate on Defence, External Affairs, Communication and ancillary matters. All of them had a clause that the acceding royal did not have to accept the Indian constitution which would eventually be passed. This is the basis of the argument of those who say that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
The difference between Kashmir and other princely states lies in other factors. It is clear that the Indian authorities had accepted that there would have to be a plebiscite in Kashmir where the people would have to be given a chance to decide whether to stay in India or to go with Pakistan or stay independent. Though the instrument of accession does not mention any such assurance, nor was there any separate instrument at that time assuring the Maharaja of any such plebiscite, this promise of a plebiscite can be accepted as a basis for the accession from the surrounding circumstances.
The Indian side had always made it clear that the only correct method would be to accept the will of the people of Kashmir. This had to be so as the Indian leadership of that time had clearly accepted the concept of “self-determination”. Though the instrument of accession did not mention anything about determining the will of the Kashmiri people, the letter of Mountbatten, written as the Governor General of India, immediately after accepting the accession of Kashmir said, “it is my Government’s wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of Kashmir’s accession should be settled with reference to the people”6 Nehru had repeated this assurance many times. On 25th October 1947, Nehru wrote to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, by telegram, “I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with the wishes of people and we adhere to this view.”7
The same telegram was repeated to Clement Atlee, the Prime Minister of UK. On 28th October 1947 after Indian troops had entered Srinagar by air on 27th, Nehru sent a telegram to Liaqat Ail Khan, “I would welcome an early opportunity of meeting you and discussing various problems that have arisen, more specially developments in Kashmir about which I have informed you. I earnestly hope that there will be cooperation between Pakistan and India in stopping raids and putting down disorder and then leaving choice about future to people of Kashmir. I am glad to learn that you are likely to visit Delhi for Joint Defence Council meeting soon.”8
There are many instances where Nehru reiterated that though Indian troops entered Kashmir in October 1947, this was only to help Kashmir to defend itself and the future of Kashmir would only be decided by the will of the people of Kashmir. For instance, his broadcast to the nation on All India Radio on 2nd November 1947. Nor was this only Nehru. As shown earlier, Mountbatten writing on behalf of the Government as the Governor General had stated that the people of Kashmir would be allowed to choose whether to remain with India immediately after accepting the accession of the Maharaja.
Even before the accession, Gandhi visited Maharaja Hari Singh on 2nd August and had issued a statement from Wah (a place in West Punjab in Pakistan) on 6th August. Gandhiji’s statement indicated that the will of the Kashmiris was the supreme law in Jammu and Kashmir and that the Maharaja and Maharani agreed with him.9 Gandhi wrote to the Nehru and Patel that the leaders of the National Conference were “..most sanguine that the result of the free vote of the people, whether on the adult franchise or on the existing register, would be in favour of Kashmir joining the [Indian] Union provided of course that Sheikh Abdullah and his co-prisoners were released...”10
The best proof that India wanted a plebiscite to be held was that on 1st January 1948, it was India which moved the UN to hold a plebiscite. India complained to the UN Security Council under Artilce 35 under which a state could bring to the notice of the UN any situation which might threaten internationa peace. The Indian compaint stated that Pakistan was aiding armed incursion into Kashmir and India had therefore sent troops there. It stated in the complaint that as soon as normalcy was restored, it would want a plebiscite or referendum to be held to determine the will of the people.11 Pakistan responded by refuting the allegations and suggesting that India had staged the accession of Kashmir in a fraudulent manner and that there was presently a genocide against Muslims and aggression against Junagadh. On 20th January the Security Council passed a resolution constituting a three member commission to investigate the complaint and try to resolve the dispute. There followed a period of intense campaigning and discussion. Not only between India, Pakistan and the UN but also with the State Government of Kashmir (led by Sheikh Abdullah), the administration of Azad Kashmir (led by Ghulam Abbas) and other countries taking part. For instance it was the Canadian delegation which first suggested that a third option of independence for Kashmir be a part of the plebiscite. There were also attempts to get an agreement for independence for Kashmir with guarantees from Indian and Pakistan. A plan was also put forward that areas like Poonch, Gilgit and Mirpur would go to Pakistan while the rest would remain with India. However, none of these options could get the required consensus.
In March 1948, China (then the Republic of China and not the People’s Republic of China) put forward a resolution in two parts. Firstly Pakistan was to persuade the tribesmen and its nationals to leave Kashmir, secondly conditions for a plebiscite were to be created which included withdrawal of Indian troops and appointment of a plebiscite administrator and thirdly the state government was to be reformed to represent all political groups. After much discussion, this finally resulted in UN resolution 47. The gist of the resolution finally accepted:
- Pakistan was asked to use its “best endeavours” to secure the withdrawal of all tribesmen and Pakistani nationals, putting an end to the fighting in the state.
- After the commission is convinced that point 1 is being put into force, India was asked to “progressively reduce” its forces to the minimum level required for keeping law and order. It laid down principles that India should follow in administering law and order in consultation with the Commission, using local personnel as far as possible.
- India was asked to ensure that all the major political parties were invited to participate in the state government at the ministerial level, essentially forming a coalition cabinet. India should then appoint a Plebiscite Administrator nominated by the United Nations, who would have a range of powers including powers to deal with the two countries and ensure a free and impartial plebiscite. Measures were to be taken to ensure the return of refugees, the release of all political prisoners, and for political freedom.12
Both India and Pakistan rejected this resolution. The Indian objections had to do with the fact that the Plebiscite administrator was to be given too wide powers (including appointing special magistrates), that the Muslim Conference (the opposition in Kashmir) and the Azad Kashmir representatives were to be chosen by themselves, that Indian troops were required to withdraw totally not even being retained for defence, etc. It also felt that asking for the return of all refugees was not realistic. Pakistan’s main objections were that there must be equal representation for Azad Kashmir and the Muslim Conference in the Government as the National Conference and it did not want even the minimum Indian forces retained in Kashmir as allowed by the resolution. Both however welcomed the UN Commission called the UNCIP (United Nations Commission on Indian and Pakistan). One important result however was the acceptance of ceasefire and the demarcation of a ceasefire line.
The UNCIP tried to make both India and Pakistan agree to the terms of a plebiscite. A plebiscite administrator was appointed in Admiral Chester Nimitz of the USA. The main stumbling block was the demilitarising of Kashmir. The UN appointed a Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), to try and demilitarise, which still exists.13 However, though both parties accepted the solution, they had different interpretations of if. Especially the portion where India was to withdraw the “bule of its forces”. Also India had concerns about the Azad forces which in the period of negotiations had grown into an army of 32 battalions. To sum up in the words of Josef Korbel the Czech chairman of the commission, “Accordingly, the Commission did not see any other way out of the impasse than to propose an arbitration of differences. Pakistan accepted, India refused. The Commission’s report to the Security Council was quite critical of India’s attitude.”14/15
Since the commission could not achieve its aims, in December 1949 the UN appointed Gen. McNaughton, the Canadian President of the Security Council to informally mediate. He put forward a plan for demilitarising the area. Pakistan agreed but India did not. The UNCIP was succeeded by Sir Owen Dixon, an Australian jurist16 Dixon tried different approaches. He said if demilitarisation be not possible then it might be possible to take portions to be apportioned to India and Pakistan (like large parts of Jammu to India and Poonch, Gilgit and Mirpur to Pakistan) leaving the plebiscite only for the valley. This was also not accepted. He was succeeded by Dr. Frank Graham of the United States as the UN Mediator. Graham continued to try to mediate a solution till March 1953. At that point he reported that the differences between India and Pakistan (over how to demilitarise Kashmir, who should hold power in the meantime and how the plebiscite should be conducted) had been narrowed down and they should now discuss on their own. In 1953, therefore, from 17th to 20th August17, Prime Ministers Nehru and Liaqat Ali met in New Delhi and finally issued a joint communique. The communique stated that though there remained many preliminary questions to be thrashed out, all such questions would be thrashed out and a Plebiscite Administrator would be appointed by the end of April 1954.18
Without putting too fine a point on this, it can be seen that till 1954 the Indian stand was clearly that the Indian army had entered Kashmir only in response to the invasion by the tribesmen and that they intended to decide the actual fate of Kashmir by a plebiscite. The instrument of accession was only seen as a legal document to justify the entry of Indian forces in Kashmir. India therefore assumed a moral stand that Kashmir could not be signed away by the Maharaja but required the consent of the people. This stand was changed in 1957. When Krishna Menon spoke in the UN in 1957, he took a different stand. His stand was that the instrument of accession had made Kashmir irrevocably a part of India. He said that though India stood by its commitment to determine the will of the people by a plebiscite and to implement that will, this was a question between India and the people of Kashmir and neither Pakistan nor anybody else had any say in this.
There is a lot more to be said on Kashmir and the contradictory stands that the Indian Government took in later times but that would be another story and would detract from our aim to understand the true nature of the revocation of Article 370. We may mention that there was a meeting on Kashmir between India and Pakistan in 1963 between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Swaran Singh (both then foreign ministers). They agreed to try and resolve the Kahmir problem peacefully and effectively to demilitarise. In 1966, in Tashkent, Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and General Ayub Khan met and could only issue a declaration of good intentions. In 1972 the Simla agreement was reached between Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi. Innumerable more attempts have taken place but more in the nature of show than any real intent to solve the Kashmir problem.
Besides the official proposals of India, Pakistan and the UN, many other proposals have come up for solving the Kashmir issue. Such proposals cover the entire gamut of possibility. Kashmir to be partitioned between Indian and Pakistan or to be free or to have various degrees of autonomy. Such partitioning to be either on the basis of a comprehensive plebiscite or a partial one (only in the valley, mainly) or on the basis of a negotiated settlement. Only two proposals need to be mentioned for the purpose of this article. The first that we need to note, a stand rather than a proposal, is the one taken by the BJP. They hold that Kashmir is an integral part of India and there is nothing to discuss and, in fact, their manifesto of 1998 calls for seizing control of all areas “under foreign occupation”.
The other proposal which is necessary to note is the one by JKLF (the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front). From the very beginning, there were three trends in Kashmir. Two were major. The National Conference led by Sheikh Abdullah represented the trend to stay with India because the national conference had been fighting to remove monarchy and establish democracy even before independence. The other trend was of the Muslim Conference. They wanted a muslim state to be established and therefore wanted to lean towards Pakistan. At the same time there wee a large section within the National Conference and outside it which wanted an independent Kashmir. This remains a popular demand. A poll in 2007 showed that 90% of people in the Kashmir valley wanted independence.19 The JKLF therefore proposes that there should be an independent Kashmir which will then unite and demilitarise for 15 years at the end of which there will be a referendum.
However it is not these proposals that we are concerned with now. To return to Article 370, one can immediately see what was the nature o the situation in which Article 370 was enacted in 1950. It was first introduced in 1949 as an amendment to the draft constitution then under the consideration of the Constituent Assembly – Article 306A (as it was then called).
At the time of independence in 1947, there were two types of territories in India. The Provinces which were directly ruled by the British (which were clearly like today’s states) and the princely states which enjoyed a greater of lesser degree of autonomy. Each princely state had its own relationship with the British. Mostly Defence, External affairs and communication, along with ancillary subjects were under the British whereas many others remained with the princely state itself. There were various types of relationships. For instance in Berar, the region belonged, till the 1940s, to the Nizam of Hyderabad but was leased to the British at the end of the Nineteenth century. The citizens were expected to owe allegiance to the Nizam but to obey the laws of Her (or His) Majesty and both flags were flown. In most princely states there were two types of courts – the local courts to settle the more “mundane” local issues and the British courts which could be invoked by European citizens and which governed “federal” subjects. Most princely states has their own armies, own flag, own boundaries and own customs duties.
There were more than 550 princely states in existence in 1947 which accounted for over 40% of the area of what was to become India and about 23% of the population. The largest by area and the 3rd largest by population was Jammu & Kashmir (with only Hyderabad and Mysore having larger populations. It was one of only 5 Indian states whose ruler was entitled to a 21 gun salute. This was the actual measure of the importance of the state.
This was the situation when the Constituent Assembly of India undertook the task of preparing a constitution. The instrument of accession finally signed by the 550 states did not give full rights to the Dominion of India. As pointed out only the right to legislate on matters relating to Defence, External Affairs, Communication and Ancillary subjects were ceded to the Indian legislature. Each state was given the right to draw up its own constitution. The instrument of accession provided that the acceding state would not be bound by the Constitution of India. Some states like Mysore, Travancore-Cochin and Saurashtra Union had already formed their own constituent assemblies.
It was a long and tortuous process to integrate the Indian states with India. The British Cabinet Mission plan had envisaged only a loose federation of states with only three subjects with the centre. To allow the 550 odd states to become part of India in a full fledged way required many improvisations. Some of the smaller states (and some larger ones like Kolhapur) were integrated into the Provinces. They formally ceded their power to rule in every way to the Indian Government. They were given privy purses and allowed to retain their titles in return. Some other states were united into a larger state (for instance Saurashtra Union, PEPSU (Patiala and East Punjab States Union), etc. These states then had a Rajapramukh appointed by the President. They had to sign fresh instruments of accession and then were persuaded to hand over rights to legislate on all matters in the Central List and the Concurrent list, as per the Government of India Act, 1935 (broadly corresponding to the same lists in the present Constitution) to the Union Government. These latter agreements, made in 1948-49 with all princely states are called Merger Agreements. By the first article the ruler ceded to the Dominion Government full and exclusive authority, jurisdiction and powers for and in relation to the governance of the State.20
All other states have signed such a “Merger Agreement” - except for Jammu & Kashmir. It is true that in 1954 the State Constituent Assembly of J & K agreed to adopt the Indian Constitution. However, it was the Indian Constitution with Article 370 that was agreed to be abided by. It was this article which was a special article for Kashmir which gave the centre only the right to make laws for defense, external affairs and communications as envisaged by the instrument of accession. Other central laws could only apply to the state if agreed to by the State Assembly
This article was not merely put in as a “sop”. As pointed out, J&K had a different history from the rest of India. At the very time of accession, they were promised a plebiscite to decide their fate. They were the only Indian princely state which did not sign a merger agreement. V. P. Menon21 has written in his famous book, “The Story of the Integration of the Indian States”, about Kashmir, “When the Constitution was being finalised, the choice before us was either to leave the State our of the purview of the Constitution or to include it as a Part B state22. Since the legal fact of accession was beyond question, we decided to include it among Part B states; but its relations with the Government of India were confined to the terms of the Instrument of Accession, namely defence, external affairs and communication subject to the proviso that other provisions of the Constitution could be applied to Jammu and Kashmir in consultation with the Government of that State”.
Thus it can be seen that Article 370 (which was introduced by the Drafting Committee by way of an amendment during the Constituent Assembly debates as Article 306A) was not introduced due to the need to appease anybody but was the embodiment of the fact that there had never been any merger agreement with J&K. N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, one of the representatives involved in drafting the Constitution said, while replying to the question raised by Maulana Hasrat Mohan about why J&K was being discriminated.23
“The discrimination is due to the special conditions of Kashmir. That particular State is not yet ripe for this kind of integration.”
“In the case of the other Indian States or Unions of States there are two or three points which have got to be remembered. They have all accepted the Constitution framed for States in Part I of the new Constitution and those provisions have been adapted so as to suit conditions of Indian States and Unions of States. Secondly, the Centre, that is the Republican Federal Centre will have power to make laws applying in every such State or Union to all Union Concurrent Subjects. Thirdly, a uniformity of relationship has been established between those States and Unions and the Centre. Kashmir’s conditions are, as I have said, special and require special treatment.”
“We are entangled with the United Nations in regard to Jammu and Kashmir and it is not possible to say now when we shall be free from this entanglement. That can take place only when the Kashmir problem is satisfactorily settled.”
“Again, the Government of India have committed themselves to the people of Kashmir in certain respects. They have committed themselves to the position that an opportunity would be given to the people of the State to decide for themselves whether they will remain with the Republic or wish to go out of it. We are also committed to ascertaining this will of the people by means of a plebiscite provided that peaceful and normal conditions are restored and the impartiality of the plebiscite could be guaranteed. We have also agreed that the will of the people, through the instrument of a constituent assembly, will determine the constitution of the State as well as the sphere of Union jurisdiction over the State.”
“The effect of this article is that the Jammu and Kashmir State which is now a part of India will continue to be a part of India, will be a unit of the future Federal Republic of India and the Union Legislature will get jurisdiction to enact laws on matters specified either in the Instrument of Accession or by later addition with the concurrence of the Government of the State. And steps have to be taken for the purpose of convening a Constituent Assembly in due course which will go into the matters I have already referred to. When it has come to a decision on the different matters it will make a recommendation to the President who will either abrogate article 306A or direct that it shall apply with such modifications and exceptions as the Constituent Assembly may recommend. That, Sir, is briefly a description of the effect of this article, and I hope the House will carry it.
Besides Maulana Hasrat Mohani, the only other person who even spoke during this debate was Mahavir Tyagi who only rose to say that he was not in agreement with the wording of the Article but would not move any amendment.
So, it is clear that, firstly, Kashmir acceded to India only on the basis of an assurance that a plebiscite would be held soon. Though such an assurance was not written into the instrument of accession, it is clearly discernible from surrounding circumstances. The Indian Government only brought the army into Kashmir to protect it against the invading tribesmen. Though such invasion may well have had the support of Pakistan, it is no excuse for occupying territory. This only leaves Kashmir in the position of being a region occupied twice over. Thirdly, even legally, if we were to say that the instrument of accession is a completed action, still, there has never been any agreement of merger and there cannot be any justification for any powers to the Indian Government further than those fouind in the instrument of accession.
But all such arguments are merely formal and pale into insignificance when faced with the biggest argument of all. What of the will of the people? Kashmir has had an independent history. It has its own language and culture. It has its own economy. In such a situation, can we claim a right to Kashmir only on the basis of an instrument of accession signed by its ruler? Leave aside the fact that he is a Hindu ruler of a Mohammedan people. If we claim our right to Kashmir on the basis of this “legal” document, then we relegate our independence to being a creation of the Indian Independence Act of the British parliament. The Indian Constitution starts with “We the people of India give unto ourselves...” not “Whereas the British Parliament had enacted the .....Act”. What then of the people of Kashmir? Have they no say in what is to become of Kashmir?
India has held onto Kashmir dressed only in the fig leaf of the instrument of accession for too long. Now along comes Modi to tear away even this fig leaf by denuding the Constitution of Article 370 and struts around in the Emporers new clothes not realising that he is actually naked. India today stands in Kashmir as a naked occupying force. At least Article 370 had given it some legitimacy in saying that we are still waiting for the will of the people through a plebiscite. Even the National Conference which had for so long supported the unity with India is now totally alienated. Nobody in Kashmir is willing to accept the rule of India. To keep ruling, there is a clamp down with all internet and mobile communication being shut down in the valley for almost two months. Since the last seventy years and especially in the last two decades, Kashmir has become the most militarised zone in the world. So the average Indians cough up lakhs of crores of rupees to maintain a huge military presence in a hostile territory the only result of which is that the people of that region will hate India even more! This makes no sense at all.
1 See Prehistoric Archaeology of Kashmir : An Overview by Dr. Abdul Rashid Lone accessible at www.sahapedia.org/prehistoric-archaeology-of-kashmir-overview
2 See A. L. Basham and also R. C. Majumdar “Ideas of History in Sanskrit Literature”
3 The Mongol Invasion of Kashmir A.D. 1320 by Sameer Ahmed Sofi of the Aligarh Muslim University published in the International Journal on Advances in Social Sciences and Humanities in February 2016
4 10 & 11 GEO. 6. CH. 30.
5 Saurashtra Union, Travancore-Cochin and Mysore for example
6 White Paper on Jammu and Kashmir, 1948, page-47
7 Various sources show this telegram to have been written on the 27th October. However, the 10 volume tome by Avatar Singh Bhasin published in cooperation with the Pubic Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of Externa Affairs of the Government of India gives this date. Hence this date has been put.
8 From the same writing by Avatar Singh Bhasin on page 4775
9 Reported by Pyarelal in Mahatma Gandhi : The Last Phase, Vol II pg 355
10 as per Ramachandra Guha’s artice in the Telegraph online edition found at https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/gandhi-in-kashmir-gandhians-on-kashmir/cid/1698228. Incidentally Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues were released in September 1947 and Ramchander Kak the Prime Minister of Pakistan who was seen as pro Pakistan was dismissed at around the same time.
11 The text of this complaint is at http://www.jammu kashmir.com/documents/jkindiancomplaintun
12 The text of the resolution can be found at http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/doc/47
13 The Indian Government withdrew the 7000 square foot bungalow given to it in 2014. They however asserted that they will continue to work towards demilitarisation of Kashmir in rented premises.
14 Korbel, International Organisation, Vol 7, No. 4, (Nov. 1953) pp 498-510 published by University of Wisconsin Press
15 Korbel footnotes his comment to show that the report of the Commission can be found at “Security Council Official Records (4th year), Special Supplement No. 7
16 Owen concluded his report, “There is, I believe, on the side of India, a comception of what ought to be done to ascertain the real will of the people, which is not that tacitly asssumed by me. Doubtless it is a conception which Pakistan does not share.”
17 It is important to note that just 9 days before this Sheikh Abdullah, who was a supporter of India throughout, was arrested because slogans were raised in Srinagar calling for the evacuation of the Indian army.
18 The text of this joint communique is also available at the above cited artice of Josef Korbel.
19 See https://www.bbc.com/news/10161171
20 This is discussed in para 15 of the judgement of ht Supreme Court in the privy purse case at 1971 SCR(3) 9
21 V. P. Menon was seen as Sardar Patel’s right hand man. He has universally been held as the architect, with Patel of the integration of Indian states. In respect of Kashmir, he was sent to Kashmir on 26th October 1947 to get Hari Singh’s signature on the deed of Accession. L. K, Advani has also praised him as a defender of Hinduism
22 Part B states included the very large Indian states like Hyderabad, Mysore and J&K and also the large states formed by uniting other states like Saurashtra, PEPSU, etc
23 He was the only person who had any question on the article. He decried the discrimination to J&K, mostly on the ground that the Maharaja of Baroda was made to accept Merger while J&K was not. n
While Modi-2 is moving fast with its Project J&K, NRCs and all other saffron plans of muscular nationalism, even the mainstream media is compelled to talk about the economy going to the dumps, millions of jobs getting junked, essential commodities and services becoming costlier, not only hundreds of medium and small enterprises closing down, but major automobile units also declaring lock-outs, and the Sensex is spiralling down. As usual, utilizing this slow down, the India Inc, the corporate bosses, have already asked for Rs 1 lakh crore stimulus package from government to kick-start investment cycle, to revive growth, when at least five million Indians have lost their jobs between 2016 and 2018, and are in miserable condition. The draught and now ravaging floods in vast areas have thrown many more millions to serious plight.
Now more and more international economic sources also admit that Modi’s abrupt withdrawal of high value currency notes from circulation in November 2016, in the name of ending black money, curbing tax evasion and promoting digital transactions, disrupted small businesses and sparked layoffs. The introduction of GST next year compounded difficulties for some more businesses. Along with the traditionally poor rural masses, now the newly unemployed were mostly higher educated and young people, in the 20-24 age range, according to the study titled “State of Working India 2019”. “Among urban men, for example, this age group accounts for 13.5 percent of the working age population but 60 percent of the unemployed,” it said. An official survey that the government withheld showed unemployment rose to its highest level in at least 45 years in 2017/18. The unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in February 2019, its highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9 percent in February 2018.
Some of the recent indices compiled below show the extent of this economic slowdown: Jet Airways closed down, Air India in Rs 7600 crore loss, 54,000 jobs of BSNL in danger, No money to pay salary for HAL employees, Postal department at a loss of Rs 15000 crores, 1 million to be laid off in Auto Industry, Aircel is dead, JP Group finished, most profitable company in India – ONGC- is now making losses, PNB is in continuous losses, Videocon (India) bankrupt, Tata Docomo perished, and many more such distress stories not published in mainstream media. In the real estate sector, 12.76 lakhs flats are unsold in 30 major cities. In the automobile sector Rs 55000 crores worth cars are lying at factories or in sales rooms with no buyers. Same situation in two-wheeler and three wheeler fields also.
Though, as announced in this year’s Budget the Railways and all other remaining PSUs are on sale very fast through step by step privatization, the heritages like Red Fort are given on rent, air ports are given to Adanis for maintenance and operation, and red carpet is spread for the FDIs, giving more sops, the capital investments for the projected PPPs are very slow. At the same time, most of the present PPP projects under construction have failed to complete their targets in time. As the external debt of the country has reached 500+ billion dollars, the interest burden is also skyrocketing.
Meanwhile, even after allowing Rs 2.4 lakh crores loan waiver for few corporates, and huge amounts were written off as Non Performing Assets (NPAs) under Modi-1, all the nationalized banks are still incurring huge losses. But the government has not taken any effective action so far against the 36 largest debtors missing from the country. According to The Financial Express the loan write-offs by banks has crossed Rs 2 lakh crore (https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/banking-finance/npa-clean-up-loan-write-offs-by-banks-cross-rs-2-lakh-crore-in-fy-19/1646343). It is people’s money, being written off “liberally” by the public sector banks. Though technically the defaulters still remains liable to the lenders even after write-offs, the real urgency and public pressure reduces substantially. And the pressure of new NPAs (again - freshly lent using more of public money) will always take priority, thus pushing the written-off loans to the back burner. “In FY18, PSBs had written off loans worth Rs 1.28 lakh crore. Had banks not written off loans worth close to Rs 2.06 lakh crore in FY19, the value of non-performing assets (NPAs) in the system at the end of the year would have risen by an equivalent amount. The amount of loans written off in FY19 by PSBs could turn out to be even higher as the numbers for Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank, which now stand merged with Bank of Baroda (BoB) are unavailable.”
Not only the Nobel-winner Paul Krugman, but also a number of economists from India and abroad, who are in the main upholding the neo-liberal path, have warned that India’s growth story could end with mass unemployment and escalating stagnation. Still no corrective measures are put forward in the Budget (see the article on Budget). On the contrary, utilizing manipulated statistics, as Arvind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) under Modi.1 has pointed out, illusory figures of GDP growth are repeatedly presented to cover up the increasing slow down of the economy, which have once again reignited serious concerns about the credibility of government’s economic growth data, including the 2019 Budget estimates, even among neo-liberal economists.
The real concern of the working masses are factors like the decline or stagnation in real wages and real incomes, the lay-offs and retrenchments, the search in vain for jobs, the death and devastation caused by flood or drought, the crippling shortage of water and electricity, and the fight for survival in an unequal and harsh world affecting them. They are hardly addressed in the Budget proposals, while Modi and friends are celebrating their Project Kashmir and other measures palatable to their majoritarian Hindutva vote bank.
Even the concern of Modi’s own people in the RBI, SEBI, the stock exchanges and corporate headquarters, and banks are about the steep decline in the BSE and NSE indices, the depreciation of the rupee, the rising yield on bonds, the mounting losses in public sector banks, the stiff taxes, the pull-out by FPIs (foreign portfolio investors). At the same time, contrary to the projections in the Budget, the GDP growth rate continues to decline from 6.8% for the whole year to 5.8% in the last quarter of 2018-19. Core sector growth has dropped to a 50-month low of 0.2%, while capacity utilization in all manufacturing segments reached below 70%. The rupee is now Asia’s worst-performing currency, falling 3.4% against the US dollar in August. Investment in new projects (private and government) announced in the quarter ending June 2019 declined to a 15-year low of Rs 71,337 crore. The value of projects completed in the quarter fell to a five-year low of Rs 69,494 crore. Revenue earning in rail freight (that comes from carrying coal, cement, petroleum, fertilizer, iron ore, etc) grew only 2.7% in April-June 2019, falling from 6.4% in the same period last year. In consumption field, in Q1 of 2019-20, car sales were down 23.3%, two-wheeler sales were down 11.7%, commercial vehicle sales were down 9.5% and tractor sales were down 14.1%. July was worse. Industry associations (SIAM and FADA) have reported that 2,30,000 jobs have been lost and 286 dealerships have been shut. Consumption of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) was no better. Hindustan Lever, Dabur, Britannia Industries and Asian Paints, among others, have reported volume growth rate in April-June 2019 as one half or less than the volume growth rate in the same period last year. Among the sectors of growth: government expenditure, private investment, private consumption and exports, none of them is revving up.
In this situation, contrary to the optimism projected by the Modi-2, the economy is collapsing. It shall get aggravated as the US and other major economies are also under the threat of recession. Modi-2’s calculation is that the people’s reaction to further pauperization as a result of the slow down can be drowned by creating a flood of aggressive muscular nationalism, speeding up to Hindurashtra! It is the task of the struggling forces to expose and defeat the RSS project by mobilizing the masses and leading them towards their emancipation by throwing out Modi’s neo-fascist regime. n
Debiprasad threw new light on the question of the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy and its relation with materialism in our country. His investigation have problematized the apparently organized, however, a linier theory that the primitive communist society was matriarchal and the class-societies were patriarchal. He devoted two chapters for this subject in his Lokayata, under the title of Ganapati and Gauri. He showed that in the initial stage of hunting-gathering society where gathering was more prominent than hunting, there the society was matriarchal in nature. However, in the higher stage of hunting-gathering society where hunting was more prominent especially hunting by bow and arrow was introduced there the domination over the society was shifted to the hands of the male-folks from the women. Why? Debiprasad did not enter into a detailed discussion, but he indicated towards a huge socio-cultural- psychological and economical shift of the society. While Morgan and Engels both relied on the economic cause behind this transition in a strict sense, Debiprasad found it unsatisfactory, though, he never challenged it openly rather restricted himself in some indication, probably for the reason that he was a Marxist in such a time when economic determination was recognized as an essential component of Marxism and any deviation from it used to be considered as a deviation from the philosophy itself.
Similarly, Debiprasad showed that when the society advanced from the higher stage of hunting-gathering society to the initial stage of agricultural society again the domination over the society was changed and a reverse journey from patriarchy to matriarchy took place. Why? Why a gathering based society was generally matriarchal and a hunting based society was patriarchal? And why the initiation of primary agriculture re-established the domination of the women once again? Debiprasad employed one simple sentence to indicate the reason of the change. He said, “Hunting was the job of the male”. It is a well-accepted fact among the Marxists that the division of labour between male and female was the most primitive division of labour in human history. However, the Marxists never studied deeply the consequences of this division of labour in a society. Debiprasad restricted himself only in some indications which must be studied and elaborated by a new generation of the Marxists. In the chapter of Ganapati Debiprasad showed that the main weapon of the god was bow and arrow. In our country there are eighteen forms of the god Ganapati are found, with the common weapon of bow and arrow. It establishes sufficiently that the god emerged at the tribal hunting-gathering stage of the society which must have been pre-Indus Valley Civilization.
Before the discovery of the remnants of Indus Valley Civilization in the beginning of the last century it was thought that the Vedic civilization was the earliest civilization in India. However, the discovery extended the horizon of human knowledge about the history of civilizations of our country. More the study of this newly discovered civilization proceeds it has been revealed that it was an early agriculturist society where no definite evidence of ploughing is found. The inhabitants of this society learned to use floods and river water wisely as well as learned to erect dams for agricultural use. This civilization was a bronze-age civilization and mainly depended on agriculture. Debiprasad showed that this civilization was a matriarchal society where Ganapati lost its importance and in that place goddess Durga or Sakamvari or Gouri emerged.
Debiprasad discussed elaborately with an ancient ritual which is still observed in a large part of our country, called, Ganesha Chaturthi Vrata. This is a ritual related to agriculture where the presence of Ganesha or Ganapati is mainly namesake. The main character in this vrata is Gauri. The vrata is observed at the session of sowing the seeds. In the first day of the ritual the image of Ganesha is placed at the site of the ritual as simply the representative of the new moon but actually he is nothing to do with the ritual itself. From the second day he is totally absent and the ritual take a complete feminine character where Gauri replaced Ganesha. However, Gauri is not the Gauri of our familiar Puranic pantheon; instead, she is a bundle of plants, along with her human representative: a virgin. Debiprasad wrote: “The plants are collected by women, placed on a diagram drawn with turmeric powder. While wrapping these up in a bundle, married women are served with vermilion. Only women remain to participate in the rest of the ritual centering round this bundle of plants. The plants, along with the virgin, are carried from room to room and asked, ‘Gauri, Gauri what do you see?’ The virgin answers, ‘I see prosperity and plenty.’ To make this dramatic visit of Gauri realistic, her supposed footprints are actually drawn on the floor showing that she did enter the rooms.”
The people of Bengal and other eastern states know very well that these types of rituals and festivals take place throughout the months of September, October and November which are essentially related to faith, magical believes and conventions connected to agriculture. It is very clear to understand that all these rituals and festivals were originated in a society where hunting was no more the main economic activity. It was already replaced by agriculture, however, agriculture remained in its initial stage. At that point of time sufficient development in natural science was absent. As a result the human did not know the biological mechanism of a plant which produces crops. Agricultural production was still mere a mystery for them. At that uncertain state of affairs for production, for rain, for fertility of the ground and overall agricultural success the human needed to depend on magic and magical beliefs. These rituals and festivals related to agriculture were mere reflection of this fact. But what is the relation between agricultural rituals and the women? Why in all the agriculture related rituals and festivals are dominated by the women? Why in the brata like Ganesha Chaturthi the presence of the god Ganesha is only namesake? What is the significance of exit of Ganesha from the scene from the second day of the festival?
According to Debiprasad the answers of these questions lie in the fact that agriculture was invented by the women. Therefore, agriculture, especially, in its initial stage was the job of the women. As the hunting was the job of the men and the society mainly depended on hunting was invariably male-dominated, similarly, the society depended on early agriculture was invariably dominated by the women. Debiprasad quoted Briffault, “In the primitive division of labour the gathering and the cultivation of the vegetable food are the special occupation of the women as hunting is that of the men.” (Lokayata/252). Debiprasad quoted Giles from Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics: “Primitive agriculture is not altogether nor to any large extent, in the hands of males. As Von Den Steiner remarks of the Bakairi of Central Brazil, it is women that has invented agriculture….” (ibid/252).
At the first stage of societal development when gathering was the main economic activity women was the driving force of the society. When economic dependency was shifted on hunting the women were dislodged from their dominating position and the male folks came in the fore. The women were deputed to perform the household activities, childbearing, child-rearing and animal husbandry. In the course of performing these duties, especially animal husbandry, someday women invented agriculture. And it happened so naturally that not only in India, but in a large part of the globe it is evident that all the early agriculturist societies were characterized by female domination, matriarchal and matrilineal elements based on mother-right. Obviously India played the key-role to develop early agriculture and matriarchal system based on that. Debiprasad quoted Ehranfels: “Women here not only invented systematic tilling of the soil, but also put this into practice, which can be no means have been an easy task, as conservatism was so strong in primitive society, specially, in the primeval culture-circle, that some remnants of these pre-agricultural groups have been preserved to the present day. In consequence of the tilling of the soil the people of this first matriarchal culture-circle gave up roaming in the forest and became first settlers.” And again, “The mutual relations between Indian and non-Indian mother-right cultures are manifold. The general geographical and also the archaeological situation favours the theory that the world-culture of mother-right originally emanated from India.” And the mother-right of Indian society “appears to have created the ancient matriarchal civilization in the Mediterranean Basin, Oriental Africa, the Near-East and specially Southern Arabia.” Therefore, it was not an accident that the early materialism or proto-materialism found its early home in India and India was a land of materialism, quite contrary to the claim of the Vedantists that it is a land of spiritualism and idealism.
With the introduction of early agriculture there happened the exit of male and again the female-folks came in the fore. The main economic activity again came back in the hands of the women and the male-folks took the backbench. This social phenomenon is reflected in the brata like Ganesh Chaturthi where the presence of the god Ganesha is only namesake and he actually exit from the scene from the second day of the festival. Debiprasad here clearly deviated from the picture presented by Morgan and Bachofen, and also to some extent Engels regarding the transition from matriarchal to patriarchal society. Morgan explained the transition as a general point of view which very often seems as a linear development. However, contrary to that Debiprasad offered a comprehensive theoretical framework which actually contains the zigzag path of societal development. The initial matriarchal society based on gathering and hunting, where the main emphasis was laid on gathering, not hunting, was replaced by the higher stage hunting-gathering society where hunting by bow and arrow was the main economic activity. We have already seen that this type of society was invariably a patriarchal one. From this stage society developed further, somewhere in the globe to the early agriculturist society and somewhere into the pastoral society. Debiprasad wrote: “The categories do not constitute a fixed chronological sequence. Food gathering and hunting have come first everywhere, but the higher grades depend on the local fauna and flora and other environmental factors. Thus, after food-gathering and hunting, some of the people of the ancient times moved towards the pastoral economy while some others discovered agriculture.” (ibid/236) In the pastoral society patriarchy continued, however, in the early agriculturist society the matriarchy came back which was again replace by patriarchy when agriculture rolled on into the higher stage of agriculturist society.
These observations of Debiprasad solved the age-old riddle regarding the early Vedic society. From the theoretical framework put forward by Morgan and Engels we came to know that the classless society was matriarchal society based on mother-right but when the private property came in dominance the ancient clans had to be broken and the mother-right must be destroyed to pave the way patriarchy in order to retain the property within the family. Therefore the uncertainty in the identification of the father of a newborn baby must have been vanished. As a result monogamy was imposed on the women while polygamy in case of the male-folks continued. Therefore, class societies must be patriarchal according to this theoretical understanding. In the main classless society was matriarchal and class societies were patriarchal. This was a clear-cut characterization put forward by Morgan and Engels. How then can we explain the presence of the class divided early agriculturist society like Indus Valley Civilization which was matriarchal in nature? And how can we explain the presence of classless pastoral society like the early Vedic society which was patriarchal in nature? Morgan-Engels formula does not provide an answer. Here is the significance of Debiprasad that he solved these riddles with more elaborated observations which in return developed not only the general philosophical understanding but the Marxist theory on the questions related to the transition from pre-history to the civilization.
What was the main reason behind the transition from classless matriarchal society to class divided patriarchal society? According to the Morgan-Engels theory although the classless matriarchal society had its own dynamics and constant changes can be seen throughout the history of classless society, however, it was the origination of private property which put the last nail on the coffin of the matriarchal society based on mother-right. On the contrary Debiprasad put forward a different idea. The gathering-hunting society was matriarchal because gathering was in the main the job of the women. The higher stage of hunting-gathering society was patriarchal because hunting, especially, by bow and arrow was the job of the men. Pastoral society was patriarchal but early agriculturist society became matriarchal because agriculture was invented by the women and it was their job. Now what does it all mean? How far this psycho-economic and cultural approach can be considered as a Marxist approach? These questions deserve an elaborated discussion which we like to address in opportune moment. However, it can now be said at least that if the Communists of country already would have taken up these valuable observations of Debiprasad and addressed these questions there was a chance to develop the Marxist theory in order to combat the mechanical Marxist ideas which have played very important role to develop revisionism.
Anyway, according to Debiprasad early agriculturist Indus Valley Civilization was the source of matriarchal society and consequently proto-materialist beliefs like Tantra. Tantra like doctrine which gives immense importance to the concept of awakening the female power was originated in a matriarchal society. The deities like Kali, Durga, Gauri or Sakamvari came into the imagination of the people at that type of society, Debiprasad explained. In order to describe the origination of Shakta cult (related to goddess Kali) he quoted many times from The Indo-Aryan Races written by Ramaprasad Chanda: “The Shakta conception of the Devi, as Adya Shakti, ‘the primordial energy’, and Jagadamva, ‘the mother of universe’, also very probably arose in a society where matriarchate or mother-kin was prevalent.” It is a well accepted fact the Aryan society was not this kind of society; neither matriarchal nor matrilineal. That was the reason why Debiprasad asserted so confidently that Tantra or ancient materialism in India was originated in Indus Valley Civilization and had a close connection with matriarchy.
Debiprasad considered this magic-based belief-system which had its lot many deities and rituals as pre-spiritualistic or proto-materialist? He remarked, “Ganapati, indeed, leads us to presume that the nature of this pre-spiritualistic, or at least proto-materialistic, that is, Lokayatika, in the sense in which we have understood it.” But the question is why Debiprasad did not want to identify these belief-systems with religion proper? Why he called these notions pre-spiritualistic or proto-materialistic? A thorough reading of his texts suggests that one of the major reasons behind this understanding Debiprasad was that these belief-systems worked in order to develop the productive power of the society through more confident and enthusiastic human action while the religious doctrines always undermine human action and teach to suspend human efforts as the supreme goal of humankind is never related to this-worldly phenomena.
Since the time around 15OO BCE the Aryan tribal groups started to enter ancient India or Jambudwipa. We have already seen that the Aryans were pastoral and nomadic groups based on patriarchal social system. As a result a ferocious conflict started to open up in this part of the globe between matriarchal early agriculturist people and nomadic pastoral patriarchal tribes. Since the Indus Valley script is yet to be decoded and on the other hand the Aryans had no script at all at that point of time, the history of this conflict is not readily available. Debiprasad tried to reconstruct this history from myths, puranas and ‘religious’ texts. Bachofen applied this same method in his famous work Mother Right. Debiprasad reminded us that Marx too admitted this method: “As is well-known, we have abundant data from the religious and mythological point of view, but hardly much from the point of view social history proper. So we propose to begin from a different end. If it true that religious ideas are ultimately conditioned by concrete material factors, it should be possible for us to discover something about these material factors by examining the religious ideas in which these are reflected. As Marx said, ‘the reality of the past seems reflected in mythological fantasy’. We may therefore examine the mythological fantasies in order to arrive at the ancient reality.” (ibid/126)
In order to understand the history of this conflict Debiprasad resorted to Rig Vedic evidences. He described elaborately how Indra, the war-god of the Aryans defeated, raped and drove Usha, the mother-deity of matriarchal Harappa from the valley of Indus to the banks of Bipasha. From the narratives of killing Vrta by Indra Debiprasad described how the Aryan destroyed the dams built by the people of Harappa civilization in order to destroy their agricultural system. However, the materialism of Indus could not be destroyed by the Aryans. The stiff battle of this notion with the Aryan idealism continued even after the destruction of Indus Valley Civilization. And it is a more interesting fact that the materialism which came into being in the Indus civilization became popular among the oppressed masses in the Vedic society when it broke down into warring classes. His struggle is continuing even today. Debiprasad opined that the fate of present class struggle in India depends on how this age-old contradiction will be handled by the present generations of the toiling masses. We will try to understand the view of Debiprasad on this immensely important subject in the following chapters.
(Next: Chapter — III, Vedic Society and Vedic Philosophy)
As we have noted in our analysis of the Interim Budget (“Budget as a Means of Purchasing Votes?”, Red Star, March 2019), that exercise of the Modi government was in total disregard of all established parliamentary traditions, precedents and scruples, including even abandonment of placing the mandatory pre-Budget Economic Survey which was indispensable for the country to know the “real state of the economy”. Modi government was afraid of presenting the Economic Survey asthe data, inevitably be preparedby official agencies such as Central Statistical Organisation and National Sample Survey Organisation, would have to highlight several unpleasant but real facts concerning the economy. If brought to light through the Economic Survey, it would have been an official admission of the frightening disruption that has ravaged the entire economy. And on the eve of the 11thLaksabha election, leading members of these agencies who were reluctant to manipulate the data as demanded by the regime, quite unprecedentedly, had resigned from their posts.
At the same time, utilising doctored statistics, manipulated data and bogus claims, Modi regime transformed the interim budget into an election speech with a whole set of freebies, giveaways, tax concessions, money transfer schemes and other populist programs, each being addressed to specific vote-banks. But after winning the election with a brute majority backed by corporate money power, EVM manipulation and by depoliticising the masses, in the full-fledged budget Modi.2 has brought forward its true colour.
Coming to Modi.2’s maiden budget, several experts including IMF pensioners deputed to India and US-based researchers formerly associated with Modi government, in spite of their adherence to neoliberal economic philosophy, have come out openly against the use of manipulated official data in it. Among them, the most relevant criticism has come from Arvind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) under Modi.1. Though Modi.2’s panel of economic advisers have rejected his evaluation, Subramanian’s observations have once again reignited serious concerns about the credibility of government’s economic growth data including the 2019 budget estimates made by Sitharaman in her maiden budget. For instance, the 2019 budget claims that in 2018 India was the fastest growing economy in the world. According to Subramanian, this is an overestimation as the methodology used for calculating it was also flawed- an aspect upheld by several other economists too. Obviously, in the beginning of Modi’s first term, in 2015 itself, India had changed the way and the methodology of measuring GDP. The first major change was the use of market prices instead factory or production costs to calculate the GDP figures. This shift in the method of calculation from the traditional practice of using wholesale prices with producers to market prices paid by consumers will definitely give an inflated figure of GDP. Secondly, the base year was shifted from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to assess GDP growth figures. Naturally, when the base year becomes 2011-12 everything included in the calculation will be at the 2011-12 prices which will be much higher than that of 2004-05 prices such that the nominally again the GDP figures will be inflated.
Therefore, Subramanian questioned the claims of the Modi government that under its regime GDP had grown to 7 percent per annum and, according to him, the actual GDP growth under Modi.1 is only around 4.5 percent (hovering between 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent) instead of 7 percent. However, the new methodology enabled Modi regime to suspiciously lower the GDP growth rate of under the UPA regime, and artificially hike that during the NDA rule. Ironically, based on this new methodology, the fastest growth of 8 percent and 8.2 percent was respectively recorded during 2016 and 2017 though these were the years when both demonetisation and GST had devastated the economy. More revealingly, even today reliable data regarding the unorganised sectors are lacking, and it is this area that contributes 60 percent to the entire economic system.
Since, Subramanian’s comment is based on these facts and on his own research, which has been published by the Centre for International Development at Harvard University, many economists and statisticians have come to believe that Modi government’s GDP figures are exaggerated or overstated by about 2.5 percent! Hence when Modi government claimed India as the fastest growing economy in 2018, many leading economists have pointed out that this claim is baseless as it is on the basis of a flawed methodology.
Subramanian has even gone to the extent of calling for an independent panel of experts comprising Indian and foreign nationals to examine India’s GDP data. To quote him: “My new research suggests that post-global financial crisis, the heady narrative of a guns-blazing India - that statisticians led us to believe - may have to cede to a more realistic one of an economy growing solidly but not spectacularly.” As such, several experts asked for restoring confidence in the official data by urgently revamping the statistical system to have an accurate picture of the economy and capture real-time data for policy analysis. Revealingly, finance minister Sitharaman has not yet been able to answer the question relating to the discrepancy in revenue collection between the Budget estimates and Economic Survey, the latter being generally recognised as reliable. Thus, while the Budget Estimates for 2018-19 expect a revenue of 17.3 lakh crore, Economic Survey puts the same as only 15.6 lakh crore—a gap of almost Rs. 2 lakh crore, a manifestation of utter confusion connected with data manipulation.
When Sitharaman in her budget speech elaborated the government’s goal of transforming ‘fastest growing’ India into a $5 trillion economy in the next five years (i.e., almost doubling from the present $2.7 trillion) that requires an annual GDP growth rate of 8 percent, and outlined her budget estimates in conformity with this task, the fact remains that the whole exercise is based on unrealistic and unscientific data. Most important is the fact that even this $2.7 trillion which at present is equal to the state domestic product of California, one among the 50 states in US, itself is an exaggerated figure. As already pointed out, the present high growth claim is not at all reflected in the economy or experienced by the people since, despite the government’s claims of rapid growth, unemployment touched a 45-year high that too during the last two years of Modi.1. Further, in spite of several initiatives on the part of commerce and finance ministries to boost exports, on a year-on-year basis, Indian exports have dwindled in 2018 by 9.71 percent relative to the previous year due to both domestic factors and external factors such as ongoing global stagnation and strengthening of protectionist walls being built by a number of countries including the US.
Coupled with this, the industrial sluggishness or deindustrialisation, unprecedented agrarian distress as manifested in the increasing mass suicides of peasants across the country and above all the total devastation inflicted on the informal/unorganised sectors (on account of demonetisation that created a sudden stoppage of cash flow to them on the one hand and GST that led to the withdrawal of all special tax provisions and corporate restrictions that sustained these sectors) that provide employment to more than 90 percent of the Indian people and contribute almost 50 percent to country’s export earnings)also reveal that the projected 8 percent growth rate as envisaged in the budget for doubling the GDP to achieve the $5 trillion mark is only wishful thinking.
In fact, the entire growth agenda elaborated in the budget are to unleash what is called the “animal spirits” of corporatesto achieve the $5 trillion goal. To achieve this, while blatantly hoodwinking the people through certain populist schemes like Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, Bamboo and Khadi clusters, Rural Housing Schemes, KissanSammanNidhi, etc. to rural sector and peasants, (even as reducing MGNREGS allocation by Rs.1000 crore!) and appeasement of middle classes through certain income tax exemptions, this budget, true to the far-right economic orientation of saffron fascism, has opened up avenues for the biggest-ever corporate plunder and loot along with integration of India’s infrastructure, finance, trade and service sectors with foreign corporate speculative capital. All the restrictions to the free entry of FDI into social overheads, insurance, banks, aviation, retail trade and even media are abolished. Even namesake controls on foreign portfolio capital which is coming solely for speculation are being taken away.
For instance, the hallmark of Modi.2 budget is its announcement of an infrastructure program envisaging investment worth Rs. 100 lakh in 5 years along the notorious PPP route that has become the most widely recognised form of private-corporate plunder under neo-liberalism. The whole projects under this proposal utilising country’s land and scarce resources, budget allocations and above all public money deposited in banks will be led by the most corrupt corporate thugs, both foreign and domestic. Unhindered entry and exit of 100 percent FDI as announced in the budget is in accordance with this corporatisation.
In the case of railways (along with the Planning Commission, Modi had abolished the Railway Budget too), in accordance with the ultra-rightist orientation, entire railway development including rail infrastructure, goods and passenger segments is also brought under the notorious PPP model led by Indian and foreign corporates and an investment of Rs. 50 lakh crores is envisaged for this for the period between 2018 and 2030. To start with, projects in two corridors — Western corridor (Delhi-Mumbai) and Eastern corridor (Delhi-Howrah) — have already been initiated. In the same manner projects for building up 125,000 km roads with an allocation of around Rs. 75000 crore on the part of government under PPP will be undertaken in the next five years.
Modi.2’s first budget is going to create history by granting tax-exemptions worth Rs. 8.99 lakh crore to monopolies under various heads out of which corporate income tax exemptions alone amounts to Rs, 4.69 lakh crore. The consequent revenue gap is to be filled up by hikes of Rs.2 cess/litre on patrol and diesel with their concomitant cascading effect on the prices of all necessaries, Rs.2 cess/litre on patrol and deisel will make the prices of necessaries and essential as announced in the budget. The gains from corporate tax-cuts announced in the budget are applicable to almost 99 percent of the business class, even as India’s income tax base still remains too narrow with just 4.6 crore tax-payers filing returns.
At a time when even leading financial tycoons like George Soros have written to US presidential candidates seeking increased taxes on the superrich and billionaires, Modi government has reduced corporate tax from 30 percent to 25 percent (in view of various corporate tax-exemptions, experts have already pointed out that the nominal tax of 30 percent means an effective tax of only 16 percent) for companies with a turnover of up to Rs. 400 crore. While corporate tax rate in India, a country having the highest inequality in wealth and income with around 80 percent of the additional income generated being gobbled up by the upper-most one percent of the population, is the lowest, even imperialist countries like France and Germany still have 56 percent tax on the superrich. Further, India under the Modi regime has become the country having the lowest tax-GDP ratio of 11.7 percent.
Along with this unleashing of corporate capital to every sphere of economy, the budget also envisages several neoliberal steps for discipline and keep workers at its disposal. In this regard, the move to transform all the existing 44 labour laws into 4 Codes has already been taken during Modi.1 itself. Among them, the first one, i.e., the bill on the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH Code) that legally empower employers to extend working time to 14 hours against the existing 8-hrs work, abolishing guarantee for ‘equal pay for equal work’ and incorporating provisions for transforming the state as a ‘facilitator’ of corporates against the interest of workers is already presented before the parliament. This Code that seeks to merge 13 labour laws into a single code applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more people and, therefore, encompasses 40 crore of Indian workers, together with the other 3 Codes, is a flagrant violation of ILO regulations and a clear-cut corporate-saffron fascist move towards unfettered corporatization. At a time when the domestic market is shrinking, the idea is to emulate China’s model of capturing global market with low-priced goods and to strengthen the present trend towards India’s transformation as a cheap-labour based export-oriented economy. In conformity with this Code, without even convening or even consulting the Statutory Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, to appease the corporate plunderers, the Modi govt has fixed Rs. 178 as the daily wage for workers. Modi’s anti working class position is once again evident as according to a Report, out of the Rs. 47127 crore Construction Cess collected as of March 2019, only around 19000 was spent, and the worst case in this regard is that of Modi’s own Gujarat spending just 0.09 percent of the cess collected.
The budget has other notable anti-people measures too. The disinvestment target pegged at Rs. 1.05 lakh crore is the biggest-ever intended to instalment-wise sell-out of all the remaining PSUs by such as BSNL, ONGC, GAIL, etc., to the corrupt capitalist cronies at throwaway prices. And as manifestation of the interpenetration between the saffron fascist regime and corporate monopolies which is a feature of fascism, Amit Shah, the Home Minister himself has taken over the charge of the Cabinet Committee for disinvesting Air India. Another closely related aspect of this fascistisation is the defence allocation including pension to the tune of Rs. 4.31 crore out of which an amount of Rs. 1.08 crore is to be directly handed over to corporate arms manufacturers and weapon dealers based in imperialist countries especially, US.
Thus while the budget tries to achieve its high growth target by freeing up the “animal spirit” of the corporate financiers, what witness is a slowing down in all sectors. Even the stock market indices which were galloping upwards when Modi.2 ascended to the throne are going down so that during the 50 days of the government, around 12 lakh crore have been lost in the leading stock exchanges in India. The reason is all round shrinking of the world market mainly due to extreme protectionist policies pursued by countries together with the loss of purchasing power of the toiling masses in the domestic sphere arising from unprecedented joblessness.
In the mad pursuit of making maximum profit at the shortest time possible, capital investment is fast entering in to the sphere of money-spinning speculative sphere altogether abandoning employment-oriented productive sectors where profit rate is relatively low. As a consequence, deindustrialisation and unemployment have become the norm even as wealth accumulation in the hands of tiny superrich and financial elite is breaking records leading to unprecedented inequality and pauperisation of the broad masses. To be precise, budget is reinforcing this negative trend.