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Celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostsav? Capitalising on patriotism of Indians-II

By Harsh Thakor* 

In August 1947, India was now self-governed or politically independent and a was established as a republic with universal suffrage, fully fledged constitution, a functioning parliament, regular elections contested by a wide range of parties and considerable level of freedom of speech and press. Although not a fully fledged bourgeois democracy, it had strong semblances to one.
Still India remains to be at the mercy of imperialist sharks with every sphere be economic, political, social cultural or intellectual mortgaged to the gladiators of International Finance capital. Our rulers turned into the most servile traitors or slavish mercenaries of the global monsters. India’s foreign policy is still subservient to that of America and has powerful expansionist ambitions. Since Independence India has had a series of governments but still the social base of imperialism, capitalism and feudalism remain intact. Today corporates have the license to plunder as never before. Land reforms have virtually rendered ineffective with rise of absentee landlordism and peasants still recurring huge debts. The Industrial workers are barely paid a minimum wage and virtually stripped of the right to permanency. Unemployment is soaring at an unprecedented height. Culturally we are still bound by clutches of imperialism with proper sports facilities not to the avail of lakhs nor scientific institutions.
No doubt there is improvement in many spheres like access to knowledge, living conditions, health facilities, communications, clothing, transport, social awareness, availability of consumer goods, durability to face calamities like floods or droughts etc. We have had some major achievements in spheres of sport, science art or literature. However the growth is disproportionate with that of the technological development in the world.

Economic policy after 1947

From 1947-91 what was proclaimed as a Mixed economy in actual fact served the exploiter classes. Land distribution to the tiller was superficial. Even under alleged Socialistic pattern of society multinationals flourished. We must never forget how subservient India was to the USSR economically and militarily. before it's collapse in 1991 if you study figures in Indo-Soviet Trade and USSR creating joint ventures with India. The 5 year agricultural plans were in the main cosmetic. and not made India self -sufficient. Even under alleged Socialistic pattern of society multinationals flourished.
Quoting Tarimela Nagi Reddy in India Mortgaged “The abolition of the zamindari system was farce with millions of acres of land left as personal property of zamindars, having allotted to them huge amounts of property, the Govt.of India paid hundreds of crores of rupees as compensation for the abolition of he zamindari system.Nehru stated in the Constituent assembly “One has to be careful of th steps one takes so as not to injure the existing structure too much –I am not brave and gallant enough to go about destroying any more.”.This illustrated that Nehru intended no fundamental change. Some have estimated tyhe amount of compensation paid out to the zamindars as Rs 670 crorers.
Quoting India Mortgaged “The Constitution was nothing but a superstructure built on the reday made foundation carefully and laboriously laid by imperialism. With the enactment of the Constitution, the Indian bourgeoisie finally took over power in India to rule without any contradiction to it’s structural integrity. It was intended to perpetuate the existing social and economic foundation of imperialist exploitation and feudal landlordism. The Directive principles of the Constitution were nothing but a sop, being ‘prompted by the fear of the masses for revolt”.
In a Government resolution on April 6th 1948, “Apart from munitions, railways, electricity and atomic energy the rest of the Industrial field will normally be open to private enterprise.”This favoured imperialist finance capital. A supplementary memorandum state “The Resolution contemplates full freedom for foreign capital and enterprise in Indian Industry while at the same time assuring that it should be regulated in the national Interest.”
Exactly 2 months after declaration of India’s Independence Nehru elaborated to the Associated Chambers of Commerce, that his government “would welcome foreign capital and technical assistance.”
Quoting the United States department of Commerce “Although agitation continued during 1947 in favour of nationalisation of Industry and in favour of restrictions, on forgein private investment ,there developed in the last quarter of the year a conciliatory attitude on the art of the govt.towards private enterprise an to som extent towards foreign capital. The need for foreign capital was recently acknowledged by a minister. Prime Minister Nehru has in a recent public statement indicated the necessity of India to seek foreign capital assistance.
Soviet Trade acted only as a competitor to Western trade, to penetrate the Indian market and broke o link with foreign monopoly capital, or the landlord bourgeois economy. Soviet leaders and publicists assured Western finance capitalists that they offered no threat to Western aid.Quting Nikita Khrushchev “I will venture to say that, if the Americans give India a loan for economic development, this loan to the extent of 60 to 70 % may be considered as a result of the existence of Socialist countries..Ironic that the monopoly capitalists greeted Soviet policies, with the Dehi daily-o Birla House, Hindustan Times and Link, praising Soviet credits for making it imperative for America to increase it’s aid to India.According to the 1970 Indo-Soviet Trade Agreement of 1970,”The Soviet Union has agreed to import specific quantities of industrial goods, particularly those aided by Russian aided projects.”
Soviet aid was not in essence anti-feudal who sold their plan of ‘state farms’ to the Indian bourgeoisie. It diverted the attention of undertaking land reforms and consolidated base of landlordism in the countryside. Soviet experimental farms laid the foundation, along with intensive cultivation programme of Western imperialists, for the Green Revolution, through mechanisation of agriculture. Soviet tractors at cheap rates created the base for penetration of Western capital into India.
However I would credit Nehru for restricting totally monopoly of foreign finance capital in areas and promoting liberal spirit through the Constitution.

Political Developments after Independence

Industrial workers strikes and peasants struggles were suppressed or even movements of students and youth.
The manner the cadre of the Naxalbari Movement were eradicated was an ample illustration of the manner the social order functioned, as well as earlier in Telengana.peasant struggle from 1946-51 when the Indian army crushed a popular peasant insurgency.
In the 1970's days of colonialism were rekindled during the emergency.The decade had powerful semi-fascist connotations.
Many laws were passed like ESMA, NSA or TADA which were as authoritarian as the colonial laws.
Communal politics was cooked similar to the British after opening the doors of the Babri Masjid in 1986 or creating Bhindranwale in 1981. Many caste massacres of dalits were sanctioned by the ruling party, particularly in Bihar.
Thousands of Communist revolutionaries were assassinated in fabricated encounters in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar and even a handful of civil liberties activist were mowed down by the Police violating Article 21, of a citizen having Right to Life.
All democrats must recollect the murder of trade Union leader Shankar Guha Nyugi in September 1991 who waged a relentless resistance against the contract labour system in the Chhattisgarh mines ,the thousands of democratic activists assassinated in staged encounters in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh ,who were part and parcel of Adivasi and peasant struggles and brutal firings or attacks on strikes of Workers in areas like Nellimarla in Andhra Pradesh in 1994.,Mumbai mill workers in 1982, Dallah Cement workers in Uttar Pradesh n 1991, Bhillai in Madhya Pradesh in 1991 and Jute Mill Workers in West Bengal in 1994.
Democratic assertion of dalits through Dalit Panther movement was crushed in the 1970’s.
In 1984 Sikhs were brutally massacred in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s death.
In spite of Article 370 prevailing, the Indian govt brutally suppressed forces like the Jammu and Kashmir National Liberation Front struggle for Kashmiri self –determination from the 1990’s ,with Nehru in 1950’s betraying his promise to Sheikh Abdullah of vacating Kashmir.
Muslims suffered mortal blows by communal forces in Mumbai riots of 1970 and 1984. Morally even if formally secular, the Muslim community was considerably alienated and discriminated.
Bans were declared on revolutionary parties like erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L) Peoples War Group, Maoist Communist in the 1990’s Centre and later the C.P.I.(Maoist) in 2004 and mass organisation sunder their guidance like Radical Students Union, Revolutionary Democratic Front,Rytu Coolie Sangham etc..Even mass organisations like the Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Samiti in Bihar in 1986 which gave a blow to feudal and caste oppression and later the Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha in 1991 which challenged the Contract labour system in the mines and fought for minimum wages, faced a ban. The police firing killing 18 landless labourers in Arwal in Bihar in 1986 ,resurrected colonial days.
Bihar had a series of brutal caste massacres of the Ranvir Sena on dalit labourers like in Laxmanpur Bathe in 1997,in Bara in 1992 and in regions like Aurangabad and Gaya.
I can’t forget incidents like Black flag protests by Police in 1982 or of Mill workers, students and youth in the 1980’s, in Mumbai.
From 1991 India embarked on the road of liberalisation under Narsimha Rao , backing globalization and India’s entry into the International Monetary Fund and GATT. It opened out India's export market to the world but struck a crippling blow to any remnants of rights of the working class.ands strengthened the social base of the Corporate class Workers and peasants now were completely subordinated by the tentacles of capital ,Agri-labour intensive industries were destroyed , salt pans closed, contract system patronised to turn into an integral part of the social order, Unions stripped of earlier rights , many a factory or mill dismantled, made education and medical services very hard to afford, squeezed the peasantry into indebtedness, enabled corporates to penetrate at an unprecedented level and broke the backbone of the organized working class movement with retrenchments of workers occurring on an unprecedented scale. It may have curbed bureaucratism, improved quality and production levels, created a better-paid strata amongst the educated classes and opened out India to the world , but at a huge cost. The foreign direct investment penetrating India has infused a speculative role in stock markets, jeopardising India’s economic welfare. It is regrettable that the massive protests of farmers and workers confronting globalisation could not be channelized into an organised movement by democratic forces or integrated into the anti-feudal struggles, to broaden the united front against imperialism.
Whatever gross violations in the right to organise I recognize that India had considerable amount of freedom of press and speech. This is illustrated in the space in the social media to express political dissent, particularly in leftist periodical like ‘Frontier.’ and in publications of Communist revolutionary groups .Even America did not award such freedom for Communists to profess their views.
Arguably one positive step undertaken was the nationalisation of banks that enabled the peasantry to directly receive loans.
Although the privy purses were abolished by Indira Gandhi in 1969, I feel it was enforced unconstitutionally ,betraying the promise at the time of Independence.

BJP era

Sadly after the advent of the BJP in 2014 a new era has been ushered where the very semblances of bourgeois democracy are threatened by the right-wing Hindutva agenda, which is defacing the Constitution. Neo-fascism is penetrating the authoritarian parliamentary system at degree unscaled since 1947.
The communal fascist politics of the BJP are more supportive of foreign capital or Indian Big Business. Notable that Swadeshi ideologue Murli Manohar Joshi while condemning the growth of foreign debts called for the return of external loans in 1992.L.K.Advani at the same time stated that the BJP fully endorsed a deregulated economy, Right from the 1950’s and 1960’s the Jan Sangh, staunchly supported American interests, particularly in foreign policy. It never laid any emphasis on confronting foreign exploitation. It’s ‘Swadeshi’ policy opposed not foreign capital, but he unfettered entry of foreign capital and multinationals, except technology areas.
Policies like demonetization, GST or Farmers Bills have strangled the people while beef ban or Gyan Vapsi etc. have sharpened the fangs for Communal poisoning. Economic disparity has magnified to an unequalled degree.
The BJP’s anti-imperialist posture through Swadeshi Jagran Manch was a mere pretence as it completely supported induction of heavy industry MNC’s from the 1990’s itself and boycott of only consumer goods. .Under BJP Corporates have amassed power and control at an unprecedented magnitude.
Political dissent has been suppressed at an unsurpassed magnitude and minorities and scheduled castes isolated at levels never touched before. Laws introduced like UAPA,have escalated neo-fascism to a crescendo. Any person can now be arrested without issuing a warrant. In the nation’s history the minorities have not faced such insecurity. Repealing of Section 370 has stripped Kashmiri people of Right to Self-Determination. The life sentences passed on Maruti Workers,on Professor GN Saibaba and the Bhima Koreagaon Urban Intellectuals are a manifestation of neo-fascism in realms not traversed before. The manner it passed the Farmers bills without any consent of opposition parties, portrayed it’s fascist overtones. Federal rights are on the verge of being stripped as never before. Tribal displacement is intensifying to facilitate mining industry, with laws passed stripping them of right to land. Caste attacks are perpetrated at higher scale of intensity, with a virtual licence given to dominant castes to unleash tyranny. In September 2014 in Hyderabad a meeting of democratic front expressing solidarity with revolutionary forces was disallowed as well as a meeting ins solidarity with Kashmir Movement in JNU campus in Delhi in March 2015.Kashmiri and Muslim activists have been victimised at height unscaled.
Even Supreme Court verdicts favour Hindu saffron politics with regards to Babri Masjid. Textbooks are being re-written to incorporate the Hindutva agenda, scrubbing off all secular history and demonizing Moghuls. Vedic culture is glorified in all educational institutions as well as Hindu philosophers .and RSS leaders like Savarkar.
They are also trying to incorporate new found Hindu scientific and economic theories reviving Vedas of 5000 years ago, tarnishing all scientific temper. It is worth recollecting that the RSS played no role in the Indian Freedom Struggle and after Independence strongly allied itself with American interests. Today’s agricultural policies of the BJP have a lineage to the pattern of agriculture after the Green Revolution and later under a post-liberal restructuring of India’s economy.
Following legacy and in tune with character of predecessors the BJP is brainwashing people to show that they were an integral part of the freedom struggle and Savarkar as their leader. It is a well known fact that Savarkar surrendered to the British rulers and betrayed not only the freedom movement but acting as British agent introduced the Idea of Hindutva to divide the people’s movement for liberation. True to their nature of falsification and betrayal, the BJP is trying to capitalize the patriotism of the Indian people by this grand celebration of the “75th independence day” in Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostsav’.
---
*Freelance journalist

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