On August 15, Where Has Gone Our Independence?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

On the eve of Independence Day, in his address to the nation, President Pranab Mukherjee has declared, “We need a second freedom struggle”.

So, on August 15, we brood over as to where has gone our Independence! Where has gone August 15, our day of Independence? And, our democracy that it stood for?

The incarnation of all the blood our freedom fighters had given to the motherland, the incarnation of all the lives our martyrs had sacrificed in the freedom battle, the incarnation of all the days our freedom fighters had lost in British jails, the incarnation of all the dreams our mothers had seen in sacrifices of their children in the struggle for freedom, the incarnation of our patriotism that set to motion the obliteration of the British empire where the Sun, they say, was not setting, the incarnation of all our determination for emancipation that transformed non-violence to the most viable method to win over violence in course of fight for liberation from dominions of any sort anywhere in the world, the most beloved day of our national life, our Independence Day – August 15 – is, if you can hear, crying over death of the democracy of our dreams at the filthy alter of hereditary autocracy the ruling-family factotums, attired as politicians, have promulgated.

In nexus with the rich, they have changed our democracy into plutocracy and are celebrating their success so loudly that the cries of August 15 over the death of democracy is not reaching the ears of our people who are yet believing, while voting, that they are in a democracy.

Different yet similar

What is a democracy? Democracy is: Rule of the people, by the people, for the people.

What is plutocracy? Plutocracy is: Rule of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

Thus, the two systems are diametrically opposite to each other. Yet there is a similarity between them. They derive power from the people through general elections.

Therefore, when India changed into a plutocracy in blatant nullification of its national resolve for “socialist” democracy, the people could not mark the change; and when elections are held, they continue to vote, under wrong assumption of voting for democracy, the candidates of plutocracy, the anti-people agents of the rich.

By enhancement of amount of election expenditure to the levels that no honest Indian can ever meet, and by willfully corrupting the system that needs massive money for electioneering, the wealthy has ensured that, only the rich or their agents can contest the election and occupy the seats in the houses of representatives. So, whosoever forms the government and whosoever stays in Opposition, only the wealthy class would benefit.

The Treasury and Opposition – all are the same
in the realm of plutocracy

In the realm of plutocracy, the conduct of the Treasury benches and the Opposition is sililar to that of different dogs owned by a single master. They may indulge in mock fights, which is natural annimal character; but they act as a pack against the enemy of the master. I will cite an instance from records of Indian Parliament to show how mutual pacts between the Treasury side and the Opposition serves plutocracy instead of strengthening democracy.

It was the first session of the tenth Lok Sabha.

BJP stalwart Jaswant Singh had moved a motion against Government patronage to Paki Bank of terror funding – Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) – wherein the then Finance Minister – presently the Prime Minister – Dr. Manmohan Singh’s dubious deeds were so devastatingly exposed that he had no answer to meet the moment.

The House had witnessed one of the most brilliant and well informed, one of the most deeply researched, fact-based debates it had ever had and the great Manmohan was on the mat defenseless.

But, to his rescue, surprisingly, had come the mover of the motion, Jaswant Singh.

When cloture was the only business to be transacted, Jaswant withdrew his motion.

This is because,in a plutocracy, wealthy class representatives, irrespective of whether they are in the Government or in the Opposition, act in nexus with each other in covering up offenses against the country.

From what this Opposition stalwart had said, it transpired that, he had a clandestine pact with the government to kill his own motion.

The words he had uttered to render the debate absolutely inconsequential were shamelessly thus:

“In the chamber of the Speaker, …… the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and others and indeed the hon. Speaker said: why do you not concede to the fact that you would withdraw your motion at the end of the debate? So, I am bound by my word, and I seek the leave of the House to withdraw my motion”.

And, shockingly, the House allowed the leave!

What a farce! Such farcical becomes the Parliament, when plutocracy operates in the guise of a popular government, in absence of a vigilant, informed public.

The Farce

On popular government, in this context, James Madison’s observation deserves attention. To him, “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both”.

Indian democracy in its present form, as witnessed in the Parliament noted above, has become a farce.

Political parties, sans welfare ideologies, are conglomerates of stupid sycophants and factotums of ruling families, and representatives elected by the people, irrespective of benches, collaborate with investors of money on payola, oblivious of how that harms the country.

In the instance cited above, both Manmohan Singh and Jaswant Singh are seen to have played treachery against the country. But none of them is rejected in politics. This is because, the people are ignorant of their mischiefs.

James Madison, quoted already above, had focused on its remedy. “Knowledge” he says, “will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the powers knowledge gives”.

But in India, free flow of knowledge is often interfered with by tentacles of plutocracy as is witnessed in banning of books, disadvantageous to the practitioners of inequality.

Obstruction on Information

Be it Stanley Wolpert’s ‘Nine Hours to Rama’ or Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ or Joseph Lelyveld’s ‘The Great Soul’ or Seymour Harsh’s ‘The Price of Power’ or Michael Edwardes’ ‘Nehru: A Political Biography’ or Jaswant Singh’s ‘Jinnah’ or Arthur Koestler’s ‘The Lotus and the Robot’ or Mamish McDonald’s ‘Polyester Prince’ or James Laine’s ‘Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India’ or Oriya author Dr. Bibuddharanjan’s ‘Miccha Mahatma’, any work that depicts researched information capable of throwing new lights on unseen terrains of public interest is vulnerable to ban and proscription in India as these samples show.

The Press Council of India, created for protection of ‘Freedom of Press’ is being used to obstruct ‘Freedom of Press’, so menacing has become plutocracy in India. Click here to see how this nuisance was exposed by orissamatters.com. Ever since the present set of practitioners of plutocracy have grabbed India, in the Index of Freedom of Press, India’s rank has been falling down. In the 2011-12 Index delivered by Reporters without Borders, India’s rank in the matter of Press Freedom is 131, when in 2002, her rank was 80. In publishing the Index, the RWB, has observed, “Many media paid dearly for their coverage of democratic aspirations or opposition movements. Control of news and information continued to tempt governments and to be a question of survival for totalitarian and repressive regimes”. Such a regime that plutocracy has given India is the reason of her fall in the Press Freedom Index. Sadly, the PCI chief is being used to further curb flow of free knowledge as shown in the orissamatters story cited above.

Failed wisdom of Judiciary

Long back, in 1971, in quashing an official action against B. Ramachandra – then a new entrant to Orissa Education Service, now a known social reformer – for having criticized Orissa Government over a counter-productive policy, the Orissa High Court had nullified two Rules of the Orissa Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1959 as the political government’s contrived instruments to stifle information and had held,

“In a democratic form of Government, all possible views should be available to the Government, so that the administration runs on an even keel and in a healthy atmosphere”. (1971 Indian Law Reporter 1146)

But, because, the State has been shanghaied from democracy to plutocracy, the High Court’s just and proper orders notwithstanding, the said two notorious Rules are still in force and continue to stifle first hand input from concerned government servants, as a result of which the real culprits in different acts of subterfuge against the people are not being located and the people are remaining ignorant of how they are duped.

The POSCO and the Commission Agents

As for example, POSCO has captured the Orissa Government and despite seven years of constant public protests against its venture, the foreign firm is adamant to establish its factory at any cost.

Clearly it is not such adamant to provide profit to Orissa; it is such adamant, because it wants to exploit Orissa for its own profit and it is sure of acquiring land and mines it wants, as its undisclosed investment of money on payola has all the strength to get the Government pave all the ways for its empire.

We cannot stop recalling the agony of Orissa Assembly during the year ending session of 2004 on surprise and mysterious absence of the then Chief Secretary Subas Pani along with two other Secretaries and a Joint Secretary when the House was in session.

Pani and his team, after the ruckus in the Assembly, surfaced at Delhi and declared that they had been to South Korea to cultivate a benefit for the State!

And, then it transpired that they had been to POSCO headquarters as guests of the steel giant and Orissa can have the largest foreign investment if the government agrees to grant it required mines and lands.

Mouth of media was muzzled by air jaunts offered to mainstream journalists by POSCO to and fro its headquarters, wherein Pani had a major role. It would be wrong for history not to note that the Press silence, thus procured, was intact till the affected people of Kujang area forced the Press to look at their plight by raising unrelenting resistance to the foreigners’ advances.

As the broadsheets were thus forced to amend their ways and the social media over-generalled the rich media, the mischief was exposed.

The Government then was used by POSCO in its service. And the world is witness to how our own government has been in war against our own people for the benefit of POSCO.

Factory or no factory, the POSCO matter has made it clear that our system has gone so susceptible to payola that a group of IAS officers could secretly leave their headquarters and the country to make a deal with a foreign firm and imposed that deal on the people in the name of their development. They even had the audacity to declare the outcome of their secret journey in a different place other than the State and before physically reporting to the Chief Minister. And, the Chief Minister was so overwhelmed, that he did not report the details thereof to the Assembly even though the Assembly was in agony over the Officers’ mysterious absence.

Role of Payola

Who does not know how payola influences the allotments of mines and helps illegal mining in Orissa?

The syndrome was exposed long back on 14 July 1963 by Orissa’s former Chief Minister, the firebrand revolutionary and legendary freedom fighter, Nabakrushna Choudhury, when at Balasore he had publicly stripped the politicians in power (Biju babu was then the Chief Minister of Orissa), showing how huge money was being collected from the mafia against mining lease granted to them, in the name of party fund, with major portion thereof misappropriated.

He had even exposed, how Pt. Nehru had also preferred to keep mum when notified in early 50s of the corruption involved, because his close confidante and ally Rafi Ahmad Kidwai was also collecting huge money from industrialists and trading empires in the name of party fund, a correct account of which was never kept and available to the Congress Party.

This is the practice of politicians that have transformed Indian democracy to plutocracy behind back of the people, through constant corruption and in continuous nexus with the mafia and empires of industry, in course of their incumbency in positions of power.

The two precipitators of plutocracy
and their Independence Day speeches

The two topmost functionaries of India, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Dr. manmohan Singh have addressed the nation on the occasion of our Independence Day. They are the two most discernible architects of impregnability of plutocracy in India. But in their speeches, they have tried to make people believe that India a democracy. When to Dr. Singh, “Today is certainly a day to celebrate the success of our democracy”, to Mr. Mukherjee, “Democracy is a shared process” and the people should be blamed if it fails; because, “we all win or lose together”.

Why should we the Indians be responsible “together” with Mr. Mukherjee or Mr. Singh for failure of democracy?

When they both rendered inconsequential India’s national resolve for “socialist democracy” by signing the GATT, had they consulted us the people? Why should we be responsible for their failure?

They had not even placed the text of the agreement in the Parliament. What a farce that Mukherjee in his eve of Independence Day speech has described the Parliament as the “Atma” (soul) of India! Where this Atma had gone when they refused to let the Parliament know of contents of the agreements signed to please the Americans?

“We need a second freedom struggle; this time to ensure that India is free for ever from hunger, disease and poverty”, Mukherjee has said, when Sigh has repeated the same litany in saying, “We would achieve independence in the true sense only when we are able to banish poverty, illiteracy, hunger and backwardness from our country”.

Admittedly, thus, they have confessed that independence of India is not in real existence.

Instead of confessing the guilt that they have committed against the people of India by signing the GATT and other capitalist agreements and thereby obliterating the nation’s resolve for socialism, Singh has tried to hoodwink the people with set jargons like global economy. He has said, “You are aware that these days the global economy is passing through a difficult phase. The pace of economic growth has come down in all countries of the world. Seen together, the European countries are estimated to grow at zero percent this year”. Collapse of capitalism is not a matter of a day. It had started much ahead of the GAAT. In fact, GAAT was a sort of last hope for the sinking boat of capitalism. Was Singh not aware of the killing crisis and uncontrollable contradictions in the pack of capitalist countries? Why had he subjugated India to that crisis?

When Mukherjee has said that “inflation” “remains a cause of worry” because the “the monsoon has played truant this year”, Singh has said that it would not be easy to “control inflation”, “because of a bad monsoon this year”.

Thus, together they admit that India’s stability in economy rests with success of agriculture., not with the success of private capital. Yet, it is they, who have jeopardized Indian agriculture by signing the GATT that has played havoc with our agriculture and ruined the economy of majority working farmers.

They have helped the mafia, the underworld dons, the trade empires, the industry operators, the drug traffickers, the terror traders, the commission agents, the compradors and the likes to loot the country and tried to obstruct the information thereof reach the people.

In the plutocratic system they have transformed India into, when Hamish McDonald’s book ‘The Polyester Prince’ was banned, because, while depicting Dhirubhai Ambani, it also exposed the details of corruption the businessmen resort to, in building up their empires, wherein politicians in power play a major role as their facilitators by promoting a pro-trade-industry environment that helps the capitalist prosper in nexus with the fellows in political power, the Opposition bigwigs, the bureaucrats and media, the Press Council Chief is being used to obstruct information sharing through the Internet.

And, in such a climate, after admitting that they have ruined Indian economy by promoting plutocracy, the Prime Minister has declared that his government “will leave no stone unturned to encourage investment in our country so that our entrepreneurs can make a substantial contribution to our economy”.

What contributions to our economy the entrepreneurs have made?

The corporate sector has not paid income tax to the tune of Rs. 395878 crores during the period from 2005-06 to 2011-12 which is written off by the government. Is it the contribution of entrepreneurs to our economy? Statement of revenue forgone in successive Union Budgets further reveals that excise duty forgone during this period amounts to Rs.955726 crores, whereas customs duty forgone amounts to Rs. 1222438 crores. Is it how the entrepreneurs have contributed to our economy? Thus when an amount of Rs.2574042 crores has been written off by the government of Manmohan Singh between 2005-06 and 2011-12, in this year’s budget, corporate tax to the tune of Rs.51292 crores is written off. Even, an amount of about Rs.5 lakh crores is written off on the head of loans to corporate sector in this year’s budget. Is it the benefit our economy gets from entrepreneurs, the wealthy?

The Tragedy

Both the President and the Prime Minister are also one in condemning the opponents of their misrule. When to the Prime Minister, “Naxalism is still a serious problem” , the President stressed that the vigilance on our frontiers has to be matched with vigilance within” even as to the stance of anti-corruption slogan raisers in Lokpal matter, his words were, “there are times when people lose their patience but it cannot become an excuse for an assault on our democratic institutions”. But the tragedy is that these words are the words from the mouth of the very same persons who have imposed on us the economy of inequality and fortified plutocracy in India by making a farce of our parliamentary system.

Ambedkar’s warning

If social and economic inequality continues after India becomes a Republic, the political democracy would be destroyed by the victims of inequality, had warned the main architect of Indian constitution on which the Parliamentary system stands.

In answering the debates on the third reading of the Constitution, he had clearly and unambiguously decared,

“On 28th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic rights we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote, one value. In our social and economic rights we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny one man one value. … We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up” (CAD, Vol.XI,p. 979)

After 65 years of independence, the contradiction, instead of getting removed, has become more menacing as Mukherjee and Singh have more forcefully pushed India into social and economic inequality.

Insensitive incumbents

The incumbents in top offices are so insensitive to the poor that they have been playing jokes on them in defining poverty.

In their parlance, Rs. 32 per capita income per day in urban areas and Rs. 26 per capita income per day in rural areas makes one elevated to rank above the poverty line, when food price in the pro-traders environment created by the said incumbents is rising so sky high everyday that the same amount can never meet even 1% of the cost of minimum required calories.

The incumbents in the top posts have enhanced Dearness allowance of government employees from 0% on 1.1.2006 to 65% on 1.1.2012 with further dose of DA in 1.6.2012.

Do the innumerable workers and marginal rain-fed farmers whose Rs. 26 or Rs.32 worth per capita income per day makes them considered “not poor” really not suffer from dearness?

Had the country’s working class made its supreme sacrifices for such a state where independence day shall come only in the luxuries of speeches of the the meretricious leaders whose real concern is for the rich?

And, if the practice of plutocracy continues, notwithstanding what the top incumbents say, who can stop Ambedkar’s warning come true?

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