Saturday, 13 July 2019

CAN A GAY MAN BE A US PRESIDENT? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES FOR PETE BUTTIGIEG?



Mukesh Devrari

If you are watching the race for the presidential nomination in Democratic Party in the United States, then by now you must have noticed that Pete Buttigieg is the only candidate who is looking like a potential US president. All other candidates don’t appear to have that balance which a politician needs to succeed in Presidential elections.

Although this entire debate is useless as Trump is most likely to win US presidential elections on November 2020, probably with a better margin this time. Still, the upcoming elections will be worth watching, if the democratic party succeeds in electing an effective opponent in the internal party struggle for contesting against Trump juggernaut.  

Pete Buttigieg is a guy who has created ripples in US politics. He is a mayor of South Bend, Indiana, still only 37 years old. It appears little in his own words audacious on his part to aspire for a White House. There is no doubt he is a bloody genius. Listening to him is a treat. It is difficult to disagree with him, even if you disagree with his positions, as he is extremely eloquent, well-read and informed. He puts his opinion on controversial issues smoothly.

Even the highly powerful rhetorical anchors of US talk shows and news channels find it difficult to trap him on various traditionally divisive issues like race conflicts, faith, tax cuts, abortion and gun rights, where other democratic party nominees find it difficult to find their way out easily.

Unfortunately, despite of all the goods things he has, he is also gay. He is openly married to another man. US Presidentship is not only about effective administration, economy and foreign policy. It is also about providing moral leadership to the nation. US President is also an inspiration and role model for all of us to follow, not only within the United States but across the globe.  

Can a gay man be a role model for conservative American families? Can he be a role model of our children? Would parents in the United States like their children to watch a President with awe and be open to experimenting same-sex orientation? Is not it mainstreaming of what was once considered perversion?

I think, he deserves to become a US President. He gives that feel. He reflects that balance. He exuberates that philosophical orientation to lead a nation. He is highly mature. He is a powerful speaker and puts forward his views extremely eloquently. It is difficult to find a fault in him.

Trump’s team may come up with few in coming months, but he is unlikely to win due to sexual orientation. If he becomes a President that will change the world. At least people with same-sex orientation around the world will feel empowered.

It will be difficult for mainstream media to attack him because of his sexual orientation, but Trump campaign likely to focus on his sexual orientation through other platforms. Ultimately the conservative families are unlikely to vote for him as during the last four years US economy is also performing well. US economy is moving in the right direction.

Trump has attacked friends and foes alike to secure the economic benefits for the United States. Trump is being abused all over the world. The US is being accused of having double standards. Trump is not even ashamed of attacking the friendly states including the European Union, Canada, Japan and India among others.

He is swimming against the tide and becoming a hated figure for his America First policy across the globe, which is nothing else but third-class protectionism. Globalization and free trade world order were created by the United States for securing the interests of the industrial world in the middle of the century, but no longer serves that purpose.

In short, Barack Obama made by history by becoming the first black US President. Can Pete Buttigieg become a Presidential nominee of the democratic party? Can he defeat Joe Biden? Will he be accepted by US citizens?

Can voters in the United States rise above the popular ideas of their era? Although it seems highly unlikely that Pete for America campaign will cut the slate with US voters.

End.  

Saturday, 8 June 2019

TERRIBLE CITY WITH AMAZING MARKETING DEHRADUN


Mukesh Devrari

Dehradun is a nice place. It’s the capital of Uttarakhand. People living here are known for their honesty and valour and patriotism and their looks (mostly girls) and what not. Anyone who never lived in the city really takes it seriously. Sometimes people who visit Dehradun for short trips also creates this confusion. Although locals don’t find this description mesmerizing, as it just doesn’t match with their lived experience.

Maybe a few decades ago the city was about amazing weather, greenery, honesty, but nowadays it is more like any other place in the country full of drugs, petty crimes and unruly behaviour of all kinds. Still, it is much better than most of the other places because of its people, but in all other parameters, it is a horrible place. Dirty, overcrowded, polluted, unruly traffic, over-politicized and struggling in many other ways.  

Our city does not have adequate infrastructure. It has become a city of narrow lanes. The whole city has been sold in plots to hundreds of thousands of buyers in the last two decades. In the absence of rules, most of the inner lanes are of around twenty feet wide. Encroachment made the situation worse. Thousands of people have also encroached government land mostly on both sides of the river. Politicians supported this illegal encroachment as it’s a large vote bank.

In any case, it is our national character not to wake up in time. Just look at the traffic now. In the radius of 10 kilometres from Clock Tower, roads are unable to handle the traffic. Just visit through to Rispina Bridge to ISBT to Shimla Bypass to Selaqui once or towards any of the four exits from the city – Daat Kali, Nepali Farm, Premnagar Chowki or Mussorie during the peak hours, its same story everywhere narrow incomplete highways, encroachment and heavy traffic.

Underground electricity, sewer lines, 24-hour water and electricity supply, space of public parking, public health care system, regulated industrial hubs are still a distant dream. If you are government employee who lives within FRI or IIP or within the boundary walls of some other fancy institution of national importance created in Dehradun half a century ago, then it’s alright, but you are not then Doon is fast becoming hell hole. Xerox of the national capital region, where people are gasping for clean air to breathe.  

It’s an everyday struggle for children to struck in traffic while going and coming back from school. Parents also feel suffocated because of this. However, the govt. is more interested in selling the pipe dream of smart cities rather than doing something tangible to solve the problems in Dehradun. There is no place to take a walk. It is not even part of our imagination that people of all ages would like to take a walk, play and sit quietly sometimes. Maybe they would love to use cycles and our children would need a place to play. These important civil amenities contribute to improving the quality of life, money is not everything.

Dehradun is not even a reflection of what you see on Facebook and Twitter. They are just good photographs, the reality is not as rosy as it appears.

end.  

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

INDIA IN 21st CENTURY, ARRIVAL OF MODI ERA




Mukesh Devrari

This article is not an academic exercise, in fact, it is a result of the elaboration of lived reality between 2014-19. Nothing changed in the last five years in India, nothing at all. Life was as difficult as it was under the tenure of UPA government led by Cambridge educated Manmohan Singh. Jobs were as rare as they are now. The economy was in tatters as it is now. Millions of unemployed graduates are joining the existing fleet of unemployed youth in India.   

When Manmohan Singh was a PM, he did not enjoy the stature of PM in the eyes of common masses as he was holding the office as per the wishes of Gandhi family. He was a humble down to earth man Sikh gentleman who had no control either over the Congress party or over his colleagues in the government. Most of the Congress and UPA alliance partners leading the different ministries minted as much as money as they could. Corruption was rampant. Things went to such a state that corporate India, which generally prefers to remain apolitical, coined the term ‘policy paralysis’ to define the second tenure of UPA government.

Congress leaders were enraged by the rising intensity of allegations and hatred against them but they did not do anything to repel the public perception. Again, their favourite past time was making as much money as possible in the shortest possible time. Corruption was at its peak. Not only at the level of the central government, but most of the state governments were also totally corrupt. Uttarakhand is a prime example of corruption infested state. There was no accountability whereas the sense of entitlement was at its peak. While India stagnated economically, corporates will political links were flourishing in the rot. This stagnation was in all direction. Whether it’s economic progress, social justice, rights, infrastructural development, health services, public distribution system, everywhere people were harassed for basic amenities. There were long lines of people across the country even for the LPG gas cylinders. While people were struggling for everything, powerful and influential did not feel the pain of the common masses.

Narendra Modi presented himself as a saviour, who was a viable alternative to the ruling regime with a track record of performance as Gujarat Chief Minister. People lapped at the idea of viable change, whether it was Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi or Narendra Modi. In the 2014 elections, although all left leaning liberals love to abuse right-wing political party, the fact is there was no alternative. Those who provided viable alternative people supported them. Out of the 70 state assembly seats AAP party in Delhi won 67 seats. Some regional leaders also provided a viable honest alternative and they also came back to the power.

There was no Modi magic, but it was sheer frustration of common people against Congress rule which were reaping the fruits of power while masses were suffering. Congress party might be pursuing politics to make their leader Prime Minister of India, but citizens expect more from the party which still represent Gandhian values of secularism, inclusiveness, modernization and social justice. In short, people of India decided to throw Congress in the dustbin. Rightfully so, no person or party has a permanent right to rule India. If politicians don’t deliver, they must lose the elections.

In 2019, things were a little different. It was a plain and simple forecast that BJP is coming back to power. There are many reasons for this. Among other things impeccable personal integrity, no substantial allegation of corruption on government, ability to take decisions, ideologically committed cadre, weak opposition leader, corporate support – favourable media, rising nationalism, popularity among the youth, the resurgent face of Brahminism in India and last but not the least he could rise above the politics of caste, creed, colour, place of birth and language in his political campaign played a key role in the historic triumph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This might not last long as the economy is not performing well in the country. In fact, it is the biggest failure of the Modi government. The exports did not rise in the last five years. The jobs could not be created. There were heavy investment proposals in infrastructure, but in an overcrowded country like India, implementation is likely to take years. Congress also contributed to it. Acquisition of land is essential to implement any developmental project, but the Congress party decided to create laws to appease farmers which made acquiring agricultural land a very difficult process for the government. Congress still takes pride in the pro-people law, but the entire country is paying the price of short-sightedness of its leaders who are more interested in acquiring votes and winning elections. In the end, they got nothing.

Modi introduced come cosmetic changes, renamed many policies, indulged in event management rather than hard policy initiatives necessary to lift millions out of poverty in India. He preferred symbolism rather than substance. So, he built the tallest statue of his beloved Congress leader Sardar Patel, introduced plan to built a bullet train, tricked public through carefully managed propaganda over surgical strikes, tried to benefit from military stances against Pakistan among other things. And he was successful and established himself in the minds of people as a strong politician. However, this trickery might not last long. The mental image of the world around us has to be substantiated by the real-life experience. Once the gap between the two rises, political fortunes of Modi likely to dwindle with it.

BJP is an ideological outfit. Not every BJP supporter is part of the lynch mob who are spreading hate and threatening people on Twitter and Facebook for criticizing the government or willing to lynch Muslims and Christians for eating cows. Although Brahmanical arrogance is palpable in any such discussions. More than BJP, RSS has created many outfits and encourages radicalism in society. It helps BJP during elections. As an extremely devoted Muslim in Pakistan unlikely to vote for a liberal western oriented (socially) politician, similarly, individuals totally submerged into nationalistic propaganda are unlikely to vote for any centre to left political outfit in India. Once engrossed in right-wing worldview people can vote to other nationalist parties, which are perhaps more radical than BJP, but they are not likely to vote to Congress. However, this principle not necessarily applies to any politicians, for them, the world is a family. So, celebrity Congress Spokesperson can join Shiv Sena, Congress leaders can join BJP anytime they like. In fact, all parties welcome big leaders into their fold. There are plenty of examples across the nation.

Many scholars are now calling it arrival of BJP system in India to tease the Rajni Kothari’s inception of the Congress system. Perhaps India has entered the BJP system, only a more nationalist version can replace the nationalism of BJP now. If that’s true, nothing can be more unfortunate than that, but the scholars are known for developing appealing insights in the hindsight. How the country will turn in the coming years is as difficult for them to answer, as it is for common people.

Next five years are going to reshape India completely. If Modi succeeded economically, then it will be an impossible exercise to discredit the BJP government and India will enter a new phase of a centre to the right government for a long time to come.

end.  

Monday, 21 January 2019

BOOK REVIEW: REMARKABLE JOURNEY TO NO MAN’S LAND


Mukesh Devrari

Happymon Jacob’s new book ‘The line of control: Travelling with Indian and Pakistani Armies’ is an interesting story of his personal journey as a researcher. Although his another book titled ‘Line on Fire: Ceasefire Violations and India-Pakistan Escalation Dynamics’ has become a talk of the town because of his sensational revelation that 9/11 derailed Indian Army’s plan to capture Pakistani posts along LoC to end infiltration for once and all.  

His less controversial book ‘The line of control: Travelling with Indian and Pakistani Armies’ tells the story of a man and his personal journey to study two rivals of South Asia and their conflicts. In this case, Professor Happymon Jacob has come a long way since the day he was advised by Hamid Ansari how to be a good repertoire. He has successfully entered the club of individuals who are out of power but continue to play a role in influencing opinion through negotiations and discussions with their counterparts in both countries. This track two diplomacy includes ex-heavy weights of politics, bureaucracy, and military who read and write about the Indo-Pak relations.  

The first half of the book is entirely biographical. Jacob made 10 visits to Pakistan so far. On each visit, he must have had many experiences, but he highlighted his interactions mostly with powerful ex-bureaucrats and military officials. He did not mention his encounters with common folks. However, he was encouraged by the Pakistani military to interact with people living in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir who are facing the brunt of Indian artillery attack every now and then.

This book does not move in chronological order. The author does back and forth and chooses incidents as per the theme Jacob is addressing in particular chapter. It was also noticeable that he was carefully observing each and everything about the Pakistani army, their style, grandeur, and demeanour, on the other hand, he was comfortable and casual while talking with Indian forces.

This difference in approach was quietly palpable in his writing. This book is also full of remarks which express the deep convictions of the author about certain issues. At one place author says Pakistani armed forces rule Pakistan, on the other hand, Indian Army is struggling to remain relevant in policy matters even about security matters. It is true, completely subservient armed forces are the mark of deeply rooted democracy in any nation. 

Half of this book is autobiographical. By the time you will finish half of the book,  its tone and tenor changes considerably. It starts giving sermons and underlines ideals about how Indo-Pak relations, research, and the academic journey should be undertaken. He mentions ceasefire violations and their impact. His conversations and observations make it very clear that cross border firing can happen due to any reason. As armed forces are not accountable to the mayhem caused on other side, they can start firing anytime. There are no rules for engagement. Perhaps Happymon Jacob is the only person on the planet who has visited Line of Control from both sides. Perhaps he is also the last person to do it. No journalist or researcher will be provided even this symbolic tour to both sides of the border in the foreseeable future.

If India and Pakistan are two sides of the same highway which can never meet then we can safely conclude that Prof. Jacob is walking in the middle of the highway. Through his first non-academic writing he has made an appeal to the people who genuinely believe that peace between both nations is possible. He is also extremely critical of the portrayal of Pakistan in Indian media and vice versa as it vitiates the atmosphere and encourages leaders to take a hawkish line on Pakistan.

Author has also dismissed suggestions that special treatment by Pakistan military will change his views on the conflict. He insisted that irrespective of anything he would continue to serve the enlightened national interests of his country. He does not accept that identity in any way shapes his perspective on issues. It does not matter that he is Christian from Kerala and left-leaning professor. In the book, he also boasts that he is an agnostic who could not be persuaded even by Jesuits with the help of God, it is highly unlikely that Pakistani military will be able to turn him through its charm offensive.

One more thing is remarkable in his travelogue. If a high profile individual like Jacob is trailed and harassed by spooks (members of an intelligence community) who can line up Pakistani Army chief or for that matter Pakistani Prime Minister through his powerful friends and their friends, how Pakistani intelligence agency will treat common folks like us is not hard to imagine. 

In this book, Prof. Jacob has also shown contempt for the concept of nationalism and national interests and described his perspective as a pursuit of enlightened national interest. Overall this book does not break any new ground in the continuing conversation about Indo-Pak relations. It also does not provide any new substantial information. Neither the book has developed any new perspective of seeing things.     

At best this book is personal take of Prof. Jacob on wider issues while enjoying an official tour to Line of Control to learn about ceasefire violations.

end. 

Monday, 7 January 2019

PARADIGMS OF DECOLONIZATION IN INDIA


Mukesh Devrari

Decolonization is a continuous process. We might have succeeded in throwing the British government out of this country seventy-five years ago, but as a nation, we failed in throwing out the British influence out of this country. The word British symbolizes the entire western world. It was not a single nation state. It was a manifestation of the European idea of supremacy over other beings. We achieved our political freedom. With it, by default we attained our economic freedom to some extent and utilized it for a few decades to advance our national interests. However, economics is no longer exists within a nation state alone, it exists in must bigger and connected global structure. Third is cultural freedom. India did not utilize its cultural freedom to ouster alien cultures out of this country, not in the sense of complete decimation, but in the sense of diluting western cultural hold on our society.

Political Decolonization
India is a success story. It is a great shining example for other Asian and African nations to follow. When the British government left the shores of India, they left behind broken society, totally divided into communal lines, and an extremely weak economy. At the same time, they had a deep impact on the illiterate population about their efficiency, intelligence and superiority, whom they subjugated for centuries.

It was unimaginable for western public intellectuals to think about a democratic India, where people have more reasons to disunite than unite. Fortunately, India had great leaders who were fully acquainted with the idea of liberal democracy due to their close contacts and exposure to the western society.

Despite many hiccups, this country moved ahead step by step. Our leadership was visionary enough to accept the popular verdict. Smooth transfer of power took place at various states and at the national level over the decades. India is the first nation on the planet where communists came to power through a popular vote. The Communist party won legislative assembly elections in Kerala.

Survival of democracy was almost like a shock. How a country like India, which is highly diverse, highly discriminatory, totally irrational, superstitious and overly religious can function as a democracy. How the illiterate masses of India will practice the art of political freedom through a parliamentary system evolved in Britain in more than eight centuries. Western intellectuals were sceptic how the Indians will imbibe the values and discipline needed in functioning democracy?

This country has proved all sceptics wrong. Illiterate, uneducated and marginalized communities in India participated in democratic processes more enthusiastically. Well to do portions of our population has less participation in the democratic processes. Political freedom not only includes right of every citizen to caste his or her vote without any fear, but it also includes right of every pressure group to influence the policies of the state through all non-violent methods which include criticism and protests.

Political freedom also includes the right of common citizens to aspire for the highest political office. To ensure this political freedom constitution of India made proper arrangements. However right to vote is not a fundamental right yet, but other rights like the right to assemble peacefully, form organizations for political purposes, freedom of speech and expression have been properly guarded.

There is only one dark spot in the political history of India. It is a national emergency which was imposed in 1975. During the emergency not only our grand old party failed us, but our judiciary also failed us, our media also put our honour at the footsteps of the ruling elite. The emergency lasted almost two years. It gave power to the ruling party to extend its own tenure for six months at a time for an indefinite period. During emergency Supreme Court ruled that ‘during emergency no citizen has a right to life’. Our media who was asked to bend started to crawl.

There were some courageous people among us who fought against the emergency, who were not ready to relinquish values and legacies of our freedom struggle. Finally, the emergency was lifted. Congress lost power. Constitution was amended and powers of any political dispensation to abuse the emergency provisions were heavily restricted. In the year 2017, the Supreme Court reversed its decision. Media is also much more diverse today and it is committed to liberal democracy rooted in neoliberal values.

Apart from this minor hiatus, the record of this country is more than satisfactory. We still prefer to vote to criminals and men of dubious credentials during elections. We defeated Ambedkar in general elections and we elected goons, dacoits, alleged murderers to our legislative assemblies and parliament over the decades. Still, when we compare ourselves with other nations, we have done fairly commendable job. In Pakistan, no prime minister could complete his tenure even once in last seventy hours. China has one party system. Nepal was a monarchy and still struggling to create a working constitution. Sri Lanka butchered its own minority Tamil populations and invited global condemnation. This list is endless. Many Asian and African states are struggling to survive as a democracy. India can afford to give itself passing marks in the section related to political decolonization.

Economic Decolonization

Political freedom cannot survive too long without economic freedom. What is economic freedom then, in the context of our discussion? It is definitely not a right of industrialists or capitalists to fire their employees as per their whims and wishes. Economic freedom definitely does not mean the right of an individual to start a business to make a profit with complete disregard for human health, environment, rules and regulations framed for regulating business activities. Economic freedom does not mean the right of an employer to practice gender discrimination and disregard the concept of natural justice of equal pay for equal work.

In the context of our discussion, economic freedom means the right of a nation state to pursue any economic policy which advances its national interests. Immediately after the decolonization, newly independent nation-states chose to tread on a path which eventually leads to self-reliance. Former colonies might have gained political control over the destiny, but economic decolonization was still elusive as economies of third world countries were closely tied to colonial powers.

Due to the rapid industrialization in former colonial powers, most of the invention which led to the creation of newer consumer products took place there. These former powers refused to cooperate with their former colonies if they chose to attain self-reliance and refuse to be a part of free trade regime.

Still, it was not easy for them to break the strong willpower and genuine commitment of these newly independent states to their citizens. They struggled economically, attempted whatever they could to improve their economic fortunes. Former colonial powers continuously undermined the efforts of these newly independent states. They put restrictions, sanctions and refused to cooperate with nation states who refused to join economic world order propagated by the western world.

Contemporary American experts on foreign policy openly boast that the US economic sanctions also played a prominent role in destabilizing the Soviet Union and finally in the destruction of socialist world order. India also could not escape the ideological onslaught of western world, which was powered by powerful international monetary organizations and international media.

Immediately after independence first Prime Minister J. L. Nehru declared the creation of ‘socialistic pattern of society’ as his government’s objective. India defined itself as mixed economy, where privately owned as well as state owned companies functioned side by side. However, India was more leaned towards the socialist economic model.

In 1991, India faced existential crisis, partly due to our own failings and partly due to global structures designed to destruct former colonies who charted their own independent path. This country did not have the money to pay for its monthly imports. International Monetary Fund (IMF) came to our rescue, but they attached many conditions on us. We were invited to join global economic world order led and designed by former colonial powers and their progeny to keep western supremacy intact in all spheres of human activity.

India caved in and decided to bring structural changes in the economy. It definitely led to the more inequality, but it also created a lot of wealth for huge population. Indian economy grew by leaps and bounds. But this new system is more beneficial to powerful former colonial powers than the former colonies.
In this globalized world, former colonies are totally dependent on economic might of former colonial powers. Third world seeks capital from western global giants. They willingly accept the invitation. In this new structure, western world has kept its influence and power intact without having a direct political control over others.

The absence of global brands from Third World countries ensures that they will never be the ‘net beneficiaries’ of globalization. China is the only exception which did not allow western nations to dictate terms to it. It used existing model for the benefit of its people in the best possible manner. Perfect example of their approach can be seen in the way they handled IT sector. China denied entry to global giants like google, facebook, twitter and Amazon. It encouraged Chinese nationals to make the best possible use of the huge national market by creating similar IT companies.

Chinese IT companies are today capable of raising billions of dollars for their expansion and invest billions in research and innovation. On the other hand, India prefers to define itself as IT superpower, but it does not have a single global product in business to consumer segment.

In short, former colonies do not have the power to pursue their independent economic policies. They cannot refuse to be the part of the global economic order led created by former colonial powers. Decolonization should include the abolition of coercive power in the hands of former colonial powers.

Even today, if any third world country chose to divert from the prescribed path, it is gagged, demonized and dismissed as a rogue state. Without complete economic freedom and liberty, the project of decolonization remains incomplete.

Cultural Decolonization

The third part of decolonization paradigm is cultural freedom. Unfortunately, in the modern world culture is also a part of the consumer market. Culture cannot be seen beyond consumerism in the west. Western world is looking for cultural homogeneity, not because Christianity is interested in it or benefitting from it, but because it helps western companies in expanding their economic interest.

Due to the extreme diversity and multiplicity of opinion in India, our society remained reticent about their cultural identity and ethos. Internal rifts and divisions also contributed in our defeated approach to express our cultural identity in forceful manner. Cultural freedom in this context refers to a global order which allows individual states to pursue and shape their cultural evolution without any external influence. However, it is unlikely to happen. As western films, music, songs, video games, cartoons, books, magazines, news channels, websites, fashion, culinary habits are expanding globally.

According to many western scholars, twenty-first century will be marked with cultural clashes. It will be the clash of civilization. Samuel Huntington wrote research on clash of civilization. It became so popular that he wrote a book with the same title to further propound his theory. In this hypothetical clash, India is not ever considered a challenger to western civilization. In fact, India and its cultural evolution are in sync with the western values. Both are moving in the same direction.

Individualism will prevail and traditional value system will wither away. Is there any way to reverse it? In the absence of internal movements and education system geared on completely western lines, it is highly unlikely to happen. Strong liberal tradition in India also opposes any cultural movement rooted in Hinduism. Left-leaning intellectuals strongly object to inserting Hinduism as a regressive and backwards-looking approach.

Here is a strange paradox. Left is a strong western ally when it comes to how culture should be shaped. Right is also a western ally when it comes to how the economy should be shaped. Left ideologues vehemently oppose economic prescriptions of the western world for third world countries.

In this land of paradoxes, people must not take an extreme position on any issue. In this land of Buddha middle path is the only path to ensure peace stability, tranquillity, love and affection. India can opt for few cultural traits of western society, we cannot close our doors completely, but at the same time, we must ensure that Indian culture remains at the centre of human life in this land.

end. 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

COMMON SENSE IS ALSO AN IDEOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION


Mukesh Devrari

Slavoj Zizek uses an amazing example to clarify this fact. I find that example convincing as it proves how we draw inferences and prepare our conclusions. As you all are aware. Human beings have flown for the first time in 1903, when Wright brother created their first aircraft and within the next seventy years, mankind landed on Moon. If that is a marker of our progress then hopefully human beings are going to travel to other planets soon and it is also a matter of time before our species will be exploring the far away corners of the universe. Will you doubt our ability to achieve these remarkable scientific feats?

In Germany, surgeons are performing more and more complicated surgeries every year. Heart transplantation and liver transplantation are examples of such complex surgeries. Now Germans are trying to divide human penis into two parts so that men could have more fun by having sex with two women at a time. Do you doubt in our ability to achieve this feat?

We all are also aware that the average age on most of the countries on our planet a few centuries ago was around 40 years. Now average age in developed nations is around 80 years. Scientists are questioning our need to die because of diseases and treatable ailments. Average human age likely to touch 100 years in coming decades as we are making more and more scientific advancements in the field of medical science and perhaps we are moving towards immortality. Do we doubt our ability as a human race to achieve this remarkable feat?

Now turn the wheel for a few moments. If you will ask anyone, whether it is possible for us to create a society where each one of us will have access to free healthcare? The answer will be no. If you will ask anyone, whether it is possible for human society to achieve relative economic equality, if not absolute economic reality. The answer will be no again. If you will ask, will it be possible for us to ensure quality education to each and every human being free of cost on this planet? The answer will be big no.

There is nothing natural about our arguments. Our responses are a result of social construction. It is ideology at work. Through these constructions, ruling ideology ensures the continuation of its dominance and ensures that social, economic and political interests of the power elite are intact. While acting under the influence of these ideological trappings, we ignore the cruelty of existing dominant structures and lose all structural sympathy as a society for our own people, who may be behind us due to various social reasons.   

It works behind everything we read, see, listen and observe through media. It’s an operating system. We are engaged and cannot go beyond it. Human beings don’t realize their opinion is rarely based on their immediate experiences as the world is too large to be experienced by the five senses.

end. 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

CAN WE LEARN FROM TRUMP’S AMERICA FIRST POLICY AND FIGHT US MONOPOLIES?


Mukesh Devrari 

India must learn from Donald Trump. He is a true patriot who talks straight. His straight talking uncovers the western sophistication and ideology. West has only one ideology. It is the national interest. Over the last few decades, this national interest turned into white men’s interest. The US treated itself as a large entity representing the interests of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Japan and South Korea were late entrants in the club.

Trump has simply declared the US will abide by the rule-based world order if the existing rules fulfil US interest. If the rules established by the US a few decades back are not compatible with contemporary US national interest, then it has no interest in abiding by those rules. Earlier US regimes were no different, but they were more sophisticated and resorted to manipulative tactics after taking its allies into confidence.

On a trade dispute with China, the US has declared that if trade balance was not corrected than the US will not think twice before leaving the World Trade Organization. After leaving WTO it will prefer to enter into bilateral free trade agreements with each nation separately. China and other emerging powers will be losers, not the US. This is how national interests are pursued. Similarly, Trump also dumped the treaty not to test missiles with Russia and also the treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

If you are an economist, then please keep your indoctrination set aside for a moment and use your common sense. Can you imagine India where all retail shops are owned by foreign nationals and foreign companies? India has decided to become a prostitute who charges nothing for her services.

In India, e-commerce is completely owned and controlled by two US giants. Amazon is soon likely to overtake Flipkart which controls around 40% of the retail market. Indian columnists generally describe India as IT superpower. It makes us elated and happy but in reality, India does not have any global IT companies offering any direct consumer services. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Microsoft, Amazon and a few others have a complete monopoly in India.

On the other hand, China has allowed only Chinese companies to create national privately owned counterparts of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter. Alibaba, an E-commerce giant, founded by Jack Ma likely to become the first trillion dollar company in China. Tencent and Baidu are other large companies, which operate and own as sophisticated technologies and compete with their US counterparts.

Walmart acquired 77% stake in Flipkart in 16 billion dollars. It takes the market valuation of Flipkart to around 20 billion dollars. As far as profitability is concerned, Flipkart did not earn any profit yet since its creation, but it will make a lot of money. Reasons are pretty simple. Masses will make most of their purchases online. India has a huge retail market. Amazon and Flipkart are likely to control the entire e-commerce business in India and reap all benefits of a duopoly.

Currently only youngsters, that too mainly in cities, make their purchases online, but as education level is increasing, internet penetration is rising, wealth is increasing, masses will resort to e-commerce platforms more and more. There are social reasons for their success also. Life in cities is already hectic. Working hours, travelling time, family needs encourage people to adopt a convenient and hassle-free method of making orders online. It saves time, energy and also money.

It is important to remember that India will always remain subservient to western global companies if these companies continued to flourish without any checks and balances. It does mean India should become a socialist. That will be another disaster, but it definitely needs to interpret and challenge the concepts of economics if it did not serve its interest. If are ready to learn from China because of our false sense of superiority, then we can look towards Trump and learn from American First campaign.

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