‘…bizarre thinking is possible when you create fear and hysteria. And we’re facing, of course, that situation today…’

Howard Zinn 

Part I of this series of articles, titled ‘India’s aspirations and hysterias in light of Imperialists anonymous and WikiLeaks’  provides the necessary background.

Zinn was not talking about India, or the validity of these so-called Indian aspirations as strongly embedded in Indian (1) ‘GDP-cult’, (2) desire for the UN Security Council Permanent Seat with Veto-Power and in her (3) Pakistan bashing attitude. For India, other than fear and hysteria, one needs to add-in the role of lobby-pressure in understanding these so-called Indian aspirations. 

Let’s now examine validity or bizarreness of each of these three aspirations, representing the will, and the priorities of aspirations of these 1.2 billion Indians. In the ICC World Cup, with India-Pakistan Semifinal approaching in the game of cricket, let’s start with Pakistan bashing. It links us to the other two as well.  

Let’s first accept that terrorism exists, and Pakistan has been one of the root causes of it for long, and has also been in its receiving end lately for obvious reasons. However, rather than being ‘hysterical’ about it, a pragmatic policy would be to find out what best can be done to manage or even fight this evil, if need be by joining hands with Pakistan, than blaming Pakistan. 

With the above disclaimer, does not India have her own in-house terrorism in the form of Naxalites, which the PM termed as ‘India’s biggest threat’? It is another matter that Rahul Gandhi, the prince charming, thought that the same credit should go to Hindu Terrorism…how bizarre can one be… 

Coming back to Naxalites, here’s what Manish Kunjam says in an interview with The Times of India (Manish Kunjam is ‘the only politician from tribal belt in Bastar who continues to organize Adibasis peacefully for their organizational rights’ – that’s how ‘We Want a Dialogue Between Naxalites and The Government’, The Times of India, 17th Dec., described him): 

‘Question: Will such repression force your cadre into inaction?

Answer: If that happens, democratic ways of protest will come to an end. Then only two forces will remain: the police and the Naxalites. The latter don’t believe in the Constitution; the former are supposed to follow it, but don’t. If on both sides you have inhuman tactics, the use of guns and bombs, you can imagine what will happen to the society affected by them. The country’s intellectuals should think about this.’ 

Do you see surprising similarities in what Manish Kunjam says and what Howard Zinn said? If you don’t have that time, this article will simplify that for you, to help you know the right perspective of a little bit of local and global history (and the surprising similarities of above views of Manish Kunjam with Howard Zinn, as if they have been reading from the same pages): 

‘It doesn’t take much thought about terrorism to realize that when somebody talks about a war on terrorism, they’re dealing with a contradiction in terms. How can you make war on terrorism, if war itself is terrorism? Because—so you respond to terrorism with terrorism, and you multiply the terrorism in the world. 

And, of course, the terrorism that governments are capable of by going to war is on a far, far greater scale than the terrorism of al-Qaeda or this group or that group or another group. Governments are terrorists on an enormously large scale.’ 

It also explains adequately why ‘Pakistan-bashing’ aspiration of India is countered by ‘India-bashing’ aspirations in Pakistan. More than sixty-years after freedom, both nations feel that the bashing it receives is much more severe than what it counters. 

Isn’t it bizarre, when Indian Naxalites state BBC Hindi to be their only source of objective information” compared to the umpteen ‘free’ Indian media? It should ring an alarm bell among Indian media and policy-makers, but unfortunately it does not. GDP growth rate slips by a few basis points, and fire-alarm starts in Indian establishments. 

The roots of terrorism, Maoists or otherwise, flourish in India because the fruits of growth, the growth as advocated by the ‘GDP-cult’ policy-makers and media, have not reached a significant size of its population, that may even be its majority. Various global statistics on poverty, illiteracy, hunger and derivatives of hunger in the form of malnutrition – particularly among women and children speak about that lopsided growth story; other than in the increase in number of billionaires, millionaires and graft cases.  

Or consider the recently reported per capita expenditure on public health at $7 in India compared to $30 in Sri Lanka. One may stop at these two figures of $7 and $30, however further probing on effectiveness of $7 and $30 may highlight how mismanaged Indian processes and systems are, on top of $7/per capita, when it comes to serving its underprivileged sections. 

True that many such articles, like the story of Manish Kunjam, appear in Indian media; but get comfortably tucked away under the carpet, both by policy-makers and media. It is the ‘10-minutes fame’ syndrome. If in a quarter GDP growth slips by 0.5% from 9% to 8.5%, it inevitably leads to big concern in India; but not poverty, illiteracy, poor universal access of basic infrastructure to significant number of Indians. How much media coverage, or policy discussions, has the Millennium Development Goals of the UN have received in India?  Isn’t it India that contributes the biggest of those numbers of people, without any close competitor, for which the UNMDGs are made?  

If one still remains skeptical on the ‘hysteria’ of economic growth and industrializations in India, one may simply go and ask Buddhadeb Bhattatarya, Chief Minister of West Bengal, where ruling left parties are likely to face the same fate as many-a-Arab leader after thirty-five years. Not long back he came with the slogan – ‘do it now’; and Indian media was abuzz with articles from eminent columnists, quoting big industrialists, that ‘Buddha is the best Chief Minister in India.’ 

Singur and Nandigram and many more such cases are example of that ‘GDP-cult’ hysteria of India. The lobby-pressure at work is also too obvious to be ignored. 

An understanding and comparison with China on the ‘GDP-cult’ is necessary. There is no room for debate that GDP growth and its distribution are the only way to increase the size of the cake, and thereby improve quality of life at the bottom of the pyramid. In developing societies like India, the bottom of the pyramid represents its physical share in percent of population as the real pyramid.  

The first part of it, Indian GDP growth – because of its intrinsic nature, seems to be on an auto-run now, and is likely to grow at near double digit-rates, unless catastrophic events hit global economy, or extreme bad monsoon persists, or pathetic governance mis-manages it completely. China has been giving much more attention and policy-actions on the distribution part of the economy in a sustainable manner. UN MDG goals are a priority in China, Chinese top leadership attends global MDG summits (away from China) whereas Indian PM attends CII-like events. China overtaking Japan’s economy is a low-key affair in China.  

The bizarre thing about India is a paranoid attitude on ignoring completely the distribution part of it, expecting trickle down effect to take place. In a dog-eat-dog world today, trickle down effect is nothing but the horse and the sparrow theory of Galbraith.  

Cold war led to bizarre thinking in the US, in the former USSR and in other significant parts of the world. Socialism and state-ownerships lead to fear and hysteria within the US even today, however capitalism does not lead to any such fear and hysteria in China. 

Other than free speech and free media, China has been able to steer itself clear from such fear and hysteria driven policies. India, in spite of having free speech and free media, is deeply mired by this fear-hysteria psychosis, exploited rightfully by big Indian private business houses, or by imperialist forces.

The concluding article (Part III – WikiLeaks Cables Put Indian Media Further on Trial) of this series, with help from WikiLeaks, covers how Indian aspirations got hijacked, role of Indian media in it, and corrective actions needed.

I invite you to visit my blog, Wondering Man (or take a look at my book,Wondering Man, Money & Go(l)d that rightly predicted many of the economic and geopolitical crises, to the gold prices and the currency disputes). You are also invited to join me on twitter.

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