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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Banning Orkut - Rape of Indian Constitution and Culture

Art. 19 of Indian Constitution

Right to Freedom

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.—(1) All citizens shall have the right—

(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

* * * * *

(2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

The decision of Orkut banning taken by Maharashtra Adminstration in Maharashtra is a plain violation of the Art 19 (1)(a), even after it has been read in conjunction with Art 19(2). The administration can argue that it is doing it in the interest of keeping the public order but what needs to be looked into here is the spirit in which founding fathers wrote this clause. This clause has been written keeping in mind the ages old tradition of freedom of thought of hinduism. If one goes through the deliberations of Constituent Assembly then it becomes clear that founding fathers did not want this caluse to be misused by those who wanted to stop the development of Hindu/Indian Society as at that time various other laws and acts were being passed which were meant to outlaw the various draconian traditions like untouchability and so on in Indian Society.

Orkut is a free associating media. People gather here and they put forward their viewpoints on various topics. Just because somebody wrote something against Shivaji does not provide any justification for attack on cyber cafes and demand of orkut ban. It just shows the intellectual and moral bankrupcy of people indulging in that and the moral and legal bankrupcy of the administration which instead of tackling hooligans is busy bowing down to them. A shame on Indian Republic.

We are a land of diverse cultures and multiple languages and practices. We also have a history of clashes in our remote and not so remote past. There is nothing which one can say with guarantee that the view will not offend anybody in the country. Banning and violence is not the answer. Rather the answer is more dialogue in the nature of orkut where we try to reach a place of consensus or agreed disagreement so that we can bury the ghosts of our past.

The people who are demanding the ban,i.e., Shiv Sainiks, are in no way different from Talibans. They and Talibans and Ayatollah Khomeinis are all different sides of the same coin. The coin which brooks no difference, will accept no deviation from their line of thought and will try to stifle freedom of thought which is the hallmark of Indian and Hindu culture. These are the most vicious anti-hindu force we have seen in last 10,000 years as these people proclaim to be champions of hinduism. And this is the main reason that we must oppose them because if they succeed today then that day is not far off when every dissenting voice in India will be stifled out and we will become a hindu Iran where others will dictate what we should think, what we should eat and so on.

Coming to the administrations viewpoint that Orkut is a danger to public order.
"The police will certainly act since there's objectionable matter and an organisation has objected to it and we have verified that it is correct. Naturally, the police also feels there should be no law and order problem," said Anup Kumar Singh, Joint Commissioner Police (Thane).

Mr. Anup Kumar Singh, I pity the place from where you got your education as that seems to have given you a twisted sense of reality. You are JCP of Thane a district near Mumbai and so it is quite logical to believe that it is also a den of Organised Crime. On today's news channel there was a news that Iqbal Kaskar - brother of Dawood Ibrahim has been let off by MCOCA court due to lacklustre evidence gathering by Police. I understand it. You people are so busy banning Orkut and trying to stifle peoples ' voices that to you Dawood Ibrahim and the Organised Crimes gangs are upholders of public order. Your action speaks for you.

Going further, if we are going to ban every media which raises the heckles of hooligans then what about Parliament. Members of Parliament are known to be murderers (Navjot singh Sidhu), Human Traffickers (Katara), Scammers (Lalu Yadav) and so on. Every shade of personality which is deemed as a threat to Indian Nation and public order and Law and Order is represented there. So what about banning the parliament.

Furthermore, the various sections of Constitution offend the traditions of Hinduism, so what about banning the constitution itself.

Where do we Stop?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Saga of Singur

From Now on I will be picking up various incidents and events which are happenning in India as a direct result of Economic Liberalisation.

Tata Small Car Factory in Singur - Birbhum - West Bengal

Where is Singur?

Singur is in Birbhum district of West Bengal. Nobody has heard of this place till Tatas decided to start their small car project over there. This place is mainly dependent on Agriculture with majority of land being multi-crop.

For this project Tatas needed land and they approached West Bengal Government. So far so good. Now things started happenning in a complicated and fast pace for any one observer to get the complete picture. So many interests got involved and so many laws were broken/amended to suit the Tatas that it became ultimately clear that this is one of the corruption beauties which CPM unleashes on people of West Bengal from time to time. In this one, the whole country was shown the videos of rowdy people, a harrassed CM who wants to industrialize an industrially backward state, a leader of opposition who wants to keep industry out of state, people who have willingly given land to Govt being misrepresented and so on.

Really a sad story, if it is true. so what is the truth? Let us take a hard look and ask some questions.

How the land was selected ?
Contrary to the normal way of things where government decides an area for industrialization and declares it an industrial area, in this case, Tatas were shown land all over Bengal and when they placed their finger on Singur, it was given. Hardly, the working of a democratic government, rather it looks more like, working of a dictator who knows that such an activity can be enforced and whatever resistance comes will be swept away by force.

It needs to be remembered that West Bengal has a huge amount of Industrial Grade Land locked up in closed Industries, majority being in Jute Industry. West Bengal govt would have taken any number of them and handed that to Tatas without any problem. It is not as if the land in Singur is having oil under it and Tatas are a petroleum company who without that oil cannot work. Moreover, These closed factories already have the infrastructure of Road connectivity and other present. Oops, I forgot. The majority of those factories are under direct control of CITU via the Labour Unions. So the government could easily have taken them and would had no problems as CITU is the labour wing of CPIM itself.

How the land was acquired?
Land was acquired by Government without the consent of farmers. In projects like this a major part is played by CPIM cadres. They intimidate the owners in signing consent letters. For those who are outside Bengal, it might look like exaggeration, please feel free to visit. You will find the real scenario. And when we talk about CPIM cadre, please do not think of them as political activists, they are full time employees of CPIM, drawing wages from party and killing for party when party needs it. Please refer to the incidents in Midnapore, which was reported sometime back on all the national channels of Television.
The government was banking on the assumption that the incidents will not get publicity and they will be able to proceed with impunity, which they are doing even now.
In order to do it, the government even went to the extent of modifying the law of the land. Please remember this happenned in October, long before rest of the nation even heard about Singur.

Public Response
Once the ill-doings of West Bengal Government became public, things started moving pretty fast with farmers and all the stakeholders coming together and a public agitation was launched. Mamta Banerjee, Leader of TMC - the main opposition party, went on indefinite hunger strike. Simultaneously, govt promulgated prohibitory orders in Singur under Section 144. They stopped everybody from outside from entering Singur. Thereby making it virtually a fortress. Medha Patkar, Anuradha Talwar, Mamta Banerjee, Rajnath Singh, all were stopped from entering Singur. What was it that West Bengal Government trying to hide. The logical way would have been to permit all of these people to go there and then present them with consent documents of the farmers. But goverment did not do it. Instead, West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharya kept on lying that all the farmers have given consent. Ex-CM Jyoti Basu went to the extent saying "under law consent is not required, but we are taking it." Well, I do not blame Mr Basu. It has been quite long since he has never practised in a court of law, so he is unaware of Legal Matters. There is a ruling of Calcutta High Court which does not agree with him.
While the whole CPM party was shouting from the rooftop that farmers have given their consent for land acquisition, Prohibitory orders were in place - which means that only local residents (farmers) were there in that area. Suddenly, in the afternoon Television we saw newschannels showing police firing on the people. Now, why was police firing on local farmers and local farmers fighting back.
The logic, comrade does not hold water. People who give consent do not fight back.
to be contd...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Economic Liberalisation of India

India has been an agrarian economy since time immemorial. During the British Rule, some industries were started but the culture of industrialisation did not percolate down to the villages as the prevalent structure was that of cottage industries which had a symbiotic relationship with the agrarian economy. These industries were located in the villages themselves thus preventing the rise of parasitic monoliths called cities. Each village was a self sustaining unit whose only dependence on the establishment was that of protection from another establishment and paying taxes to the establishment for the services viz., police, court etc. provided by the establishment.

Before European Invasion of India, many other invaders came and got assimilated in the Indian diaspora and the basic economic model remained untouched. When Europeans came they understood that this economic model was not beneficial to their interests as it would not allow them to dominate a nation economically and hence they started creating a class which was not producer of goods but a consumer only. This class was needed by them to ensure the economic survival of their countries. Till then the producer, farmer, was holding a good position in society by virtue of his creating the food. Europeans tore this social structure apart and placed the new consumer class which they have created on the top of social pyramid by vesting in them the authority to rule the society.

During freedom movement this socio-economic shift was understood by Mohandas Gandhi and hence his movements of khadi and salt.These movements were geared towards shifting of social power structure from the drone consumer class to the producers as he understood that by doing this, the economic structure of British would be hurt and then they could be forced to leave India. This did provide results as is evident by the fear in which British held him. This, coupled with the INA and the other revolutionaries activities forced the British to leave India. But the damage was already done. When British left, the same consumer class took over the political power in India. They had thought that they can just continue from where the British has left, but it was not to be so. The population of the country had become politically aware by that time and hence the ruling classes were forced to accept a mixed economic model. This was also influenced by the impact of USSR on Indian Political scenario.

In this model also, the emphasis of government was on Industrialisation which led to lions share of resources allocated for Industrialisation and a very miniscule amount going to the food producers and other pillars of rural economy. We must remember that all these decisions were being taken by less than 2% of population residing in the cities and the rest of the country was not involved in them. This resulted in the infamous food crisis of sixties during which we had to beg for food from the same Europeans whom we have kicked out of our country. Government woke from slumber as it understood that people need food first and then anything else. A concerted attempt was made and green revolution was started in the country which after 30 more years made the nation self sufficient in food grains.

Side by side, something else was also happenning. With the green revolution, the social shift has started taking place and the producers had started taking part in the political process also. This was not acceptable to the drones who were/are controlling the decision making process. So, a scam called Liberalisation of economy was started in the mid eighties.


Liberalisation was started with ostentious reason of doing away with the government control from the economy, thus permitting economic growth of all the stakeholders. government planned to be umpire only. In this case the famous words of today's PM and FM of that time, Manmohan Singh, are worth quoting. He said - "Government got no business to be in business". He further declared that market forces will decide how the prices move and what is to be the quality of product. He also assured the nation that prices will go down and quality will go up due to competition in market. There will be more jobs for the jobless as more industries will be put up. The fiscal deficit of the government will come under control as the government will get rid of sick industries and the same money will be used for social development. Beautiful words. Followed by ugly deeds. An onslaught of unprecedented nature was brought upon the farmers and other rural industries. It looked and is still looking like a plot to make the rural India slave of industry. A loot of unparallel proportions was started. Decisions which even a street corner shopkeeper will not take with respect to their shop were taken with respect to Indian Economy and all were done while maintaining a smoke screen of, If we do not do this then something bad will happen. This bad was and is theoretical in nature only and no practical or logical evidence was ever provided to the nation. A massive propaganda was launched which showed everybody who opposed it as being traitor to the country. But who are the actual traitors? We will examine that below.

1. Removal of controls from economy - government gave the industry freedom to do as they like. The process of setting up Industry became easier. Various charges were slashed or removed. Various controls again were slashed or removed. Industry became free to price its items. So far so good. But was this done for all the stakeholders. NO. The small industries and farmers were not freed. The controls on them were kept and made even more stringent. A case in example - A private hospital can fix its charges but a taxi driver cannot. For the taxi driver the government will fix the charge. A Land developer can price his land but a farmers land government will fix the price. What government started doing is, it started acquiring land from farmers at a lower price and then gifting them to the Industry. One example from thousands : West Bengal government took the land from farmers in Singur at a price fixed by it and gave it to Tata Motors in Singur. Tata motors are free to price their car but the farmer is not free to price his land which will be used by Tata motors. This is called discrimination and interference in the market process, but government is always doing it for Industry. So much for liberalisation.

2. More jobs will be generated - Pre-liberalisation there was a law which forced the Industry employing more than 10 people to seek the permission of government before closing down. This limit was raised. This resulted in various industries employing 80-90 people closing down. People were forced to take VRS and many were thrown out of job. Even now government has not come up with how many more people it's policy has provided jobs to. The unemployment has been rising meteorically as the people whose lands are being taken away also join the same queue.

3. Fiscal Deficit - This one is the best. government started removing the subsidy from the fertilizers, pesticides, electricity etc. for farmers saying that these subsidies are increasing the fiscal deficit. And for Industry- it started reducing the taxes from industry. Case in example - Excise duty has been repeatedly reduced for Cola drinks while subsidy was being removed. The loss in Excise due to duty reduction was never made public. Moreover, various state governments created special industrial areas where they gave huge subsidies to the industry on power, sales tax, etc. This way government forced farmers to subsidise the industry. Today's status of fiscal deficit- more than in eighties.

4. Sale of PSU - At first it was said that sick industries will be sold to private players, as they are better in managing and they can revive them back. What happenned in reality was that sick industries were closed down and profit making industries were sold at a pittance to the private players. It must be remembered that these profit making PSUs were contributing towards reduction of Fiscal deficit. The case in example is VSNL sold to Tatas for a pittance. This laid bare the government's motives. Part II.