Support anti-corruption drive but be wary of vested interests


“Albatrossinflight” over at Centre Right India makes some interesting arguments in favor of embracing the anti-corruption movement. I have already expressed some of my reservations in an earlier article in this blog. As someone who has always been wary of  the likes of Ford Foundation, Rockefeller funded do-gooder and their more-often-than-not insidious (or blatant in some cases) anti-India, dharma-hostile agendas, I am still skeptical of certain constituents of the Indian Against Corruption campaign. While the “banishment” (?) of that charlatan in swamI veSha, the “demotion” (?) of the socialist Bhushan duo, the possible “casting aside” (?) of communist agents like Kavita Krishnan offer some incentive for support, there are still some caveats. Like for instance, why are they aiding reductionist pontifications of the imagery of bhArata mAtA, a sacred symbol of/during India’s freedom struggle? What are the vested interests behind the assiduous efforts to avoid dhArmika symbolism and yet concerted efforts at providing a platform for non-dhArmika religious activities? What about the preposterous need of the Lokpal appointing committee comprising last two Magsaysay award winners, or Nobel Laureates of Indian origin? Never mind that they might very well not be Indian citizens. Why are they opposing privately funded NGOs being included under the purview of Lokpal? Corrections are welcome if these points from the draft of the proposed bill have since changed.

It is also my view that the process of appointing a Lokpal will find it hard to escape political machinations. It will instead result in creating a framework of a parallel bureaucracy or worse unelected ideologues foisting agendas à la NAC. The answer to corruption is in more economic reforms, in an economy that is free market in true sense of the term. Furthermore, those agent(s) at the top of the political hierarchy who have dubious histories and whose relatives abroad have collated stratospheric wealth with seemingly no sources of income would have to be dismantled. When the one at the top is corrupt to the core, those below cannot be expected to be any better.

That said, after close to fours months since I last expressed my views on this matter, I find myself somewhat agreeing with “Albatrossinflight” that dhArmika nationalists should seek to support the anti-corruption movement (while being wary of some of its constituents at the same time) for now. That people cutting across economic divides have expressed support for the anti-corruption campaign speaks volumes about Indian electorates’ frustration with the stratospheric corruption in the current dispensation in Delhi. Furthermore, the perfidious anti-national poverty-mongering communist brigade must be prevented from hijacking the movement (any further than they already have) to serve their ideological agendas. Case in point, take note of the comrades here longing for clarion calls to “revolution” in rAmalIlA, instead of the patriotic vande mAtaraM. The movement against corruption can be supported, but with an alertness against attempts to (a) introduce backdoor socialism (b) provide platforms to anti-national ideologues for propagating propaganda against patriotic symbolism. There is indeed an inkling of an opportunity here to seize the moment and dethrone, and eventually dismantle the political hierarchy that has relentlessly looted India. The jury however is still out on whether the opportunity will be grabbed or self-goal will be scored.

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Real agenda behind Lokpal bill revealed


Prashant Bhushan finally reveals[1] what we have long known[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. That this whole Lokpal bill plank is a means for unelected communist/socialist ideologues to foist Cambrian socialist policies on the Indian polity.

Mr. Bhushan, writing in The Hindu[11], provides a nice insight into the insidious agenda that he and his fellow travelers (including that charlatan in swamI veSha) have.

Under the garb of liberalization and privatization, India has adopted policies by which natural resources and public assets (mineral resources, oil and gas, land, spectrum, and so on) have been allowed to be privatized without transparency or a process of public auctioning

Almost overnight, hundreds of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been signed by governments with private corporations, leasing out large tracts of land rich in mineral resources, forests and water.

Private monopolies in water and electricity distribution, airport development and so on have been allowed to be created, where huge and unconscionable levels of profit can be made by corrupting the regulator and allowing private monopolies to charge predatory prices.

Most ominously, such deals have resulted in the creation of monster corporations that are so powerful and influential that they have come to influence and virtually control all institutions of power

Unless we tackle and change the policies that create enormous incentives for corruption and monster corporations that become too powerful for any institution to control, the fight will be incomplete.

Some recurring salient points are:

  1. liberalization is bad
  2. privatization is bad
  3. corporations are bad

Left unsaid, capitalism sucks, all hail socialism.

Nehruvian socialist policies of the Congress party had reduced the Indian economy to such a sorry state the in 1990 prime minister Chandra Shekhar had to pledge the country’s entire gold reserves with World bank in order to avail IMF loan. It was only after the economy was opened up in 1991, socialist policies by and large discarded for a (relatively) free market economy, private enterprise and investment encouraged, that foreign exchange reserves grew and the economy took off.

Unlike the socialists from the Congress or the Janata party, the communist brigade however, has always been on the fringes of the Indian political class. The opening up of the economy only further constrained their limited reach. Apart from in Kerala and West Bengal, communists have hardly been able to spread their wings in any other region in India with any comparable success. In fact now they are on the way to potentially losing West Bengal, one of their biggest strongholds. In the central governments, their influence over the economy, by and large, has been constrained by being part of motley alliances once in a while. As such their ability to introduce any true blue (read red) or all out communist (economic or otherwise) agenda has to some extent been limited.

This situation took a curious turn in 2004 with the formation of the National Advisory Council (NAC) under Sonia Gandhi. Comprised of a motley crew of Marxists, jholawala-s, and poverty mongers, the NAC took the form of a super cabinet that pulled all plugs to undo the prosperity that India had achieved for the first time since independence through economic liberalization in the early 90s. To quote journalist Tavleen Singh[12], (emphasis added)

There are constraints. These come in the depressing form of the Lefties, jholawalas and povertarians who fill the ranks of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council and who have taken full advantage of her economic illiteracy.

It is this that her Marxist advisors have used to persuade her to put her name to the unworkable employment guarantee bill and the appalling tribal rights bill. Both have been done in the name of the ‘poor’ but if Sonia had not been an apolitical housewife in our days of Nehruvian socialism she would have realised that this kind of scheme was tried often in the past with disastrous results. The poor remained poor and a vast infrastructure of vested interests got created that served mainly to make a few officials rich. If we dismantled this infrastructure and handed the money physically (by money order as the Planning Commission once suggested) to every poor Indian we would eliminate poverty faster.

But, we cannot do this because parties like the CPM (Communist Party of India-Marxist) have a vested interest in keeping poverty alive. How else to explain West Bengal’s hideous poverty despite three decades of Marxist rule?

the Marxists have a long history of opposing anything that benefits India. Sonia Gandhi needs to beware of finding herself in the same category. Instead of being so cozy with the comrades she would be doing herself and India a huge favour if she spent more time trying to understand why her handpicked Prime Minister and Finance Minister gave up Marxism for the market.

The NAC’s policy pushes bear an uncanny resemblance to the socialist policies of the erstwhile Soviet Union that led to its economy rapidly going downhill leading to its eventual collapse. The NAC’s biggest scheme till date, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is basically a socialist job guarantee scheme (as the name suggests) that has led to massive corruption[13][14][15], huge cost overruns[16] and concerns of causing inflation[17]. Not to mention creating unavailability of workers for agriculture[18] and industry[19][20]. There have also been reports of workers becoming lazy and remaining untrained[21].

“it is making them (labour) lazy…, they do not get training.”

If that wasn’t enough, the NAC is now pushing for another socialist behemoth, a food security bill which proposes highly subsidized food grains to 75% of the population including to APL (above poverty line) households[22][23][24]. Not surprisingly, the NAC’s socialist schemes are vehemently supported in various forms by sundry (crypto) communists[25] as well as the Communist Party of India – Marxist[26]. Needless to say such a massive food freebie would drain the exchequer, burden the economy and lead to inflation[27][28]. Thankfully, the C. Rangarajan Committee on the proposed food security bill has somewhat trashed the communist free food agenda[29][30][31], much to the chagrin of the comrades[32].

An expert committee headed by C Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, has concluded that the provisions envisaged by the NAC may have to be ‘calibrated’ due to non-availability of food grain, the potential distortion of open market food prices and the “large subsidy implications”.

The large food grain procurement would also require higher minimum support prices and imports, which would increase the fiscal burden.

With the NAC and its acolytes in the media continuing its push for socialist dinosaurs on one hand, the expose of the deep corruption in the UPA government and the resulting public angst seemingly provided an opportunity for the comrades on the other. Having infiltrated the India against corruption (IAC) group under the guise of “social activists” and the currently in vogue “civil society members”, their insidious agenda took shape under the veneer of the proposed Lokpal bill. As is ably demonstrated by Prashant Bhushan’s rants against liberalization, privatization, corporations, exposing his consummate socialist agenda[33]. The Indian middle class’s anger and frustration with the massive looting of the country’s wealth by corrupt politicians of the ruling dispensation only served to fuel the surreptitious moves of these self-styled “civil society members”. They were no doubt helped by the hysterics of the brain dead useful idiots as well as by the lack of ingenuity of well meaning folks like Baba Ramdev. Incidentally, Baba Ramdev was one of the first to give impetus to public opinion against the massive corruption of the UPA, and along with his crores of supporters was the single largest constituent of the IAC group. However, he eventually ended up getting sidelined and ceding space to the socialist/communist lobby no thanks to his own miscalculations as well as their machinations. While we won’t pass judgment on Anna Hazare at this point, not surprisingly even he has had to face the wrath of the socialist/communist lobby for some honest words about their much despised Narendra Modi’s impressive governance accomplishments[34][35][36]. While conveying their purported “hurt” to Hazare, the comrades’ rant against what they call Modi’s “destructive development”[37] in Gujarat makes their ideological agenda and socialist biases all the more apparent.

The socialist/communist lobby’s insidious agenda under the veneer of the Lokpal bill has now been conclusively revealed by one of their own. Bhushan’s “address” in The Hindu[38] brutally exposes his socialist biases. Being reduced to the fringe by the Indian electorate, they have reinvented themselves as “civil society members” to foist their agenda on the Indian polity using undemocratic, extra-constitutional methods. As it is the unelected and unaccountable, super cabinet NAC’s Mesozoic socialist policies are a matter of big concern for the Indian economy. India cannot and must not let these unelected communists, jholawala-s, and poverty mongers impose their fossilized socialist agendas on the country under the guise of the Lokpal bill, or any other facade for that matter. Rampant corruption in the ruling dispensation is not a result of the economic liberalization but is rather a vestige of the pre-liberalization period and is a reflection of the need for breaking down political hierarchies. As Tavleen Singh says[39],

…his coterie of Lefty advisors are using their fifteen minutes of fame to rant against the liberal economic policies that have brought the only prosperity that India has seen since 1947. Without it there would be no tweeting, texting middle class.

In the process we seem to have all forgotten that it is not the economic reforms that have created India’s vast and wondrous infrastructure of corruption. This was built in those times when the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy were inflexibly in the grip of high officials and mighty ministers. With the rise of the private sector in the past twenty years, politicians have turned their greedy eyes upon the possibilities of bigger takings and to this end ensure that their progeny succeed them to take care of the family business. If we want corruption to end, we could begin by banning hereditary MPs and making it compulsory for political parties to have regular elections. We could also ban political parties who cannot account for their donations. Political parties are richer today than ever because they have become leeches on the back of the private sector.

The republic of India has a democratic process where elected representatives of the people formulate policies. Unelected self-styled “civil society members” with their own vested interests and ideological agendas cannot be allowed to go against this process and subvert the constitution. The Indian legislature, the Indian economy cannot be held hostage by some Marx, Lenin or Mao ideologues. Make no mistake, if the economy goes downhill, it is only subversive elements like the Naxals, supported by many of these self-styled “civil society members”, who stand to gain. Capitulating to them and allowing their insidious agenda to succeed would undo the benefits brought about by opening up the economy, and hurl the nation into the dark days of pre-liberalization.

Update

Prashant Bhushan once more makes his communist agenda amply clear in his latest rants against the liberalization of the Indian economy[42].


REFERENCES

[1] http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/15/stories/2011041556271000.htm
[2] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/56622887997681665
[3] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/56622425709875200
[4] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/56618344643698689
[5] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/56617312039608320
[6] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/56214091651485696
[7] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/55491486380331008
[8] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/57287925141995521
[9] http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/57287960047001601
[10]  http://twitter.com/#!/tattvaanveShaNa/status/57288095929876480
[11] http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/15/stories/2011041556271000.htm
[12] http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=60177
[13] http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/massive-corruption-hits-nrega-implementation/271528/
[14] http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/Netsavvy_villager_reveals_21_Million_fraud_-nid-73934-cid-1.html
[15] http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/article401448.ece
[16] Disa Sjoblom and John Farrington. The Indian national rural employment guarantee act: Will it reduce poverty and boost the economy? ODI Project Briefings, 7 January 2008.
[17 http://www.deeshaa.org/2008/01/11/does-the-nregs-cause-inflation/
[18] http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/article924552.ece
[19] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-01-19/news/28430232_1_infrastructure-projects-infrastructure-space-core-sector
[20] http://apparelresources.com/new/next.asp?cod=I&msg=10871
[21] Ibid.
[22] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1090344.ece
[23] http://www.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/C-Rangarajan-Committee-Suggestions-on-Food-Security-Bill-1295683570-1
[24] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-01-14/news/28429547_1_food-entitlements-nac-food-security-bill
[25] http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2805/stories/20110311280509200.htm
[26] http://cpim.org/node/1379
[27] http://techntrek.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/will-indias-food-security-bill-alleviate-inflation/
[28] http://www.moneylife.in/article/food-security-bill-inadequate-to-tackle-inflation-malnutrition/14645.html
[29] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1090344.ece
[30] http://www.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/C-Rangarajan-Committee-Suggestions-on-Food-Security-Bill-1295683570-1
[31] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-01-14/news/28429547_1_food-entitlements-nac-food-security-bill
[32] http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2805/stories/20110311280509200.htm
[33] http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/15/stories/2011041556271000.htm
[34] http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-13/india/29413135_1_anna-hazare-narendra-modi-gujarat-police
[35] http://www.sify.com/news/narendra-modi-writes-an-open-letter-to-anna-hazare-news-national-lelry7ijjhf.html
[36] http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/13/stories/2011041364651600.htm
[37] Ibid.
[38] http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hysteria-will-not-end-corruption/774100/0
[39] http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/15/stories/2011041556271000.htm
[40] http://news.in.msn.com/specials/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5113129
[41] http://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/07/business/20-tons-of-gold-sold-by-india.html
[42] http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/783774/

An Indian Bungling and a Pakistani Deception


Times of India recently brought out an article on India’s show at the Shanghai World Expo [1]. Excerpts below. Emphasis in bold has been added by me.

If the government wanted to showcase India as an economy jostling to be among the world’s biggest, you’d imagine it would parade its tech and IT muscle. But at the World Expo 2010 at Shanghai, where countries are exhibiting to garner business and investment, the Indian narrative is predominantly centred around street food and handicrafts, a spiel dumped a good 20 years ago.

On entry, one is confronted by stalls, mainly empty, selling samosas, naan, rotis, lassis and a bunch of boxy booths peddling brassware and other bric-a-brac, the staple of our dull state emporia. The ‘Incredible India’ tourism booth had nobody manning it while the CII one was locked.

If India wanted to showcase itself as a competitor to China and an economy that will define the 21st century, a country with immense talent, technology and youth, a nation ambitious of attaining double digit growth, it didn’t come through.

On the other hand, if the intent was to sell its 5,000-year history, culture, arts, crafts, music and dance, that didn’t find expression either. Pakistan has in fact beaten India in footfalls during the early days of the Expo by claiming the Buddhist legacy for itself.

Showcasing well neither the past nor the present to the 70 million visitors expected to visit the Expo over six months, India may have lost a golden public relations opportunity.

…the fact is for the $9 million (Rs 41 crore) spent, India has nothing substantive to show.

What is most visible instead is the heavy hand of officialdom, whether in the names of stalls or on the T-shirts of yoga instructors. For example, instead of labelling stalls as ‘Handicrafts’, one read the mouthful ‘Ministry of rural development, Government of India and CAPART, ‘Council for Advancement of Peoples Art and Rural Technology’. Good for Pragati Maidan may be, definitely not Shanghai.

In some instances intentions were pious but execution pathetic. Take the yoga demonstrations. Hugely laudable given that Yoga is India’s hippest export. But the two people doing the moves were dressed in tight black pants and dull brown tees which, hold your breath, said in bold black letters at the back, ‘Govt. of India!’

The displays on the first floor were crammed cheek by jowl. The displays — mainly pictures of people ranging from CV Raman to N R Narayana Murthy — were mounted on panels framed by beautiful saris. Visitors assaulted by so much information and clutter walked by without pausing to look. One got the sense that if the saris used for backdrops had been the exhibits they would have drawn more attention than what was mounted.

The Indian bungling is not surprising given that most of Indian bureaucracy is still stuck in “Babudom”. Moreover, given the descriptions of the Indian stalls, it is hard to justify the $9 million supposedly spent. It wouldn’t be surprising if some day we hear of any alleged financial misgiving. However, in a country where an Italian businessman [2] charged for acting as a conduit for bribes in a scandal [3] involving military hardware for the nation’s defense, with allegedly very close ties to a family tied to the political (and currently ruling) establishment is exonerated and let off under allegedly questionable circumstances, what’s a couple of million dollars here and there.

The Pakistani deception in claiming the Buddhist legacy shouldn’t also surprise anyone. It is quite ironical but not surprising!

The nation of Pakistan (among possibly others) is the ideological inheritor of totalitarian supremacist marauders from medieval and pre-medieval period like Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad Ghauri, Bakhtiyar Khilji [4], Babur [5], Aurangzeb [6] and their ilk. These zealots in their fascist frenzy of religious bigotry were responsible for sacking numerous Dharmic seats of learning, culture and worship, many of which were predominantly of Buddha Dharma. Not to mention the heinous holocaust of millions of Dharmic people for their “crime” of being “disbelievers”.

The father of the Indian constitution and a Buddhist himself, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s views in this matter are quoted below from [7].

There can be no doubt that the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasions of the Musalmans. Islam came out as the enemy of the ‘But’. The word ‘But,’ as everybody knows, is an Arabic word and means an idol. Not many people, however, know that the derivation of the word ‘But’ is the Arabic corruption of Buddha. Thus the origin of the word indicates that in the Moslem mind idol worship had come to be identified with the Religion of the Buddha. To the Muslims, they were one and the same thing. The mission to break the idols thus became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went. Before Islam came into being Buddhism was the religion of Bactria, Parthia, Afghanistan, Gandhar and Chinese Turkestan, as it was of the whole of Asia….

The Musalman invaders sacked the Buddhist Universities of Nalanda, Vikramshila, Jagaddala, Odantapuri to name only a few. They raised to the ground Buddhist monasteries with which the country was studded. The monks fled away in thousands to Nepal, Tibet and other places outside India. A very large number were killed outright by the Muslim commanders. How the Buddhist priesthood perished by the sword of the Muslim invaders has been recorded by the Muslim historians themselves. Summarizing the evidence relating to the slaughter of the Buddhist Monks perpetrated by the Musalman General in the course of his invasion of Bihar in 1197 AD, Mr. Vincent Smith says, “….Great quantities of plunder were obtained, and the slaughter of the ‘shaven headed Brahmans’, that is to say the Buddhist monks, was so thoroughly completed, that when the victor sought for someone capable of explaining the contents of the books in the libraries of the monasteries, not a living man could be found who was able to read them. ‘It was discovered,’ we are told, ‘that the whole of that fortress and city was a college, and in the Hindi tongue they call a college Bihar.’ “Such was the slaughter of the Buddhist priesthood perpetrated by the Islamic invaders. The axe was struck at the very root. For by killing the Buddhist priesthood, Islam killed Buddhism. This was the greatest disaster that befell the religion of the Buddha in India….”

In recent times, the supremacist ethos of Khilji, Aurangzeb, et. al. found expression in the Muslim League’s [8] Two-Nation theory [9], which led to the formation of the Islamic “Republic” (?) of Pakistan in 1947. More recently in 2001, their ideologues-in-arm, the Taliban [10] destroyed the statues of Buddha in Bamyan [11] using dynamite and rockets. A project which even the fascist totalitarian iconoclast Mahmud of Ghazni and later on Nader Shah had tried but failed to accomplish. Given these incontrovertible facts, Pakistan claiming the Buddhist legacy presents a veritable feast of delectable irony.

REFERENCES

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Indias-shoddy-samosa-shawl-show-at-Shanghai-World-Expo/articleshow/6080303.cms

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottavio_Quattrocchi

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bofors_scandal

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakhtiyar_Khilji

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babur

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurangzeb

[7] http://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/scandal.htm

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-India_Muslim_League

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Nation_Theory

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamyan