The BJP Prime Minister of our country, Shri Narendra Modi, has reportedly lamented that the people of our country, ‘‘have been busy talking about rights, fighting for rights and wasting time.’’ He also added, ‘‘…forgetting one’s duties has played a huge role in keeping India weak.’’ Criticizing this statement made by no less a person than the Prime Minister of the ‘largest democracy in the world’, an editorial in Deccan Herald, Bangalore dt. 26.01.2022 observed that, ‘‘…Constitution was adopted as the defining basis of the social contract between citizens and state. We the people, gave unto ourselves the Constitution and thereby the fundamental rights granted to all citizens by it. It is these rights that turned the people of the country from the subjects of a British colony into citizens of a sovereign republic…these rights are at the heart of the constitution….’’…The words ‘‘Fundamental duties’’ were inserted during the period of the dark chapter of independent India i.e., during the Emergency period in 1976, under Smt. Indira Gandhi led central Congress government. They are not ‘‘…part of a basic structure of the constitution and are not justifiable and enforceable, as fundamental rights are.’’ Is there any similarity between Indira Gandhi’s rule and that of the present regime under Modi-led BJP government or there is dissimilarity? If one sees from people’s perspective, no dissimilarity would be noticed. Rather it would appear that the present BJP government is faithfully continuing with the heritage of Indira Gandhi’s rule with added dimension of oppression and repression. Why is it so? Because both the governments had been and have been subservient to the ruling monopolists and the capitalist state. More crisis-ridden is capitalism in its present decadent moribund stage, more ruthless is the exploitation of the toiling masses. To divert people’s attention from the real cause of their growing poverty and misery and thwart outburst of people’s accumulated grievances to the extent possible, the bourgeois governments, whether of the Congress or the BJP, have been found to bank on, inter alia, coining beguiling slogans. During the Indira Gandhi rule we heard slogans like ‘‘Garibi Hotao’’, ‘‘socialistic pattern of society’’, ‘‘democratic socialism’’ and so forth. Narendra Modiji, in fact, has made floating new slogans with a shifting goalpost a ritualistic habit. First it was ‘‘achhe din’’, (good days) then ‘‘Swachh Bharat’’, (Clean India) ‘‘saab ka saath, saab ka vikas’’ (all together, development for all), ‘‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’’, ‘‘Make in India’’, ‘‘Amrit Mahotsav’’ (Grand Nectar Festival), ‘‘Amritkal’’ (Nectarin peiod), ‘‘Gati Shakti’’ (Power of Speed) and so forth. But now the BJP government has found that the best way to hide the hideous underbelly of the deceitful slogans is to pass on the onus of non-performance and non-delivery on the people. Hence, the identification of the cause of a ‘weak India’ in the disregard of the people about discharging their own responsibilities. Incredible indeed!
Servitors of reactionary capitalism are deceiving people
But then why the BJP, the Congress and other faithful servitors are prompted to play con games with the people? For that, we would have to look at the proven scientific analysis of the history of social development provided by great Marx, Engels and Lenin. Marx showed that during advent of capitalism by overthrowing outmoded reactionary feudalism the emerging capitalist class was then historically not only progressive but also revolutionary in character. It propelled the society forward in all directions. Renaissance was the period of enlightenment from the dark middle ages. Slogans of ‘‘individual freedom’’, ‘‘equality, liberty, fraternity’’ and ‘‘women’s liberation’’ rent the air. It was indeed the dawn of a new era in history! These slogans reflected the then social urge for freedom from feudal bondage and progress. In its urge for taking control over the means of production from the feudal lords and monarchy and foster industrialization based on iconoclastic development of science and mechanics, it needed ‘free labourers’ to work in their factories. Commensurate with that, it raised the slogan of individual freedom and freedom of women from feudal thralldom. But this freedom was not from the exploitation of man by man which assumed a new form in capitalism-exploitation of labour by capital–as brilliantly expounded by the great Karl Marx. In course of development capitalism reached its highest stage, viz, monopoly capitalism and then imperialism. Just as once the bourgeoisie itself dug the grave of feudalism and established capitalism in its stead, so also today it is the working class which will dig the grave of capitalism and in its stead establish socialism where exploitation of man by man would cease to exist.
Features of fascism
And as a last resort to stave off inevitable anti-capitalist socialist revolution led by the working class, the capitalist class is increasingly resorting to fascism which, as elaborated by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, eminent Marxist thinker and founder of the SUCI(C), is marked by the following features:
(i) Concentration of wealth in the hands of a few by pushing out the rest from competition,
(ii) so also concentration of political power in the hands of a few subservient to the monopoly houses by making parliament, administration, judiciary committed to the monopolies as the order of the day.
(iii) cultural regimentation by a peculiar fusion of spiritualism with technical aspects of science.
So, individual freedom and freedom of speech, which were the cornerstones of bourgeois democracy are being thrown to the winds, the hard-earned democratic rights of the people are snatched away by promulgating, one after another black laws, muzzling voice of protest and dissent by coercion and shielding the evils bred by rotten capitalist order with mellifluous radical slogans. Hence, great Lenin had once remarked that during its heydays, capitalism was more attached to freedom and liberty, while at its moribund stage, it was more attached to militarism and bureaucracy.
It is the Congress as trusted representative of the ruling bourgeoisie, that laid the rock bottom foundation for consolidation of Indian capitalism and took measures for the speediest, widest development of capitalism in India, of course, in the crisis ridden period of world imperialism-capitalism. In the mid- 1970s, when multitude of problems plagued the populace all around and the charisma of Smt. Gandhi was on the wane, people all over the country burst out in spontaneous movements. It was then that the Congress government clamped emergency and robbed people of most of their civil and democratic rights. It was precisely at this hour that Smt. Gandhi started speaking about the duties of the people, only to protect and preserve the vested interest of the capitalists. Her regime introduced the charter of duties of Indian citizens in the constitution, which till then had only contained the charter of rights of the people. But as the people refused to accept this flagrant violation of democratic principles and upped their ante against Indira’s rule, the ruling monopolists sensed danger and were compelled to project a bourgeois alternative to the Congress. Thus was formed the Janata conglomerate of which the BJP was a constituent. Since then, through many twists and turns and frequent change of incumbent party or combination at the Centre, the BJP finally appeared to be the party best suited to serve the class interest of the monopolists.
7 years of BJP government nightmare for people
What has been the people’s condition under the incumbent dispensation? For the past 7 years the central government is in the hands of the Modi-led BJP. With the blessings and backing of the monopoly houses and through the exploitation of the growing wrath of the people against the Congress, the BJP came power with a massive mandate both in 2014 and 2019. Suffering people presumed that this ‘saffron’government would reverse the trend pursued by the previous Congress governments. People expected that better days would be ushered in, unemployment would be removed, job loss would no more take place, education and healthcare would become available to all and dignity as well as prosperity of women would be guaranteed by honouring the slogan of beti padao, beti bachao (educate the girl, save the girl). But what has been people’s experience? The rich became richer even during pandemic as evident from following data–
Rich became richer
- During pandemic the number of billionaires in India jumped from 102 to 143.
- Collective wealth of the 100 richest Indians in 2021 peaked at a record high of Rs 57.3 lakh crores.
- Wealth of billionaires in India during pandemic (March 2020-Nov 30, 2021) jumped from Rs 23.1 to Rs 53.2 lakh crores, i.e, more than doubled.
- 142 Indian billionaires own more wealth ($ 719 billion) than 555 million people ($ 657 billion) (bottom 40%).
- Richest 98 have same wealth ($657 billion) as the poorest 555 million people.
- If each of the 10 richest Indian billionaires spends $ 1 million (Rs 7.5 crore) daily, it would take 84 years to exhaust their wealth..
- Combined fortune of Indian billionaires more than doubled during the pandemic.
- Number of billionaires shot up by 39%.
Poor became poorer
- 4.6 Crore Indians were pushed to extreme poverty in 2020 (this figure is half of global ‘new’ poor!)
- 84% households suffered decline in income as per CMIE survey for 2021:
- Even before the Covid pandemic havoc, 60% of global rise in poverty belonged to India
- More than 23 crore live below poverty line in India
- India ranked 94 out of 107 countries on global hunger index
- Pandemic has set gender parity back from 99 to 135 years.
- Women collectively lost Rs 59.1 lakh crores in earnings in 2020
- 1.3 Crore more women are out of work than in 2019.
- Unemployment rate has reached highest level in last 45 years. Previous issues of our party organ Proletarian Era have published many articles depicting the economic miseries and political oppressions faced by the people.
We ask you humbly Prime Minister Sir, do all these data compiled recently show that India has reached ‘‘Amritkal’’ or is it fast plunging into the dungeon of ruination? Is asking for right to livelihood for the poor when the rich are enjoying all the wealth and privileges of the society, a crime? Is the demand for getting a job by the able bodied unemployed young people is so unjustified as to evoke disgust? Is demand for bringing prices of essential commodities down within the purchasing capacity of the common people to be held as ‘too much’? The fragility and inadequacy of the healthcare system in the country was thoroughly exposed during the pandemic period. But allocation for health in union budgets is going down every year. Health spending has remained abysmally low at 1.2-1.6% of GDP and increased only by 09% over last 22 years. Is then demanding access to free or at least affordable healthcare at conveniently located hospitals a luxury? Education spending is as low as 3% of the GDP and increased only by 0.07% over last 18 years. Like healthcare, government control is being used to push for increased privatization of public universities, which have to depend on less and less government funds now. When number of school dropouts are increasing, highly disproportionate student-teacher ratio is lowering standard of education, most schools in villages and semi-urban areas are in dilapidated condition, many schools are folding up and education is stripped of its essence by framing syllabus bereft of the desired scientific, secular and democratic content, is it a height of folly to demand right to proper education to all? Crimes against women are rising alarmingly. Rapes, gang-rapes, murders, tortures, acid attacks, dowry deaths, honour killings, domestic violence, female foetcides and infanticides are going up harrowingly.
In such a situation, is the demand for appropriate steps to stop atrocities against women and protect the right of women to a safe livelihood, uncivilized Mr Prime Minister? When the whole world knows how the Covid pandemic and the economy have played havoc with the life of the working class, the hapless migrant labourers and the peasants for the last two years, is the demand for suitable compensation to these distressed millions a privilege Prime Minister Sir?
When lakhs of farmers, old and the young, men and women, occupied the borders of Delhi, braving all odds and coercive measures, and sacrificing more than 700 lives, in just demand for repeal of three Black Farm Laws and the highly pernicious Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021, along with demand for legalization of MSP and prevention of corporate takeover of agriculture–could that life and death battle be termed as ‘terrorism’, ‘foreign power-sponsored disturbance’, ‘anti-national’ and non-righteous?
Constitution, which you, Prime Minister Sir and your party consider to be so sacrosanct stipulates in clear terms right to life, right to religion and safeguard to the minority. Does your government really champion the objectives enumerated in its charter of duties? The answer is an emphatic NO! The arch Hindu communal Sangh Parivar has been brazenly violating those constitutional provisions by openly giving call to kill the minorities, lynching Muslims, Christians and backward dalits, vandalizing their houses, properties and places of worship, fomenting communal fanaticism and inciting communal-ethnic violence. Who does not know your government is not just a mute spectator but indulgent onlooker to the innumerable number of attacks on the minorities, particularly the Muslims and Christians as well as killings of dalits by the so-called upper caste people wielding power and enjoying patronage of the Sangh Parivar? Is it unbecoming of a civilized person to demand immediate stoppage of this frenzy, stringent punishment of the guilty, decry the role of your government and ensure safety of the religious or ethnic minorities? What undue right is solicited by this demand? Even when the constitution speaks of secularism, you, Mr Prime Minister and your cabinet colleagues have been on a spree to highlight Hindu religious customs and practices as superior, and encouraging the building of Hindu temples and statues of Hindu mythical characters with alacrity and impunity. Does it infringe upon any constitutional provision when voices are raised against such activities? Is it also, according to you, Prime Minister Sir, tantamount to abuse of democratic rights?
Everybody knows that from day one, the Congress government, as faithful servitor of the Indian national bourgeoisie who captured power through a compromise with the British imperialists, began curtailing the people’s rights enshrined in the constitution, curbing democratic movements and instead stressing on people’s duties as if the people were on the wrong side and the government was avidly pursuing democratic principles. With passage of time, not just the undemocratic but the fascist face of the government started unfolding. The fascist measures thrust upon the people of the country by the Indira Gandhi regime were only meant to gag voice of protest and dissent, the essential pillars of democracy and serve the aggregate interest of ruling capitalism. Is not the incumbent BJP government led by you, Prime Minister Sir, not just bearing the legacy of the erstwhile Congress government but has gone far ahead in giving a far strong footing to fascist autocracy to devotedly serve the monopolist tycoons like Adani-Ambani and their ilk?
- Fascism is general feature of dying capitalism
But Prime Minister Sir, history is written by the people and not the fascist autocratic leaders. It bears recall that when the intellectuals and political leaders all over the globe were celebrating the death of fascism with the crushing defeat and death of Hitler and Mussolini, it was the lone voice of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh which cautioned the world that fascism does not die with the death of some fascist leaders. ‘‘Fascism is a historically conditioned form of counter-revolution in which capitalism seeks to stave off revolution by an anticipatory move. It is designed to save the crisis-ridden, chaos-discredited capitalist order from collapse in the face of mounting dissatisfaction of the people against the existing system’’, he observed. (Call of the Hour, SW Vol II) He further showed that fascism would appear as a common feature in all imperialist-capitalist countries irrespective of the extent of their respective stages of development. So, fascism would raise its ugly head in any and every imperialist-capitalist country. Armed with the teachings of Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought, we know that till the time capitalism is overthrown by anti-capitalist socialist revolution led by a correct revolutionary party, fascism cannot be uprooted from the soil. Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), founded by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the great leader of the proletariat, is striving utmost to make people imbibe this truth and organizing class and mass struggles conducive to development of revolutionary movement. Prime Minster, Sir, people are on the right path and are no more going to be fooled by your flawed ‘right and duty’ binary.