gossipy debate

i've more drafts than posts in my dashboard - so i've decided to publish this slightly old draft even though i haven't said half of what i intended to say through it. my hope - publishing it might get me interested in the subject again.

an article in The Financial Express reviews three years of UPA rule:
At the same time, I have yet to see the senior minister or his compatriots in the National Advisory Council (NAC), or even the keepers of the Marxist faith to which he has professed sudden allegiance, come up with a coherent development strategy that will secure the welfare of the aam admi. Because, as West Bengal after three decades and China since 1978 have demonstrated in different ways, there is no simple alternative strategy or a short-cut that can address the trade-off between growth and equity. Rapid growth remains the necessary condition for reducing poverty and improving the aam aadmi’s condition.
the writer is being unfair to mr.aiyer - he actually does have a development policy. let's look at the relevant parts of his now famous speech to the cii:
In these circumstances, when a proposal came before the government to spend Rs 648 crore on the Gram Nyaya department, we were solemnly informed by one of the most influential ministers in the government to remember that we are a poor country. I was delighted when the next day he was with me in a group of ministers and I reminded him of his remark and said in that case can we stop spending the Rs 7000 crore on the Commonwealth Games and he said, “No, no, that is an international commitment and a matter of national pride.” This national pride will of course blow up if you spend Rs 7000 crore on the Commonwealth Games. We will be on the cover of Time and Newsweek.
isn't that interesting? the 1982 asian games were promoted by the gandhi family fan club in the congress, which means most of the congress, as a shining example of india's national pride and their 'success' was offered as incontrovertible proof that the then heir apparent, rajiv gandhi, who was the prime driving force behind the decision to hold the games, had what it takes to be the leader of a nearly hundred year old party. and mr.aiyer had shortly after that inveigled his way into rajiv ('hope of the nation') gandhi's innermost circle of 'smart friends and aides'. even though he was still a member of the indian foreign service. so why does mr.aiyer inveigh against wasteful expenditure now? here's the answer:

I was always something of a leftist. But I became a complete Marxist only after the economic reforms. Because I see the extent to which the most important conception of Marx — that the relationship of any given class with the means of production determines the superstructure — holds.
he's a chamcha, just as narendra modi's guru is indira gandhi more than golwalkar. he was always something of a gandhi loyalist. but he became a full blown chamcha much before rajiv gandhi's death. because that's the family which determines the superstructure of the congress, more than anything else. that's what the congress had steadily become over the years, and completely so since the advent of the indira gandhi reign. so it was okay when rajiv gandhi chanted the technology+growth mantra twenty years ago, even though the marxists, those righteous pals of mr.aiyer's, had opposed the introduction of even computers in banks and in government for a good decade or so, around the same period. and now that the current head of the family, aiyer's new master, feels a vaam-panthi posture is vital to dissociate the party, and more importantly, the family, from all things that spell narasimha rao, except, of course, from whatever gratuitous credit that comes its way because of the economic upturn engendered by policy initiatives undertaken during that usurper's era, mr.aiyer suddenly finds that he too had always travelled along the same road as the marxists. going back to the article:

Three years of UPA rule is testimony to this ongoing tussle between two schools within the Congress. This is also well in keeping with the party’s traditions. One school subscribes to high GDP growth. But, as I argued in this column a fortnight ago, this has to be supplemented with an expanded coverage and better delivery of public goods and services through administrative reforms. The other school seems to believe that growth-inducing policies per se are inimical to the interests of the poor. Therefore, they focus their entire attention on increasing public spending on welfare or so-called poverty reduction measures. The underlying logic (sic) of this school is that if by some means purchasing power can be put in the hands of the aam admi, the demand impetus so created will induce the needed supply response and generate growth.
analysts attach too much significance to whatever the congress does, attribute non-existent lines of thinking, leanings etc., to whatever congressmen do. the congress, right from the ward level, hasn't had a proper election within its organisation in the last forty years or so - if the party itself doesn't care for what its members have to say, and if the partymen themselves have long given up their right to expression, why do the pundits care? i find it very amusing that mr.aiyer's speech is being quoted in the media and the blogworld as proof of conscious dissent, of the existence of two schools of thought etc., within the congress. who's mr.aiyer dissenting against anyway? his prime minister? well, he's in good company because the prime minister himself seems to disagree with what his government is doing - helping the rich (according to him). in all the over-analysis of both these statements, and of all 'assertions' of congressmen, the critical lesson that is often missed is that none of them indicate any dissent against the house of gandhi. congressmen make those statements because they are allowed to make them. like all good courtiers, they can sense the mood of the ruling family. and the mood of the family has swung leftwards, in the last few years, as a reaction to the short reign of the modern day sher shah i had referred to earlier.

i am dredging up an old bugbear? dragging in the family into a debate on critical national issues? let's see what a wise man, dr.subroto roy, who claims to have authored the script for india's liberalisatiom program at rajiv gandhi's behest has to say on this issue:
All such questions would be ones of feminine gossip or TV-soap operas in case of any ordinary woman but assume political significance for Indians because of the inordinate impact she, her father, her sons and their widows have had on India’s modern history. Why all of India’s national-level politics have acquired a gossipy joint-family tone about them is because she projected onto them no high and universally known political principles whatsoever, but merely her own personal experiences and desire for popularity.
he is talking about indira gandhi and her family. she projected onto them no high and universally known political principles whatsoever, but merely her own personal experiences and desire for popularity. replace the word she with they and you could be talking about any political party in the country. or at least, most political parties. that's what the family has done to one institution, political parties, that is required to play one of the most important roles in the functioning of our democracy. any democracy.

a dole, in other words

Citing the reasons of ‘price rise’ and ‘globalisation and liberalisation’, the Left-backed UPA government has spelled out terms of references for the sixth pay commission. Nearly 42 lakh central government employees and two crore state government employees will receive a salary bonanza that will cost the state exchequer more than Rs 1,00,000 crore a year. However, for the 11 crore farming families, all that is being promised is more credit—doubling farm credit in the next three years.

What remains unexplained is that why is the farmer expected to live on credit while the rest of the society is blessed with a fixed monthly income?

great idea, in my view. like i had said earlier, a fixed monthly dole for all rural families would be much more efficient than a hundered different varieties of schemes and price support mechanisms. but what'd all the babus do? where'd they go, is the next question. and most of the 'voulntary' sector, and the 'alleviate poverty' brigade, and the 'globalized dissenters'?


indian bushmen in amreeka

Alexandra Tseitlin, who represents Mahender Sabhnani, described the couple as "law-abiding citizens." Where at, in the 1800's in India, where their heritage goes back to local bushmen? Do they own a time machine? Don't they reside in a Northern "anti-slavery state? I say revoke their citizenships, deport them to whatever slimy they climbed out from under and distribute a good portion of their "US banked $1.8 million" to the tortured women and donate the rest to hurricane victims or another worthy cause.
from here.


was this written yesterday?

All the past experience shows that at the point of planning policy, the greatest stress is laid on universal mass education: education of women, of scheduled castes and tribes, and in rural areas. At the point of fixing quantitative targets, proportionate expansion of all sectors takes over. At the point of performance, the highest achievements are all in the field of urban education, in secondary education, upper caste education and so on. The sectors of priority in policy, including adult literacy, are the laggards in performance: this is in line with, a consequence of, and a reinforcer of the pattern of distribution of political and economic power.

that's from a book i've been reading. those lines were written in 1975.
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