Inflation here – Inflation there
Inflation does not happen: It is not a Natural calamity. Inflation is created by humans, their lifestyles and the market forces. It is created by the misplaced priorities by the dominance of institutions, including the State, that take over the personal and the collective domain of an individual, family, and the society at large. For example: War (in the name of peace) and movies (in the name of entertainment where energy dissipates into smoke).
For ages the Indic peasants have been self-supporting and self-reliant for their needs, and could exercise their autonomy in their personal and collective living. By the standards of contemporary developed societies in the West, they may seem to be poor. Their poverty has been due to the exploitation by the rulers, and the dominant casts and classes, for centuries. Yet they were fairly free in their personal domain.
With the entry of white angles from the West – the East India Company and the British Rule (also read French – Dutch – Portuguese) – their remaining freedom came to an end. Perhaps the final stamp of this end was placed by the Cadastral Surveys the British carried out in the entire country. It also sealed peasants’ autonomy. Thus came into force a new tenure – government land.
It helped the British to consolidate further the centralised power, which was dependant on their military power. Now they had an added tool of power – Revenue Department – the Indian Civil Service (ICS). What is the cultural impact on the agrarian society must also be taken into account, not only economic and administration. The tribal – adivasis – the aborigines – escaped this cultural onslaught, may be to some extent, but they lost the land rights of their habitat – the forest – that went to the Department of Forest
On achieving the Independence, the government of Indian Republic and the provincial governments took over the ready infrastructure and the laws, and followed the foot steps of the past colonial masters. The struggle for Independence thus ended, instead of, now, continuing to investigate, scrutinise and to revamp the established system.
Also there came an end to the pioneering efforts in education, women’s uplift, science, and social reforms etc. that were going along the movement for political independence. The slave mentality of centuries took over again.
Whatever changes that may have taken place during the subsequent years were mostly effected by changing nomenclature – ICS became IAS, writing of the Constitution (which underwent more than 100 amendments. Isn’t it commendable that we learn from the mistakes) and some adjustments and readjustments. But the dragnet of centralised power continued to tighten the peasants – the second class citizens if India.
Free market – liberalisation – globalisation – economic growth – Club Nuke – blah-blah-blah, and very recent one – the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are the pretty pet programmes and policies of the modern First World India, which goes on popping poppy pills of progress that come with consumerism mantra.
Now listen to the music of the perils of the peasants in the Third World India, who produce food for all, are being displaced, marginalised, starving, driven to suicide, while Public Distribution System of essential commodities falter or fail now and then. The food production comes down; the food prices go up.
What would the elevated bureaucrats and the leaders to be the modern-feudal-masters, the Mai-Bap Sarkar, taking the role of Provider, now do? Distribute the dole in cash. The cash though has no tangible value, particularly when the inflation strikes, one after another, by the consumerism mantra, which never comes down in decades. But when the problem is so large and widespread, who could guarantee the dole or development reach to the needy?
The peasants produce food for all: It’s a NEED. None, however, can produce oil – the fossil fuel. They can only extract it from the Earth and process it: It is a WANT of the privileged few; it is not for all. What is the point in shouting green slogans?
‘We must carry our own burden', that’s what my grandma – an illiterate peasant woman – said fifty years ago.
Who does WANT Nuke or Nano? Who doesn't NEED food?
Tell the bright brains of IITs and IIMs to find how to use the billion-people-strong human energy! This is a challenge of 21st Century and the Democracy.
Remigius de Souza
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.