Who rules India? Who owns India?

With World Cup 2010 opening in South Africa, world media attention is focused on practically all facets of South African life. The young leaders of ANC’s youth wing told a BBC reporter that while Africans rule the country, they do not own it and now it is their aspiration is to own it too. The statement refers to the national wealth in gold and diamond mines and vast agricultural lands that are still in the hands of the whites and consequently it is that group, though no longer ruling the nation, has full control on its economy through ownership of most of its economic resources.

In India, we had been fortunate that a wave of nationalization and State investment policies under India’s first Prime Minister and his advisers, had consolidated the rule and ownership in the hands of Indian people. However, after the entry of Manmohan Singh, first as Finance Minister and later as Prime Minister, and the phase of liberalisation ushered under his watch, the ownership of India is passing into the hands of other than the Indian State or the majority of its suffering masses. The transfer of PSUs to private hands is nothing but transfer of India’s resources. As the liberalisation policy goes through its various phases, the nation is gradually passing into the hands of foreign investors who will first own India’s resources and corporate assets and later will demand to rule the country by proxy. In fact, it is already happening and foreign countries especially US and its corporate sector work in tandem to impose their interests on Indian government policies, be that in signing of civilian nuclear sale agreements, the banking and industry, commerce and insurance, defence and security. While US President Obama is haranguing against British Petroleum, to pay to all that have suffered the consequences of the off-shore oil spill, the Indian government apparently tied up in invisible bondages, is cowering under differing statements, when people realise that not only the government but even judiciary is under cloud to claim adequate compensation for Bhopal victims. Imagine Indian state paying damages of up to Rs. 4 lakhs to Railway accident victims, while it settles with the US Company for a meagre sum of around Rs. 40,000 for the life of its own citizen. All judicial and diplomatic remedies are there, but the government is hampered by its subservience to foreign interests. One added dimension of disinterest may be that the majority of the Bhopal victims are Muslims.

Practically every sector of our national polity is under threat today. There is a danger that the 63- year old freedom of India will soon be on paper only where Indians will be forced to sign on blank papers. The way the loot is going on to use government power to sell off, or hand over effective exploitation of our mining and forest resources without any care for the local population’s present and future well-being and their rights on the land that they have inhabited for thousands of years, Indian government is nothing better than any foreign colonial government that legitimised such loot and took care of toadies and middle-men. The Naxal movement appears to be a desperate attempt to seek justice but the methods they have chosen and the people behind the movement are questionable. Among the middlemen and toadies, are a very select group of communities who are very strategically placed to enrich themselves at the cost of the majority. The danger is that all have-nots will resort to unconventional methods to right the wrongs and the majority of people will suffer without any hope to get any redressal from such upheavals. The economic and political scenario is so bad that only anarchy appears to be the nation’s destiny. The people at the helm of affairs, with exception of few, are all corrupt and deceitful.      

Ghulam Muhammed