How can india become a superpower
To have a new vision of the future, it has always first been necessary to have a new vision of the past. So now let us have a new vision of India’s past – past of three millennia before we take a vision of India’s future. Vedic age of Indian history can be said to be the age of heroic childhood full of chivalrous chastity. In terms of three gunas it was the period of the sovereignty of rajas. It was the period when libido was dynamic & kinetic. Reason solicited recognition, demanded deference. Indian reason reaches its apogee in the millennium beginning with the sixth century B. C. to seventh century A. D. This phase of Indian history was being navigated by the protestant philosophies – especially Buddhism. Buddhist phase is the acme of Indian Reason precisely because, it was then that Reason became auto-critical – critical of its own finitude. It was the auto-criticality of Reason which ultimately led to the parturition of dialectic. On the one hand, the Buddhist theory of the Real created the intellectual conditions of possibility for the positivity of the material sciences and on the other hand Buddhist theory of homo equalus created the social conditions of possibility for building empires at cyclopean scales. In terms of three gunas, it was the phase of the condominium of rajasa and Sattva. The result was collective thymos was satiated – libido could transform the nature as it wished, i.e. happiness was derived by acting on the-external world.
By the ninth century A. D. Sankara’s Vedantique interpretation of life and reality prepared the ground for the total withdrawal of society – the libido recoiled. Happiness was to be gained in containment in oneself, not in the external world. The result was total collapse of science and technology. The world of illusion – ignis fatus, the will o’wisp – was no more Real, and hence required no study. Something which is not Real need not be studied either. Withdrawal from the external world was a case of collective neurosis – the loss of collective thymos. It was the phase when tamas was the hegemon, and as a result India was condemned to live in darkness and ignorance. Involution of the libido was the cause of all causes for the subjugation of India for the longue durée – grosso modo, for half a millennium. Involution of the libido is nothing but neurosis, and neurosis is nothing but parasitism.
The whole of the later epoch can be termed as parasitic because India since then has nothing to contribute to the pool of human knowledge. On the contrary, it has survived on borrowed knowledge. What makes Indian civilization parasitic is its dependence on other’s knowledge-base since 10th century A.D. till today. It was a dark period of Indian History when her Body was mutilated, Mind subjugated and the Soul suppressed. The ‘Soul’ of India was suppressed but not yet destroyed. All through these tumultuous and tempestuous years her Soul was still breathing. The Bhakti Movement which started in the down south and travelled up to its northern most state of Punjab and Kashmir, in more than one sense, preserved its eternal vitality. Bhakti movement of India provided the bedrock for the emergence of Sikhism. Sikhism was the first consolidated political manifestation of a nation long subjugated aspiring for freedom. Sikhism emerged as the pinnacle of the protestant current of thought – as an ideology of regeneration, resurrection of India. Had whole of the Country or majority of it embraced the concept of ‘Saint Soldier’, embodying sattvic potency, since 1699 and after, there was no reason why India should have got colonized. The only way of averting the colonization was to embrace and practice the concept of Saint-Soldier. No one could have succeeded in colonizing India – India worshipping ‘Sarabhloh – ‘All Steel’. This was the master conception of ‘God-Head’ which India failed to worship and therefore, was condemned to remain enslaved for two hundred years more. Nonetheless, since then Indian Reason has gradually recovered its lost strength. In the early twentieth century, the rise of Mahatma Gandhi in the political firmament steered the anaesthetized and sterilized conscience of the country. Political freedom for the country could be consummated only when Gandhi took up the unfinished business of Mahavira, Buddha, and Guru Gobind Singhji to rebuild the country on the principle of homo equalus. In fact, all the freedom fighters were the most rarefied personifications of the concept of ‘Saint-soldier’. Political freedom was attained with the attendant pain of partition. Attainment of freedom once again led to a change in the position of the libido – it shut itself. India went autarchic and later autocratic. Autarchic position of the libido could not be sustained for long. The result was libido caracoled. Introversion paved the way for disoriented extroversion.
Independent India continued with the colonial structures. Let us take the case of education system. With the establishment of colonial power English replaced Persian, as Persian had replaced Sanskrit/Pali in the medieval age, as the language of Science and Civilization. In the last sixty-five years English has remained the language of Science and State. The result is dual education system – the one for the patricians and the other for the plebeians, the latter for primary and secondary education and the former for the higher education. The end result of this dual education system has been that modernization through education right since independence, has been confined to a sub-culture of college and university educated youth and elite and never did become a mass phenomenon. As a result, the ‘merit’ generated for the professions has been limited to the few. Thus the dual education system not only confined the Enlightenment project within the four walls of the colleges and universities but also generated ‘merit’ in the system in a limited number so that ‘rent’ can be earned. By restricting the spread and teaching of English, short supply of quality teachers, doctors and other professionals has been created and maintained in perpetuity. Short supply in turn creates the conditions of possibility to fetch rent. In the Indian educational system, it is only the two percent of the population which competes among themselves for the jobs in state, universities and industries. It is only the best of the two percent and not the best of hundred percent which serves the state, universities and industries. The end result of confining competition among the two percent is that sub standard professionals are ruling the roost in politics, universities and industries. In a democracy, it was the best way of disqualifying the majority from participating in the competitions for the white-collared jobs and wider political and social arena. We think this is the cause causi for India not being able to produce globally competitive personnel in proportion to its share in global demography. A further effect of inequality of education has been the perpetuation of income inequality. India has one of the highest Gini co-efficients in the world i.e. 0.69. Educational inequality leads to unequal growth in the productivity of labor and thereby highly skewed income distribution. Surprisingly, the majority of developing countries have less educational inequality than India.
Colonial legal system in terms of codes and courts persisted in independent India with an extravagant tenacity. Today, Indian courts are in serious crisis because of the overload of cases. Indian courts are overburdened because of the colonial nature of procedural codes – civil and criminal. There are five causes which contribute to the mounting arrears of cases in Indian courts (i) government caused delays (government fails to fill the required number of judges), (ii) courts caused delays (the judges fail to attend the courts), (iii) bar caused delays (advocates seek inordinate time to file rejoinders), and (iv) litigant caused delays (litigants fail to appear in time). These four causes are inheritance of the colonial rule. (v) A fifth cause can also be identified and that is the summer closure of the courts, which, too is a colonial practice. In other words, Indian Justice System is a fair-weathered institution. Colonial rulers had no intention of delivering justice; their ulterior motif was simply to keep the litigants engaged. We have been totally indifferent to change this colonial legacy precisely because we too do not intend to deliver justice. This is the supply side of justice delivery system, which in turn has generated more and more demand for it. The very failure of the adjudicative system has contributed to the rise in litigiousness. People, more often than not, go to the court not in order to secure relief or vindicate rights but with the objective of harassing the adversary. As far as codes are concerned, there are many laws in the statute book which have either outlived their utility or the state is in no position to implement them. Thus we have a judiciary in India where the courts and the codes, both are assailed, threatened or are in crisis precisely because Indian legal system still remains colonial in form and content both.
The structure of colonial politics has not only remained unbruised but has gained strength since independence. The colonial strategy of subjugating the masses was very simple. It was to exploit the social divisions prevalent in the society. After the first war of independence in 1857, British had realized that the key to consolidating power in India was to keep the Hindus and the Muslims, the two large communities at cross-swords with each other. It was in order to perpetuate a political schism between the two communities that the British brought the system of reservation by introducing separate electorates for the Muslims. The element of reservation imported into the structure of Indian polity continued even after independence and thus reservation is an element of the country’s political structure of the longue durée’. Reservation has come to be the ‘Politicians’ Stone’ for the political elite of India. The carrot of reservation is just one example of independent India’s continuation of British style of politics. The other is institutionalization of communalism. Communalism is an element of longue durée in the political structure of the country. The British had proved its efficaciousness. Further, Congress followed the Brahmanical model of divine kingship by birth. The result of perpetuating the rule of one family was that Congress in the course of time gradually lost its mass character and became a party of a few select families. This transformed the Congress at the ‘archaeological level’ from a party of the masses to a party of mammons. A democratic Congress turned into an aristocratic Congress. In Congress, democracy means superiority of the part over the whole. For example, the interest of one family, Nehru-Gandhi is paramount over the interests of other families. There is a possibility of circulation among the few families, but there is no possibility of replacing the one – the ‘supreme’, the ‘divine’. Similarly the interests of the few families are paramount over the interests of the Congress, and the interest of Congress is paramount over the interests of the country. This is Congress hierarchy of interests. In other words, the ‘Deep Structure’ of Congress is Pars pro toto – substituting the part for the whole. Congress has already entered the phase of tamas –eo ipso, its final dissolution in the days to come. The second stream of Indian politics is BJP, reincarnation of Jan Sangh. BJP is the bearer of unalloyed Brahmanism – a new version of Congress. The third stream of Indian politics is communism. By now, communists have outlived their utility and have nothing to offer because they can not go for ideological reproduction. Regional parties, by definition, are not capable of leading the whole country. Today, India is a hostage to fifty political “Gharanas”. The result is that the interests of these “Gharanas” are paramount over the interests of the people – as was the case in monarchical order.
On the economic front India pursued the policy of import substitution to reverse the colonial division of labour. So the entire thrust of the new regime was to develop the capital goods sector. Public sector assumed ‘commanding heights’ of the economy in the name of socialism. Over emphasis on capital goods sector at the cost of agriculture led to food crisis in the late 1960s. The response to the food crisis was new agricultural policy which helped attain self-sufficiency in food but industries grew sluggishly at what has been called Hindu rate of growth, i.e., 3.5 percent annually. Rise in capital-output ratio was identified as the prime culprit. But this is only part of the truth. The declining productivity of capital was accompanied by its twain – the stagnating productivity of labour. Nothing was done to skill the mass of the citizens because it was thought that skills are transmitted through the families. In reality, socialism in India has provided an excuse for a vast extension of the essential feudal and imperial revenue economy. The end result of the closed economy was severe balance of payment crisis in early 1990s. To overcome the crisis India had to open its economy gradually and pave the way for Trans National companies (TNCs). The state started ceding more and more ground/space to the market. But the problem is that there is no thinking and clarity about the redefined role of the state. This is the first, and the most crippling shortcoming of the liberalization process in India. There are many areas where state in any age must remain – for example, armed forces, police, judiciary, bureaucracy, etc. Liberalization does not have to say even a word on the reforms required in these sectors of the state. Further, there is no systematic attempt to address problems of efficiency and productivity in the public sector. Once there is across the board openness in trade and investment both, TNCs are not likely to relocate their industries in India because under the free trade regime they would get access to the Indian market. This is one of the reasons why India has been one of the lowest recipients of direct foreign investment. Other reasons why TNCs are yet to get attracted to India are: (a) lack of physical infrastructure, (b) cumbersome legal framework and (c) insufficient human infrastructure in terms of an educated, or appropriately trained labour force. Government’s obsession with the balance of payments crisis has led the government to permit the inflow of portfolio investment on generous terms for foreign institutional investors. In such a situation India has failed to attract direct foreign investment as envisaged. What it has attracted is the money of the rentier class who deposit their money at a higher rate of interest in India which becomes a burden rather than a source of strength to the economy. The interest on these deposits has to be paid, but the deposits lie idle without being productively used. This means that the ownership of existing income-bearing paper assets change hands, but foreign savings are not transformed into productive new investments. Hence, they are also prone to capital flight. So, unless either the government itself or a domestic capitalist class is encouraged to use these foreign capital inflows for long-term productive investments, there cannot be any economic benefit. Portfolio investment is a trap in which India has to pay much higher than international (after-tax) interest rates to attract and retain these financial investments in India in rupee-denominated assets. High interest rates have also discouraged domestic investors from physical capital accumulation. So, ultimately, what matters is not how much we borrow but how productively we use the money whether borrowed at home or abroad. In conclusion, one can say that World Bank dictated Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) is a response to a crisis. It is not a strategy-based reform because it has neither the economic priorities of common people nor it has a long-term view in terms of development objectives. Urban-biased growth model failed to generate skill and therefore employment and income. The result is persistence of ‘structural poverty’. ‘Structural poverty’ refuses to go precisely because we have failed to expand ‘peoples capabilities’, and therefore, their freedom, their choice. Moreover, the economic model which we are pursuing after the 1991 crisis is still going to leave India a parasitic civilization, a civilization which feeds upon the knowledge-base of others.
Independent India pursued with other newly decolonized countries the policy of ‘non-alignment’. The kernel of ‘non-alignment’ was not to join any of the two military blocs – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Warsaw Treaty Organisation (WTO). But in practice, every non-aligned country had to join one bloc or the other. Non-alignment as a grand strategy of pursuing foreign policy failed India also, as we will soon see how this policy could not protect the territorial integrity of the country. Independent India had to fight five wars. But the strategic effects of all the wars came to a naught because India never fought any war with a strategic objective per se. The first was Indo-Pak war, immediately after independence. Pakistan wanted to wrest Jammu and Kashmir by force. India was requested to intervene. India did intervene but it also prematuredly sued for peace in United Nations. The result was loss of a large chunk of land mass. The loss of part of Kashmir in 1948 was purely due to lack of strategic thought on the part of Congress and especially Nehru. India, which had lost its territory and had to wrest it back was fighting a defensive war, notwithstanding Clausewitz’s prescription of an offensive war for a state which sets the objective of wresting some lost territory. In 1962 India was again forced by China to fight a war. India pursued what has been called “Forward Policy” i.e. deployment of the forces on the upper ridges of the Himalayas. This ‘Forward Policy’ was pursued without any political guidance and military logic. Air Force as a combat arm of the Armed Forces was never used to decimate the enemies but to purvey the victuals to the forces. What was to be defended, controlled, or acquired, was never categorically enunciated. What can be the ‘policy guidance’ of a war in which forces are deployed according to the needs of the political elites and not military logic? Apparently, since 1965 we have been winning wars after wars against Pakistan. Of course, we have been doing that against an enemy one tenth the might of India. Moreover, winning wars without any “Grand Objective” against a pygmy Pakistan is no chivalry, no bravery. We won 1965 war in a dream. We did not know how to settle the issue in our favour. Did we have any ‘grand design’, ‘policy guidance”, when Indian forces were asked to march over the enemy’s territory? Indian army had to withdraw from the outskirts of Lahore not because of any stout defense by Pakistanis but because of lack of any war objectives. Nor does the Tashkent agreement give any evidence of any grand design, the categorical definition of objective of the war. On the contrary, Tashkent agreement was a diplomatic defeat for India. First, because India consented to the entry of a foreign power in Indian affairs, and thus what was essentially a bilateral issue was internationalized. Secondly, because even after hiring a ‘go-between’, the-dispute was not resolved. It seems that in 1971 we had that objective clear and that was the objective of partitioning Pakistan. Partition we did, but we could not win the diplomatic battle again, because we accepted Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory even if to be resolved bilaterally. War we won but diplomatically we lost. That is how the ‘strategic effect’ of the 1971 war was nullified. A more recent example of lack of strategic thought of Congress is the decision to deploy Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Sri Lanka in 1987 to crush the Tamilian violence against Ceylonese state. Ab initio there was confusion regarding the role of IPKF. What was it- A force to play umpire between two combating groups and thus maintain peace; or was the IPKF itself a combatant, a party to the conflict? And if it was a party in the combat, was it against the Sri Lankan forces, or against Tamil militancy in the form of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). Can a force play a role when its role itself is not defined? Congress wanted Indian army to play a role without defining that role, as they did earlier by fighting wars without defining the objectives. Kargil conflict of 1999 too was celebrated as a grand victory for India over a pygmy Pakistan. The theatre of war in this conflict was the Indian landmass occupied by the Pakistani soldiers. Fighting the war on one’s own territory is the reflection of the lack of strategic thought. It is not only a diplomatique defeat but also a military defeat. The continuation of colonial structures have engendered a historical conjuncture, where no body, no where, at no moment is safe and secured. Now, let us review the burning internal security threats to the country.
The Congress and Congress-style rule for the last sixty-five years has brought the country to a point of breakdown. In a country with a population of more than 121 crores out of which 50% are not the “purest forms of civilizational beings” – the maintenance of internal order becomes a formidable task. One of the fundamental causes for the breakdown of internal security is population explosion coupled with non-deliverance of distributive justice. Related to the first problem, i.e. problem of population explosion is a related problem of overcrowding of major cities by the ‘ecological refugees’ of the country. Lack of infrastructure and basic amenities in rural areas coupled with lack of opportunity for gainful employment has pushed the labour force to the cities which have grown ahead of industrialization and in the process have got ‘Latin Americanized’. Excessive growth of cities has put tremendous pressure on urban infrastructure and essential services like water supply, electricity, roads, etc. All major cities are suffering from lack of sufficient potable water and hence water riots in cities are going to be the major threat to internal security in the days to come. Another internal security problem is the problem of Naxalism in the Ganges-Godavari doab. Rise of Naxalism is the direct result of the pillage perpetuated by Congress and accelerated by other parties in the last sixty-five years. A perpetual threat to internal security remains terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. The problem of terrorism is an offshoot of lack of strategic thought. A major internal security threat to India remains the steady flow of Bangladeshis. A large number of illegal migrants are bound to create social tension which will spill over as communal tension. Hence Bangladeshi infiltration is pregnant with the possibility of further communalizing Indian politics. India is a country which has got not only huge infiltrators but also a huge population of internal refugees. Kashmiris ousted from the valley, Santhals flew from Bodo-majority villages, Bodos in turn were evicted from Santhal dominated villages. This is the reflection of ineffectiveness of the state in maintaining internal order. Indian state is in no position to protect the lives and property of the people. And therefore, in the ultimate analysis the gravest of all internal security threats is the threat of the collapse of the state itself. It is too “soft” a state to handle “hard” problems. What can be a graver internal security threat to the country than the impending collapse of the state itself? To our mind, ‘the cause of all causes’ for all the ills of the country is the lack of national character and the colonial nature and structure of state and polity. Let us accept honestly that our education system hardly contributes in building the character of pupils. Let us also accept that we have not restructured the colonial state as per our needs after independence. In other words, at the ‘archeological level’, Indian state still remains colonial and it is the structure which determines or generates the ARCHIVES. Stashing away money in Swiss and other off-shore banks is just one stark example of it. Police action at mid-night against peaceful demonstrators, acquisition of farmers’ land under colonial land acquisition laws are some of the other unadulterated examples of colonial nature of Indian State.