People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 24, 2013



On This, That and Many Things


G Mamatha


THESE days, there are many things to talk about. Many things to talk, get angry, cry, heave a sigh, gather our energy and get ready for a fight.


Corruption took off from the ground and is flying high. The changes in the altitude at which it flies notwithstanding, it reached such a height that common people cannot reach it. Whether it is the Air Chief Marshall himself who is commanding its flight is not yet clear. But one thing is clear – there are many hands involved in shaping its flight. Unfortunately, I do not know the castes of the persons involved (Sorry Mr Ashish Nandy, did not check it with you).


This reminds us of another thing. Does corruption have a caste? That caste is deeply entrenched in Indian society is an undisputed fact. But we did not know that corruption also has got a caste. It needed a literary festival to educate us. Read about many scams right from the Palkhiwala to the Helicopter, but did not bother to enquire about their caste. Sorry me.


Caste is not a leveller. Given. Thanks to the Lit fest, found out that corruption is a great equaliser. Enlightenment. Deduction: The peon who asks for chaai paisa is equal to the minister who asks for a cut. Indeed, both are asking for personal aggrandisement! This reminds me of an advertisement – a boy riding a bicycle, looking at the man in a car who looks at him disgustingly, says, 'aur do payyen hee uncle, aa jayenge' (the difference is only of two wheels, they too will come). At least the ad maker had the brains to point to the difference of two tyres and did not say that both are riding vehicles – a bicycle and a car – and are thus equal. May be he/she is not an ‘intellectual’ and did not get the opportunity to participate in a Lit fest!


Hail our right to speech. It is a one way traffic. I can. You cannot. I have might, so it’s my right. In our country with all its various diversities, one thing can be easily identified. It is might. Might has money. It has religion, caste and gender. It resides only in select places. Might speaks what it feels right. Might decides what is right to speak.


The meek too have rights. Right to follow, right to accept and right to listen. One thing is a strict no-no for them: right to question.


Some students of Patna learnt it the hard way. They did not know about their rights. Might reminded them: “You have no right to read and write”. With lot of grace they were offered employment – to mend shoes and chappals. “We will keep you as servants in our houses”. Might is so right. In these days of recession, global economic crisis and job losses it is large-hearted to offer employment. And that too, an employment of their ancestors! Equality across generations; lest their forefathers get angry that their wards outshine them.


Might can abuse, threaten and kill. Ask Togadia. He epitomises might. It is might: cops cannot arrest it and prisons cannot hold them. Remember some of the cops too are part of this might. They know when to act. Did they not arrest the Muslim youth immediately after the bomb blasts in Masjids and Samjhauta train. They were decorated for cracking the case. It is another matter that they turned innocents. You do not have the right to question about their lost years, spent in jail. It is experience gained. Experience makes man wise!


Might can kill. It crushed the life of a worker for striking work. He was crushed under the wheels of a state transport bus. He wanted to live a better life. He wanted to be paid for the work he does. He wanted to live to earn and plan his children's education. He thought he had this right. He thought he can ask the democratic government. He thought he can be part of a union and participate in a strike. He dreamt of a family. Dreaming, he died. Might wanted him to learn that he does not have the right to dream. The lesson he learnt is a lifetime experience.


Workers cannot strike. Might wants them to know this lesson clearly. They were told that their strike generates losses. 20,000 crores of rupees to be precise. It affects profits. It affects growth. It affects 'our' image abroad. Might wants workers to work. Hard. So hard that they cannot think of anything else except work. They should go numb with labour.


Workers should not think of wages. They should not learn that every month, the 42 crores of unorganised workers in our country are losing Rs 16,80,00,00,00,000 (or one lakh sixty eight thousand crores). They should learn only about the 20,000 crores that economy is losing through strike.


Might is foolish. If it increases the purchasing power of the workers, they will only once again go to the market to buy goods. It benefits the might. If one lakh sixty eight thousand crores of rupees is additionally placed in the hands of forty two crores of unorganised workers every month (the difference between the minimum wage as demanded by the trade unions and that they are actually getting) think what it does to the economy. Might does not think.


But might is not really foolish. It knows if wages are increased its profits get cut. Might thinks a lot. It thinks about increasing its profits now. It thinks about cost cutting measures. It thinks about increasing exploitation. It thinks about breaking the unity of workers. It thinks of measures that can make the workers not to think.


Might is weak. It does not have the strength of numbers. It does not know the power of hands joined.


Weak is strong. It has the strength of numbers. It is realising the strength of hands joined.


Might wants to stop this realisation. Weak is learning more about this strength through struggle. Might wants to stop this struggle. Weak wants to fight. Weak is learning to fight. Through fight it is learning about its rights. It is learning rights can be won through fight. Rights can be protected through fight.


This is what is happening around in our country. Might does not want to talk about it. We have to. The more we talk, the more will rise. The more the awakened, the more the hands to fight. The more the merrier.


The hands that can cook, plough, sow, reap, work the lathe, turn the wheel, programme the computer have also got the mettle. Difficulties and hardships are not new to them. Everyday they struggle. They know to fight. Only thing they need to know is to broaden their everyday struggle to struggle for a better life. They are realising this need fast. They are coming together fast. They are seeing through the artificial barriers erected by the mighty to keep them separated. Once these are overcome and all the hands come together, a single clap from all these hands is enough to make the rulers tremble.


Watch out. The message for more of such struggles is catching around the country. Four carriers are setting off. They are set to criss-cross the country and sow the seeds of struggle. Watch out. The seeds are being sown.