Monday, June 20, 2005

What kind of a society are we becoming ??

I used to be very defensive whenever someone said, "You are a communist". This arose from the defeat of the soviet system of governance and the fall of communism. I was 15 then. The Iraq war happend I remember, and it was the first war. Everyone in my class and friends supported the US and there I was somehow feeling that what saddam did was correct. Afterall there is credence to his claim that Kuwait was stealing oil from him.

Ten years passed and I got educated and went after money. I tried figuring out the world and how it worked. Somewhere I was looking for a fair and equitable system of efforts and rewards, because I was sold onto this concept. Afterall is not life in school and college like that. Outside college, life was about opportunities and the one who has it. It seemed an unfair system, yet I played the game. Became cutthroat, jumped jobs, differentiated myself from the rest and got my rewards.

I attributed the rewards from the point of view of, "hey I deserve it". But did I ? truly ? I was there in the right place at the right time. I even came to think of it as a personal achievement of being in the right place at the right time. Its my effort and my achievement. I turned a true capitalist. Money brings money. justice is about who is more powerful. Fairplay is about who is smarter.

My return back to India was about money and making it big on my own. The keywords being "on my own". That was a struggle, which continues. The cause a selfish one, trying to get that elusive house, car, that elusive five crores. All the travel and excitement of going to a new place and doing new things. Anouncign my arrival loudly and voiceferously. The "travel and living" life. Afterall all these trapping are about making a statement "I can do it" and not about "I like it". I may not get there, or maybe I will get there. But the fact still remains I sought to get there.

Its a gamble and I realised, I am a gambler. I gamble more and better when the stakes are higher. I realised I am cautious and careful when I have something left to protect and gaurd. Take that away, I turn a gambler and a dangerous one at that.

One sunday morning as I was having a cup of coffee and just wandering in my thoguhts, I realised. The ultimate winner is not the gambler, but the "house". Because the house sets the rules and the gambler just challenges those rules. The rules are loaded against the gambler. It rewards him one time and eats him away the rest of the 9 times. The more the gambler there is , the richer the house. The house always wins. To win, one should change the rules by which the game is playes to ones advantage.

Learning # 1. Change the rules of the game.

The cause : Is winnign equivalent to acomplishing ? This thought sprang up like a ping pong ball... ? No they are not. Sometimes, winning is acomplishing like when Bangaladesh beat Australia. They won, they also aomplished something. They banished all doubts about their own ability. In some wierd ways, they were equals to australia. Winning is about overcoming your opponent. Acomplishing is battling your own inadequacies and overcoming those. A lost cause is therefore never without acomplishments. But it is important to win as winning itself is a habit and is infectious. IT is also important to acomplish something everytime.

Learning #2 Accomplish something bigger than your own material needs.

What is happening in India is we are changing the rules of the game and suddenly the causes are lost. Where are the poor. They are poorer. Where are the workers ? they are still struggling. Why is peenya broken down and desolate while electronic city is swanky. Where are the Dalits, they are still oppressed by a whole section of us, who are just hungry to consume and think morally superior of ourselves. I recently saw a series of movies on dalit oppression. What I saw totally revolted me. Oppression unkwon to human kind. Dalit woman forced out of economic blockade to clean human excreta with bare hands. Dalit women, abused by highercaste men young enough to be their sons.

Where is the logic, when within the same city people que for hours to get drinking water and a well known IT MNC waters its golf courses everyday? Where is the logic, when tons of food gets wasted in cafeterias and people go hungry. Where is the logic that we consume more and more and more when poor people dont even have enough to consume for themselves. Why should the governemtn continue to fund the IITs and IIMs when the poor dont even have toilets in schools. The priorities are all wrong.

The rules have changed and the causes have been lost. But like Anita's dad pointed out, the "Wheel always turns full circle". In places like chickmagalur, parts of andhra, bihar, jharkand where oppression is intense, a counter reaction in the form of Naxal violence has sprung up. The poor dont have a weapon to fight with. The rich fight unfair and donot share the benefits. A single Amalgamated bean coffee limited (A.K.A coffee day) destroys the government coffee board, acquires all processing capabilities in the coffee belt and constructs its own oligarchy.

Coffee plantation owners convert their unproductive fams into homestays. IT professionals and newly rich middle class from the cities drink the coffee in coffee day and stay in the home-stays of coorg. The poor migrant farmer unaware of the coffee collapse and changed rules, finds himself without a job and prey to loan sharks. There is no way out, he commits suicide. Not for his son thiough, he joins the People's War Group.

Whose fault is it ? Is it the IT professionals/middle class newly rich's fault ?. No. This is the leverage class. With very very little votebank, this is the class which has leveraged maximum benefits from the government post 1991. I belong to this class and I benefited from all the changes that happend. This class is actively supported by the cream class which has, its own vested interest to bring in more money. The leverage class in its eagerness to go up the wealth chain actively worked with the cream class. The leverage class provided the extra weight to tip political power from one side to another in a highly fractitious political scenario. They controled the money and they controled the votes.

With the onset of violent left wing movements, the breaking point has reached. The government has failed totally in its role of providing developement and succor to the backward sections. There is nothing that can explain why bangalore should get six lane highways and swanky flyovers, when bellary or bidar doesent even have mtorable roads. The army and the poliece are a private police force for the rich and the connected. Police turn extortionists helping a few rule over the rest. The poor fight on.

This form of developement is absolutely unsustainable and is a sure path to doom. Where are we heading ?

Its just something that tells me, that whats happening in terms of government spending for the rich and the urban elites at the expense of the poor is absolutely unaccceptable and unfair.

The cycle of socialist developement is not over yet. We need another 2-3 rounds of social eqality and justice before we can claim India to be an egalitarian and equal opportunity society. Till then it still "off the few", "by the few", "for the few".

I will just leave an open thought for people to muse over..

What is wrong with private sector reservation ? Should we not implement it to set some of the imbalances ?

Somehow one comment of bunty's on the way back from talguppa stuck in my mind. "We are doing the same things, that we did in the 80s before the internet". "We would be going back to the usenet era. I think we are just going in circles". I think so too... because the circle is the truth. We go round and round till the whole society progresses like a helix. The "spring model" of developement means. a verticle plane of wealth creation and a horizontle plane of "equitable wealth distribution". Both are needed. We need another round of intense political chaos like during the untied front days and massive re-organisation of public government investment from urban focused to rural focus.

point to ponder : Is it time the IT companies started paying Income taxes ? and became a truly responsible corporate citizen than just became a resource hungry industry ?


At 11:57 AM, Blogger gulnaz said...

i think we better call you vasu, the genius. ;)

At 3:05 AM, Blogger Vasu the terrible said...

ha ha...Thats a little overrated.. I feel we in India have to define the Indian dream in terms of what it is to the common man...

anyway curious to know why such an expansive complement ? or is it a brand of sarcasm I am not aware of ?


At 4:23 AM, Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

uve spoken about the perennial problem of capatilism 'the failure of the trickle down theory' the rich get poorer and poor ger poorer.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is deep.. and well summed.. I find myself inarticulate ;p

At 8:45 AM, Blogger small squirrel said...

hey... got here thru kishore's blog.

wow, very well thought out post. This is the plight of not only developing nations, but also ones that are supposedly stable. The US has almost the same issues. At the end of all of these issues is money. Money decides where you live, which decides your education (which sometimes decides your self-worth... if no one else will invest in you why should you invest in yourself?), which decides your job, ad naseum.

Most governments are interested in keeping the disparity. You must keep the people who are rich in power, you must keep the larger group of people who are poor suppressed... so they do not rise up against you, and so that you keep your masses of cheap labor.

Oh I could go on and on and on about this crap. It infuriates me. We were better off as hunters and gatherers.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Vasu the terrible said...


I absolutely agree with you. Yes on the one hand things inside developed countries seem to mirror whats happening elsewhere, It certainly not at the same scale.

Unfortunately the rich of the world are seeking a bigger broader mass base upon which they can go richer. More volume, more profits. This is globalisation.

sad, but true.

As for being hunters and gatherers, I cant but agree with you, Jared Diamond in his book, "Guns, germs and steel said the same thing.



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