Friday, August 28, 2015

Modi's package: Bribe or Indemnity.

Las Vegas makes an average of 90 billion dollars per year with 150,000 hotel rooms with 85 percent occupancy throughout the year. How was this city built? labourers working for Hoover dam would spend their free time gambling. Small gambling dens opened in Las Vegas to serve them. By 1935, Hoover Dam was completed and thirsty soil of Nevada could get soaked in the water of Colorado River and huge business empires were built with regular supply of electricity and water.

After devastating Floods in Bihar in 1954, Second dam similar to Hoover dam was to be built by India to protect the fertile plains of Bihar from constant risk of flooding by Kosi River. Suitable location for Kosi Dam lies in Nepal and high handed treatment by Nehru or economic embargo of Nepal by Rajeev Gandhi did force Nepalese rulers to keep this project awaited till now. 73% land of Bihar is under constant threat of flood as it is plain land with all the rivers originating in Nepal. While Kosi Dam building was being planned, Nehru took abrupt decision to shift the funds for construction of Bhakra dam. There could be many reasons behind this decision.

He may have wanted to compensate Punjab for its division. Punjabi lobby may have affected the decision of Central Government. If Koshi Dam had been built, it would be in Nepal technically and Nehru could not boast of it as "India's modern temples" in his own words or he could not build his goliath height statue at the entry gate as he built at Bhakra dam. May be because of his anger against Bihar for 1947 riots when Bihar was the only place where Muslims were at receiving end, or may be because of his ego tussle with Bihar CM Krishna Singh. There can be many speculations but end result is that Bihar remained far below in the priority list of Congress.

Even British penalised Bihar for having a defiant approach towards their Government. While they used Bihari labour force around the world for agriculture. The reason many countries like Mauritius and Fiji have bhojpuri as its second language. Still British never invested money for development of Bihar or for basic amenities like health and education.

At present, average per capita income of Punjab is 4 times higher than Bihar. If you survey the farms of Punjab, majority of the farm labourers come from Bihar. When NREGA income stopped labour migration to Punjab, Labour shortage in punjab was a common news in papers and punjabi farmers would offer free train ticket, higher wages etc to lure them to Punjab. 
An article written by ex deputy chief of Planning Commission Mr. N.K Singh shows more light to the issue of Step Motherly behaviour of Centre towards Bihar. you can read it here.

When Bihar was still not divided, it was one of biggest producers of minerals and coal which was transported to different cities of India. While cheaper raw material at source  and cheap labour force could help establish factories in Bihar and Jharkhand and give leverage to compete with States having upper hand because of access to seaports etc as they could easily earn revenue through import and export.  

In 1948, the then Finance Minister T.T Krishnamachari introduced Freight Equalization policy. Under this policy, basic raw materials were made available at the same price across the nation. The stated objective of this policy was to encourage development nationwide. But when have good intentions trumped market realities! This policy made sure that industries found no incentives whatsoever to invest in mineral rich but extremely poor states like Bihar. It subsidized the cost of transporting raw materials and thus nullified the advantage of Bihar and other such states.

In words of Arnab Mukherji and Anjan Mukherji,(1) "The asymmetry was acute, since there were no reciprocal benefits in terms of either industrial or agricultural goods and services that Bihar might have needed but did not have. There was no parallel industrial incentive given for capital to enter Bihar either. In the process, for a period slightly longer than four decades, the policy environment directly hurt industrialization and growth possibilities in Bihar and other mineral-rich states and created the paradox of a mineral-rich state also being among the poorest in incomes."

This policy was totally biased and still our central leaders drunk with socialism could not raise finger against it. No compensation was ever paid to balance this gap. While Bihar could have many factories but this policy ensured the decline of Bihar.

As this table shows, Bihar was never allocated the amount of money as per projected plan allocation on basis of national average. It has been compared with Punjab which is also a land locked state with agricultural economy. The source of this table is : Central Planned Inequality by Mohan Guruswamy which you can read here.

Another major factor for backwardness of Bihar was volatile political situation. Congress high command never allowed any CM to last for 5 years after 1961. From year 1961 to 1990, in 29 years there were twenty three chief ministers and 5 presidential rule. Due to this highhandedness of Congress, socialist parties formed by leaders who were output of JP movement gained power and Laloo Yadav became chief Minister. By his second term, he had become ruthless. He formed his own party and won elections after elections with help of Gundaraj and MY equation. If a stable Government was allowed to rule Bihar, it would be a different   story.

Bihari labour force worked in Punjabi farms for several hours under effect of opium added in the tea by the Punjabi landlords to get more work and many would die or end up on sick bed for years. After the rise of BJP, Bihari voters got another option and alliance of JDU and BJP won handsomely. But the period when Bihar was being ruled by NDA, India was being ruled by Congress led UPA. They had no interest in Bihar as Congress has negligible presence in Bihar. It is a Congress mukt state in true sense. Nitish Kumar dumped BJP because of miscalculation that Modi won't be able to win. Nitish did not want to disturb his Muslim vote that he had nurtured for a long time.

"Centrally Planned Inequality:  - Centrally Planned Inequality: Before liberalization, center through Planning Commission was the main engine of economic growth in India. As we will see the data, Planning Commission discriminated among states in granting outlays and funds. As Dharma Kumar succinctly summarize it, "the financing and assistance given by the central government over the first three plans were ad hoc and based on the need of ongoing schemes, many of which were initiated by the central govt. In fact, much of the distribution of resources continued in the line with the same sharing norms that existed before independence; the colonial past institutionalized inequality and uneven regional development, and the immediate post-independence period only accentuated it further, much to the detriment of Bihar"source: Chapter 12 "The Fiscal System" of book "The Cambridge Economic History of India Vol 2" by Dharma Kumar

Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of 125,000 crores for development of Bihar. It created unease in few people from other developed states with complains of unnecessary favour for Bihar. This state has got most fertile Gangetic plane but not of use because of regular flood fear, It has potential to become the food bowl of India. With such fertile land and hard working labour force, Bihar can produce 6 crops a year and same farmers who are forced to become rickshaw pullers in Delhi and die of tuberculosis, they can afford a good life too. This amount is very small if compared to the budget difference of last 60 years and losses due to freight equalisation policy. 

If Koshi Dam project had not been shelved, Bihar would serve as backbone of India. Talent pool of Bihar is strong to get big margin of seats in IITs, UPSC and other engineering colleges. If BJP wins, this will be the first stable government which will be  in Centre too. It will help change the face of Bihar. It is most important to note that package announced by our PM is not an electoral bribe but a long awaited reparation for all the wrongs that Bihar faced. It is time to help this state get its share of honour, the state which gave birth to religions, the state which gave great emperors like Ashoka and Chandragupta Maurya. The state of Kautilya. Time has come to regain the lost glory.

Hope is one thing Biharis have never abandoned.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kill Theory and Bihar.

In a 2009 Hollywood Movie 'Kill Theory',a psychopath creates a situation for few close friends that they end up killing each other to  prove the theory of survival of the fittest. The same drama was being played long before this film was produced in a place thousands of miles away from Hollywood. That Place was Bihar.

Last week, there was a report by Cobrapost related to Ranvir Sena which gave insight into how politicians supported it. The timing of this expose is suspicious as this was planted to break the social harmony by scratching the old wounds and help anti BJP alliance. But it also reminded of the future, if Lalu Yadav wins this time, a major class war is waiting to happen in Bihar. 

And this time, Laloo shall be even more brutal to break the opposition against him. These attacks will not even be reported in our media as this is what many psychopaths sitting on that high table want. Class war amongst Hindus makes secularati feel better as they believe divided Hindus are good for India as it helps avoid Hindu majoritarian state of their imagination. Christian missionaries use this to grab opportunity of conversion. Church-Maoist links are well documented.

A state in India which was always out of favour of the kings sitting on the throne of Delhi because of its defiant nature and it had to pay for it by remaining backward thanks to criminal negligence of Leaders of India. A state with an agrarian economy where half of the Bihar is affected by Flood and half of the Bihar is affected by drought. Any agrarian society creates two classes of people. Either you are a landowner or a farm laborer. A farmer never gets good price for his crop as major share is earned by hoarders and middlemen. But as far as landlords are concerned, they have to face the grudge of laborers because of their paltry wages. No government support or other job opportunities ensures that farmers never use modern and economical farming techniques to keep their cost of production low. This system works since centuries with allegations of exploitation which were always blamed on landlords even when British would charge heavy taxes on landlords to fill their coffers.

In Early eighties, Maoist movement began to spring up in pockets around India. They are a very strong force in few states which requires a whole army of Paramilitary forces to fight them with modern weapons, helicopters etc and still they are prospering by killing policemen, collecting levy from every person with a little money in pocket and holding kangaroo courts for punishing police informants.

Somewhere in the world, A gang of psychopaths sitting in their comfortable sofa decided to push maoist agenda in India. Indian intelligentsia drunk on marxist literature chose to be their foot soldiers. Poor adivasis and Dalits were recruited to fight the gun battles. 

Now we return to Bihar, how it affected the whole populace of this state, the ruler of Bihar forgot his Raj Dharma and decided to use maoist movement for his own political agenda. More the Maoists would harass the landlords, more he would raise the pitch of social justice. Turning two classes of the society against each other was helping Laloo Yadav rule Bihar with impunity. The landlords were being killed or their crops stolen by force or they would find a red flag in their farmland one day and that would mean that their land was gone. An average apartment in Mumbai may cost enough for 10 landlords to sell all of their land and even after that, they won't be able to buy that urban property. Land prices are worth nothing and average holding of a so called landlord is not more than an area of a football field which is always at risk of getting drowned under the flood water.

As maoist harassment got serious day by day, many farmers who were at the receiving end, they had no place to go for justice. Police won't file an FIR, Political leadership would do open sloganeering of killing the upper caste farmers and opposition was running for its own life. People would do night duty at house roof with country made guns to protect their villages from maoist attacks and random deaths continued. Figuring out the caste in a public place was a serious risk and you could die because of it. This gave birth to a very interesting social change. A whole generation of Biharis can be found with their official names with no surname which can hint to their caste. Kumar is the most common surname.

It would often happen that there would be murder of someone in the night and next day hundreds of policemen would come to the village looking for the culprits. They won't find the men so the wooden butts of their guns would be used to hit the women in places no one can describe. One old woman was thrashed so brutally that she died but before dying she sent her broken bangles to her son. The resentment boiled up to the extent, people who were at receiving end of maoists decided to die fighting in place of being lined up and shot by a firing squad. Youth was anyway jobless so people started gathering guns and self defense became the key word.

But as it was shown in the movie Kill Theory, the real culprit were not on the front of the battle, they were sitting in their cosy homes in Delhi or somewhere else sipping coffee which a common villager of Bihar would have never tasted.. Maoist foot soldiers would attack at night, mingle in the crowd by day and no police investigation would happen. As it has always happened, when state fails to deliver justice to the people, they take law in their own hands and these hands are not trained to reach the culprit, they kill randomly.

In this process, several private militias were formed in which Ranveer Sena got the maximum press coverage. After mass murder of landowners, retaliation happened and it was so brutal even the supporters of retaliation squirmed with pain. There was no proof of association of those Dalits killed in the retaliatory attack and even when FIRs were filed, random names were given in absence of any evidence. The reason these prosecutions failed to punish anybody from both sides. 
Lalu Yadav had no intention to stop these attacks as it suited his politics very well. He was in touch with both sides and making fight each other so that many upper caste landowners would abandon their land for peanuts and migrate to Delhi, Kolkata, Assam and where not. Lalu's henchmen would grab that land. Under the garb of Maoism, Lalu was making his foothold stronger. He knew peace in the society would force him to deliver prosperity and jobs which would go against his politics.

Lalu Yadav was not the only psychopath who was running this puppet show in which one puppet was killing another puppet. But he was sharing the table and he forced the people who were living peacefully for centuries to become enemies.Many of us find fault of Ranvir Sena for the massacres, Many of us support Ranvir Sena and justify its brutal acts because of the simple reason that they did not start this class war. Many of us would also blame those People who joined maoist forces and decided to kill people at night at orders of maoist leadership.  The interview of Brahmeshwar Mukhiya gives an interesting insight of that period. Now the question is- Are they the real culprit?

Or they were similar to the characters of Kill Theory who were best friends and one day they had to kill each other for the sake of their own survival. Should we punish the psychopath Puppeteer or those people who were recruited to fight for maoist ideas and their role was nothing more than cannon fodder or those Militias who would get access to people's sympathy and young blood to commit those barbarous crimes. And this time, It is in the hand of Biharis if they want to be the puppets killing each other or they want to be responsible citizens contributing to our Nation's development. 

Think over it!!

To read about the general law and order situation of Bihar you can read this post

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