Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To be Poor is Glorious........

Deng Xiao Ping is credited with the
quote “ To be Rich is Glorious”.Many in China made it their
guiding philosophy and became rich and in the process created wealth
that made others wealthy. But that was in China. In the other
communist citadel of India , more specifically in the sate of Kerala
, where they still practice the purist form of communism, staying
poor is the ideal and the cadres will go to any length to help you to
stay poor. Unlike elsewhere in the country, no
farmer here can use things like harvesting machines, unless they have
the comrades’ sanction. Each
farmer must apply
to the local office of the CPM’s Travancore
Karshaka Thozhilali Union (TKTU), part of Kerala State Karshaka
Thozhilali Union (KSKTU), the party’s farm worker union. The union
will then consider the applications on a case-to-case basis, send its
own inspection teams to the farms. The comrade-inspectors will
determine if enough of their union members are really not available
to manually do what farm machines could do a lot cheaper and much
more efficiently — at wages fixed by the union.

It seems that in Kerala much against
the established norm of common sense and governance,the comrades ,
instead of helping those who are poor to become rich , is actually
helping in the process of ensuring that those who by some stroke of
fortune are still rich, are reduced to state of penury at the
earliest possible opportunity. It would seem that it would take an
extreme case of eccentricity or an ideological position not found any
where in the democratic world to run a government where the ruling
party is consciously taking positions that run counter to common
sense and logic.

The comrades agenda is clear. All their
unionized members must be given employment and employment
opportunities must be created for them by hook or crook and as it
appears more by crook. In the absence of any increase in the number
of employment opportunities through industrialization or even
scientific reform of the agrarian system, the CPM cadres have
resorted to micro management in the typical Stalinist idiom by
deciding , who should grow what , how many crops are to be sown , to
what extent , how many laborers are to be employed and other such
details , directly interfering with the farmer's own right to plan
out what to grow and ho much.

One must admire the tenacity of the
communists though. While most of India is busy getting rich to trying
to b rich at least , the communists demonstrate a dogged perseverance
with their ideology that is in many ways worthy of commendation if
only it were not so archaic. Where else except among hard core
communists can you expect cadres to deny themselves a chance to get
rich(yes , there are corrupt cadres , but even with all their
corruption, they don't seem to possess the crores that their party
colleagues professing other ideologies or no ideology have).

Last week, I briefly watched a program
where the leader of a party which professes socialist lineage an
inspiration was being interviewed. The program was titled “
Socialist or Socialite” because of the proclivity of the leader in
question to be seen with glamorous Page 3 figures. Between the
Samajwads of North India and
the blue blooded socialists of the deep South , one does not know
where to look and what to choose. But poverty alleviation in a
planned process does not appear to be on the agenda of either kind of
socialist. And that to me is the real pity.

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