[Beginning this week, ‘Parapolitics’ will be a fortnightly column appearing on the second and fourth Thursday of every month.]
We were never so helpless, never so bereft, never more in need of a platform of struggle. The need for a new political formation is acutely felt today as never before. And by a new formation I do not mean a party of the Left in any traditional sense but a different kind of left-wing formation that can act resolutely in defense of democracy.
Two developments of the past week – the crisis of Yes Bank and the defection of 22 Congress MLAs, led by Jyotiraditya Scindia, to the BJP – signal the deep crisis that we are in today. Reports suggest that each MLA was offered something like Rs 100 crore by the BJP to defect. These developments come close on the heels of a horrendous anti-Muslim carnage in Delhi where we have been witness to the the total collapse of all institutions. From the complete paralysis of the elected AAP government in the state and a Supreme Court that simply pretends not to see what’s going on, to a lapdog ‘media’ actively engaged in promoting violence – this collapse was perhaps never so evident in our history.
The question that is uppermost on most people’s minds today is what will happen to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and how long will the protests continue? The home minister Amit Shah declaring that the Act will not be withdrawn and the government will not move an inch, regardless of the protests, is a direct challenge to the people of India. With the Supreme Court looking the other way, taking up challenge thrown by Shah can only mean one thing now: if the Act does not go, the regime must. Mass movements have been known to bring down oppressive regimes, and even in the recent past, we have seen that happen in different parts of the world.
Subsequent developments, however, also indicate that often forces emerge that basically take advantage of the mass movements to hijack them and install equally unpopular regimes – a matter we need to discuss very seriously. I will briefly return to this ‘political question’ later as it is of utmost importance that we grasp the possibilities and dangers inherent in the present moment.
A WhatsApp-sponsored report, prepared in partnership with Queen Mary University, has raised the alarm that the 2019 elections in India, which already has cleavages on lines of caste, race, gender, religion, would be a fertile ground for damaging fake news.
There was a time when ‘Good Morning’ messages were causing much “pain” to internet giants?
It was the beginning of last year when the obsession of Indians with starting their day with a deluge of ‘Good Morning’ messages flooded WhatsApp, and generated a lot of chuckle. But it but also raised serious concerns such as the overloading WhatsApp servers, and clogging Android phones.
We were told how millions of Indians were getting online for the first time and how everyone was getting hooked on to WhatsApp. Their obsession with sending such messages was causing “..[s]ome serious pain for Internet giants.” Not only WhatsApp but even Google researchers in Silicon Valley had noted how “[I]nternet newbies are overloading their Android phones with Good Morning messages.”
Nobody then had any premonition that India would shortly come under scanner for the spread of online disinformation and fake news resulting in a string of murders and growth of anti-minority sentiments. A report published by BBC’s Beyond Fake News Series had tried to corroborate this.
हमारा विकास का मॉडल और हमारी राजनीति, सविंधान कि मूलभावना के ही विपरीत है. सविधान में जहाँ, समाजवादी गणराज्य की स्थापना, जिसमे हर नागरिक को आर्थिक, सामाजिक और राजनैतिक बराबरी के अधिकार होंगे, की बात है. हमारी राजनीति, यह भूल गई विकास के वैकल्पिक मॉडल के बिना न तो समाजवाद आएगा, और न ही राजनैतिक और सामाजिक और आर्थिक बराबरी स्थापित होगी. बल्कि, हम पिछले ६६ सालों से विकास की मृग-मरीचिका के पीछे भागते रहे, और देश के संसाधन की महालूट का तमाशा अनवरत ज़ारी रहा; जिसके चलते 1% लोगों के हाथों में देश के संसाधन से उपजी कमाई जमा हो गई. और देश की आम-जनता, विकास और राजनीति के हाशिए पर तमाशबीन बनी खडी रही.
यह स्थीति पिछले 10 सालों (2001-11) में और बिगड़ी है : कृषी प्रधान देश होने के बावजूद, 2,70, 940 किसानों ने आत्महत्या कर ली; जितने लोग रोजगार में लगे हो उससे ज्यादा बेरोजगार हो; गैरबराबर बढी हो;शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य, बिजली, पानी, सड़क, यहाँ-तक की राशन जैसी सामाजिक सुरक्षा के कामों से सरकार गायब हो गई- उसे निजी हाथों में दे दिया हो. Continue reading जनता की महालूट का तमाशा अनवरत जारी है ! : अनुराग मोदी→