One of the greatest challenges that face the Indian society is the regeneration and renewal of rural economy that has collapsed. As a result millions of people throng to cities and towns to make a living and live like the beasts of burden in slums and shanti towns, where they are preyed upon by labour contractors, politicians, hooligans and moneylenders. Close to 60% of people still live in villages and are dependent on countryside for making a living, where it is becoming more and more impossible to make a living. Millions have emigrated to cities and different countries in search of a life.
Neither state nor market is capable of solving this problem. We have seen both of them being tried in last 150 years or so, resulting in vast immigration and destruction of countryside, indebtedness, even leading to suicides by farmers. It is reported that more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicides in India.
This has been result of a process that was introduced by the British in 18th century which accelerated after Independence and especially after the Green Revolution of the 60s.Successive governments since independence has not addressed this and has left the countryside and the people to fend for themselves.
The British introduced nationalization and privatization of all natural resources to enrich themselves, evicting millions of people from their lands and home, both of which were alien to the Indian ethos and experience. Throughout the whole historical experience of more than five thousand years, natural resources belonged to the local communities that provided for a livelihood to the population. Surplus after fulfilling the needs of the people went to the markets in cities and towns.
In order to renew and renovate the rural economy, once again community control of natural resources is the key for this renewal. Community as a whole needs to make decisions about its natural resources and their allocation to fulfill the needs of the community and then send the surplus out to other villages, towns and cities from where it can get goods and services in return which they are not able generate or produce.
During independence movement, Ghadarites had called for such control by community in their concept of Prajaraj, based on Indian experience in the earlier part of the 20th century and later on Gandhi in the forties in his famous correspondence with Nehru argued for such a Gram Swaraj.
But the rulers of India did not heed to these calls, because just like the British, they also used Nationalization and Privatization to enrich a few monopolies, and continued the ruination of countryside. In recent years this process has accelerated at a very high rate with land mafia, water mafia, mineral mafia driving people off their lands and resources. In tribal areas it can be seen in its most naked form. Real estate companies, speculators and moneylenders are further ruining the countryside of resources that provided livelihood to the people.
Modi and BJP have no plan to address this fundamental problem of Indian society. Their advisors and they themselves claim that somehow with growth and development, mysteriously this problem will be solved by trickle down .Which is a pipe dream and a whole lot of disinformation. The model that they have followed and will continue to follow cannot renovate or revive rural economy. They do not have a plan to enable communities to control their natural resources and make decisions about them. Following the 18th century British and colonial ideas, negating completely the thousands of years of Indian experience, they will continue to follow nationalization and privatization which does not and cannot regenerate village economies so people do not have to leave their homes and hearths in search of livelihood and create slums and shanti towns like Dharavi or many such areas in all of India's cities.
In absence of a plan for community control of natural resources, all the claims and promises of Acchey Din- good days, will continue to sound hollow, just as earlier promises and claims of good days by Queen Victoria, King George, Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Jyoti Basu and Manmohan Singh. Regeneration of rural economy is key to Acchey Din, but no one in BJP or any other party is interested in doing so.
A view is being advanced that Modi being an old RSS Parchark (preacher) understands the ground realities and is committed to welfare of people. But the problems of rural regeneration are far beyond an individual’s good intention or wish no matter how sincere he or she may be. As the saying goes road to hell is paved with good intentions.
In political realm, a radical reform needs to be done in the political process of elections, where a minimum change needs to be made that only that candidate will be declared winner who gets more than 50% of total votes, thus changing the fraudulent First Past the Post system. Modi does not have the honesty to admit that his party only got 20% of total votes and majority of Indians did not vote for BJP and in fact 80% of the total voters voted against it, and therefore call new elections in a year so that a real popular mandate can be given by people based on requiring more than 50% of votes for the winner. Like others before him he is lying that BJP has a popular mandate. With this one change alone truth of mandate will be seen. But none of the parties such as Congress, BJP, CPI(M), BSP, SP, TMC want this, because that will really empower the marginalized majority of the people and put an end to communal, casteist and other dirty politics, as they are all parties of a tiny minority which does not want to lose its control over all the resources of the country.
Another need of the times is to scrap the Indian constitution and all colonial laws that are on the books and call for a constituent assembly elected on the basis of new electoral process. But Modi and BJP will not and cannot do so.
So Indian people will be let down once again as they have been before in 1947,1977,1984,1992,2004 with tall claims about good days, as basic problem of rural economy, political process and fundamental law of the land will remain untouched. Just as an ostrich cannot fly, although many specialists claim that they want to fly, similarly Modi cannot deliver. One thing he and Manmohan Singh have in common with ostrich is that both of them have their eyes closed to the problems of rural India. Manmohan Singh as finance minister and then as Prime Minister did not blink even once to look at the rural problems and break with the colonial order. Modi in spite of his RSS background cannot do so either. He and his masters are joined at the hip to the British colonial order and arrangements.