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The Empire Begs Back


Rightwing  Hindutva  social forces  may  well have collaborated with the  colonising  Britishers  during the  highnoon of  India’s   Congress-led  freedom movement,  their standard  polemic after Independence has been that  what ought to have remained an indigenised Bharat  has been systematically degraded into an internationalised  India by    generations  of  secular-liberal  Indians  whom  they  habitually characterise as  “Macaulay ki  Aulad”  (Macaulay’s  children, because  the induction of English into Indian administration and education is seen to have been the one  decisive act of such subversive cultural transformation).
In  that  polemic,  Nehru  has  often been their chief  bete noir, regarded as an “un-Indian”  anglophile,  a denigrator of long-held  Hindu  customs and traditions, a shallowly  westernised moderniser, and, worst of all, a   leveling and godless socialist at heart.
Well now, how times do change.
There is  jubilee among  current-day  Hindutva  sartraps as we write:  for lo and behold, no less than the British High Commissioner in India has gone and met the globally  ostracised  Narendra Modi!
Only one  conclusion is permitted—that Modi’s  international isolation has ended, the high-falutin world  that espouses all that nonsense about “human rights”  has  come to its senses, and  that  Britain has  put the  imperial seal on  Modi’s  progress report as a great “developer.”
Pathetic you might say, and you would be right.
Yet why, despite the disclaimer made by the  High Commissioner that the meeting should not be construed as any sort of  endorsement of Modi,  the meeting at all?
The fact is that many of the “developed” world’s  erstwhile givers   are today  reduced to being  willing takers from the very worlds  which they once ravaged  for their  development.  The  so- persistent economic collapse of western Capitalism  now underway  leaves them little choice but to seek afresh among the brown and the pale races  for some piece of  their burgeoning cake.
Put simply, the Empire is begging back.
And the  poor  British High Commissioner is not alone.  Do recall that not too many months ago, no less than the American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, went to meet another Indian Chief Minister, namely, Mamta Bannerjee in West Bengal to plead with her for suspending her opposition to  the induction of FDI in Indian retail.
Desperate times, desperate visits.
Yet why does Gujarat seem a  preferred  destination?  The reasons here are not far to seek.
The last thing that has ever interested the Western  ruling classes, strident  protestations notwithstanding, has been the state of democracy or human rights  in other parts of the world, except when it suits  them  tactically to foreground such  “values.”
Their economic interests are always seen to be best served by regimes that  ensure  minimal  democratic opposition in their domains, next –to- no labour issues, and a state apparatus always at beck and call to curb  tendencies that may thwart the brutal procedures of profit  maximisation.
Which is the reason why  ever since  the reorganisation of  the geo-politics of the globe after the second world war,  the   concerted efforts of Western  ruling classes were to consolidate   totalitarian regimes, military juntas and dictatorships, even  theocratic  barbarisms  that would be friendly to infusions of western  Capital and to  its free runs  among the resources     of  the   world’s  “hinterlands.”  And if, for instance, in West Asian regions, selectively,  western Capitalism has recently felt the imperative to destabilise some regimes ostensibly to promote democracy,  the  simple logic has been that these were  cows that were no longer yielding milk and butter in desired proportions.   
Reason why a Bahrain or a Yemen, or, most of all, the world’s most oppressive  negator of human rights, Saudi  Arabia,  remain in good books;  they continue to yield  dividends that  the  Western  “military-industrial complex”  (Eisenhauer’s  coinage)   cannot afford to jettison  in favour of either democracy or human rights.  Nor is it an issue that  the  Ben Walid region in Libya  has this past week seen a genocide at the hands of the new Libyan regime far worse than anything Gaddafi  could have been accused of, or Assad has done in Syria.  You see the new  “liberated”  Libya  has now  placed its oil fields  with glad alacrity at the service of  American oil corporations.  Ergo, both democracy and human rights have returned to Libya, haven’t they?  Both  guarded by the Al Queda in the Maghreb.  Could there be  more sanguine  confluence?
In our part of the world, China remains the  primary preferred destination for western Capital for reasons aforesaid—no oppositional political formations, no out-of-control  unions, all  backed by unusual  social cohesiveness.  Everything  pretty much  amenable to unhassled single-window clearances.
After  China, India’s  own Gujarat as led by Modi.  A leadership  that has so nicely rendered  his own party null in all decision-making matters, complete absence of  the least forms of  Left-of-Centre   politics,  a Congress party that until now has  been at a complete loss to demarcate itself from  Modi’s  polemic  about “development,”  and  heinously shy of taking on  the local Caligula on the subject of the massacres of 2002, fearing loss of vote.
Thus  having proved that  he can parcel off  rich farmlands, forest reserves, coastal fishing areas, mineral and water resources,  to foreign and Indian developers  at will, without fear of political or social upheaval,  who better to meet in an India where  in most other places  oppositional political forces and non-governmental organisations  often make  the job of  milking the realms  painfully  cumbersome.  Modi can deliver, as dictators do  elsewhere. At least so long as they behave  like  “our sons of bitches” rather than somebody else’s.
Thus, what does it matter to the  High Commissioner in question that the Modi  phenomenon in Gujarat has  wilfully, and seemingly irretrievably,  ghettoised  her  fear-ridden Muslims, disenfranchised  her adivasis,  fisher folk, farmers  (five thousand suicides in less than a year)?   Or that  malnutrition among Gujarati  adivasis,dalits,  women, children should be among the highest of any Indian state? Or that  the sex-ratio of women to men    among Gujaratis  should be among the  lowest  as well?  Not to speak of an administration that is shown day after day in court and other legal-investigative proceedings  to have been hand-in-glove with both the genocide of 2002, with cussed attempts to subvert  all subsequent attempts to unravel the truths, and with  the “encounter”  murders of  scores of innocent  or inconvenient  citizens.
All that the  High  Commissioner is asked to see by  the Tory regime in Britain, abetted  with all its resourcefulness by  the mercantilist Gujarati  diaspora, is  what goodies  Modi is prepared to offer in return for  the so-publicised stamp of approval, and timed with great finesse  to  precede the coming elections in December  wherein, from all accounts, Modi is no longer sitting as pretty as before, thanks to the defection of a  powerful  Patel falange working now as a separate political party, and a resurgent  Congress rather more effective in  showing up the truth of Modi’s  claims about  “development.”  Notwithstanding the fact that some electronic channels friendly to  Hindutva, and to Modi especially, are busy prognosticating an improvement in Modi’s  seats in the Assembly even as they tell us that his vote share is slated to go down some 4%.
Inwardly among many Gujaratis,  a sense of shame attaches to  the efforts  afloat to sell the Modi-High Commissioner meeting as  a vindication of the Hindu samrat (czar) by Macaulay after all.
It will remain to be seen  how the elections in Guajrat turn out.  With all the hulaballoo, if Modi loses seats,   Brittania might not feel so good about  her   grand gesture. If Modi  crushes  the  secular “pretenders”  well then, other ambassadors  may follow the High Commissioner to make hay in the  Modi sunshine, wherein foreign  investments and Hindutva   fascism may, after all, coexist happily to  salvage, in whatever measly proportion, Western Capitalisms’ sinking flotilla.

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