Limitations of Political Space in Bihar Reflected in Limitations of National Media Commentary



The JD(U) have joined up with the BJP again, a damning indictment of the INC that failed to mobilise a united let alone effective opposition to the NDA.

There is a tendency in the national press to judge the political parties in Bihar on the basis of their caste composition. The argument is that the JD(U) is a good enough fit with the BJP because they both represent an alliance of the majority of the absolutely disadvantaged with the minority of the absolutely privileged.

The reality of the matter is that all parties in India and indeed in the world are waiting for a shift in money policy away from public austerity for the benefit of the corporate world to debt free public money for social and ecological regeneration.

In this context the absolutely privileged are not a caste but rather ruling caste/class elite with access to the global corporate world: they will keep the India show going no matter what.  And the absolutely disadvantaged have nothing to lose: they want the state and the market to at least deliver what they perceive it to have delivered for the upper castes generally since 1991: a job, security of livelihood.

In this scenario secularism is the least of the concerns. In fact Muslims themselves through their official spokespeople said as much. The concern is to get a job, and the only ones who can deliver a job are the ones with money. What then is the point of rejecting the reality of the capitalist status quo? Whether you call it a fascist interlude in Indian history like communists, or a break from Congress and RJD corruption as the BJP make out, the fact is Indian politics is currently absolutely constrained by the terms and conditions set by international finance and refracted through the RBI Act 1934 and FRBMA 2003.

The shift to public money, or indeed even forms of bank money that have 100 year tenures at zero interest and 100 year moratoriums on repayment, which are the suitable forms of money for creating work that regenerates society and ecology, is bound to happen in the world. Capitalism has taken everything out of nature and society in developing countries and now money has to be redesigned in order to facilitate work that gives it all back to us.

Until that happens, politics across the world will remain a matter of personality rather than of parties with distinctive policies. Things to look out for in Indian politics that might mark a shift in the right direction are: Who will finance MGNREGA to its maximum and run it efficiently; who will increase public spending on health, education, pensions, water and sanitation, soil regeneration and load creation for utlisation of electricity in livelihoods and jobs? Who will put that Rupees one lakh into each Jan Dhan account that was otherwise created for purposes unknown? Who will deny the corporate world access to the land, water and soils of Indians who have suffered enough at the hands of world capitalism to last any number of lifetimes? Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and the rest of the Aryan invasion belt are not going to escape history. Like the rest of India we will have to go through the present decades of misery until inevitable runaway climate change conditions kick in in the next decade or two and the world wakes up. If only politicians could make money a facilitator of social and ecological regeneration before rather than continuing the system of oppression that makes life more difficult confusing and cruel. For now sadly it is not to be.

Anandi Sharan is an environmental historian and writer based at Bangalore. She is a Board member of the global environmental platform CBD Alliance and has been articulating the global South’s concerns on climate change. She can be reached at [email protected]



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