As a new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is being elected, Prof. Bhaskar congratulated the Prime Minister for his huge victory in the state. In an Open Letter, he urged the PM – irrespective of who the CM and his cabinet – to help the state develop. He has 12-point suggestions for a strong UP. In another case, he talks about the discrimination between a petty thief and a big one, citing the observations made by the Apex Court. He talks of the prevalent discrimination existing in a social science research institute, citing the well-known parable of the donkey and the miller, in the regular column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Among many, I take the opportunity to talk straight to you, my beloved PM for the not-unexpected opportunity that electoral victory of BJP has conferred on you and me. This is a huge success that has been bestowed on you directly by the people of Uttar Pradesh. As the PM of India, you could have taken a positive role in developing UP but, now it is for you, directly. It’s now or never. This is notwithstanding who becomes the CM and the members in his cabinet.
I take the opportunity to repeat – you have personal charisma and willpower. The people in India, since the days of movements for independence, looked forward to leaders, one such was Subhas Chandra Bose (named Netaji for his leadership), whom I did not get the privilege to see but I read about him. My purpose is no comparison but only to juxtapose what the teeming millions in Bharat look forward to, very silently, and what the leaders the political masters did so far, during the past seventy years. While I do not undermine the Nehruvian regime that brought about heavy industrialisation, it also displaced millions, it made also poverty-unemployment-inequality maintaining high rate of illiteracy, rising insecurity of children and women and many of other indicators so far not cardinally measured in mainstream literature.
I humbly request you not to waste time on what went wrong so far. I would rather request you to get a roadmap for the development re-drawn, with UP at the center. You got the opportunity to go for any project/programme. There is no dearth of existing institutions to execute the projects/programmes that you launch – whether you like it or not, a sense of fear among the culprits has also been instilled post-demonetisation that you can do and undo anything. If that be so, for the welfare-cum-development with common people at the centre, I propose the following, for UP, as a commoner as well as a pedestrian social scientist:
- Think about waterways, particularly the navigability of the Ganga, for both commercial and passenger purposes.
- Link all state highways with national highways.
- Make the villages loveable and liveable by forestation.
- Canal system is a must for rural/agricultural purposes – so please ensure 12-month water in canals and that all villages are covered by such canals.
- Clean up the desi wells – they have become dumping grounds.
- Every village must have a big pond under collective maintenance for multipurpose utility.
- Think more about setting up agro-industries and not heavy industries.
- Open up Learning-by-doing Institutions for the livelihood security of the common people, particularly women.
- Protect underprivileged children through setting up residential cost-free schools.
- Stop begging by children and women on roads and other public space – rehabilitate them by some poor laws.
- Identify institutions that provided you correct information on what goes on through social audit. Please rely on government institutions more relative to the mushrooming NGOs.
- Make everybody participant in decision-making.
I humbly offer my services, as and when asked for.
Of Thieves, Big and Small: Are You Surprised?
Hearing the case of a man in Telangana, who has been in jailed for a year for allegedly stealing five sarees, the Apex Court reportedly had a question, “What about the person who has defaulted on crores of rupees?” The hint was at Vijay Malaya, the liquor baron, wanted in India on charges of fraud, linked to unpaid loans, did not go unnoticed.
So we are happy that the Judiciary is there in India to take care of both – the person at the bottom, who did not understand the excludability in private property with the emergence of market capitalism, and the person, at the top, who understood the inclusivity of public property not clearly explained in the books on Capitalism.
Are you surprised? I am not.
Some years back, I was in the Chattarpur area of the state of Madhya Pradesh, in India, where an ill-dressed person told me that he was not in jail for his brother was in police. I was relieved and we shared beedis(indigenous cigarette) in solidarity.
As the Chief Justice of India did not name Malaya saying that a person, who has taken away crores of rupees is enjoying life (in England). But a person, who took five sarees is in jail (in India). What the honourable Judge did not tell is the systemic dispossession of the poor and the increasing scope of prison labour to get the national production possibility curve outward shifted for the possessed. The Supreme Court was hearing a petition by the wife of the accused, arrested in Hyderabad, over a year ago, and in prison without trial. The accused man’s lawyer argued there was no witness to prove the offense. The Telangana government justified the arrest saying a gang of saree thieves was operating in Hyderabad and many traders had complained about it, which made it essential for the state to arrest them. While saree stealing case had been a sub-national affair so far until the Apex Court took note of it, Malaya, who allegedly stole around Rs. 9,000 crores in unpaid loans had been a national affair and showed his competence to leave India. In the pre-independence era, the rich and the famous (read the creamy layer), from this country, used to temporarily migrate to England for higher studies.
A warrant is out for the liquor tycoon to face trial in India for charges of conspiracy and fraud for the loans he owes. Malaya claimed that he is “safe in UK” and New Delhi has no grounds to extradite him.
I will not be surprised if more of bottom line people get the scope to steal to be in jails of India or be in England to enjoy life (sic).
The Donkey and the Miller
Most of you know the story of the donkey and the miller. The title of the story did not tell that the miller had a son. The parable is well known. The story that I am trying to let you know today is a similar story but not exactly on the same trajectory. Here the miller was not attempting to satisfy all but became a victim of circumstances and treachery. The donkey is the social science research institute at Allahabad that either shoulder the employees, most of whom are parasites drawing money from the people, though acknowledged as one of the best institutes, in the Hindi-heartland.
Coming back to the core point, first round advertisement displayed in August 2016 for the post of new director was postponed (actually cancelled) for a new advertisement for the same has been floated in the third week of March 2017, after a gap of half-a-year. In the case of the first one, it was virtually hidden from any knowledge of the faculty but the postponement (cancellation) was announced through a common email of the applicants that included two sitting Professors also of the said institute that diminished the level of ethics in such cases.
Now, a new advertisement has been sent by email to all the faculty members of the institute, most of whom, like me, did not understand its implications. The email was sent by the computer-in-charge! But the miller and his son remain untouchable not in the sense of casteism in UP but in the sense of a built-in mechanism. Here the son guides the miller. The miller is helpless; the son enjoys a power of nuisance value. The observers do not dare to make fun of the sick living off the son. The donkey remains a donkey, portrayed as a tiger for the jungle is full of jackals!
©Prof. Bhaskar Majumder
Photos from the internet.
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Prof. Bhaskar Majumder, an eminent economist, is the Professor of Economics at GB Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad. He was the Professor and Head of the Centre for Development Studies, Central University of Bihar, Patna. He has published nine books, 69 research papers, 32 chapters,15 review articles and was invited to lectures at premier institutes and universities over 50 times. He has 85 papers published in various seminars and conferences.
He also worked in research projects for Planning Commission (India), World Bank, ICSSR (GoI), NTPC, etc. A meritorious student, Bhaskar was the Visiting Scholar in MSH, Paris under Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme. He loves speed, football and radical ideology.