Opinion

Patriotic media and nationalist leaders ignore workers without work

Workers of India Unite! You have nothing to lose but your livelihood, which you have lost anyway in the last few years of Note-bandi and agrarian distress

Jan Sarokar rally- People’s Manifesto 2019 (Social Media)
Jan Sarokar rally- People’s Manifesto 2019 (Social Media)

Raman Swamy

The Jan Sarokar rally in New Delhi on April 6 predictably did not receive much attention from the media. A huge turnout at the Talkatora Stadium despite the scorching heat was not of much interest to TV channels or newspapers.

The attention of the people of India is riveted to the exciting and entertaining drama that is being enacted on the national stage. Every hour in the election season there are surprising new twists and turns in the political stock exchange. Brilliant speeches are being made and it is important to listen to every witty and not so witty dialogues and to retweet every pungent social media post.

In the midst of the non-stop election campaigning by the most charismatic leaders of the political parties, nobody is interested in the complaints and cries of a bunch of people who have got left behind. The rally in the national capital on Saturday was a gathering of rural and urban workers, gathered to mourn the death of jobs during the Modi regime. But nobody is seemingly bothered about their gripes and groans.

Our media, however, could not be expected to take their eyeballs away from the fire and fury of electioneering, the rousing of communal passions, the whipping up of hyper-nationalism, the delicious descent into personal taunts and saucy name-calling. Speeches at the Jan Sarokar rally were bound to be boring and repetitive, they seemed to suggest without uttering a word.

More than one crore people have been thrown out of employment in 2018 alone. Factory workers are drifting back to their villages in thousands and lakhs in a massive reverse migration phenomenon never seen before.

Jobless, penniless and forlorn, they are aggravating the already hopeless situation in the rural areas where young men are moving about listlessly with nothing worthwhile to do and older men stare vacantly and listen to charpoy tales of the good old days and the ‘Achhe Din’ that never arrived.

So, what’s new? And who cares? In the march towards a new India, suffering and self-sacrifice is inevitable. Many men must starve so that others can thrive. It is the law of civilization. Fools die. For countries to grow and prosper, human beings should be ready and willing to offer themselves as cannon fodder.

As the great leader said so wisely: Country first, Party second, Self third. He ought to have added: Losers last.

It is the nationalistic fervour of the unwashed masses that will ensure ultimate victory in the election, our rulers are convinced. Right now, India therefore is in the throes of a great war. Those who think that the present era is a time of peace are either delusionary or desh-drohis. The nation is being attacked by frenzied fanatics from the West and the godless yellow race from the East. Within the country there are traitors posing as political leaders who are bent on weakening the unity of the country by sowing the seeds of doubt and distrust.

In such a dire situation when the destiny of the country is at stake, is it right for disgruntled farm workers and urban labourers to hold a rally in the heart of the nation’s capital to highlight their own petty individual grievances? Obviously not. Should they go so far as to prepare a charge-sheet against the government for such bold reforms like note-bandi and GST? Another emphatic no.

That too, a government led by a leader who in just five years has rooted out corruption with an iron hand, instilled fear in the enemies with a series of surgical strikes and destroyed hostile satellites 300 miles up in the skies - a visionary whose sights are set on making India – within the next five or ten or thirty years - the richest and most powerful nation in the world? Never. That would be blasphemy.

In the backdrop of such a grand perspective, doesn’t the mundane People’s Manifesto that the Jan Sarokar rally released appear short-sighted and self-centred?

More than 200 NGOs organized the rally. In a country of 1.35 crore people, 200 is an insignificant number and even if all the kisans and majdoors on the membership list add up to a few lakhs, that would still be a miniscule minority of grumblers and trouble-makers, the media and the Government seemed to concur.

The fact that they demanded higher minimum wages and employment guarantee schemes in urban as well as rural areas indicated their inability to see the bigger picture. Jobs and wages will come only when industries thrive. That will happen when foreign investments flow in like a tsunami. Investments will not come unless there is a strong leader who can ensure absolute security and total discipline.

This is why, the media and the Government would have felt, the Jan Sarokar rally was an exercise in vanity and treachery. Once the elections are over, once the model or moral code of conduct is lifted, once the new government is installed with a bigger majority in parliament, such rallies would surely be banned altogether.

The organisers and participants would be arrested under the sedition laws with retrospective as well as prospective effect. Meanwhile, the loyal, freedom-loving and patriotic mainstream media should refrain from giving any coverage of the April 6 rally and all similar events in the past and in the future.

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