In all the realities, politics, economics and all the social realities!
Bihar state which had just gone to the Assembly polls preceded by one of the intense election campaigns, of course in the earlier lines of most extensive use of abusive rhetoric. Never before we saw certain desperation on the part of even national leaders who descended to some unacceptable levels of name calling! This should become unacceptable in the coming years!
It is a great pity. We have heard some time ago and in the end we can see how the Bihari voters reached their judgement. Democracy requires periodic change in power holding and this must be realised and kept in mind!
Corrupt candidates : Of course money power was there. Each one of the more affluent candidates had an average asset of Rs.1.47 crores (30% were in this class), as for the parties, BJP had 31 crorepati candidate, 91 candidates had average assets per candidate of Rs.5 crore and more, JD(U), 37 candidates, 30 candidates, had an average Rs.3.31 crores, RJD 35 crorepati candidate , RJD 35 crorepatis, Rs.4.79 crore, LJP 31 candidates out of 42 candidates, INC 17 out of 25 candidates BSP had 10 out of 19 total candidates. Some independent candidates had declared assets worth more than 1 crore!
Some candidates have declared more than 85 crore, 45 crores and 32 crores! The data is quoted from the Association for Democratic Reforms.
This side of the Bihar political story needs to be understood in proper perspective. Politics in any State, no less in Bihar is now a big money game and dynasty game and everyone is trying to figure out how the top leaders in Delhi and the state capitals can fit themselves into such a cosy inequity, unequal society and caste combinations. The ugly reality is that in the country democracy has not taken any roots, let alone deep roots.
It is all about money, power and immoral working of the society and politics and economics. Is there any semblance of social justice or economic justice as Mr.Tejaswi Yadav tried to articulate?
Let the readers, perhaps the most enlightened ones figure out this question in their own ways!
Bihar is a uniquely endowed state. As everyone knows the political parties are all using the very existing caste inequities in a cynical manner, come what might be its outcome and the major parties are the guilty one, piggy backing on the dominant local ones, the BJP on the JD(U), the Congress on the RJD, may be the attempts to the entry point in Bihar is very much similar to what is the reality in Tamil Nadu, where both the congress and the BJP find themselves in the same boat! As for Bihar at least in some ways the ground level realities are what must concern us.
In Bihar we learn that farm labour is almost 49% of the population while overall farm labour in the country is 42 per cent. So, the question of jobs for this segment is now the critical point and how this farm jobs issue will be tackled is now almost last out of the election debates, the Prime Minister’s election campaigns are full of inspiring new slogans while Tejaswi Yadav well positioning himself as a new messiah, talking all the time about the more secular political issues and his image this time has gone up over much to the change of the major national parties.
May be this is how politics is played out or how election strategies are worked out. As for agriculture issues, it is a vast subject and a magazine column is not enough to dwell on all the subject’s diversities.
The new three laws enacted by the Punjab Government is only a major obstacle. How the Opposition parties-ruled states would co-operate with the central government?
Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister has written an article on the farm legislations. Punjab is a big State which draws heavily on the seasonal migration of Bihari farm labour! And Punjab CM must be perhaps the biggest landlord in the State! On the one side is the feudalism that symbolises farm land ownership. The Chief Minister today has introduced a farm reform regime that is both equitable and also towards equal society not an easy job at any point of time!
Why we say this is to draw attention to educated sections at least that farm reforms is not a joke and not so at election times!
So, at least rest at ease that for a short time let us confine to the three farm laws enacted by the Central government. Change must come about in a modern economy, more so in the rural economy.
At present, there will be unequal distribution of farm land and it is the basic reality. We also have to admit that farm land would be owned at any point of time in an unequal way only. There has to be big farmers so that new investments and new technologies come into the agriculture operations.
The progress has to be slow only. Nowhere in the world farm lands are owned in an equal and equitable way. In villages agricultural lands are always owned in a hierarchical manner. Rural sociology must explore in detail this phenomenon. This reality must sink in and we have to promote agriculture by keeping the history of agriculture in all countries in mind. Even today, in Europe and more so in Eastern Europe seasonal agricultural labour migration is a reality.
This is the reality of agriculture everywhere. Let us study more and evolve some realistic discussion and debate. The positive side of Bihar agriculture is not fully written about, it seems Bihar otherwise, seems to be a rich state in terms of its natural resources. Its fertile alluvial soils, abundant river resources are not much written about. The Ganges river is a mighty resource. Its tributory rivers – Sone, Gandak, Burshi Gandak/Bagmati, Kosi, Mahananda-have always made Bihar a rich state! These rivers and the abundant waters have turned the state the ideal destination for the second Green Revolution. From Green Revolution to a new Corn Revolution! Many farmers in the Kosi-Seemachal belt, Bihar today produces 50 quintals per acre which is comparable to that in the US Midwest Corn heartland.
Bihar’s corn revolution is entirely private sector. The credit goes to multinational Sed companies which introduced the cultivation of single-cross size hybrids. They, along with large trading firms and feed millers, recognised the potential of planting these during the Rabi winter-season. When mild temperatures with clear skies, absence of flooding and low pests/disease infestation were conducive for higher yields. Moreover this crop can be harvested during April-June, when there was no corn available from the rest of India or even from South America.
Bihar farmers took to this hybrid maize cultivation during the early 2000s this new corn revolution is changing the maize season. Not just corn revolution alone, there are other alternative crops too. Litchi, Makhana (fox nut, all these have been achieved without any government initiative, do you believe?
No minimum support price, nor procurement nor functional APMCs! Farmers in other states like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are pampered on the other hands! Bihar’s rural roads have. Improved during the last. Two decades, they say.But electricity and water may be available for homes and of course much remains to be done.
But there are some hard realities. Three phase power supply is still in short supply and farmers use much diesel for pumping the water to their farms. Of course Bihar desperately need more jobs in the rural areas. This is the Assembly elections pitch.
However there is the reality of more rural migration population, they must go back and they will Bihar’s late rural land profile is very dark. Bihar agriculture is very much subsistence farming and the poverty is very widespread.
With all tall talk during the elections no one has a sincere honest mind set to say that unless industry comes to Bihar there is no hope for more productive jobs. This is also the reality in other low-level subsistence farming states like even Bengal.
How to bring industry is a million dollar question. Mr.Nitish Kumar the senior most political leader. Didn’t utter a word on industrialisation as the future path! Nor Mr. Tajeswi Yadav.
Of course others were keen about more seats for their parties that are all almost orphans without any define programmes. Bihari migrant labour will be going out for some unimaginable time. It is neither a bad idea nor a negative feature. No class structure can survive without a labour class, working class, servants class, can it?
So, let us learn to recognise the inevitability of a new type of moderate feudalism in the rural India and the attendant her classes. In ancient Rome and Greece there were slave classes, then came other classes and social divisions.
Now, we have a new world order and a growing international migrant labour class and now a new educated migrant labour from India itself to the Western countries! We seem to be living in a new world upsurge of a large migration population. So, rural poverty will persist till we overcome our own mental prejudices.
Let us introduce all progressive reforms and create a new prosperous Bihar by introducing all the needed modernisation processes in the economic and socio-cultural spheres. States’ politics too should change, corruption and weakening of democratic institutions should be rectified in a more open and civilised politics.