Sunday, May 29, 2011

Communism and Kerala - V

The biggest drawback of communism is that when it helps working class people to become middle class it loses its ideological foundation. Or in an actual situation when feudal slaves become independent and start moving up the ladder, then the subsequent generations don't have any affiliations to the communist ideology. Realistically, the success of non-communist countries in the world as thriving, egalitarian nations with open societies make communism almost irrelevant. But this is the reality of communism as an economic model. How about the social model?

If we observe non-communist countries that became successful, they already had liberated serfs and opened the door of universal education centuries ago. Almost all of them were homogenous societies with respect to language and religion. Autocratic communist nations tried to promote a common language but for few feeble attempts never really tried to eliminate the religions.

 In Indian context, the communists didn't face linguistic divisions as they ruled linguistically homogenous Kerala and West Bengal. However, the divisions because of caste and religion were always there and never blurred and always remained mainstream.

Unlike poverty and discrimination, the effect of religion or caste is not perpetual for a big chunk of population. Even though, the caste system was responsible for perpetual misery to a great number of population,  those caste ideals have been made illegal. However, the remaining aspects of the caste system or all aspects of religion are perpetually repressing for individuals. But these individuals are never organized and in many cases (eg. women) are unsure of social security -that these organized groups offer- if they dessent. In the case of communities too the differences in identities would lead to catastrophe in the form of communal or caste violence. However, even these do not happen regularly, and don't touch the elite classes in most cases, thus a movement against religious or caste divisions is never possible.

With this background, I believe theoretically the communists of Kerala should disband themselves. Now their existence in Kerala society owe much to the communal and caste divisions than to their ideological positions. This is rather a disgraceful situation. Since they have already made efforts to bring market  economy to the state, it no longer makes sense that they should  remain in the politics as these could be also done by other parties. They don't have any differentiators now. Even though, their ideology has elements that can bring societal change, I don't think they will get any support from the castes or the religionists if they make that as a poll plank. Corruption becoming an agenda of a single party is dangerous to the country as it diminishes the scrutiny against other parties.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rise of patriarchal society - notes

From India's unwanted girls

How girls are valued varies widely across India. Over the years, most states in the south and north-east have been kind to their girls, and sex ratios are above the national average.

In the matrilineal societies of Kerala and Karnataka in the south and Meghalaya in the north-east, women have enjoyed high status and commanded respect. But the latest census figures show the good news even in these areas could be turning bad. A minor decline in the number of girls has begun in the three states which, campaigners worry, might be indicative of a trend.
The matrilineal society of Karnataka!? (and why the blogger word checker doesn't identify "matrilineal" when even the BBC uses it?).  Strictly speaking, only Tulu region was traditionally matrilineal (and most likely only one dominant caste remained matrilineal in 20th-21st century). But it would be nice if the whole society turns into at least ambilineal (well, by that I mean, sons patrilineal and daughters matrilineal).

Update on 24-05-11:
But if the other story is any indication, in the worst case scenario (excess girls in normal societies and excess boys in anti-female societies) matrilineal societies would help the patriarchal societies to sustain themselves. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Negatively and Positively Privileged Groups - ii

When I was writing about feudals' vice like grip on Pakistani political life, I mentioned that tide maybe slowly turning based on an article  in the New York Times. There was something in that article that caught my eye.
In elite circles, Mr. Dasti is reviled as a thug, a small-time hustler with a fake college degree who represents the worst of Pakistan today.
I have come across this phenomenon many times when it comes to leaders coming out of disadvantaged groups. The other day I was reading the GEO magazine, and in there, an article about JF Kennedy, expressed similar feelings against him. He probably wasn't the best of man to represent the marginalized Catholic group. He won because of,
- the money his father accumulated through dubious means
- the support from females brought up with patriarchal/feudalistic ideals (thus they humiliated themselves)

I should first mention about the elite ideals as described in the GEO article
- Money making by straight means
- Anti-racism
- No sexual deviations (eg. paedophilia) and no sexual objectification of women
That is likely a spin. But that is the measure through which leaders from the disadvantaged groups are observed in many cases. Something similar was said about Evo Morales.

In Indian context, the second part would be Anti-casteism and anti-communalism.

Here we find, the lower caste leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayavati and Narendra Modi have been picked out for such criticism. It's debatable whether our elite classes (or American elite classes) ever practiced those ideals (or more precisely whether they practice it today). However, it's undeniable fact that in majority cases, the initial leaders from disadvantaged communities fail in these counts. I suppose in a transitional society it's tough for the 'good' leaders from the disadvantaged groups to make it to the top (or they need to live more than 80 years).

Another article in the same issue of the GEO magazine gives an alternate view. According to it, more than the person we should celebrate that the ideal against the class division that became mainstream. It's this ideal that cannot be reversed. The spirit of liberalism has only become stronger in the American society. Even at the individual level, this has allowed a person like Barack Obama, coming from a similar or more disadvantaged identity but better personal integrity compared to JF Kennedy, to become the president of the USA.

I suppose that means the next generation leaders from the disadvantaged castes in India will be more real.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Random Thoughts - IX_a

The article I mentioned in my last post declares people who joined a recent movement against corruption in India as hypocrites. These people presumably are corrupts themselves in their own small ways but come out to protest against bigger corruptions. I would think there are two reasons for the author's opinion.

First, it's a view that some things are meant to be pure and even a single violation of whatever background would permanently defile it. Views like these are unacceptable.

For the second reason, let us consider a hypothetical situation where these protests become successful. Would not that make these hypocrites to continue with their true self inviable? So obviously these should be cynical hypocrites. That shows the majority who participated in the protests belong to this category since the whole middle class has been stereotyped as 'hypocrites'. The middle class that didn't participate in the protests are a majority of:
- Cynical but original uncorrupts
- Non-cynical but hypocrite uncorrupts
- Non-cynical but original corrupts

This absolute farce of corrupts fighting corrupts fascinated me. I wanted to delve on it further after my initial categorization. The problem I found in the list of corrupt practices was that, not all of them could be called corruptions. I'm further refining the list. Before that I've to define the term corruption.

Corruption: Any action for undeserved  gain (monetary) for self and/or related ones directly or indirectly resulting in loss to others directly or indirectly.

1. Paying in "black" when buying a house: Qualifies as corruption
  •     Property buyer and seller are both corrupts. The government deserves the money. 

2. Bribing cops to get away with minor offences:
    - jumping the signal or breaking one way, no u-turn: Criminal act but not corruption
    - Carrying no proper documents (forgetting RC, license): Mistake but not corruption
    - having no proper documents: Criminal act but not Corruption
    - no pollution certificate: Stupidity (Pollution certificate is an official scam by the governments) but not corruption
  • Penalty money is not a benefit to the government but way of controlling the criminal act. However, the bribe taker gets undeserved money and may in turn also responsible for any potential damages because of the criminal act of the lawbreaker. The lawbreaker may gain violent pleasure but corruption is about money. 

3. Paying "capitation fee" in higher educational institutes: No corruption from the person as the benefit has to be earned but corruption by the management. Unclear criminal act as the loss to a more deserved isn't confirmed since capitation fee is legal because of loopholes.
  • Here actually the parents are a victim as they have paid undeserved amount to the school thus incurring the loss and the school management has gained undeserved benefit. 

4. Bribing for school admission: No corruption from the person as the benefit has to be earned but can be criminal act and a corruption from the management.
  • Same as (3a) but criminal act because a deserved candidate might have lost out. 

5. Buying an illegal driving license (or any license): Criminal act but not corruption
  • It's a pure criminal act by a citizen but corruption from the government officials. 

6. Paying extra to get gas cylinders ontime, when in short supply: Criminal act but not corruption
  • The gas cylinder is deserved however it's a criminal act as it results in loss to a citizen ahead in the list 

7. Fudging bills to claim refunds: Qualifies as corruption
8. Avoiding paying income tax: Qualifies as corruption
9. Bribing cops when they come for passport identification: Insecurity (passport is not a benefit but the right of a citizen) but not corruption
10. Pulling strings even paying touts, to confirm a waitlisted railway ticket: Criminal act but not corruption
  • Same as (6) 
We can observe that out of 10 only 3 qualify as corruption(1, 7 and 8). Of the rest;
- the government officials are sole corrupts in 2, 5, 6, 9 and 10 (50%)
- Private institutions and individuals in 3 and 4 (20%)

It is very important to define the corruption precisely because every "hypocrite" is against corruption as defined above. What we see here is nearly sixty percent cases are criminal acts. Few are desperate situations but some others are the result of pleasure seeking through violent behaviour. I suppose Indian children should be taught to channel their risk taking inclinations to planned adventures where probable victims would be only themselves. The solutions to some of the desperate situations (eg. quality schools) are the responsibility of the government.

We cannot say Indian middle class has indulged in corruption in multiple ways but is undeniable that there are few instances where  they do indulge in corruption. All the three instances mentioned here basically boil down to paying the taxes. But this is not an unrestorable hymen. Of course, there are people who argue for giving it for charity instead to our corrupt governments which misappropriate it anyway. I don't agree with this line. But giving for charity and then not claiming income tax benefit probably one way of restoring the purity.