Friday, 23 February 2018

Pad Man: A Controversial Movie

Pad Man: A Love Story


Although I rarely watch Indian movies because they are often too long, have the same stories and try to fuse bit of everything; a love story, comedy, tragedy, melodrama and the happy ending. After Padmavati, I had an opportunity to watch another good movie at O2 in Millennium Dome, Pad Man! 

Before I comment on the movie, it is worth sharing my own ignorance about the Pads which traditionally are known as Sanitary Towels. I was 21 and a lecturer in 1974. One of my friends owned a general store near the university. One evening I happened to be at that store chatting with my friend after a brief break from left-wing politics. A few girls, perhaps the university students showed up at the store appearing bit shy and reluctant, perhaps due to my presence. On the other hand, my friend appeared too curious. I witnessed a fusion of opposite minds but found myself completely confused and misplaced. Before the girls could ask about the product, as shy & awkward they were, the owner picked up a pack labeled as Sanitary towels showed them, they said yes. He hid the Pads in a paper bag and handed them to girls. Being intrigued, I curiously asked my friend what they are going to do with such small towels! He laughed at me and told me, “Maybe wash their faces!” Although I had a sister, sister-in-law, a lot of cousins I was dumbfounded about women’s so-called “course” due to cultural taboos. This was my first introduction to Pads! 



The movie Pad Man is a real-life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham whose cast name is Laxmikant Chauhan, played by Akshay Kumar, a poor man who notices his wife using filthy rags instead of Pads during the monthly cycle. Laxmikant was worried about the adverse impact of unhygienic rags on his wife due to lack of sterilization and could cause death in extreme cases. The more shocking for his wife, Gayatri (Radhika Aapte) was the exorbitantly high price of sanitary pads then Rs. 55 per pack. Laxmikant could not convince his wife to use high-cost pads though it was alright for his superstitious wife to give Rs. 51 to a Priest for his blessings. He could not believe that due to a high cost of Pads his loving wife, sisters and other women will have to bear life-threatening consequences. Laxmikant’s love and care for his wife turned into a passion and his life’s only mission was to provide sanitary Pads to all women at very low cost. However, his village community perceived him a misfit and pervert man trying to experiment homemade Sanitary Pads on his wife, sisters and even on a teenage neighbor’s daughter who attained the age of puberty. Kids in the neighborhood humorously nicknamed monthly cycle as “Beginning of the 5 days test match.” 

In the process of making people understand the issue that was thought not to be discussed so open, he loses his wife, family and his reputation in the village. He couldn’t convince any woman to use his handmade pads. Even he had been unsuccessful in getting feedback from the students of Girls’ Medical College. At last, exasperated Laxmikant experimented his handmade pad on himself wearing a panty which turned out to be a disaster. However, in spite of being ousted from the village and disserted by his family, Laxmikant did not give up his passion and he desperately tried to regain lost love and respect from his wife. He continued with his mission to convince her that he was on the right track to help not only her but also millions of women who were not even aware of the adverse health impact of using old dirty rags. It is a matter of fact that only 12% women in India use Sanitary Pads. He knocked every door to seek help and even got a job as a domestic help at a Professor’s house in the hope that he might show him a way forward, but the arrogant professor was too busy for his own good. However, Professor’s clever young boy felt pity at Laxmikant and offered help to find his answers in the google search. He found a company in Canada which made Pads from the Cellulose and helped him get a sample package in the name of a fake company at his father’s address. Laxmikant’s communication with the Canadian Company mediated by young boy back & forth and his appeasement of moneylender for an Rs. 90,000 loan to set up a rudimentary Pad making machine was quite entertaining.

When Lakshmikant was at the verge of losing his all hope, incidentally he bumped into a beautiful singer; Pari (fairy) played by Sonam Kapoor who after performing at a music concert was desperately looking for
a medical store to buy Sanitary Pads. Since all shops were closed at night Lakshimkant turned out to be Lord Saver. He handed over to Pari’s assistant a Pad from his pocket. Impatient as he was for a feedback, next day Laxmikant reached out to Pari in her Hotel. The interaction between them keeping the awkwardness of the subject matter was entertaining. Later Pari becomes a milestone of his success as she persuaded him to exhibit his Pad making a rudimentary machine in an annual function of best innovation of the year event which he had won. A lot of pressure was built on Laxmikant to patent his low-cost machine as many multinational companies wanted to buy his innovation for millions. Although this proposal would have made Laxmikant filthy rich he was not convinced this would make the Pads cheaper for common women. His passion was not moved profit motives. Instead, he started his own small-scale business and marketed in the local area through Pari who also helped him borrow money from the banks which generated more jobs and many self-employed small businesses. This leads Lakshmikant getting an Invitation to deliver a speech at the United Nations. His speech in broken English was an entertaining explaining business cycle in layman’s language is ups and downs for all products expect the sanitary pads which would always be up. In the latter half of the movie, Pari started getting attached to Lakshmikant but he didn't forget his wife for whom he came all the way long. Just before boarding his return flight when Pari was about to kiss him, his mobile rang. It was his wife, Gayatri. Pari quickly realized she was dreaming with open eyes which faded away with a blink of an eye.

This is reflected throughout in the movie given how awkward women are made to feel even today while buying sanitary pads from the stores. The movie is quite educational and tells the real-life story in a layman’s language and humorous manner. The social stigma makes it an important film that needs to be watched. The movie ends on a positive note that the people who are crazy enough think they can change the world often do and make a difference not only in their lives but also in lives of millions. 
Prof S Deman

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Padmawati v Banshali 2018

Pamawat v Padmawati  2018
At last! I had an opportunity to watch the movie at the Millennium Dome which is now better known as O2 in London on the Super Screen which cost me £13.5 after senior citizen discount.   Despite all the negative publicity and outrageous violence particularly,  in the states of  Rajasthan, MP, UP and Gujarat the movie turned out to be beyond the imagination of its critics. They are damn looser!


Movies started and progress smoothly.  Dipika Padukon as Princes Padmawati while out in Jungle to hunt a deer looked stunning and kept on missing her target,  perhaps, her target was Shahid Kapoor who played Maharaja Ratan Singh of Chittore who was also out for hunting.  However, Ratan Singh rather hunting anything got himself hunted by beautiful princes (reminds me of an old movie, “Shikar karne gaye ther shikar ho ke aye”).  Who wouldn’t?  Movie gets a bit slow for about 10-15 minutes but picked up very smoothly.  Love at first sight, Ratan Singh got married to Padmawati.  She joined the group Ghoomar dance in which she looked amazing despite 40 Kg weight of her dress. There was not even an iota amount of exposure of Padmawati about which any sensible person in right mind could criticise except acknowledging the glory of Rajasthan historical dance form.
Padmawati was introduced to Raj Guru Raghav Chetan for blessings whom Ratan Singh had a great degree of trust & confidence. Having met the Queen Padmani Raj Guru was mesmerized by her beauty and wisdom and broke the trust he enjoyed with Ratan Singh when he clandestinely tried to watch Ratan Singh & Padmawati in close proximity.  Padmawati's wisdom caught him red-handed and she asked the King to send him into exile. Raghav Chetan, before leaving the Kingdom, threatened the King of the consequences of his action.      
Alla Uddin Khiljji enters in the movie as a young spoilt brat soldier pretended to be loyal to the Sultan of Delhi, but his eyeballs were on Sultan’s Beautiful daughter Noornnisha. Alla Uddin with his few victories was able to impress the Sultan who agreed to give her daughter’s had to him.  However, Alla Uddin being a playboy with lavish lifestyle no single beauty could ever satisfy lust.   Besides his desire for women, he never took off his head of his ambition to seize the power.  He first got killed the Sultan’s bodyguards and then the King himself and became the sole undisputed Sultan of Delhi.  To settle the scores with Ratan Singh, clever Raghav Chetan manipulate Alla Uddin with his musical skills and drew his attention to the louring beauty of Padmawati and told him there is no glory without winning Padmawati’s love.                     
Alla Uddin became obsessed with Padmawati and decided to attack Chittore which was one of the best-fortified forts of its time.   Ranveer Kapoor’s role as a desperate & obsessed Alla Uddin was amazing and its overshadowed most the players in the movie except Dipika who was the theme of the movie. The change of name of the movie from Padmawati to Padmawati by the Censor Board didn’t help her opponent as Padmawati emerged as the Avante Garde in the movie showing a unique fusion of beauty with wisdom and great courage as the Queen who got her husband released from the prison of All Uddin without a scratch. If the opponents, in particular, Karni Sena could get some lessons from Padmawati they would have done some more good than harm to their community. 
The direction, photography, costumes, war scenes and love story are superb leaving no space for criticism whatsoever. In fact, Bhansali has done more to glorify the Rajput women and their traditions that they deserve and deserves congratulations for a commendable job.  Had the Karani Sena spent so much energy and time to protect the honour of women today rather than beating something without anything they would have had an everlasting impact on the society and their organization*.  I strongly encourage people to go and see the movie with the family.

*I knew personally Kalyan Singh Kalvi would have had a word with him about the movie but taking his son Lokesh Kalvi is merely talking to the walls!                       

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Resurrection of Hindu Rate of Growth in India

OLD VINE IN THE NEW BOTTLE OR ROOTEN 
EGGS IN THE NEW BASKET!


I never had the illusion about the PM, Modi’s tall claims of quantum leap of 9.5% growth in GDP rather than gradualism overtaking China, both ex-ante and ex-post, about the GDP growth in spite of rigging the base year to inflate the growth rate by 2.2%. The sings of slow growth had already been embedded in the failed neo-liberal economic policies as accepted by Nobel economists like Joseph Stieglitz and Paul Krugman. In fact, it delivered nothing to common man except writing off bad loans and taxes at the cost of the common man around the world since the worldwide economic crisis of 2008. Although early signs of sluggish growth were observed in India even before demonetisation Modi’s sycophants unsuccessfully tried to distract the failures by hijacking the issues by precipitating non-issues such as beef eating, Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Ram Mandir, right-wing changes in the curriculum and textbooks, purging educational bodies like UGC, ICSSR, ICHCR , Universities, etc., to induct RSS agenda. 

However, some friends and foe of the BJP Mr Yashwant Sinha and Chidambaram and to great extent even the scattered opposition is blaming it entirely on the demonetisation and try to compare it with past regime under the UPA which is a big mistake. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the UPA and the NDA Governments led by Dr MM Singh and PM Modi as their economic policies’ adviser by and large in substance, if not in form (names) remained the same. For example, Dr MM Singh heavily relied on the advice of Prof Jagdish Bhagwati who is a close friend of Dr MM Singh and his sycophant Arvind Panagariya who was conferred a Padma Bhoshan by UPA II Govt who being pro-American latter shifted their loyalty to BJP and Modi, both suffered from the China obsession. Therefore, I am at a loss why Yashwant Sinha and Chidambaram woke up so late in the day to attack Modi on failure on the economic front. In fact, according to their own spokesman Modi has stolen their flagship program and merely renamed them. As to change of name of the Planning Commission was underway since the UPA II except UPA being inspired from China’s renaming their Planning body, it was contemplating it rename it as Reform Commission and Modi Govt has changed it to NITI AYOG (National Institute of Transforming India) to claim the originality. However, in reality, NITI AYOG turned out to be toothless and even Modi Govt continued to rely on the UPA II 13 Five Year Plan and his Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the UPA II Chidambaram budget. 
The author, in response to Bhawati-Pangariya’s tall claims of 11.5% GDP growth after adjusting with the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) to boost that India was growing faster than China, characterised GDP growth under UPA was heading toward a Hindu rate of Growth (3-4%) and if adjusted for Green GDP it was tending to Zero Growth. If one applies the same yardstick to BJP Govt, it would be clear Indian economy no better as current GDP is @ 5.7% and if adjured from base year 5.7-2.2 = 3.5% < 4.8% of UPA II and if adjusted for Green GDP it is tending to a zero rate of growth. Indeed, in spite of rhetoric noting has changed in substance or fundamentally in the intervening period of UPAII to NDA I. In fact, disillusioned Modi let the former RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan to let go under mysterious circumstances and recently Panagariya parted with pleasure combined with the appointments of Urjit Patel as RBI Governor, Rajiv Kumar as Head of NITI AYOG and the constitution of PM Economic Advisory Council under Bibek Debroy along with Dr Surjit Bhalla, Dr Rathin Roy and Dr.. Ashima Goyal, and Ratan Watal (unknown in the mainstream economics profession) confirms that the Indian economy is back to square one. In layman’ language former friend of BJP, Mr Arun Shourie puts it very eloquently, “BJP = Congress + a Cow”! The future of Indian economy remains bleak.



Wednesday, 30 August 2017

END OF THE AMERICAN POLITICAL ECONOMY IN INDIA Part II


NITI AYOG FAILURE!


I have previously commented on a somewhat similar article exposing complacency and the nexus between the World Bank/IMF Bandwagon and allegedly Bhagwati-Panagariya approach to development. Therefore, I will deal with the last paragraphs of his article. The author is badly mistaken in categorizing development model into two different schools of thoughts dividing them into Bhagwati-Panagariay and AK Sen although these schools are two sides of the same coin, namely, neo-classical School of thoughts, first propounded an Austrian economist, Hayek who believed in Laissez-fair economy and the second one is welfare economy. In fact, soon after the French Revolution German Chancellor Bismark carried out some of these reforms not so much for the welfare of the people but to prevent possible revolution in Germany. Traces of such reform were also aired by US President Roosevelt in 1930's addressing the workers on the famous Flint Street sit down. The author also claims to have suggested a third approach which also already subsumed into Welfare School of thoughts. 


Bhagwati-Panagariya story of India as an emerging giant appeared to be over as India's growth was heading toward the well-known 'Hindu' Rate of growth. If one follows Panagariya's absurd logic to adjust the rate of growth with the Purchasing Power Parity as he did in 2010 Econometric Society Lecture to inflate India's growth to 11.5%, to make it look, as if India was going ahead of China (what is known as China obsession) than India’s growth turned out to be about 3.5% and further adjustment to work out the green GDP, Indian economy was heading toward a ‘Zero’ rate of growth (after adjusting with devaluation of India rupee and accounting for errors of measurement). The critic of liberalization like AK Sen characterized the growth of India economy as jobless and emphasized the need for investment in the social sector, like in Korea, Japan, & China, which led to higher growth in those countries. Moreover, if the purpose of growth is to improve the quality of life as opposed to a number of billionaires than the hard choice has to be made to improve human capital formation. He also strongly supported the food security bill of UPA II on the ground that it would save millions of lives every year. 


On the other hand, Bhagwati and Pangariya criticized food security bill on somewhat bizarre ground that the poor people would keep the current level of consumption and would sell the additional food and buy something else. This argument is against the very principles neoclassical economics that the agents are rational which they intend to defend throughout their approach. Unless people are irrational they would likely to provide their children better diet by struggling less rather than selling food for the money in the open market. And if the food security bill is amended to include 100% population it would take care of the even remote possibility of black marketing.


The above schools have been around for a very long time under different expect new terminology has replaced the old ones. If one looks at the Development Book of the 1960s by Arthur Lewis, Hagen, Higgins, Todaro, and Yutopolous and Nugent etc. , one could find trickle down, percolation effect, spread effect, divergence-convergence, etc. The author has conveniently forgotten the third school which is often used to save the ‘free-market’ by partial nationalization one of the gradients of ‘Socialism which became less popular since the collapse of USSR model of State Capitalism rather than market socialism.usly commented on a somewhat similar article exposing complacency and the nexus between the World Bank/IMF Bandwagon and alleged

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Greatest Hindi Novelist of the 20th Century!

PREM CHAND REMEMBERED - A UNIQUE HINDI NOVELIST


Mehzabeen Mehzabeen (Translation available at the end) 


प्रेमचंद जी ने लगभग 300 कहानियाँ लिखीं, मगर पाँचवीं कक्षा से लेकर एम. ए की कक्षा तक उनकी कुछ चुनिंदा कहानियों को ही सिलेबस में रखा जाता है, और वो चुनिंदा कहानियाँ गिनी-चुनी 15/20 हैं बाक़ी की 275 के लगभग कहानियों को हाशिये पर डाल दिया गया उपेक्षित कर दिया गया, शायद आलोचक ही पढ़ते हैं उन्हें अपने समीक्षा कार्य की पूर्ति के लिए। क्या उनकी चुनिंदा कहानियों के अलावा दूसरी कहानियाँ बेकार हैं, हमारे समाज की नहीं हैं, उनकी भाषा अच्छी नहीं है? मैं आजकल उनका तीनसों कहानियों का पूरा संग्रह मानसरोवर पढ़ रही हूँ, मुझे एक भी कहानी बेकार नहीं लग रही है, सभी इसी समाज का हिस्सा हैं, यही समस्याएं हैं दहेज़, अनमेल विवाह, विधवा समस्या, पुनर्विवाह, ग़रीबी, दलित - विमर्श, ग़ैरबराबरी, महाजनी साहूकारी इत्यादि... फिर क्यों प्रासंगिक नहीं हैं प्रेमचंद जी की दूसरी कहानियाँ? उर्दू की कहानियों का तो कहीं कोई ज़िक्र ही नहीं होता है, उर्दू साहित्य में भी नहीं हिन्दी साहित्य में भी नहीं, बस उनकी जीवनी में लिखा रहता है कि वो पहले उर्दू में लिखा करते थे। ऐसी स्थिति के लिए कौन जिम्मेदार है पाठक, साहित्यकार, अध्यापक? कहीं न कहीं सभी जिम्मेदार हैं।
कॉलेज युनिवर्सिटी में आजकल ज़्यादातर राजनीति होती है स्टूडेंट्स को भी उस राजनीति का हिस्सा बनाया जाता है, साहित्यिक कार्यक्रम के दौरान सेमिनार कवि-सम्मेलन के दौरान भी बहुत अच्छी राजनीति होती है एक-दूसरे की टांगे खींची जाती हैं, ऐसे कामों में माहिर उस्तादों से तलबा भी बआसानी से यह काट करने का, अवसरवाद का सलीक़ा हुनर सीख रहे हैं और फिर आगे ज़ारी रख रहे हैं, साहित्यिक कार्यक्रम खानापूर्ति के लिए रह गए हैं। सीधे-सादे अध्यापक साहित्यकार विद्यार्थियों की तो अब कोई औक़ात है ही नहीं उन्हें साइड कर दिया जाता है, अपने रास्ते से हटा दिया जाता है। पिछले पुराने अच्छे-अच्छे साहित्यकारों की रचनाएँ उपेक्षित हैं, और नए लिखने वालों के रास्ते में भी बेशुमार रोड़े अटकाए जा रहे हैं।
पक्ष- विपक्ष के नेता राजनीतिज्ञ समय - समय पर वोट बैंक के लिए या फिर ध्यान बुनियादी सवालों से भटकाने के लिए कोई न कोई सोसा बेबुनियादी मुद्दे मिडिया द्वारा फेंक देते हैं चैनलों पर, सोशल मीडिया पर, और आजकल के बुद्धिजीवी वर्ग, साहित्यकार भी उन्हीं फालतू के मुद्दों पर बातचीत करते हैं, चर्चा करते हैं, टिप्पणी, विश्लेषण करते हैं उलझे रहते हैं, राजनितिक लोग तो चाहते ही हैं बेकार की बातों में उलझाए रखना, मगर इन लिखने - पढ़ने वाले छात्रों, अध्यापकों को साहित्यकारों को क्या हुआ है बुनियादी सवालों पर बहस क्यों नहीं करते? साहित्य में आए बिखराव, फ़िरक़ापरस्ती को अपनी आपसी खींचातानी नाइत्तिफ़ाक़ी को क्यों नहीं दूर करते? स्थिति बहुत ख़राब है। बुकफेयर भी अब बाज़ार मात्र रह गया है। साहित्यकारों के ग़ुरूर के बारे में क्या कहा जाए कथनी-करनी में ज़मीन आसमान का अंतर है संपादक पत्रकार सब के सब प्रोफेशनल हो गए हैं इनके बीच शरीफ़ कैसे अपनी जगह बनाए कैसे टिके?
मेहजबीं
Translation of Mehzabeen Mehzabeen post

Munshi Premchand wrote about 300 stories, but from the V class to MA only selective few stories have been kept in the syllabus and the rest 275 stories are put in the margins to undermine their literary significance and perhaps they are read by the critiques only to meet for their review work.  Are other stories apart from the selected ones are useless, or not about our society, or their language is not good enough? These days, I am reading the entire collection of Premchand’s stories from the Mansarovar collection. I do not find even a single story which is not relevant and not a part of our social reality, whether they are pertaining to the problems related to the dowry, mismatched marriages, widowed problems, remarriages, poverty, Dalit Vichar (thinking about the Untouchables), moneylenders, inequality, etc. One wonders why it is often suggested that Premchand’s other stories aren’t’ relevant? In fact, stories in Urdu are not even mentioned either in Urdu or Hindi literature except there is a passing reference in Premchand’s biography that initially, he started writing stories in Urdu. It is worth exploring who is responsible for such a situation, readers, writers or teachers?  It appears somewhere, we all are responsible.


These days the Colleges & Universities have become hotbeds (dens) of politics and the students are also dragged into that politics. In fact, even the literary program, seminar and the poetry programs are not spared as they have become training camps for innocent minds to learn to pull each other’s legs and grind axes. The literary programs have become a formality and the down to earth & genuine people are either removed from the way or side tracked. The innocent and genuine teachers have no locus-standii and capability to alienate these hooligans out of the constructive path. The compositions of the past old good writers are neglected and also obstacles are put in the way of new creative writings.


The leaders of the treasury and opposition benches time to time hijack the fundamental issues on somewhat scandalous TV channels and social media hype to cater their vote banks.  Unfortunately, even the intellectuals and writers also caught in their Cobb-Web and start burning their midnight oil analyzing, debating and commenting on irrelevant and trivial matters. This may well serve the politicians endgame to keep the youth and public engaged all the time in irrelevant matters but what happened to the insight and wisdom of teachers, literary figures, students and educated people who failed to put the debate on its wheels of fundamental issues of public interest! Why these people do not take initiative to correct the distortions, sectarianism, and disaccord in the field of literature. The things as they stand are in very bad shape, indeed!  Even book fares have become a market place and not to say anything about the arrogance of ‘literary’ figures given the gap between their preaching and the practice, there is a hell of the difference.  Most newspaper correspondents have become professional league players midst them how any genuine gentleman could make his place and survive.                

End of American Political Economy Part I

End of an era of complacency and American Political Economy! India can sustain 10% growth', TNN | Jul 16, 2011, 01.38 AM IST
Arvind Panagariya said as follows: "HYDERABAD: Reforms in labor, land and higher education are crucial for India to sustain economic growth over the next 15 years and emerge as a global economic superpower, Prof Arvind Panagariya, the Jagdish Bhagwati professor of Indian political economy at Columbia University, said on Friday". This speaks volumes about his credibility as a Professor of Indian Political economy made in America given the fact that India is struggling to achieve even 6.3-7.5 growth even after rigging the base year from 2003-4 to 2012-13 to inflate the growth rate by 2.2%. Hence, one does not need an American Ph.D. or Columbia University Political economist to figure out that the actual GDP growth rate will be at the level of what Dr. MM Singh left in 2014, i.e., 7.1-2.2 = 4.9%. This, in spite of the tall claim of three years of Modi Rule with an iron fist with neoliberal market reforms and complete surrender to American foreign policy. Further, his China obsession under both the regimes, the Congress led UPA 2004-2014 and since 2014 BJP prompted him to exaggerate growth to 11.5% in 2011 using short lived PPP theory and 7.5% having rigged the base year, has also been shattered with a recently revised estimate, after Annual Survey raises serious reservation about a growth in GDP even at 6.3.-7.5%.
Whatever the either government can claim, in reality, India's growth has been lopsided (jobless & low indices of Human Development) therein major part of the growth has been attributed to growth in the financial sector involving uncertainty, increase in luxury capital intensive goods and services. The manufacturing and agriculture sector continued to be in shambles. This led to the creation of two Indias: Rich and poor. It appears both, the Right consciously and some of the Left unconsciously, have been caught in the neoclassical Cobb-Web!
In fact, Panagariya used to boost a lot about the trickle-down impact of GDP growth claimed to have taken 110 million people off the poverty line reducing the BPL number to 29% according to the Govt figure which was amended to 39% by late Prof Suresh Tendulkar, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission. During the last three years of NDA, he has kept complete silence about the impact of economic reforms including the impact of demonetization and the GST.
NITI Ayog that was created in 2015 to replace the historical Planning Commission introduced in 1952 with Nehru-Mahalanobis as its founders. Unfortunately, in spite of the best endure fmto replace the Planning Commission the NITI Ayog could not become its substitute. In fact, in spite of amny tall claims of NITI Ayog, to date Govt continues to rely on the 13th Five Year Plan prepared during the UPA II Govt. On the other hand, there has been an adverse impact of the scraping the Planning Commission since a large number of people has been laid off since 2014. Other than some tangential role in the Centre-State relations NITI AYOG has been toothless and its Vice-Chairman having a ceremonial role. He had no impact at all on the Indian public policy. In fact, Panagariya' did not even got a second place in the NITI Ayog meetings chaired by the PM what it used to be under the old system of the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commissions. No self- esteem was left for the guy! Perhaps, he got more respect under UPA II than in NDA Raj. No wonder he has resigned....but his exit has been painless contracting with former RBI Governor, Rajan.

To be continued....


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

TRIBUTE TO A MAN OF THE CENTURY!

Marx Remembered Everyday! 
The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.
Marxian and traditional orthodox economics could be distinguished mainly on three points, namely; (i) the orthodox economists accept capitalism as eternal order of nature while Marx regards it as passing phase in transition from the feudal economy of the past to the socialist economy of the future, (ii) the orthodox economists argue in terms of a harmony of interests between the various sections of the community while Marx conceives of economic life in terms of conflict of interests between owners of means of production who do not work and workers (proletariat) who owns no means or property. In reality above two points of differences are not unconnected. For example, if the system is taken for granted and the shares of the various classes in the social product are determined by inexorable natural law, all interests unite in requiring an increase in the total to be divided. what is known as size of the pie is increased so each could get more share in the pie. However, if the possibility of changing the system is once admitted, those hope to gain and those who fear to lose by the change are immediately ranged in opposite camps resulting in the class conflict.

The orthodox economists unconsciously, on the whole identified themselves with the system and assume the role of its apologists, while Marx consciously sets himself to understand the working of capitalism in order to accelerate its doom by overthrowing it. The system contains inbuilt contradictions within itself which must lead to its disruption. Marx saw the periodic crisis of trade cycles as symptoms of a deep-rooted and progressive malady in the vitals of the system. 
Since Marx's days development in economic analysis have taken place which enables economists to detect three distinct streams thoughts in Marx's treatment of of crises: (a) the theory of reserve army of unemployed labors due to fluctuate relationship between the stock of capital offering employment and and supply of labor leading go unemployed army. That could be seen in developed countries since 2008 crises resulting in over 10% unemployment, (b) the theory of the falling rate of profit which shows how the capitalists' greed for accumulation stultifies itself by reducing the average rate of return on capital, and (c) there is theory of the relationship of capital-goods and to consumption-good industries which shows the ever-growing productive of society knocking against the limitation upon the power to consume which is set by poverty of the workers. This could be seen in India's jobless growth mainly contributed by expansion of speculative financial sector, service section and capital intensive luxury goods beyond the reach of workers and common man leading to creation of two Indias: Rich and Poor!
Since the WWII the academics economists, without paying much attention to Marx's analysis of capitalism,have been forced by the concrete reality of the modern world to question much of the orthodox apologetic, and recent developments in academic theory have led them to position which in some respects resemble the position of Marx far closely than the position of their own intellectuals forbears.
The modern theory of imperfect competition, though formally different form Marx's theory of exploitation, has close affinity with it. Similarly, modern theory of crises has many points of contact with the third line of argument, distinguished above, in Marx's treatment of subject,and allows room for something resembling the first. However, the second line of argument appears to be confusing and redundant.
In fact, since 2008 worldwide economic crises Noble Laureates like Joseph Stieglitz, Paul Kugman accepted failure of Neo-classical economics. Till to date, the crises is not yet over in spite of partial nationalization of failing banks and corporations by way of bailouts from public money there does not seem to be any sign of recovery. In fact, free market economy has been thriving on it appears there has been socialization of losses and privatization of profits and localization of wages.
Since the advancement of a new theory of industrial economics with separation of ownership and control now the corporations held by millions both the owners and employees/workers. Further the classes are not as crystallized as they were during the 19 century industrial revolution that Marx witnessed. The ownership of means of production has changed from a sole ownership to partnership and then to a loosely held corporations causing confusion who are the owners and employees. And to complicate matters further the emergence of a huge middle class that Marx had not witnessed. Given the overlap of classes and a huge middle class and petty bourgeoisie class it is worth inquiry into the traditional labor theory value? There has been more rhetoric than substance as to development in Marxian economic theories since the WWII. However, no doubts Marx left a lasting impact on capitalism and influence on man kind and its welfare which brought so many reforms for labor which was highlighted in the US President Franklin Roosevelt's speech on Flint Street sit down . No doubt, the nightmare quality of Marx's thoughts gives, in bedeviled age,an air of greater reality than the gentle complacency of the orthodox academics.
On the operational side strategy for revolution is hardly talked about in party school and entire focus of the communist parties is on the tactics to show allegiance to bourgeois democracy once they pledge to destroy. If they are so much committed to democracy one wonders how far Leninist notion of democratic centralism is relevant? The failure of USSR model of socialism also raises the question whether the Socialism in one country could sustain for along time in a globalized world. And most importantly, if central committee of a communist party is derailed as ideas become material force then what is the mechanism to correct the obsolete party? In fact, Party bureaucracy in India has taken over in India ever since the non-working class non-peasant leadership has got on the top even without capturing the power, people are intrigued whether any lessons have been learnt from the USSR model? Finally, the debate of permanent revolution as Trotsky's advanced v/s transition of the revolution via cultural revolution with the involvement of masses is still relevant to complete the dialectics as nothing is absolute. These are some questions remains unanswered! 

Prof. S Deman