Capitalism based on relationships with persons in the state who can dispense or withhold permissions or favors is crony capitalism. Capitalism with too weak a government or moral standards is gangster capitalism. Here’s an example of gangster capitalism justified by local theology. – Howard Ahmanson
Editor’s Note: Vishal Mangalwadi is an Indian philosopher. His lectures can be watched on RevelationMovement.com. This article is XIII in a series titled “Why Are We Backward?” being published in India in a bilingual monthly magazine FORWARD Press by Ivan and Silvia Kostka. This series is now being turned into a book.
On Saturday June 12, 2010 at 10 o’clock in the morning, army-trained Special Forces launched the massive Operation Hawk. Its objective: to capture a hilltop on the Jharkhand-Orissa border that had become a Maoist camp. At 4 p.m. the next day, after sixteen hours of gun, grenade and mortar battle, the Special Forces declared victory, claiming that 300 Maoists had fled the camp. Indian forces airlifted their wounded away from the battlefield for medical help, admitting one casualty. They asserted that the Maoists must have carried their dead away on their backs, since no dead bodies were found.
Four days later, in a different operation in West Bengal, our Special Forces returned from their triumphant hunt of wild pigs, parading on a pole the dead body of a young Indian woman.
Militant Hindu parties are not the only ones calling for an all-out military action against the Maoists. But the army has declared its preference not to get involved directly – at least not for now.
To begin with, the pain of widowhood seems to have taught India’s de facto ruler, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, that it was not a female Tamil suicide–bomber but the arrogance of power that took her husband’s life. Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers also humbled the army he was using to establish peace in civil-war-torn Sri Lanka. Our generals understand that no army can win this war against India’s poor. To fight 100,000 Maoists moving freely in a terrain more than a thousand miles long, the army would have to deploy a million men. In response, the Maoists would need to do nothing except shoot down one helicopter and then disappear into towns. ‘Heroic’ Indian soldiers would harass, kill and rape innocent civilians, as they did in Sri Lanka and Kashmir, while CNN-IBN cameras would follow, capturing horror stories for audiences all over the world.
Since the many-sided cost of army action would be astronomical, our rulers are bound to use their capitalist buddies (who know how to buy politicians in India and America) to purchase Maoist leaders and make them our MLAs, MPs, and ministers. Maoist leaders would consider such offers if enough of their comrades were hauled as dead pigs on poles. However, such solutions would work only until other comrades labeled For Sale leaders as betrayers and filled vacated positions with more committed revolutionaries.
The Case against Criminalized Capitalism
During the last Parliamentary election, the Aspirant-in-Chief, Mr. L. K. Advani, promised that if the nation elected him as Prime Minister, he would bring back to India the $1,400 billion of Black Money hidden in secret Swiss accounts. Secular Americans have only $14.5 billion in similar secret accounts. The contrast suggests that India’s Hindu Capitalism, America’s Secular Capitalism and the original Christian Capitalism are entirely different ethical-economic systems.
Hindu Capitalism is a “Free Market” economy that worships Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) and is guided solely by its dharma (moral duty) to pursue wealth by hook or by crook. In other words, Hindu Capitalism is unrestrained by a Holy God who commands, “Thou shalt not covet,” “Thou shalt not steal,” or “Thou shalt not kill.” The phrase Hindu Capitalism is not meant to imply that every Hindu businessman is a lawbreaker or that Muslim, Christian or Buddhists do not criminalize capitalism. The phrase is meant to describe India’s current economic system produced by a Hindu ethos that rejects the biblical idea that God is Holy and that his moral law is binding on all spheres of our lives, including the way we make and use money.
How did Hindu capitalists generate such sums? Well, to mention just one source: in states where Operation Hawk took place, as many as sixty percent of all mines are illegal. That has made it possible for Maoists to radicalize the poor and fight criminal capitalists who are plundering our nation’s wealth. Some of these mines have been operating for as many as 20 years without even applying for a license. Some miners who did apply for licenses did not bother obtaining them because legal mining and banking require them to keep accounts, get them audited, and pay taxes. How can one keep honest accounts, finance a corrupt democracy, and maintain private militia (‘Security’)? It is much easier to mine if you can keep politicians and bureaucrats in your pocket (and harem).
The Maoist case against Hindu Capitalism is simple: A significant number of our miners, industrialists, democratically elected politicians, Gazetted officers (Administrative and Police), and their un-‘holy’ godmen have joined hands to become criminal mafias. Their power is reinforced by official militias called “Special Forces” and unofficial militias such as Selwa Judum that started the present round of tragic violence.
But why can’t the poor participate in our free-market economy and benefit from it? Hasn’t the government spent thousands of Crores of rupees to educate and equip these backward STs, SCs, and OBCs?
Well, the British media is currently reporting that (while Indian capitalists hide their wealth in not-so-secret Swiss accounts) the British taxpayers have donated 340 million pounds (Rs. two thousand crores) to educate India’s poor through the Education for All Campaign, called Serva Shiksha Abhiyan. Allegedly, most of this money has either vanished or been misused. The Auditor General of India has admitted that at least 14 million pounds have been used to buy things like air conditioners for village schools that have no buildings or electricity. Understandably, tightly squeezed British taxpayers, already burdened with the responsibility to save Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Afghanistan, et cetera, are upset at the Hindu Compassion that loves to keep Lakshmi donated for the poor. In order to appease his taxpayers, Andrew Mitchell, the recently appointed British Secretary of State for International Development, has promised a full investigation into this allegation. He is promising to institutionalize zero tolerance for the abuse of the generosity of British Capitalism.
But Why Can’t Indian Maoists Follow Chinese Marxism?
Hindu Capitalists often argue that India should adopt China’s Marxist-Maoist capitalism because China’s economy is beating India’s. Indeed, the Communist Party of China has developed a unique brand of atheistic Capitalism. Marxist miners are prospering there because China has no ‘private’ mining. All mineral wealth belongs to the ‘nation,’ and nation means little more than the ruling elite exploiting mineral wealth via approximately 80,000 state-owned mining enterprises and 200,000 “collectively owned” mines.
True Hindu Capitalists want us to follow China’s Marxist-Maoist capitalism because China has even less need to serve the poor. Its poor are not allowed to develop unofficial militias.
While China’s Marxist-Maoist capitalism does little for its own poor, it did subsidize housing for homeless Americans. America’s Secular (Godless) Capitalism (Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae) conned Chinese capitalists into buying totally insecure sub-prime mortgages as High-Value Securities.
This article can do little more than assert that Hindu, Marxist, Secular and Christian capitalisms are very different from each other. The point that needs to be explained is that original Marxism is a corruption of the Bible’s worldview. Moses, the Jewish Liberator and Lawgiver, began writing the Bible after God sent him to Egypt to liberate the Hebrews from four centuries of slavery. Had Karl Marx been a Hindu or a Buddhist, he would have deemed slavery to be a result of the slaves’ karma. Were he a Muslim, he would have accepted the slavery of the toiling masses as God’s will. Because he grew up in a Jewish-Christian culture, he adopted the biblical bias in favor of the poor. Although he rejected the Bible, it was the source of his optimism that Kaliyug (the Dark Age) need not be our future; that slaves can possess “a land flowing with milk and honey;” that socio-economic injustices can be ended and an utopian ‘millennium’ established on earth. Only in the Bible has the Creator-Savior God revealed Himself as one who opposes dehumanizing socio-economic and political slavery. That is why the Jews looked forward to a divine Messiah who would be a Liberator.
Jesus was born when the Jews were proactively looking for their promised Messiah. They assumed that he would be a God-anointed guerrilla leader, who would fight the Romans (the oppressors). The Jewish masses came to Jesus to find healing and food and to learn about the Kingdom of God. But they could not believe that someone who carried his cross, instead of a sword, could save them from the tyranny of Roman military. Yet Jesus did conquer Rome and transform human history. Maoism has already failed. Therefore, the only available hope for India is a pro-poor Messiah, a Good Shepherd who will lay down his life for the sheep. One only needs to look around India: the most liberated and developed tribes are in the Northeast that followed Jesus, not Chairman Mao.
Maoism attracted the tribals in Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa only because militant Hindus and the Congress party teamed up in using the Niyogi Commission report to chase away Western missionaries who were transforming tribal communities. Without a Savior who teaches India to seek the Kingdom of God, not Lakshmi, our economic development could become our doom. Our mega-mining and industrial projects will drive the downtrodden into urban slums, and our ‘educated’ elite who love clean cities will bulldoze their stinking slum-dwellings. Where will our poor go? Their only options are radical Islam, radical Maoism or the self-sacrificing Messiah.
The Indian Army must get ready to save our cities
On my current trip, I came to India from Indonesia on June 7th to teach in Kashmir. A senior scientist working in a multinational pharmaceutical company sent a car to pick me up from the Delhi airport and take me to their company’s guest house. In the evening he took me to a newly opened restaurant in Gurgaon along with his wife, a medical doctor who returned from Japan and America five years ago and was serving in 15 villages barely 30 kilometers from Delhi’s international airport. As I enjoyed the hospitality of India’s rapidly growing economy, I asked her if the prosperity that I saw all around me was trickling down to the poor whom she was serving. “No!” she said. “Delhi’s prosperity is not flowing down even 10 kilometers from where we are eating.” So, what is happening?
“Something strange is happening in my villages,” she said.
“Five of my villages are predominantly Muslim. They were the poorest until six months ago when their men-folk disappeared and their economic life began to improve.”
“Where have the men gone?”
“To Pakistan, their wives are telling me. Five years ago, they were Muslims only in name. But now they have become staunch Muslims because a Maulvi has been coming from Lucknow to teach them. He has helped the men-folk find work in Pakistan.”
“Are these men skilled or educated?”
“No, none of them is a graduate. They can barely read.”
“Well,” I said, “illiterate Muslims going to Saudi Arabia or Dubai to work as laborers makes sense. But they may need to learn Arabic to work there. How can Pakistan’s economy enable Indian laborers to earn enough money to send home?”
“I don’t know,” said the good doctor, “I am telling you only what I am hearing from the village women.”
“I pray,” I responded, “that these men would not return to Delhi before the Commonwealth Games (in October 2010), and that they would not return with the kinds of resources that the Maoists have acquired.”
Should the army get ready to tackle the response of poor Muslims to Hindu capitalism?
The lady doctor said, “This is not an Islamic religious issue. Five years ago, even the Hindus were only nominally Hindus. But now even the Hindu youth are not studying. One man graduated but could not find a job. So no one is motivated to study. I have hired him as our medical assistant. What is interesting is that in recent months even the Hindus have become very religious. They are having lot of jagarns (all-night religious chanting).”
Maoists are not the only ones gearing up against India Inc; most of the poor are being radicalized, whether by Islam, Hindu godmen, or Maoist guerillas.
The government of India has acted wisely in not sending the military against the Maoists. For the military may soon be needed to defend our metropolis from the downtrodden who are finally rising up against India’s Criminalized Capitalism.