Corporatization of our Democracy

The silence of our parliament is disturbing only a few. The fact that laws are passed without any debate and discussion manifests that our parliament is reduced to a non-performing political asset much like several non-performing assets that are afflicting our Banking system today. The victory of the agitating farmers over the three farm laws has many lessons for us. It has demonstrated that we are facing a corporate takeover of our democracy. The corporates need only to capture a single leader who then is crafted as the strong leader through the propaganda machinery. In our case, it appears that Hindutva ideology became a ready tool kit for a corporate takeover of our democracy. The victory of the farmers, therefore, shows that an agitation when sustained against all odds can still keep the democracy alive. It also shows the fault lines of the ideology of one nation and one election. Such ideology is corporate-friendly. More than seven hundred agitating farmers died but the PM and his colleagues in the ruling benches kept a heartless silence. There were those among the treasury benches who called some of the agitating farmers Khalisatanis and tried to insinuate that they had affiliations with the terror groups. In fact, the discourse of nationalism has become a hiding place for corporate interest. This is evidently more than before. Even under terrible covid-19 condition hitting each of us hard, it is the corporate houses that close to the Government made skyrocketing profits while the poor citizens braved the burden of rising prices of fuel, essential goods failing health and falling jobs.

One may have to say that with the victory of the farmers, the reining Government was found out. It manifested that it has become enslaved to the corporate interest in the name of Hindu Rashtra. Thanks to the fact that we have elections from time to time, a panicked Government gave in to much of the demands of the farmers. This is the change of heart is because of the periodic elections. The Government, being worried about its prospects in the upcoming electoral hustings in UP and Punjab, has repealed the three laws described as black laws. The fact that the much-needed enlightenment came after about sixteen month long relentless agitation also clearly points to the fact of the corporatization of politics. We had seen corporatization of education that had put education on sale. Today we are facing the corporatization of our democracy. It has put our democratic leaders whether at the level of the legislative assembly or the parliament on sale. Democracy is made to bend both backward or forward only to promote corporate interest. It seems to manifest that a silent parliament has sold its voice to the corporate.

The silence of the parliament where laws are passed without any debate on the sheer weight of numbers also loudly proclaims that even our law-making processes of our democracy are up for grabs. Once the corporates control the so-called tall leader of the ruling party, the entire democracy then is held captive to serve the interest of the corporate that pulls the string. Corporatization of politics is not just visible in the disempowering of the institutions of democracy and its illustrious democratic processes but it is also seen in the persistent dismantling of the office of being a citizen. The reigning ideology that divides its loyalists from those that are deemed as betrayers of the nation has become handy to wipe the innocent citizen. The enemies of corporatized politics are both inside and outside. Pakistan and China serve to build an acute threat perception among us but the demonized other, flogged as the enemy of the nation becomes the last nail on the coffin of our democracy. As we are injected into the vaccine of nationalism, the propaganda tools, the law enforcement institutions and the godi media is enough to destroy the citizen in us.

Today the Indian citizen is dead. It is hard to trace a genuine citizen. What we have is a struggle to become sanskari Hindu. Who stands up is counted in India today a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other minorities. The politics of intimation has become a weapon to weaponize a great religion like Hinduism. What we truly need is to weaponize our citizenship. Citizenship is the biggest office in a democracy. Unfortunately, it is subverted. In the past we did not cast our vote. What we did was we vote our castes. Today too we do not cast our vote. What we do is we vote our religions. Hence, we have become sitting ducks to be preyed upon by corporate interest. Our democracy has become a hiding place for unbridled corporate interests. This is why much against the wishes of the ruling benches, the victory of the farmers has several lessons for us. It does manifest the sad state of our democracy and the pathetic condition of our grand standing citizenship. The biggest democracy in the world is made to crawl in the interest of the corporates and a great religion that we know as Hinduism has become a tool that covers the corporate invasion of democracy.

There are also lessons to us Goans in the victory of the farmers. We are also facing the corporatization of politics in Goa. It is clearly visible in the promotion of the interest of the likes of Jindal and Adani. Goa and the natural resources of the people of Goa have become raw material for the corporate to amass their wealth. Those among us who have eyes can see how the three linear projects thrust on the throats of Goans promote the interest of the corporates that fund the treasury benches. What we heard in secrecy that the ten congress MLAs were bought only to fructify the corporate interest has begun to look true. The corporate control of the ruling national parties seems to have sent shivers down the spines of Goans when it comes to the national party. National parties in the past do not have great report cards in this regard. Nor can we simply pride ourselves on our regional forces. What we need is the right mix of both the national and regional forces to save our democracy and natural resources in Goa. All this cannot be done without active citizenry. We all have the challenge to become enlightened citizens and work to save our democracy and citizenship.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao