Where Is India’s Chavez?

Pranav Jagdish

Self-Photo

Pranav describes himself as:

I am a Bachelors in Technology (Computer Science and Engineering) pass-out. I hold a liberal mind-set. I describe myself as a freethinker and atheist who is for critical analysis of religion and humanism in the world. I have a keen interest in current affairs and world politics.

He can be contacted at [email protected]

Hugo Chavez, the champion of the poor, is no more. The man who the democratic world, or more precisely the Western World, despised is dead. It is a sad day for the poor. It is a sad day for socialists. Hugo Chavez did what was right for his country. In doing so, he made enemies with the West. And the West is dancing with joy today!

The thing about democracy is, that you maybe the most democratic nation in the world, but when it comes to your interactions with other nations, you forget your egalitarian ethics and your democracy, and try to force your will in the most autocratic of ways. The irony of it all is that today the democratic nations of this world have become the world police and they have a really long and solid baton. They will smack the “undemocracy” out of you.

So when Hugo Chavez caused a few problems for Western companies and Western interests, he became an undemocratic leader. Nobody bothered about how he was winning battles against poverty on a daily basis. He dreamt of replacing the IMF and the World Bank — the two economic hit men that the West loves to deploy, with a more humanitarian system. Take for example the fact that Uruguay pays for Venezuelan oil with cows.

The United States and its allies might continue to carry the banner of democracy around the world, but their own nations are turning less democratic every day. Couple that with the corporate media, and you are made to think that everything is just fine. Thanks to this inter-twining of the political class with the media corporations and capitalists, while the Occupy protesters were being beaten and jailed, the US media was more concerned about the Arab Spring. The Occupy Protests saw literally no air time in their own nation. The story of India is way worse, we have a gang land democracy. It has a long way to reach where democracy has reached in the West, so we are glad India does not go around the world being a crusader of democracy (against the wishes of its new best buddy — the United States).

The world is going to paint Chavez in mostly negative colours, thanks to capitalist media with newspapers like the New York Times which took 14 years to even accommodate a few arguments in support of Chavez. The standard bearers of democracy and the corporate media are very happy lads today for sure. The biggest genocide of our times is the fact that the voice of the poor is lost in the rattling of the gold coins of the rich. And when a man comes up and hands the poor a megaphone, the world hates him (because the world is only for the rich).

Chavez did that. He gave the poor a voice, and he made enemies with the rich. It was bound to happen. The world ended up hearing the rich and hence loathing Chavez. He made friends with global outcasts, because the world made him an outcast. He hated the USA, because the USA hated his pro-poor policies. They could have stopped a coup against him in 2002, but they let it pass. When he came back to power, he made sure such a coup wouldn’t happen again, and became even more autocratic. His rule had its fair share of problems, but he fought on to give prosperity to the poor of his nation.

It makes you think, when one third of the world’s poor are in India, that Chavez is a hero of the poor around the world. What the Argentinian president remarked to Hugo Chavez on his victory in the last elections — Tu victoria es tambien la nuestra (“Your victory is also ours”) could also be said by the poor around the world for Chavez.

India today has forgotten Nehruvian socialism. We are getting more capitalist by the day. We are made to believe that it is good for us. Maybe Nehruvian socialism isn’t good for us, you need to add a little bit of competition to the economy to allow entrepreneurs to generate wealth for the country. But capitalism too isn’t the system we need. In USA, today the top 1 percent own 40 percent of the wealth of the country. In India, we are very much progressing in the same direction. Here the top 1 percent own 16 percent of the wealth, while top 5 percent own 38 percent of the wealth. But let us not compare India with the United States, as the situation of our poor and the numbers are way more disturbing.

Poverty in India will surely decrease, but the class divide will also increase. The increase is going to be enormous. In the end, we will be as democratic as the United States. We will have a rich political class which will not bother about the interests of the poor. We will have corporations and capitalists endeavouring to destroy public spending on the middle class and the poor. We will have a media that will thrive on stories of murder, rape and war from around the world, but turn a blind eye to what happens in its own backyard. We will have an Indian dream much like the American dream, and our leaders will blabber day in and day out about how capitalism is the only way to achieve that dream, and how everyone (the rich and the poor) have to thrive for excellence and compete endlessly. The population will do it all. They will submit to it all. They will be too foolish under the joy of their nation’s new found superpower status. They will be too naive to think ill of capitalism that got them that status. They will be too materialistic to care for their fellow poor. The similarity between the American dream and Indian dream will be the same — you have to be asleep to believe it.

To save us from that democracy and that capitalism that works against all norms of an egalitarian world, India needs a Hugo Chavez. We need our messiah of the poor!

 

  • Nice article although I am not sure if capitalism is the root of the problem. The HDI of Venezuela is so much better than India’s, isn’t that a proof of the success of country’s welfare policies. Media/Political Parties/Corporations have colluded to mislead the common man across the globe. Only did I see one article in BBC which presented to some extent both the sides of the story of Hugo Chavez.

  • Saba

    Hi Pranav, great piece. And indeed Hugo Chavez’s charmingly witty yet strong defiance of American imperialism will be missed across the world.