A New Behemoth: New War Industry after OFB Corporatization.

July 11th, 2021

The Union Cabinet on 30th June 2021 promulgated the Essential Defence Services Ordinance (EDSO). The ordinance was passed in haste and with the rationale that the parliament is not in session and that the ordinance needs to be effective for emergency purposes. The urgent and immediate impetus for EDSO is the call for an indefinite strike by workers under the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) which includes more than 80,000 workers in 41 ordnance factories spread across the country. The EDSO makes strikes and many other industrial actions – including denying to work overtime illegal for workers in any industry that are linked with the production or are essential for the function of defense manufacturing and services. This could include workers in the Mahindra factory engaged in the manufacturing of armored vehicles. The ordinance is in force for 6 months and can be extended every 6 months for the same amount of time.

The EDSO is a draconian law that does away with even the mild labor protections prescribed by ILO standards – most of which are not binding for India, as we have not ratified even the basic ILO conventions. But in this article, I will break down why the labour federations of civilian defense workers are going on strike starting 26th July.

Why are the five federations of the OFB and other trade unions calling for a strike?

The OFB is a government agency that works as the management for 41 ordinance factories and engages in research, development, production, testing, marketing, and logistics of products ranging from small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, tanks, missile launchers, to engines, machine tools, chemicals, and optoelectronics. It comes under the Department of Defence Production (DDP).

In the 2020-21 Union Budget it was announced that “In strategic sectors, there will be a bare minimum presence of the public sector enterprises. The remaining CPSEs (Central Government Public Sector Enterprises) in the strategic sector will be privatized or merged or subsidiaries with other CPSEs or closed.” The strategic sectors classified in the document included Defence, Atomic energy, Space among many others.

In May 2020 during the Atmanirbhar Bharat package announcement, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made public the decision of corporatization of OFB for “improving autonomy, accountability, and efficiency in ordnance suppliers”. To oversee the corporatization process Group of Ministers, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, was constituted. KPMG Advisory Services (a subsidiary of the Netherland-based firm) leads the consortium as the consultants for the transformation.

The OFB workers’ federations are striking against this corporatization of the OFB, the world’s largest government-controlled defence producer.

What does corporatization of OFB mean?

As mentioned above, OFB is a government agency and agencies cannot be privatized or as a corporate entity enter into Public-Private Partnerships with private defence manufacturers. And because it is not a corporate entity it is not bound to generate profits for its shareholders every quarter. As an agency, it can work under “loss” to maintain high wages, social security, quality control, and other essential social goods which a profit-maximizing firm cannot.

The cabinet has authorized converting these 41 factories into 7 corporations. They are:

Ammunition and explosives group
Vehicles group
Weapons and equipment group
Troop comfort items group
Ancillary group
Opto-electronics group and
Parachute group

The constitution of the board of directors, creating a corporate plan for the corporations would be the next steps. All of this is going to be extremely difficult, especially given the spatial distribution and levels of technical specializations of different factories. But given the haphazard way in which the plan was announced planning seems wanting.

What are the “experts” telling us?

For Rajnath Singh increasing the quantum of defence export is the primary goal of the corporatization exercise. While for many retired military officers and “experts” it is increasing competition between producers resulting in lower acquisition costs and improving products range. Questions like ‘whether these are worthy goals’ or even if we assume that they are then ‘is corporatization the most credible strategy for achieving them’ have not sufficiently been discussed among the stakeholders, primarily with the OFB and the workers.

But appropriately enough in 2020, an internal report was leaked claiming that OFB was responsible for more than 400 accidents through manufacturing defects. The report was never shared with the OFB and the reporting on the leak failed to consider that most of these accidents could be because of unauthorized design changes, poor maintenance, or faulty fire drillings.

The basis of such proposals is put into doubt by some facts. India is constantly increasing its quantum of defence exports – India was the 23rd global major arms exporter for 2015-2019 and 19th for 2019. The Ministry of Defence’s annual report 2018-19 records India’s defence exports at Rs 10,745 crore, a growth of over 100 percent from 2017-18 (Rs 4,682 crore). OFB is a major player in these exports.

In addition to that, a 2019 study drawing lessons for India from the UK’s defence privatization by Jonathan S. Swift published in the Journal of Defence Studies (Journal of the MoD funded IDSA think-tank) found that “judged in terms of cost reduction, privatization has been a failure.” (pg. 20.)

What is the context of this move?

Privatization of the sectors that were predominantly under public control saw significant push under Bajpai rule. First, commercial aviation and importantly in 2003 Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (IPCL) to Reliance Industries (RIL) for pennies. Then, in 2005 came MoD-appointed Kelkar Committee’s report recommending to corporatize the OFB to improve its efficiency. The report remained in limbo till 2020. But in the meantime, starting in 2009 more than 20 international defense manufacturers established subsidiaries in India – almost all headquartered within shouting distance from Raisina Hill and with ties with defense think tanks. 2014-15 saw the announcement of the Make in India campaign – defence is the biggest component of the campaign.

It is also worth noting that the Cabinet Committee on Security that approved OFB corporatization has the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs as a member. And between 2017-2019 Nirmala Sitharaman was the Minister of Defence. Making Sitharaman, Rajnath Singh, Modi, and Amit Shah the primary supervisors of the policy.

What will be the implications of corporatization?

Depending on the exact nature of the next step by the Singh-led Minister’s Group the whole exercise could mean either of two things: first, gradually being sold to private corporations, or second, gradually and through conscious policies being wiped out of the market, like Air India and BSNL.

Either way, one thing is clear: the influence of private, for-profit corporations that live on the war and waste industry will have more and direct influence over India’s foreign and domestic policies. The market for domestic weapons and surveillance systems will also grow. For most of the 80,000 workers, it would mean the end of government workers’ status and a turn to contract jobs and even lay-offs.

By more deeply entrenching industries and economy into war industry, OFB corporatization will be a big step in the direction away from a more peaceful South Asia. It must be resisted and stopped.

 

Are all activists just selfish?

July 8th, 2021

When you are working on projects that are not financially or in any material sense rewarding, it is common to hear from fellow activists or people in communities you are working with that these people who are doing this work are “selfish” because that’s just the sort of thing that makes them happy – at least for now. I have always found this notion to be disturbing for few reasons: 1. it stands on the fallacy that starts with the premise that ‘all actions humans do are selfish’ therefore reaches the conclusion that ‘socially directed actions (broadly “sympathetic actions”) are also selfish’. 2. It strengthens the myth concocted by the capitalist ideology that humans are primarily or exclusively selfish and seek to do things that satisfy them, most of the time materially.

But there is also a deeper problem with this way of looking at our social lives. It is based on the assumption that any action (including any sympathetic action) is genuinely “selfless”, and the assumed implication is also that it is therefore morally superior, only if the source of the impulse (moral motivation) is external to the human self.  The act has to be grounded in something outside our personal wants and desires. This is a belief in which God continues to linger as the linchpin for “genuinely moral acts”. Because human is seen as naturally sinful and without God or any external authority does not have any reason to be good.

In fact, these were the accusations leveled at atheists of the 18th and 19th centuries – against people like Hume and later Shelly. That they can and will only act in a sociable way only if and when it suits them and not otherwise – so a society of atheists would be immoral, unjust, and even untenable. Similar reasoning pervades the discourse on sociability and viability of non-authoritarian forms of societies, without the guardianship of the states and corporate masters.

The only options focusing on selfish or selfless acts leaves us with are either being selfish or a slave. Instead of focusing on this wrongly formulated quasi-metaphysical question, it is more important to look at whether the actions are making any meaningful positive changes.

Two reasons to doubt in Descartes.

June 24th, 2021

Descartes is (in)famous for his apparent skepticism. While he was merely rehearsing the common Pyrrhonist skepticism, most famously being advocated by Michel de Montaigne and Mersenne, before criticizing it. In doing so he asks us to doubt two categories of beliefs: that of the extramental world (I refrain from using the word “physical” for separate reasons) and of mathematical facts. His reasons for doubting both categories were different. But first, let us look at why do we find these beliefs to be self-evident.

I believe that my dog is sitting in front of me because my sense tells me that he is. But my senses do, from time to time, deceive me, for example in the case of optical illusion and under the influence of psychoactive drugs. So this method of acquiring belief is generally put into doubt – although many individual believes might still be true but the senses generally lose their credibility as a source of self-evident believes. And in the case of mathematical facts, we find them to be true because they are tautologies – i.e. they are true by virtue of their definition, or at least because they are true by demonstration of proves. Also, these are not claims about the external world, Pythagoras theorem will still be true even if there is no external world and no physical triangles. Descarte gives two reasons to doubt these mathematical beliefs (Point 5, Part 1, Principles of Philosophy and Book 1, Meditations.) First, he merely states and in my opinion without giving any convincing examples to the effect that we often err while forming mathematical beliefs, and second, that God has created us in such a way that we err sometimes so it is possible that he might have created us in a way that we err all the time, even in things mathematical. The second argument can be made without invoking God as evolution might as easily have organized our cognitive faculties in such a way that we systematically err.

While to doubt the first source of beliefs seems reasonable, the second looks less convincing as it is on the one hand a general claim about all cognitive faculties and not merely about the method of acquiring mathematical claims, and on the other, we have no examples that lead us to doubt the specific source of such believes. Whatever their merit, it is clear that the epistemological value of the reasons to doubt both categories is very different.

What Demands for Kashmir?

June 10th, 2021

For people concerned with freedom, equality and decency it is fair to say that the last decade has been that of regression. This is no doubt the case for Kashmir, Kashmiris, and Indians who are privileged and alive enough to care about Kashmir’s suffering and struggles. The arbitrary arrests, the silencing of the population, the erosion of civil society, and many other things we hoped to get rid of in Kashmir have strengthened their grip over India.

It makes the battle ahead difficult while all the more urgent and necessary. Unfortunately, the section that is affected by similar issues in India, like police violence, state repression, violence against women and working people, powerlessness has only increased. That expands the scope for more understanding, raising consciousness, and solidarity among the oppressed in Kashmir and in India. The criminal mismanagement of covid-19 also demonstrated for many the costs of not having politically democratic and responsible institutions.

But what can we reasonably hope to achieve? Plebiscite? Demilitarization? These things look impossibly far now. So what demands? And how? New Delhi is not moved by public opinion in Kashmir. It demonstrated in 2019 that for Delhi Kashmiris are animals and insects, without rights and we do with them whatever we like. Farmer’s protests show that even vocal Indian public opinion hardly matters for this regime. But if there is any hope for improving the situation in Kashmir it is largely from international and domestic pressures. Waiting for Kashmir to explode in civil or armed unrest is a prayer for genocide. The brutality and power of the Indian state have only increased since the 1990s. It will only give a new justification for intensifying the cycle of violence and harming the chances of any long-term solution.

I believe the most basic demand that Indian activists, labour unions, civil societies, progressive NGOs, and maybe political parties should include in their programs is that of the restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019 position. Something similar to the baseline reached in the first Gupkar Declaration.

The first and major step must be increasing public support. While being as cautious and prepared for reaction by the state. And to my knowledge, public support remains the best defense against the state’s retaliation. Another step of course must be to learn more from civil society, activists, and people in the region to formulate a more meaningful and reasonable proposal.

This should be considered only a suggestion to start the conversation. With the increased access to information and opinions about Kashmir, a large section of young Indians have grown sensitive towards their struggle. But understanding must also lead to action. Hopefully, we will rise to the occasion.

[Music] Throughput – @home

May 28th, 2021

All the tracks were written and recorded during the April and May lockdown imposed because of the cataclysmic second wave of covid-19 in India. The process was a selfish and necessary break from almost all social engagement. The cover images for all the songs, except the first, are photographs taken by Lokesh.

 

WHY DOES THE WORKING CLASS SUPPORT BJP? (To whatever extent it does.)

May 24th, 2021
Why are most people in urban and rural India skeptical about the existence, nature, or origins of the coronavirus? Why do they mistrust the vaccines – whether developed in India or not? Because for most working people the people in power (“bade log”), whoever they may be, do not have their interests in mind, most have little understanding of the forces that seem to govern their life – from decisions about livelihood, health, education and even death.
 
The talk of the whole covid catastrophe in India being the result of increasing sins (“paap”) in the world is also common. When I asked a woman what they mean by “paap” she responded by saying that it is the increasing selfishness, diminishing human decency in society – “just look at how dead bodies of covid casualties are being treated.” Some people might reply differently but the feeling that “we have changed for the worse” is pretty common and with little effort can evoke a sense of longing for a mythic “better past and tradition” that is lost. A sense of alienation and powerlessness combined with mistrust of social forces and corrupted people is the ideal ground for the seeds of power worship to grow. They are just waiting for a messiah to appear, convince them it’s their interest he or she represents and they will surrender.
 
These people are a victim of neoliberalism and the shrinking possibility of even a mediocre life. Most young people of my generation who grew up in a middle-class have fallen out of it and almost half of them are unemployed. This is why in the opinion polls globally the so-called right-winger supporters usually favor progressive economic policies. That’s why parties fight elections on “cultural” and”identity” issues almost exclusively.
 
The question more important now is will the working class continue to support BJP (again, to whatever extent it does) even after BJP demonstrated that it is one of the worse party and government in the world when it comes to dealing with any sort of crisis and has no interest in poor people’s lives? I think the answer (quite obviously) is: Yes if the majority of the working people do not find a real alternative that can show it cares about its interests – including economic interests. Only a campaign for economic justice that speaks to the needs and aspirations of the masses can defeat BJP.

It’s not (just) Modi, it’s Neoliberalism and Military-Industrial Complex

April 28th, 2021

The 2019-2020 union budget allocated Rs. 64,559 Cr. to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Rs. 4.3 Lakh Cr. to Ministry of Defence. There are expenses on health not included in this but that is compensated by the fact that a lot of defence funding is done through the Home Affairs ministry (especially of the forces and operations in Kashmir and Chattishghar) and the secret budgets for intelligence services are never revealed – so the comparison still holds. And a SIPRI report released yesterday shows that the actual publicly available defence spending was Rs 5.4 Lakh Cr.

<span;>And this trend is not new. For decades the fighter aircraft, carriers, missiles are eating away the money, manpower and technical expertise that could have instead created a stable healthcare system better prepared for something like Covid-19. Instead of producing guns and bombs, we could have produced masks and ventilators and instead of procuring missile defence systems from Israel and Russia, we could have procured material and tech for these health care needs.

<span;>This next one is a heartbreaking comparison to make but the most common argument for defence spending is that there is a violent threat to us that we need protection from and which justifies these astronomical spendings. Going by the worst-case scenario records, the total (Indian) death toll in last 50 years from wars, armed conflicts, insurgencies and terror attacks is no more than 2 lakh. We have passed this number officially and in reality, we have passed at least 5 times more than this number of deaths in the last year from Covid-19. It is as if we have fought a war each day for the last one year. And we have – it is the toll of the Indian elites class war against the population.

<span;>India was the worlds 3rd largest spender on military last year and ranked 131 on Human Development Index. Putting people over the interests of the State and its regional military dominance is not unique to this regime and will not go away after it.

<span;>Why is there a shortage of vaccines? Short answer is: patent monopoly and monopoly agreements. When a state funded research in collaboration with private pharma company results in a drug or vaccine there are atleast two option. Either the state can take rights over the medicine and pay the private firm for its contribution or, the state can grant the company monopoly rights to produce, set price and sell the product and have nothing to do with it. But the current social ideology of neo-liberalism tells us that we cannot do the former because it will create deficit if the state pays these companies – nevermind the “deficit” and burden inflicted on people in terms of drug costs which on average are 5-10 times higher. So, a single company gets the right over the medicine.

<span;>The rights to <span;>COVISHIELD are owned by AstraZeneca and its manufacturing rights in India have been given to Serum Institute. It is unclear who owns COVAXIN rights which was created under a PPP agreement with Bharat Biotech – the current pricing of the vaccine and tech-trasfer agreement with Haffikine Institute give a mixed impression but it is unlikely that Bharat Biotech doesn’t have a significant say in future manufacturing and pricing decisions.

<span;>The central government can grant compulsory license for both the vaccine and involve more private and crucially public manufacturers. This could have been done months ago. This can be done now. Not only will it ramp up production but also reduce the risk of single or few suppliers suffering accident or logistical issues. Recall that Serum’s production facility experienced a major accident few months ago (result of another neoliberal fetish – deregulation).

<span;>But this discourages “innovation” and alienates corporations. And of course alienating corporations is worse than couple of lakh people dead.

<span;>These policies too have support in all corners of political and elite circles and transcends Modi or BJP. They just represent the extreme wing of the elite consensus.

<span;>It’s because of the neo-liberal dogma that the level of inequality globally and in India is historically high and that jobs have collapsed. The result of which is people with insufficient savings and monthly income to survive economic and social lockdowns for even few days and who lose the last penny on rents, loans and medical bills. Deepening the spiral of poverty.

<span;>While all the work and needs today are understandably, for the most part, are local and hyperlocal the long term solution – which too are urgent must focus also on so-called “defence” eating away social wealth and corporate interest devouring the interest of the people and the planet.

State of Labor

October 20th, 2020

Around 60% of the Indian working-age population is effectively out of the job market (the labour participation rate is close to 40%.) Those who have some kind of job in the informal economy work close to 14hr a day making less than Rs.10,000/month (going by the best of days estimate). Even the part of the working people in the formal economy are working at least 52 hrs a week and most of the time doing over-time, still making less than minimum wage.

A study released last week found that Indians from the time of entering colleges to the age of 35 are the most anxious and depressed bunch of people in India and probably the world – a sign of a lively labour market according to most economists and policymakers.

And now we have policies to exaggerate this fantastic condition. Like replacing all employment with a fix-term job and creating Foxconn jobs in India with tax money. Foxconn and their friends are, of course, the manufactures of iPhones who have to tie nets around their plants to catch the workers trying to commit suicide by falling from the roof. Similar new policies of despair to aggravate the agrarian and farmers’ crisis are also not missing.

All this on top of growing inequality where our true overlord – Lord Mukesh, makes Rs. 90 crore every hour. Even less severe inequalities have conclusively been shown to cause mental disorders.

Business Standard reported that “India has generated over 5% per annum real economic growth with less than 1% employment growth for three decades.” And that to raise labour participation rate to the average 43% India needs 5 crore jobs as soon as possible but Mahesh Vyas believes Indian policies and trends are not on the path to realistically generate 80 lakh jobs. Every month 1 lakh new workers are being added to the Indian disposable labour force.

Since the lockdown, the number of women workers (195 million of whom are in the informal sector) losing their jobs has been disproportionately higher to their participation in the labour force – almost 50-60% higher. This includes formal, salaried workers. The primary reason for disproportionate job losses during the crisis has been the far-off and unsafe location of the workplace. If the risks outweigh the benefits women workers drop out. Which means the most financially venerable ones stay.

 

[Translation] The Imperative Mandate – I

October 13th, 2020

The Imperative Mandate: from the French Revolution to the Paris Commune

By Pierre-Henri Zaidman

[Part 1]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau asserts that “the idea of representatives is modern. It comes from the feudal government. In the ancient reliquaries and in the monarchies the people never had representatives; the word “representative” was not known”. However, historians have found that in some ancient peoples, in the Frankish monarchy or among various religious orders, there were occasional and rudimentary provisions for representatives. Representation only gained political significance with feudalism. This meaning of the terms “Representation” and “Representative” is obviously very different in form and meaning from that of the revolutionaries of 1789.

In the Greek and Roman cities, the citizens’ assembly governs itself, because of their small size, they do not need to elect governments. And if the idea of representation is used in Roman law, it only designates a technique of private law.

In public law, it does not apply in principle.

In the French society of the Ancient Regime, there is a representation of social groups with the lords and the king. In accordance with the technique of private law, the representatives have a mandate to defend the interests of the local communities of which they are the spokesmen but without being able to act according to their own will; they are bound by the promise, express or tacit, to act in place of those who mandated them by a delegation of power, if necessary for a particular task in which case one is dealing with an “Imperative Mandate “ (a mandate that is obligatory or from specific instruction).

 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the precursor

We find the idea of mandate in Rousseau who, rejecting the national representation advocated by Montesquieu, prefers sovereignty: “Sovereignty cannot be represented, for the same reason that it cannot be alienated; it consists essentially in the general will, and the will is not represented […] The deputies< of the people are not and cannot be its representatives, they are only its commissioners; they cannot conclude anything definitively. Any law which the people have not ratified is null and void. […] The English people think they are free; they are very much mistaken; they are free only during the election of the members of parliament; if they are elected, they are slaves, they are nothing.” It is clear, in the eyes of Rousseau, that when the legislative power “can only act by deputation, the inconveniences outweigh the advantages; “At the moment that a people gives itself representatives, it is no longer free. There is no need for representatives because they can only divide what is united, thus destroying sovereignty. The territorial and socio-demographic reality of modern states imposes that the legislative power “can only act there by deputation.” And, to prevent the corruption that always threatens representatives, Rousseau advocates the institution of imperatives such as “the delegate”*, always “under the eyes of his constituents”, “cannot do anything contrary to their express will”.

The question of direct democracy arose during the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin thought about the means of mandating deputies and controlling their activity, without any result. James Madison’s The Federalist contains some hints of parliamentary tyranny, but the American Independentists are mainly concerned with the relationship between the states and the rulers who must be able to resist the “disorderly passions” and the “ephemeral illusions” that can seize the people, pure privilege “of the deliberate and deliberate judgment of collectivism”.

* The French word used is “nonce” for “nuncio”, a papal delegate.

मीडिया लोकतांत्रीकरण, ना कि सेंसरशिप: भड़काऊ और नफ़रत से भरी बातें रोकनि हैं तो आर्थिक मुद्दों पर ध्यान देना होगा

September 16th, 2020

कल सुदर्शन टीवी न्यूज़ के कार्यक्रम पर रोक लगाते हुए सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने कहा कि “भारत में अमेरिका की तरह जर्नलिस्ट्स को अलग से कोई आज़ादी नहीं दी गई है”. और यह की “लोकतंत्र होने के लिए कुछ स्टैंडर्ड्स और मानक होने चाहिए”. लेकिन उनमें से एक मानक जर्नलिस्ट्स की या बोलने की आज़ादी नहीं है. आए दिन लोकतंत्र की रोचक परिभाषा देखने को मिल रही हैं.

कार्यक्रम पर बैन लगाने का कारण ये बताया गया कि एक समुदाय (मुस्लिम) के लोगों को गलत और अपमानजनक तरीके से पेश करा जा रहा था. कोर्ट के फैसले से कुछ समय के लिए हजारों में से एक चैनल पर ऐसी नफरत भरी बातें तो बंद हो गई लेकिन, ये भी मिसाल फिर से कायम हो गई की कोर्ट चाहे तो किसी भी भाषा को किसी एक समुदाय के खिलाफ मान कर उसपे रोक लगा सकता है और कार्यवाही कर सकता है.

तुषार मेहता ने कोर्ट में ये बताया कि कई ऐसे चैनल है जहाँ “हिन्दू आतंकवाद” की बात की जाती है. क्या कोर्ट उन् पर भी रोक लगाएगा? कोर्ट का जब दिल चाहे लगाता है और, लगा सकता है.

ये नफ़रत भरी बातें आती कहा से है और उनका असर क्यो होता है?

पिछले 10-15 सालों में भारत की जीडीपी जेसे जेसे बढ़ी, उस ही तेज़ी से बेरोज़गारी और गैरबराबरी भी बढ़ी. जो एक मध्यम वर्ग ऊपर आया था वो भी नीचे जाने लगा और जो मध्यम वर्ग में शामिल होने के सपने देखते थे उनके सपने खोखले लगने लगे. इस वर्ग में से कई हिन्दू भी है जो 3 या 5 साल से UPSC की नौकरी की रेस मे भाग रहे है.

जिनके इस तरह से अपने भविष्य को ले कर सपने टूटे हो उनको एक समुदाय में अपना दुश्मन देखने में आसानी होती है.

जस्टिस जोसफ ने ये बात उठाई कि मीडिया कंपनियों का आर्थिक मॉडल जब टी.र.प. पर निर्भर हो तो ऐसी चीज़े ज़ादा होती है. दूसरा कारण सरकारी और दूसरे कॉर्पोरेट विज्ञापन से मुनाफा भी है. क्यंकि पिछले कुछ सालों से नफरत पर आधारित टीवी समाचार का मॉडल कारगर साबित हो रहा है, तो लाज़िम है इसे सब अपना रहे है.

मीडिया लोकतंत्र का सब्ज़े ज़ररुई हिस्सा है – इलेक्शन से भी ज़ादा. क्यंकि आप वोट उस आधार पर देते हो जो आप जानते हो. तो क्या लोकतंत्र में मीडिया को मुनाफे के लिए बाजारु बनाया जा सकता है? या फिर मीडिया को सामाजिक रूप से नियंत्रित किया जाना चाहिए. जैसे कई देशों में होता भी है, जहां लोकल समुदाये साथ मिल कर कार्यक्रम बनाए – मुनाफे और मंत्रियो और कम्पनियो से अलग हट कर.

एशियानेट न्यूज़ नेटवर्क लिमिटेड, या ए.एन.एन. जो भारत में कई चैनलों का नियंत्रण करती है का मालिक भाजपा संसद, राजीव चंद्रशेखर है. न्यूज़ लाइव का मालिक बीजेपी मिनिस्टर हिमंता बिस्वा शर्मा की पत्नी रिणीकी भूयां सरमा हैं.लोकमत के मालिक कांग्रेसी नेता हैं. नेव्स18, फर्स्टपोस्ट के आलावा इंडियकास्ट मीडिया डिस्ट्रीब्यूशन प्राइवेट लिमिटेड, बालाजी फिल्म्स और इंफोमेडीअ प्रेस का मालिक अंबानी परिवार है.

ये वो ही नेता और अरबपति हैं जिनकी नीतियों के कारण सरकारी और अब प्राइवेट नौकरिया इस देश में मिलना बंद हो गई है, इन नीतियों के बारे मे हम ना सोचें और इस बारे में कुछ ना करें इसलिए मुसलमान या दलित को दुश्मन बताना ज़रूरी हो जाता है.

कुछ छोटे मोटे चैनल कुछ दिन बंद भी हो जाए तो भी ना ये सचाई ना ये नफरत फैलाना बंद होगा. और लोगों को और मीडिया को शांत करने की ताकत का इस्तेमाल लोकतंत्र और गरीबों के खिलाफ ही होगा. बेरोज़गारी और मीडिया में कंपनी और नेताओ की ताकत खत्म करने की लंबी और मुश्किल लड़ाई से बचने के लिए चीज़े बन करने का शॉर्टकट नहीं लिया जा सकता.