Many political scientists argue that the incidents that occurred in Washington DC on January 7, 2021, was a blot on the world’s most powerful democracy, the United States of America. Being a democratic country but at the same time, joining hands either overtly or covertly with the world’s most dictatorial states and trying to wield power over other developing and democratic countries, the US had to witness an incident such as this someday or the other. This is an extension of its interference with other sovereign countries in the garb of democracy.
Under the Presidency of Trump, the country has turned against itself in the worst manner possible. America’s relation with democracy weakened the day it elected a racist who has utter disregard and contempt for democracy and the dignity of the common man. The racism perpetrated by the administration during Trump’s Presidency exposed America’s democratic mask long ago. The farcical end to Trump’s administration through this incident reflects his personality and America’s present situation. We can’t blame only Trump for these developments. The rightist forces that are now regulating America are responsible for bringing the country’s democracy to the present state of disrepute. At the same time, we can’t expect things to become normal the moment Trump exits.
In fact, going by the manner in which Donald Trump, a white racist, governed and administered the country in the most dangerous and worst manner, there was no way that the occasion of President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in could have been different. The model of violence that Trump chose before exiting office is similar to Germany’s dictator Adolf Hitler’s suicide. Unable to witness his most anticipated dream of a 1000-year Nazi rule being shattered, Hitler had resorted to suicide along with other fascist criminals in Berlin’s underground bunker. Trump has shown similar behavior. With this incident, Trump hasn’t lost anything. But America might find itself in an awkward situation to pride itself as the ‘most powerful democratic country’ in the coming days.
America’s embarrassment is about how a President without the support of his party leaders could whip up the support of racists, terrorists, and goonda elements to overturn election results. It won’t be a surprise if this small failed revolution leads to a big revolution in the future.
The incidents that occurred on January 7 should be seen as acts of treason aimed at overthrowing democratic rule in America. If these actions were planned and implemented by members of the black community and not white supremacists, hundreds of people would have lost their lives. The way America is squeezing its hands over taking stringent action against Trump and his followers reveals the depth of the divisiveness in America. This also proves how the evils of racism, gender discrimination, and corporate structure control America. As long as the American government fails to take action against Trump and his followers, it cannot be accepted that democracy has been reinstalled completely in America. Today, due to his bad administration, Trump has grown to become an international criminal. Many countries have issued international arrest warrants against him. The world is watching with curiosity about how America will punish Trump for conspiring against his own country, forget conspiring against other countries.
Ironically, India should also indirectly own up the stigma of America’s attack on the Congress as it now finds itself in an awkward situation with the presence of an Indian flag during the attack. It is not difficult to trace the background of this. Having established itself as a third powerful force internationally by adopting a non-aligned stand in external affairs, India now finds itself compromising its foreign policy to woo America. The manner in which India woos America reached a pathetic state during the Narendra Modi regime. It went to the extent of interfering in America’s elections with the Indian Prime Minister campaigning in favor of Trump. With this, India identified itself as a worker of a political party in the US. ‘Ab ki Baar, Trump Sarkaar,’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on American soil. Modi did not show the wisdom of imagining a situation in the eventuality of Trump’s losing the elections and how it could have an adverse impact on India. Today, if the Indian flag is seen during the attack on the US Congress, it is because of Narendra Modi’s declaration of ‘Ab ki Baar, Trump Sarkaar.’ Even though Narendra Modi expressed his regret over the developments in America, India lost its moral authority to condemn the incident due to Modi’s behavior.
At this moment, we should not forget that India has a government that had looked upon Trump as a model. An Indian Prime Minister who is a puppet in the hands of organizations that are more divisive and casteist than Trump is ruling the country. Instead of believing that the country is more important than an individual, the number of people who believe that an individual is more important than the country is growing. Bhakths who believe that the Prime Minister cannot be criticized even though the country is being ruined would definitely turn out to be more dangerous to India than Trump’s supporters to the US. America’s developments should come as a timely warning to India.
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New Delhi: India's 100 top billionaires have seen their fortunes increase by Rs 12,97,822 crore since March last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and this amount is enough to give 13.8 crore poorest Indians a cheque for Rs 94,045 each.
The latest India supplement of the Oxfam report 'The Inequality Virus' said it would take an unskilled worker 10,000 years to make what businessman Mukesh Ambani made in an hour during the pandemic and three years to make what he made in a second.
The report has been released on the opening day of the World Economic Forum's 'Davos Dialogues'.
Calling the coronavirus pandemic the world's worst public health crisis in a hundred years, the report said it triggered an economic crisis comparable in scale only with the Great Depression of the 1930s.
"India's 100 billionaires have seen their fortunes increase by Rs 12,97,822 crores since March last year which is enough to give every one of the 138 million poorest Indians a cheque for Rs 94,045 each," the report said.
The new global survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87 per cent of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an "increase" or a "major increase" in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.
"India has the world's fourth lowest health budget in terms of its share of government expenditure," it said. "If India's top 11 billionaires are taxed at just 1 per cent on the increase in their wealth during the pandemic, it will be enough to increase the allocation of Jan Aushadi Scheme by 140 times, which provides affordable medicines to the poor and marginalized."
India introduced one of the earliest and most stringent lockdowns in the face of the pandemic and its enforcement brought the economy to a standstill, triggering unemployment, hunger, distress migration and untold hardship in its wake, the report said.
"The rich were able to escape the pandemic's worst impact; and while the white-collar workers isolated themselves and worked from home, a majority of the not-so-fortunate Indians lost their livelihood," it said.
The report noted that billionaires like Gautam Adani, Shiv Nadar, Cyrus Poonawalla, Uday Kotak, Azim Premji, Sunil Mittal, Radhakrishan Damani, Kumar Manglam Birla and Laxmi Mittal working in sectors like coal, oil, telecom, medicines, pharmaceutical, education and retail increased their wealth exponentially since March 2020 when India announced world's biggest COVID-19 lockdown and economy came to standstill.
On the other hand, data has shown that 170,000 people lost their jobs every hour in the month of April 2020, the report said. Findings of the report showed that rich got richer during the pandemic.
"Data shows what Ambani earned during the pandemic would keep the 40 crore informal workers that are at risk of falling into poverty due to COVID-19 above the poverty line for at least 5 months," the report said.
The wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown and by 90 per cent since 2009 to USD 422.9 billion, ranking India sixth in the world after the US, China, Germany, Russia and France, it said.
In fact, the report said the increase in wealth of the top 11 billionaires of India during the pandemic could sustain the rural job scheme MGNREGA for 10 years or the Health Ministry for 10 years.
Noting that the informal sector had been the worst hit, the report said out of a total 12.2 crore people who lost their jobs, 75 per cent, which accounts for 9.2 crore jobs, were lost in the informal sector.
"The mass exodus on foot triggered by the sudden lockdown and the inhuman beating, disinfection and quarantine conditions the informal workers were subjected to turned a health emergency into a humanitarian crisis," it said.
"Over 300 informal workers died due to the lockdown, with reasons ranging from starvation, suicides, exhaustion, road and rail accidents, police brutality and denial of timely medical care. The National Human Rights Commission recorded over 2,582 cases of human rights violation as early as in the month of April 2020," the report added.
It noted that the long disruption of schooling risked doubling the rate of out of school, especially among the poor.
"Only 4 per cent of rural households had a computer and less than 15 per cent rural households had an internet connection," it said.
On health inequalities, the report said only 6 per cent of the poorest 20 per cent has access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation, compared to 93.4 per cent of the top 20 per cent. It added that 59.6 per cent of India's population lives in a room or less.
The report said 1.7 crore women lost their job in April 2020 and unemployment for women rose by 15 per cent from a pre-lockdown level.
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said if not addressed immediately, the crisis could worsen.
"Extreme inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. The fight against inequality must be at the heart of economic rescue and recovery efforts now," Behar said.
"Newer and creative ways of catering to the needs of the masses is possible if governments are committed to the needs of its people. It is time for the government of India to take specific and concrete actions that will build a better future, more equal and just a future for everyone," he said.