THE MONSTER WE LOVE

©DEV VIRAHSAWMY FOUNDATION
The Management Company of the Foundation is OCORIAN, 6th Floor, Tower A, 1 Cybercity, Ebène, Mauritius.

What is Modi? A 21st century version of Adolf Hitler. Bearded, not mustachioed; with pagri and dhoti, not uniformed. Nevertheless, fully Hitlerite. Hitler wanted a pure Aryan race to rule the world; Modi’s dream – our nightmare – is an upper-caste Hindu ‘rashtra’. Hitler’s pogrom against Jews is now Modi’s policy against Dalits (16% of the population) and Muslims (14% of the population). For him, women are just sexpots and reproduction machines who should not be allowed in places of worship.

Just like Hitler, he is an expert at lies, deceit and witch-hunting. Not only did he order and organize a heinous crime, the demolition of India’s Babri mosque, his rule is also associated with “arrests, assassinations, lynchings, bomb attacks, riots and pogroms” (Arundhati Roy). His BJP is the brainchild of the diseased RSS which preaches Hindu fundamentalism or, if you want, Hindu ‘Talibanism’. In his outlook or mindset, there is no place for the compassion and tolerance, Gandhi taught us.

What is Modi’s India? It is the third power in the world in economic and financial terms, behind China and the USA but is also the place where a third of the world’s poor live. It has 131 billionaires but also 50,000,000 persons living in extreme poverty.

India today is cursed by TWO evils: neoliberalism on the economic front and fascism on the political front – a toxic cocktail. The financialization of the economy means that money is used to make money and not to make things; short term financial returns are preferred to long term investment in productive activities – manufacturing and agricultural goods; inequality is deepening and growth is slow and unemployment is high.

On the one hand, India’s economy is being sold to transnational corporations, on the other, the political class has undergone criminalization. Rampant corruption and the rule by Mafia Raj feed fascism, repression and violence. The voice of dissent must be silenced by all means, at all costs.

This is the India which the Jugnauth tribe loves; this is the India to which Agalega has been sold; this is the India which pseudo-leaders and pseudo-intellectuals are proud of, blinded by prejudice and ignorance. Neoliberal and fascist India will try to spread its tentacles to grab the resources found in Africa and is using our country to attain its objectives. In Mauritius, Big White Money will seek and beg for collaboration and partnership with the enemies of our sovereignty; black, brown, green and yellow business will seek benefits and favours and wouldn’t give a damn for our independence; those who carried the national Indian flag to Grand Bassin, who do not think of themselves as Mauritians of Hindu faith but as Indians in Mauritius are already willing slaves of Indian imperialism and fascism. The future is not bright.

Mauritian progressives must unite in an anti-fascist and anti-imperialist front and build links with Indian progressives. The national liberation movement will grow with work and time and let us hope that this time we do not forget that freedom and nation building go together.

06.03.19

PATRIARCHY AND CAPITALISM ARE SIAMESE TWINS

©DEV VIRAHSAWMY FOUNDATION
The Management Company of the Foundation is OCORIAN, 6th Floor, Tower A, 1 Cybercity, Ebène, Mauritius.

If matriarchal or matrilineal societies existed in the past, there is no doubt that in our present world, patriarchy, a male-dominated system allied to capitalism, is the main source of all our troubles and worries. It has total economic, political, social and cultural powers, including religious powers. This explains why in spite of progress in the field of gender equality, we are still horrified by events all over the world. Did we not believe, to some extent, that Hollywood was the land of greater gender equality, that female actors were symbols of sexual, social and cultural emancipation? Recently, it became shockingly clear that ‘labraget’ culture was still going strong. Did we not think that the great international institutions were symbols of freedom and equality? How wrong we were. Recent findings have revealed how entrenched sexism and phallocracy are. Gender equality must still top the political agenda and we must beware of lip service. We must also beware of opportunistic women who jump on the band wagon to satisfy personal interests.

Why is that so? Patriarchy is a crafty system, expert at make-believe and concealing the truth and as good as capitalism in mind-conditioning. A few examples will help to make this clear.

Look at “Pater Noster”, the main Christian prayer which begins with “Pater noster, qui es in caelis” (Nou Papa dan lesiel) So God is male with beard, balls and all. Where is the Mother in all that? Patriarchy believes that the male ‘gives’ life but strives to forget that the female nurtures life, that males and females are complementary. This message is passed on generation after generation at home, in schools, at work, everywhere. It will certainly be argued that “Pater Noster” was the prayer said by Jesus. No doubt! When through ‘avatar’ God takes a human shape, they (He/She) will use the language of the day. Jesus was born through a woman in a patriarchal society in which a slave had more rights than a woman. The fact that God chose to come to us through a woman is full of meaning. Remember that, after resurrection, He first visited Mary Magdalene who called Him ‘Rabbouni’ (according to some scholars it also means ‘beloved’ and not only, ‘master/teacher’). Lord Jesus brought us a powerful pro-gender-equality message but patriarchy chose and still chooses to ignore it.

Look at Lord Jesus’ speech style. It is full of maternal idioms of the type “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (Luke 13:34 and Matt. 23:37). In my humble opinion we should pray “Mama-Papa dan lesiel”.

Language also is loaded with terms and rules which reinforce the sexist reflex. Look at this sentence in French: “Un million de femmes et un chien sont VENUS” (masculine/plural). Children learning this rule of a prestigious language, will conclude that one male dog is grammatically more-weighty than a million women. English, as a language, is slowly moving from gender-sensitivity to gender neutrality. ‘Chairman’ has been replaced by ‘chairperson’; ‘fisherman’ by ‘fisher’; ‘fireman’ by ‘firefighter’ etc. Very often we hear a woman say, of herself, “mo pa travay, mo res lakaz” or “je suis femme au foyer”. Macho males love this for women are indulging in self-deprecation. These women are in fact ‘home-managers’, a title which men deny them.

Caryl Churchill was among the first scholars to suggest that the struggle for gender equality and against capitalism should go hand in hand. Feminists and socialists should bear this in mind.

26.02.19