Pierre Lalonde: The Indian farmer is now the ‘Capitalist’ and ‘our king’

As farmers around the world face harsh circumstances in recent decades, India is poised to take a defining stride for its farmers’ security.

India’s leader – Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and India’s “delta farmers” — entire agricultural community — spearheaded by the new crop support price scheme – are leading the transformation in India. The times for farmers in India are changing, and the cross-pollination between the Wall Street academic jungle and rural India is as powerful as anything that has happened in the past 100 years, when farmers were kicked off their land and sent to the cities.

The reordering of the economy in India is breathtaking and a paradigm shift in economic strategy. It is the most consequential change since the One Child Policy of the 1960s, and the first concrete example of the modernisation of India’s economy. The face of India has changed for the better in recent years as the India reforms of the 1990s had the greatest impact on poverty.

Despite this transformation, the Indian economy is a mere toddler with barely 100 percent electricity in most cities, and approximately 98 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The Indian economy continues to be underdeveloped, and many Indians live in abject poverty and still receive $0.50 or less from the government for everyday necessities.

The India uprising of 2019 cannot be viewed in isolation of the planned industrialization of China. India’s government has been going around in circles with its nagging crisis of unemployment, with numerous reports about workers being evicted from steel mills and auto parts factories due to the soaring minimum wages, land requisition, strikes and unpaid wages.

We must look at the history of India and see what drove the agrarian crisis of India.

To understand what the upsurge in India has accomplished so far, one must understand the history of India. The Indian economy was based on big capital and a subservient value system. The one-child policy, the dismantling of cooperatives, and the acquisition of markets by large conglomerates were the major events that evolved into the Indian agricultural crisis of 1977-1982. It was around that time that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi looked to the “Indian” farmer and declared a war on the “rich,” a phrase that is very obvious in the Indian references of today.

Indira Gandhi issued a decree in 1971 that says “divided you are killed,” meaning that one branch of the peasantry is fired at will and others don’t matter. Divided the farmers in India have become, making the farmers dusky shades of red against the handsomeness of the “rich”: orange green, tangerine, blue, yellow, brown, and mustard orange. From one another the tribals have also united because the same deep, prickly color of mustard is yellow for the tribals, blue for the Muslims and mustard green for the Catholic, Sikh, and Aryan Hindus.

Along with the color comes the common ground as a great source of power, and the Indians are standing together against Indira Gandhi. India today has become one of the pillars of global class unity and of the “pink orange color”; not a “red” India, but the “pink orange color.”

The infrastructure, from the roads to the power plants, is now dominated by the 100 percent utilization of electrical power (not government-financed); the poverty level has dropped 60 percent to the lowest income level; urban investments in energy have increased over the last decade; agriculture as a share of our GDP is up to 8 percent; fertilizer subsidy was down to 1.3 million from 9.6 million in 2014; and government investment in agriculture from $1.9 to $2.7 billion and the Indian farmer has no debt.

The Indian farmer is now “the Capitalist, our king.” The 1 percent capitalists are not getting what they want from a horde of peasants. The Indians and the Americans are coming together to make land very valuable by building on it in many ways, and very many farmers are going to get rich. It is the Indian farmer who may one day become a major contender for the mantle of the kings of India and the western world.

Pierre Lalonde is the senior director at AlphaLab. He served as special assistant to the prime minister of France under President Jacques Chirac from 2005 to 2007.

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