Obsession with Centralization!

Dear Das

Firstly, Happy Birthday dead man! How does it feel to remain alive even after death? Most of the humans down here seem to be aiming at that – to be remembered by the world after they die, and all their actions are constrained by this hypocritical space of the mind. If we think about Big Crunch, this thought doesn’t make any sense at all. Nonetheless, it’s a good tool to keep people sane.

Coming to the subject of the letter, there is a movement going on in the country currently, to organize farmers into groups, of which I now am a part, accidentally. The idea is to form informal clubs of farmers in each village of the country in order to reduce their dependence on the middlemen-retailers who sell seeds, fertilizers, aadithi in the mandis; and also to use this as a platform through which the knowledge of sustainable farming can be disseminated. Of  course, there have been many unsuccessful attempts made in the past to collectivize farmers. But this one is different in the sense that it has the support of the national government. NABARD is incentivising farmer clubs in many ways.The farmers will be financially supported by NABARD for the first three years of its operation, government will provide grants for any income generating activity that the club wants to take up, etc. The motive is to collectivize farmers and encourage mutual cooperation.

It would have been a wonderful idea if it was only till forming a club in a village. But the plan is to confederate all such clubs into a federation at national level. Basically, a national union of farmers. Like the one that the Japanese have come up with. But the Nippons brainwash their kids with humility man, whereas in this country, everybody is a Chaudhary. Don’t we have enough centralized unions already? Each farmer club will have a coordinator who will be elected on democratic principles through vote. Scale it up to the national level federation and imagine the nuisance that happens at each level-block, district, zone, state, national. Will it be a good idea to corrupt the earth man with politics? We are presenting it as a tool to develop unity in the community, don’t we know how useful the democratic principles are in promoting unity among people?

I’m witnessing the effects of a general election in villages of a state with 4 major political parties contesting. A village with hardly 2000 people getting divided into 4 different groups that hate each other for the difference in the color of the flags hoisted on their rooftops. The levels of madness! I’ve heard somebody say, “democracy maybe the worst form of governance, but it’s the best we have”. Even after 200,000 years of evolution, it would be a pity if this is the best we can come up with.

Farmers’ federation … Why this obsession with the centralization of things? Think of its effects on the balance of power in this imperfect society. Isn’t too much of empowerment and independence of one community from the other sections of the economy harmful to the society? Shouldn’t we rather concentrate our efforts on developing an individual’s conscience and allow him to explore on his own? Nobody developed a holistic economic theory which facilitates that. The varna system (NOT the birth-based one) could be a solution. Provide a child with as much knowledge as you can, till a certain age; identify his talent; and allow him to make a living out of it with total dignity of labor, without much fuss. You were supporting the varna system, but only mildly. If you really thought it was wise to organize society on those lines, why didn’t you pursue it with all the force? Were you prioritizing your issues; giving in to the social pressure created by the short-sighted modernists; or did you actually fear the influence of the communists over the ignorant people? Yeah, maybe the time was not right to push it harder.

So that’s the thing birthday boy. And by the way, I’ve been reading OSHO of late. He seems to be preaching what you might have preached to an independent India, excepting forceful celibacy.

Forgive the naivety

Carrier of a Damned Conscience

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4 thoughts on “Obsession with Centralization!

  1. I don’t know about how the varna system is sposed to solve anything here, but in regards to national unions of SHG’s, that’s pretty much the only way they can have any influence on national policies which affect them. Else, they’d all be tiny and insignificant and subject to the whims of state and business. The only other way is a rights-based system, which imbues each of them with certain inviolable freedoms and rights that no power can take away. Given that they’re primarily economic units, that approach isn’t really favored anywhere (their basic rights are already a part of the Act that they come under) just the same as it isn’t used for other business units, which also have to form national level lobbying groups to do that. SHG’s, being formed of poor and often uneducated folk, are simply being given a boost to help them do that. It would happen on its own anyway (see how business did it of its own volition, much to the govts. chagrin), just a lot slower.

    As for centralisation, I beg to differ. There will always be a need for a higher decision making level for certain issues as they affect a larger population than simply the local one. Centralisation is more about where the power flows from than about where the decision is made. And local-to-national flow is actually one of the defining characteristics of DECENTRALISED systems (the other being “level limits” so that local issues really are decided at the local level. Not sure about how much that is the case here since you don’t mention anything about that). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participism for a fully worked out example of such a systemic flow of decision-making authority.

    The entry of parties into the mix is unfortunate, but given India’s current political milieu, is isn’t particularly unexpected. There are rule changes that could be made to combat that, but that would require getting into details so I’ll leave it for now. Also, I’m pretty sure that our current political leaders would never agree to those rules since this phenomenon is exactly what they want – more opportunity for their parties. More’s the pity.

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    • Bhai… I’m talking about our obsession with over centralization of everything. Local-national flow of decision making never happens in reality… every level of administration wants decentralization only till their point, the main problem with centralized systems.
      There will always be a need for a higher decision-making level for certain issues… I think only outer-space research is such an issue! Rest all must be localized… National security? I guess, social media would make national armies redundant.
      Let us discuss this in person, English is not my first language. I might not have conveyed my view as clearly as I wanted to… I prefer face-to-face discussions!

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