First edition of Nazariya Magazine, themed “Imperialism: In and Out” released on 18th March, 2023 in the form of a physical magazine. Contact us for your copy!


Imperialist Development: The RSS Economic Model

“I wrote more than 12 articles within 3 months against Ambani in 1986. I tried to expose the shell companies functioning and the bank credit crisis, which was rising at that time,” Swaminathan Gurumurthy, in an interview with the Caravan magazine.

But when the journalist inquired about Gurumurthy’s thoughts regarding the recent Hindenburg report which exposed various fraudulent activities of Adani Enterprises, he backtracked, “these two things are really different. At that time almost everything was sanctioned by the Congress regime. Today it’s not the situation.” Of course, what has changed is that Brahmanical Hindutva fascism is dominant now. S. Gurumurthy is a veteran economist of the RSS, who has been working for the organization since 1975 in various capacities. According to a recent report in The Caravan magazine, he was the mastermind behind the demonetization policy in India, implemented in 2016. What Gurumurthy and the larger rhetoric of the BJP omits is that this was the major demand of foreign finance capital, to streamline all the stagnant money back into circulation. The process of demonetization was never motivated for black money recovery, as the BJP claimed. As per their own figures, they largely failed to achieve this purported goal. Instead, the real objective behind the demonetization was to automatize the money circulation in India and connect it through Aadhar universal identification services. Without the enticement of the JanDhan scheme and direct-benefit transfers, they could never convince the Indian peoples to compromise their data and savings. Parallel chauvinist (fake nationalist) propaganda had been propagated by the government to camouflage their real intention. In this article we will try to analyze what is claimed to be the “most nationalist” economic policy of RSS and its meaning for the common people of this country.

S. Gurumurthy, sitting next to RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and other prominent RSS members, fawned under “Bharat Mata” and RSS ideologues Hedgewar and Golwalkar

In a conversation with a person associated with RSS, I asked them what would be their strategy to solve the economic problems of India? What are their plans to deal with imperialism? Because if the claims are to be believed, your organization is anti-imperialist and “purna swadeshi“, right? He directly clarified his point, stating “friend, it is hard to get rid of imperial capital. We have to manage it, instead.” What can we deduce from this position? The rhetoric indeed does not match the objective. In March 2022, a meeting of Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the apex decision-making body of the RSS, announced that they would implement “Bhartiya Economic Model ” for development. Parallel to this, the group also criticized the functioning of a foreign-direct investment-driven economy. But right in contrast, they supported the Make In India program of the BJP in the same meeting. The Make in India program, of course, is directly dependent on foreign direct investment!

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Make in India program to increase the factory production and reduce the import burdens of the country. The highly glamorized Make In India initiative had no intention to develop India as a manufacturing hub. Since its inception, the program’s actual practice is “Assemble in India.” Interestingly, Apple Inc., famous for their phones which are “designed in California, assembled in China”, have committed to investing further in India and producing iPhones here, with their investment in India doubling or tripling in the next half a decade, a BJP minister claimed in delight. In 2016, India signed WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the main purpose of which was to open the Indian market for foreign finished goods and products. Already struggling Indian manufacturing sector was opened to competition from foreign imports. This process has systematically demolished the Indian micro, small, medium enterprises (MSME) sector badly. Intensification of capital investment and technology import has handicapped India’s economy and ensures the dominance of imperialism in curbing the aspirations of the petty bourgeoisie. Finally in 2020, even the Indian Economic Survey accepted the reality of Make in India and published a report in the name of “Assemble in India”. Even so, this survey justified Make in India as an avenue for job creation. Yet, even in government statistics there has been no major shift in the unemployment trends in India since the introduction of Make in India. Instead, there was a massive increase in 2019 in unemployment, contrary to claims of job creation. Clutching at straws, the RSS economic ideologues also appreciated the “swadeshi” and labour-intensive industrial model. But where would they generate surplus CAPITAL to transform what are labor intensive industries into capital-intensive enterprises? RSS is silent on this issue. Why are the BJP and RSS both silent on this question?

They clearly don’t have any alternate economic model. Beyond the phrase-mongering of swadeshi production and “atmanirbhar Bharat”, they have nothing to contribute to India’s development but the offer of raw material and cheap labour at the service of foreign finance capital. This model of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” where they always claim to develop Indian economy in it’s independent capacity has never been actualized out of rhetoric and phrases.

K.B. Badrinath in his article said that “the new economic model will promote start-ups in India. So that every citizen will be able to create jobs.” Let us look at some examples of start-ups, particularly instant delivery service Blinkit and e-commerce company Flipkart. Currently, the gig workers who deliver the goods for Blinkit are on a strike, protesting the new wage policy of the company which has shelved their pay by 50%, from what it was in 2021. Blinkit already functioned with a massive 630 million USD investment from Amerikan and Japanese finance capital firms like SoftBank, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital and then was summarily acquired by another Indian start-up, Zomato which is itself a loss-making enterprise backed by major international banking firms like Camas Investments, Franklin Templeton Investments, Tiger Global, Kora, etc. Similarly, Flipkart was taken over by Amerikan-chain Walmart (another big imperial giant). A deficit of national capital is very evident in this whole episode. For surplus capital generation, the system must focus on the development of productive forces (labor, technology, other logistical supports). India, which is largely an agrarian country, needs to generate more surplus from agriculture.

Apart from all the desi khaad, gobar, RSS model is not talking about the issue of land re-distribution. Land fragmentation is a generational issue, with larger land-holdings fragmenting continuously to become smaller land-holdings as petty production in agriculture intensifies on small plots of land. On the other hand, Prateek Rumba made an analysis of agriculture in India, using data from National Sample Survey, he discovers reverse development in the agriculture sector, which is opposing the nature of capitalist agricultural development. He established that the land amount of rich peasants is getting reduced and the middle and lower peasants have increased their land area. Landlordism is still prevalent in the agrarian economy and larger rural economic system. The landlord and rich peasantry classes are the two close allies of RSS historically, so they will never oppose this rural agrarian economic relation. 70th round of NSS shows a increasing trend as compare to 59th round survey, in the landholding of the middle and small peasantry from from 17% and 20% to 29% and 23%. But they are still doing subsistence farming majorly.  On the other side, the government has been pulling its hand from the investment in agriculture. Slowly and steady, the capital production has been reduced from the agriculture side and the migratory trends in the rural economy are dominating.

Blinkit workers strike against wage cuts

The Finance Minister of India announced in the Parliament that “I don’t think the price of onion is increasing, because I don’t eat onion and ginger.” Indian ruling class is justifying the narrative of “santosham param sukham” (there is happiness in peace with the existing reality) from the other side, their spiritual babas always try to push the junta for not living material life. It’s very easy to understand how brahmanism secures the position of ruling class, intensifying the imperialist loot and derailing oppressed junta from their right-based struggle. I always try to analyze the RSS slogan where they usually say “aadhi roti khayenge, mandir wahin bnayenge” (we will eat half a roti but will make the temple right there!). Who gets to eat this aadhi roti? Very clearly the working class and poor people of this country, who make up half the population of this country.

How does this aadhi roti formula sustain with the acceptance of public opinion and without any discontent? Brahmanical Culture is playing an important role to develop the pessimistic bow down of resistance. The deep rooted brahmanical cultural understanding of “purva janam” (past lives) reduces the assertive resistance of the working class and oppressed masses where they think that “god is looking at everything, they will punish.”

In reality, they will maintain the reserve army of labor to facilitate imperial capital penetration. The petty-bourgeois (middle and lower) (middle class) section is facing massive job cut in the private sector. They are heavily burdened from the tax payment and other indirect payment pressure. Almost 40-45% of monthly income of the petty bourgeoisie is draining to satisfy the tax burden of the country. Massive firing in the Indian corporate sector is the reflection of the global imperial capital crisis. Big companies of India have targeted a large section of good monthly income earning workers and hiring cheap labor from India. The lack of jobs and increasing inflationary tendency are compelling the Indian lower strata of middle class to work as cheap labor. The current trajectory of the economy will create more tension in the society and intensify the class struggle. That’s why fascism is the necessity of the ruling class to derail maximum masses under the discourse of Hindu-Muslim, India-pakistan, urban naxal etc ..etc ..

So, the RSS model of economy is not a unique economy which we have not known historically. The model is getting implemented through various other ways in India. But it is very clear that this model cannot propose any kind of solution for the Indian masses. “Sarvebhavantu Sukhina” was the ruling class propaganda for this imperialist model of ‘development.’ The kamna (wishes) of brahmin for world peace is very much similar to “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.” World over everywhere, we can see a swift upsurge in right wing politics. It is not accidental. It is the demand of the capital which is facing a crisis. “Vasudhaiv kutumbh” the brahmanical theoretical justification of foreign imperial capital is against the interest of india’s working class, Muslims and oppressed caste.

by Nishant Anand, student of law, Delhi University

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