Sunday, 13 August 2017

Horrors of Capitalism Resurface as the Death Toll Continues to Mount in Gorakhpur Tragedy

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 14.8.2017

Bureaucratic apathy, integral to the capitalist regime, resulted into virtual genocide when a bill dispute between oxygen supplier and the state medical college at Gorakhpur City in North India landed into a shutdown of oxygen supply in the state hospital, leaving more than 60 kids dead in three days. Matter came under spotlight only after 30 kids lost their lives overnight on August 11. As oxygen supply was stopped, children, admitted in the hospital for treatment of encephalitis, badly wriggled for breath before their death. Oxygen is part of critical support in treatment of the deadly Japanese encephalitis.

Bills worth rupees 69 lakhs of the supplier company were pending for months together. Despite clear warnings and ultimatums, neither payments were made to the supplier, nor any alternative arrangements were made to procure oxygen from other enlisted suppliers.

Gorakhpur is the constituency of Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, a north Indian province.

As public outrage scaled up, after the carnage taking toll upon more than 60 lives in three days in a row, the political leaders, bureaucrats and the media joined hands to cover up the grisly crime. Knee jerk reaction was the blatant denial by the government that the deaths were offshoot of oxygen crunch. The authorities claimed that there was no crunch of oxygen in the hospital and in any case the same is not the real cause of the death.

Finding, however, themselves unable to manufacture a lie that may exonerate them of the felony, the authorities sought shelter under a promise for inquiry to find out the cause of mass deaths. The inquiry, a measure so popular with the bureaucracy at times, is nothing but its cunning maneuver to dodge the people, fudge away the public rage at critical moments and wait for public fury to ebb. Amidst the false hopes and illusions, instilled in the people, of a favourable result of the inquiry, the bureaucracy finds time to hedge up itself.

Sidhdharth Nath Singh, the Health Minister in the Yogi government, unmoved even after mass deaths, said defiantly that, “there was nothing new in the deaths. In the month of August, deaths of children are normal”. Siddharth Nath Singh, and arrogant right-wing leader of Hindu Supremacist BJP, is the grandson of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India after Jawahar Lal Nehru. Eulogised by the bourgeois media for his simplicity, Shastri has nothing worth mentioning to his credit. However, it would be worth mention that only a generation separates Shastri from his grandson to take deep plunge into the decay and degeneration that Indian bourgeoisie has taken during this short span of time, backsliding to minus from zero.

On his part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who keeps tweeting on every trivial matter, kept mum on the issue. Chief Minister Yogi, himself recklessly denied that any callousness or crunch of oxygen was the reason behind the deaths. “We will probe the deaths but callousness or crunch of oxygen is definitely not the reason behind the deaths”, preempting the inquiry, claimed Yogi.

Amit Shah, President of the ruling BJP, was more explicit in dismissing the deaths as normal routine. "In such a big country, such incidents are routine. This is not the first incident of the kind", claimed Shah.

Bourgeois opposition parties, as well as the Stalinist left front, indulged only in demagogy with a lukewarm response. SP, BSP and Congress, the rivals in Uttar Pradesh of ruling BJP, were vocal in accusing and holding the Yogi government, responsible for the deaths. But these parties failed to tell what they themselves did during their tenures in power in the state and at the centre in this regard. More or less, same conditions have prevailed 
during all previous regimes since 1947,  leading to more than 30000 deaths in last three decades.

Bourgeois media was quick in cover up of the crime primarily through diverting the issue. While social media was beset with critique and curses upon the Yogi government for its shameful role in the tragedy, majority TV channels, in order to divert the public attention away from the tragedy, started to debate, very same evening, extraneous issues like the orders of the government asking muslim madarasas to hoist the national flag.

A rightwing torrent of pro BJP-RSS net-users was more blunt in accusing those who spoke for the victims. Amidst the screams of parents and relatives of the deceased children, the rightwing they bigots continued to hurl abuses on the victims and their supporters.

Meanwhile more evidence has continued to roll-out clearly indicating that the bills of the supplier were pending for months together with repeated warnings for shutdown of supply in absence of clearance of the arrears and renewal of the supply contract that had expired in March month of this year. The authorities paid no heed to the request of the supplier, probably awaiting the bribes from the suppliers, which are integral part of the routine in the government institutions in the country. Suspicion is also raised that all billing and payments were false as no real supplies were ever being made. This is fortified by the data evidence showing over thirty thousand deaths of encephalitis in the hospital in last three decades.

The state controlled institutions in the country are marred with extreme corruption where no leaf gets turned without payment of cuts and bribes to the officials in charge of them.

Despite express ban upon private practice of doctors serving in government hospitals and special non-practising allowances being paid to them, the doctors are widely indulged into flourishing private practice everywhere. With all focus upon minting money in private clinics of their own, the doctors care least about their duty at government hospitals except diverting the material supplies to their private clinics. These illegal practices are just small component of and integral to the colossal assembly of corruption present from top to bottom to siphon off the huge exchequer from all public enterprise. Governments keep their eyes deliberately shut to corruption, while those who run them fill their coffers.

The policy of the capitalists-led government is marked by an overall steep sliding down on public spending in welfare sector, hitting above all the expenditure on health and education. While all focus of elite state remains on ever escalating military expenditure and procurement of war logistics, all burden of austerity is shifted gradually to health and education sectors. 
Today more than 80% of the health sector already stands privatised, exposing the poors and toilers more than ever to the anarchy of profit oriented markets. 

Capitalism has horrendous consequences with all its ills precipitating to its bottom. The underdeveloped peripheral regions of the world, engulfing the countries like India in their ambit, are thus worst hit by these horrors. These regions, where vast majority of inhabitants are poor toilers, with low levels of culture, mass illiteracy, appalling poverty, widespread disease, extreme corruption and all sorts of deprivation, dragged to the slaughterhouse of world capitalism, are left open to the double axe- of capitalist profiteering on one hand and medieval backwardness on the other.

Majority of the people are thus pulverized under the chariot of capitalism and forced to live on the fringes of the civilization, a cocktail of the old and the new. While a handful of the elite, reap all the fruits of the development, vast majority of the poor become a casualty under its wheels.

The tragedies like Gorakhpur are politically very important in so far as they shake up the conscience of the dozing mass to destroy its false beliefs in the gods both on the earth and in the heaven.

People have got invaluable lessons in politics albeit in most tragic way and at a very high price. History is teaching them even against their will after breaking open their inert skulls. Very same people who have voted Yogi and his government to power few months back are cursing themselves for doing so. History is forcing people to open their eyes and rise in revolt against the existing conditions.

The choice, left before the workers and toilers is abundantly clear: Barbarism or Socialism; to continue to live in the hell of predatory capitalism or to fight for Revolution and socialism; to continue to bear the yoke of the rule of Adani and Ambani or to fight for a Workers’ and Toilers’ Government.

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