We are happy to present you this special issue of Spark that has completed its journey of a year. The Spark team is thankful to all the readers whose encouragement, criticism, contributions have made us feel that in coming days, we need to progress more to stand by the emancipatory struggles of students, peasants, workers, intellectuals who are fighting for true freedom and justice. We have intentionally selected 15th August to publish this issue because today, when the public “nation-loving” leaders will be celebrating Independence Day, four million people of the country risk losing their citizenship. Don’t they realize that people are being incarcerated on dubious grounds by the Foreigner’s Tribunals? Four million people are likely to be poor, working class, bengali Muslims or Namasudra (a dalit sub-catse), being uneducated, less-privileged are most vulnerable in this bureaucratic citizenry drill and the “independent” state is now ready to snatch the right to food, right to work, right to education, right to health and even right to life.
Post 15th August, 1947, the Indian rulers worked with the inherited colonial state apparatus, merely embellishing it with a constitutional glory to cheat people. But now, in 72 years, they themselves have ruptured this constitutional tool and the present ruling party wish to replace the Indian Constitution with Manusmriti, and is setting all new records in implementing policies related to liberalization-privatization-globalization. Neoliberal onslaughts on every sector are gaining extra momentum in the backdrop of this Market-Manu nexus. The policies clearly show that “the ideology of the Hindutva and the economics of liberalisation are not only reconcilable but complementary.”
One of the most adverse manifestations of neoliberalism is in the field of education. According to UGC’s annual report, the Indian education market is expected to reach a worth of US $144 billion by 2020 from US $97.8 billion in 2016. The total amount of FDI inflow into the education sector from April 2000 to March 2017 stood at US $1.42 billion, according to the data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The union budget of 2018 witnessed a massive fund crunch in education sector. For example, the allocation in this sector has gone down from 0.49% to 0.45% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This manner of crunch will further dissociate students of under-privileged backgrounds (mainly, Dalit, Adivasis and Muslims) from resources of education. From Macaulay’s days to the present government, all deny education as a fundamental right. While the Indian state finds billion to lavish on its military, it continues to be among the countries that figure at the bottom with regard to public expenditure on education. India is the lowest spender of education among the BRICS countries.
Now, raising questions on the fundamental rights of education, health, work, dignity, life will surely make one a “Deshdrohi” in today’s India as in the case of Sudha Bharadwaj or Stan Swamy. Over the last two decades, Stan has identified himself with the adivasi people of India and their struggle for a life of self-dignity and respect. He has clearly expressed his dissent over several policies and law enacted by the government in the light of Indian constitution. But the Jharkhand government has filed a case of sedition against him for supporting the adivasi Pathalgadi movement.
History proves: “Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance”. When the fascist government is applying stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on activists to curb all form of dissents, students along with intellectuals and working people marched down the Parliament Street in Delhi against the on-going state repression on masses. When the adivasis have been exploited and oppressed beyond tolerance, the rich minerals which are excavated in their land have enriched the outside industrialists and impoverished the adivasis to the extent that people have died of starvation, then “In the hinterland of Jharkhand, among the successors of heroic martyrs like Sidhu, Kanu, Chand, Bhairav, Phulo, Jhano and Birsa Munda, the new battle lines of modern India are getting drawn. Due to their indomitable character and their legacy of never surrendering, the tribal people remained unconquered during the peak of the British colonial rule.” And they still carry their legacy to fight oppression and establish a just system.
At the end, the team of Spark once again invites merciless criticism and independent thinking which the great revolutionary Bhagat Singh believed to be the necessary traits of revolutionary thinking and hopes to perform its role in fighting the neo-liberal fascists.