ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Famine and Extra Deaths in China

February 19, 1983 by depending upon it; you have to do it on your own; this calls for a tremendous logistics and a tremendous effort; to mount the effort, you need resources; resources of the necessary magnitude can be contributed only by the rich, by the hegemony of big industrialists, big businessmen, and big landlords; they insist on a quid pro quo for their contributions; they want concessions and subsidies; you begin by allowing them some such concessions and subsidies; money begins to filter into your coffers; soon, the filtration becomes a torrent; but there is an opportunity cost of these concessions and subsidies to the rich, which assumes the form of various social and economic retrogressions; the interests of the poor are adversely affected thereby, and they start organising themselves; the poor have the bulk of the votes, so you cannot afford to alienate them too much; besides, was it not your original ambition to do some good for them; you therefore grant some marginal concessions and subsidies to the poor too; this gesture goes against the interests of some industrialists or businessmen or landlords; you need their money to win the elections; so you now have to offer them some further concessions; this is a slippery path, once you are on it, impromptu suggestions are made to you, or impromptu ideas on their own occur to you; you can award a contract to this or that party and collect a hefty kickback; you can lower the import duty on a scarce commodity for a fortnight, grant a licence to a particular party enabling it to make some quick imports, now raise the duty again and allow the party to make a killing, of which a part comes to you; those near and dear to you watch with fascination this money-making spree; some of them soon find it irresistible, they join in; the purpose for which you started to raise funds gets blurred out at a certain juncture; the medium becomes the message. You become corrupt to the core, and' like alcohol, it becomes habit-forming. Read the biography, if there is any, of this or that alcoholic, and you will have the synoptic history of India since 1969.

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