Sunday, July 05, 2009

Is There Life after Democracy?

I am touched by this article, no speech, delivered by Arundhati Roy named “ Is There Life after Democracy?” Much of what she says is after my heart, and therefore I couldn’t but agree with her views. The Indian poor have been marginalised as never by economic liberalisation (I guess there's nothing liberal about liberalisation, agree?) before and stand at a crucial juncture to their ultimate subjugation by the wily "market" - as she calls it. Come to think of it, we could have set an example to the world by our vision and foresight of what a democratic country should be, but it seem from this essay that we have seriously bungled the chance. She comes across as a bit strident, but such issues need stridency, or who will listen to poor you? She speaks thusly:

“The battle for land lies at the heart of the ‘Development’ debate. Before he became India’s finance minister, P. Chidambaram was Enron’s lawyer and member of the Board of Directors of Vedanta, a multinational mining corporation that is currently devastating the Niyamgiri hills in Orissa. Perhaps his career graph informed his world view. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In an interview a year ago, he said that his vision was to get 85 per cent of India’s population to live in cities.[1] Realising this ‘vision’ would require social engineering on an unimaginable scale. It would mean inducing, or forcing, about five hundred million people to migrate from the countryside into cities. That process is well under way and is quickly turning India into a police state in which people who refuse to surrender their land are being made to do so at gunpoint. Perhaps this is what makes it so easy for P. Chidambaram to move so seamlessly from being finance minister to being home minister. The portfolios are separated only by an osmotic membrane. Underlying this nightmare masquerading as ‘vision’ is the plan to free up vast tracts of land and all of India’s natural resources, leaving them ripe for corporate plunder. In effect, to reverse the post-Independence policy of Land Reforms.”

The questions she poses are appropriate; she doesn’t supply the answers, but makes us think as no other writer can. Here’s for more power to her pen.


ZiLliOnBiG said...

Great writeup, i checked out the link. Its wonder how Roy comes with such relevant and deep-into-the-matter articles. She is what i call a true intellectual in the sea of Pseudo intellectuals.

Thanks for sharing.:))

John said...

Hi Zillionbig,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, she has the knack of getting at the root of the matter while keeping the overall picture from fading. We either get too deep in the matter or are too vague.

~ J