Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Is India Smoldering?
Last week, when Gurgaon exploded after striking Honda employees clashed with the police, I told a colleague that the violence was symptomatic of the tension simmering between the haves and the have-nots. The widening gulf between the rich and the poor, to use a cliché, is no more evident than in Gurgaon, where swank glass-and-chrome offices and glitzy malls mushroom a stone’s throw away from urban ghettos that lack even the basic amenities. I remember looking out of the seventh floor balcony of a friend’s house in Surya Vihar, a posh apartment complex at Kapashera, at the adjoining kutcha houses, the residents of which were still using the adjoining field for their daily ablutions. The difference couldn’t be starker.
But my knowledgable colleague was unimpressed. He had lived in Gurgaon for two years and hastened to tell me how the locals had made a lot of money by selling the land to property developers. I did not try to convince him. But my views were vindicated by MJ Akbar, who dissected the issue beautifully in this week’s Byline.
He writes:
“The story of the police onslaught on workers in Gurgaon, Haryana, is a little deeper than swinging lathis, however dramatic that might have been, or the failure of the Japanese management system…”
“…It is bad news in a country that lives across centuries: those blow the poverty line are in the worst phase of the 19th century; the urban poor lives in the early part of the 20th century; the middle class live in the middle of the 20th century; a miniscule few have entered the 21st century. There is too much anger at the base volcanic level, waiting for a chance to turn into lava.”
Akbar hits the nail on the head, when he says:
“Aspirations are a problem in an uneven economy, for while they comfort 20 percent at the top (the creamy layer, to use a quaintly Indian economic formulation), they create great resentments in the thick slabs below…”
He then goes on to talk of how Naxalites are gaining more and more converts through a network that “crawls through village and jungle between Andhra Pradesh and Nepal, extending to Orissa and Bihar in the east and Maharashtra in the west.”
And he ends his piece with this dire warning:
“The masses of the 19th century are at war with the elitists of the 21st century in India. The latter are armed. The former are angry. Don’t take the outcome for granted.”

hey bhai did u get my mail ? i sent to your hotmail i d ?
It is strange but interesting.. Read my current post and I definitely see a synergy of thought.. Its far fetched but we are looking at an issue and trying to unravel from our different circumstances and perspective..

Akbar's point on the 3 masses of society cant be more true...
You sound just like the JNUSU president would in his/her address after leading a torchlight protest march in the campus!!

That it was "smoldering" since the last three months was not what the media chose to show.
That it had stated well in in the morning -- the word came around in the evening.
That respectable Mr.Gurudas Dasgupta was there methinks is some question to be pondered upon.

There have been some hush-hush that some politicos had taken money to raise the issue and to bring the entire thing to everyone's attention.

I have no issues with the entire poverty thing, dont you get me wrong!!!!!
Keep up the good work
What a great site » » »
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