Friday, December 15, 2006

A different model


by Malvika Singh

The government must endeavour to ensure dignity and opportunity to all men and women who have been denied what has been available for the privileged few. It does not require much intelligence to absorb this truth: that the economic and social reality of the majority in India needs to be addressed and corrected. Inclusive policies need to be activated for economic levelling, for disparities to be narrowed.

To even begin to understand and take on such a task requires a fine and qualitative comprehension of societal realities, changing aspirations, cultural truths and a healthy dose of honest, unwavering commitment.

The kind of development that the World Bank has not been able to grapple with, but which the Unesco has decided to study is what will extract India out of its economic degradation. I sometimes wonder whether the unorganized sector is neglected deliberately because once it begins to operate and deliver, India will most definitely be an international power to contend with.

Till the ‘other fifty per cent’ do not join the development process, social tensions and internal upheavals will attain unmanageable proportions that will earmark this subcontinent as a danger zone. What then? It is therefore imperative to have a generational shift in politics because only those who have a life ahead of them will want to enforce radical changes.

Those in power today are in the departure lounge, clinging to their seats for dear life only to lead a life of luxury and not penury. Since most of them are followers of an irrelevant ideology or are looking away from the truth, they should abdicate their positions.

Why can’t there be different models for different things? Why must everything be uniform and therefore dysfunctional? What works in Mumbai may not work in Aligarh or in Chikmagulur. What worked for the World Bank in south America may not be valid in south Asia. Asia, India in particular, may not want to be co-opted by the United States of America through the Bank. India may be better off by energetically building its own inclusive economic identity that could begin to iron out many social inequities of the past.This is yet another pledge the prime minister could make. He should also resolve to initiate a process that is indigenous and not imitative. Global warming has affected the planet’s environment adversely. There are now new strains of killer diseases afflicting mankind and the food and water we consume have been poisoned through the careless use of pesticides and chemicals. All this has made the West rethink its rules of life. Why then are we falling for their stale and rejected bait?

1 comment:

Yves said...

I have the sense from this that there is actually no model established for India. It needs participation of more than the small number of the powerful.

To go through the changes which confront India, democracy as currently defined - periodical elections to representation of the people from amongst an existing ruling class of educated politicians - will not be enough.

More direct, uncomfortable people-power may be required. There are enough people. They only need to claim their voice through some non-violent direct action. The world will be watching in any event.

I know it's easy for me to say, from several thousand miles away. But still.