Sunday, September 04, 2005

a Bharat Mahan ?

A friend who has just returned from South China made some interesting revelations about how China manages to outprice everyone else in the market.

“It could put Hitler’s labour camps to shame. The girls live on the premises, two-three dozen to a room in rows of four tiered beds. Up before dawn, they are at work by 5.30 and work through to midnight, or until they finish their daily quota, with three short breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, provided by the factory owner. It is worse than slave labour as the payment is minimal.”

“What,” I asked, “about the U.S. Human and Labour rights concerns?
It is very simple. There are a number of showcase units which are shown off whenever the Americans come, while work carries on apace elsewhere in the vast hinterlands of China. The show cases can be those of factories, tourist spots, administrative excellence, cooperative farms or whatever.

Now, I find, we in India are following the China example. To attract foreign investment, we show off our tolerant culture and IT excellence. Tucked away in Gujarat, we continue with ethnic cleansing, which is denied by the state and central governments until both are blue in the face. With the boom lowered on the media, they may just get away with it, unless the NDA allies find their conscience. Is that possible?

Meanwhile the Goebbels phenomenon is in display. Tell a lie well enough and often enough to make it the truth. While Advani holds his counsel, and Fernandes struts the stage, Vajpayee and Modi insist that nothing is wrong in Gujarat. Normalcy is imposed at the point of bayonets and curfews.

And exam papers for the tenth and twelfth standards remind the students: “there are two solutions. One is the Nazi solution. If you don’t like people, kill them, segregate them. Then strut up and down. Proclaim that you are the salt of the earth.” Doesn’t that sound very much like Gujarat’s Narendra Modi?

It is a quote picked out from a lesson titled “Tolerance in the Advanced English course for Std.XII students. Coming in the context of the ongoing violence in the state which is now six weeks old and have been variously described as ‘massacres’, ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing”, such a dramatic reminder of what can be done can only be a big question mark on impressionable minds already full of questions of what is going on around them. Why not select a more positive passage, given what is going on around the very exam centers where these students are writing their papers? Is it asking too much?

The government of India reacted very strongly to the statements of the European Union against what is going on in Gujarat, and to the reports that Muslims in UK are exploring the possibility of filing a case for extradition of Modi in the killing of UK Muslims in Gujarat, with possible reference to the International court of justice for the genocide that is taking place.

There can be no doubt that any such development would mean terrible grief and shame for India which has always prided itself for its cultural plurality and its tolerance, especially on the world stage.


But what comes to the mind is the fact that it is our NRI cousins, so lionized by the BJP and its Sangh Parivar cousins, who are responsible for many a recent shame for India and its peace loving citizens. While they have chosen to go and settle and earn abroad, they wish to keep the fires burning back home so no home grown cousin can compete? Plain and simple sibling rivalry? Is that the aim of this exercise? Or is it a more sinister conspiracy of outside influences working on the NRI attempt to control events in India?


The organization of the so-called “Friends of BJP” in various parts of the world seems to have kick started secessionist and violent movements in various parts of India, as erstwhile migrants wish to recast the India of today as the India of their nostalgic memories glazed by rose tinted glasses which do not allow for development in India.


So we have the Sikhs who migrated decades earlier funding the Khalistan movement most enthusiastically, for whatever reasons. After over a decade of terrorist activity which cancerised the innards of Punjab, which has yet to recover fully even today, it was the turn of the JKLF.


Once again liberal foreign funding from NRI lobbies joined hands with local rabble rousers to tear apart Kashmir’s fledging economy stepping out of the tourist syndrome to much more. Many cooks spoiling the broth later, Kashmir has yielded the center stage to Gujarat thanks to whom, for the first time, the terms “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” have been applied to events in the country which has prided itself in the role of Global Peacemaker since Independence.

Each of these divisive movements has, at some time or the other, been taken over by elements other than those who started it and gone off in varied directions. But the net loser has always been India and her people.

This time, for millions of Hindus of the “Hindu” mold, this about turn of their religion, by a fringe lobby campaigning for a macabre, extreme Hindutva, shamelessly modeled on the more violent percepts of Islam, cannot but be a stomach churning and shamefully heart rending experience.

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