Behold The New Shrinking India!!!

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Rage, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

    Feb 23, 2009
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  3. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

    Feb 23, 2009
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    “Over the course of my years here, I have begun to wonder whether India will be the country that will grow and grow and never undergo that transformative disruption,” writes Stephanie Nolen in a moving essay reflecting on her 5-year stint at the Globe & Mail’s South Asia bureau chief.

    But as I look back at this past year on Independence Day, I realise that this prophecy has already come true. Each explosion of “disruptive transformation,” be it the anti-corruption campaign or the post-Nirbhaya protests, has ended in a whimper. For the past 20 years, India has been growing and growing while remaining exactly the same. The glitz of ‘new’ India has proved skin-deep, and each day brings a new revelation of the same old ugly face underneath, as Nolen observes:

    One week, I covered the launch of the new BlackBerry to a voracious Indian market in the high-tech “millennium city” of Gurgaon, outside Delhi – and the next week, I drove a couple of hours farther down that road and covered a violent siege against Dalits in a village where a dominant-caste woman had eloped with a lower-caste man she had met at business school. It felt like time travel to the Middle Ages.

    We don’t need to step out of the house to encounter the Middle Ages. Each morning, the newspapers bring the same news of caste killings, gangrapes, deteriorating water supplies, malnutrition, female foeticide, blah blah. Even what were once considered portents of a 21st century India — creation of SEZ zones or the arrival of that new mall — have acquired an ominous quality. We brace ourselves for stories of the real estate mafia or mining barons or political corruption that will inevitably follow on its heels — along with shrill TV debates and dead-end sessions of Parliament or the state legislature that will be suspended “in uproar.”

    Life in India has acquired the hallucinatory repetition of that old Bill Murray movie, Grounds Hog Day. We too are condemned to relive the same day over and over again, except as reimagined by Kafka. Over the past year, over and again, hope has receded in the face of a seemingly unalterable sameness.

    On 16 August, 2011, Anna Hazare launched the “second struggle for independence” in protest against the UPA version of the Lokpal Bill. His arrest sparked a spontaneous street uprising, and his fast later in the month in the Ram Lila Grounds attracted unprecedented crowds, as autowalas and middle class housewives, shopkeepers and college students swarmed in to register their support. As thousands others fasted in solidarity across the nation, the media chatterati hyped the coming of an aam aadmi revolution. The great Indian middle class had finally risen from its long slumber to overthrow the tyranny of corruption.

    Or so it seemed until Anna Hazare‘s movement disintegrated in the absence of vision and leadership. Two years later, on this I-day, the news of Robert Vadra‘s land deals evoke barely a raised eyebrow, and Anna Hazare is in New York, ringing the Nasdaq bell— just another celebrity cashing in on his 15 minutes. Arvind Kejriwal has left all talk of the Lokpal behind, and moved on to electricity prices in hopes of securing a handful of seats in the Delhi elections. And for good reason: corruption ranks a distant fifth in the public’s order of priorities.

    The outcome of the ballyhooed anti-rape protests is slightly more encouraging. The Delhi police has tried to up its game. “After 16/12 everybody had to think about it, and repeatedly,” deputy commissioner BS Jaiswal told Mint, “Now people are aware of their rights because of the sensitisation. All our efforts are taken to chargesheet assault cases within one month, and all molestation/eve-teasing cases within 15 days.”

    However, neither the new laws or modestly elevated national consciousness seem to have stemmed the tide of violence against Indian women. Not much has changed in a post-Nirbhaya India except — ironically, given her media moniker — the increased levels of fear. As Nobel reports, “After the attack on [Nirbhaya], one in three female employees in the capital either reduced her hours or quit her job, according to a survey by the Association of Chambers of Commerce of India.” Others are afraid to venture out after dark, or go out to clubs. Not that home is any safer for the many more women who are victims of the still legal marital rape and domestic violence.

    On this 66th independence day, Indian women are more afraid than ever, and less free. But then so are all of us who now know better than to give an incautious sound-byte, tweet the wrong opinion, or post the errant Facebook update. Each year, we can say and do less than in the bad days of state-controlled media — which now is controlled by giant corporations and their vested interests. Did we go from frying pan to fire, or the other way around? It’s getting harder and harder to tell.

    We’re losing in other, invisible but more urgent ways, as well. The quality of ground water declines, air pollution levels rise, electricity shortages grow more chronic, garbage multiplies and spreads dengue in its wake. And while the urban middle class may relish the McTikka perks of liberalisation, it grows poorer in other ways. “When we were growing up, hilsa was a standard treat. Now it’s a rare luxury,” says a Bengali friend.

    But we’ve grown accustomed to our reducing circumstances much like sleepy lobsters in a warm pot. The price of onions which raised such hue and cry merely a year ago is now greeted with a weary shrug. We spend less on ‘luxuries’, our maids skimp on vegetables, in other parts of the country, people survive on one pitiful — sometimes fatal — meal a day. India is not growing, or even at a standstill. Rising, shining India is now shrinking, much like the sizes of our wallet, spaces for free speech, places to be safe, and our appetite to fight back.

    “Freedom means the power to choose your path, to make your own decisions, to speak your mind, to dream without inhibitions,” reads the little Independence Day banner my daughter brings back from school. I can’t help laugh.

    On Independence Day: Behold the incredible shrinking India - Firstpost
  4. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2009
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    I think its struggle between old-New but I believe this barrier would can only broken by faster Urbanisation. More fast we Urbanise this barriers would become weak and would die natural death

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