Malls of the few, chawls of the many
A brilliant article by P Sainath in the Hindu.
A HORRIBLY oppressed wife, so runs the old American joke, slapped her husband in despair. The man punched her over 30 times, till she lay battered and he was exhausted by the effort. Then, panting, he told her: "Now we're even." That's right. Both sides were violent, weren't they?
That's pretty much the both-sides-did-it line, now in vogue to describe the brutality in Haryana. Months of being denied their rights, the ruthless cutting of their jobs, the despair of the workers, count for little. The breaking of the nation's laws, the torment of the sacked workers, their wives and children count for less. Context counts for nothing at all. History begins with the televised violence of two days. Not with the hidden violence of years.
The streets of Gurgaon gave us a glimpse of something larger than a single protest. Bigger than a portrait of the Haryana police. Greater than Honda. Far more complex than the "image of India" as an investment destination. It presented us a microcosm of the new and old Indias. Of private cities and gated communities. Of different realities for different classes of society. Of ever-growing inequality. Of the malls of the few and the chawls of the many.