Thursday, July 28, 2005

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.


At 8:43 PM, Blogger Old Path said...

Anand, most of the globalization and free market advocates hate her. But when Arundhati points out certain facts about the people who are on the other side, one cannot help but to listen: “It is almost as if the light is shining so brightly that you do not notice the darkness …It is so easy for people who are on this side of the line to climb the ladder. The middle class has expanded and is having a good time, but for people who are on the other side it is becoming impossible to survive…There are no jobs, there is just nowhere to go, no way out of it at all".

I could never understand the logic of ‘turning one billion people into consumers’. Disappeared from Indian horizon, Gandhiji's vision of a free India, as a confederation of self-governing, self-reliant, self-employed people living in village communities, deriving their right livelihood from the products of their homesteads.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Veena said...

Excellent article. Thanks for the link!

This issue has been bugging me for sometime and I finally made a post abt it. Check it out when you get the chance -

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Anand said...

Yes, Madhu, Arundhati Roy's portrayal is as always very powerful.

Veena -- I did read your post. Incidentally I'm a great fan of Marquez. I must re-read 100 years some time soon.


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