Saturday, June 11, 2005

Economic boom and growing commercialism have been a nightmare forMillions of Indians. Prize-winning author and activist Arundhati Roy claims that, "Even if you know what is going on, you can't help thinking India is this cool place now, Bollywood is 'in' and all of us have mobile phones. But it is almost as if the light is shining so brightly that you do not notice the darkness. There is no understanding whatsoever of what price is being paid by the rivers and mountains and irrigation and ground water, there is no questioning of that because we are on a roll."

Falling water tables in states such as Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have forced millions of farmers to the brink of ruin. Buried under unpayable loans, thousands have committed suicide.

Roy said the poor were being sold a dream of consumerism which was impossible to deliver economically or environmentally.

"The idea of turning one billion people into consumers is terrifying," she said.

Recent court decisions in favour of dams and slum clearances had tipped the playing field further against the poor. "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," Roy said. "There are no jobs, there is just nowhere to go, no way out of it at all."

India is becoming a charicature of everything that is wrong about development. Along with many other countries, it is headed toward a crisis of almost unimaginable proportion.


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