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Some 300,000 people have been forcibly displaced. Hundreds of thousands of security personnel have poured into the region with sophisticated military hardware.
Despite Nehru’s misty eyed views, the Indian and western elites are now the new colonial masters in India. Is this the bright new future he had in mind?
But imagine for a moment a world where India pursued a more independent path that would be strident in its rejection of predatory capitalism and US-led militarism increasingly aimed at China, India’s neighbour.
Imagine a model of development that would in fact be inspired by particular policies adopted by the likes of Cuba, Bhutan, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Bolivia, which place strong emphasis on health, ‘happiness’, education or bio-diverse agriculture and not least on the rights of indigenous peoples, sustainability, respect for the environment and/or common ownership
Unfortunately, imagination does not match the reality.
For many foreigners who visit India, it is the land of the great philosophies. It is the land of spirituality, morality and enlightenment. Many view India through this distorted prism. It is this rose-tinted perception that brings them here. For other foreigners, however, it is a land ripe for the taking. And Washington knows it.
India threw off the shackles of colonialism in 1947. And long ago it threw off the shackles of any moral philosophy. There’s a new game in town. And it’s based on selling anything you can get your hands on to the highest bidder, even the soul of the country. Now there is a new colonial master on the block.
Whether it’s the waging of war on its poorest people or the collusion with foreign governments and corporations to loot the economy for profit, successive Indian administrations have conspired to deceive their own people as they work hand in glove with Wall Street and proponents of ‘free trade’ and neo-liberalism to sell the lie of freedom and independence to an affluent section of the population eager to believe it and willing to regard the oppression of the country’s poorest folk as ‘collateral damage’ in the drive to secure ‘necessary economic infrastructure’.
With 75 per cent of the population living on less than two dollars a day, the influence of western agribusiness leading to well over 200,000 farmers’ suicides and large parts of the country under military law, politicians and the media abroad still talk of India as capitalism’s miracle, as democracy’s great success story. The old clichés and convenient lies are often trotted out about a land of enterprise and growth, Bollywood and glitz, millionaires and cyber parks.
But there’s always Bollywood novacaine, the infotainment obsessed media or the latest Forbes rich list to distract or dull the pain, isn’t there? Better still – the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen in drawing a new poverty line will do just fine.
Copyright © Colin Todhunter, Global Research, 2012
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