India’s choice of development model is key to the future of the globe. India is currently growing at a phenomenal rate with a GDP target of 9 per cent GDP per year. If the 20th century was the era of the USA, the 21st will be that not just of Brazil and China but also of India. It’s easy to believe that growth is good but there is a downside to the Indian story: hundreds of millions of citizens are not simply being left behind but are under attack. For some the Indian dream is a nightmare.
Environmental degradation, social injustice and war are the negative features of the Indian dream and they are the reason that activists have formed the Green Party of India to create a different sustainable and just path to prosperity. I was lucky enough to meet Daniel Taghioff, a founder member of the party, in London recently. Earlier attempts to create a Green Party have failed to take root but Daniel believes the time is right and that it is vital to construct an alternative Indian reality.
He is passionate about the need to challenge the process whereby corporate interests are increasingly running India for their benefit rather than that of most citizens.
Accelerating growth is causing an increasing demand for metals, minerals and timber. This means that many Indians, particularly indigenous people and peasants, face having their land taken away. Indian politics is increasingly dominated by resource conflicts. In the east of India mining interests are attempting to seize indigenous forestland and have been met with bitter opposition. This ranges from what is a largely unreported war with Maoist guerillas, the Naxalites, to forms of non-violent protest against companies such as the British-based Vedanta.
Arundhati Roy who won the 1997 Booker Prize with her novel The God of Small Things has been vigorously opposing the corporate control of the country. She noted in a recent article:
“Over the past five years or so, the governments of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal have signed hundreds of memorandums of understanding – all of them secret – with corporate houses worth several billion dollars, for steel plants, sponge-iron factories, power plants, aluminum refineries, dams and mines. In order for the MOUs to translate into real money, tribal people must be moved. Therefore, this war.”
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