I just read Arundhati Roy’s article in the October 1 issue of Outlook Magazine on the Justice Sabharwal scandal. I am a regular subscriber but the issue was delivered to me today for some strange and unknown reason. Anyway, better late than never. Her writing is as brilliant as ever so it is best that you read her in the original. I expect you to react the same way I did by putting your signature to the online petition “Investigate Justice Sabharwal” hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition service at:
I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.
The Rizwanur incident in Left-ruled West Bengal or the Justice Sabharwal incident in the country’s capital New Delhi are symptomatic of the socio-economic system in which we, the citizens of the world’s largest democracy, live. It is symptomatic of a system of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. The poor exist only because they have to toil to make the rich richer. And, if all so-called democratic political parties across the entire ideological spectrum talk about the rights of the poor, or poverty alleviation or eradicating poverty, they do so only to make sure that the poor continue to exist but only so long as at the same time they continue to remain poor.
That is why even in Left-ruled West Bengal the so-called communists make sure that the administration and the law enforcement agencies protect the interests of the rich rather than the poor, and, to do so, resort to even murder, if necessary. Can you imagine living in a state where the police go about murdering an ordinary law abiding citizen simply because he has gone against the desires of someone who is not just a rich fatso but also has a criminal record to boot? So, a poor law abiding citizen is murdered by the police a few days after his marriage because his rich and criminal father-in-law wanted the police to do so. Not only that. The government of the day takes no action against these policemen although the truth as to what really happened is clear as daylight to anybody who wants to see it.
If all this can happen in a Left-ruled state, what about the other states which are anyway ruled by parties which do not even feel the need to proclaim themselves to be protectors of the poor? Does it mean that the poor have no alternative but to resort to equally futile violence out of sheer frustration and desperation? Is such a system ultimately sustainable? I think it is high time even for the rich to ask themselves this question with all seriousness.
No closed system is infinitely sustainable whatever the pressures inside. Despite all the celebrations about how India is shining in the 60th year of her Independence from foreign rule, the booming stock market where the bell-weather index is jumping 1000 points every five sessions or thereabouts, two of the country’s leading newspapers devoting columns of space either to publish inanities written by some of the country’s richest people under the rubric “Imagine the India that can be” or the views of some half educated yuppies under the rubric “Lead India” (anybody who cares to participate in this idiotic tamasha has to be half-educated), debates about the Nuclear sovereignty of this emerging superpower (or do we imagine we are already one?), and so on .. the list is endless, the fact remains that nearly 70 per cent of the people are still struggling to find two square meals a day, farmers and non-farm workers are committing suicide routinely and poor people are routinely uprooted from their homes and livelihoods in the name of development. India is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode when you least expect it.
Yes, the India growth story is well-touted. Analysts and pundits are going ga ga about how the country has already become an economic powerhouse and how incomes are rising and creating a marketers paradise with 300 million middle class consumers. But, there is little thought about how the rest of the 700 million are going to bed every night.
Those who think that these 700 million can be ignored are making a big mistake. No doubt they have worked out brilliant strategies about how these 700 million can be kept poor indefinitely so that they can continue to toil to make the rich richer, but what they have not considered in their calculations is the power of information. They forget that we are living in the information age and not in the dark ages of the last millennium when the preposterous farce of capitalism could be set up in the name of guaranteeing individual freedom and liberating people from the inhuman bondages of slavery and serfdom.
Today, even the poorest of the poor despite illiteracy is getting an opportunity to be exposed to information in various ways – the television, political activists, NGOs, and yes, even the Internet. The poor have begun to appreciate the power of knowledge and education. Poor parents are making immense sacrifices and going out of their way to ensure that their children get educated somehow. Rizwanur himself is a case in point. Despite political parties paying only lip service to ensuring health and education for the poor, willy nilly they are being forced to expand the reach of modern education and health care to the poorest of the poor. Big business, marketers and their political cronies are willy nilly being forced to expand the reach of the electronic media and the Internet to the poor and by doing so they are digging their own grave.
The pressure is building up in the pressure cooker and unless it is taken off the boil as soon as possible it will explode as the rich in their greed have blocked off even the safety valve. The Sabharwal scam and the Rizwanur incident only prove that the poor have nowhere to go – not the judiciary, not the police and not even the party of the poor, the so-called communists led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Even if a violent and armed uprising by the people may seem impossible in this day and age, it is still bound to happen if society leaves no other option for the poor to survive. The most vulnerable among the 700 million may still find an escape route through self-destruction and suicide but is it not a bit too much to expect that a majority of them will choose that path? Instead, is it not logical to think that when people are pushed to the wall they will fight back sooner than later?
Just as necessity is the mother of all inventions, so is desperation the mother of all illogic and violence. Those of us who are yet to be stupefied by the comforts of apparent wealth and prosperity must react now before it is too late. Or else, there is little doubt that we shall all become victims of mindless violence and widespread destruction, sooner rather than later.
Sign the petition, add your voice to this blog, REACT! Now!