Skip to main content

Corporates backing Modi as Congress wasn't "sufficiently ruthless" against growing resistance movements

By Our Representative
Booker prize winning writer and social activist Arundhati Roy has expressed the fear that in case Narendra Modi becomes India’s prime minister, he will be “ruthless” against “growing resistance movements” against different types of corporate-based oppressions. In an interview with Vancouver-based “online source” www.straight.com, Roy has asserted, the corporate India is backing Narendra Modi as the country's next prime minister “because the ruling Congress party hasn't been sufficiently ruthless against the growing resistance movement.”
"I think the coming elections are all about who is going to crank up the military assault on troublesome people," Roy has predicted, adding, in several states, armed rebels have prevented massive mining and infrastructure projects that would have displaced massive numbers of people. Many of these industrial developments were the subject of memoranda of understanding signed in 2004.
"The corporations are all backing Modi because they think that [Prime Minister] Manmohan [Singh] and the Congress government hasn't shown the nerve it requires to actually send in the army into places like Chhattisgarh and Orissa," Roy believes, adding, Modi is a politician who's capable of "mutating", depending on the circumstances.
"From being this openly sort of communal hatred-spewing saccharine person, he then put on the suit of a corporate man, and, you know, is now trying to play the role of the statesmen, which he's not managing to do really", Roy says, adding, she has “researched” how the richest Indian corporations—such as Reliance, Tata, Essar, and Infosys—are employing similar tactics as the US-based Rockefeller and Ford foundations.
Suggesting how Indian companies are behaving, she says, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations worked closely in the past with the State Department and the CIA to further US government and corporate objectives, adding, the Indian companies are following the same pattern -- distributing money through charitable foundations as a means of controlling the public agenda through what she calls "perception management".
“This includes channelling funds to nongovernmental organizations, film and literary festivals, and universities”, Roy says, adding, while the Tata Group has been doing this for decades, but more recently, other large corporations have begun copying this approach. "Slowly, they decide the curriculum," Roy maintains.
"They control the public imagination. As public money gets pulled out of health care and education and all of this, NGOs funded by these major financial corporations and other kinds of financial instruments move in, doing the work that missionaries used to do during colonialism—giving the impression of being charitable organizations, but actually preparing the world for the free markets of corporate capital", she points out. She believes, the foundation-funded NGOs are seeking to "defuse people's movements and...vacuum political anger and send them down a blind alley".
Awarded Booker Prize in 1997 for “The God of Small Things”, since then, she has gone on to become one of India's leading activists, railing against mining and power projects that displace the poor. She's also written about poverty-stricken villagers in the Naxalite movement who are taking up arms across several Indian states to defend their traditional way of life.
"It's very important to keep the oppressed divided," she says. "That's the whole colonial game, and it's very easy in India because of the diversity." In fact, she believes, the high-profile India Against Corruption (IAC) campaign is just an example of "corporate meddling." According to her, the movement's leader, Anna Hazare, served "as a front for international capital to gain greater access to India's resources by clearing away any local obstacles."
With his white cap and traditional white Indian attire, Hazare has received global acclaim by acting as a modern-day Mahatma Gandhi, but Roy believes his movement has been "deeply disturbing". She also describes Hazare as a "sort of mascot" to his corporate backers. In her view, "transparency" and "rule of law" are code words for allowing corporations to supplant "local crony capital". This can be accomplished by passing laws that advance corporate interests.
She says it's not surprising that the most influential Indian capitalists would want to shift public attention to political corruption just as average Indians were beginning to panic over the slowing Indian economy. In fact, Roy adds, this panic turned into rage as the middle class began to realize that "galloping economic growth has frozen".
"For the first time, the middle classes were looking at corporations and realizing that they were a source of incredible corruption, whereas earlier, there was this adoration of them," she says. "Just then, the India Against Corruption movement started. And the spotlight turned right back onto the favourite punching bag—the politicians—and the corporations and the corporate media and everyone else jumped onto this, and gave them 24-hour coverage."

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.