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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”