31 August 2005

Equal rights

Democracy. Equal rights to all citizens. Civil liberty. That’s what India offers its people. And, the size of that people, in sheer numbers, beats any other country in the world. No other citizen in the world can claim solidarity with a group as large as India.

And, thanks to the government’s shift in economic and foreign policies, Indian economy is on an upswing. Liberalisation and globalisation are the driving forces today. Foreign investment and foreigners are welcomed. The economy is decidedly capitalist and there’s a fundamental shift in political ideology as well.

The conditions today are vastly different from what they used to be during our Independence almost 60 years ago. India now seems to have carved a niche for itself in the global economic and political arena. Businesses from the US and the UK are outsourcing key operations to India. Their governments are reviewing their relationships with us. Even benefactors are pouring in money from their generous funds. Corporate-driven globalisation now rules India.

There’s a self-confidence within India – particularly amongst the younger urban Indians. The middle class has now grown to impressive numbers – and has been empowered with greater income. Greater income has resulted in greater purchasing power. And, this has generated a plethora of quality goods and services, increasing employment opportunities for many… once again, in urban and semi-urban areas.

But, what about the rural economy? What about those surviving – sometimes not even that – below the poverty line? You know, the adivasis and the dalits? Those who are landless? Those who are denied access to electricity and education? And healthcare? How are they benefited by this economy? By this liberalisation and globalisation? By these market riches we talk of?

What happened to democracy? What happened to equal rights to all citizens? Where is the independence that was promised to everyone almost 60 years ago?

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