Sunday, January 25, 2009

The thing about Cellular Silence

S. Anand in Tehelka

Let’s look at the material reasons for Ratan Tata’s love for Narendra Modi. Tata Motors gets a soft loan of Rs 9,570 crore at a negligible interest of 0.1 per cent to shift the Nano project to Gujarat. Repayment is deferred for 20 years. In all, the Modi Government has offered over Rs 30,000 crore in sops to Tata Motors. So Ratan Tata says, “You are stupid if you are not in Gujarat.” Martin Macwan, a human rights campaigner in Gujarat, compares this with the compensation offered to Dalits who have been forced to do manual scavenging. To quit the profession and seek an alternative livelihood, the state offers them a rehabilitation package — a bank loan of Rs 80,000 at 11 percent interest. Stigmatised Dalits, forced into a subhuman occupation for generations, are asked to pay hundred times more interest for a pittance of a loan. With which they sometimes open a tea stall. From which no one would drink tea. India officially has 7,70,338 manual scavengers and the state is the biggest employer.

Of course, all of this is assuming that those who have signed the petition will actually turn their phones off on the 30th of January. What are the odds? I think everyone's going to be happy they did their bit by signing an online petition. They might even send a few SMSes to mark the occasion.

Oh - the Cellular Silence petition here.


?! said...

IBM. Ford. Krupp. Bayer. BMW. Daimler. Even Hugo Boss.(since eventually all discussions on the Net have to link up to the Nazis).

The list goes on.

Of all the betrayals: Mumbai electing Shiv Sena, Gujarat refusing to see that they have a mass murderer on their hands... I think this is the unkindest cut of all. The one that has brought me closest to despair.

It's Ratan Tata, not Zaheera Sheikh. These are not people circumscribed by education, needs or background. They are people one would have expected to spearhead a movement for justice, for human decency.

Hehhhhh. How innocent we were.

km said...

Yeah, let's hear a businessman openly express his disdain for a powerful politician. That ought to make his shareholders very happy.

kuffir said...

muslim businesses in some areas of gujarat are suffering because, reportedly, hindu customers, with 'economic clout', are boycotting them. even if modi is hanged, i don't see how that situation is going to change.people who voted for modi, the bureaucracy, especially the ias and ips officers who remained/remain committed to modi, elements in the judiciary- who's going to change those people?

at best, not more than 25% of gujarati citizens chose the bjp in the last elections. even among voters, the majority chose someone else. it's the design of the indian electoral system, and the kind of distorted representation it makes possible, that's responsible for bjp cornering most of the seats and executive power.

but it was possible for those on the higher rungs of the state apparatus- especially people from the civil services to challenge the genocide in 2002, and the constitution would have backed them up. except for a couple of individuals, a majority of them, chose not to stand up. i don't think there were any insurmountable restraints on them either.

Anonymous said...

Colonel Bogey's March. Let's make it the theme music once again.