How to kill a river in Shillong? a report
Two years back I visited my alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, to meet up with an old classmate of mine who is…
Eat Dust is no work of fiction, although one is left wondering at the bizarreness of the truth behind the loot. It is a book however that passes on timeless lore, like the story of Paikdev’s spring. As Hartman takes us over hills that once stood in Goa, to the court room, and river side, and traces his own story from Kenya to Goa, one gets a rich context for what is actually, and incredibly, unraveling in Goa.
There has a spurt of non-governmental organizations in the country. According to one estimate, India has more than 30 lakh NGO’s which is more than the number of schools in the whole country. These bodies are now performing the activities that the Government abdicated. But this is not a healthy scenario because at the end of the day they are not the mandated agencies and it encourages further outsourcing of development initiatives to private interest. This serves to weaken democracy because by virtue of being private initiatives the NGO’s are in principle not accountable to the public.
Ashwin looks at the Action Plans prepared by the Narmada Valley Development Authority in the 1990s and analyzes the ambition of a developmental project and the way a planning document looks at Project Affect Persons and at activists involved in the anti-dam struggle.
A pro-Hindutva sentiment prevails in the minds of the middle class Hindu citizenry of the country. But for once, they could (and still do) mask their affiliation to this ideology by justifying their vote for ‘development’. The operational logic to this class seems particularly straightforward, “as long as there is ‘development’ as Modi ji has promised (and is visiting foreign countries to that extent), we shouldn’t be troubled by marginal acts of violence or dissent.”
It is now only a matter of months until the Rio Olympics, an event inevitably wrapped up in the glamour of that most festive of world cities. The reality, however, is rather less glossy. Indeed, behind the fanfare, some of the city’s poorest people, many living in Rio’s notorious favelas, are being uprooted to make way for the games.
With all the world at stake, it’s not good enough for us to paste the word sustainable in front of the deceptive word development when what we really mean is “continue this exploitative and destructive way of life a little bit longer.” That destroys the words sustainable and development and, of course, contributes to the ongoing destruction of the world.