Amid the misnomer of a debate on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury’s comment caught my attention. Stated as a passing remark, his point nevertheless invoked poignancy. Frankly, no one remembers or rather cares about the Partition of 1947 that etched out decades-long infighting between two newly-formed nations. What we’re seeing today is the subtle halving of the Indian society in to two massively disproportionate chunks. Keeping the caste & communal strife in abeyance, this classic fallout of Capitalism is weeding over the country. India’s famed economic liberalization experiments have today produced a crop of extravagantly rich human beings making the country one of the largest producers of Billionaires.
Comically our industries have also produced one of world’s most stagnant poverty climes where a person fails to manage with less than 1$ a day. Yechury’s comment deserves appreciation, for he clearly laid out the truth: India today is composed of 2 nations, of the IPL & the BPL. Indian Premier League (IPL) raised the stature of India’s sporting clout with some even placing them at par with the English Premier League and the likes. Then came the F1 races and there was no looking back. As Lewis Hamilton had remarked, “Amazing to see the rise of F1 in India”. Of course Mr. Hamilton, you ought to be amazed. Who would have guessed that a country reeling with poverty would have the guts to organize an event meant primarily for the rich? India thrives on ironies, would be an understatement.
The new affluent class knows of India as an ‘awesome’ place where you can hop around malls, clink your glasses in merriment and watch fabulously rich people zooming around the metropolis. They shrug off the notion that our country is still heavily in need of foreign aid to provide even the basic features of human life. The Below Poverty Line (BPL) India is drifting farther & farther away across an abysmal border from the IPL India. They don’t care about which team bought the star player or what’s the latest clothing line doing the rounds. Life’s simple for them, yet not easy. India’s sagging education very easily ensures that the BPL never dares to dream of the IPL lifestyle.
The recent American Presidential Election focused on how the rich 1% is controlling the rest 99%. India seems to be happy going in that direction. No wonder the Maoists are gaining new grounds; even if their actions aren’t legit, their thoughts are. And for the helpless pauper on the streets, hunger is enough to pick up arms against the Gov.
The questions isn’t the one about morality about the IPL-lifestyle, it is fundamentally about whether those privileges are being enjoyed by the rest of the population. A society not based on egalitarianism breeds anarchists. While the Czars care not about the workers, they should have a reading of History to realize the dangerous predicament. For in this tussle between Jekyll and Hyde, it is the Nation that is bearing the scars.
Additional read, here.