Power and Glory, Blindfolded

Published: September 10, 2012 - 15:06 Updated: September 10, 2012 - 15:16

Book: Revitalising Indian Democacy
Author: Major General Vinod Saighal
Publisher: Gyan Publishing House
Pages: 256
Price: Rs. 590
Year: 2012

The most important threats for humanity and all life forms on the planet are undoubtedly global warming and climate change. There are hardly any international bodies, countries or NGOs in this domain that are not seized of it. The number of international, regional and local meetings that take place on the issue are legion. One of the most urgent problems remains the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Many mitigation techniques from carbon sequestration to carbon credits, among others, are being considered to reduce carbon levels. That being the case, it must be one of the most amazing conundrums that one of the simplest pathways to ameliorate the situation at little or no cost is ignored by world bodies and governments and by the numerous conferences taking place on the subject around the world.

Simply stated, it is the heedless method of exploitation of natural resources and the accompanying displacement of local communities that invariably takes place, mainly in the developing world and the pristine forest regions (where local communities have been living as pastoral societies engaged in gathering forest produce, using methods that they have practiced for centuries), leading to shrinking habitats still rich in biodiversity. Most of these communities are to be found in developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Southeast and South Asia. They are that part of humanity whose carbon footprint even in the 21st century is extremely low, sometime almost non-existent. This realisation has either not dawned on decision-makers or governments and vested interests simply turn a blind eye to it…

…A word on the fate that awaits displaced communities forcibly removed from their land and way of life. They are resettled in ghetto-like shanty towns or even concrete blocks. Either way, the disoriented elders spend their time bemoaning their loss while the youngsters drift into drugs, drunkenness, prostitution and the other ills of modernity into which they have been forced. Lacking survival skills for the new life that they are required to lead, many of them drift into cities into a life of crime or destitution in the hovels knows as bastis … The lands that they have left behind are ravaged. Animal and bird life soon disappears due to the extreme pollution of the water bodies and the toxins that leach into the soil…

…Capitalism capitalises on human greed. That’s why it is called capitalism. China and India will not forgo development, as they still have a long way to go before ameliorating poverty, leave alone eradicating it. The economic bottom-line or the largely unfettered corporate world must include an environmental bottom-line that will translate into ecological sustainability, if the planet is to survive…

… The decline in governance at the Centre has reached proportions that in many parts of the country mere mention of Delhi often conjures up visions of shameless corruption at the apex of governance, in whose hands the destiny of India has been reposed by the electorate. In spite of all the scams that have brought down the image of the Indian government in the world as well as the PILs before the courts, the real depth of the terminal degradation has still not been fully appreciated…

…In a perceptive editorial in The Statesman (November 25, 2011) a well- known journalist had this to say on the state of governance in the country: “Today we have police stations without having the rule of law. We have law courts without getting justice. We have elections without having democracy. Our system has collapsed because our democratic institutions have been destroyed. Institutions have been reduced to empty husks devoid of real contents.”….

… What the people of India and the world at large find inexplicable is the total passivity of practically every higher up living in Delhi who could have intervened but chose to remain silent; as if they were being driven around the capital city blindfolded… 

Capitalism capitalises on human greed. That’s why it is called capitalism. China and India will not forgo development, as they still have a long way to go before ameliorating poverty, leave alone eradicating it

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