Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tata says tata

Tata leaves Singur for greener pastures – literally. As a rather strong proponent of capitalism, like most of the younger generation these days, I feel vindicated again. For enterprise to grow and thus foster growth of a nation, the answer does not lie in Communism! Look where Left Bengal has gone!

Politics is a media circus. The whole US Presidential election 2008 replete with moose, pigs, makeup, racial sentiments, feminism, and blockhead politics is testimony to that fact. But that a political party would ditch potential growth for those measly 15 seconds of fame, leaves me wondering whether India has been hit by another syndrome post the global economic meltdown. A syndrome called ‘idiocy in politics’!

The scene in West Bengal - A friend of mine who has lived his life in Calcutta says that the sleepy city is in no way comparable to a metropolis. He’d been to Cal for around 10 days on an assignment, and when he came back, he said that he was happy to be back, since had he continued there, he would have become lazy and lethargic. His case you can argue, is an exception, but who can argue against the number of stirs and strikes that are commonplace in WB? Every other day, shutters are down for some reason or the other. But with a growing population, and more number of graduates the dearth of jobs is a reality. Where do they go? Move to other cities. Brain drain on a smaller scale. But what does that do to the state and its infrastructure? Every state, no matter how small or inconsequential, has state machinery that needs to run. And for that the state needs investment. An investment to the scale of the kind that Tata envisioned, would have opened up the floodgates of investment. Maybe Reliance, Vodafone? Daimler Benz for all you know??!!!?? Ironically ,the Communist government in WB noticed that fact, which Ms Banerjee chose to ignore. She went on and on hammering into the heads of anyone who would listen and also those who wouldn’t, that she wanted to protect the farmers, whose rights had been cruelly snatched by the alligators of corporate capitalism! Whoa, and this poor alligator could have given jobs, much needed tax revenues to the desirous millions in West Bengal. India is an agrarian economy, no doubt, but somewhere one needs to move on. Agriculture alone cannot feed, clothe, house and develop the zillions of people. Khmer Rouge and Polpot had such nefarious intentions – a complete regression to farming and the ways of the olden times man. The result – a wipe out of a whole generation in Cambodia. Which again brings me back to wonder how one woman could have been so foolish???

Two instances make me believe that perhaps West Bengal is opposed to anything new. They abhor change of any sort! Traditionally the Left with roots in West Bengal, have been very good ‘opposition’. No, I don’t mean it as a compliment to their political methods, but they operate in the true sense of the word – oppose anything that comes your way. The government said – ‘Without nuclear energy we would literally be left groping in the dark. So support the nuclear deal’ The Politburo said – ‘we hate America and all things American. So shoo the nuclear deal.’ I wish someone had then told them that nuclear energy does not belong to one country! It is property of the world community, scientific community, rather. Second, an Indian company made bold and decided to set up shop in WB. Two years ago. Why did the agitation begin to reach feverish levels only just now? Where were the protests before this? Save for a few breaks of the gate and screams here and there all this while, why protest now when the plant is at a stage where relocation costs are exorbitantly high? Where were these disgruntled farmers for so long? Spending the money they received as compensation? And when the moneybag ran dry, they found a reason to ask more? Has greed reached such abysmal levels? Ms Banerjee perhaps never imagined that the man of steel – Ratan Tata would move lock stock and barrel. She thought she could formulate a truce plan that would benefit her so called oppressed farmers and also bolster her long lost plans of becoming the CM next year. Unfortunately, the whole plan backfired. Now the youth are aghast, since much needed employment is gone. The state as a whole is disgruntled with her, and the glacier between her and the ruling government has received 10 more layers of ice! And irrespective of what Mr Tata may say to anyone, any future investor would think a billion times before embarking on a project in hinterlands of Mamtaland.

The biggest loser, however is West Bengal. They were legendary for being thought leaders. Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketan, Bengal Chemicals, a majority of the freedom fighters, all have their roots in West Bengal. With the advent of the Left government, the state started sinking into the oblivion. Blame it on policies, or the lack of it, reticence towards development, a cushy comfort in the status quo or whatever. But now, such cruel selfish politics has managed to sound the way downward for one of India’s once most illustrious states.

1 comment:

Pappoos said...

the whole incident and the way you have put it reminds me of portions of Atlas Shrugged in my own discrete perception. Anyways, Bengal does need to shun their yesteryear art film image and step into the real world sometime. Its not something the legends who patronised the state in the freedom fight would appreciate of what this mindless politics has done to their people.