The LPG Discourse: Land, Power and Growth

The premise of this article is based on a brilliantly made film ‘Shanghai’ by Dibakar Banerjee  on the Politician, Builder and Civil Society nexus that has fueled the rhetoric behind ‘Development and Growth’. What constitutes Development, is a vital question which has many nuanced shades. What might be development to one might be dis-entitlement to another. Development in the present narrative in the urban context is the establishment of Special Economic Zones, uprooting farmers in favor of Industry and disposing off old homes in exchange for Shopping Malls. Civil Society is also a strand of the elite, an activist professor who is magnetic and teaches social movements at Ivy League school earning USD 120K salary is nothing but reeks of champagne socialism. The Bureaucracy is a supporter of the capitalist class, with vested interests was observed by the good old Marx 150 years back. The Civil Servant and the Activist are bumped off or Purchased in return of an election ticket/overseas posting. Any resistance against ‘Development’ is seen as treason.

This paradigm was accelerated by the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization discourse  since 1991. Singur, Nandigram and Noida are all classic cases of Land Acquisition gone awry. There needs to be a balance between Development Fundamentalism and Welfare. This murky scene will continue and the poor will suffer at the hands of the powerful. We need to find a solution before social unrest like Singur erupts all over, especially when Red Terror is institutionalized in 1/3rd of India. Think Dantewada and Bastar?


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