Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Trade or Perish

Thanks Devinder for starting a discussion on this very important issue.
In this period of ' Trade or Perish ' I like to quote from Gandhi ( although our politicians and planners have forgotten him).
Gandhi believed that whatever is made or produced in a village must be used first and foremost by the people in the village itself. Trading should only be in what is surplus and in exchange for things that can not be produced in that village.
Today the rulers of this country force on the people just the opposite. They do not want us to produce what is needed here and they want us to produce what is needed elsewhere and this they call development!
Even while I write this farmers in this country continue to commit suicide because of this wrong policy and the associated technology. Now we hear that Reliance has started procuring agriculture products from farmers in Wayanad at prices higher than the market price! which they will sell to the IT professionals in Bangalore through their retail shop.
Apart from the private money lenders, banks and other financial agencies, these neo rich kings will take the life out of our farmers in the coming days and to facilitate this process they are getting certified officers from the public sector itself.

I would like to draw some parallels here.
While the Kerala Government is undecided on waiving of farmerss' loans they have decided yesterday to waive 60crore rupees which the Kerala Agriculture University had to give back to the government. This money was paid to the scientists of KAU in the nineties even before the government approved the UGC scale to them.
Later it was found out by the auditor and asked the university to pay back the money and the scientists were really angry about this 'injustice' done to them.
Government did bow before their strength and once again the farmers have been failed.

--- Usha S, Thanal, Kerala.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Globalization Strategy

Thank you Devinderji, for drawing attention to this issue which is kind of slipping by..the situation now seems to be that the aam admi is attacked on so many fronts that he doesnt know what to retailiate to(I am sure thats a strategy in itself of the powers that be)!

The figures of Wal-mart in US are mirrored by Tesco figures in Britain and Monbiot discusses the impact of box-retailers on his website in detail . They have devastated towns, cities and rural areas and small local groups in US are fighting to regain some kind of foot hold in re-creating a local economy .. these stores are the epitome of a monoscape with no room for local flavor or local enterprise....We in India trying to destroy that very thing, which the west is struggling to recreate These shops are nothing better than modern day sweat shops who pass on their burden to the state and citizen .......

It truly truly appalls me that we refuse to look at the downsides of all these developments and learn something from them, instead insist on repeating the mistakes of the first world, which for a poor over-populated nation like India will prove to be very very expensive....we are already seeing it in farmer suicides and unprecedented levels of migration from rural to urban areas...

Our wonderful urban middle class consumers who think that these retailers are going to the mecca of shopping will soon realise something else: the picture is not pretty at all, even for the darling urban middle class consumer.... Today in mid west US you would have to get into a car and drive a couple of miles atleast, if you ( god forbid) run out of milk on an evening...there are no small shops , nothing accessible at walking distance ...Once you are in after parking 300 metres away, you have to go through the rigamoarole of picking a basket and walking to the farthest corner of the store which is where essentials are stacked ( based on brilliant marketing strategy of making every customer walk the length of the store ) and then join the interminable queue manned/womaned by person earning poverty wages, who is least interested in dealing with you , ( ofcourse you can circumvent that thru the store 's brilliant strategy of 'do it urself' and check urself out, this is how stores outsource their work to the customers and keep their operations tight) and then back, get into the car , park the car, get back home and by then the tea that you wanted( a good one hour back) in the first place will also have to be accompanied by an aspirin ( god forbid u need to get that one from a drug store ...). These box stores are a consumers worst nightmare and have led to interesting statistics where americans spend more time shopping than with their children...
- Sreedevi Lakshmi Kutty

Sunday, 11 February 2007


‘ITC 4D !!’
‘…those who have the hammer treat everything as a nail. If you have the IT hardware and software with you does not mean that you try to fit it everywhere. IT professionals are no different than the arhityas who sell seed and fertiliser. The only difference is that they speak a rustic language and you guys speak a sophisticated language with all the right kind of vocabulary. Basically both are doing the same job: selling the product in the name of development...’

(Email from Devinder Sharma, Tue, 30 Jan 2007 11:20:12 +0530)

Mera Bharat Mahaan

Mera Bharat Mahaan...
We are a great nation. We are witnessing a growth rate nearing ten percent. The German luxury carmaker, DaimlerChrysler, has launched the most luxurious car in India. At Rs 5 crore a piece, the upwardly mobile have already begun to queue up. This comes at a time when Saurav Ganguly appears to have regained his form.
Also, when Amitabh Bachchan has been named as the brand ambassador for Uttar Pradesh. And he is happy reciting boring lines of a poem for ‘India Poised” that Times of India has launched.

Selling dreams is no longer the prerogative of Bollywood. On the eve of the New Year 2007, a woman is manhandled outside the gateway to India in Mumbai. A Mumbai daily terms it a national ‘disgrace’. Electronic media picks up the story.
For days together we are told that the Mumbai incidence was not only a shame, but showed how pervert the lower middle class is. The intellectuals collected for such talk shows join the chorus. But none of them have the courage to question the ‘disgrace’ the media (both print and electronic) has instead turned into.

Every day you open the pages of any daily newspaper and you can count the semi-nude or scantily clad pictures of women flashed throughout. On one such day I counted 62 pictures of semi-clad women in an English daily. Switch on your TV and the chances are you see semi-naked girls gyrating to lousy music.I am repeatedly told that this is the new India.

Let us look at the other picture. If the child of a Chief Executive Officer of a big business house is kidnapped, the media goes berserk. Breaking news is flashed 24x7. Media begins it own investigations. For the days the child remains in the hands of the kidnappers, the media gives an impression as if the nation is in grief, ready to cry enmasse for the aggrieved parents of the stolen child.

Electronic media’s social concern evaporates when someone questions that 38 children in one village of Noida (in the outskirts of Delhi, and the same place from where the CEO’s son was kidnapped) have gone missing.

When the bones are dug out, there is an outcry. But it doesn't match the frenzy that was witnessed when the son of a CEO was kidnapped. Nor did those who lined up to light a candle to seek punishment for the kilers of Jessica Lal showed the same concern for the children of the lesser gods.

We know they failed to turn up when a candlelight took place for the children of Nithari in Noida. We revolt and react when Shilpa Shetty is showered with abuses on a UK TV but we turn a blind eye when much worse discrimination happens back home. We surely are a great nation.

There is anger when Mother Dairy increases the price of milk by Re 1. It is however another matter that we pay Rs 15 for a bottle of mineral water and no one complains. People feret and fume when the price of tomatoes goes up. Potato prices going upto Rs 10 a kilo angers the rich and the elite.

The middle-class frowns when the onion prices go up. We are repeatedly told that food and vegetables is what constitutes 'essential commodites'. Their prices should therefore be under control.

I had always thought that the aam aadmi was struggling for "roti, kapdaa and makaan". Why is that it is only roti which constitute the "essential commodities"? Why don't we incorporate the prices of 'real estate' also among the 'essential commodities"? How come no one is questioning the stupendous increase the land prices, in the cost prices of houses? Hasn't a roof over your head now become a distant dream for an average Indian? And why is that we do not get angry when at the way real estate has made the dream to own a house evaporate for an average Indian?

We are certainly a great nation. The sensex is going up. The media is escatic. They spend discussing more about sensex, jumping in their seats when it crosses some mark. And when the sensex dips, the electronic media paints a gloomy picture. It looks as if a great tragedy has struck the nation. A 'blood bath' is being witnessed. The sensex rise is also happening at a time when more than 1,50,000 farmers have committed suicide.

I am told one farmer commits suicide every hour. But when was the last time you found the media launching a campaign on the issue of farmers committing suicide ?
When did we, as great Indians, ever show concern ??
How many more farmers need to hang themselves or drink pesticides before we took notice, before we felt outraged?

When was the last time you wrote a letter/sms to the media to express your dismay over farmers committing suicide?
Probably you are waiting for Shah Rukh Khan to ask you a question. Probably you are reserving your angry comments with the hope that you might also become a crorepati. Even death has to be weighed in terms of money.
If there is no financial gain accruing why should we, as Indians, protest?
We surely are a great nation. Mera Bharat is certainly Mahaan..........