Monday, 1 November 2010

Emergence of The Fifth World India

Emergence of The Fifth World India 

This scene appears in a public square in Mumbai.

The Fifth World India of the marginalized and the displaced is already on the scenario. And we presume it may also be worldwide phenomena. However nobody wants to acknowledge its existence, particularly those who wield power. 

The people are marginalized and displaced for various reasons. However the primary cause is Industrial Revolution and the Industrial Society that grew with it over a period of time, and their rapid, wild and unrestrained growth, progressively.

The growth of Industrialization certainly is out of proportion to entire population on, and the resources of the planet. It has created imbalance between regions and peoples, resulting in deprivation of basic needs – Food, Shelter and Clothing – for the economically weaker section, which is a large majority.

The Industrial Society, now labeled a Global phenomenon, wields monopoly over the resources of the Earth that belongs to all living beings – humans as well as plants and other animals.

Industrial Revolution is not ‘Universal’ like Agricultural Revolution. It remains in the hands of a privileged few. The rest are denied its advantages in practice, though it may not be on paper. This is not an altruistic attitude generally ascribed to humans.

Columbus discovered ‘New World’ while searching India. It followed not only colonization of new land and faith but also annihilation / enslaving of aborigines / local people. Vasco da Gama when landed at Mahim in Mumbai, then Islands of Mumbai, there was war at Mahim Fort. On winning the war the soldiers went around Mahim village and killed the unarmed villagers to create terror; typically colonization of land and faith followed power. A known history!   

Now the 20th century and its extension the 21st century have seen faces of Power, Colonization and Faith changed. They are now faceless entities, not a picture of personalized Maharaja, Map or Mother Goddess. Now they are Money (economy), Market and Machine (the make-believe-idol-of-salvation – Science and Technology). 

In India, tools with sexy and sugary names such as, Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are coined to facilitate the First World India, and to allure people at large as if it is boon for heaven of happiness. As if it will work like magic wand to bring progress and development to the majority second-class citizens in 600,000 villages (by “trickle-down” formula).

Perhaps it may work for the First World India of yours and mine who live in Virtual Reality, for the Presidents, Prime-Ministers and Political Party-leaders who reach their “level of incompetence” (The Peter Principle). The peasants, of course, don’t believe in their antics. Hence they have been electing “hung” parliaments and legislative assemblies for decades; but politicians don’t learn their lessons. 

The obvious fallout of development of last six decades in India is the increasing number of the marginalized and the displaced from the rural areas. They have been migrating in hordes to mega cities and urban areas to earn their daily bread in the hope of survival.

From Nehru down till now the Government of India follows the priority of progress and development on the western model, rather than facilitating knowledge to and educating the agrarian society in six lakhs villages to face the Challenges of Industrialization, particularly in farming (agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, horticulture and related fields) and Market. This should have been the primary task before a government of any brand – right/left/centre, religion, language, caste, religion, colour and dogmas.

Slum-dog Millionaire Mumbai 

Stone Age humans must have been working in this manner!

Mumbai, said-to-be financial capital of India, has population of 110+ millions. It attracts the Global Capitalist Corporate; of course, to market their unsold / surplus goods & reap profits. Their primary interest is Indian Market, not Indian People. The First World India welcomes them.

People of The Fifth World India, the legitimate citizens of India, marginalized and displaced from their homestead, are the victims of many / different causes, including the Action., Non-Action, and/or Failed-Action by the Government/s. They are the slum-dwellers and squatters, 60%+ of Mumbai's population.

The First World India's elite citizens in Mumbai have different reactions and responses to their presence in Mumbai, which is mostly negative and hostile, very few empathize.  However, now, the landmark slum at Dharavi is a target for redevelopment, for its Land at Prime Location to mint money, by land-sharks the Real-Estate Corporate: They, too, are not interested in the People. 

It is best symbolized by Mumbai City's land use plan: Typically this 'Grey Area' of 60 plus million habitants is not shown on the map. It is as if city land is a market commodity, not for humans use. Industrial Civilization turns land-water-air-space... everything including humans into market commodity.

Government floated ‘curative’ measure called ‘free housing’ under slum rehabilitation & put the slum dwellers in high-rise concrete slums. This cannot be called the Rehabilitation of the Affected People. It is a poor planning action, either long-term or short-term. (This requires a separate chapter for evaluation.)

The Fifth World is a Global Phenomena 
Hindustan Times News
                                        Instead of strengthening autonomy of the peasants, the thrust has been on the development of industry and necessary infrastructure it required. The language of farming is Universal; therefore, Agricultural Revolution could spread across the continents, when there was neither urbanization (civilized society) nor institution of government.

As a saying goes, ‘wherever civilization stepped, it left desert behind’; now in modern times, it is Industrial Civilization. Interestingly emergence of The Fifth World is not limited to India alone; it is now a Global Phenomenon. 

Industrial Civilization, in the name of ‘Social and Financial Development’ (H G Wells, The Short  History of the World), leaves irreversible desert in the human world by effecting slavery (earlier physical, now intellectual), destitution (by constant wars), poverty – hunger – starvation – malnutrition – marginalization – displacement (by monopolizing resources – land, waters, forests, minerals, on which Peoples led, for tens of thousands of years,  Sustainable Living) and complete disregard for their cultures): Now it coins a new verbosity – Sustainable Development!   

India, in the frenzy to bring Industrialization, made several Laws and Acts (which also include Development Projects, such as dams, cities, expansion of cities…) without Enacting Rehabilitation of the Affected People, by design or default. There is no effort to scrutinize the obvious fallout of previous/existing/defunct Laws and Acts, their success and failures. Neither India does learn from others’ mistakes.

Following the draconian British-made law of ‘Land Acquisition Act’ the government took over lands. The compensation came by way of Cash that had no tangible value. Our learned leaders, bureaucrats and judiciary never thought of how people live and survive, or their Ancestral Right to land. Now with few amendments the law remains!  

The Governments in India, at Centre and the states, while following various divisive policies, which results in pushing India’s plural society to polarization and further weakening the weaker section – a large majority, unilaterally followed to develop Industry (where there is Money), and conveniently ignored Gandhiji (who ironically appears on Indian Currency).

More on this issue:
  2. Urban Renewal in the Regional Context 
  3. ‘PRO-POOR’ – Election slogan by UPA-2004

Note: 1 Image, "Mumbai's Slum Population" Source: Hindustan Times, e Paper 17-10-2010
2. Images of squatters in Mumbai by Remigius de Souza 

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. This author watched, witnessed, experienced, and encountered, what marginalization and displacements are over past six decades… in his personal life as well as among the people across the country in urban and rural areas. No one needs volumes of discourses to understand better than witnessing ground reality wherever one stands.