Brave New India: Uprisings
India is hot. Its meteoric rise as an economic power with a growing number of millionaires and billionaires is a great success story. Not quite. Politically, India has gone from its Nehru-inspired non-alignment to aligning itself with Washington. Its priorities mirror its mentor’s. 19% of the country’s budget goes to the military while education gets about 5% and public health a scant 1%. Journalist Praful Bidwai writes, “We are a poor country and we are spending like crazy on guns while 77% of Indians live on less than 20 rupees, 50 cents, per day.” They have little access to clean water and electricity. The contrasts and contradictions are sharp and widening between the rich who live well-lit lives of opulence and the indigent who are literally in darkness. From Assam to Jharkand and from West Bengal to Andhra Pradesh, the dispossessed are rebelling and resisting. Interview by David Barsamian.
Arundhati Roy is a world-renowned writer and global justice activist. The New York Times calls her, “India’s most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence.” Among her many honors are the Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award and the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of many books including The God of Small Things, The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile, Field Notes on Democracy, Walking with the Comrades, Capitalism A Ghost Story and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.