Friday, July 31, 2009

Chandrabhan Prasad celebrates capitalism, consumption and globalization

[For Indian women, globalisation has generally done good. It has brought them into the workforce, and done so in large numbers. Earlier, working women in India were either the elite or the poor. This picture has now changed with women of many classes choosing to work both before and after marriage. But there is a downside to this. Despite obvious class differences between women working in factories or call centres and in managerial jobs, tensions are perceptible and palpable in most families and in society at large. Men (and in-laws) are happy that daughters, sisters and wives are bringing home incomes but are not fully reconciled to them venturing out of the house. Work and independent incomes enable women to try out new freedoms. On offer are choices and an escape from the stifling confines of parental or marital homes.
TOP ARTICLE Clouded By Confusion - Editorial - Opinion - The Times of India Ravinder Kaur 14 February 2009 The writer is a professor of social anthropology, IIT Delhi. 4:09 PM]

[Flight to Freedom: Travel Through Dalit Villages Posted by: Aditya Nigam June 10, 2008 media politics dissent Kafila
“Do you eat piglets?” he asked as our car moved through the long road from Lucknow, via Barabanki, Faizabad, Akbarpur towards Azamgarh. “We can have roast piglets and whiskey when we end our day’s work” This was our ‘tour sponsor’, Chandra Bhan Prasad, well known now as the maverick intellectual who celebrates capitalism, consumption and globalization and who was the first to advocate a Dalit-Brahmin alliance against the Sudra (OBC) castes. Thus it was to be. We were to spend our first night in the poorvanchal on 4 June 2008, eating and drinking.]

[Economic activity by private individuals is as natural and ancient as the desire to mate. The government has no business stepping in and taking it over. As for "accumulation", I am not sure what Nigam means by that. If by that, he is referring to the profit-maximization motive, then yes, I agree it is central to the idea of capitalism. But then what is point of trading in markets, and engaging in entrepreneurial activities if not making profits? Indeed, it is opportunities to make profit that have led to the relative prosperity that Nigam witnessed in Poorvanchal. I also want to talk about private ownership, or property rights, a pet issue of mine. Although left-liberals rightly champion the cause of the victims of Sardar Sarovar, Nandigram, Singur, etc, I have not heard a single one of them demand that the right to property be restored as a fundamental right in the Indian constitution. That will solve all these land-grabbing problems in one go, and ensure that they are not repeated.]

[The tenable patriot RANJIT HOSKOTE
As we approach the 60th anniversary of our independence, it appears that some Indians can claim to be born citizens by virtue of belonging to the Hindu majority, while others must remain citizens-on-probation all their lives. Despite legal equality, members of minority communities are repeatedly subjected to a cricket-match or a national-song test of loyalty.
The Hindu Sunday, Dec 03, 2006. On this account, some Indians are landlords by birth (Hindus, in M S Golwalkar's constipated and ahistorical definition of that category); other Indians are guests, tenants or squatters, transients on permanent probation, to be tolerated, made to pay exorbitant rents, or evicted by force if necessary, depending on how well they behave (the minorities).]

[It was a birthday party organized by Chandrabhan Prasad, Dalit intellectual and activist, who hails Macaulay as the Father of Indian Modernity, for it was after the introduction of his English system of education in 1854, that Dalits got the right to education, he says.
As sodas popped and the whisky poured (aptly called, Teacher’s Scotch) Prasad led his guests - a motley mix of Dalit poets, singers, academia, a sprinkling of the international media, social scientists Ashish Nandy, Gail Omvedt - to the centrepiece of the party’s action. The unveiling of a portrait, English, the Mother Goddess, painted by Dalit artist Shant Swaroop Baudh.
Happy Birthday Lord Macaulay, thank you for ‘Dalit empowerment’ Vrinda Gopinath Tags : Posted: Thursday , Oct 26, 2006 at 0122 hrs New Delhi, October 25]

If globalization is good for Chandrabhan Prasad, it should be so for the rest of us. [TNM]

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