Development and the Myths Behind Protests in India
India, like China, is all set to kick off a boom in infrastructure creation - large Special Economic Zones, airports, dams and roads are high on the agenda. But the social climate is marred by community resistance. Do these signal the usual resistance to change or are the rural citizens given a raw deal against their urban counterparts? Are people innately anti-development or the establishment has failed to consider the economic, social, emotional and sentimental causes of vacating homes and hearth. Cases of forceful eviction, inadequate compensation, grabbing agricultural prime land have come to light. Civil society and judicial activists are yet to resolve the issue which is the biggest stumbling block to double-digit growth sustainability. Several myths exist and while social activists and political parties engage in mud-slinging, the humble Indian farmer is united by one factor – fear. India, with a vast representative democracy through ‘Panchayati Raj’(local self-governance) has not been adequate to handle misgivings. Meanwhile Indian policy makers who are deep into coalition politics are unable to see the root of the problem. Agricultural productivity has shown an encouraging sign of revival waking up from its 'Hindu rate of growth' although far behind the industrial growth rate figures. The challenge to Indian polity lies in taking the message of development to people and making it inclusive. The country’s diversity poses the biggest challenge – every State has its own language, culture and beliefs. How will the monolith sustain the growth path if the vast majority perceives that they are left behind? This paper analysis the recent events in the sub-continent on community and development while evaluating alternatives for the way forward.
Keywords: Development, Infrastructure, Agricultural Land, Growth, Sustainability, Myths, Coalition Politics, Diversity, Sub, Continent, Alternatives
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