Indigenous movements are our only hope: Arundhati Roy

Interview made by Vittorio Sergi

Arundhati Roy

The Indian Government which was one of the leading countries in the Non-Aligned Movement during the cold war, has now opted to being completely aligned. It calls itself a natural ally of Israel and the US. In 1990 it embraced the Free Market. Since then, structural adjustment, privatization and huge infrastructural projects like dams and power plants and mines have resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. India probably has the largest population of internally displaced people in the world. The largest majority of these people belong to indigenous tribal
communities or to the Dalit (untouchable) castes.

The present government is headed by stooges of the IMF and the corporate world. The Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, Mr Manmohan Singh has never won an election in his life. The Home Minister P.Chidambaram is a corporate lawyer who has represented many major mining corporations and also the infamous Enron. He has said that he visualizes 80% of the Indian population living in cities. This would mean social engineering on a scale that no governmet has ever dreamt of. Roughly moving about 500 million people off their lands. It can only be done if India turns into a military/police state.

But even as the rural poor are being displaced from their lands at an unprecedented pace, when they arrive in the cities, living in slums and shanty towns, forming the bulk of the virtually slave labour that builds the new, glittering cities, when their work is done they are driven out of the cities too. We have a population of 800 million people living on less than half a dollar a day. They are what the Nazis used to call “superfluous eaters”. The government wants to be rid off them.

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