[Marxism] The news out of India

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 1 12:47:32 MST 2006

Counterpunch Weekend Edition
April 1 / 2, 2006

A Bull Market for Sensex, Fashion Models and Farmer Suicides

Where India's Brave New World is Headed


FARM SUICIDES in Vidharbha crossed 400 this week. The Sensex share index 
crossed the 11,000 mark. And Lakme Fashion Week issued over 500 media 
passes to journalists. All three are firsts. All happened the same week. 
And each captures in a brilliant if bizarre way a sense of where India's 
Brave New World is headed. A powerful measure of a massive disconnect. Of 
the gap between the haves and the have-mores on the one hand, and the 
dispossessed and desperate, on the other.

Of the three events, the suicide toll in Vidharbha found no mention in many 
newspapers and television channels. Even though these have occurred since 
just June 2 last year. Even though the most conservative figure (of Sakaal 
newspaper) places the deaths at above 372. (The count since 2000-01 would 
run to thousands.) Sure, there were rare exceptions in the media. But they 
were just that - rare. It is hard to describe what those fighting this 
incredible human tragedy on the ground feel about it. More so when faced 
with the silence of a national media given to moralising on almost 
everything else.

In the 13 days during which the suicide index hit 400, 40 farmers took 
their own lives. The Vidharbha Jan Andolan Samiti points out that the 
suicides are now more than three a day - and mounting. These deaths are not 
the result of natural disaster, but of policies rammed through with 
heartless cynicism. They are driven by several factors that include debt 
linked to a credit crunch, soaring input costs, crashing prices, and a 
complete loss of hope. That loss of faith and the rise in the numbers of 
deaths has been sharpest since last October. That's when a government that 
came to power promising a cotton price of Rs.2,700 a quintal ensured it 
fell to Rs.1,700. A thousand rupees less.

When 322 of 413 suicides have occurred since just November 1, you'd think 
that is newsworthy. When the highest number, 77, take place in March alone, 
you'd believe the same. You'd be wrong, though. The Great Depression of the 
Indian countryside does not make news.

Full: http://www.counterpunch.com/sainath04012006.html

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