In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Congressmen urge Obama to discuss religious tolerance with Modi
- Narendra Modi fans beat up TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai at Madison Square Garden event
- Jail official asked me to cut beard, terror accused tells court, seeks compensation
- Supreme Court issues elaborate guidelines on encounter death cases, makes FIR and probe mandatory
- Hardline Indian Hindu Group Warns Muslims, Christians From Festival
- Tripura CM blames RSS for communal clashes
- Five cops suspended for death of three undertrials in U.P
- Veteran journalist lashes out at law enforcement, media for injustice towards Muslim youth
- Top India politician Jayalalitha jailed for corruption
- Punjab police gives electric shocks to 2 women inside police station
Opinions & Editorials
- ‘Like never before, I the Muslim am seen as the root cause of nation’s problems’ – By Abdul Khaliq
- Why The Dual Track Policy In Governance? An Open Letter To Modi ji – By George Abraham
- Ignorance, lies pose as truth in RSS’ history books – By Sitaram Yechury
- Milking the Stereotype – By Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
- Bypolls message for BJP: the Hindu voter is secular – By Karan Thapar
- A Hundred Days Closer to Ecological and Social Suicide – By Ashish Kothari
‘Walk for harmony and love’ organized in Delhi on International peace day (Sep 23, 2014, Twocircles.net)
Khudai KhIdmatgar and Sadhbhav Mission organized a ‘Walk for Harmony and love’ on 21 September, the International Peace Day in the national capital. The walk started from the Sacred Heart Church, reached the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and then to Moti Masjid and finally ended at the Hanuman Mandir.
Various Social Activist and Gandhians like Veena Behan, Khudai Khidmatgar leader Faisal Khan, Prof VK Tripathi from Sadhbhav Mission, Prof Sanat Mohantee from IIT Delhi, Ram Mohan Rai from Gandhi Global Family, Faizan Arish from Jamia Millia Islamia, Praveen Kumar, Hemant Sharma from Asha Parivar, Rizwan Ahmed, Tabish Bhatti from Khudai Khidmatgar, Poonam Kaushaik and others participated in the walk.
Ram Mohan Rai of Gandhi Global Family said that the need of the hour is that we all should come forward and fight against communalism. Khudai Khidmatgar leader Faisal Khan said that unfortunately most religious places have been captured by communal people and we need to expose them and propagate the real messages of peace, harmony and love, taught by all faiths.
Eleven members of the U.S. Congress have urged President Barack Obama to inject a discussion about religious tolerance and the protection of minorities into his bilateral summit with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and Tuesday.
In a formal letter to the President, the bipartisan Congressional group said, “Your meeting with [Mr.] Modi… provides an opportunity to discuss religious inclusion and the protection of religious minorities in India,” adding that the Indian Prime Minister’s visit could open a dialogue about the “positive steps his government can take in preventing oppression and encouraging religious inclusion.”
A twelfth lawmaker, Mike Honda from California, wrote an individual letter to Mr. Obama along similar lines, urging him to reinforce human rights and religious freedoms through increased attention and dialogue, but also underscoring that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2014 Annual Report noted that “in the past year, reports of incidents of communal and religiously-motivated violence in India increased.”…
- Indian Americans call for an end to growing repression of minorities and erosion of civil liberties in India (Sep 27, 2014, Twocircles.net)
- Indian PM Modi summoned to answer human rights lawsuit in New York (Sep 26, 2014, The Guardian)
- Reward for serving court summons to Modi: $10,000 (Sep 27, 2014, Rediff)
- Not Roses All the Way for Modi in America (Sep 23, 2014, New Indian Express)
Narendra Modi fans beat up TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai at Madison Square Garden event (Sep 30, 2014, Financial Express)
Leading TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai was today roughed up apparently by pro-Modi supporters outside the Madison Square Garden, shortly before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address. The news created quite a buzz on social networking site Twitter after @JFK_America posted, “Mob of people attacking an Indian journalist for being critical of Narendra Modi on the past. Accused if being a traitor”.
Rajdeep Sardesai, who quit as the editor-in-chief of IBN 18 Network in July, tweeted, “Great crowd at Modison square garden! except a few idiots who still believe abuse is a way of proving their machismo!”
He added, “Glad we caught the idiots on cam. Only way to shame the mob is to show them”. Sardesai also posted, “Great publicity for my book. All those who took selfies have promised to buy it!”
- Rajdeep Sardesai heckled at Modi venue in New York (Sep 29, 2014, The Hindu)
- Editors Guild Condemns Attack on Rajdeep Sardesai (Sep 29, 2014, Outlook)
- Rajdeep Sardesai heckled, manhandled: Senior journalist shares his version of the incident in Madison Square Garden (Sep 29, 2014, DNA India)
- Attack on Rajdeep Sardesai: Account of an eye witness from Madison Square Garden (Sep 29, 2014, First Post)
Jail official asked me to cut beard, terror accused tells court, seeks compensation (Sep 24, 2014, Indian Express)
A 33-year-old terror accused has filed a complaint against the superintendent of Arthur Road jail for allegedly ordering him to cut his beard. Abdul Latif alias Guddu, accused of plotting strikes at ONGC headquarters and two markets in the city in 2010, has demanded Rs 10 lakh as compensation and strict action, including suspension, to be taken against the jail authority for “hurting his religious sentiments”.
In his complaint submitted to a sessions court on September 19, Latif alleged that on September 18, during a “weekly round”, superintendent Ahir Rao questioned him regarding his beard. According to the complaint, Latif responded by saying, “main Musalmaan hoon, aur mere dharam ke hisaab se rakha hoon. (I am a Muslim, and have kept a beard in accordance with my religion)” “Jail main koi Musalmaan nahin rehta. Daadhi rakhe toh aur sadega jail me. Main kuch nahin jaanta, mujhe yeh daadi kati hui chahiye (Nobody is a Muslim in jail. If you keep a beard, you’ll rot longer in jail. I want this beard cut),” Rao is alleged to have instructed, according to the complaint copy. “Yeh mere dharam ke khilaaf hai (This is against my religion),” Latif objected.
In his complaint, Latif alleged that Rao had directed the jailor to ensure that his orders were complied with. “On the same day, the complainant prepared this application addressed to the superintendent to roll back the said unconstitutional order, which was handed over to Jailor Ade, but he refused to accept it and insisted that Latif cut his beard. Ade further turned down to give any acknowledgment on the application,” the complaint read. Latif, through his complaint, prayed for the suspension of Rao for “illegal, unconstitutional, inhumane, anti-religious remarks.” He further urged Additional Director General (Prison) Meera Borwankar to initiate a departmental inquiry against the superintendent.…
- 5 Trucks laden with meat for foreign export charred in Aurangabad (Sep 22, 2014, Twocircles.net)
- Madhya Pradesh: 9 Muslims arrested for Dalit conversions (Sep 25, 2014, Indian Express)
- Indian Govt, SCI & Human Rights panels urged to stop misuse of Freedom of Religion Act in MP (Sep 22, 2014, Muslim Mirror)
- Insertion of Muslim icons in social science text book creates storm in Maharashtra (Sep 23, 2014, Twocircles.net)
Supreme Court issues elaborate guidelines on encounter death cases, makes FIR and probe mandatory (Sep 23, 2014, Indian Express)
Issuing elaborate guidelines on deaths in police encounter, the Supreme Court ruled that in all cases of encounter deaths there shall be mandatory registration of FIRs and investigation by CID or any other independent agency.
A bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha also said that no officer shall be given out of turn promotion or a gallantry award for encounter operations till the inquiry is completed on its genuineness.
The court said that the magisterial inquiry should be completed expeditiously and of a police officer is found guilty of involvement in a fake encounter, he should be proceeded against legally and departmentally.…
- Sadiq Jamal encounter accused cop Tarun Barot withdraws bail plea from Gujarat High Court (Sep 26, 2014, Economic Times)
- HC admits appeal challenging ex-cop Pradeep Sharma’s acquittal in fake encounter case (Sep 26, 2014, Times of India)
- Punjab Government Constitutes Special Investigation Team into Jamalpur Fake Encounter (Sep 29, 2014, NDTV)
- Vanzara in dock for roughing up cop,court summons jail chief (Sep 28, 2014, Indian Express)
Hardline Indian Hindu Group Warns Muslims, Christians From Festival (Sep 25, 2014, Voice of America)
A prominent right-wing Hindu group in India warned Muslims and Christians on Thursday not to join in a lively Hindu religious festival this month, in the latest bid by activists to step up segregation in the multi-faith country.
Emboldened by the May election victory of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hardliners in his party and affiliated Hindu groups have been stirring up sentiment against India’s religious minorities in recent months.
“We are warning Muslims and Christians that they should stay away from all our festivals. The Navratri festival is for Hindus only,” Surendra Jain, spokesman for a Hindu group called the Vishwa Hindu Parishad [VHP], told Reuters.…
- Maulana who allegedly ridiculed Garba slapped in court premise; Clerics appeal to Muslim youths to stay away from Garba (Sep 24, 2014, Twocircles.net)
- Cleric held for garba remark assaulted outside court, refuses to apply for bail (Sep 24, 2014, Indian Express)
- Garba becomes yet another excuse for communal chatter in Gujarat (Sep 24, 2014, Economic Times)
- Muslim boys died saving Hindu girl from drowning (Sep 24, 2014, Siasat)
Various parts of the country have witnessed serious communal clashes ever since the Narendra Modi government took charge in the Centre and these incidents were the fallout of a vicious campaign let loose by the RSS that India should be converted into a Hindu Rashtra, said Manik Sarkar, Tripura Chief Minister, here on Monday.
About 35 communal clashes have been reported in the last three-and-a-half months in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Assam etc and the minorities have been the target everywhere. The Sangh Parivar has created a very complicated and dangerous situation in the country, he said while addressing the valedictory session of the three-day State conference of the All India Democratic Women’s Association.
Without RSS nod, the Modi government will not implement any programme. The communalization of the political structure should be stopped with immediate effect, failing which it will lead to disaster, he warned.…
- RSS worker facing murder case places turban on Rajnath Singh’s head (Sep 29, 2014, Indian Express)
- Vadodara burns in communal tension, 3 injured (Sep 27, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)
- Lawyers’ indefinite strike police chief’s riot remarks (Sep 27, 2014, Times of India)
- One killed in group clash in Dharwad village (Sep 26, 2014, The Hindu)
Five policemen were suspended for dereliction of duty in Agra on Saturday following the death of three undertrials in the District Jail. The three deceased – a man and his two sons – were allegedly poisoned by their relatives when they had gone for a hearing at an Agra court on Friday. The five cops had accompanied the undertrials.
The deceased were locked in a property dispute with their close relatives. While one undertrial died late on Friday night, two others died on Saturday.
A spokesman of the Director General of Police office here said that the three undertrials, Dinesh Chandra Soni, 55 years, and his two sons – Yogesh (26) and Vishal (24) – were taken from the District Jail to the Sessions Court for a hearing on Friday.…
- MCOCA court discharges 13/7 blasts ‘financier’ for lack of evidence (Sep 27, 2014, Indian Express)
- Undertrial period should be deducted from sentence: Madras high court (Sep 23, 2014, Times of India)
- 1993 Mumbai blasts: Supreme Court stays execution of Yakub Abdul Memon (Sep 26, 2014, Indian Express)
- I was tortured in custody: Ex-DG (Sep 17, 2014, Statesman)
Veteran journalist lashes out at law enforcement, media for injustice towards Muslim youth (Sep 24, 2014, The Hindu)
Stating that the law enforcement agencies have meted out gross injustice against the innocent Muslims by falsely implicating them in terror charges, veteran Delhi-based journalist, Ajit Sahi has regretted that even a large section of media has remained part of this injustice by not presenting the facts, and only harping on untrue news.
Speaking after inaugurating the seminar of ‘Politics of terror, myths and reality’ organised by Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) on Tuesday evening here, he accused the media of filing all sorts of stories against arrested Muslims youths without verifying the facts.
“The media suddenly swings into action when they get the news of Muslim youth arrested on terror charges. We began reading and watching strange stories about these men. But a few years later, when the same men are released by the court when nothing against them is proved, the media hardly tries to investigate to find out why they were arrested when no charge was proved”, Mr. Sahi said.…
- NHRC notice to top cop (Sep 24, 2014, The Hindu)
- NHRC notice to UP authorities over prisoner’s assault (Sep 26, 2014, Business Standard)
- Not sure PM meant what he said about Muslims: Asaduddin Owaisi (Sep 25, 2014, Indian Express)
- AMU to open school using relief fund for Muzaffarnagar riot victims (Sep 28, 2014, Twocircles.net)
One of India’s most colourful and controversial politicians, Jayaram Jayalalitha, has been sentenced to jail for four years on corruption charges in a case that has lasted for 18 years. The chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu was found guilty of amassing wealth of more than $10m (£6.1m) which was unaccounted for.
She has to pay a 1bn rupee ($16m; £10m) fine and resign as chief minister. A former actress, her life has been marked by a series of high and lows. The verdict was delivered by a special court in Bangalore amid tight security.
Along with three others, Jayalalitha was sentenced to an immediate jail term, and was due to be sent to Parappana Agrahara prison in Bangalore. But she complained on chest pains and giddiness after the verdict was delivered, the Times of India reported, and was sent to the prison hospital for assessment.
- Jayalalithaa convicted, sentenced to 4 years in Jail; 100 crore fine (Sep 27, 2014, Economic Times)
- Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case: 5 things to know (Sep 27, 2014, Business Standard)
- In Haryana’s poorest part, subsidies go to the dead & fake (Sep 25, 2014, Indian Express)
- Loan scam busted; four call centre staffers held (Sep 20, 2014, Ahmedabad Mirror)
- GMC doctor accused of rape absconding (Sep 30, 2014, Times of India)
- Charges framed in Rohtak shelter home sexual assault case (Sep 24, 2014, Indian Express)
- Activists and nobel laureates in India demand action on sexual violence (Sep 30, 2014, UCA News)
- Minor Dalit girl gang-raped, dead (Sep 24, 2014, Indian Express)
Opinions and Editorials
‘Like never before, I the Muslim am seen as the root cause of nation’s problems’ – By Abdul Khaliq (Sep 27, 2014, Indian Express)
The by-election results in Bihar and UP are being viewed as a vindication of the deep-rooted and strong secular credentials of the nation. As heartening to the secular devotees is the Prime Minister’s statement that Indian Muslims would live and die for the country. However, the fact that the PM has thought it necessary to underline the patriotism of Muslims is in itself deeply disturbing. Implicit in the statement is the frightening reality of how the Muslim is viewed in today’s India.
I am an Indian but the fact that I am a Muslim has endangered my claim to equal citizenship. I say this not because of our laws which are unexceptionable but because of the mind-numbing environment of hostility and prejudice, the inexorable growth of sheer distrust and hatred for the Muslim and all that he represents.
Although the Muslims are near the bottom of the socio-economic ladder and at par with the Dalits in almost every human development index, the public discourse today is not about the economic and educational backwardness of this beleaguered community but about the huge affliction they are in the nation’s social fabric. The plight of the ordinary Muslim is getting progressively worse. Living on the margins of society, he has always been up against it in the field of education, in the job market, even when looking for accommodation. He is also burdened with the stigma of being in tacit collusion with terrorists. But hitherto, the discrimination and the distrust of the Muslim were covert. Now the gloves are off and the hatred is in-your-face. Like never before, the Muslim is viewed not just as “the other” but as the root cause of the nation’s problems. …
It is high time that the media seriously introspected on how it projects such nation-threatening issues. Significantly, those who are working to create a permanent rift between communities and isolate the Muslims are actually executing the pernicious plot of the separatists and other enemies of the state who thrive on social discord. It is foolhardy to believe that the nation can progress by banishing 150 million Indians into ghettoes and isolation. Our Prime Minister has, in that most compelling slogan “Sabke saath sabka vikas”, nailed the panacea for the nation’s problems. This slogan needs to become a reality or else we face the deluge.
- Hindutva hate campaign: Finally, a voice from NDA fraternity raises red flag – By Tarique Anwar (Sep 29, 2014, First Post)
Why The Dual Track Policy In Governance? An Open Letter To Modi ji – By George Abraham (Sep 28, 2014, Countercurrents)
For many of us who are keen observers of the rise of Shri. Narendra Modi to the highest echelons of power in India as its prime Minister, a picture is slowly emerging on the style and substance of his governance and its impact not only on its citizens but also on the Diaspora that lives around the globe. While it has created a lot of excitement in some quarters, it is also accompanied by an element of confusion for the general public as well as fear and anxiety among the minority communities. …
His surrogates headed by Amit Shah, the current BJP President, whipped up the communal frenzy and polarized the communities especially in U.P to gain an elephant share of Lok Sabha seats that provided BJP with the majority it needed to avoid the pitfalls of coalition politics that the UPA had to content with. It should also be noted that with the largest share of the Lok Sabha seats won, BJP was only able to garner 31% of the vote share, a clear indication that the division among the secular parties has greatly benefited the BJP’s grand strategy and their execution of it.
It appears that there is a continuance of the same two-pronged strategy by the Prime Minister who appears to stay above the fray of communal politics and dirty tricks but has quietly unleashed his surrogates to do whatever it takes to consolidate power and implement the Hindutva agenda that the RSS, the parent organization of BJP, has long advocated . The designation of Yogi Adityanath who is known for his virulent and vitriolic rhetoric against minorities, as the lead campaigner in UP for the just concluded election, is the latest in a series of examples of such a long-term strategy. However, the election results indeed proved that the people of UP and other states have rejected such politics of hate and polarization. …
- Maun Mohan, Now Maun Modi? An appeal to the PM to speak up against communalism and corruption in his party – By Arvind Kejriwal (Sep 20, 2014, Times of India)
- Why Secular Forces Failed To Curb Communalism? – Nakul Singh Sawhney with Subhash Gatade (Sep 24, 2014, Countercurrents)
- BJP must rethink its strategy of communal politics, focus on good governance instead – By ET Bureau (Sep 17, 2014, Economic Times)
- Acchhe Din are still far away – By Abheek Barman (Sep 16, 2014, Times of India)
Ignorance, lies pose as truth in RSS’ history books – By Sitaram Yechury (Sep 23, 2014, Hindustan Times)
The latest incident of the dismissal of 11 Dalit students from a BJP state government-run school in Bikaner, Jaipur, on the grounds that they were drinking water from an earthen pot earmarked for an upper caste teacher once again highlights the continuing caste and social oppression in our country.
It is indeed the irony of our times that on the same day the RSS chief released three books authored by a BJP spokesperson, carrying forewords by three top RSS leaders attributing the genesis of Dalits, tribals and many other oppressed groups to “Muslim invasion in medieval times”. RSS leaders claim that these castes had come into existence due to atrocities by foreign invaders and did not exist in Hindu religion earlier (The Hindustan Times, September 22).
The RSS emboldened by the central government under its political arm, the BJP, has intensified its efforts, to validate a common Hindu thread to unify all groups under one Hindu identity. For this, it is essential that the history of the lands constituting our great country today is rewritten according to their narrative. This is essential for carrying forward the RSS ideological project of converting the modern secular democratic Indian republic into their conception of a ‘Hindu rashtra’.…
- Modi, RSS ki Ramlila – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Sep 22, 2014,Deccan Chronicle)
It has been a long open session on Muslims. For weeks together we have heard and read a concentrated demonising propaganda against Muslims. According to it, the Muslims are running a well-funded “love jihad” campaign to trap Hindu women and covert them to Islam.
This love jihad has been said to be an “international” campaign involving not only Indian Muslims, but their Mid-Eastern coreligionists as well. Bigoted men like Yogi Adityanath and others have put all the venom and hate into their anti-love jihad campaign.…
The steam has gone out of the “love” in the “jihad” and the jihad has gone back to the dirty tricks suit case of the RSS. Instead they have brought out and polished other weapons, including animal slaughter and Muslim Personal Law. Consider how they have expanded the scope of their old anti-cow slaughter campaign to a generic “animal slaughter” issue.…
- Muslims in Gujarat and West Bengal: Comparing Prosperity and Vulnerability – By Abhirup Sarkar (Sep 20, 2014, EPW)
Bypolls message for BJP: the Hindu voter is secular – By Karan Thapar (Sep 20, 2014, Hindustan Times)
Do you know what I find most heartening about the recent by-election results? It’s the loud, clear and firm message from India’s Hindu voters. My bet is it will resonate across our political firmament for a while to come. India’s Hindu voters – and I use that description deliberately – have refused to accept the BJP’s accusation of love jihad. They’ve rejected the claim 99.99% of those accused of rape are Muslims. They do not believe madrasas are a training ground for terrorists.
The list of BJP leaders who tried to mislead the Hindu voter is long. It includes BJP UP president Laxmikant Bajpai, Union minister Kalraj Mishra, MPs Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj and UP MLA Sangeet Singh Som. The bunkum they spouted – and I’m being deliberately euphemistic – was hateful. Both the campaign and its advocates were unequivocally rejected.
The core content was simple: Muslims have launched a love jihad to lure innocent Hindu girls into marriage and convert them to Islam. The BJP thought it could prise apart India’s Hindu and Muslim communities by spreading this canard. They clearly thought such mischief could provoke suspicion of Muslims. So the message from the Hindu voter is he is secular. Indeed, India is a secular country because its Hindus are committed to this principle. Once upon a time this was something the BJP repeatedly said. I’m amazed they forgot it.…
- The bypoll message: ‘Don’t make us party to your hate campaign, let us be’ – By Chandrakant Naidu (Sep 18, 2014, First Post)
- Spatial Variation in the ‘Muslim Vote’ in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014 – By Raphael Susewind and Raheel Dhattiwala (Sep 27, 2014,EPW)
The first 100 days of the Narendra Modi government which have been celebrated by the mainstream media saw what can only be called a widespread and large-scale assault on rules, laws and institutions meant to protect the environment, and more is on the cards. Side by side, the central as also state governments of various hues have moved against non-governmental organisations raising social and environmental issues. But resistance to corporate-driven growth continues and alternatives continue to be explored.
This is one prediction I did not want to come true. In April this year I wrote an article called “Could Modi Be a Development Disaster?” in which I said: The UPAs record is not particularly positive, with nearly 2.5 lakh hectares of forest land having been diverted in just a decade…and continued forcible acquisition of lands resulting in dispossession of farmers, adivasis, fisherfolk and others. Communities, people’s movements, and NGOs are up in arms over the rapidity with which the Union Environment minister, Mr Moily, has given environmental and forest clearances to mining, industrial and infrastructural projects. But even this vast scale of social and ecological disruption could be overshadowed if Modinomics is given free rein….
Modi ….will instruct the Ministry of Environment and Forests to carry on Mr Moily’s good work of clearing every project that comes its way; and if some of the environmental laws that people fought to get in the 1980s and 1990s seem to be in the way, he will initiate measures to dilute them….
- Return Of The Alternative – By Ashish Khetan (Sep 29, 2014, Outlook)
- No more advantage BJP? – By Yogendra Yadav (Sep 17, 2014, Indian Express)
- Modi wave is over – By Rajesh Ramachandran (Sep 16, 2014, Times of India)
Author: Atul Sood, Ed.
Reviewed by: Anita K Dixit
Available at: Aakar Books, 28-E, Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Delhi-110 091, India; 2012; pp 283, Rs 595.. http://aakarbooks.com/
A Balanced Critique of the Gujarat Growth Model (Sep 27, 2014,EPW)
The Gujarat development model has been analysed intensively by both its supporters and detractors. The main argument in favour of the model is that the state has one of the fastest rates of economic growth in the country. Industry and infrastructure have done remarkably well, and the state presents an overall picture of prosperity. Moreover, on the face of it, the state appears to be largely immune to economic downturns faced by the country as a whole. The main arguments against the model are in terms of the distributional aspects of this economic growth, and figures relating to poverty, inequality, and human development are weapons in this line of argument. Neither side has yet managed to score a point, speaking, as they do, on two mutually opposed theoretical premises: whether trickle-down economics works, and whether a fast rate of growth translates, or has the potential to translate, into widespread prosperity because of it.
Yet a specialised book on the subject is always welcome, since one looks forward to detailed analysis of each of the components of the development model. That, indeed, is what one finds in Atul Sood’s edited volume. The book, in 10 chapters, deals with the issue quite at depth. One also looks forward to some fresh insight, which will enable us to move beyond speculating on the effectiveness of trickle-down economics; and that is where the book somewhat disappoints.
What is different about this book is that it attempts to conduct the analysis from both angles – growth and distribution. The book starts with an introductory chapter by Sood, making the important point that Gujarat’s growth story is not recent. It has historical roots that might be linked not just to the entrepreneurial skills of its people (as has been argued in many places, including in publications of the Gujarat government), but also to the spirit of Gandhian socialism, cooperativism, and social reform. This is entirely missing in the current scenario. The state today gives the impression of being an investor’s paradise, which places almost all its faith in the private sector and, therefore, the profit motive.
As the editor says, the volume of private investment coming into the state is undoubtedly impressive. This has happened despite the infrastructure in the state being not remarkably different from that in other industrially developed states. There is an argument that the success of investment in the state has been the result of government policy that favours the private sector. But this does not sit well with the fact that realised investment has slowed down. The author suggests that this slowdown could be related to the external economic slowdown, investment “saturation”, or investors realising that the efficiency of the state machinery is less than what they had hoped for. Whatever be the reasons, the absolute value of investment is still impressively high.
Gujarat fares the worst in terms of labour unrest (Economic Survey 2011), yet investment remains high. The author argues that this could be the result of having an authoritarian regime, which has given up all pretense of social reform. While the authoritarianism excites a reaction in the form of labour unrest, it finds favour with the capitalist class, boosting its confidence. …