Praful Bidwai scoffs at ‘Booming India’ notion
Quotes Praful BidwaiBANGALORE: Noted columnist and political observer Praful Bidwai systematically destroyed the well-entrenched notions of “Booming India” and exposed the shortcomings of the Indian State at a lecture held at the diamond jubilee function of the All India Bank Employees’ Association here on Saturday. However, he also celebrated the success of the country’s democracy and the Constitution. “India still remains one of the few stable democracies of the world, and therein lies her greatest achievement,” he said. “The country we inherited was extremely backward, but we have made tremendous progress in literacy, life expectancy and food security.. Today, there is at least hope of a bright and humane future.” Citing the example of the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Bidwai welcomed the rapid politicisation of vast numbers of subaltern populations, the emerging Dalit assertion and what he called “the unstoppable forward march of the backward castes”. “They have come to recognise the power of their franchise,” he said. Polarisation Mr. Bidwai also expressed concern over the polarisation of the nation and the growth of communal forces, especially in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka. He quoted extensively from the recently released Sachar Commission report, which has tracked Muslim demographic trends in independent India. “Judgments have been handed out for the Mumbai blasts, but even charge sheets have not been filed on the riots that preceded and perhaps even triggered the blasts,” he said. Talking about the economic achievements of the nation, he said, “The jingoistic rhetoric of emerging India, the superpower, lacks sense as well as morality. Today, there are one lakh dollar-millionaires in the country, but no one looks at the fact that over 77 per cent of the population lives on less than Rs. 20 a day… the rich minority makes it seem like the 1,00,000 farmer suicides in the country never happened.” He also criticised the Indian state’s human rights record and claimed that regional aspirations and uprisings had historically been brutally subdued.