Headline, September 17 2020/ ''' '' INDIA'S DREAMS '' INVERTS '''


''' '' INDIA'S DREAMS ''


200 MILLION PEOPLE COULD SLIP back into the dark nebula of  poverty, losing inspiration for any decent survival,  and living, for the decade ahead.

''THE ENGINE HAS BEEN SMASHED,'' SAID ARUNDHATI ROY, one of India's pre-eminent writers. And by any measure, one of its greatest daughters. ''The ability to survive has been smashed.'' 

And the pieces are all up in the air. You don't know where they are going to fall or how they are going to fall.''

A sense of malaise is creeping over the nation. Its economic growth was slowing even before the pandemic. Social divisions are widening. Anti-Muslim feelings are on the rise, partly because of a malicious social media campaign that falsely blamed Muslims for spreading the virus. China is increasingly muscling into Indian territory.

The direct hit that India's dreams have taken from the coronavirus pandemic can be found on the hushed streets of Surat industrial zone.

You can see it in textile mills that took generations to build but are now sputtering, putting about a tenth of the fabric they used to make.

You can see it in the lean faces of the families who used to sew the finishing touches on the saris but, with so little business, are now cutting back on vegetables and milk.

You can see it in empty barber shops and mobile phone stores, which shoppers have deserted as their meagre savings dwindle to nothing.

Ashaish Gujarati, the head of a textile association in this commercial hub on India's west coast, stood in front of a deserted factory with a shellshocked look on his face and pointed up the road.

''You see the smoke stack?'' he asked. ''There used to be smoke coming out of it.''

NOT SO LONG AGO, India's future looked entirely different. It had a sizzling economy that was lifting millions out of poverty, building modern megacities and amassing serious geopolitcal firepower. 

It aimed to give its people a middle-class lifestyle, update its woefully vintage military and become a regional political and economic superpower that could someday rival China, Asia's biggest success story.

But the economic devastation in Surat and across the country is imperiling many of India's aspirations.  The Indian economy has shrunk faster than any other major nation's. As many as 200 million people could slip back in top poverty, according to some estimates.

Many of its normally vibrant streets are empty, with people too frightened of the coronavirus outbreak to venture far.

Much of the damage was caused by lockdown imposed by India's prime minister, Narandra Modi, which experts now say was at turns too extreme and not extreme enough, both hurting the economy and spreading the virus.

Mr. Modi, in a recent episode of his weekly radio show, acknowledged that India ''was fighting on many fronts.'' He urged Indians to maintain social distancing, wear-masks and keep ''hale and hearty''.

India still has formidable strengths. It has a huge, young work force and oodles of tech geniuses. It represents a possible alternative to China at a time when the United States and much of the rest of world is realigning itself away from Beijing.

But its stature in the world is slipping. Last quarter the Indian economy shrank by 24 percent, while China's is growing again, ''This is probably the worst situation India has been in since independence,'' said Jayati Ghoshi, a development economist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi :

''People have no money.Investors aren't going to invest if there is no market. And the costs have gone up for most production.''

Many neighborhoods in the capital of New Delhi where low-paid workers used to live are deserted, shell-like, a hot wind blowing through empty, tin-walled shacks. A few years ago when the economy was expanding at a 9 percent clip, it was difficult to find a place here to rent.

When Mr. Modi was swept to power in 2014 on a tide of Hindu nationalism, many Indians felt their country had finally found the forceful leader to match their aspirations.

But Mr. Modi has concentrated his energies on divisive ideological projects, like a new citizenship law  that blatantly discriminates against Muslims and breaking all international conventions and decisions  and laws, by tightening the government's stranglehold over the Muslim region of Kashmir.

Anxiety hangs in the whole of India, just as it hangs in the humid air of Surat's textile zone. Shimmering in agony and pain and suffering.

''No one comes for a shave anymore,'' lamented Akshay Sen, a young barber with a few coins in his pocket.

His words echoes off the shuttered shops. Behind him stood a bunch of men milling around a tea stand but not buying any tea.

The Sadness in this Honor and Publishing, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jeffrey Geetleman.

With respectful dedication to the People of India, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then  the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogpspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Outbreaks - Inbreaks '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!