Friday, June 16, 2006

Are you hungry tonight?

Recurrent reports of starvation deaths bring to mind a couple of poignant passages from Arundhati Roy's The Greater Common Good: "The Indian State is not a State that has failed. It is a State that has succeeded impressively in what it set out to do. It has been ruthlessly efficient in the way it has appropriated India's resources – its land, its water, its forests, its fish, its meat, its eggs, its air – and redistributed it [sic?] to a favoured few (in return, no doubt, for a few favours). It is superbly accomplished in the art of protecting its cadres of paid-up elite, consummate in its methods of pulverising those who inconvenience its intentions." And: "India lives in her villages, we're told, in every other sanctimonious public speech. That's bullshit. … India doesn't live in her villages. India dies in her villages. India gets kicked around in her villages. India lives in her cities. India's villages live only to serve her cities. Her villagers are her citizens' vassals and for that reason must be controlled and kept alive, but only just." (pp.14-15, IBD, 1999)

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