Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 | By Gautam | In feudalism , Nature , Random rant. Middle class
Scene 1: Look Maa!! All those semi nude tribal are fighting against Vedanta (read Imperial power) which is going to usurp them from the mound they worship.
Scene 2: A hip SoBo type woman in my home town lecturing a vegetable vendor in Anglicised Hindi, "Bhai sahab! Aapko paataa naahi ki polythene bags se environment ko harm pahunchta hai. Chhi, aapko yeh practice band kaarni chaahiye."
After watching Avatar and the ass kicking Na'vis received at the hands of humans (guys, I'm proud of you) and relating with their immense suffering, the middle class humane quotient is at a rise. Yours truly witnessed it at The Indian Coffee House in Kolkata (not that Bongs have anything worthwhile to do except debate at addas anyways). Any ways, in a mundane town like mine, the middle class is baffled at what is happening in Orissa. How can the government do that to those unarmed tribal people. It is supposed to protect the people. It is acting against the very people who elected them. Arnab 'the-I-won't-let-my-guests-speak-for-more-than-23-seconds' Goswami is behaving on the show as if he's suffering from PMS stress due to all that mining. Environmentalists and those GreenPeace terrorists are behaving in their now rehearsed 'I told you so' manner. (I've taken a jibe at all the usual suspects or did I leave someone?!! Feel free to add in comments)
So the middle class blood is boiling (accept it guys, it can only boil. It's not potent enough to get your Trans fat fattened ass to get out of the couch and do something). The timing for all this couldn't have been worse. What with all the public outrage against Bhopal fiasco, Mumbai oil spill (die biatches for you have made my drive to Marine Drive hell) and now the Nuclear Liability Bill. Naveen Patnaik amidst all this, is going to Delhi and asking why he, like all the other CMs shouldn't have the right to pollute and destroy and plunder the natural resources of his state. After all Orissa is hit by a cyclone every other year. Let there be some man made disasters too! BTW, Patnaik should sack his PR guy.
So what is my problem with all this? Well for starters we won't stop driving our cars. We won't appreciate car pooling (Ideate this to a Dilliwala and you may find yourself under his BMW's expensive Bridgestone radials. I won't ride in the locals or the Best buses (moving up the social ladder FTW). I'll board only the AC buses with loads of CFC. I want my iPhone chiselled out of a single block of Aluminium.
In effect, I want all the luxuries of life. Luxuries which somewhere down their value chain pollute the environment. But I'll turn a blind eye to that. Akin to 'I enjoy pork but can't see a pig being slaughtered'. We, as a people want to come down heavily on all these projects which seem to uproot locals and destroy nature as we know it. It's in vogue after all. But do we ever realise why these projects never cease to exist? Such evil (if I may) corporations exist? Oil spills continue to occur? Nature being destroyed?
Only because our insatiable need for all things material and luxury. Think about it, the same middle class complaining about all this is sitting in his flat in Bandra or some suburb. And mangrove vegetation in Mumbai was destroyed to provide him his housing.
And yes, Na'vis will continue to get their ass kicked. Atleast in India. All this IS middle class elitism.
PS: The author is in no way prejudiced against the Na'vis.
PPS: Vedanta has not paid the author. Although he would have liked it.
PPPS: For me, GreenPeace will always remain a terror organisation.