Saturday, September 17, 2011

Landgrab in India, Corruption, and Middle Class Desires

The city of Bangalore is an excellent example of the point I noted in my earlier blog.

The report shared on my blog points toward the political nexus behind the land grab operation. What the report does not bring into question though is the growing development of Bangalore as the IT hub of India, the burgeoning middle class in the city, and the epitomization of this middle class desire in the new complexes, housing development projects, and flats that have come up in the city.

The myopia of media coverage and public discourse on corruption in India (and this includes the short-sightedness of the Lokpal discourse) is its inability to fundamentally interrogate the desires and dreams of middle class Indians that underlie the nexus between corporations, criminals, and politicians. Although the politicians depicted here indeed need to be interrogated, we also however need to examine our own aspirations that fuel large scale landgrab all across the country.

For instance, after watching this video and reading reports such as this, how many of us in the middle classes are willing to examine and scrutinize the deeds behind the flats we own, asking questions such as: Who is the builder? How was the land acquired? What was here before the flat was built? Asking inconvenient questions such as these would go long ways toward addressing corruption in the context of landgrab in India.

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