False ‘hu­man rights’ Charges against india

The Sunday Guardian - - World -

Those who live in glasshouses need to think before fling­ing rocks in the di­rec­tion of oth­ers. A use­ful warn­ing, al­though ig­nored by en­ti­ties such as the Euro­pean Union, which col­lec­tively and in­di­vid­u­ally throws ac­cu­sa­tions of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions against states, in­sti­tu­tions and in­di­vid­u­als with daily fre­quency. This is the same EU that seeks to pro­tect the bil­lion­aire sta­tus of sev­eral of its cit­i­zens by us­ing myr­iad means to block ac­cess to low cost yet high qual­ity medicines from India. Both the EU and the United States (which too talks ad nau­seam about “hu­man rights” vi­o­la­tions, ex­cept those within its ter­ri­to­ries) have been re­lent­less in seek­ing to hob­ble the generic pharma in­dus­try in India, of­ten by in­flu­enc­ing of­fi­cials and other pol­i­cy­mak­ers in ways that would not bear scru­tiny, were these to ever be made public. Only when a flood of hu­man­ity lit­er­ally landed at their ports and tran­sit cross­ings did the EU re­luc­tantly ad­mit a frac­tion of the refugee in­flux caused by the poli­cies fol­lowed in Libya and Syria by the UK and France. In this con­text, Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel of Ger­many would have been a far wor­thier re­cip­i­ent of the No­bel Peace Prize than an in­ter­na­tional nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment com­mit­tee that has noth­ing prac­ti­cal to show for its pre­sumed labours. The fact is that nu­clear weapons stock­piles are be­com­ing dead­lier by the hour, even while yet more states are cross­ing the thresh­old of ca­pac­ity to make and to de­liver a nu­clear weapon, some be­cause of the threat of in­va­sion and worse by states pos­sess­ing nu­clear weapons. The in­ef­fec­tive and in­signif­i­cant or­gan­i­sa­tion that was awarded the 2017 No­bel Peace Prize has had an in­signif­i­cant ef­fect on hu­man­ity, al­though it is pos­si­ble that sev­eral of its mem­bers must be fa­mil­iar faces in the sa­lons of Paris, London, Ber­lin and Stock­holm. In con­trast, Chan­cel­lor Merkel went against the in­su­lar mood of her own peo­ple in wel­com­ing over a mil­lion mi­grants from North Africa and West Asia. This de­spite the fact that Ger­many was not a pro­po­nent of regime change in ei­ther Libya or Syria, in con­trast to the US, UK and France.

In the lat­ter coun­try, President Em­manuel Macron re­sem­bles some of the ear­lier lead­ers of India in his preach­i­ness and moral­is­ing, ever will­ing to insert him­self into any global con­flict, in the ex­pec­ta­tion that he can charm the world as ef­fort­lessly as he won over the vot­ers in France, pre­vent­ing a sec­ond round con­test that may have re­sulted in the up­set vic­tory of Marine Le Pen, were Fran­cois Fil­lon, her main op­po­nent, as seemed the case un­til Macron emerged al­most by magic from nowhere, win­ning over the back­ing of the me­dia and big busi­ness al­most im­me­di­ately and mys­te­ri­ously.

The same in­di­vid­u­als, such as Se­na­tor Bob Corker of the US, who rou­tinely bad­mouth India and its record, are at the same time fierce cham­pi­ons of the very same bil­lion­aire in­ter­ests that have en­sured a steady de­cline in the rel­a­tive in­comes of the lower and mid­dle classes in his coun­try. In con­trast, mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires (such as the Se­na­tor him­self) are do­ing very well, and are ex­pected to do even bet­ter be­cause of the ex­er­tions of those whose troughs have been abun­dantly nour­ished by the in­ter­ests pre­vent­ing gen­uine com­pe­ti­tion and ac­cess to cheaper al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing in mat­ters as im­por­tant as health and hous­ing. Over the past few months, there has risen a crescendo of charges that claim India to have the largest num­ber of “slaves” in the world. Cer­tainly, many chil­dren (i.e. those be­low the age of 18) work in India rather than go to school. The fail­ure to uni­ver­salise ed­u­ca­tion is among the many short­falls that have been caused by the er­ro­neous poli­cies of those who ought to have known bet­ter, yet are cel­e­brated in the his­tory books de­spite pre­sid­ing over oceans of hu­man de­pri­va­tion and poverty. How­ever, both civil so­ci­ety and elected gov­ern­ments at the Cen­tre and the States have been work­ing to en­sure that abuses are re­duced. Democ­racy in India may have not worked at race-car speed, and some­times plod­ded along the way a bul­lock cart would, but the con­di­tion of the peo­ple has been steadily ris­ing. It re­veals bias and se­lec­tiv­ity to ig­nore this, and to blacken the rep­u­ta­tion of India in or­der to cre­ate non-com­mer­cial bar­ri­ers to ex­ports from India, in­clud­ing those in which the poorer sec­tions play a huge role, such as tex­tiles and car­pets. Those who have joined in the well-funded cam­paign to den­i­grate India as an au­thor­i­tar­ian state that rou­tinely does in­jus­tice to its cit­i­zens, need to be called out and ex­posed for what they are. De­fend­ers of bil­lion­aire in­ter­ests lo­cated in high-in­come coun­tries, who seek through com­mer­cially mo­ti­vated calumny pos­ing as global moral­ity to block the poor of India from mak­ing progress on the same de­vel­op­ment path as the richer coun­tries had trot­ted along in pre­vi­ous decades.

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