I really couldn’t believe what I was reading. Sardesai tweeted about government opening up the FDI in retail. This was waiting to happen. But so fast, was a bit difficult to digest. With one blow GoI did the inevitable.
Welcome K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Carrefour to the Mystic land. We are going to be bombarded with the imageries of happy Indian family driving in their small cars and walk out with loads of shopping bags. Here is the desi version of American dream. Handsome young couple with cute, sweet, cherubic daughter driving the medium segment car, eating ‘healthy food’, buying flats with swimming pools, taking life insurance, watching flat screen TV and driving on weekends to some hill station. The Desi dream is about to grow more colourful from now on.
The post liberalization generation tend to label the bureaucratic, static, red tape laden regime as ‘Socialism’. Well then that was what the writers and thinkers told them. Today the pre-90s is treated with shame. A history India prefer to cremate quietly. Ironically the final salute to ‘Nehruvian socialism’ will be presided by the heirs of Nehru’ legacy.
I browsed through a few Indian economic dailies. Everyone were giving a high five and patting each other on the milestone. Some of the words: ’Government has atlast shook the shackles to do a much needed reform’. The advantages are going to be more foreign investments, jobs and economic development. Minister Sharma went on to add 10M jobs in 3 years. Hopefully the Americans and Europeans are going to migrate to India in search for jobs. I remember a sequence from a movie- ‘The government seizes land from the farmer and builds an IT park over it. The jobless farmer is given the job of sweeper over his own land’. Clever idea right- one job generated.
The system has degenerated to such a level that, the focus is to cater to the pleasures of elite. But then its and effluent we will have to live with.
My friend’s family have been traders for ages. Today they struggle to stay in competition with bigwigs. He used to moan how unfair it was. But being an ordinary consumer, I would have preffered the retailers who can afford to price their wares less. The merchants do steeply charge and had the power to artificially create inflation. I told him, ‘How do you expect to stay above competition?’. But shutting individual, small scale traders out of competition can usher in a monopolized era in coming years.
The Indian elite may have conveniently forgotten the UK riots by now. Over feeding a goose on consumerism can ultimately kill it. Realisation that purchasing power is no longer decided by merit but by other external factors can question the very basic ethos of the capitalistic and liberalized society. A system feeding on itself is ultimately unsustainable.
Lastly there was a time when a few ordinary people burnt the foreign goods and decided to wear the swadesi ones. Are we discrediting their sacrifice?