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There should only be one Millennium Development Goal. Redefine development.

by Hemant Anant Jain

This is Mumbai. The city of dreams. This is where people from all across India come to chase their dreams and very often, they chase them successfully.

This is Mumbai where I live. Behind this water tanker is my building. It used to be a rather green area. Then the builder traded each clump of trees for a building. Now, there are shrubs, a few, and a lot of dust.
Dust that never settles down.

The rumble of these antique trucks kicks up the dust till it hangs sort of permanently in mid air.

Water Truck MDGThese trucks are water tankers. My building receives several of those every single day. They carry water mercilessly pumped out of the ground. 
Today that water tanker guy said there is no more plentiful water in the ground. There will be short supply of water. (Not very different from the rest of India whose water tables are dangerously drying up according to this NASA report).

I have two 20 litre buckets of water filled with water so I can go about my daily life. The water is brown in colour. It contains the dregs of overhead cement tank, dust and I am sure microbes in millions.

I drink bottled water to help me survive acute diseases.

The coming days look tough and dry. I, like whole of India, long for the rains.

This is Mumbai. The heart of India’s development story. Mumbai – India’s answer to New York. Mumbai – India’s Shanghai. Or Dubai.

Or, a cesspool of development gone wrong?

If this is the development we are killing our tribals for, then God help us. Yes, you heard it right. India is in the midst of the ‘biggest social engineering’ that the world has ever seen. (click to read in detail Arundhati Roy’s essay) We want to dispossess and drive out countless millions who live in India. Their crime: they live on mineral rich land.

India is supposedly in the grips of Maoism. Maoists are fighting the government, and the government is driving them out. It’s all a little too convenient.

Here’s why.
All the Maoist affected areas are also the mineral rich areas.
Government has signed treaties with mining companies.
The problem is that the fifth schedule of our constitution gives rights over this land to the tribals.
But to remove the Maoists from these areas, the tribals will have to be shunted out.
No tribals, no rights. Land becomes free.
For all the tribals who stay on the land and protest that it is their land, the strategy is simple: Label them Maoists. And hunt them down.

The genocide in India has begun and if you, as a foreign journalist, want to go to places like Dantewada and see what is happening, god forbid. You will not be granted a visa. Ask your friends who work for Channel 4 and other such if what I am saying is wrong.

But of course there are 350 million people in India living in cities who fuel the consumerist fire. Who make India grow at a phenomenal 8% growth. Our government promises that we will keep growing at 8%. And we have promised a low carbon economy to the world.

PrintHere is a story that will astound you. By 2030, our need for resources will be so high that the story above about the genocide of tribals will sound like child’s play. India will see what happened in America all those years ago when they drove out the Indians. Only magnified a million times. Or should I say 700 million times? Because that is the number of people who will need to be dispossessed of their land, their rights and their very basic right: to live.

All for development’s sake.

All for making more cities like Mumbai which have become gigantic mushrooms feeding off the nation. A mess of proportions so high that most of the people can’t scale the heights with their eyes. So they choose to look the other way.

What was that other Millennium Development goal? Gender?

We are a country where out of 8000 aborted foetuses in a day, 7999 are females. We are a country, the only country where the words female and infanticide co-exist.

Millennium Development Goals. Tell you what, development as it exists is a term which is like an expired medicine. It makes good placebo. But it can’t cure the cancer that is spreading fast through our society. We cannot have development that is based on consumerism. We need the best minds of our generation to sit down and chalk out an alternative.

What Bill Gates and Monsanto are doing in Africa is not it.



This article is by our Guest Writer, Hemant Anant Jain is a professional ad designer based in Mumbai, India. He weaves his skills as a Writer and Illustrator to tell stories that raise awareness about various environmental issues.  His websites include: The Great Indian Clearance Sale, Munna On The Run and EU Th!nk About It blog. 

 

Other links you may interested in:

EWTT: UN Millennium Development Goals : Short movies  Videos related to MDGs and important facts

EWTT: Endangered Tigers and the fate of the indigenous peoples: The Story of Jenabil

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Posted by on May 22 2010. Filed under Indigenous Communities, Sustainable Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “There should only be one Millennium Development Goal. Redefine development.”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by carboncoach, ecowalkthetalk. ecowalkthetalk said: There should only be one Millennium Development Goal #MDG – Redefine Development http://bit.ly/9BHlrn [...]

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