We were watching “India Remade”, last night. There were two scenes that really made a connection. The first was the corpulent but incredibly wealthy owner of Kingfisher beer sitting in luxurious office sweet on his private jet. Dr.Vijay Mallyais also a member of Parliament. He was explaining how Indian farmers will eat a meal of ground peanut with some water, onions and a chilli for their meal. “They love it. But not one person in India starves to death.”

The next scene was of a thin, Indian farmer. He had had a surgery for a tumor and was now $700 in debt. He, his wife and mother were trying their best to raise enough crops on 3 acres of land to pay off the money. He felt ashamed that he had this debt over him. Farmers in India were committing suicide because they could not meet their financial commitments. So I suppose technically they did not starve to death, but they were dead none the less.

Dr.Vijay Mallya and the farmer lived in two different “realities”. The farmer lived in the real world of sun, crops and life and death by the arrival of rains. Vijay Mallya lived in a bubble of prosperity, shielded by money and power from the real harshness of the world. I think we in the west are stuck in the bubble of unreality, never really connecting with what it means to stay alive. That is why talk of global warming affecting rain fall patterns makes no dent on the public. Food is grown in magical places where the weather makes no difference; food just appears on the supermarket shelves.

The executives receiving bonuses at AIG are living in a further world of disconnect. They are receiving “bonuses” from the public purse for destroying their company. What a different attitude from the India farmer who was trying to do his best to recover from debt. It reminds me of a scene in “Animal Farm” where the pigs are in the house, living like the farmer and lives for the rest of the animals had not changed.

“Some animals are more equal than others”


One response to “Disconnect

  1. slc March 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    You are so very right.

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