His Master's Voice
N D Writes :
The reported angry outburst of Indian Finance Minister Sri Yashwant Sinha at the Annual Meeting 2000 of International Monetary Fund (IMF) at Prague, against the angry protestors, numbering more than 7000, clearly exposes the contempt, the Indian Government led by the B J P, carries towards the voices of dissent, whether at home or abroad. By calling the angry, sometimes violent, protestors as hoodlums, having no right to decide about the existence or otherwise of World Bank and IMF, Mr Sinha the new champion of globalisation from India, has tried to portray himself more obedient to the master, than the master himself.
And for politicians like Mr Sinha, who have nothing but contempt for true democratic values, it is quite natural to say that these protestors have no place in democratic society. It is not merely a coincidence that, after prime minister A B Vajpayee completed the US tour, assuring the Clintons of speeding up economic reforms in India Mr Sinha has tried to placate the heads of 182 countries, who represent IMF and World Bank the flag bearers of globalisation. But the irony and also the tragedy is that both Mr Sinha and his premier have dragged in Mahatma Gandhi, whose ideals are safely buried in Rajghat, to defend themselves. While Mr Vajpayee had no qualms in equaling Gandhi, an apostle of peace and non-violence, with the former US President Woodrow Wilson, who destroyed the soul of human civilization when he crushed not only trade unions but also
independent, democratic thought in USA, Mr Sinha condemned the ‘violence’ of the protestors stating "he hails from a country, the land of Mahatma, who espoused non-violence". It is quite shocking to hear these sane, saintly words from those who unleashed a terror amongst minorities in the name of Hindutva, not very long ago.
Mr Sinha should recognise the harsh reality that globalisation has wrecked havoc in the lives of millions throughout the world. The structural adjustment programme of the IMF-W B combine have frustrated the common masses across the globe. While more and more people are driven towards abysmal poverty, millions of workers are thrown out of employment, all in the name of liberatisation unleashed by the same 182 representatives whom Mr Sinha was addressing. The 7000 protestors at Prague or 4000 at Seattle, were not hired goons of any political party or group but they were aggrieved people facing the onslaught of globalisation.
But the signals emanating from the outbursts of finance minister not only sounds ominous for the working class in India, but also serves as a warning bell to the opponents of globalisation back home. But let the Sinhas and Vajpayees realise the fact that it is ordinary people who build the nations and also it is they who can make or break institutions like IMF by their sweat and blood. These threatening voices cannot stiffle the voices of protestors. History has proved it several times and it would be proved again. Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.