Social activist Medha Patkar criticised the development model promoted by BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, calling it “a new kind of Brahmanism that is both inclusive and exclusive.”
At the valedictory of the golden jubilee of the Indian Social Institute (1963-2013) on Friday, she said land belonging to scores of agriculturists and farmers in Gujarat had been taken away to facilitate the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which passes through Palanpur, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Baruch and Valsad in Gujarat.
“(Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and even Modi — their development model and paradigm excludes the diversity in our economic, political and cultural spheres. They are killing that and not permitting simple lifestyles people want to live with,” Patkar said.
“It is a new kind of Brahminism without untouchability,” she said. “They want Dalits and construction labourers who will work overtime without uttering a word on labour movements. They allow and include them in building cities and keeping them clean. But they are excluded in sharing the benefits,” Patkar said, calling it “the greatest contradiction.”
Stating that speeches and manifestos will not work, she said, “We have to read between the lines. Industrial corridors are nothing but the names of 70 per cent of land belonging to farmers changed overnight with a stamp on deeds. This is a deliberate manipulation of resources, an insult to people. What we need is Gandhism that talks of inclusivity, not Modism that excludes people.”
Patkar, who is one of the conveners of the National Alliance of People’s Movements, said real development is change that is conceived in the framework of values and principles enshrined in the Constitution.
“How can you plan development without including people? You have to include people who are living with natural resources, not those living on them,” she said.
Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras said the “desolation and harm of today’s consumerist society has left no place for the poor.” Indian Social Institute director M K George was also present on the occasion.