This article sums up what modern India is all about, written by a fairly progressive fellow named Sean Kelley. I’ve been studying India for a while now, and the more I study it, the angrier I get. India, quite simply, sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks and then sucks some more. I don’t know how long this suckiness has been going on, maybe forever. When the British first showed up, they were appalled. They tried to civilize the place, but the small-c conservative Indians kept objecting to getting civilized.
What sucks? India sucks. What about it sucks?
First of all, the state.
The Indian state has sucked from Day One, birthed in blood-soaked imperial and neo-colonial sin like America, Australia and Israel, with even less of an excuse as a long-abused colony themselves. Now, via alliances with imperialist America, the UK and Israel, India seems to be aping the worst aspects of its former imperialist and colonialist master. Like a crime victim going on a killing spree. Of all the ways to react.
The lousy nature of the Indian state is of course rooted in Indian society, as all states are rooted in the cultural formations of their societies. The Indian state sucks because Indian society sucks.
Why does Indian society suck? It’s hard to sum it up. First of all, you have one of the most callous and uncaring ruling classes, with the usual upper middle class allies, found on Earth.
Missing the good old days? Go to India. Nostalgic for debt slavery and bondage, feudalism (the real deal, not the semi-feudal modern kind), slavery (child and adult), child labor, shit in the streets like the Middle Ages Europe pre-Black Plague? Go to India. It’s all there in spades.
Even more appalling is that no one in India gives a damn. The bourgeois either live in denial or could care less if the lower classes live, die, or flop, gasping, somewhere in between.
The poor are too stupid and/or ignorant to know better, and many think that their savage and inhuman abuse, like something out of 1400’s England, is actually religiously ordained by God Himself. Sure, the bourgeois sold the poor this rope to hang themselves with or gave it to them, but they wrapped it up all up in one of the most barbaric cultural-religious systems known to modern Man, Hinduism, to give it the staying power of superglue.
The article makes clear that neoliberalism has ruined India beyond its prior Hellishness. Which is possible, since you don’t need to read Milton to learn that Hell can always get worse.
The pollution and the filth.
The pollution and filth is destroying India and turning it into an actual open cesspool/sewage ditch/garbage dump. One that traverses the whole country. It’s not only nauseous to breathe or look at the filth that surrounds you without respite, but it’s actually literally sickening. A visit to India means a continuous low-level infectious illness from all the filth drowning out your world.
Worse, Indians don’t care. See that guy shitting on the sidewalk? Pay no attention to him. OK, he’s getting up and walking away now. No problem, just don’t step it. The rich pay the trash collectors to keep their neighborhoods clean, and the Hell with everyone else. A callousness reminiscent of Anglo-Irish absentee landlords in 1820’s Ireland.
The one good thing about neoliberalism is a decline in bureaucracy. You gut government so there’s not much left. Bureaucracy means too many idle government slackers wasting time and messing around when they should be working. It could also mean an insanely underfunded state, which is probably the case with India.
The government doesn’t give a damn about anything but the rich. The state exists only to suck up to the rich or in its human form to move up classwise and become part of the elite class. The state cares nothing about workers, consumers, the environment – Hell, about anything relating to the people.
Everyone who works for the state is a crook, and they are all on the take. Schools and hospitals in rural areas are empty. Doctors and teachers collect salaries and never show up for work.
Nothing works. The electric grid is down most of the time, but you pay at the end of the month anyway even if you got little or no energy use out of the system that month. The roads are nightmarish, traffic is horrifyingly dangerous, and everything is so congested it makes Los Angeles look like a breezy Sunday drive in the country. The ports don’t work either – they look like something out of 1900. Let’s see, the ports don’t work, the roads don’t work, and bureaucracy stifles everything. How is this neoliberal paradise economy supposed to function anyway?
It’s tough in this neoliberal paradise to even purchase a product. Getting a hotel room is a pain in the rear end. Buying a new SIM card for your cellphone is a nightmare best avoided.
The one thing that everyone raves about in India is the trains. Nearly all Indians will insist that the trains are wonderful. Maybe 5-10 years ago they were, but not anymore. The traffic has maybe tripled since that time, and almost no new cars or lines have been added as you would expect neoliberals to do. The lines are Hellish, and customer service is probably better in Hell itself. Worse, no one cares. Even worse than that, Indians think Indian Train Hell is Paradise itself.
Malnutrition effects 51% of the population, and about the same number are permanently stunted in their mental and physical growth. This number is flat after 15 years of explosive neoliberal growth in India. Bottom line, all the Wild West dizzying growth rates haven’t filled a single starving Indian stomach. What a lousy system.
The starvation and malnutrition levels are actually worse than in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Kelly echoes this by saying that he’s been in 50 countries the world over, and even Ethiopia was less of a shithole than India. That’s a powerful indictment. To the Africans’ credit, most Africans, despite their IQ’s, will readily admit to you that their country is a shithole. They don’t like it, and they want change. Good for them.
The first part of getting out of a hole is not just to stop digging but to realize that you’re in a nasty hole in the first place and would prefer to climb out rather than digging your way towards China and sure death.
Indians not only won’t stop digging, they think that trying to dig your way to China is some kind of a cultural-religious noble endeavor. Any Samaritans stopping by to toss them a rope or offer a hand are showered with abuse for refusing to acknowledge that the Indian’s deep dug pit is actually the greatest civilization created by man. Predictably, most sane folks throw down the rope, say the Hell with em, and walk on.
The Indian keeps digging as the water fills in around his muddy and beaten feat. Hunger gnaws at his belly. In response to his dim and plunging prospects, he can think of nothing to do but shout, “Glory to Bharat!” while cursing Muslims, Christians and those nasty British. With every breath, the water’s creeping higher.
You wonder why I support the Indian Maoists. Of all of the people in India, only the Maoists seem to have a bat’s chance in Hell of negotiating some kind of a future lessening of the mess above. Everyone else is cheerily on board for stasis or worsening.
*About the title, I would like to sincerely apologize to all of the actual shitholes in the world. They were just poor innocent holes, sitting there in the ground minding their own business until some mean person came along and filled them up with shit.
I am truly sorry, shitholes, I didn’t mean to compare you with India.