By: Surbhi Tandon (Communicating Reality Intern, CCS)
On 5 July the Supreme Court of India expressed its views on economics and politics while hearing “Nandini Sundar versus the State of Chattisgarh”. We bring you two passages from the hearing that capture the crux of the SC bench’s view on politics and economics.
“What was doubly dismaying to us was the repeated insistence, by the respondents, that the only option for the State was to rule with an iron fist, establish a social order in which every person is to be treated as suspect, and any one speaking for human rights of citizens to be deemed as suspect, and a Maoist. In this bleak, and miasmic world view propounded by the respondents in the instant case, historian Ramchandra Guha, noted academic Nandini Sunder, civil society leader Swami Agnivesh, and a former and well reputed bureaucrat, E.A.S. Sarma, were all to be treated as Maoists, or supporters of Maoists. We must state that we were aghast at the blindness to constitutional limitations of the State of Chattisgarh, and some of its advocates, in claiming that anyone who questions the conditions of inhumanity that are rampant in many parts of that state ought to necessarily be treated as Maoists, or their sympathizers, and yet in the same breath also claim that it needs the constitutional sanction, under our Constitution, to perpetrate its policies of ruthless violence against the people of Chattisgarh to establish a Constitutional order.”
“The culture of unrestrained selfishness and greed spawned by modern neo-liberal economic ideology, and the false promises of ever increasing spirals of consumption leading to economic growth that will lift everyone, under-gird this socially, politically and economically unsustainable set of circumstances in vast tracts of India in general, and Chattisgarh in particular.
Neither the policy makers nor the elite in India, who turn a blind eye to the gross and inhuman suffering of the displaced and the dispossessed, provide any credible answers. Worse still, they ignore historical evidence which indicates that a development paradigm depending largely on the plunder and loot of the natural resources more often than not leads to failure of the State; and that on its way to such a fate, countless millions would have been condemned to lives of great misery and hopelessness.
Instead of locating the problem in the socioeconomic matrix, and the sense of disempowerment wrought by the false developmental paradigm without a human face, the powers that be in India are instead propagating the view that this obsession with economic growth is our only path, and that the costs borne by the poor and the deprived, disproportionately, are necessary costs.”
We highly recommend this Mint editorial on SC’s views on economics.