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June - July 2009
I was interested in the huge prominence you gave to Satjit Singh’s views in Without Fear or Favour. His comments on the current government and its past leader and the current Leader of the Opposition were interesting but nevertheless illogical. Moreover it seems either he was not living in the UK in the 1990s or he has a poor memory.
I recall only too well how Tony Blair once he had managed to wrest the leadership of the Labour Party and turned it into New Labour was vociferous in his comments on anything the then Conservative Government did….and of course his government would be ‘whiter than white’…..and that was in the sense of virtue and purity not race. Yes, well, current events speak for themselves about that claim, and as for the many donations he took….Oh please! The current Prime Minister became so obsessed with becoming the prime minister and this narrowed his vision despite him being able to spend and spend largely because the country’s finances had come right as a result of the Conservative Chancellor Ken Clarke’s actions. Then Chancellor Brown inherited a wealthy prosperous country in 1997 and yet he set about taxing further and denuding tax funds and underselling the country’s gold reserves – now what was that word he so loved ‘prudently’?. A foolish war was undertaken despite the best advice given, but that was to curry favour with the then incumbent of the White House. Tony Blair hoped in his own way to be a ‘saviour of the world’ and Mr Brown has gone on record has having said he had virtually saved the world!
Mr Cameron, as Leader of the Opposition, has very soon to pick up the pieces after these two foolish vain and perhaps greedy men. If he now tells us how he sees it so be it. But please don’t have one rule for the Labour Party and another for anyone else. Cameron has and will make mistakes, in the way that the new US President has already done so. So be it, young men who have not had the mantle of power and responsibility on their shoulders before will always do that; but let us never return to having an actor as leader or a man so obsessed with achieving power that he does not face reality. What was it they said, Education, Health, better roads, greater prosperity…it sort of has a hollow ring to it don’t you think? Twelve years of Labour misrule to quote yet another politician…that was Harold Wilson when he tried to sneer at the then government of Sir Alec Douglas Hume and make fun of 13 years of Tory rule under the 13th Earl of Home in 1964, but then that was all probably before your correspondent learnt about British politics and that all ended in 1979 after the terrible winter of discontent under Jim Callaghan!
Slum dog Millionaire--an another view
In your February/ March issue Aline Donnie urges us all to go and see, ' Slum dog Millionaire'. She mentions how she was shocked by the sheer brutality and force of the corrupt cruelty perpetrated on the young man in the film. She goes on to say, ' after all I am a princess not a pauper and not ready to experience what I am almost being forced to watch'. Aline forgets that this film is a piece of fiction and she goes on to claim that along with the 26/11 event this film depicts Mumbai in an unfavourable light. So an attack by terrorists is the fault of the people of Mumbai too? Aline goes onto claim that Indian's urge her not to point out India's ugliness.First of all films like Slum dog Millionaire are made in India because India is a free country. There is massive poverty in many countries but only India is a convenient candidate for the frequent expression of moral outrage by western writers of India'. You don't see them expressing much outrage or breast beating at poverty in China, USA or even in UK. It is also easily forgotten that this poor country India was once the richest country in the world. Western nations fought wars to get a foothold in India and plunder its wealth. The colonisers who came to India were dumbfounded by its wealth. The looting began in earnest, farmers were taxed to the point they were reduced to starvation, the textile industry of India was destroyed so as to revive the textile industries of Manchester. When India became independent in 1947 it had been looted to hilt. It was under those circumstances that the new India was born. Some western journalists predicted India would break up in a few months. Fast forward to 2009,India is very much alive and kicking. It is the world's largest democracy, it is one of worlds biggest economies. It produces enough food to feed itself and export. India is leading the world in information technology and the Indian space industry is advanced enough to assist many third world countries in finding solutions to their economical issues. Indian's are predominant in some of the latest technological breakthroughs. Nehru's prophetic words, ' at the stroke of midnight when the world sleeps India awakens ' have stood the test of time. Indian way is evolution not revolution, while millions have died in other countries in the name of one ideology or the other India has peacefully made slow but steady progress. The diversity of India is bigger then any other country and yet there is a unity in this diversity. The attempt by the leaders of India to eradicate many social evils and to give an opportunity to everyone is beginning to bear fruit. One can see this in India's cricket team, it reflects India's diversity and social mobility.Yes there is poverty but it is a country of a billion people who enjoy the freedoms denied in many countries of the world. It has 26 states some of them bigger then UK! When we sometimes bother to look a bit closer to home we realise that India is a beacon of hope that should be trumpeted as an example for the rest of the world.In UK with just a population of 60 million there are huge social and economic issues which Aline who although she says she is a princess should be aware of. There are 380,000 people homeless in UK and according to Oxfam 13.2 million people in UK live in poverty, a staggering 20% of the population. Indians are by nature very easy going people and when people like Aline visit India and fulfil their desire to write about India they are welcomed and listened to politely. This easy going attitude is misinterpreted as a weakness and results quite often in a condenscending attitude. Maybe it is time for Aline to write a triology on UK?
Nitin Mehta MBE