Monday, March 20, 2006

India's Faultlines : The eastern half falls away!

I was looking around on the internet for articles by my old friend Capt. Bharat Verma of India Defence Review and I found his latest article at this webite.

In his latest writings Capt. Verma speaks about India's faultlines; this article is an excellent summary of all the problems we are facing today as a nation.

Capt. Verma points out that
  1. India is ringed by failed or failing states,
  2. The China Pakistan nexus is extermely strong and seeks to harm India,
  3. Bangladesh and Nepal are serving as launchpads for ISI operations in India,
  4. India's access to energy resources in Central Asia is difficult
  5. Maoist menace in Nepal is spreading fast into parts of India
  6. States like Bangladesh and Burma are exporting problems through porous borders
In the past people used to talk about a North-South divide in India, but Capt. Verma very astutely points to the presence of a developmental divide running approximately along the eastern flank of the Chotanagpur plateau. The eastern part of India is now in turmoil as poor development is providing a rich hunting ground for a number of extra-national trouble makers.

In my opinion, Capt. Verma is right. Most Indians do not know enough about the eastern parts. While the economies of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa are mildly put - depressed, the North East lacks development. Most Indians do not know enough about the North East and the diverse cultures there and consequently development planned in New Delhi often has a completely unanticipated impact on local conditions in the North East.

Many of you may see this article as an impassioned plea by Capt. Verma to deal with Pakistan more firmly - but I see it as quite a bit more than that. I see it as Capt. Verma's way to draw attention to the lack of understanding in our national debate of the problems of Eastern India.

3 Comments:

At 8:04 AM, Blogger BangaloreGuy said...

Having lived in Cal for sometime, I can confirm that there's a vast chasm between the east and the rest of India.

Most Indians either dont know or refuse to acknowledge it.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger maverick said...

bangalore guy,

Capt. Verma is a very astute and intelligent observer. I take great care in reading anything he writes as he is never off the mark. I have yet to meet as effective a communicator as Capt. Verma.

You are right about Calcutta. Sardar Patel once said that if we lose Calcutta we lose everything. That is still true.

The eastern economy is depressed, there have to be substantial moves to change the way things work there.

I am not a political person, but the CPI(M)'s handling of the powerhouse of the east, the jewel called Calcutta, leaves a lot to be desired. Work culture there is extremely poor, and personal incentive to exceed or excel is - two things that Bengalis outside Calcutta show quite a bit of - are absent in Bengal. On my visit to Calcutta, one of the four great metros of India, I was shocked to see one and two rupee notes still in circulation - old tattered notes printed atleast thirty years ago now held together with tape.

Government officers on surveillance duty there openly speak about large numbers of fake 500 rupee notes being introduced into the economy by Pakistan friendly traders in Calcutta.

Someone needs to awaken the tiger in the east.

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger BangaloreGuy said...

The worst part about Calcutta is not that there are a lot of people who are poor, but that they exude hopelessness. You can see it in their eyes.
That is the biggest failing of the government.

 

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