Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Capital ~ State ~ Nation

A protest by workers of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India in Gurgaon (near Delhi), seeking higher wages and re-employment of suspended employees, snowballed into a major confrontation yesterday. Initial reports stated that upto 700 workers and 25 policemen had been injured. Even as enraged relatives of the injured attacked police the next day, industry representatives were already beginning to talk about how labour laws needs to be made more flexible, so as to assuage investor confidence and safeguard the investment climate. One analyst reads 'Gurgaon 25/7' as a metaphor for the insensitivity of liberalisation: 'Gurgaon 25/7 is an unpleasant reminder to all those who glibly talk of letting the market perform its miracles. The process is not painless and the pain has to be felt by someone and those who suffer will speak up sometime or the other.' Meanwhile in Parliament, MPs ask if the police are on the payrolls of multinationals or the Government. (This is uncannily like Zapatista arguments about the state becoming estranged from its nation(s), seduced away by transnational capital.) More rhetorically, the incident is likened to the Jallianwallah Bagh incident, with one member remarking that this was only to be expected after the PM's recent praise of British rule. Even the Independent notices.

Meanwhile in Bombay, city of extremes, when it rains it pours. The nation is stranded, the state stretched and capital shut-down.

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