George Floyd and India - Dr. Ravi Godse

sanghmitra_p15

New member
I grew up in India and moved to America 25 years ago. I follow the headline Indian news, which like news everywhere, totters between sublime and the ridiculous but as I started following the Indian news more and more with the pandemic, I realized to my surprise, that Indians in India are extraordinarily well versed in the US news.

The current constant headline here is George Floyd, and that is so nuanced, and despite the global show of support and demonstrations, so uniquely national, I thought I would explore what it would mean for India to have a George Floyd moment.

In India, the issue with the race is not as clearly black and white as the United States. The pun is both intended and not. It can be examined whether, India’s minorities, poor people, migrant workers, perceived lower caste people, can fit the role of a downtrodden exploited minority? And therein lies the first paradox. If we look at poor people as an entity, they are nowhere close to being a minority.

I personally don’t think that India will have a George Floyd moment, for several reasons. Indian society is so inherently fragmented, that it will be hard to build a majority consensus against anything, despite a vocal middle class, freedom of speech and media watchdogs. It will be hard to have a clear battle between right and wrong, because even the most egregious of wrongs will always have shades, and susceptible to some charitable interpretation. And anytime, anything is going well anywhere in India, we can always throw religion at it to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


India has some very strong left of center voices but India doesn’t have a well-organized progressive movement. And at any rate, Indians are practical people at the end of the day. Indians will likely view schemes such as defunding the entire police departments, as poetically justified as the idea may seem, as a non starter, hatched by activists who have neither interest nor talent for any serious administration. Forget ends justifying means, here even the means don’t justify means. It appears like an aspirational movement, however worthy launched by people so beholden to their ideological purity and so much of a hostage to their own emotional, take no hostage attitude, that, to them, politics is not the art of the possible. Thus rendering a perfectly legitimate, perfectly spontaneous, perfectly just and perfectly equitable phenomenon effectively imperfect.



If you are a hammer then everything is a nail, but we need to be wary of a worldview devoid of hammers, lest the loose nails find the last place in the coffin of security and order.

Does India really need such an outrageous and murderous event caught on tape? Like India learned from the USA pandemic, can India not, anticipate such outrage and do something to forestall it? Starting a national conversation about an event, whatever the hell that means, after the event has happened, does precious little to the parties concerned. There are many ills and many groups that might fit the bill as potential victims. But there is only one answer to all the problems.


It is the economy, stupid. If we somehow rectify that one social determinant, poverty, most else will fall into place. I am not advocating for some Orwellian state where people suddenly become equal, but making the poor just a little less poor, without affecting the rich. Making poor people rich by making rich people poor is short term, as you run out of rich people’s money and it simply doesn’t work.


Lifting people out of poverty, without malice, without class warfare, could be easier than imagined in India. Not easy, but easier. Lobbying for manufacturing jobs that China is sure to loose is a good start, setting up, made in India, manufacturing, especially in villages could be a good finish. Like, Jeffrey D. Sachs said ‘ sweatshops are the first rung out of extreme poverty’. It is true that it is shocking. And shocking that it is true.

A migrant worker being attacked can provide that viral moment. Rather than keeping that event from being captured on camera, a much better approach would be to keep that event from happening. The daily wage earners could be close to a tipping point. We want to be free from the disease, but the concept of being free also applies to people. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, if we lose just a little but of freedom for just a little but of security, very soon, we will be neither free nor secure.
 

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Himanshi Agarwal

Active member
The death of Floyd, an African-American, shows that police brutality everywhere is directed at the marginalised and powerless
America has erupted into flames over the atrocious murder by a white policeman of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis last week for using a counterfeit note. And the irony is that in the US, the Minneapolis Police Department is considered a progressive police force for its reforms and training on diversity. It supposedly embraces “community policing” and frowns upon bias of any sort against coloured communities. But all this did little to prevent the brutal murder of a black victim by a white officer, who mercilessly him choked to death.

In dealing with Floyd, who was not armed and didn’t try to flee either, we saw police brutality of the worst kind, riding most obviously on the deeply embedded hatred of blacks by sections of the white community.
 
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