Saturday, 17 November 2007

Hitting the Gujarat and West Bengal governments where it hurts: in the wallet

This is a proposal from a friend, Anjan Ray, left as a comment on a post at the Citizens for Peace blog.
To my mind, there is only one way to deal with State-sponsored terrorism. And that is a groundswell of economic boycott activity.

When the rule of the law morphs with willing connivance of the political leadership into the rule of the jungle, it is funded by government and party cadre revenues. These, in turn, come from economic acitivity within the State in large measure.

As a first step, I have sold - and encourage you to sell - every share of any company you hold that has its headquarters in the 2 states under discussion. You can also sell mutual funds that have invested in such companies. I will be happy to provide a list and propose alternate investments if the idea appeals to all those who read this.

Check the packaging of every product you buy, and choose a different option if the place of manufacture lies within these two states.

Simple enough? Pass this on, and I guarantee you will be amazed at the impact.
Should you wish to take Anjan up on his offer to provide the lists of companies HQed in those two states and the alternate investments, he can be reached at anjan DOT ray AT gmail DOT com.


Fibo said...

Nice Blog :)

Abhinav said...

Don't you think that is a very simplistic view of the whole situation? How can such a solution work (even though I do like the ingenuity of the proponent)?

We do not live in the ivory tower of ideals - our life is lead in immense detail. So it is wrong to penalize an entire state for what has been committed by those in power.

Incidentally and ironically, two of the most acclaimed Indians have sprung from the loins of these very states - Gandhi and Tagore. And yet we never bow and say hail Gujarat, hail Bengal. So why the blanket brickbats?

ABHISHEK said...

Just because some of the people at authority are responsible for this acts, why should the companies and industries working in that state suffer.
We all are very well aware that the amul dairy is in anand in gujrat. Even if we boycott their products, first of all the major impact would be loss of livelihood for lakhs of village women who supply milk from their farms daily to amul.
Do you think this Idea is really feasible if we want to uplift each and every person in India.
My opinion would be to not take any such activity in hand and let the law take its own course in these matters.

1conoclast said...

Hey Zig! I couldn't agree more!!! I've been thinking about it for a very long time. I'm glad someone has decided to propogate the idea. With your permission, I will link to this from everywhere I can.
Actually Rahul Bajaj gave me this idea. At Modi's first visit to the IMC (I think), he stood up & lamblasted him for sullying India's image in the eyes of foriegn investors. No one else had the courage to speak up, but I thought that was one cool thing that Mr. Bajaj did. Until he joined the sena that is!
Abhinav & Abhishek, you miss the point. This is a small step for the greater good. It's a small, temporary price to pay for achieving the greater good. I'm going to do this with immediate effect!

Abhinav said...

@Opinionated: I couldn't agree with you less. You do not see Gujrat as an Indian state but as Modi's province. That's just playing into his hands! That's exactly what he wants!

As for the notion of the temporary pain for the larger gain, Arundhati has lambasted this notion of the greater common good (albeit in the context of dams) in her essay The Greater Common Good. You might want to check that out first before advocating this inane simplistic stupid magic-wand idea.

Unknown said...

Gandhi & Tagore don't live any more, except through their words & ideals which we value now & always will.
The rascals who have grasped the reins in their hands at present are the devil incarnate. I guess devils - whether they exist within our hearts, homes, state, country, the world, or the universe, must be fought with every little ounce of energy we have.

1conoclast said...

Abhinav... You don't have to agree with me. In fact I take it as a compliment when someone doesn't agree with me. In India specially, being of the minority point of view is more often than not, right.
For example, Literacy, Education, Progressive or Secular Thinking, Enlightenment are all available only to a small section of society. Therefore, just because you don't subscribe to my point of view, doesn't make a difference.
I respect Arundhati. For her Booker and more importantly for her willingness to take a stand. But she doesn't always have to be right. If you admire her, emulate her; Take a Stand!
This unwillingness to boycott isn't new. It must have happened when Gandhiji gave the call years ago. There are always the naysayers, the ones without gumption, without foresight. That's OK. We're OK with small beginnings.
Anjan's idea is good. If successful, it will put economic pressure on the corrupt rulers and their socially irresponsible corporate partners who are equally to blame by virtue of the sin of omission! If this pressure will create the awareness & bring about the change India needs, then it is a good thing.
Hopefully, you see by now the importance of putting pressure on the corporates. Why don't they speak out? They have the ability to bring about change. Why don't they?
We had boycotted South Africa for years because of Apartheid there. Why didn't people at that time ask about what will happen to the people there? It worked ultimately, didn't it?
What would you rather have? A South Africa with continuing Apartheid?
Come on, give it up. Show some guts! Join in. Fight to correct what has gone so wrong!

Abhinav said...

@Opinionated: I bet you haven't read the essay. As for the Booker, I value Roy more than that.

I don't need to emulate her. Her essay is not even pertinent to the question at hand, not even in the periphery of its context. It just sets out in lucid terms the myopic nature of blanket generalizations and far-fetched constrained plans which never yield the desired results.

First of all, the question isn't about right. What is right has already been decided rather intuitively. We are only arguing about the means to reach the end of proper punishment for the culprits.

And about agreeing, I honestly thought more people would agree with this short-sighted venture which lacks proper hindsight, forget about foresight. Ah, the burden of the Enlightened Indian of which there are many...professed and unprofessed...

And BTW Apartheid was a continuous crime that needed to be stopped in its tracks. Gujarat on the other hand has already suffered the crime and we ask for the punishment to be meted out, not for the crime to stop.

And I really think you should stop gloating and put down the burden of elucidating the rights and wrongs for me...

1conoclast said...

Abhinav, Abhinav, Abhinav...

The impertinence of the essay is amply clear. You're the one who brought it up. But since you have meandered anyway... I really wish she'd have written an essay on something more socially relevant than the problem with "blanket generalizations"

And it is about right. As far as I am concerned, it is always about "right". I'm really not inclined to discuss every single shade of grey.

And are you suggesting that we run the risk of allowing the Gujarat crime (as you put it) to reach chronic apartheid proportions before we act? I'd rather we do "something" about it, even if it is less than perfect, rather than argue it on this blog.

So you're welcome to continue arguing your stance here. I'm off to do some desh sudhaar.

If the respite gives you the time to come up with a better idea, do let us know. I'd be happy to walk down a more effective path.

PS: And I really think you should stop telling me what to do. Or not to.

1conoclast said...


Why the quiet?


With all the various things you're involved in online & offline, see if you can weave these guys @ The Mutiny into it. They're a bunch of nationalists that have won my admiration.
I'd like to see them involved with Citizens for Peace, Caferati etc.
See what you can do...