Saturday, March 17, 2007

West Bengal: The X-ternal Factor

What is happening in Bengal today is a matter of grave concern. But without going into whether it is bad politics or bad economics or historical baggage – just yet, I want to highlight the Prabasi or non-resident Bengali angle. Read an article which had reactions from many Bengalis in North America who expressed shock at the events in Nandigram and the human rights violations and police atrocities. What was interesting was that the reactions came in mostly from academicians and professors and a few doctors. I did not yet see any reaction from the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs – some of whom have invested in Bengal lately and become stakeholders in the state. Also have not so far seen anything from some of the best known Bengalis overseas – Rajat Gupta & Purnendu Chatterjee – who are among modern Bengal’s best known brand ambassadors. The decision of the West Bengal government to put on hold all Special Economic Zones (SEZ) will also, in fact, affect the Salim group which has a partnership with a prominent non-resident Bengali. Waiting to hear from the Prabashis about what they feel about SEZs vs human rights… has anyone seen anything from Amartya Sen on this issue yet?


Junebug said...

Re: Amartya Sen weighing in. Yes:

Re: Singur, he's basically dropped the "politically-motivated" card, saying that the pros will outweigh the cons.

However, Sen's publicly-voiced opinions on this seem to have turned around more recently, sepaking generally (with Mohammed Yunus) that the forcible and non-transparent acquisition of land for SEZs and the like is undesirable and that proper negotiations need be instituted with land owners. However, it's unclear as to what he thinks of Singur (which is still underway) or Nandigram (now quashed) more specifically.

Junebug said...

d'oh! forgot to include the second link:

ishani said...

Thank you...these are very interesting perspectives that I was looking for.