KATHPUTLI COLONY, the one that has served to be an inspiration for the magic realism in Salman Rushdies’s Midnight’s Children, has been extended the metaphor to itself by NGOs. The colony stands for the art that flourishes in various genres in our country. The slum dwellers’ living conditions stand in juxtaposition to the beauty of the art they represent. The government in collaboration with Raheja Developers has devised the first of its kind rehabilitation plan which resituates the residents in flats just two miles from their slum. But the dwellers resist and rage, protest and show a great mistrust. The “simple people” of the slums are easily misled and the NGOs have taken from the magic realism of Rushdie and extended it to romanticize the unhealthy slums of the dwellers. That’s more of a western view of India, the one that continues to believe India to be a magically real and exotic land of snake charmers.
Kathputli colony offers a degraded life to the traditional street artists of the world. With an intermittent water and power supply, life manifests in dark dungeons. Children play amid human faeces and garbage stink spreads to kilometers. Such a lowly manifested life in narrow lanes and teetering brick houses of the colony life gives birth to dancers, singers, fire-eaters and sword swallowers of the world.
In India, slum evacuation and rehabilitation has meant an equally disparaging relocation in poorly built flats to the outskirts of Delhi. And a lot of times, not even that. But the project for Kathputli redevelopment was different and was a pioneering project that would set a nationwide example. Raheja builders in collaboration with the government had devised an “innovative” redevelopment plan.
The transit camps were located only two miles away from their former homes and each family would get a one bedroom flat of the 2,800 that were built in the 60% of the total area. The rest was to be occupied with luxury flats and a mall. The number of families who have shifted to these camps remains negligent, close to 70. Though 5 years have passed since this plan was introduced, a lack of trust persists largely among all the slum dwellers.
The lack of interest among slum dwellers can be allocated to the history of relocation practices followed in India. But there’s more to this seemingly simple story of evacuation and resistance to it. Two NGOs – FORD FOUNDATION and HAZARDS CENTRE have shown great support to the slum dwellers as they are protesting against their relocation, but the relocation in fact is in the favor of slum dwellers and at large, in national interests to evacuate slums from the country. Histories of the two supporting NGOs and their hidden agendas have not been new to controversies.
Ford Foundation has often been called a front for CIA, the American external spying agency. Ford Foundation funds charitable organizations and NGOs which work towards hindering India’s social, political and economic interests. The Foundation funds anti-marxist organizations and has funded Sanchal Foundation for helping the Hazard Centre, thus, hinting towards a hidden connection between the two.
A Binghampton University professor, James Petras, has called the Ford Foundation-CIA connection a deliberate effort aiming to strengthen US imperial cultural hegemony in our country. Ford Foundation has been called the “vanguard of Cold War thinking” working to undermine left-wing influence on politics and culture.
Both Ford Foundation and Hazards Centre claim their motives to be directed towards strengthening democracy. India, the largest democracy that it is, needs no such social motives to be promoted. Does it?
The “simple people” of Kathputli colony are made to stand against private developers by convincing them with examples of faltering relocations in India. The people can’t see beyond what is dictated to them by the mouthpieces of imperial hegemonists. The west continues to dictate the world, just that it’s hidden now. Beneath the charitable faces of such NGOs run the anti-marxist vanguards of cold war who will never let a third world nation tread the path of economic, social or political growth.
Private developers (Raheja in this case) and the government have initiated a noble cause of an innovative redevelopment. We can’t continue to be seen and called the magic realist world of Rushdie, a viewpoint adopted from the west. I am, and we all should, be prompted to think that how far have we achieved our independence? Are we still dodged by the masked endorsers of imperialism? If yes, it’s time for a change.
Kathputli Colony is almost 40 year old slum where families of puppeteers, magicians, folk singers, painters, dancers, acrobats, jugglers and storytellers etc. It is estimated that there are about 2800 families that live in this slum. Relocation is in the favor of slum dwellers . Though 5 years have passed since this plan was introduced, a lack of trust persists largely among all the slum dwellers. Ford foundation which work towards hindering India’s social, political and economic interests. The Kathputli colony’s people are made to stand against private developers . The Ford Foundation real intentions has been doubted and the NGO has been called a charitable face for the hidden agenda of “Cold War”. Instead getting influenced by foreign ngos , Indians need to use their own brains. ”India Need Help, Let India Grow”.
The government have initiated a noble cause of an innovative redevelopment and rehabilitation plan. But the dwellers resist, protest and show a great mistrust. Each family would get a one bedroom flat out of 2,800 in total. This is major step to remove poverty and uplift the poor people .Two foreign established ngos named Ford Foundation and Hazards Centre supposed to encourage and help the dwellers to evacuate the slums instead they are sowing the seeds of cold war. The west continues to dictate the world, just that it’s hidden now, doesn’t it? .India is a democratic country so we all know the answer. We need no third party to settle our internal disputes and to hinder our India’s growth.
The ford foundation has been in controversy earlier also for law school clinic act in London, instead of opening that clinic,they were using it for political activities. now they are intervening in Kathpulti case where the private developers are offering flats to slum people as a government rehabilitation plan but they are provoking slum people for their own motive.