Vantage point

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Arundhati Roy, in her latest salvo, targets, of all possible business entities, mobile phone companies!!!! She lashes out at poverty and environmental issues while training guns on the mobile boom.

This line of thought (and I use the word very loosely) is an excellent example of Roy's bafflingly bizarre logic. It is also an excellent example of how left-liberals, especially in India, earn a lot of sympathy admiration by just raising issues that tug at your heart, rather than say anything positive or concrete.

Prima facie, what Roy says may make sense to a lot of people. They will feel guilty thinking, crores of Indians are starving and here I am celebrating the fact that I can make a mobile phone call at just 40 paise. How can we, the vilified "middle class" be so evil and rob the poor just for our mobile phones?

But think logically and you will see that her argument (again i use the word rather loosely) has excellent potential to be used as manure.

Roy says - "Are you going to starve to death dreaming of a mobile phone or you going to have control of the resources that are available to you and have been for generations, but have been taken away so that someone else can have a mobile phone?"


How on earth can someone say that the mobile phones have come at the expense of poor people?

The mobile phone revolution in India is funded entirely by private investment. The government has not "wasted", if you will, our tax money, on setting up mobile phone networks. It ir private money, most of it invested by the foreigners.

In fact if anything, private mobile operators have contributed to public money in the form of the huge licensing fees that they were made to pay, and the several other charges they have to pay.

Not even the stupidest person would say that resources were taken away from feeding the poor to invest in mobile telephony. But Roy would.

It infuriates me to see that something so positive, i.e the mobile revolution, which has in fact empowered a lot of people across the country, which is an excellent case study of how privatisation can uplift sectors destroyed by government monopoly, and which has provided jobs to so many people, is actually being painted as evil and by some warped sadistic logic, responsible for the millions of starving Indians.

She is fittingly called the verbal terrorist. Just like terrorists, she has a warped logic. Just like terrorists, she ambushes innocent people using wrong means.