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Corporatisation of Democracy: Challenges for Inclusive Development

By Meda Patkar


The Indian Social Institute (ISI) organised its annual Fr. Paul de La Gueriviere Third Memorial Lecture on ‘Corporatisation of Democracy: Challenges for Inclusive Development’ on 19th of December 2014. The lecture was delivered by social activist and the founder member of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar. The Institute was honoured to have Prof. Surinder Singh Jodhka, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi as the Chair of the programme. About 200 people from all walks of life had participated in this programme.

In his welcome note, Dr. Xavier, the Executive Director of the Institute, described Fr. Paul de La Gueriviere as a Great Missionary working for the upliftment and development of the marginalized section of the society and contributed being the conscience of the institute. Expressing concern about the way democracy is lived, he also strongly stated against the development that flows from the barrel of the gun. Referring to caste system, the Chairperson of the programme, Prof. Surinder Singh Jodhka, noted that the Indian society is not democratic and promotes hierarchy. He observed that exclusion is aggressively propagated in Indian society. Caste system was pointed out as the greatest phenomenon that hinders the people from seeing the truth of oppression in society, stated Prof. Vijay Pratap. Prof. Ashis Nandi shared about various changes in Indian democracy. People’s choice for heroic figure was one such observation made. He also expressed regret at the fact that homelessness and pauperisation have become necessary parts of development.

Terming the topic of the lecture to be close to heart and heartburning, Medha Patkar noted that inequality had taken the toll of not only the framework and process of democracy, but also of life. She unequivocally stated that the benefits of infrastructural development are seen in the industrial corridor. Observing the pattern of land grabbing by the corporates with the help of the State, she also stated that democracy and State have been corporatised. Still, we need not lose hope, because we also see the victory of people’s movements.  Singur in West Bengal is an example for this. All through her lecture she radiated hope and enthusiasm in working for the rights of the people. 

Indian Social Institute, founded in 1951, is engaged in research, training, action and advocacy in socio economic development and the promotion and protection of human rights of particularly the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the most Backward Castes, the Minorities, the unorganised and landless labourers and women. Fr. Paul G. worked in Indian Social Institute for more than 25 years.  Therefore, Indian Social Institute has instituted this memorial lecture in his memory.



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