On a ‘neo-read’ in development paradigm

In the field of development (especially if one is studying development studies) one hears of these words ‘globalization’ ‘neo-colonialism’, ‘neo-liberalism’ ‘democracy’ ‘non-violent movements During lectures, teachers and guest speakers have tossed these words around and they have bounced off walls and reached our ears. Some of us absorb them and even write them down in the notebooks before us, some of us don’t. Globalization is the new type of colonization, one says, or ‘new-colonialism’ to use the exact word. Then there is neo-liberalism. First define ‘liberalism’ then add new. Is neo-colonialism the same as neo-liberalism? They didn’t tell us that. Then there is ‘imperialism’, ‘facism’, ‘democracy’ and a whole loada catch words of the ‘neo-development’ paradigm (I made that one up, anyone can!). In the course of 3 years and a few months of college, I’ve read handouts after handouts relating to these topics, they seem to explain these words, but then leave you pondering if you understand them or not.

A few months ago, my sisters’s school had a fundraising fair, families bought in new and old stuff to sell. I was ecstatic that there was going to be a book stall, being a lover of a good read. Haven taken a minor pocket money allowance from my mum, I went over the book stall, saw a wide variety of books, from kiddie stories to Harry Potter, to good housekeeping magazines. I saw a book I liked, Soheir Khashoggi’s “Mirage” it looked new and expensive. ‘How much?” I asked the nice lady at the makeshift counter. Tentatively, holding my breath, I was expecting “Rs 200” or 150 or something on those lines. “20 rupees” she said! On the joy the joy!! “Really?” I asked. “Yes” came the reply. And that set me off. I mean who on earth gets a good book for Rs 20? I grabbed the first books that caught my eye, like a hungry beast out for blood (ok not really). There was this one particular book, red and black hard cover, women in full khimar holding her son and walking, looked like Iraq, “An ordinary person’s guide to Empire” said the title. What did that mean? Who’s the author to this title? Arundhati Roy. Ok Il take it. But she’s writing about Iraq now?

The book stayed on the shelf. Just another book about Iraq. I read the 7 other books I bought, 5 other good housekeeping magazines and one Saturday afternoon, was scavenging my shelves for a book to read, something inspiring, something different. I saw Roy’s book and decided I couldn’t put it off anymore.

“To those who believe in resistance, who live between hope and impatience and have learned the perils of being reasonable. To those who understand enough to be afraid and yet retain their fury”. Wow! I thought.

The first article (in a series of articles and speeches) was “Ahimsa”. She spoke of the non violent resistance against big dams in India. “The world over, non-violent resistance movements are being crushed and broken. If we do not respect and honor them, by default we privilege those turn to violent means.” Her first chapter brought me to tears. I wanted to read on, take notes, write again. In the chapters to follow she spoke of September 11, war in Iraq, corporate revolution, imperialism, neo-liberalism, globalization. All the mega huge development buzz words thrown at us, was never explained this humanely by anyone. She linked these words to the life of an ordinary human being. To the life of the poorest, most affected person, to our life. What we feel doesn’t affect us, she shows that it affects us very deep, complex ways.

I promised many people a book review and I will do so once I finish reading the book properly. But I do want to recommend it to everyone, if u can get hold of it, do read it because it worth a sit down with. It may tell you things you already know, but it will do so in a humanizing way. Or it may reveal many things you wished you never knew, because the truth will leave you burdened.

“We’re running out of time. Even as we speak the circle of violence is closing in. Either way, change will come. It could be bloody or it could be beautiful. It depends on us.”


Original post in Tinge of Blue


4 thoughts on “On a ‘neo-read’ in development paradigm

  1. Ah the post for the Development Walas 🙂 I’m loving it. And you ought to give that book to read ( at least)don’t be so lobhi! A book for Rs 20, which day were you born in to get so damn lucky !! Btw has it got anything on Globalization cum urbanization..remember the Urban planning paper?? done the other homework??
    These days I see a trend..everyone seems to think they are kool when they “go against” the system, everything is wrong for them, trade, economy, development and all that follows. I bet there is more than meets the eye but wish ppl would go against anything with strong reasoning..bt how can they until they get hold of your Book!! 😉 hointa ta?? so I beg you to offer me a read,for how long should I beg??

  2. hehe. yes sure sure. Roy explains “the system” so well and the reasons why people oppose and support the system and what part of it needs to be supported and opposed against etc. Its awesome. But I still hold view that everyone needs a copy of it as their own man.
    Omg! I havent started any assignments. Im dead really!
    Hope ur having fun ne hai?

  3. dasain ko paisa le kinchhun bhaneko ta yes pali ta euta luga kine ko ta dasain ko paisa ni sidhiyo. Aba kahile kitaab kinne ho chahi thaha chhaina.

    In the field of development, there are so many paradigm shifts. Many say it is just the old wine in a new bottle. I hope this book will tell us in a very convincing way what the reality is and help us, especially the students of development studies, to take a stance and support for the genuine cause because development is like an amoeba and anyone can make it sound, draw, write anyway as they like. This is ‘the’ thing that I don’t like about being student of development studies.

    I hope this book will make us clearer what development is all about.

  4. Hey check out the ifony guys!! we’re commenting on our own blog entries!!! hahahahahah!! has the world deserted us? are we the last ones left on the planet?? hehehehe

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