Demolishing slums in India so that G20 government leaders don’t see so much trouble

Street lamps illuminate the previously dark sidewalks, walls are painted with colorful murals, and flowers and trees are planted. In some neighbourhoods, street dogs and monkeys have been chased away.

Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government wants New Delhi to shine during the G20 summit, and he is willing to do anything: the “beautification project” will cost about $120 million.

Later this week, several powerful world leaders will travel to India for the G20 summit, including US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

But some of the efforts for the summit come at the cost of housing thousands of Indians. Since January, hundreds of homes and street vendor stalls along the road have been demolished. Dozens of slums were razed to the ground.

Polish the image

The houses are said to have been built illegally on government land. The Housing Minister denies that the destruction of slums has anything to do with the G20 summit, but residents and critics do not believe this much.

Some slum residents approached the High Court in New Delhi to stop the evictions, but the court also ruled that the settlements were illegal.

Historian and India expert Laurens Van Haaften suspects that the demolition is actually linked to the upcoming summit and the country’s image. “Poverty simply does not fit the image the Modi government wants to present,” he says. “The country wants to convey that it is an emerging economy and a global geopolitical power. A country that matters. It is clear that the country wants to present itself as an emerging global power, but it does not control the poverty in the country.”

See also  New European map showing the dangers of wildfires

He says demolition of slums has happened before. “For example, during a visit by an American president. But not before on this scale.”

Turned into rubble

“It does not mean that these slums were just built. They may look like temporary housing, but they are not. They have often been there for generations. Removing these slums has huge social and economic consequences for this vulnerable group of people.”

Like the residents of a slum in New Delhi’s Janta Camp area. When they heard that the G20 summit would be held less than 500 meters from their home, they hoped to take advantage of it. “I thought the ‘great people’ in the G20 would give something to the poor,” resident Muhammad Shamim told Reuters. “But the opposite will happen: these great people will come and sit on our graves and eat.”

The residents of the slum are now homeless. Many of them did not receive eviction notices until shortly before the demolition began.

Kusbo-Davi’s family had lived in the neighborhood for 13 years when they were told they had to leave. “The area needs to be cleaned. But cleaning doesn’t mean they want to take out the poor, right?”

Also for Indians

Van Haaften believes that polishing India’s image is not only aimed at impressing visiting world leaders. “On the one hand, this of course has something to do with it: especially the access roads to the area where the conference is being held are being beautified. In this way, the leaders of foreign governments will not have to see so much ‘trouble’.”

See also  We are ready to defend our country.

But the Indian expert explains that the success of the G20 summit is certainly important for India and its population itself. “The Modi government wants to openly project itself in this G20 as a mouthpiece for the Global South, in order to increase its influence.”

Demolishing the slums is already generating resistance, but not all Indians seem to oppose the decision. “Prime Minister Modi’s policy is about restoring Indian pride, and many Indians are sensitive to this: they find the feeling that India is joining the ‘big boys’ of the world attractive. And that a group of people with a lower social status giving up economic status is acceptable to many.” Of the Indians.”

G20 Summit: The Netherlands is also present

The Group of 20 – or “G20” – is a group of twenty major economies that meet annually to discuss economic issues. This concerns 19 countries and the European Union. together The G20 countries represent about two-thirds of the world’s population and 85% of global income.

The G20 is scheduled to meet again this weekend in India. Outgoing Prime Minister Rutte will also travel to New Delhi. “The Netherlands as a country is not a member of the G20, but we have been invited by the host country in recent years,” says political correspondent Fons Lampe.

This is useful: “It provides the Prime Minister with an opportunity to see, communicate with, and maintain contacts with many international colleagues. It provides the opportunity to speak with many government leaders at once.”

In the run-up to the G20 summit, there was more controversy in host nation India this week. When invited to a dinner during the G20 summit, Indian President Draupadi Murmu called himself the “President of Bharat”, another name for the country. “This fuels rumors that the Indian government may want to change the name in the near future.”

See also  Car parks on the motorway along the E17 will be closed to prevent refugees from climbing into truckloading areas (Krupeki)

India soon to be Bharat?

Both Bharat and India are common terms. But there is a growing call to replace the word “India” with “Bharat,” especially from Hindu nationalist circles, Van Haaften says. “Bharat comes from Sanskrit. According to critics, the word India has its origins in ancient European languages ​​and was imposed by the British colonizers on the existing political state.”

With the name Bharat, the country can further emphasize its political and cultural independence. “The word ‘Bharat’ also has a more spiritual connotation than the word India.”

According to the Indian expert, the debate over the use of the names Bharat and India clearly reveals a division in Indian politics. “By adopting the term Bharat, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government can distance itself from the India of the 1950s, which was led by the Congress Party, today’s main political rival.”

There is even speculation that the government may want to change the country’s name to Bharat. “Although it doesn’t have to be exciting, of course. The use of the term ‘Bharat’ is not new in itself, but in this way in formal communications it is great. I’m very curious to see how this will develop further.”

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *