The frontpage news this week has been dominated by the ongoing saga of Mittal Steel’s attempted take over of Arcelor. What is particularly interesting is that leading Indian politicians have called European attempts to block the move as acts of xenophobia (or racism). This lead Jacques, In Delhi earlier this week, to word a refutation […]
The frontpage news this week has been dominated by the ongoing saga of Mittal Steel’s attempted take over of Arcelor. What is particularly interesting is that leading Indian politicians have called European attempts to block the move as acts of xenophobia (or racism). This lead Jacques, In Delhi earlier this week, to word a refutation of the racism claim.
Certainly, wants to hold onto its independence and the threat of job-cuts, a typical Mittal tactic, would be bad for Europe. But all that is just business sense.
What is interesting is the heads of Indian government raising the spectre of racism here, which I think is a false and specious claim, but also a revealing commentary. It smacks of a childish, “your not letting me into your club,’ mentaility, which sadly reflects the extent to which India is not yet reconciled to its place in the world. Mittal Steel is a big, no make that huge company. That an existing European company would want to ward off a take-over that would dilute its identity is a normal part of business life. To argue from that to a claim of racism seems odd in the extreme.
I recall waiting in line for a cinema to open (here in Delhi) and we asked the attendant if we coud go in, only to be advised the cinema was being cleaned. A few seconds later the person came back and said the cinema was now clean, as we handed over our tickets, the Indian woman behind us said (in a very well educatated voice), “it is good to see colonialism is alive and well.”
We didn’t in anyway change the situation there because of our “whiteness” and I’m not sure we were “colonising” the cinema. to me what that comment revealed is the same as what the comments over Mittal steel revealed; namely a victim mentaility. It is also a form of self-protection. maybe if that lady had asked if the cinema was ready, she would have gotten the same response as us. Maybe if Mittal Steel was a different sort of company with a different ethos, there would be less protest at its planned take-over.
The truth is India has emerged from it’s colonial past as a vast and powerful country with great wealth and growing influence. However, far too many people here (including powerful politicians) still believe they are being surpressed, held-back or being discriminated against. It is time for them to just wake up and drop the empty, self-defeating and frankly overdefensive rhetoric.
[tags] Mittal, Arcelor, India, Post-Colonialism [/tags]