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Letter to Mr. Mallya and to Formula 1 fans

October 31, 2011

Mr. Mallya,

The first and the only time I had seen you, was in my first year of engineering. It was at that time when I was invited to World Youth Peace Forum in Bangalore. That was the time when like others system had purposefully kept me also ignorant of the other side of ‘development’, ‘progress’ and ‘growth in GDP’. I was being trained to run the big road roller of development, to be a part and parcel of this lifestyle where in you are considered God. I was both naive and excited then. You were one of the speakers in this one week long conference. I was excited to hear about your journey. And then you arrived on the stage. In parts I and many others could not understand what you were speaking. Some said that you had come there drunk. It did look like that by the way you were walking. I was too baffled to say anything.

And then I forgot all about you, until now when I read your statement in the Washington post. When some in India were celebrating the F1 race, when the bollywood and cricket stars were clamouring for attention and when some people were out there celebrating ‘God knows what’ with cell phones in their hands clicking photographs to be added on Fb, someone in Washington post was writing to remind us about those who were sacrificed to create this place for this gala event –

Not too long ago, the hosting suburb of Greater Noida was the site of weeks of massive farmer unrest over forced acquisition of land by the government for construction projects — including India’s first race track. Many villagers complained that the track, snaking past their villages, had also cut off their connections to the main road.

To which you Mr. Mallya, Force India team co-owner replied this –

In every country, there are the privileged and the underprivileged. We have underprivileged people in our country, but that does not mean the country must be bogged down or weighed down. India is a progressive country; we have a strongly growing economy, a large economy. The government is doing all it can to address the need of the poor or the underprivileged people, but India must move on.

Move on? As a part of moving on do you want us to celebrate the naked dance of development which to me looks something like this –

Millions of people are being crushed under the big vehicle that people like you are driving. Millions are being displaced and sacrificed for the likes of you want to become bigger and more powerful. Many like us are being successfully educated (coerced) to join the roller, the roller that is showed to us as the picture of growing GDP, progress and development. Many are being seduced to go get degrees, peg themselves into the roller and increase the size of its wheels that crushes the rest.

The growth of your stocks is not India moving on. India or for that matter any country can only move on if every person is taken along, cared for, loved and protected. But you know that don’t you Mr. Mallya? You also know very well about Meera. Meera who was living with her four children in the land acquired for this race. She was displaced and her land was forcibly taken away. You know Mr. Mallya, for a farmer their land is their mother. Meera is illiterate and can only guess her age. Rubbish lay in ponds of stagnant water. With a sick child who has already suffered from malaria twice she asks, “I don’t understand this concept of cars racing for entertainment,People pay money to watch this? Like a movie?” Why don’t you Mr. Mallya go and tell her that the cheapest tickets are about 2,500 rupees (about $50) – about half the monthly wage of a cleaner. The most expensive corporate boxes go for about $200,000 – and nearly all have been sold. Nearby, workers sprayed the manicured lawns around the F1 track with water in last minute preparations. Meera, who has electricity for four hours a day, must walk half an hour to the nearest water pump. But now your eyes have become hazy they have already seen many Meera going down under the weight of your ambition.

I could have written pages here belittling these statements of yours but I would not waste my energy doing that here for two reasons –

Firstly, who would read it? The system has successfully created a dead lot of positive branded people who are dancing in these events, people who see in the image of Sachin with chequered flag the image of growing India, people who look at the video on Facebook which showcases the number of cars you own and like it and share it, people who do not really care about the consequences of their actions and work till people like you keep throwing money at them. Such people would call me a pessimist for having written this alone.

Secondly, I have already done that a number of times in my previous articles that talk about the atrocities being committed by likes of you. And so there was no need. Just like the commonwealth, I would have just ignored this gala event of yours too.

Do what you wish to Mr. Mallya. Its ok displace people, take away their lands and throw them deep into poverty, there would always be people to support you, but at least have the shame to keep your mouth shut. Stop making making such statements in the media and stop stripping yourself naked in front of at least those who can see. It makes some people lose the little left-over hope in humanity.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2011 20:25

    The same old story of the myth of development…and again it brings a feeling of guilt..of how we are treating our fellow disconnected we are that we keep ignorant of the fact that they are being displaced of their homes and culture. Only the day, a big JCB comes to displace us from our homes…our eyes will open..


    • October 31, 2011 20:32

      Yes sad it is.. at least at individual level some of us have freedom to do what we want to.. to make choices


  2. Sudha permalink
    November 1, 2011 07:50

    Wonderful letter, especially the story about Meera which would help many see things more clearly. Good job, Keep writing! Did you make the ‘Dance of development’ sketch?


  3. November 1, 2011 08:22

    Thanks Sudha.. No its not a sketch.. all I did was to put some pics (people laying down, road-roller and people jumping) together over lap them and edit it on corel draw..


  4. Wanderer permalink
    November 1, 2011 08:31

    Too good dude. A wonderful take on utterly ridiculous statement by fatso and on the people who went to celebrate the ridiculous show of money and speed. Actually I wanted to write on the same, but now that you have done it I will sit and relax 😉


  5. Wanderer permalink
    November 1, 2011 08:32

    and yeah nice picture – dance of development 🙂


    • November 1, 2011 09:08

      thanks.. don’t call him fatso, u might get beaten up 🙂 there are a whole bunch of people who think he is smart and want to emulate him..


  6. Dhakkan permalink
    November 1, 2011 17:32

    Truth is that, everyone of us knows in what hypocrisy we live in. Our consciousness still possess the ability to distinguish but we lack the brave heart to walk on the righteous path.


  7. November 2, 2011 23:12

    no matter who is going to read this.. i am here to appreciate your spirit to be the TRUTH! KUDOS!


  8. Gayathri permalink
    November 6, 2011 23:00

    they will not listen. they will not hear…they will ignore even if they did…
    nice post


  9. Animesh permalink
    November 10, 2011 18:23

    Hi deshwal , i read it coz i wanted to read more after reading the brave sharmila story. Naked dance of development – very true. but guess who is the NAKED one here ? It is the government and policy makers, who have kept the land plots unregistered till date. Wish these hapless people could themselves / through a representative book the plot they live on for so many years. It requires some bureaucratic throughfare : agree but that HAS to be done. The house is not just made of bricks of effort and love, it needs “legitimacy” which comes through bureaucracy.Even the poorest with a legitimate land papers cant be lawfully displaced by the richest one ( lawfully… i am not considering corrupt practices, every corruption has a law watching eventually )…… If they had legit papers , I am sure the F1 would have looked different from what it is now. Without proper legal papers, there can only be sloganism and looks of pity. But as long as these things remain unregulated, our nation will continue to be battered by Merciful protestors and burgeoning corporations . Dont know how many more illegitimate lands would be usurped with 1000s of villagers crying for help.


    • November 10, 2011 18:55

      “But as long as these things remain unregulated, our nation will continue to be battered by Merciful protestors and burgeoning corporations”.. I unfortunately dont think regulations are a solution.. especially after reading about Adivasis near Maan Dam, about atrocities committed by TATAs in Kalinga Nagar.. despite all regulations the peope in power continue to abuse them in and out..


  10. Puneet permalink
    November 11, 2011 04:04

    I would say its unfair to single out Vijay Mallya; have no particular sympathy to him but then its a project which was supported by the so – called icon of the lower castes and poor people in India – Mayawati…Also, this article has revived the age old discussion on the definition of development…which means anything which makes majority of people happy…In this case, it was probably the supporters of F1 (read people who celebrate such extravaganzas) and not these villagers…and I strongly feel in this world, this would continue to happen…its like when you make roads, power projects, dams etc. you think about the millions in the country and not about the few who live in the close vicinity or whose farms are being taken…though they should definitely be compensated properly…I know this theory of greater good may not appeal to all but its probably one grey area of my job which I have been unable to resolve…


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