And still the party goes on.
October 6, 2013 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Nero's Guests is a story about India’s agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu, P Sainath. The entire film is uncopyrighted and available to watch online. As Sainath says, "There are two kinds of journalists. One kind are journalists, the other are stenographers." As to the silence of the mainstream Indian media on the farmer suicides, he noted:
"Tacitus despised Nero. His writings on the Emperor show us that. However, he wrote very little about his guests. Those who could pop that fig while human torches burned around them. But then, come to think of it, the media of our time – the first-drafters-of history – are remarkably silent about this side of our own elite. Too many of whom are today just that. Nero’s Guests.
posted by spamandkimchi (6 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
"The cow in Europe is the most food secure creature on the planet. The dream of the Indian farmer is to be born a European cow."
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:56 PM on October 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Powerful and informative. Thank you, for this post, spamandkimchi.
posted by VikingSword at 9:32 PM on October 6, 2013


This is one of India's great stains. The absolute level of corruption in government is stunning, and keeps development at bay. That, and the Indian Middle Class who seems not to give two shits about their countrymen. The caste system lives on, with underclasses thought of and treated as little more than animals, of they're lucky.

I have witnessed this massive human waste, and it's beyond sad. Yet, India always want to show the world what a "forward-looking" country it is. What a crock! Bangalore does not a developed country make.

Watching this film, it's impossible not to get boiling mad at the sheer size of the waste of human capital that is openly permitted and encouraged by too-many wealthy Indians and their scum politician/bureaucrat sidekicks.

Until this problem resolves - along with many others - India will be a poor nation not only in economic terms, but spiritual terms. If I were an Indian citizen with any education at all, I would be openly ashamed. And as far as "Nero's Guests", the Indian Media - SHAME!
posted by Vibrissae at 2:07 AM on October 7, 2013


Vibrissae: " If I were an Indian citizen with any education at all, I would be openly ashamed. "

Nope, not feeling it sorry. We just spend our days trying to get by, same as you (albeit with an even more precarious safety net) and trying not to get bogged down into inert numbness with the size and scope of the problems the country faces. At this point I'm happy enough when we can get out and vote, and that the people we voted for are the ones who get elected.

There's always plenty of "shame on YOU" everywhere though. Agency is always something someone else has.
posted by vanar sena at 3:39 AM on October 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


vanar sena, beginning midway through the documentary, Sainath squarely implicates the Western viewer as being among Nero's Guests and asks why, given all the subsidies the E.U. and the U.S. provide to their cotton farmers (for example), the Indian farmer is told he must compete on the free market without subsidies. Does the viewer wear cotton clothing? Eat imported peppercorn or coffee? Our governments' trade policies help harm farmers in other countries.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:19 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


vanar sena, beginning midway through the documentary, Sainath squarely implicates the Western viewer as being among Nero's Guests and asks why, given all the subsidies the E.U. and the U.S. provide to their cotton farmers (for example), the Indian farmer is told he must compete on the free market without subsidies. Does the viewer wear cotton clothing? Eat imported peppercorn or coffee? Our governments' trade policies help harm farmers in other countries.

Correct. I immediately felt my own sense of shame for indirect participation in these abuses. That said, I have too much experience with India to slough most of the responsibility off to our own admittedly pathetic corporate practices. (btw, the US corporate world has its own spheres of shame to deal with).

What I'm getting at is the sheer lack of concern for these farmers by a middle and upper-middle-class population that is still stuck in a class/caste system that they brag about being over, when it's anything but that. That, and the fact that middle class India sees this problem every day; it's right in front of them. India reminds me of Russia, where both nations new-found "capitalistic democracy" has made things swell for a rising middle class, at the cost of social justice - with a convenient (or enforced, in the case of Russia) pushing off to the side the massive human suffering that stares them right in the face. Nero's Guests, indeed. Sure, I'm one of them, but I'm not sitting at the main table.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:27 PM on October 7, 2013


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