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In India resources such as water are being sold off, says lawyer

In India resources such as water are being sold off, says lawyer

Adv. Rajendra Sail holding water filled earthen cups from India. Photo: Helen Putsman/WCC

24 February 2015


Rajendra K. Sail is an advocate in the legal profession, and he does not mince his words.

“We are living in an era of liberalization, privatization and globalization,” he ruefully observes.

“These encompass, impact and engineer almost all aspects of our lives – be it political, social, religious, cultural, community, not to mention all-pervasive economic life,” says Sail.

He observes that globalization is a new name “for the same-old capitalism with all its inherent ingredients, and contradictions.”

It has as a dominant principle the exploitation of nature and humanity, “followed by endless pursuit of profits, greed and affluence for a few at the cost of very survival and sustenance for a majority of the populace.”

In his state of Chhattisgarh, 42 percent of the people are aboriginal people or Dalits, who are considered by a significant number of Indians to be the lowest in a caste system that is said not to exist.

“For the first time in our state, a river was sold to a private company, almost 24 kilometres long,” says Sail.

When it comes to water justice, Sail says churches should be able to take up such issues.

“They should be involved in transformative action because most of the members of the churches in India are poor and oppressed.”

All this should be done “so that people can share in the love of Jesus Christ,” says the soft-spoken advocate with a commitment to action that hones sharply in his quest to be “a Christian activist.”

In his area, he sees the state in connivance with foreign investors to carve up the resources.

“Water, food, education and health have become sources of wealth making, and  commodification.

“This is wrong; they should be in the hands of the people.”

The advocate says it should not be forgotten that “since its inception the Indian State has had its cultural characteristic roots in caste, class and patriarchy.”

Read also: Carrying our cross for water justice: stories from the subaltern communities - Indian context. This reflection by Adv. Rajendra Sail was published on the EWN website as part of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015.

A group of 17 people, most of them theologians, but also lawyers and an engineer met at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland, in a theological consultation on water justice from 8-11 December 2014 to develop a theological framework for water justice. Some of the group told Peter Kenny about the issue of water in the context of their regions, nations and local areas. So did some of the students currently studying at Bossey. The interviews will be published in the EWN website over the coming weeks.