Visit to Crossword -Ahmedabad while working in Philips was an monthly ritual after pay-day. Always on a lookout for socio-econo-political comentaries with a bias towards history especially relating to those exotic sounding regions of the world that seemed mired in endless conflict - Latin America , Eastern Europe and Jerusalam . On one such occasion I chanced upon a book with a rather ominous title 'Hidden Agenda' .
Written by an world renowed, (but largely unknown in India) Australian journalist -John Pilger(http://www.johnpilger.com/) . The book chronicles how vested US business & political interest under the guise of "national security interests" ensured that puppet regimes were instated in many countires at the cost of true democracy & thousands of innocent lives. Each country is a case study in itself - Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala list goes on.
Hidden Agenda had a dramatic effect on my way of thinking & analyzing.. it made me look at an issue from several different vantage points than the one most commonly viewed. It showed that there was nothing black or white , everything was a shade of grey,, including the US foreign policy .
So it was quite a delight when over the weekend I located & viewed an documentary 'War on democracy' made by John on the internet at http://freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=171. (It truly made my sunday) The documentary is an extension of his book 'Hidden Agenda' and its central theme is around Venezuela & its highly controversial leader -Hugo Chavez. Without revealing the plot it highlights the challenges that an country faces in its march towards progress and prosperity .. should there policies be right-wing ( pro-big-business/bourgeoisie-and therefore pro-US) or left-wing (pro common-man/proleteriat, and therefore in nature -anti US). The documentary changed my opinion of what is happening in Venezuela - a country divided from within (Would strongly recommend watching that documentary even if you are apolitical person )
It also made me reflect about India , because we seemed to have found the middle path, between left & right wing. A country where business leaders - Ambanis, Tatas, Birlas are not hated but revered. Where a BMW and a bullock cart coexist amicably. We had some dark chapters in the past 20 years - Mandal commission , Gujarat riots and the politically manufactured crises in Singur (against the Tata nano project). But for a country as vast & complex as ours I would consider them as isolated incidents.
And so it is that watching' war on democracy' made me feel proud of our own democracy .. India