British journalist on mission to redistribute India’s wealth

November 24th, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) Award-winning British journalist and author Alan Hart is on a mission to find 12 international experts - mainly economists - to thrash out a policy for equitable redistribution of wealth in India.”I will fund the experts’ trip to India. They will have to debate the state of the country’s economy and present a paper on how to redistribute wealth in this country. We will network with private groups across India so that the paper is not thrown into the dustbin by the government. India is going to be an economic model for the rest of the world to follow,” Hart told IANS.

The 65-year-old former Independent Television Network (ITN) reporter believes that “India will be torn apart by rage” if steps ar not taken quickly to redistribute wealth. He also fears that India’s pro-US stand may harm the country.

“Look at the map of the world, India is surrounded by Muslim nations. It makes no sense for India to proceed this way as a puppet of the US, which is in alliance with Israel. The country is battling an economic crisis along with the rest of the world, which could lead to World War III.

“It needs to deflect the situation. India has a potentially huge middle class but more than 750 million people still live below the poverty line. It still accounts for 40 percent of the world’s poor,” the former BBC presenter said.

Hart, who was close to Mother Teresa and also made a film on the Missionaries of Charity for his independent production company World Focus, identifies easily with poverty.

“I was born in an impoverished family in World War II Britain. My father juggled three jobs at a time, but I went to the best grammar school in Britain,” he said.

World Focus is also credited with making a full-length two-hour documentary movie on global poverty - “Five Minutes to Midnight”.

“The leaders of the Western world have to tell their people that we cannot go on living beyond our means. The days of good old materialism are over and people have to take smaller slices of the global cake. Though capitalism is the only way to create wealth, it has been badly managed,” Hart said.

Hart, who has been reporting on the Middle East for nearly 40 years, has just released his new book “Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews”. It is a two-part volume on why the modern state of Israel, the child of political Zionism, has become its “own worst enemy and a threat to peace in the region”.

The book also explores why the whole of Arab and the wider Muslim world is in an explosion of frustration, “waiting for its time to happen”. Hart says his empathy lies with both sides - the Jews and the Muslims alike.

“I am waiting to see if US President-elect Barack Obama has a magic wand to change America’s foreign policy in the Middle-East and change the world in the process - bring back Israel to its 1967 order with Jerusalem as the capital of the two nations with an open border,” he said.

Hart began his journalistic career at the age of 17, when he reported on the uprising of Blacks against White settlers in Malawi.

“I studied at the university of life when I landed in the darkest part of central Africa - Malawi - at the age of 17 to become a journalist,” he recounted.

Since then, he has seen many wars. In Nigeria, where he flew in with Irish Catholic priests to cover the Nigeria-Biafra war in 1967, Hart found an “entire village of malnourished children with ginger hair, swollen bellies and wizened faces as if they were 100 years old”.

“I was moved to tears and ITN had the courage to keep its camera rolling,” he recalled.

Covering the Vietnam War was the turning point in Hart’s life, when he started questioning whether the US was justified in spending $6 million per minute in a conflict that it could not win.

Hart plans to soon pen his memoirs, which will be published by Delhi-based Contemporary India Publishers. But for the moment, finding the right wealth managers for India is on top of his agenda.

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