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Millennium Post

Nostalgia for colonial era

To say that French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg’s highly provocative remark — ‘we do not want Mittal in France any longer’ — borders on racism is an understatement. The comment screams racism. And as if that is not bad enough, the Western media has embarked on an all-out campaign to defend the indefensible. They are trying to portray this not-so-subtle white supremacist European minister’s unveiled, uncouth and utterly dishonourable attack against the Indian-born ‘native’ who dared  to become the richest man in Europe, as an ‘extreme left’ Socialist politician’s honest and honourable effort to defend his country’s economic interests. What is grotesquely dishonest and dishonourable is the Western media’s effort to exonerate this pathetic creature called Arnaud Montebourg, a man who belongs to the jurassic age but is living in the 21st century purely by mistake. The real problem bugging Arnaud Montebourg and his backers in the Western media is that to them, Lakshmi Mittal is not just a name or a fairy tale success story. For them, Lakshmi Mittal is a symbol — a symbol of the nascent rise of post-colonial Asia and Asians.

If we just take a look at the life of 62-year-old Lakshmi Niwas Mitta, son of Mohan Lal Mittal of Rajgarh tehsil in Churu district, Rajasthan, the reason for the West’s indignation and impotent rage becomes crystal clear. Mittal started  humbly from the former colonial capital of Kolkata to build a global steel empire and is today 41 per cent owner, chairman and and CEO of  the world’s largest steel-making company, ArcelorMittal. Just a year ago he was ranked the sixth richest person in the world by Forbes magazine. And as if all this is not bad enough (for the former Western colonialists), he holds a 34 per cent stake in the Queens Park Rangers FC football team. Kolkata, once iconised as the second capital of the Empire (after London) is probably the most vivid symbol of Western colonialism and the brutalities and injustices it perpetrated. And from that very city springs a man who dares to become Europe’s richest subject.  ArcelorMittal is a symbol not only of French pride but of the industrial might and economic power of the whole of Europe. And a man from the former prize colony, India, has the audacity to become its owner. Queens Park Rangers FC is a symbol of Europe’s sporting prowess. And here comes this Lakshmi ‘man-from-nowhere’ Mittal to become its custodian.

Times are, indeed, very bad for France and for the rest of the European Union. And as a rising Asian
newspaper, Millennium Post cannot but feel sorry for them.
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