Crisis in our backyard - The 'simmering' dissent

Published: Wednesday, May 29,2013, 13:19 IST
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red corridor, budget, Maoist, naxalites, naxals, raman singh, mahendra karma

“Spring thunder has begun” boomed Peking radio and with this announcement the nation begun to experience its “tryst with destiny” announced some two decades under the unfurling of the tri-colour. The above 1967, the violent uprising of peasants at Districts of Darjeeling, including Naxalbari from which it derived the ideological impression of “ism” – Naxalism & the latter off course known fully. Infact, even when this tryst of destiny was being frivolously sent across as a new beginning for national upheaval as an independent state by clock striking midnight, a year before than that “Tebhaga” lit. (Sharing by thirds) was concluded by an armed peasant community again in North Bengal, asking their rightful gain from the exploiters of their labour, the landlords. Ironically, when this “tryst” was being celebrated across the nation, some few thousand kilometres away the peasants and farmers were left unamused, revolting against the Nizam and feudal landlords. The Hyderabad state was yet to be part of The newly found nation, until 1948 and governance to have actually realized by its people, and thus the reason of this being carried out for another five years, only to be emphatically “acknowledged” by equal armed proposition in 1951. What followed it immediately as similar ideological upheaval of the peasants and marginalized farmers was Srikakulam in 1961.

Historically, perhaps we are done with counting instances of these upheavals as convoluted rebellions, skirmishes against misconceptions propagated by anti national elements and not having the full realization in democracy and its pillars of Legislature, Executive & Judiciary. This met with resistance socially as well, “why pick a fight with our own people, we are independent now, the feudal imperialism has mets its fate in its coffers, shrug this and look up, for our democratic nation, would now lead us to where we would not have to search for our sustenance, there would be sufficient opportunities for all of us, we would have the right of being called a citizen, a constitution which would protect our rights and collective plurastic antagonism to collective egalitarianism, we would be all equal now, you see”. This could have an intellectual giving perhaps his share of verbosity to his understanding compared and vetted out by his socialistic temperament and new found assimilation of others in that society as citizen of the country. I can today best assume this would have met up with a bewildered expression on this peasant’s face, mixing awe and respect, frustration of being socially chastised if he does not agree what is being told and pressing his understanding of this issue further to simply comprehend that now he could perhaps ask the feudal landlord for an extra kg of wheat for his son too after days work, for him not to go hungry every time or perhaps extra 50 anna’s for him to get the roof repaired for the family of six not to take turns in night to keep it holding it together to not to fall away. These were times of dream’s woven on the fabric of democratic institutions and were sold marvellously well to some 53% of the population then with sterling efforts aiding the expression for him to constantly look up. “He is still looking up,” you see, I wish, I could now have my turn to poke this intellectual in 2009.

Pasupati to Tirupati, everyone was supposed to continue to look up, not for divine intervention but with its search for the constitutional tenants of democracy simplistically for the peasants, daily wage earners, the forest dwellers – the proletariat, as a function of “state to protect those, who can not protect themselves. This covering the constitutionally ruled democratic states of borders of Nepal, Bihar,Bengal, Orissa, Chattisgarh, South Eastern Madhya Pradesh, Eastern Karnataka with spill over in Maharashtra and continue to grow in other parts of the country, including nearest to the throne of this democratic symbol, in neighbourhood Harayana. This is where we have the new found metaphor of rebellion or revolution, the present day Mao-Se Tung inspired ideology of Naxalism being present. The uprising, class annihilation ferment, insurrection or terrorism, what ever we might to call it depending on our intellect, understanding of these issues or vehement opposition and belief in our own pseudo comprehension of half baked –half known wisdom of countries ecological social political system of governance. The debate could be easily settled by differentiating the issue and dividing it into its own classism argument of subject and its context, perhaps better explained as “Vishye” aur “Sandarbh”. If we continue to prod ourselves on the subject, the “vishye” then we in our best’est of wisdom would abhor & denounce any sort of violence which could be perpetrated with impunity on anyone regardless of any class composition of Marxian ideology of “bourgeoisie, petit bourgeoisie or proletariat” and turn ourselves saying “NO”. That’s true for all of us. Violence begets violence and this armed insurrection, not matter how rebellious or revolutionary and faith in its ideology would shift away from the line which separates it from terrorism.

The approach of close ended questions of these sought are a simple “Yes or No, which actually takes us away from understanding these issues in its actual context, “sandarbh”. We are aware of the gross disparities our governance structures have got us in, we are aware of the social anomalies which are plagued by the factor of developmental benefits touching only few of our lives, we have perhaps even without being classified have found an avid inspiration of capitalism and its consumption factors, according our own manifestation of “standard of living” and we have an inherent empathy with these issues, despite being caught perhaps right in the middle of it. It would be difficult to comprehend or is not known to us, would be a thought anomaly in itself which most of the nation would not like to acknowledge.

The understanding of the context would lead us to awareness of the issues which have actually given birth to these gaps and leaving the space wide open for any ideology to come and fight for their own behalf, except them. The collective inspiration is seen that what could not be demanded of the rotten system could be at best extracted with might. The results of the former are all known, with implied patience, be it fundamental rights of sustenance, food, shelter, health and civic facilities to law and order, would come or the instant element of this being provided by just exercising a little pressure with arms in hand and the same system responds with such speed that one wonders, whether that could have sustained itself if not been factually a system. This leaves the proletariat to announce a class struggle, imbibing the ideology and its discipline as that left on the mercy for once to announce that what is ours would be snatched if not given. The root of this is not ideology. The reason is socio-politico-economic grievances of the people. The faith that was once to be livid has forced with pressure its departure from the very moorings. This related to Poverty, Land reforms, Unemployment, Corruption, Aboriginals right, Tribal rights, Forest dwellers right, Education, Civic and Health benefits and last Governance. The feeling of helplessness, alienation and powerlessness – the absence of individual assertiveness is diluted a collective assertiveness is implied with these convoluted ideologies.

This when the central planned allocation for anti-poverty programmes have seen a 15 fold increase in last 15 years from 7,500 Crs in 1993-94 to well over 120,000 Crs in 2008-09, these in addition to 70,000 Crs of farmer loan waivers, simply having no inter relation between outlay and outcomes. The situation gets accentuated more when we look at the sheer statistics of this greatest deprivation of rightful fundamentals that people in rural “habitations” the villages where people have seen there income rise from Rs. 8.99 per day to Rs.9.01 per day, the “plimsoll line” widening the gap of beneficiaries from BPL (Below the poverty line) to Non – BPL entity, after all these outlays in last upwards of dozen years. This interplay of deprivation as perhaps was waiting for even this partition to lay claim on the frugal benefit of governance. Situation likes these, where in states like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh & Rural Orissa with significant tribal population, 99.8 percent of there families are not able to cover one basic meal in any given month of the year. Policies have been just formed to allow a glimpse of governance without taking heed of the bio-diversities, livelihood patterns, living habits and even philosophical understanding. This again, when the tribal areas are rich in mineral wealth & yet, tragically half than more tribal population is deprived of the means to approach towards sustainable right of living. This proves that they have if all just mildly responded to this system of governance and perhaps a approach needs to be brought to get them first to develop a response and then perhaps seek their assimilation in the main stream. No wonder that Naxalism, finds them taking succour and has seen spread itself where governance exist simply on papers with appalling poverty remaining endemic, to remote regions where again the tribals, rural proletariat has been systematically displaced from their natural habitat. Deprivation & Exploitation have left them to find mertis of their existence in this ideology shift and a detailed planning of years of exploitation matched with years of persistent efforts are needed to ensure that the first steps “spring” are sown in their hearts.

These are indeed are own people, they are not fighting for a separate land or a separate country, all perhaps they fight most genuinely and some perhaps in the grab of it is for justice to ensure they are collectively understood, assimilated and are not left behind in this momentum of growth at dawn of this millennium. If this correction is achieved and responds even with slightest of gesture, would soothe the wounds which have been inflicted over all these years. Mere announcing more troops and taking note of growing influence of Naxals in states and threat to Indian sovereignty, as early as two weeks back is all but a ploy of not knowing at instance what would have caused these situations and further not acknowledging that the situation ever exists.

Flagships programmes of assured 100 days of work are just but adding to the insult when these people had their own lands to till, their own culture, who are now being displaced and now on mercy of working on developmental plans of the government, on their land for 100 days. For sure more could be done and more needs to be done. Until then, I think both the state apparatus and naxals equally would continue to justify their own stand, as a 3rd class grader to the masses at large of “we never started it first”. These high internal conflicts would continue to be fought for the masses, on their own bodies, some 7500 already, both sides and no recourse could justify any of its existence, ideology of the state vs. ideology of the proletariat. It seems everyone has a role to play to justify their existence so long as it is left simmering. This dissent left with the people who value it most would have a larger effect on the national strife of our existence. We can shrug it off, so longer it does not effect but not for long, am convinced. Until then we continue to treat it as a menace and further contain ourselves to fight for the “subject” and they making it us believe for its “context”.

Author is an Activist and Student of International Law. He can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter www.twitter.com/abhjoshi -

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