By : Shikha Gaur
“The upsurge is coming, country wide upsurge…
- Charu Mazumdar
The expression of this communist revolutionary concerned the future prospects of a movement whose history goes back to the era of darkness. The early years of British in India were marked by widespread jacqueries. Sannyasi Rebellion was the one of the prominent ones in this regard in which sannyasis and fakirs played a significant role in organizing the peasants against the British atrocities. Another one was Kol Revolt, which was directed against government officers and private moneylenders who showed no mercy while doing collection of revenues from the poor peasants. Other uprisings, viz., Damin-i-Koh, Wahabi uprising, Tebhaga movement narrate the same stories of crusade led by local poor peasants.
The saga of the plight of peasants did not see an end of colonial rule, but acquired a different form. The oppression continued, but with ‘accepted legitimacy’.
The post-independence era in India was marked by many policies, programmes and reforms aimed towards taking the country on the path of development and prosperity to the fellow Indians. But ‘unfortunately’, the prosperity remained unrealized, till date. Despite chest-thumping by various regimes since independence about their emphasis on socialism as a way to bring marginalized to the mainstream, depredations in that part of the country has only become a new normal. The worst affected population is that of peasants (or the tribes), whose lands were snatched and owned by local moneylenders (who in post-independence era acquired political strength).The demand put forth by the peasants was that of land distribution which was never fulfilled besides many ‘efforts’ to do so. Worst still, hardly any attention was paid to uplift this chunk. Resultantly, the countryside boiled to form a league to fight against the government which took various forms, ranging from cultural revolutions to violent ones.
“You all are parliamentarians.” were the four strong words of Charu Mazumdar which not only described the unwillingness of our representatives in parliament to help the poor peasants to have a safe future, but the ‘bad marriage’ concept as well.
The term “bad marriage” was given by Ms. Arundhati Roy to describe the relationship of Indian government and the India who lives inside the forest with hardly any interaction with the India who rides on the crest of the waves of modernity.
This marital relation is a stark failure, where one partner is having almost a care-free attitude regarding the other partner and that the latter one is fighting for its dignified existence. The present status of this relationship is too complex to be defined in a sentence or in an essay, if it’s not an exaggeration.
The red corridor does not pronounce a particular movement or some goals in unison but, slowly and gradually it has taken three dimensions. Firstly, there are oppressed forest dwellers who willingly participate in the violent acts against the state machinery. The population participating in such violent acts is the victim of ill-treatment at the hands of the state. On the same hand, role of external forces cannot be repudiated easily. Perhaps that’s why, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in July 2006 described it as “single biggest internal security challenge”. Although, this mindset is not liked by many and time and again has been rationally debated. Secondly, there are marginalised people who are harassed by naxals if they dare not to join them. So, this dimension points towards the fact that not all people are interested to wage a war against the state. Thirdly, there are locals who’re dragged from their homes, stripped and murdered in front of their family members, or their houses are set on fire by the security forces merely on the suspicion of their links with naxals.
The third dimension vividly shows the direct violence inflicted by the state on locals, apart from the structural violence where hardly any concrete step is taken to actually pull the people out of the vicious cycle of poverty. One of the evidences of the failed state is the existence of ‘Liberated Zones’ wherein the naxals operate freely and where the law of the land find no existence or relevance. The government can always feel content, as it usually does, vis-a-vis factionalism in the naxal movement and growing tendency of disunity within the groups operating in the red corridor. But a sincere look will compel the government to reconsider its line of thought because the biggest problem with the government of different times has been that they are least concerned about the plight of that poor living in woods. The boasting moves are fine for the reason that the state has been successful in eliminating the threateners to the stability of the region. We are satisfied, as most of the news channels show, with the tranquilization of that region. But do we have good reasons to feel content when most of the citizens (naxals) killed in the skirmishes are our own people who first tried put in concerted efforts to get their grievances heard and resolved by the parliamentarians, but to no avail ?
The government considers the problem in the red corridor as an “internal security threat”, as reiterated by former Prime Minster Dr. Manmohan Singh since 2006 in his every address to the Chief Minister of various states. This claim of the government is quite dangerous for the repeated assertions which are made time to time as regards the democratic character of our country because, if we are democratic then it should be visible on ground in the form of action taken to uplift the poorer strata or even in the words, to demand the least. Taking a panoramic view of the situation in red corridor would strengthen the relationship between government and citizens. Although it is correct to say that some naxal groups has now turned into a money-making group, occupying certain territories and liberated zones to ‘help’ the poor and on the same hand allows corporations of private character to operate there for mining purpose in return for a good payment.
But any attempt to generalize this view is certainly unacceptable because a section of people are those who first approached the government for getting their basic needs fulfilled and when no response came, their patience went out and they chose the alternate method.
The method of violence is something which they use as a way to express their frustration, anger and rage against the system. Certainly, violence is something which cannot be justified but, dharnas deep inside the jungles could also not make a good spectacle, anyway. Non-violence itself starts appearing a foolish and unviable option when one faces violence frequently and in the most ruthless fashion.
The only way left to improve the problem is to first accept and acknowledge the fact that there is a problem existing of miscellaneous character thereby, requiring multiple approaches to solve it. The relationship can be strengthened by first accepting the blunders done by the government in past and then making a headway by narrowing gap between words and actions. Such move would not only uplift this very subdued section of the society but will also double up the belief of the citizens in government and its democratic anatomy. This would also ensure that the future prospects of such violent moves on the part of citizens in some other parts of the country are reduced.
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