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Of The People, By The Cozener, For The Elite - Corporate takeover of the Indian democracy

By       Message Ravi S Ghosh     Permalink
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"If terrorism is uncontrolled, if Left Wing extremism continues to flourish in important parts of our country which have tremendous natural resources of minerals and other precious things, that will certainly affect the climate for investment."

No, it was not Vedanta head referring to Niyamgiri Hills. Nor was it Sudono Salim talking of Nandigram. This was a statement by our honorable and sensible Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in June 2009. It may be a slip of tongue or it may be the deep-rooted belief of the ruling party. If you can read Governmental English, then well and good. If not, let me translate it for you.

Source: Website of Prime Minister's Office

Sacrifice, Why I? - What Mr PM means is that the foreign firms are not able to take over, extract minerals, and build factories in those mineral-rich regions of India due to naxalite presence. Yes, it is true that development of those dead corners of the land is impossible in the environment of political instability. Yes, it is also true that without industrialization and development, the nation would go nowhere nor would the quality of life improve. And yes, it is also true that not a single soul would like to trade his or her life and livelihood with the development of the nation. If me, my children, and my community are going to get their lives shattered, forget about getting any benefit out of the development, I would not mind remaining backward. Yes, it is true that the government promises to rehabilitate those who are ruined in the race to build factories and that too with public money. And it too is an undeniable fact that none of the promises of rehabilitation have ever materialized. The public money allocated for such projects and the billions collected as donations from gentle-hearted citizens vanish in air as smoke from a cigarette. And in the end, who has the time to look for the butt.

Why shall I sacrifice my life for the development of the corporates?
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Am I Biased? - One may say I'm trying to twist the noble intentions of the noble prime minister. May be my dislike of the government is not allowing me to look at the positive side of the story. Being skeptic of your own skepticism is the best antidote of unreason. So, let me have a look at the behavior of the government to judge my own judgment or misjudgment.

First Evidence - A pointer to the government's intentions towards the adivasi community is the time when it woke up and saw the need to feed them and cloth them. No thought was given so far to even providing the most basic of the services to the hinterlands. Nobody seemed to be interested in taking control of those areas until recently. And now, suddenly with the rise of economic interest, the government's concern has sky-rocketed. Why weren't the Maoist any threat so far, and suddenly they became the biggest threat to internal security? Or is it that those regions weren't of much economic worth until now?

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Second Evidence - The insurgency situation in northeast states does not seem to be of as much concern nor does China's claims on Arunachal Pradesh or Pakisthan's occupancy of Kashmir. They aren't any mineral deposits there. Foreign firms are not interested in those ghostly lands. Why bother? People of those lands do not need to be fed or clothed! No ruler wants to rule the deserts, it's the fields that interest them. And what happens if desert turns out to be gold mines? PM's own statement along with the circumstantial evidence is the answer. The interest of the publicly elected government and the interests of the public do not coincide. Rather it's the corporates the government refers to when they mention of development and prosperity.

Divide and Rule - Is Salwa Judum just a way to combat Maoist? Or it is another face of the infamous divide and rule policy. Make the tribal stand against the tribal, weaken their social integrity, grab the land, gift it to corporates, secure a slice for retirement. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why naxalism and anti-naxal activities are so concentrated in mineral rich regions.

Conclusion - The foundation of development is always made up of dead bodies, bodies of souls that were attached to the land they never owned. There isn't any middle ground. Government owns all the land that is not owned by anyone else. This leaves no place to go for those who do not understand how can a piece of land be owned by an organism, have never bothered to get that registered in their names. Without the death of guinea pigs, no medication could have been developed. Countless human lives too are sacrificed to invent a life-saving drug. Yet, to acknowledge this very fact would mean a political suicide. We all know someone will have to be murdered and often commit this crime with full consent, but always call it an accident, collateral damage. Perhaps, acceptance of the crime is more immoral than the crime itself.

I May Still Be Biased - Probably, all of this evidence are mere creations of my dark mind. Probably, government is as uninterested today in those deserts as it was yesterday and it is just the media whose increased reach is the cause of this panic. Indeed, Maoist were a malignant cancer in 1970s which required ruthless genocide to protect the civil society (!), as the government says. Probably, Naxal movement is a projection of Chinese militancy towards India. Probably, there are other earnest reasons apart from commerce for the government to take control of untamed lands. Probably, the J&K and North East are no issues compared to Naxal movement. Probably, my thoughts are biased beyond repair.

In the end, I leave it to you to interpret PM's statement for yourself.


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Ravi is a skeptic and rationalist who sees the world the way others don't. Living in Bangalore and earning his living from Transcend Services, Ravi spends his free time pondering on current issues and blogging about them. With the advent of (more...)

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