Enemy of the State

25 October, 2009

Few weeks back i read an illuminating article on Naxalism (synonymously used for “left wing terrorism”) in India titled “The Weapons of Mass Desperation” (Tehelka, October 3, 2009) in which Shoma Chaudhary has exposed the contradictions and hypocrisies of Indian State's failed counter insurgency policies. Far from the biased mainstream media reporting which demonize the Naxalite movements in India, the article uncovers the bitter truth that the Indian State has not been able to swallow. Its a sad tale that most of the Indian people as well as the World do not get a true picture of what is happening in the tribal areas of Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Bihar and West Bengal. The cumulative result of this distorted image has amounted to ignoring one of the largest mass genocide in the human history, with tens of thousands of people already dead since the inception of the Naxalbari Movement in the 1960s. The Indian State has always adopted policy of military cleansing towards the Naxal problem which clearly stems out of deep rooted Socio-Economic alienation, marginalization and exploitation of millions of poor Adivasis and Dalits, the tribals and the socially marginalized groups. The CPI (Maoists) who are leading the armed struggle against the state have been branded terrorist groups. But who is the Indian State actually hunting in the name of Naxalites for the last four decades? If one could only take a look at the desperate tribals who have no ideological orientation or Utopian interests other than saving their land and forests from the greedy corporates who are eying this resource rich belt, it would be clear beyond doubt that the Indian State is wedging war on its own people to satisfy the economic lust of its corporate masters....who have been cutting each other's throat to establish Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in these highly resource rich land. One should not and must not endorse the violence committed by the Maoists, but one definitely has to appreciate the fact that pushed beyond a point, these are only ordinary tribal people acting in desperation, trying to save their home from a MIGHTY MIGHTY Indian State....
The post Soviet World Order has in the last two decades made an offensive propaganda against Communism, inventing and coining terms like Naxalism ( taken from Naxalbari movement to derogatorily refer to all the resistance movements in India), Red Terror, Ultra Reds, Communist Extremists, and so on....This is nothing but manifestation of Macarthists' fear of Communism, disregard and disrespect for ideological coexistence and exercise of ideological hegemony by the Market Ruled American brand of Western Liberal Democracy - which claims that it is the only brand of democracy that has right to exist. This bullying and forceful imposition is proved in the policies of American infested and infected donor agencies like World Bank and IMF who blackmail sovereign countries not just into opening their domestic markets for MNCs and TNCs but also bar the host nations from protecting their domestic industries against severe international competition. Nepal's Carpet industry, which is almost in its death bed ever since Nepal's entry into WTO proves this point beyond doubt and so does the plight of South Korean farmers who have been destroyed by encroachment of WTO into their agriculture sector. (Read ex World Bank chief economist and Joseph Stiglitz's powerful book Globalization and its discontents).
I believe that we really need to think twice before buying the idea of a "Welfare State" which might appeal to our common sense but is a heavily loaded term in itself with complex political economy behind it. Let us be admissive to the fact that any State in today's Capitalist World Order only caters to the need and greed of a particular class. Hence its policies will be directed and dictated by the interest of the same class. In the Indian context it is even more disturbing. I highlight some of the most disturbing facts (that can be cross checked online) that will expose the Indian State's fabricated self portrayal of a Superpower:

1.1/3% of the world’s hungry live in India.
2.Over 7000 Indians die of hunger every day. Over 25 lakh Indians die of hunger every year.

3.Ironically, the number of hungry people in India is always more than the number of people below official poverty line (while around 37% of rural households were below the poverty line in 1993-94, 80% of households suffered under nutrition). This has to either imply that inspite of not being poor Indians choose to starve themselves or that there is something wrong with the way poverty is being measured.
4.99% of the 1000 Adivasi households from 40 villages in the two states, who comprised the total sample, experienced chronic hunger (unable to get two square meals, or at least one square meal and one poor/partial meal, on even one day in the week prior to the survey). Almost as many (24.1 per cent) had lived in conditions of semi-starvation during the previous month.


UN World Food Programme UN World Health Organization: Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition, 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization: SOFI 2006 Report
National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (India)
National Family Health Survey 2005 – 06 (NFHS-3) (India)
Centre for Environment and Food Security (India)
Rural 21 (India)

What superpower are you trying to become when your people dont even have enough power in their body to walk to the nearest polling station to exercise their most celebrated democratic right? What does democracy itself means to a farmer who has to commit suide along with his family simply because he does not even have freedom of choice...choice to life over hunger and death? One has to ask these difficult questions to the ruling elites of India. By its own admission the latest figures of National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) states that over 836 million people out of 1.5 billion Indian population survive on less than Rs.20, i.e. less than half a dollar per day. So for those who are disproportionately thrilled by the idea of “Rising and Shining India”, this should at least provoke reconsideration. As for the Operation Green Hunt, honestly i feel sorry for the political bankruptcy of the Indian State who has in the 6 decades of its independence, failed to understand its own people. They have failed to understand that the Naxalism is not just about few armed men shooting policemens and ambushing the government buildings. It is the the spirit of peoples' resistance- from Naxalbari to Nandigran, from Singur to Lalgarh,....You may call Maoists a terrorist, but they only reflect the terror that you have injected in these areas. Putting Kobad Ghandy or Chhatradhar Mahato behind bars might give you a sense of victory, but as long as the asault on people 's livelihood continues, they will rise in one form or the other. Maoists just happen to be a militant face. However not the only one existing . This is where the State plays foul and fishes in the troubled water. The intentions are covert but not unknown. The idea is to crush all voices of resistance in the pretext of hunting for the Maoists. How the people retaliate and why they retaliate to these assault on their life has got a lot to do with the failed development initiatives in the so called “Naxalite Belt” (see point 4). The top-bottom therapy approach of the State in these areas, colluded with the ill-intended corporate land grabbing in the name of development aka industrialization of the tribal areas has not only made the tribal people suspicious but highly antagonistic towards the State. The corrupt local authorities abuse the State power by inflicting various forms of atrocities on the innocent tribal people, who have at different points in time either run away from the area or simply been put behind bars without any charges. When the media went crazy criticizing the government's release of the 14 dreaded terrorists in return for the police officer abducted by the Maoists, comparing it with the Kandhahar swapping – very few gave it a second thought that the 14 “terrorists” were poor Adivasi women, including 70 year old widow who were caught and tortured for protesting the inhuman beating of a local kid in Lalgarh who failed to tell the patrolling CRPF soldiers where the “Maoists” were hiding.
If the right to speech and right to peaceful gathering and protest amounts to act of terrorism then most of the people in the developed world that exercise these privileges without fear should have been behind bars. In the tribal villages of the eastern and Central India, if the weakest and the most marginalized sections of the State dare enough to pick up bows and arrows to fight the sophisticated, armed and dangerous wing of the State, something is definitely wrong with the way power relationship is operating there. Operation Green Hunt is all set to be launched and collateral damage will be there, for the State is fighting an enemy without a face in a battlefield where every suspect has a common face-Poverty!