April 29, 2010


In Chattisgarh, more crpf jawans get killed by mosquito bites than by Maoists! Yes, that’s the ironic piece of research my friend Prasoon dug out for his article in the last issue of The Sunday Indian! It does tell a big story. Of course, on one hand it tells the pitiable story of our CRPF jawans, as Prasoon pointed out in his article last week. Thanks to the Maoist attack recently, which left 75 dead, the government suddenly is feeling concerned about the jawans’ lives! However, before this incident, in the last two years over a hundred of them had died of malaria, which was more than the numbers killed on duty. But previously, of course, the government was not concerned about the lives of jawans because malarial deaths obviously don’t happen in a dramatic newsworthy manner.

Is it not ironic that our paramilitary forces die more of curable diseases than of bullets? Well, that’s the crux of India's problems. That more CRPF jawans are today scared to die of malaria than of Maoist bullets tells just one side of the story. The other side of the story is the story of India's reality today. The story of how we neglect about 60 percent of our population and condemn them to die of hunger, curable diseases and mosquito bites. That’s roughly about 650 million Indians who live below the internationally accepted standard of poverty line of 1.25 dollars per day. While India and Indian media celebrate the rise of its billionaires in the Forbes lists, the poor die penniless out of hunger – unknown and unheard.

And unlike the perception that the government wants to create of Maoists as terrorists, the truth is that Maoists are from these very poor families who are marginalised and left to die of hunger. Worldwide, when leaders have kept such huge sections of masses marginalized, there have been revolutions. You ignore human beings and condemn them to die, they will one day believe that picking up arms is a better option than to die without a fight. History is full of heroes who have killed. Those who kill for a cause are celebrated and those who kill without a cause are called murderers. And the cause is also determined by history. Not by today’s media and their judgment.

While the government might be hell-bent on calling the Maoists murderers, the fact is that our governments over the years have been full of murderers. Not just in terms of the cases against most of our politicians but in terms of the way they murder their people by depriving them of food, health and employment – the three basic things a government was supposed to be judged by. Our governments kill about 40% of our masses before they reach the age of 45. These people would have gone on to live till 75 had they got access to food and health. Our governments, over the years, have killed millions through their unpatriotic acts of selfish politics – that of enriching themselves and a handful of business houses while allowing massive poverty to exist all around. And that is why in the eyes of many – from Medha Patkar to Maheshwata Devi – Maoists are not terrorists or murderers but those poor people who have taken to arms and kill for a cause. They want food. They want masses to rise out of rampant poverty. They want health and freedom from destitution and freedom from an assured death sentence that the government has given them by not providing them the right to live and a life of dignity. Men thrown to die will always try to fight back. Such men have the support of the masses where they fight.

If the government wants to really end the Maoist problem, it needs to look beyond. It needs to begin by finding its heart first... a heart that beats for the poorest. And then do real good work for the poorest of the poor. Poor have no reason to pick up arms. They need food. They need employment. They need health, education and dignity. Give them these and they would not take to arms. Condemn them to die young, hungry and penniless, and they will take to Maoism. The slogan mongering and name calling utilized by the government against the Maoists would not absolve the government of its terrorism on humanity. Real work for the poor in the Naxal infested belts will save the government of all the stress of how to deal with internal security. Otherwise, it would not just be every Maoist killed who would give birth to more such Maoists, but even the many children of the jawans dying of mosquito bites who could one day take to spraying bullets on the malaria-spreading ruling parasites of this country.., And history, I repeat, might not call them terrorists.



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lipi mukherjee said...

The rebels, who claim to fight for the rights of poor and their problems,run a parallel government in the forested area and you would agree that this vicious cycle of underdevelopment and extremist has to be broken to fight this problem, but this cannot be done by being impatient and picking up arms. History proved that problems like punjab also been solved b'coz when a common man suffers endlessly the local sympathy for this extremist goes away without which the operation is zero. So have patience, things will get better and that, not by just writing but by actions...

V.Muthuswami said...

Arindam's analysis is very factual. This rich country of resources is being systematically & openly squandered away by greedy politico-bureaucrat-business nexus with more and more poor people left to suffer and die without any meaning. See the kind of money the GOI is making by selling "nature's gift" of airwaves. This money belongs to Indian citizens. This money is sufficient to be properly used for development and serving the poor. Instead this may likely be stashed away in far off black bank accounts and/or squandered in all kinds of wasteful ways, and will eventually disappear without any use. How is that the politico-bureaucrats cannot understand this simple truth: by doing good to people they gain grace and respect; by stealing they will vacate with disgrace with no stolen wealth going with them.
It is not correct to compare Maoists to Punjab extremists. Former is the victim of our system, depriving them of human dignity of any kind, while the latter gave vent to their wounded pride and anger.

pdzarkar said...

nothing will change after distinguishing then fact about crpf jawan's life. There are too many thinker in country who thinks about such things but very few Do'er who works to change d present situation.
So sir, tell us that how we can change to this type situation ?

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silu said...

This post our government it was committed government in the forested are and you would agree that this vicious cycle of under development and extremist has to be broken to fight this problem.

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Independent reviewer said...

I have been a student and fan of you for years. I owe a lot to you and IIPM for what Iam today.Iam right now in the process of reading all your posts for the selfish reason that i would be able to learn something more from you.
Coming to the post, sir i live in bastar 55 kms away from dantewada, this is the land and people i have known and loved all my life.I hope you will forgive me to disagree with you on certain points.The tribals of bastar were self sufficient from the very begining,rich forest products like tendu leaves, mahua, etc have ensured employment and also good source of income for these tribals. Tribals of bastar were not particularly keen on farming and a very little percentage of them actually did farming as their major occupation.I do agree that they were exploited by traders who cheated them by paying them pennies for their produce while making lakhs in profits.Maoism came to bastar as an export from Andhra Pradesh,even today you can see that the main leaders of moaists are from Andhra.They started pushing the tribals by punishing govt officers, beating up traders to prove a point that they were more powerful and capable than the elected govt,their name gathered so much publicity that local MLA's started using them to win elections, stamp out opposition etc. Thousands of crores of ruppees comes from United Nations to bastar including oil and foodgrains,but does the vanishing act at the district collectorate itself.Today Maosits don't allow roads to be built, they don't allow schools to function, offices to function, employment opportunities can be created only if the projects are implemented but if they dont allow projects to be implemented how can development be done.the tribals have lost their primary source of income i.e. forest produce and employment with the forest department and have no other go but to join either the maoists or salwa judum.Today dantewada is a hot topic for any news channel worth its salt, we have been crying the same for ages.Aout the social activists well most of them have treated bastar as tourist destination and did nothing on the ground,van vasi ashrams were infamous for sexual explioitation of tribal girls, so were the various NGO's which cropped up,all of them made enough money and vanished with nothing to show on ground.Maoism in bastar is not the result of just exploitation of tribals by the govt but also by the maoists themselves.
I would look forward to your feedback sir.

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