Monday, May 31, 2010

There seems to be a Fine Line ...

... between a terrorist and a revolutionary and the only line that matters would apparently be that drawn by these people themselves. Interesting article in today's Indian Express (please click on the title of this post to link to the article) with details of conversations with a leader of India's now infamous Naxalite/Maoist movement.
The attack on the train was clearly a terrorist attack but shouldn't we be reading between the lines and asking ourselves whether we can continue to exploit and manipulate the less fortunate among us with impunity?
I reproduce below a few extracts from the article - statements attributed to said Naxalite/Maoist leader. We have no way of ascertaining their veracity but I would like to ask my fellow educated and more fortunate Indians whether any of these claims really seem outlandish and whether we should be surprised that people who have been at the receiving end of things like this for years (we're all aware of cases like this) may have organised themselves (with or without external help - another matter altogether) into a movement born out of frustration. Please consider the following extracts from the article:

1) “Whatever we do, we do with the sanction of local villagers. Our villagers are being tortured mercilessly by security forces and in the wee hours of Thursday, several teams of security forces came along with ‘Harmads’ (armed goons backed by the CPM) into villages and picked up people indiscriminately... ”
2) He showed an irrigation canal which, he said, could bring smiles to 16 villages if maintained properly. “Just Rs 400,000 is needed from the government to repair the 32 gates. But those are lying in the same condition since 1971,”
3) Mahato’s father Khudiram was reportedly arrested in 1994 when Bapi was just 10. “I wanted to grow up normally. But one day some miscreants hurled a bomb at a neighbour’s house. My father was unnecessarily picked up and jailed for several years.”
4) In 2008, Mahato said, he applied for a CRPF constable’s job. “I cleared, but I was asked to deposit a huge sum for the job. I did not have the money.”

Perhaps the next time we hear of something similar happening, before we shrug and say something like "this is the Indian way!" or "we all know how things work", we should think about possible consequences and ask ourselves whether making a change, however small, in our immediate sphere of influence might be a better option?
Think about the collective impact positive change by even a few million of the more influential Indians could have!

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