Friday, July 9, 2010

Need of Sanguine Red in the Tapestry of India

It looks like a quintessential Indian problem that there are too many motivated, intelligent and industrious leaders which want to change the direction of the march Indian subcontinent towards progress, albeit in different directions. How many times, has a prosperous India bled because of the intransigence of its great leaders. India did not have a dearth of able leaders when the British took over. But Sadly, whether is the great Tipu Sultan and the Maratha Peshwas, no one blinked to let the unity prevail.

Gandhi was unique in his ability to keep together the most diverse flock under his leadership. This was perhaps one of his greatest achievements which lead to a very vigorous national movement. Half a century after his death, we seem to be loosing that sense of accommodation. The leaders which take decisions after forming a consensus are called weak and Indira Gandhi Gandhi's dictatorial style is admired as the trait of a strong leader. The more we move towards the trend of strong and firm leaders in our polity, the more fragile it will become.

One's heart bleeds to see the government forces fighting the naxals and Maoists. Both the sides vow to bring justice to the downtrodden and make the development of India more equitable. Yet both fight each other, just because being accommodating is seen as being weak. I do agree that Maosits have extreme views in terms of replacing the democratic setup with a communist state, that too through a violent revolution. But so were the views of the numerous other groups leading insurgency in various parts of India. We were able to turn them around and use their genuine concern for their people to develop India.

It is worthy to note that the ultra red movement has been around since the Independence of the country. It may also be noted that leading Gandhians like Vinoba Bhave and Jayprakash Narayan termed this menace as a socio-economic and political problem. The ultra reds have been fighting for the landless and the tribals which find no space in the Indian political zoo or in Indian political rhetoric. While the farmer is worshiped by every political party and dalits have become a formidable force, the landless workers and tribals have yet not been empowered politically. This is probably the reason that the government has failed terribly in the area of land reforms and special ways and means to deal with tribals. The colonial bureaucracy adds fuel to the fire. The tribals who have been living on their lands much before any form of government existed, are asked to prove the ownership of their lands and evicted from their homes in a brutal fashion. The modern India is trampling them under its march to economic prosperity.

The Maoists present a unique opportunity to bring this marginalised section into the main stream. The Maoists have achieved what no other political party could. They have united this large constituency of India's people into one political force. The need is to urgently bring the Maoists into the political main stream. They are a political force with a mass base to recon with. The Government structure, needs to be decentralised further to empower the people of the villages and tribes to have the maximum say in deciding the the fate of their homes. The MOU's signed between the mining companies and central and state governments should be signed between the companies and the local communities. If the local bodies are empowered with a true sense of authority, many people would be willing to join the circus of Indian democracy. This way the Maoists shall be confident of bringing the revolution through ballet and not bullet (something that the comrades in other parties discovered long back ).

A large chunk of the Maoists cadre and followers is made of well educated leaders and civil society activists. They represent a very positive force, which can be harnessed to make the growth of India much more inclusive and democratic. When Yunuis Khan started the Grameen bank in Bangladesh to alleviate the situation of the poor and downtrodden, he found a great help from such groups in propagating his movement. Indian politics despite all its chaos has lost the exuberance to bring forth a change for all, to develop an Indian Utopia and have space for all. Cronies have formed around every traditional power structure and they resist any entry of a strong force disturbing the status-quo. The vast Indian tapestry desperately needs infusion of the sanguine red to breathe a new life into the lost Indian dream. I sincerely wish that talks initiated by Swami Agnivesh with the Maoists and the Government succeed.

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