- WHAT NAXAL VIOLENCE TELLS US ABOUT OURSELVES
Courtesy: K.R.Ravi, Trainers forum
WHAT NAXAL VIOLENCE TELLS US ABOUT OURSELVES
Not many may have noticed a poster put up by Naxals seen in a corner of our TV screens that summarized a critical predicament of human understanding and perception.
Even as the country—essentially the middle class – mourned on TV and electronic media , the naxals and perhaps tribals and the dispossed whom they claim to represent had a totally different take.
To try and drive home the point I seek to make let me hark back to the phenomenon of Call centres that made an entry into India a couple of decades ago. Suddenly semi literate youngsters from even lower middle classes got well paying jobs with few skills. Armed with a smattering of fake accented English and with a readiness to change their name from traditional Indian names like Saravanamuthu Muthuramilanga Nadar to ‘ Steve’ these young kids carried home sizeable pay packages with which to acquire expensive mobile phones, jeans, motorbikes and other objects of desire. At this point a new phenomenon came into being—researchers, media pundits and parents of the middle classes expressed ‘deep concern’ on the impact of night shifts on these ‘innocent youngsters’ . This impact has since been studied fairly extensively but inconclusively and the issues have now been almost forgotten in the wake of few other job opportunities being available. The point I seek to make is this—night shifts have been a practice in say the textile industry for centuries . At no time during these centuries did anyone express’‘deep concern’ for the ill effects of such night work on the ‘workers’. I use the word ‘ workers’ deliberately since it encapsulates what I wish to draw your attention to. When it was ‘ workers’ –the poor and dispossesed classes—who were affected by night shifts we scarcely stopped to consider their plight. But when ‘ our kids’ the middle classes were affected we suddenly developed ‘concern’. I believe this lack of empathy for the poor bordering on disdain may well explain what happened at Chhatisgarh . The poster by naxals summarises what I have to say here. The poster said ‘ This happens to our people everyday’.[The reference was to the ghastly killing of Congress leaders and workers in a suspected naxal ambush]
What that poster tried to tell all of us is that as a nation and as a people we have shown iittle concern for those who are at the receiving end of our model of development. A study has shown that we as a class of the middle and rich people exhibit paradoxical behavour. Thus while we smirk with unconcealed disapproval at the freebies announced for the poor—TV sets, Dhotis, sarees, rice etc—we demand and get the import duty on gold reduced so that our love for this metal is at least partly satiated. The much touted ‘Namo development model’ involved giving away land at a rupee an acre to Tatas , Adanis, Reliance etc with nobody protesting. We refrain from protesting since the land so cheaply given away will finally generate jobs for our ‘ innocent kids’ who can then buy jeans, mobile phone handsets, motor bikes….
Not many stop to ask the following question—what happens to the poor people whose land has been cruelly snatched away and who will never get the promised compensation?. What happens to those who do not wish to give their meagre land holding away? In contrast when the state government in Karnataka attempted to acquire land in a street in Bangalore to expand the width of the road it was stoutly opposed by the middle classes. The grounds for objection ? How can we then cross he road and meet our neighbours!!The street expansion plan was scrapped.
Need I say more?
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