Friday, April 09, 2010

MoUist corridor

Financial Times:

Arundhati Roy, author and a Naxalite sympathiser, takes issue with the widespread description of the tribal forest lands as a Maoist Corridor. They should instead be called a MoUist Corridor, she says, a play on the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that have been concluded with mining companies drawn by the belt’s rich deposits of iron ore, bauxite and other precious minerals. “There’s an MoU on every mountain, river and forest glade,” she writes in an article in Outlook magazine, in which she links the government’s assault on tribal lands with mining interests.

"I feel I ought to say something at this point. About the futility of violence, about the unacceptability of summary executions. But what should I suggest they do? Go to court? Do a dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi? A rally? A relay hunger strike? It sounds ridiculous. The promoters of the New Economic Policy -- who find it so easy to say “There Is No Alternative” -- should be asked to suggest an alternative Resistance Policy. A specific one, to these specific people, in this specific forest. Here. Now. Which party should they vote for? Which democratic institution in this country should they approach?"

-- Arundhati Roy

Thanks to almostinfamous


Jack Crow said...

The piece by Roy was as well produced, informative and heartbreaking as the video "Children in Gaza."

Different subjects, thousands of miles apart.

Similar results. Constantly oppressed, some people strike back.

Whilst the very comfortable lecture them on the evils of violence.

almostinfamous said...

I have to point out that the tribals and other marginalized groups HAVE done all the things that Ms. Roy indicates - none of them to any avail, no matter which coalition was in power (sound familiar?)

Whilst the very comfortable lecture them on the evils of violence.

yeah - this includes most of my admittedly bourgeois social circle. most of them are supporting even more violence against the already oppressed - it's really shameful...

JRB said...

Well, they're scared. They see a bunch of exotic poor people with guns wrecking the security services, with whom I presume the average Indian is at least familiar (and is maybe drawn from populations closer to the urban centers?).

Add to that the benefit of a state media campaign which shapes most of their understanding of the conflict in the first place, and it's not surprising that liberals are more fearful of poor people than they are of the state.

You have to talk people through this kind of irrationality with no small amount of patience, but I think the fear is understandable.

almostinfamous said...

i agree entirely. i do try and be patient - i need to work on building it even more.

a point of clarification - the apparatus by which we select our policemen is utterly in ruins. hefty bribes are often paid to join the police dept. at all levels, and the cops hired this way are in turn involved in elaborate protection rackets - if you paid large fines- or collecting unofficial 'fines' from errant(or innocent) motorists -if you're not able to pony up . as a result, there is not much popular sympathy for the policemen.

the elites, of course, depend on the police to maintain the status quo and the bureaucrats in the police dept. are adept at press relations and similar sorts of politics and maintain their image as the last line of defence against the big bad world all around them.