The “Maoist insurrection” is all the news from India these days. Are they in the right with their assertion that they’re virtuously defending the most vulnerable? Or are they wrong for using violence, not only against the authorities, but against the very same poor they claim to be defending?
Human rights workers like Himanshu Kumar who’s dedicated his life to trying to help the people of Dantewada District has witnessed the bullying tactics of the State and says that at least some of the people he knows in Dantewada see the Maoists as their saviour against government neglect so extreme that it can be termed brutal. He ran an education and medical help centre in the District but was driven out of his home because his defence of the adhivasis drove him inevitably into a collision course with corporate backed government interests.
But what astonishes me is that the Indian middle class has actually taken by surprise by an insurrection they can no longer ignore.
Holy Moly - how come its taken this long?In a country that’s been climbing up the greasy pole to global power while at the same time ignoring the plight of its poorest sectors, in a country which pops new millionaires and billionaires on to the Forbes list regularly while still making it on every sector of the UN’s Poverty Index, why in the name of anything that’s reasonable, has it taken this long for a revolution to make it to the front pages?
For every farmer who kills himself because he can’t pay a debt that could be wiped out by the change in the average Mumbai businessman’s pocket, for every maid denied her wages for being sick, for every villager made homeless by a new Tata factory or dam or mining company that’s decided that they can make better use of his land, the anger has been building up.
Newspaper comments pages are full of public scoffs. And yes, I can see their point, India is a powerful country and yes, maybe the Maoists have no chance of a victory in a violent struggle. But perhaps its time to stop the rhetoric over whether violence is the right means, and to start thinking about what are the root causes for that violence and what can be done to rectify that situation.