An Exchange triggered by Arundhati Roy’s article.

Arundhati Roy wrote an article perhaps for The Dawn newspaper called Operation Green Hunt’s Urban Avatar”. It was shared by someone on ArkitektIndia@Yahoogroups.com less than a year ago. It said at its highpoint: “Is this what Military Intelligence calls psyops (psychological operations)? Or is it the urban avatar of Operation Green Hunt? In which a government news agency helps the home-ministry to build up a file on those it wants to put away, inventing evidence when it can’t find any? Or is PTI trying to deliver the more well-known among us to the lynch mob so that the government does not have to risk its international reputation by arresting or eliminating us? Or is it just a way of forcing a crude polarization, a ridiculous dumbing down of the debate-if you’re not with “us” you are a Maoist? Not just a Maoist, but a stupid, arrogant, loudmouthed Maoist. Whatever it is, it’s dangerous, and shameless, but it isn’t new. Ask any Kashmiri, or any young Muslim being held as a “terrorist” without any evidence except baseless media reports. Ask Mohammed Afzal, sentenced to death to ‘satisfy the collective conscience of society’”.
Roy’s uncompromising attitude and impetuosity of her prose often make her highly controversial. Something she seems to revel in. But it serves a purpose. It rivets attention of media to her and hopefully issues she espouses where none otherwise would have been forthcoming. It attracted the following comment on the forum.
Pankaj Jain -: The fundamental fallacy in the position of Arundhati Roy, and her supporter is a baseless assumption- assertion that the so called supporters of poor and oppressed, Maoists, would be and are more effective supporters of poor than our current political system. There is absolutely no evidence to this effect. The record of such people, when in power, is far worse, all over the World, starting from Communist regimes all over the world, thuggish dictators of Africa who came to power to help their country’s poor. In equality grew under most such regimes compared to the so-called Capitalists countries, and people suffered enormously. You can talk anything, but when it comes to doing politics in real world, under the complexity of billions of self-interests competing with each other, it is difficult to do better than a functioning democracy.  Sure, every functioning system, including Indian democracy, can and should do better but to use its imperfections as an excuse to support the self-appointed ruthless oppressors is a madness, and must be opposed, and suitably dealt with. If there is one glaring weakness of democracies, it is their inability to deal with their thuggish opponents with adequate power and resolve, instead of giving them the protection due to a competitors within the system, while they are self confessed enemies, bent on destroying the system.  It is indeed overdue to deal with them and their supporters suitably, exactly as they deal with their enemies.
Pankaj Jain :-
Sadanand -: Real world is undeniably complex. Would such reductionist formulations “…….under the complexity of billions of self-interests competing with each other” or “….every functioning system, including Indian democracy, can and should do better” capture it?
India today has many divides, subdivides, and sub-sub divides. There have been attempts at subsuming these under grand divides like ‘India Vs Bharat’. While all such attempts suffer from various and their own peculiar infirmities, I still venture to advance one – the ‘Democratic Divide’. There are those Indians, who to a greater or lesser degree, have benefited from the present set up – let us call them “Democratic Dividend Winners (DDW). It is my belief that you, I, and others on such forums belong here. Those outside it have, to a greater to or lesser degree, been reaping only losses
from the current dispensation – let us call them “Democratic Deficit Losers” (DDL). Interestingly, the cream among DDW show scant interest in the quinquennial democratic ritual of voting because the outcomes never affect their “dividend matrix”, while many among DDL participate religiously in
the hope that this time things will change their lot. The DDW and DDL are not rigid groupings. There is movement among them. But that movement has been a mere trickle not justified by the pretensions of democracy, while those who have continued to remain within DDL, their plight has been worsening.
While ruling elite among DDW don’t feel & care for the DDL because the system operates (or is operated) for their enrichment & aggrandizement; the others within this group find themselves in a secure comfort zone from which they won’t like to be disturbed, though they are moved from time to time by the plight of those suffering from abject poverty or grave injustice. Such people find
this democracy imperfect and call for tinkering it to improve. They also feel mortally threatened by any signs of armed resistance to Indian State. Additionally, this sub group easily buys the argument that Indian State advances, “more of the same growth & development doctrine” will promote all of DDL to DDW, when the evidence of over 60 years hardly supports such formulation or inspires confidence.
DDL on the other hand have learnt albeit slowly that the Indian State makes tall promises of improving their lot come election times,  but has mostly, substantially, observed them in breach. In the initial years of the republic when the extremely poor and marginalized sections among DDL were dispossessed of their Jal, Jungle & Jameen, they mostly had to vacate without any eyebrows being raised. But slowly as the awareness about the rights has gained momentum, DDL are learning and have learnt to fight back. In India today people’s movements have gathered steam all over and largely all these are putting up fights within the democratic framework. There are large scale and peaceful resistance movements going on across India against land acquisitions for SEZs, Power Plants, Mining, private dams, hill stations (Lavasa – in Maharashtra), ports etc. The government doesn’t follow the laws of the land and policies formulated by itself. Discussions with
project affected people are rarely held, Land acquisitions/ Environmental  impacts reports seldom circulated, public hearings are invariably held in breach of norms, resettlement and rehabilitation policies never implemented, directives of courts – even superior judiciary – are brazenly flouted, the  list of such grievances is endless.  Indian State has found only one answer, meet this resistance with brutal force. Mainstream media rarely talks about it fairly. Mostly it is portrayed as law and order problem caused by few miscreants or vested interests. The contradictions are sharpening as the Indian Capital integrates with global capital, and IT/ ITES/BPO/ LPO/ KPO and what have you are creating a sizable constituency of vested drumbeaters for the Indian State; while on the other hand assaults on the DDL are increasing in ferocity and frequency. In this bloody war launched by the Indian State, would it be surprising if the currently peaceful people’s movements, and largely these are peaceful and unarmed, turn violent? And if they do, who is to be blamed?

Maoist may have their own ideology, their mode of functioning, and their preference for armed struggle; but they are presently restricted as far as I can make out to the thickly forested areas and are organizing among the most poor and threatened communities. These have seen the ugliest face of Indian Democracy – brutal kleptocracy. Numerically, I believe, Maoists are not all that large as the Indian State makes them out to be. Unfortunately, their violent resistance alone seems to give results to their constituency, which peaceful efforts have failed to derive. Take the case of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA) In Dantewada who was active among the Adivasis for some 18 years and was doing good work even by government accounts up until 2005 – the year Salwa Judum (SJ) was formed. When the pogrom of this vigilante group began, VCA could not remain a mute spectator to the atrocities SJ committed. Govt. of Chhattisgarh had its campus illegally destroyed last year in May.  VCA had organized a Jan Sunvai based on a promise given by P Chidambaram (PC) in a face to face meeting with Himanshu Kumar – director(VCA), but PC never followed up on his commitment. VCA had spread the message of the Jan Sunvai in the midst of operation green hunt in anticipation of it.  Later when it appeared it wouldn’t happen, news of cancellation couldn’t be spread to everyone as some key activists of VCA were arrested and another set up – Ma Danteshwari Swabhimani Adivasi Manch – was formed of SJ to counter terrorize those who would come for the meeting. Some 20 odd people who came from one remote village in the jungle were picked up outside VCA’s makeshift office in Dantewada by SJ and Police in the presence of independent journalists from Mumbai and some more people. Event was filmed, but these journalists were assaulted, their equipment removed, and were charged with dacoity. But since they belonged to DDW, they release could be secured. But the poor DDL have disappeared.  What is the lesson for Adivasis? Peaceful Gandhian methods don’t work!!  If the armed Maoists succeed in solving Adivasis problems through the barrel of the gun, then what is the conclusion they could or would draw?
Government is not listening to democratic struggles at all. But at least on the face of it giving offers to Maoists of talks if they abjure violence for 72 hours. A thug understands the language of violence. Those who strongly oppose violence, should ask the government to abjure violence against all those people’s movements that are still peaceful even after repeated violent assaults by state forces. Government should also stop violence in the Maoists areas of Dandakaranya and give opportunity to organizations like VCA who have claimed that they can reach doctors, teachers, PDS, etc. into the remotest corners totally unharmed by anybody. Let the tribals see that Gandhian methods still succeed in India. That is the way to end Maoist violence. Else, even peaceful movements in other parts of the country who are facing State’s brutality are watching keenly. Secondly, one has to recognize that in this fateful engagement between DDW and DDL (this may sound over dramatic, but I have a point to make), there is no neutral ground in the sense no one is innocent. Silence or Neutrality is not an option.

 Sadanand.

PS : Largely I have kept this discussion free of examples or data. Not that I can’t provide these, but these would be second hand stories. I have given only one example of which I know directly. I am sure there are many on this & other forums, who have rich & experiential knowledge of the conditions of the oppressed, and therefore could provide appropriate evidence. :-

-: Dear Sadanand,
You have presented an excellently articulated view which I believe succinctly captures the present situation in India and answers those who keep saying ‘why don’t the Maoists contest elections.
Warmly,
Prashant Bhushan :-
Kamal Shah -: I do not know who is Sadanand but I appreciate his guts and his article. The language is superb and I am sure that 90 percent of the readers and government officers will have to search the dictionary to find the exact menaing of the words used. Please do not misunderstand me, I say that the vocabulary and word power of Mr. Sadanand is just superb . I would rather be happy that if India can have such person as the Foreign Minister or Defence Minister or any post which serves the nation using the best language skills and knowledge power.
I have been requesting many of the forums, groups,ngo’s to come down under one umbrella. If we use different platforms for same destination on a one -way trach we can never reach our destination. We have to board a single train .Though we remain in diffeent geographical directions with different state of minds with different opinions, with different approach but we ned to remember that our goal is the same.
 Even I am one of the victim of the corrupt system and slow judicial procedure and have spent lakhs of rupees just in defending myself and fighting to expose the main culprits, but I have still not let myself down . My single handed fight has at late showing results . Though the end and timeframe is unknown but I have gathered myself such documentary evidences that no court can deny me justice except the word ” corruption” for which we are helpless .
 I surely agree that time is not far of civil outrage as the DDL’s feel still leaving as slaves of DDW’s like that of British Era. The net of the corrupted has spread so dep into our system that it is not only difficult but next to impossible in near future. But that does not stop us from marching towards our destiny called real freedom. WE HAVE TO WORK HARD, WE HAVE TO BE MORE VIGILANT, WE HAVE TO BE MORE INTELLIGENT , WE HAVE TO PLAY DUAL ROLE OF DIPLOMACY AND OFFENSIVE TACTICS, WE HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE , WE HAVE TO PLAN A STRATEGY , WE NEED CHATRAPATI SHIVAJI, NETAJI, BHAGAT SINGH, AZAD, TATYA TOPE, SAMBHAJI, to name a few of thousand of heroes of the history. These battle could be more dreadful as we have to fight among our own people thus dividing the democracy into two parts .
 Though each of us know that democracy does not allow dictatorship which we are suffering today. We must also remember that the power of a govt official or any politician remains just till he remains on his seat. Once he his without seat, his value and power is zero .( See unfortunate example of BJP and also controversies in sena-BJP in Aurangabad and Narendra Modi- Nitishkumar tussle .)
 I lead you and you lead me so that we can both reach our destiny together fighting all odds.
 Regards,
Kamal Shah :- 
O O O O O O O O O O O O O
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