From the Sublime to the Ridiculous06/06/2010 07:04:56
Writer and activist Arundhati Roy gets more ridiculous as the days go by. She now compares the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi to the armed struggle led by the hardened criminals of the Maoist movement in India. If the report by PTI is accurate she is reported as saying that the Gandhian method of struggle will not work now since there is no ‘audience’ for it.
Ms Roy is a writer and certainly has no shortage of ability to find the right words.Nevertheless her ideas remain so chaotic and contradictory that she speaks about an ‘audience’ in the freedom struggle when she meant ‘participants.’ And truly she is right on this point. Millions of everyday Indians participated in the freedom struggle because it was against a foreign colonial government that had bled the country white and because the struggle was primarily led by an individual of exalted moral ideals and was an exemplar for his doctrine of non violence. To compare Mahatma Gandhi to the criminal leadership of the Indian Maoists, is an indication of Ms. Roy’s befuddlement.
No present day Indian would countenance a bloodthirsty struggle led by a group of hardened criminals whose main goal is the overthrow of the Indian state and not the welfare of the masses (in this case the Tribals). Since the non Tribal leaders from outside the region came to the Tribal belt in 1980 the welfare of the Tribals has increased insignificantly whatever indices one may want to use. A careful study of the question has been provided by Nirmalangshu Mukherji in ‘Arms over the People’ (Outlookindia,May 19,2010). Dr. Mukherji teaches philosophy at Delhi University.
The Maoist leadership has dipped its hands not only in blood but also the wealth of the forest contractors, petty government officials and even some of the Corporate wealth . In exchange the Maoists are allowed a free hand.
Ms Roy’s bravado in daring the government to arrest her for supporting the armed struggle is simple histrionics. Standing behind the podium is easy. If and when Ms Roy actually picks up a gun and leads the Maoists the situation may change. But Ms.Roy carefully avoided even being a negotiator for the Maoists when they themselves deputed her. Ms Roy knows the difference between the Indian Republic which has freely let her loose on the Indian public and the fate that awaits her on the other side should she have failed in her mission.
Both Ms.Roy and other activists who sit on the sidelines and talk aplenty behind the podium should either walk into the forests and pick up the gun or provide an alternative leadership, a non violent struggle against the Indian state. For this they need the support of the Indian public who are reluctant to offer that support for people who cannot walk the talk and whose moral integrity and clarity are nowhere to be seen.
If the Tribals have been neglected by the Indian State and have been exploited by the Corporations they are now gun fodder for the Maoists who have used them in their own narrow agenda. In advocating armed struggle against the might of the Indian state, Ms. Roy cold bloodedly plots their further destruction.
Ms.Roy who speaks about condemning violence, also supports an armed struggle.The Indian public know the difference between the freedom fighters of the independence struggle and the present day fiction writers.
(Dr. Rajiva is a Political Scientist who taught at a Canadian university)