I salute the people of Dantewada who have stood up against such a mighty state.
Despite the deadliest Naxal attack ever in nearby Dantewada now, the resolve of these men and women to join the police force remains unaffected — to some extent driven by the few options available to them in the vastly forested tribal district, but to a large part motivated by anger against Naxalites, their empty promises and the reign of terror they have come to symbolise. They are even willing to risk the wrath of the Maoists that may follow. [From the Indian Express]
The “people of Dantewada” (as defined by Ms. Roy and not necessarily by reality as evidenced by the extract from the Indian Express) have stood up once again killing fifty people including Special Police Officers (SPO)s and civilians, an act surely worthy of yet another salute from the bravest intellectual of our times, one who commands a zombie vahini of frothing liberals that would be the envy of Saruman. Now in most other countries, gratuitous massacre of police forces would be met with the full force of the law, for instance in the US there is a special edge in the way “cop killers” are pursued. However in India, such an act is met with an appeal from our Home Minister for a cease-fire an offer that has rightfully been rejected by the victor, Maoist leader Kishenji. When policemen and civilians can be butchered ad nauseam and when media organizations and a section of the intelligentsia applaud that massacre, who in their right mind would let go the initiative?
Now Chidambaram will be derided as craven and rightfully so. However I don’t blame PC entirely. Hell the man cannot even accept that Operation Green Hunt, an initiative to restore the rule of law in parts of the country, even exists. That is because his party is not fully behind him. And why arent they? Because the party is afraid of “popular opinion” and electoral configurations (one of their electoral partners has been manipulating Maoist violence to overthrow a state government), and in front of that, what are the lives of a few hundred policemen and yes even some common people. Of course what is meant by popular opinion is the echo chamber of some major TV channels and a few newspapers who have successfully introduced a new flashcard—- “tribals” into the lexicon of political correctness, wherein any act of brutality is tangentially justified as long as it is done by tribals, even if the atrocities are perpetrated on fellow tribals through kangaroo courts.
Unlike PC, I am lucky that I don’t have to win elections. Even then my political positions have hurt me personally. I have been told with respect to publicity for my book that I am not well-liked personally in the Indian media. This unpopularity stems evidently from my political stance. I was told by a friend that her “liberal” friend said “I do not read Greatbong’s blog because he is Hindutva”. It is quite another thing that I have to spend the most time editing, moderating and banning “Hindutva” commentators, many of whom try to use the comment-space to “spread their message”, some of which is immensely hateful and that they are as egregious in heaping personal abuse on me as some Arundhati-fans, both sides containing people who use multiple monikers to comment even though “they” are actually one person .There have also been times people have said on my comment-space and on twitter—“I was going to buy your book but after reading your opinion I will definitely not” as if that would be sufficient punishment for my opinion.
Of course the prospect of unpopularity does not really affect my political stance (i.e. of strict neutrality) in any way but what it does make me understand is why politicians, who need popularity, just cannot do the right thing. And it helps me understand the reactions that are faced for not being “politically correct” as per the conventions established.
For instance, any post on politics (typically on people like Ms. Roy or on the cult of appeasement) will usually result in a few comments of the form “You are good at writing on Hindi movies and cricket. Dont write on politics” leaving me wondering what is so poisonous if a fool like me, whose intellect cannot go above Mithun-da movies, writes on politics on his own blog. Surely if it is crap, it is of no importance. So why bother to read or to comment? Evidently those who appropriate the word “liberal” for themselves arent too liberal of opposing opinions, even when they are expressed on a personal corner of the Web. There will be comments of the sort “You stay outside the country. What do you know of the real situation?” written by people whose IP address is from the US, Denmark etc. Then there will be others who will dub Arundhati Roy’s guided romp through Maoist territory and the resultant bit of passionate rhetoric coming from a self-confessed biased observer as “research” and hence beyond reproach. When I point out that what Maoist leaders want is not justice for tribals but the decimation of the Indian political system and the establishment of a Pol-Pot like regime, I am told that the Pol-Pot regime was supported by the USA—as if that is somehow germane to my original point.
But what possibly most disgusts me is the different ways in which the following justification is expressed (Ms. Roy is at least pretty straight-forward on this)—“The deaths of policemen are an inevitable consequence for their persecution of tribals” as if the poor policeman’s family is somehow to blame for losing their breadwinner, in the process making retributive violence kosher as long as it done by those described as “tribals”.
The Maoist problem is of course an immensely complex one and no one will advocate an only-force solution. No one also should be washing away the sins of the State, including its suppression of dissent by tarring many innocent people as Naxalites, because of which the genuine Naxalite-sympathizers and collaborators can hide themselves, the State having lost all credibility by crying wolf too often.
However it has to be established for every insurgent in this country that you cannot, just cannot get away, by killing policemen and civilians no matter what your justification for the act is and that there will be consequences of doing that. Thats the way it works in most countries. Just not in India.
And you can blame our politics for that.