peoples march

from the people against injustice in the society

What the State Wants to Destroy is the Alternate Development Model

Posted by ajadhind on December 14, 2009

Stop War Against The People

By Satnam & Buta Singh

05 December, 2009

countercurrents,org
Forumpunjab Blog

What the State Wants to Destroy is the Alternate Development Model

An Appeal to Thinkers, Intellectuals, Artistes, and Writers

Dear Friends,

The Indian state has amassed troops in central India on an
unprecedented scale, to swoop down on the people. It is the latest of
the wars launched by the Indian State against the people living in
this country. The government says that it has to move against these
areas as Maoists hold sway over it and it is not under the control of
central or state authority.

In fact the natives of these jungles have been living there for
thousands of years and have protected these forests as they ensure
life to them and is their only source of livelihood for survival.
These tribals are the most poor and wretched in our land. Popularly
called adivasis, they are the oldest inhabitants of our country, still
living in an ancient age. For thousands of years they have lived an
archaic life. In all these years, no one has been able to subjugate
them. The British Empire tried to do this in 1910 but their marauding
armies were repulsed and forced to beat a retreat. The resistance of
the tribal people against the British forces was led by the great
warrior Gundadhur. This is popularly known as the Bhoomkal Baghawat.
Earlier, they had fought the British under the leadership of Birsa
Munda in the famous Munda Rebellion in the nineteenth century.

Since then, no regime has dared to attack and attempt to subjugate
them, whether they were the British or the post-British rulers sitting
at Delhi. They have remained a free people all along, with their own
culture, customs and a unique way of life. The central and state
governments have been exploiting their forests and mineral and metal
resources at an unbridled pace but have never done anything to provide
them with basic requirements like drinking water, education, medical
facilities etc. The loot of their resources has been enormous, to the
tune of billions of rupees every year, with all the money going to the
industrialists, bureaucrats, politicians, contractors and the police.
All this was going on smoothly, till the the tribals awakened to their
rampant exploitation and inhuman oppression and took to the path of
resistance. This resistance has been characteristic of their
traditions and in accordance with their nature as an independent
people. Their struggle is to put an end to this onslaught which has
made their life, hell like. That is why they identified with the
ideology of revolutionary Marxism which promises a world free of loot,
exploitation and oppression. That is why they found common cause with
the revolutionary Maoist rebels, who want to put a stop to every kind
of exploitation and tyranny and build an egalitarian, humane society,
free of any kind of discrimination.

Of course, as is well known by now, they are living on lands which are
blessed with the richest minerals, metals and other natural resources
like iron, coal, bauxite, manganese, corandum, gold, diamonds, uranium
etc. The Indian state has never considered that tribals have a right
to their land and jungles, and have constantly tried to usurp them in
various ways. The State wants to further intensify this exploitation
now, and has invited the foreign imperialist companies and Indian big
industrial houses and their collaborations, to set up new projects on
these lands. The Indian government has signed Memorandums of
Understanding to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees with the
foreign and Indian industrial houses for this purpose. The contents of
these MOU’s are secret and confidential and people have no access to
them! The current offensive of the Indian state is to wrest back these
areas from the control of these people and hand it over to these
Companies. All this is being done in the name of development. But this
development in fact is in no way the development of the material
conditions of the life of the tribals and the people living around
these areas. This is amply demonstrated in the earlier projects like
Bailladilla, Balco, Bokaro, Bhilai, Jaduguda and numerous others.

Quite recently we have seen the people of Nandigram, Singur, Kashipur,
Kalinga Nagar, Lalgarh, Pullavaram, Tehri and Narmada Project areas
resisting the setting up of car factories, dams, huge mining pit
centers, SEZ’s and other projects which have nothing to do with the
development and well-being of the masses of ordinary toiling and poor
in these areas or in the country elsewhere. It is meant to enrich the
already handful of rich, who live a parasitic life, or to fill the
coffers of foreign imperialist capitalists whose only religion is to
loot, plunder and exploit. The people here have struggled and fought
against the state for their rights over their lands and against the
capitalist sharks on whose bidding the government acts.

The government has deployed lakhs of armed forces to destroy the
resistance of the people, especially at places where it is strong and
formidable and hampers the capitalists from acquiring resource rich
lands. When government says it wants to take back the areas controlled
by Maoists, in fact, it wants to smash the resistance of the people
and snatch their lands to offer these to the mining giants,
industrialists and super rich businessmen. Maoism is nothing but the
rebellion of the people against injustice, notwithstanding whether the
government calls them terrorists or whatever. Millions of people in
these regions identify themselves with the cause of the Maoists and
when millions become a movement for a just cause, they can’t be called
terrorists.

The state admits that there are 223 districts out of a total of 600
where Maoists are active. This means that there are 223 districts
where the people espouse this ideology and want an end to
exploitation. That lakhs are support this resistance or are up in
arms. That it has become a people’s movement. And what of the people
in the remaining districts? Are there not workers, peasants, students,
employees, petty shopkeepers and toiling masses who have no stake in
this system, want a change for the better, and have the same dreams?
If the 223 are up against injustice and the rest have the same
aspirations then the state loses the right to use the invective of
terrorism.

What the Indian state wants to destroy is not just the Maoists, but
the aspirations of millions upon millions in this country, the dreams
of every oppressed Indian.

It is using the media and all the propaganda machinery available, to
denigrate and destroy this. To destroy the resistance of the
down-trodden, their movement for change, which is the only thing that
can bring them real happiness, in this wretched land of ours called
Hindustan. This land, of the hungry. Of the exploited. Of the peasant
who commits suicide. Of the youth facing a bleak future. Of the worker
who is being laid off and kicked out of the factories. Of the
employees of the organized sector who are losing all the rights gained
over the years when their jobs are being contractualised. Of the
government employees who have been booted out with a few crumbs in the
name of VRS or Golden Handshake. Of the petty shop keepers and
traders, whose enterprises are being gobbled up by the malls and the
SEZs. This is the land crying for justice.

If Maoists are branded by the Prime Minister as the biggest internal
threat to the country, then the rulers must think about what they have
given to the people in the last 62 years of independence. Why have
things come to such a pass? They have been ruling and organizing
society and have utterly failed in the six long decades that they have
been at the helm. The present state of affairs is their doing. Not
that of the Maoists. Their development strategies have backfired and
that can’t be blamed on the resisting people and the Maoists. The
Maoists have come into the picture only recently, but what has the
state been doing about the promises it made to the people at the time
of independence? Where has the promise of a Tryst with Destiny
vanished? The promise sworn by Jawaharlal Nehru from the ramparts of
Lal Quila on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947? People are not to be
blamed for that promise not being kept, nor are the Maoists.

So now, Operation Green Hunt is not being executed just because the
government wants to wipe out the Maoists in an all out war, in the
name of fighting terrorism. It is their attempt to annihilate the
yearning of the people, their struggles, their resistance, their
resolve for a better life, whether they are led by the Maoists or not.
And when the tribal heartland refuses to cow down before such an
attack, it deserves admiration. The state intends to bring in the
might of the Air Force against its own people. This is the result of
the 60 years of misrule and the anti-people policies, they have been
imposing. The people have never given them a mandate to carry out
these policies. Over these years they have only opposed these policies
through petitions, protests, strikes, sit-ins, struggles, resistance
and also through hunger strikes and work to rule agitations. And god
knows how many times the so-called people’s democratic state has fired
on the protesters. How many times they have killed people. How many
millions they have cane-charged and how many millions they have put
into jails, not to speak of the thousands of custodial deaths and mass
scale encounter killings. They never stopped the repression. All these
decades, rather than listen to the grievances of the people, this
state, which swears by the non-violence of MK Gandhi, has been
resorting to never-ending violence. Like a mafia. Yet, the resistance
continued and revolts grew.

And now it has created the borders within, against its own countrymen.

The current attack on the poor in central India is nothing but an
enhanced and more deadly version of the same state violence that has
continued since 1947. It is meant to break the fight back of the
people there, the fight of the poorest of the poor, of the tribal
peasants, and workers working in the mines. It is meant to tell others
everywhere in the country, not to stand up for their rights, not to
oppose the policies of the state though they go against the interests
of the people and the country.

The centre of resistance is being encircled not just to break it, but
also to destroy the new things which the people have created during
the course of their struggles and which they have toiled hard to
build. The government has started a vilification campaign against
those who refuse to budge, who refuse to kowtow and who refuse to be
further misled by the never ending empty promises of development and
progress. They know that this development is not for them. For a
government which has discarded the ideal of a welfare state can’t
genuinely embark on a thing which it has abandoned at the behest of
imperialist capital, the World Bank and the WTO.

The people under attack have built their own local government, the
Jantana Sarkar, at various levels, taking their future into their own
hands, for a real tryst with destiny.

Let us have a look in brief, at what the people have built through
their Development Committees in the villages in Dandakarnya, and what
the State wants to destroy. It will give us a glimpse of what the
Maoists hold as a vision for the progress and development of our
country – development which is indigenously and self reliantly built,
one which is people oriented and is constructed in the course of the
people’s democratic participation, and one which cares for this land
and its resources. Such development which will free us from the
stranglehold of imperialist capital and its dictates. A course of
action which can only be executed by the truly patriotic.

* The biggest reform undertaken is that of land. They have distributed
lakhs of acres of land among every peasant household. And no one is
allowed to keep more land than one can till. Thus doing away with
unnecessary hiring of labour in agriculture. Even the Patels who used
to oppress people and fleece them through unpaid labour have been
allowed to retain land they can manage with their family’s labour. No
non-tribals are allowed to own land there.

* Women are also given property rights over land.

* They have developed agriculture from the primitive form of shifting
every one or two years, to systematic settled farming. They were
taught to sow, weed and harvest the crops. They cultivate both their
own private lands as well as co-operative fields for community use.
The development of agriculture is being done without using chemical
fertilizers and pesticides.

* They have introduced a wide range of vegetables like carrot, radish,
brinjal, bitter gourd, okra, tomato etc., which the tribals of remote
areas had never seen or tasted.

* They have planted orchards of bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, guavas etc.

* They have built dams, ponds, and water channels for breeding fish
and for the purpose of irrigation. All this has been done through
collective labour and the produce is distributed free to every
household.

* They have dug wells for safe drinking water.

The industrial projects have destroyed underground water resources,
and streams have been polluted to such an extent, that the fish and
water life have died as also the vegetation around it. Many fruit
trees have stopped flowering around these water resources.

* They have set up rice mills in a number of villages. These mills
have freed women from the daily pounding of paddy for extracting
grain. Many of these mills have been destroyed by Salwa Judum which
was launched by the government, which talks so much about development
in these areas.

* They have built a health care system which reaches every tribal
peasant in every village. Each village has a Medicine Unit which has
been trained to identify diseases and distribute medicines to the
villagers. The health of the tribals rates only second in priority to
the fight against exploitation and oppression.

* The women participate equally in these developmental activities.
Special attention is paid to the issue of patriarchy and that is why
they come forward equally to defend their rights and lands.

* They run schools.

The schools built by the government are completely non-functional and
are usually used by the police and paramilitary forces when they raid
villages. That is one reason the people pull down these pucca
structures which have become symbols of repression.

* They have published books and magazines in the Gondi language. As a
result, it is for the first time that this language has found a place
in the written world. Songs, articles and anecdotes written by the
Gond people are published in the magazines brought out by the
movement. These are the initial steps to develop this ancient language
which has been neglected, just as the people have been. Though there
is no existing script in Gondi, they use devnagri script.

* The remunerative prices for Tendu leaf collection and wages for the
cutting of bamboo and timber is fixed by the Maoist movement taking
into consideration the interests of the tribals.

* Trade in the movement area goes on without hindrance. The traders
are not allowed to cheat the tribals in haat bazaars. The movement
announces remunerative prices for the jungle produce and paddy which
the traders agree to. The presence of guerrillas ensures fair trade
practices. On the other hand, the traders feel happy that there is no
danger of theft or robberies in the movement controlled areas and they
can move about there, freely.

* They have their own justice system. People’s Courts are held to
settle various disputes among the people, as well as with the
oppressors.

* Theft, robbery, cheatings, murders for property and personal gains
have vanished.

* Sexual harassment and rape by the forest department, the contractors
and the police has become a thing of the past. Now the women walk
freely in the jungle whether it is day or night.

* Democratic functioning has been introduced at the village level
onwards. The Gram Rajya Committees (now called Revolutionary Peoples
Committees) function at the head of various committees like
Development Committees which look after agriculture, fish farming,
education, village development, Medicine Units etc.

* The women and children have their own organizations in almost every
village. The tribal peasants have their separate organization, with
units in every village.

* Almost every village has units of People’s Militia which take up the
responsibility of defense of the village.

* Cultural organizations thrive in these jungles as the tribals have
great affinity for cultural activities. These organizations propagate
through songs, dances, plays and other art forms, on all the issues
whether local, national or international.

* The movement has been able to prevent starvation deaths in its areas.

Salwa Judum – the Privatization of State Violence

Salwa Judum was a terror campaign launched by the government, where
the police recruited tribal youth at Rs.1500 per month as Special
Police Officers (SPOs). The SPOs were given arms and let loose on the
villagers in the movement areas. They burned, killed, raped and forced
people to flee their homes, with the help of paramilitary forces and
specially trained Naga Battalions standing guard.

Salwa Judum restricted and destroyed trade in these areas by closing
down the haat bazaars and trying to demolish their economy to force
the tribals into submission. From 2005-07, this went on for two years
They destroyed standing and harvested crops, burned or poisoned the
grain and other jungle produce kept by the tribals for exchange in the
haat bazaars to procure other essentials of life. Even all this could
not force the tribals to submit. Rather than surrender, they lived on
bamboo seeds.

The bloody campaign of Salwa Judum killed hundreds of tribals, burned
hundreds of villages, raped hundreds of women, forcing about 50,000
tribals to live in enclosures called relief camps, set up by the
police, which the tribals ultimately fled. This campaign forced about
30,000 people to flee their villages for other provinces. Lakhs of
people were forced to leave their homes and to roam in the interiors
of the jungles. In fact the government tried to destroy their whole
economy and sources of livelihood even threatening to poison open
water sources in the forests.

But the resistance continued. It could not be broken.

And Now

Bitter with its failure to make the people yield to them, the
government has now embarked upon Operation Green Hunt, a military
campaign with nearly one lakh personnel. Under various pretexts, the
Indian Air Force is weighing its wings to swoop down on the forests,
in spite of promises to the contrary by the Prime Minister.

We have been told that Maoists are the biggest internal threat to the
country. Who are these Maoists? They are just the people themselves
who have taken to the path of resistance, to struggle against the
various Indian governments, who one after the other, do not allow them
a life of dignity or one of peace. The state is attacking its own
people threatening to wipe them out, if they don’t vacate the lands
they have lived on for centuries. And we know about the term
collateral damage – the killing of the civilian population in a war.
Salwa Judum killed the people without a declared war, now they intend
to kill on a much huger scale. They want to break the back of
resistance by killing people. They want to hand over the resource rich
lands of the tribals to the greedy foreign capitalist lords. They want
to destroy the alternate development what the people have created with
their enormous toil and persistent struggles.

Let us think. Let us awake. Let us spread the word. Let us awaken the
people everywhere else. Let us raise our voice against injustice. Let
us tell the government that it must stop this war against its own
people and instead listen to them, respect their aspirations and
attend to their demands.

This is an unjust war which the government has declared on its own
people. It must stop.

——–

Here are the names who have so far consented to the paper and signed

The list continues:

Supporters:

1. Gursharan Singh, Dramatist-Activist, Punjab
2. Prof. Bawa Singh, Guru Sar Sudhar College, Sudhar, Ludhiana
3. Jaswant Kailvi, Ghazalgo, Writer, Ferozepur
4. Baru Satwarg, Novelist-Activist, Rampuraphul, Bathinda
5. Dr. Baldev Singh, Deptt. of Economics, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa
College, Delhi
6. Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Veteran Journalist (Presently Media Consultant
with Punjabi University, Patiala)
7. Samual John, Director Peoples’ Theatre, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur
8. Jatinder Mauhar, Film Director, Mohali
9. Megh Raj Mitter (Shiromani Lekhak), Barnala, Punjab
10. Dr. Mohan Tyagi, B.N. Khalsa Senior Sec. School, Patiala
11. Master Des Raj Chhajli, Lok Kala Manch Chhajli, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur
12. Jagdish Papra, Writer, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur
13. Narinder Nath Sharma, Advocate, Patiala
14. Dr. Tejwant Mann, Literary Critic, Sangrur
15. Prof, Harbhajan Singh, Writer, USA
16. Yadwinder Kurfew, TV Journalist, Delhi
17. Harbans Heon, Writer, Banga, Nawanshahr
18. Ajmer Sidhu, Writer, Nawanshahr
19. Gurmit Juj, Poet, Singer, Krantikari Sabhayachar Kendar, Punjab
20. Balbir Chohla, Activist-Journalist, Taran Taran
21. Prof. Bhupinder Singh (retd), Sociology, Punjabi University, Patiala
22. Satnam, Writer-Freelance Journalist, Patiala
23. Buta Singh, Publisher, Baba Bujha Singh Prakashan, Banga, Nawanshahr
24. Jasdeep, Software Engineer, Delhi
25. Harpreet Rathore, TV Journalist, Delhi
26. Veer Singh, Research Scholar, JNU
27. Narbhinder, Activist-Writer, Sirsa
28. Karam Barsat, Columnist, Sangrur
29. Sukirat, Journalist-Writer, Jalandhar
30. Makhan Singh Namol, Advocate, Sangrur
31. Davinderpal, TV Journalist, Delhi
32. Partap Virk, TV Journalist, Delhi
33. Dr. Bhim Inder Singh, Lecturer, Punjabi University, Patiala
34. Jasvir Deep, Journalist and Social Activist, Nawanshahr
35. Paramjit Dehal, Poet & Literary Activist, Nawanshehar
36. Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Democratic Rights Activist, Ludhiana
37. Dr. Gurjant Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala.
38. Iqbal Kaur Udaasi, Progressive Singer-Activist, Barnala
39. Balvir Parwana, Editor Sunday Magazine, Nawa Zamana, Jalandhar
40. Jugraj Dhaula, Poet-Singer, Barnala
41. Dr. Ajit Pal, Writer-Activist, Bathinda
42. Rajinder Rahi, Writer, Barnala
43. Bhupinder Waraich, State President, Democratic Teachers’ Front, Punjab
44. Didar Shetra, Poet, Nawanshahr
45. Baldev Balli, Poet, Nawanshahr
46. Jagsir Jeeda, Lyricist-Singer, Giderbaha, Bathinda
47. Hakem Singh Noor, Poet-Activist, Barnala
48. Charanjeet Singh Teja, Freelance Journalist, Amritsar
49. Attarjit, Short Story Writer, Bathinda
50. Rajeev Lohatbaddi, Advocate, Patiala
51. Harvinder Deewana, Chetna Kala Kender, Barnala
52. Balwinder Kotbhara, Writer-Journalist, Bathinda
53. B.R.P. Bhaskar, Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram
54. S.S. Azaad, Writer, Mansa
55. Sadhu Binning, Writer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
56. Hiren Gandhi
57. Vijay Bombeli, Feature writer, Hoshiarpur
58. Paramjeet Singh Khatra, Advocate, Nawan Shehar
59. Daljeet Singh, Advocate, Nawan Shehar
60. Baldev Singh, Advocate, District Courts Patiala
61. Paramjit Kahma, Doaba Sahit Ate Sabhiachar Sabha, Jejon (Hoshiarpur)
62. Dr. Ramesh Bali, Nawanshehar, Activist
63. Puneet Sehgal, programme executive, DoorDarshan, Jalandhar
64. Harkesh Chaudhry & Other Artists, Lok Kala Manch, Mandi MulanPur, (Ldh)
65. Prof. Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Dramatist, Mansa
66. Dr. Maninder Kang, Writer, Jalandhar
67. Charanjit Bhullar, Journalist, Bathinda

Satnam (No.22), and Buta Singh (No.23) are the coauthors of this appeal

http://forumpunjab.wordpress.com

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One Response to “What the State Wants to Destroy is the Alternate Development Model”

  1. louis said

    comrades i think u r all doin a great job but, i think you are very much alienated from the urban middle class….which neeeds a real attention ….& also a gud media through which u can spread messages which will act against all the anti- communist propganda which is spread by the bourgiese media…

    unless these great deeds done by u, reach the public it wont help us in long term(remember only one among lakhs of urban population visit ur sit or read ur magazines, a special committee should be formed 4 that)

    please avoid francis induvars which will alienate u from the the people……

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