Archive for August, 2010

Naxalism and youth

The word Naxalism brings to mind communism, image of poor people up in arms, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, fiery speeches of Home minister against Naxals and the recent Dantewada killings.

This was not the case 50 years back when the whole world from US to Europe to Africa to China was in revolution in different forms. Something which was always in the limelight was a “revolution”.

It attracted many young people throughout the world and it became a sign of rebellion, an out cry against those imposing their ideas and governments throughout the world came on the hit-list. Che Guevara was the icon and free speech, equality and civil rights the words of the time.

Indian youths also romanticized the same thing – “a revolution”. Young girls and boys from top colleges of country started to foray into this domain. Frustrated with government policies and fall of Nehru’s idea, the youths wanted to make a difference by themselves.


Naxalbari was like a clarion call “Just then, Das and Ray went underground. Between 1970 and 1971, 12-13 Stephanians followed, leaving studies to join the revolution. Das and a few others were arrested; the rest returned on their own — disillusioned and scared. Rajiv Kumar, an Economics student, was in third year when he left for Bihar in mid-December, 1970.

For three months, he stayed with CPI-ML sympathizers, including a bricklayer in Munger. “One of the reasons for my return was the prospect of being asked to kill people,” he says. “We were a bunch of romantics who just didn’t know that we were being fed with lies.”    Dipesh Chakrabarty, a Presidency College student of the 1960s who now teaches in University of Chicago, recalls: “Many urban youth who went to liberate rural areas came back after some weeks with acute bowel problems.”

Over the years the urban youths stopped taking part in such processes and only some were left to do the fighting. It was now the time for youths from rural areas to take forth someone who was actually affected by police brutalities or were misfortunate to be sliced in between the on going battle. Soon in 1980 the battle became more intense and last decade has surpassed all expectations by increasing the death toll manifolds.” says Rai Chaudhuri then 23 years old. He retired as the head of the Presidency College’s Physics Department in 2004 and was one of those to be mentioned in V S Naipaul’s India: A Million Mutinies Now.

“We were elated. We had only read about the armed peasant struggles in China and Vietnam. Now it was actually happening here in our land,” says Rai Chaudhuri. Soon posters supporting Naxalbari started to appear in College Street and elsewhere .Slogans such as ‘China’s Chairman is our Chairman’ suddenly sprouted on Kolkata walls. The lawns of Presidency College became a meeting ground for students from Calcutta and neighboring areas, and the informal group came to be known as the Presidency Coalition


Youngsters were recruited in large numbers from all across the country to liberate the country. Students from colleges such as Stephens would leave their dream to study abroad or  to enter the IAS. China’s path is our path, China’s chairman is our chairman” read on a wall in St. Stephen’s. Had it been some other time, people would have considered it a prank, but it was not. When the high wall of St Stephen’s —that rarefied oasis for the nation’s elite — was used as a pad for radical propaganda, it confirmed what most observers already knew: an influential section of Stephanians had fallen to Naxalism.

Slogans appeared on lecture-room blackboards and one such work read, Reactionary teachers, we will have your skin for shoes for the poor”! At the height of militancy, contemporary insiders put the number of core Naxals in the college at no more than 30 — not a big figure, but by most accounts the single largest Maoist presence among all DU institutions. In 1968, history student Arvind Narain Das had run for president of the college student’s body elections on an openly Naxal platform. He won. “We were ready to storm heaven,” Dilip Simeon, a leading member of the group, was to write later. During 1970, their activities started to enter a serious phase.

A distressed parent approached O’ Connor asking him to persuade his son to give up politics. “By then, they (the students) were well into the vortex and almost out of hearing,” writes the pastor.       The campus was tense. TOI reported a ‘plot’ to burn the college library and bomb the chapel. “We didn’t know it then, but some students and teachers close to us were spying for the police,” says Ray.


Just then, Das and Ray went underground. Between 1970 and 1971, 12-13 Stephanians followed, leaving studies to join the revolution. Das and a few others were arrested; the rest returned on their own — disillusioned and scared. Rajiv Kumar, an Economics student, was in third year when he left for Bihar in mid-December, 1970.

Though incidents where young men and girls leaving have stopped but some young folks from villages especially dalits and tribals seem to have taken it as a cause where they see it as a defiance against the powerful “corrupt” elite and those leading them are those youngsters of 1960s and 1970s who have grown old now and have nothing else left but this ideological war for themselves as they have already sacrificed alot for it, their families and hope for better life for themselves.


The situation now is not of romanticizing but rather that the fact poor and angry young men and women, who see no future for themselves, are easy targets for terrorists and extremist recruiters. It is only because of unemployment that the younger generation takes to terrorism in order to generate income and fulfils its needs. So the youths knowingly or unknowingly embrace Naxalism. In some cases, people are driven to the Naxal world by the Naxalites themselves and are paid attractive amounts.

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs estimates the following yearly deaths from the violence:

1996: 156 deaths

1997: 428 deaths

1998: 270 deaths

1999: 363 deaths

2000: 50 deaths

2001: 100+ deaths

2002: 140 deaths

2003: 451 deaths

2004: 500+ deaths

2005: 700+ deaths

2006: 750 deaths

2007: 650 deaths

2008: 794 deaths

2009: 1,134 deaths

In order to eradicate this problem the government needs to take hand of the situation and a rapid development of the region is required. Naxalites should be brought to mainstream and if they have issues they can form a political party and if they really want to make a change. This situation is going to affect Indian youths the most and also India at a broader level. A solution needs to be found for the problem for those who are dying are INDIANS after all.

I have been watching and observing over many years of my life usage of one word to a wide extend. The word is used by very distinct set of human beings which span across genders, cast, nationality, color, religion and professions.

It is something which comes out as the last resort to get things going in your way if the opponent you are targeting is bit gullible and has a stamina for inferiority complex with a mediocre background. Frankly i have seen it used with a subtle style  should i say but definitely with a purpose to annihilate.

The word is Education.

It is used in various ways depending upon the users desire to phrase it in the sentence.

case 1:

Two girls are having fight over things which they believe in the one from a “better school” throw a sentence at the other to make her fill guilt so that she could walk away with a victory.

The words are :

I am educated and you are not so get lost.

(The objective here is to make the one who is bugging you go away, citing your “education”)

case 2:

A tentative seller comes to a house knowing fully aware of the condition of the occupants abd he tries to offer you giving this sentence “ you see educated people usually buy such stuff and since you seem very educated this one is specially for you saved.”

(The objective here is too fool those people who wish to get a high status in society via education)

Case 3 :

The brash yet rich youngsters filled with cash from their daddies barley being able to pass school thought let me point out “A GOOD school”   usually throw this education speech.In colleges too that certainly doesn’t change, there have been instances of certain individuals from the prestigious colleges doing shit of a course there but bragging to others about the education. Thereby commanding authority or at least trying to do so.

Some how One has come to a conclusion that education is the most over-rated word in the human history of human race.

Some instances which one would like to offer

  1. RSS has very educated ppl but still they support crime against muslims.
    ( Ajmer bomb blast acussed as per news reports.)
  2. Muslims are very educated in World but still they hate america and want to destroy it for what it is doing in Middle east.
  3. Israel , a very powerful states full of educated ppl, still they have human rights violation in Palestine issue.
  4. Germans were very educated but still they  hated and killed  jews in 1930s and 1940s.
  5. US had civil rights issue where Blacks were not given rights and still there are gang wars in US on the basis of racial lines.
  6. US is full of educated people but many there believe that all Muslims are terrorist.
  7. US has civil rights issue where Hispanic americans have been stereotyped by the white ‘educated’ population.
  8. Australia : the racist crimes, there are educated ppl there.

So in short what is REAL Education is it some word or more of an ego flying here and there of some people so that they could get away in any argument. ?

I can’t help but quote mahatma Gandhi here for his own dilemma on this situation

The real difficulty is that people have no idea of what education truly is. We assess the value of education in the same manner as we assess the value of land or of shares in the stock-exchange market. We want to provide only such education as would enable the student to earn more. We hardly give any thought to the improvement of the character of the educated. The girls, we say, do not have to earn; so why should they be educated? As long as such ideas persist there is no hope of our ever knowing the true value of education.  – Mahatma Gandhi

There have been numerous initiates all across the globe to improve education , let me jus say that there are certain things for sure which education helps improves :

  1. Help upgrade the family status
  2. Betters life expectancy
  3. Better income
  4. Travelling
  5. Better Heath services
  6. Knowledge is power
  7. Luxurious cars
  8. Preferably marriage to a soul mate
  9. understanding of things better
  10. Independence.

Now of the above which i have mention some may also fall in dubious categories, eg information : who says getting information from the “RELIABLE” source which you believe are feeding you with correct information. There are books written with a specific objective to brain wash or the very newspaper that you subscribe may be a tool for propaganda purposes by some organization or political party, without you even knowing. The news channels that you watch we all know are MAD after TRPS , who knows the information that they are giving is “RIGHT” ?

The doctor who prescribes you drug may have hidden agenda behind it because he gets kicks from the pharmaceuticals company or the very research paper that you have read may have been funded by a pharma company to populate the drug it is making. The recent case of Super-bug named after New Delhi the hidden agenda also needs to be seen. Your ideological books are another issue.

Make no mistake that I am NOT against education , I rather encourage it but Education is not the only answer to this complex worlds’ problem but yes it is a start. So for those “EDUCATED PEOPLE” around the world the Journey has just begun.

Bundelkhand: The Forgotten India


For the past two years Bundelkhand has been in the news all for the wrong reasons. For the residents of Bundelkhand even that is good news because at least someone is interested in them! The Bundelkhand region lies in central India and was home to great personalities such as Rani Laxmibai, Singer Kishore Kumar, Hockey great Major Dhyanchand, and Osho Guru Rajneesh and is home to Khajuraho.

For over 8 years, this region has been facing a drought. As is usual, the politicians across party lines don’t care about it because the region lies between two states, namely: Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Due to the moneylender’s trap (you borrow money at a very high interest rate and are not able to pay back even the interest as your crop is poor because of the drought), the farmers are committing suicides, selling their land, cattle and even their wives. One problem is that the soil here retains very little water unlike the black soil in other regions of Madhya Pradesh. If it does not rain at the right time with the right consistency, the drought-related distress affects the next year’s Rabi crop as well.

Another problem is the myopic drought policy – relief is given only if the standing crop fails. Many farmers who wait for the rains to begin sowing do not qualify as distressed because the monsoon failure does not give them an opportunity to plant. The irrigation facilities in Madhya Pradesh are a total disaster and on the side of Uttar Pradesh no one seems to care.

When the case of wife selling came out – the debt-ridden farmers are selling their women to money lenders at rates varying between Rs 4,000 and 12,000. The prettier the face, higher the amount the woman fetches – all hell broke loose for good reasons.The deals were being finalized on legal stamp paper under the garb of ‘marriage.’ The stamp paper heading said ‘Vivaha Anubandh (Marriage Contract)’.


And once the new husband has had enough of the woman, she is sold to another man. Some turn to prostitution. According to the police, many of these wife-turned-prostitutes have been rescued in the last two years. Even the international media seems interested in the “plight” of these people because selling one’s wife in one of India’s multiple poverty stricken districts is something that their audiences would love to hear and it would re-affirm their long held stereotype of India.

When the news of farmer’s suicides from this region came in, it joined the likes of Telegana and Vidharba in being treated with indifference by politicians. Thankfully Gandhi Junior’s involvement and interest saw the region get a 7,000 Crore relief package. He demand for a separate body for the development of the region is yet to see light from the Government. He is said to have discussed with PM, a detailed view of the budget and an all out development project for that would not only include agricultural activities but also improvements in education and industrialization of the region.

The whole deprivation has led to the people of Bundelkhand to demand a separate state so that they can take the matters into their own hands and not have to rely on the hierarchies of the government. This way they can undertake economic activities that will benefit them and would ensure that the money meant for them from the center actually reaches them.

The issue of a separate state is not new for Bundelkhand. At the time of Independence it was a separate state but was later dissolved and dispersed between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The centre, however, seems reluctant to carve out a new state citing the failure of the three states created by the NDA namely: Jharkhand, Uttrakhand and Chhattisgarh.

The implementation of the current schemes such as NREGA might bring about a part of the required. But for the long term sustenance of the region a larger plan needs to be chalked out. A plan where a region is not left behind in the overall development of India, even if it means creating a new state.

Road to sangam

The film begins with a slow start with a journey of ashes taken from a state bank locker by an individual. On the other side of the film where to stories are running side by side we are introduced with Hasmat Bhai (Paresh Rawal), general secretary to the local Mosque Committee in Allahabad (UP seems to be the flavour of the week at the movies). He’s a mechanical engineer, also called a `mistry’ in Hindi, as he informs someone. Passionate about his work, Hasmat is excited to receive an old Ford car engine for  repairing work. The machine has been sent by the government; the city museum to be precise. The work is near impossible given the state of the machine, but Hasmat is all the more ready for it. The deadline too is demanding, and he gears up his small team to get o with the work.

Around that time, bomb blasts rock the city, causing the police to pick up random suspects. That these suspects are all Muslim and many with no criminal background angers the community. The mosque committee initiates a protest march during which  a young member of the community dies. Om Puri who plays the head honcho of this outfit speaks with a command egged  by his maulvi assistant (Pawan Malhotra, fabulous and Unknowable due to his makeup ). They decide that all Muslims in the area shut shop until they hear an apology from the government. Members who fear for their livelihood, didn’t dare protest.

Halfway done repairing the Ford engine, Hasmat is in two minds whether to pursue or give the work up. While he wishes to be with the committee, his professionalism doesn’t let him break the commitment easily. The twist comes when a TV reporter informs him of the stature of the car engine. This was the very same motor that had carried Gandhi’s ashes right after his death in 1948. If repaired, this engine would make the same trip that it had made with the Mahatma’s ashes to the Sangam River where Yamuna and Ganga meet. Now, on discovering that the government had forgotten about this last container of his ashes, this yatra to the Sangam has been organised. Alarmed and honoured, Hasmat’s dilemma deepens.

The film then explores Hasmat’s struggle to follow his chosen path; a decision that proves to be harder than he imagined. The film creates an emotion in which patriotism is main forth above any religion using Mahatma Gandhi as core value of the movie. First time director-writer Amit Rai  pulls up a great act and this film is definitely to watch out for with a power pack actors in the film ,the important subject and well furnished writing ,I give it 4 out of 5.

Writer and director – Amit Rai

Producer –Amit Chheda, sunil sharma

Ambedkar aur Gandhi

In Asmita’s latest presentation, young playwright Rajesh Kumar’s “Ambedkar aur Gandhi” was marked for healthy audience response both for its content and the director Gaur’s overall production design.

The cast gives a power pack performance which includes the likes of  Bajrang Bali Singh playing Ambedkar being excellent particularly in his last speech after Gandhiji’s death. Viren Basoya’s Gandhi, calm and collected  and upto the mark. Apart from the two lead players, others who stand out are Shilpi Marwah as Rama Bai, Pankaj Raj Yadav as Devdas Gandhi, Malay Garg as Kedarkar, Raj Sharma as Sadanand and Rahul Datta as Sardar Patel.
To lend colour to the presentation, there was, as usual, excellent music by Sangeeta Gaur and some popular songs that brought back old memories.

The play gives a very good understanding about Ambedkars’ and Gandhis’ views over Indian society and its development. It show cases their conflicts with each other. Director Arvind Gaur in his  64th endeavor very wisely tries to put across a very sensitive subject of caste system  in front of the audience.

Bajrang Bali Singh especially gave an exceptional power packed performance in form of Ambedkar where he questioned Gandhi with cutting edge questions and says “I have no country.”

With references made to the Poona pact, Kala Ram temple entry satyagraha, round table conference and Communal award the play unfolds the limitation of Gandhi in addressing the problem of untouchability and also his failure in attacking the root of the problem.

The play also voices out the dissatisfaction in Ambedkar about the efforts put by Gandhi for the removal of untouchability. The dialogue by Ambedkar saying, “Why doesn’t Gandhi fast unto death for the cause of removal of untouchability?” summarizes the dissatisfaction and also the dialogue saying, “Efforts of Congress to address the problem of untouchability is like getting a new dress stitched during the festive season, every year.”

Though the reaction by the audience present was mixed one, during the post play discussions initiated by the Director some people from the audience were not happy in the way Mahatma Gandhi was portrayed, since in some scenes Ambedkar was truly seen dominating Gandhi which didn’t go down well with some members of the audience and Ambedkars’ referral to Brahmins again and again as self serving community was also cause of concern.

Overall a must watch play as it will make think about Indian society structure.

I give 3 out of 5 to it..

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