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Memories of Another day

Memories of Another day
While my Parents Pulin babu and Basanti devi were living

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mr Chidambaram’s War

Mr Chidambaram’s War
A math question: How many soldiers will it take to contain the mounting rage of hundreds of millions of people?
Arundhati Roy
From "The Greater Common Good", Outlook, May 24, 1999

The low, flat-topped hills of south Orissa have been home to the Dongria Kondh long before there was a country called India or a state called Orissa. The hills watched over the Kondh. The Kondh watched over the hills and worshipped them as living deities. Now these hills have been sold for the bauxite they contain. For the Kondh it’s as though god has been sold. They ask how much god would go for if the god were Ram or Allah or Jesus Christ?
Red terror?: A tribal woman with her children in Dantewada

Perhaps the Kondh are supposed to be grateful that their Niyamgiri hill, home to their Niyam Raja, God of Universal Law, has been sold to a company with a name like Vedanta (the branch of Hindu philosophy that teaches the Ultimate Nature of Knowledge). It’s one of the biggest mining corporations in the world and is owned by Anil Aggarwal, the Indian billionaire who lives in London in a mansion that once belonged to the Shah of Iran. Vedanta is only one of the many multinational corporations closing in on Orissa.

If the flat-topped hills are destroyed, the forests that clothe them will be destroyed too. So will the rivers and streams that flow out of them and irrigate the plains below. So will the Dongria Kondh. So will the hundreds of thousands of tribal people who live in the forested heart of India, and whose homeland is similarly under attack.

In our smoky, crowded cities, some people say, “So what? Someone has to pay the price of progress.” Some even say, “Let’s face it, these are people whose time has come. Look at any developed country, Europe, the US, Australia—they all have a ‘past’.” Indeed they do. So why shouldn’t “we”?

The Niyamgiri hills have been sold for their bauxite. For the Kondhs, their god’s been sold. How much, they ask, would god go for if he was Ram, Allah or Christ?

In keeping with this line of thought, the government has announced Operation Green Hunt, a war purportedly against the “Maoist” rebels headquartered in the jungles of central India. Of course, the Maoists are by no means the only ones rebelling. There is a whole spectrum of struggles all over the country that people are engaged in—the landless, the Dalits, the homeless, workers, peasants, weavers. They’re pitted against a juggernaut of injustices, including policies that allow a wholesale corporate takeover of people’s land and resources. However, it is the Maoists who the government has singled out as being the biggest threat. Two years ago, when things were nowhere near as bad as they are now, the prime minister described the Maoists as the “single-largest internal security threat” to the country. This will probably go down as the most popular and often-repeated thing he ever said. For some reason, the comment he made on January 6, 2009, at a meeting of state chief ministers, when he described the Maoists as having only “modest capabilities” doesn’t seem to have had the same raw appeal. He revealed his government’s real concern on June 18, 2009, when he told Parliament: “If left-wing extremism continues to flourish in parts which have natural resources of minerals, the climate for investment would certainly be affected.”

Who are the Maoists? They are members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist)—CPI (Maoist)—one of the several descendants of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), which led the 1969 Naxalite uprising and was subsequently liquidated by the Indian government. The Maoists believe that the innate, structural inequality of Indian society can only be redressed by the violent overthrow of the Indian State. In its earlier avatars as the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in Jharkhand and Bihar, and the People’s War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh, the Maoists had tremendous popular support. (When the ban on them was briefly lifted in 2004, one-and-a-half million people attended their rally in Warangal.) But eventually their intercession in Andhra Pradesh ended badly. They left a violent legacy that turned some of their staunchest supporters into harsh critics. After a paroxysm of killing and counter-killing by the Andhra police as well as the Maoists, the PWG was decimated. Those who managed to survive fled Andhra Pradesh into neighbouring Chhattisgarh. There, deep in the heart of the forest, they joined colleagues who had already been working there for decades.

A concerted campaign has been orchestrated to shoehorn myriad resistances into a simple George Bush binary: if you’re not with us, you’re with the Maoists.

Not many ‘outsiders’ have any first-hand experience of the real nature of the Maoist movement in the forest. A recent interview with one of its top leaders, Comrade Ganapathy, in Open magazine didn’t do much to change the minds of those who view the Maoists as a party with an unforgiving, totalitarian vision, which countenances no dissent whatsoever. Comrade Ganapathy said nothing that would persuade people that, were the Maoists ever to come to power, they would be equipped to properly address the almost insane diversity of India’s caste-ridden society. His casual approval of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka was enough to send a shiver down even the most sympathetic of spines, not just because of the brutal ways in which the LTTE chose to wage its war, but also because of the cataclysmic tragedy that has befallen the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, who it claimed to represent, and for whom it surely must take some responsibility.

Right now in central India, the Maoists’ guerrilla army is made up almost entirely of desperately poor tribal people living in conditions of such chronic hunger that it verges on famine of the kind we only associate with sub-Saharan Africa. They are people who, even after 60 years of India’s so-called Independence, have not had access to education, healthcare or legal redress. They are people who have been mercilessly exploited for decades, consistently cheated by small businessmen and moneylenders, the women raped as a matter of right by police and forest department personnel. Their journey back to a semblance of dignity is due in large part to the Maoist cadre who have lived and worked and fought by their side for decades.

Elections ’09: Ask not where the two billion dollars came from

If the tribals have taken up arms, they have done so because a government which has given them nothing but violence and neglect now wants to snatch away the last thing they have—their land. Clearly, they do not believe the government when it says it only wants to “develop” their region. Clearly, they do not believe that the roads as wide and flat as aircraft runways that are being built through their forests in Dantewada by the National Mineral Development Corporation are being built for them to walk their children to school on. They believe that if they do not fight for their land, they will be annihilated. That is why they have taken up arms.

Even if the ideologues of the Maoist movement are fighting to eventually overthrow the Indian State, right now even they know that their ragged, malnutritioned army, the bulk of whose soldiers have never seen a train or a bus or even a small town, are fighting only for survival.

Schedule V of the Constitution, which provides adivasis protection & disallows alienation of their land, now seems just window-dressing, a bit of make-up.

In 2008, an expert group appointed by the Planning Commission submitted a report called ‘Development Challenges in Extremist-Affected Areas’. It said, “the Naxalite (Maoist) movement has to be recognised as a political movement with a strong base among the landless and poor peasantry and adivasis. Its emergence and growth need to be contextualised in the social conditions and experience of people who form a part of it. The huge gap between state policy and performance is a feature of these conditions. Though its professed long-term ideology is capturing state power by force, in its day-to-day manifestation, it is to be looked upon as basically a fight for social justice, equality, protection, security and local development.” A very far cry from the “single-largest internal security threat”. Since the Maoist rebellion is the flavour of the week, everybody, from the sleekest fat cat to the most cynical editor of the most sold-out newspaper in this country, seems to be suddenly ready to concede that it is decades of accumulated injustice that lies at the root of the problem. But instead of addressing that problem, which would mean putting the brakes on this 21st century gold rush, they are trying to head the debate off in a completely different direction, with a noisy outburst of pious outrage about Maoist “terrorism”. But they’re only speaking to themselves.

The people who have taken to arms are not spending all their time watching (or performing for) TV, or reading the papers, or conducting SMS polls for the Moral Science question of the day: Is Violence Good or Bad? SMS your reply to.... They’re out there. They’re fighting. They believe they have the right to defend their homes and their land. They believe that they deserve justice.

VT, 26/11: Odd that the Centre was ready to talk to Pakistan even after this, but is playing hard when it comes to the poor

In order to keep its better-off citizens absolutely safe from these dangerous people, the government has declared war on them. A war, which it tells us, may take between three and five years to win. Odd, isn’t it, that even after the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, the government was prepared to talk with Pakistan? It’s prepared to talk to China. But when it comes to waging war against the poor, it’s playing hard. It’s not enough that Special Police—with totemic names like Greyhounds, Cobras and Scorpions—are scouring the forests with a licence to kill. It’s not enough that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the notorious Naga Battalion have already wreaked havoc and committed unconscionable atrocities in remote forest villages. It’s not enough that the government supports and arms the Salwa Judum, the “people’s militia” that has killed and raped and burned its way through the forests of Dantewada leaving three hundred thousand people homeless, or on the run. Now the government is going to deploy the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and tens of thousands of paramilitary troops. It plans to set up a brigade headquarters in Bilaspur (which will displace nine villages) and an air base in Rajnandgaon (which will displace seven). Obviously, these decisions were taken a while ago. Surveys have been done, sites chosen. Interesting. War has been in the offing for a while. And now the helicopters of the Indian air force have been given the right to fire in “self-defence”, the very right that the government denies its poorest citizens.

Fire at whom? How in god’s name will the security forces be able to distinguish a Maoist from an ordinary person who is running terrified through the jungle? Will adivasis carrying the bows and arrows they have carried for centuries now count as Maoists too? Are non-combatant Maoist sympathisers valid targets? When I was in Dantewada, the Superintendent of Police showed me pictures of 19 “Maoists” who “his boys” had killed. I asked him how I was supposed to tell they were Maoists. He said, “See Ma’am, they have malaria medicines, Dettol bottles, all these things from outside.”

Licence to kill: Greyhounds, Scorpions, Cobras.... Now the IAF can fire in self-defence, a right the poor are denied.

What kind of war is Operation Green Hunt going to be? Will we ever know? Not much news comes out of the forests. Lalgarh in West Bengal has been cordoned off. Those who try to go in are being beaten and arrested. And called Maoists of course. In Dantewada, the Vanvasi Chetana Ashram, a Gandhian ashram run by Himanshu Kumar, was bulldozed in a few hours. It was the last neutral outpost before the war zone begins, a place where journalists, activists, researchers and fact-finding teams could stay while they worked in the area.

Meanwhile, the Indian establishment has unleashed its most potent weapon. Almost overnight, our embedded media has substituted its steady supply of planted, unsubstantiated, hysterical stories about ‘Islamist Terrorism’ with planted, unsubstantiated, hysterical stories about ‘Red Terrorism’. In the midst of this racket, at Ground Zero, the cordon of silence is being inexorably tightened. The ‘Sri Lanka Solution’ could very well be on the cards. It’s not for nothing that the Indian government blocked a European move in the UN asking for an international probe into war crimes committed by the government of Sri Lanka in its recent offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

The next time you see a news anchor haranguing a guest, ‘Why don’t Maoists stand for elections?’, do SMS this reply, ‘Because they can’t afford your rates.’

The first move in that direction is the concerted campaign that has been orchestrated to shoehorn the myriad forms of resistance taking place in this country into a simple George Bush binary: If you are not with us, you are with the Maoists. The deliberate exaggeration of the Maoist ‘threat’ helps the State to justify militarisation. (And surely does no harm to the Maoists. Which political party would be unhappy to be singled out for such attention?) While all the oxygen is being used up by this new doppelganger of the War on Terror, the State will use the opportunity to mop up the hundreds of other resistance movements in the sweep of its military operation, calling them all Maoist sympathisers. I use the future tense, but this process is well under way. The West Bengal government tried to do this in Nandigram and Singur but failed. Right now in Lalgarh, the Pulishi Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee or the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities—which is a people’s movement that is separate from, though sympathetic to, the Maoists—is routinely referred to as an overground wing of the CPI (Maoist). Its leader, Chhatradhar Mahato, now arrested and being held without bail, is always called a “Maoist leader”. We all know the story of Dr Binayak Sen, a medical doctor and a civil liberties activist, who spent two years in jail on the absolutely facile charge of being a courier for the Maoists. While the light shines brightly on Operation Green Hunt, in other parts of India, away from the theatre of war, the assault on the rights of the poor, of workers, of the landless, of those whose lands the government wishes to acquire for “public purpose”, will pick up pace. Their suffering will deepen and it will be that much harder for them to get a hearing. Once the war begins, like all wars, it will develop a momentum, a logic and an economics of its own. It will become a way of life, almost impossible to reverse. The police will be expected to behave like an army, a ruthless killing machine. The paramilitary will be expected to become like the police, a corrupt, bloated administrative force. We’ve seen it happen in Nagaland, Manipur and Kashmir. The only difference in the ‘heartland’ will be that it’ll become obvious very quickly to the security forces that they’re only a little less wretched than the people they’re fighting. In time, the divide between the people and the law enforcers will become porous. Guns and ammunition will be bought and sold. In fact, it’s already happening. Whether it’s the security forces or the Maoists or non-combatant civilians, the poorest people will die in this Rich People’s War. However, if anybody believes that this war will leave them unaffected, they should think again. The resources it’ll consume will cripple the economy of this country.

Last week, civil liberties groups from all over the country organised a series of meetings in Delhi to discuss what could be done to turn the tide and stop the war. The absence of Dr Balagopal, one of the best-known civil rights activists of Andhra Pradesh, who died two weeks ago, closed around us like a physical pain. He was one of the bravest, wisest political thinkers of our time and left us just when we needed him most. Still, I’m sure he would have been reassured to hear speaker after speaker displaying the vision, the depth, the experience, the wisdom, the political acuity and, above all, the real humanity of the community of activists, academics, lawyers, judges and a range of other people who make up the civil liberties community in India. Their presence in the capital signalled that outside the arclights of our TV studios and beyond the drumbeat of media hysteria, even among India’s middle classes, a humane heart still beats. Small wonder then that these are the people who the Union home minister recently accused of creating an “intellectual climate” that was conducive to “terrorism”. If that charge was meant to frighten people, to cow them down, it had the opposite effect.

There’s an MoU on every mountain, river, forest glade. What the media calls the Maoist Corridor—the Dandakaranya—could well be called the MoUist Corridor.

The speakers represented a range of opinion from the liberal to the radical Left. Though none of those who spoke would describe themselves as Maoist, few were opposed in principle to the idea that people have a right to defend themselves against State violence. Many were uncomfortable about Maoist violence, about the ‘people’s courts’ that delivered summary justice, about the authoritarianism that was bound to permeate an armed struggle and marginalise those who did not have arms. But even as they expressed their discomfort, they knew that people’s courts only existed because India’s courts are out of the reach of ordinary people and that the armed struggle that has broken out in the heartland is not the first, but the very last option of a desperate people pushed to the very brink of existence. The speakers were aware of the dangers of trying to extract a simple morality out of individual incidents of heinous violence, in a situation that had already begun to look very much like war. Everybody had graduated long ago from equating the structural violence of the State with the violence of the armed resistance. In fact, retired Justice P.B. Sawant went so far as to thank the Maoists for forcing the establishment of this country to pay attention to the egregious injustice of the system. Hargopal from Andhra Pradesh spoke of his experience as a civil rights activist through the years of the Maoist interlude in his state. He mentioned in passing the fact that in a few days in Gujarat in 2002, Hindu mobs led by the Bajrang Dal and the VHP had killed more people than the Maoists ever had even in their bloodiest days in Andhra Pradesh.

People who had come from the war zones, from Lalgarh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, described the police repression, the arrests, the torture, the killing, the corruption, and the fact that in places like Orissa, they seemed to take orders directly from the officials who worked for the mining companies. People described the dubious, malign role being played by certain NGOs funded by aid agencies wholly devoted to furthering corporate prospects. Again and again they spoke of how in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh activists as well as ordinary people—anyone who was seen to be a dissenter—were being branded Maoists and imprisoned. They said that this, more than anything else, was pushing people to take up arms and join the Maoists. They asked how a government that professed its inability to resettle even a fraction of the fifty million people who had been displaced by “development” projects was suddenly able to identify 1,40,000 hectares of prime land to give to industrialists for more than 300 Special Economic Zones, India’s onshore tax havens for the rich. They asked what brand of justice the Supreme Court was practising when it refused to review the meaning of ‘public purpose’ in the Land Acquisition Act even when it knew that the government was forcibly acquiring land in the name of ‘public purpose’ to give to private corporations. They asked why when the government says that “the Writ of the State must run”, it seems to only mean that police stations must be put in place. Not schools or clinics or housing, or clean water, or a fair price for forest produce, or even being left alone and free from the fear of the police—anything that would make people’s lives a little easier. They asked why the ‘Writ of the State’ could never be taken to mean justice.

There was a time, perhaps 10 years ago, when in meetings like these, people were still debating the model of “development” that was being thrust on them by the New Economic Policy. Now the rejection of that model is complete. It is absolute. Everyone from the Gandhians to the Maoists agree on that. The only question now is, what is the most effective way to dismantle it?

An old college friend of a friend, a big noise in the corporate world, had come along for one of the meetings out of morbid curiosity about a world he knew very little about. Even though he had disguised himself in a Fabindia kurta, he couldn’t help looking (and smelling) expensive. At one point, he leaned across to me and said, “Someone should tell them not to bother. They won’t win this one. They have no idea what they’re up against. With the kind of money that’s involved here, these companies can buy ministers and media barons and policy wonks, they can run their own NGOs, their own militias, they can buy whole governments. They’ll even buy the Maoists. These good people here should save their breath and find something better to do.”

When people are being brutalised, what ‘better’ thing is there for them to do than to fight back? It’s not as though anyone’s offering them a choice, unless it’s to commit suicide, like the 1,80,000 farmers caught in a spiral of debt have done. (Am I the only one who gets the distinct feeling that the Indian establishment and its representatives in the media are far more comfortable with the idea of poor people killing themselves in despair than with the idea of them fighting back?)

For several years, people in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal—some of them Maoists, many not—have managed to hold off the big corporations. The question now is—how will Operation Green Hunt change the nature of their struggle? What exactly are the fighting people up against?
SEZ who: Is it development?

It’s true that, historically, mining companies have almost always won their battles against local people. Of all corporations, leaving aside the ones that make weapons, they
probably have the most merciless past. They are cynical, battle-hardened campaigners and when people say ‘Jaan denge par jameen nahin denge (We’ll give away our lives, but never our land)’, it probably bounces off them like a light drizzle on a bomb shelter. They’ve heard it before, in a thousand different languages, in a hundred different countries.

Right now in India, many of them are still in the First Class Arrivals lounge, ordering cocktails, blinking slowly like lazy predators, waiting for the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) they have signed—some as far back as 2005—to materialise into real money. But four years in a First Class lounge is enough to test the patience of even the truly tolerant. There’s only that much space they’re willing to make for the elaborate, if increasingly empty, rituals of democratic practice: the (rigged) public hearings, the (fake) Environmental Impact Assessments, the (purchased) clearances from various ministries, the long-drawn-out court cases. Even phony democracy is time-consuming. And time, for industrialists, is money.

So what kind of money are we talking about? In their seminal, soon-to-be-published work, Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminum Cartel, Samarendra Das and Felix Padel say that the financial value of the bauxite deposits of Orissa alone is 2.27 trillion dollars. (More than twice India’s Gross Domestic Product). That was at 2004 prices. At today’s prices it would be about 4 trillion dollars. A trillion has 12 zeroes.

Of this, officially the government gets a royalty of less than 7 per cent. Quite often, if the mining company is a known and recognised one, the chances are that, even though the ore is still in the mountain, it will have already been traded on the futures market. So, while for the adivasis the mountain is still a living deity, the fountainhead of life and faith, the keystone of the ecological health of the region, for the corporation, it’s just a cheap storage facility. Goods in storage have to be accessible. From the corporation’s point of view, the bauxite will have to come out of the mountain. If it can’t be done peacefully, then it will have to be done violently. Such are the pressures and the exigencies of the free market.

For the adivasis, the mountain is still a living deity, but for the corporation, it’s just a cheap storage facility. The bauxite will have to come out of the mountain.

That’s just the story of the bauxite in Orissa. Expand the four trillion dollars to include the value of the millions of tonnes of high-quality iron ore in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and the 28 other precious mineral resources, including uranium, limestone, dolomite, coal, tin, granite, marble, copper, diamond, gold, quartzite, corundum, beryl, alexandrite, silica, fluorite and garnet. Add to that the power plants, the dams, the highways, the steel and cement factories, the aluminium smelters, and all the other infrastructure projects that are part of the hundreds of MoUs (more than 90 in Jharkhand alone) that have been signed. That gives us a rough outline of the scale of the operation and the desperation of the stakeholders. The forest once known as the Dandakaranya, which stretches from West Bengal through Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, is home to millions of India’s tribal people. The media has taken to calling it the Red corridor or the Maoist corridor. It could just as accurately be called the MoUist corridor. It doesn’t seem to matter at all that the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution provides protection to adivasi people and disallows the alienation of their land. It looks as though the clause is there only to make the Constitution look good—a bit of window-dressing, a slash of make-up. Scores of corporations, from relatively unknown ones to the biggest mining companies and steel manufacturers in the world, are in the fray to appropriate adivasi homelands—the Mittals, Jindals, Tata, Essar, Posco, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and, of course, Vedanta.

There’s an MoU on every mountain, river and forest glade. We’re talking about social and environmental engineering on an unimaginable scale. And most of this is secret. It’s not in the public domain. Somehow I don’t think that the plans that are afoot to destroy one of the world’s most pristine forests and ecosystems, as well as the people who live in it, will be discussed at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Our 24-hour news channels that are so busy hunting for macabre stories of Maoist violence—and making them up when they run out of the real thing—seem to have no interest at all in this side of the story. I wonder why?

Perhaps it’s because the development lobby to which they are so much in thrall says the mining industry will ratchet up the rate of GDP growth dramatically and provide employment to the people it displaces. This does not take into account the catastrophic costs of environmental damage. But even on its own narrow terms, it is simply untrue. Most of the money goes into the bank accounts of the mining corporations. Less than 10 per cent comes to the public exchequer. A very tiny percentage of the displaced people get jobs, and those who do, earn slave-wages to do humiliating, backbreaking work. By caving in to this paroxysm of greed, we are bolstering other countries’ economies with our ecology.

To get the bauxite out of the mountain, the iron ore from the forest, India needs to militarise. To militarise, it needs an enemy. The Maoists are that enemy.

When the scale of money involved is what it is, the stakeholders are not always easy to identify. Between the CEOs in their private jets and the wretched tribal Special Police Officers in the “people’s” militias—who for a couple of thousand rupees a month fight their own people, rape, kill and burn down whole villages in an effort to clear the ground for mining to begin—there is an entire universe of primary, secondary and tertiary stakeholders. These people don’t have to declare their interests, but they’re allowed to use their positions and good offices to further them. How will we ever know which political party, which ministers, which MPs, which politicians, which judges, which NGOs, which expert consultants, which police officers, have a direct or indirect stake in the booty? How will we know which newspapers reporting the latest Maoist “atrocity”, which TV channels “reporting directly from Ground Zero”—or, more accurately, making it a point not to report from Ground Zero, or even more accurately, lying blatantly from Ground Zero—are stakeholders?

What is the provenance of the billions of dollars (several times more than India’s GDP) secretly stashed away by Indian citizens in Swiss bank accounts? Where did the two billion dollars spent on the last general elections come from? Where do the hundreds of millions of rupees that political parties and politicians pay the media for the ‘high-end’, ‘low-end’ and ‘live’ pre-election ‘coverage packages’ that P. Sainath recently wrote about come from? (The next time you see a TV anchor haranguing a numb studio guest, shouting, “Why don’t the Maoists stand for elections? Why don’t they come in to the mainstream?”, do SMS the channel saying, “Because they can’t afford your rates.”)
Not Quite PC: CEO, Op Green Hunt

What are we to make of the fact that the Union home minister, P. Chidambaram, the CEO of Operation Green Hunt, has, in his career as a corporate lawyer, represented several mining corporations? What are we to make of the fact that he was a non-executive director of Vedanta—a position from which he resigned the day he became finance minister in 2004? What are we to make of the fact that, when he became finance minister, one of the first clearances he gave for FDI was to Twinstar Holdings, a Mauritius-based company, to buy shares in Sterlite, a part of the Vedanta group?

What are we to make of the fact that, when activists from Orissa filed a case against Vedanta in the Supreme Court, citing its violations of government guidelines and pointing out that the Norwegian Pension Fund had withdrawn its investment from the company alleging gross environmental damage and human rights violations committed by the company, Justice Kapadia suggested that Vedanta be substituted with Sterlite, a sister company of the same group? He then blithely announced in an open court that he too had shares in Sterlite. He gave forest clearance to Sterlite to go ahead with the mining despite the fact that the Supreme Court’s own expert committee had explicitly said that permission should be denied and that mining would ruin the forests, water sources, environment and the lives and livelihoods of the thousands of tribals living there. Justice Kapadia gave this clearance without rebutting the report of the Supreme Court’s own committee.

Salwa Judum: Inaugurated just days after an MoU with Tatas

What are we to make of the fact that the Salwa Judum, the brutal ground-clearing operation disguised as a “spontaneous” people’s militia in Dantewada, was formally inaugurated in 2005, just days after the MoU with the Tatas was signed? And that the Jungle Warfare Training School in Bastar was set up just around then?

What are we to make of the fact that two weeks ago, on October 12, the mandatory public hearing for Tata Steel’s Rs 10,000-crore steel project in Lohandiguda, Dantewada, was held in a small hall inside the collectorate, cordoned off with massive security, with a hired audience of 50 tribal people brought in from two Bastar villages in a convoy of government jeeps? (The public hearing was declared a success and the district collector congratulated the people of Bastar for their cooperation.)

What are we to make of the fact that just around the time the prime minister began to call the Maoists the “single-largest internal security threat” (which was a signal that the government was getting ready to go after them), the share prices of many of the mining companies in the region skyrocketed?

The mining companies desperately need this “war”. It’s an old technique. They hope the impact of the violence will drive out the people who have so far managed to resist the attempts that have been made to evict them. Whether this will indeed be the outcome, or whether it’ll simply swell the ranks of the Maoists remains to be seen.

Reversing this argument, Dr Ashok Mitra, former finance minister of West Bengal, in an article called ‘The Phantom Enemy’, argues that the “grisly serial murders” that the Maoists are committing are a classic tactic, learned from guerrilla warfare textbooks. He suggests that they have built and trained a guerrilla army that is now ready to take on the Indian State, and that the Maoist ‘rampage’ is a deliberate attempt on their part to invite the wrath of a blundering, angry Indian State which the Maoists hope will commit acts of cruelty that will enrage the adivasis. That rage, Dr Mitra says, is what the Maoists hope can be harvested and transformed into an insurrection. This, of course, is the charge of ‘adventurism’ that several currents of the Left have always levelled at the Maoists. It suggests that Maoist ideologues are not above inviting destruction on the very people they claim to represent in order to bring about a revolution that will bring them to power. Ashok Mitra is an old Communist who had a ringside seat during the Naxalite uprising of the ’60s and ’70s in West Bengal. His views cannot be summarily dismissed. But it’s worth keeping in mind that the adivasi people have a long and courageous history of resistance that predates the birth of Maoism. To look upon them as brainless puppets being manipulated by a few middle-class Maoist ideologues is to do them something of a disservice.

Presumably Dr Mitra is talking about the situation in Lalgarh where, up to now, there has been no talk of mineral wealth. (Lest we forget—the current uprising in Lalgarh was sparked off over the chief minister’s visit to inaugurate a Jindal Steel factory. And where there’s a steel factory, can the iron ore be very far away?) The people’s anger has to do with their desperate poverty, and the decades of suffering at the hands of the police and the ‘Harmads’, the armed militia of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that has ruled West Bengal for more than 30 years.

Even if, for argument’s sake, we don’t ask what tens of thousands of police and paramilitary troops are doing in Lalgarh, and we accept the theory of Maoist ‘adventurism’, it would still be only a very small part of the picture.

The real problem is that the flagship of India’s miraculous ‘growth’ story has run aground. It came at a huge social and environmental cost. And now, as the rivers dry up and forests disappear, as the water table recedes and as people realise what is being done to them, the chickens are coming home to roost. All over the country, there’s unrest, there are protests by people refusing to give up their land and their access to resources, refusing to believe false promises any more. Suddenly, it’s beginning to look as though the 10 per cent growth rate and democracy are mutually incompatible. To get the bauxite out of the flat-topped hills, to get iron ore out from under the forest floor, to get 85 per cent of India’s people off their land and into the cities (which is what Mr Chidambaram says he’d like to see), India has to become a police state. The government has to militarise. To justify that militarisation, it needs an enemy. The Maoists are that enemy. They are to corporate fundamentalists what the Muslims are to Hindu fundamentalists. (Is there a fraternity of fundamentalists? Is that why the RSS has expressed open admiration for Mr Chidambaram?)

It would be a grave mistake to imagine that the paramilitary troops, the Rajnandgaon air base, the Bilaspur brigade headquarters, the Unlawful Activities Act, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Operation Green Hunt are all being put in place just to flush out a few thousand Maoists from the forests. In all the talk of Operation Green Hunt, whether or not Mr Chidambaram goes ahead and “presses the button”, I detect the kernel of a coming state of Emergency. (Here’s a math question: If it takes 6,00,000 soldiers to hold down the tiny valley of Kashmir, how many will it take to contain the mounting rage of hundreds of millions of people?)

Instead of narco-analysing Kobad Ghandy, the recently arrested Maoist leader, it might be a better idea to talk to him.

In the meanwhile, will someone who’s going to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this year please ask the only question worth asking: Can we please leave the bauxite in the mountain?
Also In This Story
cover story
Ten Years Ago...
From "The Greater Common Good", Outlook, May 24, 1999
Filed In Topics: Naxals/Maoists , Arundhati Roy
More In: National , Cover Stories, Essays

Daily Mail
Oct 31, 2009 10:34 PM


i have written a mail to satya and that is something you should read.

moreover look at the other countries such as thailand,
vietnamh, and even cuba. they have all managed to
stableise their populations.

by the way i talk to a lot of poor people, and i know
why these people come to metro cities to work. they
are not people who have been evicted from their lands.

their share of land is so small ,through fragmentation
of holdings that it can no longer sustain them.
i say this because we own some land in haryana, and we
have seen how the land holdings from father to sons
keeps getting smaller.none of them has been evicted.

i bet you have never talked to any of these people.
you are guilty of inventing facts, typical of people of your kind.

can you deny that india would have been far better if
the population had remained the same at the time of indepedence. all informed people will say yes. if
you deny this then you are a complete fool.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 09:22 PM

HI Gayatri.

I would say that you are the 'lofty' liberal here... I am the realist.

Because I KNOW what is going to happen to these people...

YOu are still in your dreams that they will get a nice house, and cars and education .. (maybe a golden retriever?).. what a joke !!

GO to any construction site in India and ask the laborers where they have come from - that will shatter your very rosy picture of India going FORWARD.

If going forward means that these SELF SUFFICIENT people become BEGGARS so that Indian Government can export more Bauxite... Yes I prefer Status QUO......

If you want to develop schools and hospitals - you can do that WITHOUT evicting them from their homes and putting them on the streets.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:14 PM


"You a brahmin born turned atheist have been saying all along that the dalits, tribals and obcs are not equals to the brahmins ... blah blah blah..."

If you can copy and paste the exact line, where I said that BRAHMINS are better than TRIBALS, I will reply to you.

If not, I will assume that you are so desperate that you have resorted to making stuff up, to vent your personal grudges against Brahmins, and not reading and trying to understand what I posted.

BTW- I am an atheist, not a brahmin, not a muslim, not a Hindu, not anything. I am a human being.

If you just want to rant against Brahmins, apply for a public speaking license. Rant away. I have no qualms nor do I care either way.

Don't waste your and my time here.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:10 PM

charwak--"Though I wish that problems of India can be solved by your easy 2 minute maggi noodles style solutions. "

This is simply brilliant !!
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 08:59 PM

Arundhati Roy fighting war with invincible enemy.Mr.Chidambaram is not main culprit, real culprit are upper caste Indian[Roy also part of this clan]From ancient time upper caste Indians are selfish exrta seflish, they want to filup their belly to sacrifice the lower caste,and this tendency never change, only future of Adhiwasi is erase themselves just like RedIndians of U.S.
Ramesh Raghuvanshi
pune, India
Oct 31, 2009 07:34 PM


india has many problems.

over population can be held responsible for many of these problems.

delhi was designed by lutyens for 250,000 people.
the population is now 16 millions.

can you visualise how delhi would have looked if the
population was still close to 250,000.

can you visualise how india would be like if the population had remained about 300 millions. the rivers
would be cleaner, forests would not have been cut down.
farmers in general would have had about 5 times more land each. as a result there would not have been such a great influx into cities.

the simple solution would have been to some how restrain the increase in population. countries like iran have managed to do so. in india there are some
states where population has been stableised.

even at this late stage population control should get
priority number one.

you are more interested in fighting wind mills then useing your rather limited brain to solve problems.

your mentality is negative, obsessed with victimhood.
thats common in india . maharashtra , assam want to
stop labour comeing in from other states.dalits, muslims claim that discrimination is their principle
problem. the rss and bjp consider that minorities
are destroying india.

all these are problems of limited resources and too many people. however i know you will never accept this
even if was fed to you spoonful .

who wants to accept an inconvenient truth, which would
demolish ones pet theories, which are used to claim an
intellectual and moral high ground.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 07:04 PM

Gayatri Devi,

Take a deep breath and read this again and than meditate for 2 minutes. You will not be able to write it again. Though I wish that problems of India can be solved by your easy 2 minute maggi noodles style solutions.

"upper and middle classes in india have high incomes
and few children

poor indians have low incomes and more children.

upper class families have a bigger cake to eat,and fewer to share it.

the opposite is true for poor families."

You will be happy to know that I am a sweeper. I am in this profession, because there is so much dirt and filth in our society. Some one has to clean it. It’s historical responsibility of Charwak. Do you know who is Charwak?
charwak satya
Delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 06:45 PM


upper and middle classes in india have high incomes
and few children

poor indians have low incomes and more children.

upper class families have a bigger cake to eat,and fewer to share it.

the opposite is true for poor families.

this is true for all families the world over. the
relationship between population and standard of liveing
ic clear if you do not accept this,then it is a denial
of commonsense, and basic maths.

incidentally what is the level of your education, and what do you for a liveing.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 06:15 PM


Your postulation is that Holland is more densely populated than India but managing good with large MNCs. What stops India from being industrialized? That’s the riddle.

Why least populated Baster is so poor? Why Mahendragarh is poorer than say sirsa or Jind? Why Koraput is poorer than Cuttack? Your hypothesis is based on what you had read in class 8th or 9th. Theory of Malthus has long been buried. You should know that awareness is not a static thing; it should be acquired and updated regularly. Those who do not do, will say that “root cause of all problems of India is the population.” Panwallah Mishraji and Ramu chawkidaar can say this but Montek Singh or Manmohan Singh can not and will not say this (even if they may wish to say this). Academics do not allow such simplifications.

By the way you said that –“ holland -your example- is densely populated but the families are small in number. they are highly industrialised- they have some of the biggest companies
in the world- unilever, shell, phillips etc.”

Unilever….dutch company? That tell a lot about your knowledge of economy and tells more about your not so common sense. Its dual listed company.

Something is terribly wrong with the structure or the Indian society. Do not blame population for poverty, illiteracy and non development. India 2009 can provide higher education to less than 12% of our students. Is not this sorry state of affairs?
charwak satya
Delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 05:42 PM

It is a sign of of maturity & some redeeming aspect of much maligned Indian democracy that there has been free, fare & widespread discussion in every media & all possible forums on Operation Green Hunt- named appropriately or cynacally . Two threads emerged.(a) It is an opreation to forcefully occupy mineral bearing tribal land on behalf of corporations under the camouflage of destroying the Maoists meance & (b) state cannot abrogate its responsibility to enforce rule of law against groups with professedly violent means to overthrow the state.

Interesingly in all of these dicussions few things got mentioned repeatedly which are iron ore, buaxite , steel plants ,diamonds, aluminium smelters, killing - brutally beheading -of representatives of state, lack of accessibility of apparatus of state in the Maoists held areas, impedence to development etc. Even the Home Minister in yestrday's press conference offering talks said "the central government would persuade state governments their( tribals', Maoists'?) concerns on land aquisition, forest rights, industrilisation & development".

Government now seem for the time being to be backing down on the ill-thaught out 'operation green hunt'using the armed forces on its own people. First the PM said there never was a plan to use army, now Home Minister talking ' about concerns' of land, forest right,indusrialisation , development.

So this round it's quits.

The salutory byproduct of this huge talk is that there is allround agreement that 'development' has bypassed the huge swath of Indain territory 'infested' by - shall we say aborigins?

Thank Arundhati & your tribe for bringing to the fore abysmal underdevelopment in those areas. Thank Mr. Chidambaram in anticipation that concerns of hunger, water, health , education & develoment will be priority. Once those things are taken care of the Maoists will annihilate themselves. The Indian armed forces need not take the trouble.
Oct 31, 2009 05:30 PM


i have studied history, political science -

i have managed a finance company, and have talked to
many economists in europe and in india.

i have worked as a engineer in exxon -worlds largest
oil company-

what is more pertitent is that i talk to poor people
in india- bus drivers, drivers of scooter rick shaws, villagers, school teachers, dalits, cooks, gardeners.
i listen to their problems.

talking to raj rani a woman who cleans for us in delhi,
i heard her say " poverty will never go away from india unless people have just 2 children and not more"

she and her family of 4, husband and two sons live in
a room, but the family is doing all right. both sons
are studying. i invited one to have breakfast with me
in delhi, and we chatted about his college-

the same goes for indu our house maid who comes from
up. she has 2 children both going to school. lakshmi
her daughter is stydying in a english medium school,
and is very bright and doing well. her brother vijay
is also in a good school. the family has made sacrifices, and my high caste sister has given them all the help to make it .she insisted that indu should not have more then 2 children.

none of these families want to return to their village,
where they own tiny plots of land-indu,s brother owns
half an acre of land-and needs help from his sister
to carry on.

you are totally ignorant in econimics, and more then
that you lack common sense.

holland -your example- is densely populated but the families are small in number. they are highly industrialised- they have some of the biggest companies
in the world- unilever, shell, phillips etc.

these industries support a large number of people.

an indian state with a similar high population and without a corresponding industry will be very poor.

it is plain that a family of 8 will be worse
of then a family of 4 , with similar incomes.

if you can not understand this simple fact, then you are a real dunce.

china has stableised its population via the one child family. china,s gdp is now 6000 usd per head. in india it is 2900,usd per head.

it baffles me that people can be so stupid not to understand the relation of population and liveing
standards. the whole world has understood this.

pakistan is in a worse situation. since 1947 the
population has zoomed from 30 million to 180 million.
denmarks population has remained at 5 million.

now sit down and think- which country will be better of,should the income stay about the same or evenit goes up by the same amount say 100 percent.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 04:45 PM

Gayatri Devi,

It seems that you are not literate in economy or polity. Class 12th text books can tell you some basic facts.

India is not poor due to the population size. Density of population in India is 344 per Kilometer square. India’s world ranking in terms of population density is 30th. Kindly verify these facts from this link (http://en.wikipedia...population_density). Whereas India position in terms of development index is 134. We are at the rock bottom.

Most densely populated states of India are not the poorest states. Kerala, Punjab, Haryana are not the poorest states. You should read daily newspapers regularly and get the facts right.

For some countries population is Human resource. For India it is not. What is so unique about India? Is caste system and feudal structure of the economy is the uniqueness quotient? Is this uniqueness is root cause of some of the biggest problem of India? Why a country with so much natural resources is one of the poorest country of the world?

No economist can say that poverty is directly proportional to population. If your hypothesis is true than countries like South Korea, Netherlands, Israel, Singapore should be poorer than India.
charwak satya
Delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 04:32 PM


i feel strongly that the constitution should allow
various states to follow their own polices, without
interference. furthermore all states should manage on their own incomes, which they probably do any way.

bengal, bihar, up, orissa and assam have enormous problems of poverty and under development, and a enormous caste devide- they are a burden on the other states of india. nothing positive seems to emerge from
these eastern states- they were referred to as the bimaru states. the name still applies to them. perhaps even more so.

the way of thinking of the peoples of these states,
their work ethics, and drive is extremely poor.
bongos will argue at each and every point, are argumentative and simply not destined to get anywhere. the othereastern states are not much better. they lack self respect ,self reliance and the ability to work

there is no point in haveing debates between people
who want to carry the nation forward and those who wish for status quo.

arundhati roy is the godess of small minds- a pestilence for those who want progress and modernity.
no one in respectable western media thinks well of her.
she is the less violent bongo version of pol pot.

with this i conclude my arguments with the romantics
of the left.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 04:05 PM

charwak satya

the numbers of the poor in india have gone up because
of their unrestrained increase in birth rate.

these have taken place in tribal areas and in the eastern states like bengal,assam, bihar and up.

people in other states eg kerala, tamil nadu, punjab,haryana ,himachal are much better off.
the secret is better family planning, and better

you can not blame brahmins, capitalists.

bengal, bihar ,up have few capitalists. no one wants
to set up industries here. the single biggest industry
is produceing children, who are malnourished
and uneducated- the police are sons of the soil, and
so are most govt people.

blameing others is the standard excuse of the poor who
do not take responsibility for themselves.

who can provide a good life for a family with 5 to 6 children. it would not be possible even in advanced
european countries.

the same is the situation in other under developed countries eg afghanistan, pakistan, bangladesh, is the same in ethiopia, somalia, darfur,
and in most of black africa.these countries do not have brahmins,upper castes or greedy capitalists.
they have srewed their countries without help from

however you guys are wired wrong. you can not think rationally. it seems that even simple arguments and
basic arithmetic is beyond you.

you are the blind leading the one eyed.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 03:44 PM


your message in short is as follows.

aaa tribals and forest dwellers are best of liveing
as they do today. they prefer this ,to liveing in a city, with a decent occupation, a decent house, and
sending their children to school etc. they prefer
liveing off forst produce,then haveing a big delicious
meal at home or at a restaurant,

bbb they dont care for electricity because they prefer
to live in darkness- they dont want a toilet,a bath room or a tv.

ccc you are ofcource different. you would not dream of liveing in the forest with your wife and family. no
siree- ofcource not.

ddd " the population of the world has gone up from
2 billion to 6.7 billion in the last 60 years. it is the single biggest cause for environmental damage"
prince phillip.

the population of india has gone up from 320 million
to 1200 million today, and this increase is due mostly to the poor in villages ,and towns breeding like rabbits.

if you visit a indian village you will see that over
this period land holdings have been reduced to pitifully small plots- these people can not survive on the income from these land holdings.

i know many of the servants working for us have come from far away places such as chattisgarh,bihar , up,

they are angry because there are no job opportunities
in their areas. they come to metro cities because
the romantic rural life does not full fill their basic needs.

i have talked to some of them. and though they live in servant quarters of one room for a family of 4 they
are unwilling to return to their lands. these have
not been taken away by greedy capitalists. they have
been fragmented because of growing families.

moralists like you never talk of the enormous problems created by the poor and uneducated through relentless
growth in numbers. if these people had not grown so
large in numbers, india would be a well off country

the capitalists of india are the last hope of these people. what on earth would poor people fleeing from poverty do otherwise. our chauffer in delhi said-
" no one goes hungry in Delhi" a beggar can eat better
then the poor in rural india and in forests.

a relentless population process , inability of land
to sustain people will ultimately destroy large parts
of india. the parts of india which will do well are
those who can control population, provide industry,
and use modern technology in use.

denmark has developed wind energy,so that it now supplies 20 percent of the countries requirement. it
has found oil in the north sea. it produces a huge
number of products for exports, it has wonderful
schools and colleges.

your attitude is one of accepting dispair and defeat.,
it is despicable not to strive for something better.

i have respect for people who say "yes we can " you
belong to the tribe of people who chant " no we can not" and find pitiable excuses to justify this.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 03:42 PM

Why this Bleeding Heart has no common sense? Violance has never solved any problem. She and her associates Maoists are not fighting for for land and being poor, but they are fighting to bring Communism into India, which is a failed system. She and her associates Maoists should visit China and see how people are used as slaves even in this 21st Century. These are enemies within and are cancerous cells in India's heart and, therefore, must be eliminated.
Kel Shorey
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oct 31, 2009 03:03 PM

Gayatri Devi
Why there is no elecricity or any development work in hundreds of districts like Jahbua/Sahdol/champaran/purniya/sambhalpur/doda or in north bengal or in tribal maharashtra, where there is no maoist? why 77% of india is surving on less than 20 rupees a day? do you know how much is Rs 20/-.
charwak satya
Delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 02:56 PM

Of the 200 odd districts where operation Green Hunt will be launched very soon, there is not a single Dalit or Adivashi DM/SP. Is this very normal? After all these communities consists more than 25% of Indian population. But their bsence in the higher bureaucracy is amazing.

What eastern frontiers rifle, Assam rifles, Naga brigade doing in Chattigarh and Jharkhand? Is this a conspiracy to pit the tribe of north east against tribes of mainland India.

Why there is not a single Brahmin or upper cast youth in Salva Judum. Adivashis are forced to kill and rape adivashis. Shame! This is time for UN to Intervene.
charwak satya
Delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 02:55 PM


you have given a reply to saraswathi which is logical and rational.

however be sure that none of these moralists will
accept your arguments or mine.

the tribals live without electricity because the maoists blow up the electric poles, and substations. they will not allow the children to get even rudimentary education ,because they blow up schools.

naranamurthy,s wife sudha runs a organiseation which gives a mid day meal to 500,000 school children. sunil mittal is building schools in a 1000 villages.

many years back i used to send by brother about a 1000
usd per year-a tiny amount- to give free tree saplings to schools in delhi. i wonder how they are doing.

i suppose nikhil and friends would have pulled them out of the ground, to maintain the origin state of nature. i know that i helped to build a road in a indian village called palla, in tehsil nuh in gurgaon.

i know it is a tiny project, but i am damn sure that the villagers are more happy with this road,then they are of the moral gibberish we hear from your camp of

i request vinod mehta to visit this little village
palla and inspect the road and the sos school built
on the land donated by my mother. this is a modernish
school, which educates about 300 boys and girls, and
has given jobs to about 10 school teachers.

without this school the village children would have
no education and live in the ignorance which roy suffers from.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 02:43 PM

The Indian govt is engaged in cold blooded elimination of Indian tribal (Adivashis) for the benefit of higher castes and multinationals. This is part of a larger conspiracy to subjugate and annihilate dalit bahujans, non Aryan, mulnivashis of this great nation. The worst thing is that we mulnivashis are fragmented lot. Dalits are keeping mum about operation Green Hunt as they think that this is targeted against adivashis. Similerly when dalits and OBCs of Rajgarh were fighting to save their land, advashis were silent. When Muslims are the target, SC/ST/OBCs keep mum. Our MULNIVASHI identity has been snatched away by the cunning brahminical forces (who represent less than 3% of the population).

There is no Kanshiram in today’s India to unite 85% of Indian Mulnivashis.
charwak satya
Delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 01:52 PM

@ Saraswathi: Lets try educating you. The forebears in the country you have invited yourself into felled forests, built houses, built toxic industries for over a century & fought bestial wars in the consciousness that the benefits would accrue to them & more importantly their descendants. The enormous wealth created by them is used to sustain a quality of life that persuaded you to invite yourself over. Economic abundance is not a self-perpetuating technical trick that is attained by flapping your gums about "access to healthcare, justice and education" but rests ultimately on the mental & physical ability of a people to industrialize. The pioneers who settled & created the magnificent American west had no one descend from Mt. Sinai to attend to their boils, send their kids to Harvard or prevent a particularly ill-mannered cowboy from drilling a bullet into their gut. They built an industrial civilization in a wasteland. The dimwits in the west who feel a moral superiority by redistributing wealth & closing down manufacturing units their forbears created can afford to do it. All your counterfeit virtue can achieve is a cottage industry of absentee moralists that benefit from the wonders of civilization while defending a lifestyle that they wouldn’t wish in their worst nightmares on their children.
Chennai, India
Oct 31, 2009 01:49 PM

Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States

You a brahmin born turned atheist have been saying all along that the dalits, tribals and obcs are not equals to the brahmins and the other twice born upper castes. Who the hell determines the value of human beings ? Is it the dehumanising order of the brahmins or the egalatarian order of the Judeo-Christian faith of the western society, where the likes of you have shamelessly immigrated in very large numbers and sought refuge and earthly future ?

It is thus imperative that we all re-visit the article " The Buffalo's Unholy Milk " which has received an all time record for the no of comments, which was published by ' Outlook Magazine ' to get into the minds of the suppressed dalits, tribals and obcs and understand their struggles. The web link to it is

All the above is in context with what Arundhati Roy has written in this article.
B Prabhu
Mangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 01:34 PM

hulgol---"I am a Brahmin (born Brahmin, but turned athesit-libertarian-Ayn Randian). "

Ahhh ... why am i not surprised ! I should have caught on to that immediately ... our friendly neighbourhood fascist.

Here is some reading material for your pre-pubescent brain ...
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 12:50 PM

@ Prabhu
"The contribution of the twice born brahmins to engineering has been only the " WET GRINDER " - to grind rice, urad dhal, coconut, green chillie to make dosas, idlis, chutney. This despite the upper caste India having enjoyed a perverse system of reservation for 3,000 years through the enforcement of the caste system."

Thank you Prabhu, for your attempt at a lesson in history.

And your contribution to this board has been?

A shameless attempt to divert from subject matter? A futile attempt to drag some personal grudge against a community into an excuse of a debate?

Or an attempt of a rather sorry person who wishes to proclaim a dogma, never mind the premise?

Get a life bum.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:35 PM

Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States

The contribution of the twice born brahmins to engineering has been only the " WET GRINDER " - to grind rice, urad dhal, coconut, green chillie to make dosas, idlis, chutney. This despite the upper caste India having enjoyed a perverse system of reservation for 3,000 years through the enforcement of the caste system.
B Prabhu
Mangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 12:27 PM

"Only police and the repressive state is target. "

And the Rajdhani express they stopped for several hours, breaking the windows with stones was oppressing them how , exactly?

How were all the trains, govt buildings blown up, innocent men , women children killed oppressing them?
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:16 PM

>> "To prove her thesis Arundhati did not try to distinguish the violent Maoists from the hapless tribal masses. "

During WW-II someone asked Gandhi if he could consider using non-violent freedom movement against Hitler's Germany. Gandhi's answer was no.
You can't practice non-violence against the people who is devoid of rational thinking.

That's why when the tribals adopt non-violent ways against the government, it is understandable. After all they stand at moral higher ground. Unlike the police, they don't target civilians, women and children. Only police and the repressive state is target.
The naxal influenced tribal land encompasses vast area. A third of India can come to standstill, if they wish. The stopage of Rajdhani train was an example. Chidambaram and the country should be grateful to the Maoists for allowing half of the country to function.
Phoenix, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:10 PM

I still laugh at this one - " all men are created equal"
It's like saying Jesus loves all!
No he does NOT! if he did, we would not have decease, poverty and wretched starvation and other bad things!

We are all created different! Not because of Jesus. Not because of Brahmins and their castesim. Not because of evil shenaningans of the rich and corrupt corporations!

It's simple, scientific biological diverisity. Gettit?

If we were all equal I'd be as rich as say Bill Gates or Mittal. Man, I wish we were all created equal!
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:03 PM

@ Prabhu
"But your postings try to willfully ignore the fact that ' brahmanic ideology ' which says ' All Men Are Not Created Equals ' has been used against the dalitbahujans to keep them deliberately illeterate and poor."

Tell me Prabhu, what makes my post specific to Brahmanism? Tell me.

Let me tell you something, and this is not Brahmanism, for I don't believe in ANY religion - all men are NOT created equal. Fact of life. If they were, there would be no rich and poor, all students would earn the same grades, and all people would find the same amounf of happiness (and wealth) in life.

Biological and DNA diversity means we are ALL different. So grow up. "all men are created equal" is myth. We are created with different level os IQ. I am not Bill Gates. And a tribal aspiring to hunt food for his only meal of the day is not me.
Fact of life.

Now I wait for a new wave of witch hunters to descend upon that! :-)

Come on! Come on! bring it on baby!
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:03 PM

Bangalore, India

>>>>>>>To get the bauxite out of the flat-topped hills, to get iron ore out from under the forest floor, to get 85 per cent of India’s people off their land and into the cities (which is what Mr Chidambaram says he’d like to see), India has to become a police state. The government has to militarise. To justify that militarisation, it needs an enemy. The Maoists are that enemy. They are to corporate fundamentalists what the Muslims are to Hindu fundamentalists. (Is there a fraternity of fundamentalists? Is that why the RSS has expressed open admiration for Mr Chidambaram?)

The above shows the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS ) to be chor fellows.
B Prabhu
Mangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 11:49 AM

Being a atheist is your personal choice, which no one, including the ' State ' has a business to interfere with. But your postings try to willfully ignore the fact that ' brahmanic ideology ' which says ' All Men Are Not Created Equals ' has been used against the dalitbahujans to keep them deliberately illeterate and poor. Thus one finds you running with the hare and hunting with the wolves in your postings on this subject.

>>>>>>One more thing: if the tribals and farmers were so intelligent, how come they can't get away from nomadic lifestyles, believing in Mao of all the things (have YOU read about Mao) and subsistence living? how many of them can start coding or building an airplane in a week? I can assure, you I can pick up subsistence living and hunting and gathering in a day :-)
B Prabhu
Mangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 11:29 AM

BTW to go on a divergent track:

I BET, just BET, that Arundhati Roy HATES Ayn Rand. I am willing to bet a million bucks on that.

She would make the perfect Ellsworth Toohey. I mean that.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 11:26 AM

There is this world's biggest forging factory in Pune,by the name Bharat Forge.Forging is a highly polluting industry,and hence most of the European and US forging companies have closed,and India with it's engineering force was able to capitalise on the situation.It has provided employement to hundreds of engineers and thousands of workers.Without this forging factory most of the Automoble factories have to close down.It is a cycle,that Western countries have now pushed a polluting industry to India,which in some years may get pushed to some African country.Some country has to produce steel, aluminium despite pollution problems,lest there won't be automobles,railways,bridges or buildings.Industries and mining will provide employment to the poor tribals.At this period of time,forests have not helped them to come out of penury.A natural balancing will take place at certain stage.
But,to repeat my question,why are these Maoists killing poorest of the poor?Who is benifitting by that?Who is financing them to buy sophisticated arms.You are evasive on these points and think sound and fury is logic.
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 11:18 AM

Oops typo meant to say 'Atheist' not Athesit.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 11:15 AM

@ Prabhu
I am a Brahmin (born Brahmin, but turned athesit-libertarian-Ayn Randian). I don't understand the relevance of your post to thia article and the board we are using to debate it.

If you are saying Casteism is bad - I whole heartedly agree with you. What's that got to do with Maoists and their rebellion and the subsequent response by the Indian govt?

AR likes to drag sundry issues (her pet issues, apparently) into every article of hers, thus qualifying her as a polemicist. Are you aspiring for the same?
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 10:22 AM

Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States

The below excerpts of a best selling book is to educate you, to put yourself in the shoes of a dalitbahujan ( dalits, tribals and obcs ) and then come to understand the hurdles created for them by the socio - religious belief system called ' Brahmanism '.

School Education :

As the first generation in dalitbahujan ( dalits, tribals and obcs ) history to see a slate and a pencil, we jumped straight out of the jungles into school. Our school teacher's attitude to each one of us depended on his own caste background. If he was a Brahmin he hated us and told us to our faces that it was because of the evil time - because of KALIYUGA, that he was being forced to teach ' Sudras ' like us. In his view we were good for nothing. That ' wise ' teacher used to think of us as coming from SUUDARI families ( families of field hands ). Working in the field in his view was dirty and unaesthetic. According to him only mad people would work in dirty, muddy fields. T0-day we realize it was good that we were muddy. We realize that mud is the birthplace of food and the working people's ideas.

But who, according to the teachers, were the great one ? The children who came from Brahmin, Baniya and of course the upper caste land lord families. These were the great ones. Because they did not do dirty farm work, their hair carefully oiled and combed. They came to school wearing chappals, whereas those who feed cattle and those who make chappals from the skin of the cattle do not have chappals to wear. These were the reasons why we were ignorant, ugly and unclean. It is not merely the teachers, even ' upper ' caste school children think about dalitbahujan children that way.

( The above are excerpts from the best selling book " Why I Am Not A Hindu " written by Dalitbahujan Ideologue, Dr Kancha Ilaiah which is translated in many of India's languages, besides the European ones )
B Prabhu
Mangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 10:15 AM

Hi Ninad,

We are going round in circles becasue you are clearly distorting what I said.

Engineers who are innovative and creative and do work related to progress in society are to me truly engineers .. not those robots who are only doing mindless jobs to get by - BUT majority of engineers in India are doing such jobs

But bottom line we all do what we need to for self sufficiency and so does the above mentioned group of people. There is no need to hold yourself OR me in a higher esteem because we are so called professionals.

I want to end this topic here becasue it is no way relevant to this article.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:58 AM

@ Nikhil
"And I am pointing out that your so called 'Critical thinkers' of civilized and modern society - graduating from college with engineer degrees - are answering technical support questions....doing the crapiest - NON productive jobs - that is NO way helps the progress of their nation or even themselves - simply to earn money ! "

Fair enough.

"And just like you siad kindly do not distort what I said about engineers."

You never said you were talking about grads of these smaller educational centers.
You said (reprise)
""Just because engineers build pacemakers/computers/roads does not mean that they are contributing MORE to humanity - you are only doing this to get your daily earning - than these people who are self sufficient in their own way."

OK - so tell me, how many of these people in what you term as 'crappy jobs' are making pacemakers? These are YOUR words, not mine!

By the way, you must help design pacemakers and other related cardiac equipment, no? Would you describe yourself as stuck in a crappy job? Again your own words, sir, not mine!
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:35 AM

Hi Ninad.

YOu said ' How many tribals and farmers would you say possess a high level of intelligence and critical thinking? Think about that, beofre getting emotional about these people. '

And I am pointing out that your so called 'Critical thinkers' of civilized and modern society - graduating from college with engineer degrees - are answering technical support questions....doing the crapiest - NON productive jobs - that is NO way helps the progress of their nation or even themselves - simply to earn money !

How is that critical thinking..?

Take the case of the farmer.. how much thinking does he have to do to maintain his fields ? taken into account environmental changes.. etc...the daily life of a farmer REQUIRES critical thinking. He has to sell his crop... he has to plan to manage..

So you can thinking that Robots that are being mass produced with FAKE degrees getting the ridiculous 'Education' that our system mets out are (cough cough ) 'Critical thinkers' but I disagree...

But we can agree to disagree.

And just like you siad kindly do not distort what I said about engineers.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:26 AM

Akil bunny, why don't you condemn.. LTTE, ...... issues bunny?? Raj, Leipzig.

Indian effort was to help Tamils and Srilanka to reduce violence. Indian intentions in Srilanka were honourable but it faltered at execution stage. China, Diego Garcia etc- Why should an I carer- I care for only "INDIA".

Now about the TWO "HOLY COWS" of capitalism in India "which got you talking"- the "INDIAN BILLIONS in SWISS Banks" and the "MAURITIUS route of investment in share market". Get the "INDIAN ILLEGITIMATE BILLIONS" from Swiss Banks - it is estimated to be more than 1500 Lakh Crore- Rs 1500,000000,00000000/-, Tax the profit generated from share market investment through "TAX FREE MAURITIUS" route and spend the entire amount on the development of TRIBAL Areas. And the question is why is ARUNDHATHI quite on this two issues???? Does she have her money also in SWISS BANKS and is she also investing in share market through MAURITIUS because the Maoist and TRIBALS are unlikely to do either of it?????
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 09:21 AM

@ Nikhil "the people who are graduating from these Mushrooming so called technology colleges from India - are NOT engineers. "

And? What's your point? Are you saying engineers from India are no good?

OK, lt's make it simple: Show me where I have demeaned the poor and under-privileged. Show me one post where I said they do not deserve fair treatment. ALL I have said is, the skill sets are different. Not equal. None is holier than the other.
that simple statement would not go down well with you though. If you disagree with what is essentially my OPINION, then fine. Don't accuse me of something I have not done, and will not do!
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:12 AM

To those people who have no problem with Mining please do good on the devastating impact of how mining has DESTROYED the Aravali hills and soon the people of the nearby cities will pay the price.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:08 AM


"Sure you can ... till the bugs bite your ass and rapid diarhhea (verbal and otherwise) sets in."

Just like your condition that's making it come out of the wrong end for you?

Seriously, was your post supposed to make you appear clever?

Delving into scatological references and ad-hominem attacks without provocation. Acts of desperation. Have a good life.. and by the way, show yourself to a doctor for your condition. You don't want it to spread to other city monkeys (your OWN words a few posts back) in the city you live in.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:06 AM

HI Ninad,

The people who are graduating from these Mushrooming so called technology colleges from India - are NOT engineers.
Engineers are people who build, innovative and are creative and not the kind of robots that these Indian third rate schools are producing in MASS.
I never demeaned engineers - I am an engineer myself so why would I demean that profession.
But I will ridicule those people who find the 'techies' graduating from this third class colleges and who end up answers tech support phone calls as Engineers.
I may have clubbed my response to Gayatri in the same email - so I apologize if you had not made those remarks.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 09:00 AM

Nikhil: "YOu on the other hand - cannot agree with their choice and want to FORCE your modern Way of life on them....

So who is really the Maoist ?

YOu feel like if these uncivilized half naked people were to be 'reformed' and to spend their lives on a computer taking calls to fix the computer for an american - that would be progress and to me that would NOT be progress."

First of all - I never said I want to reform them, so stop imagining what I said, and read my post carefully. I did say that when you try to equate them on the same level, and in the process insinuating that all engineers are 'mindless robots', (I guess demeaning engineers is OK, right?) I feel you are ignoring the skill level. That's all I have said. The rest is pure *emotive bluster* from you.

Unfortunately, Nikhil, you will not find a witch to be made of in me :-)

You see, I am not against any tribal/farmer/animal/forest plant. I am for all of them. I just find it funny that people would not think twice of demeaning engineers as 'nothing but automatons' but farmers and tribals are somehow to be held sacred. I find that deeply hypocritical.

Just like I find Arundhati Roy.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 08:27 AM

huigol---"how many of them can start coding or building an airplane in a week?"

None and neither can you. Its nice to go through life having the privilege of getting an education. I suppose you revel in rubbing 'their' faces in the dust to derive some kind of perverse pleasure. Where i come from its called hubris. Do you suffer from an identity crisis ? Is it a lack of acknowledgement from your peers ? Why do you feel compelled to compare yourself with people who are so completely deprived and then gloat about it ?

---"I can assure, you I can pick up subsistence living and hunting and gathering in a day :-)"

Sure you can ... till the bugs bite your ass and rapid diarhhea (verbal and otherwise) sets in.
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 07:06 AM

Egregious injustice has been in existence from time immoral; India is no exception. The grievances of the constituents of Naxalites or Maoists-deprived, dispossessed and underprivileged-should be redressed as a matter of urgent priority by the Indian government. These are the forgotten Indian citizenry in India’s stride on the world scene as the second fastest growing economy. Top-down development policy with trickle-down effect didn’t have the desired outcome-all encompassing benefit of India’s phenomenal economic growth reaching to everyone. The trickle-down effect of the buoyant Indian economy may or may not help these weaker sections of the Indian citizenry. They have been waiting for long and their patience are wearing thin. Indian government has to change tack-a bottom up approach is needed. After all, we are our brothers’ keeper.

These peoples’ grievances have been taken advantage of by Naxalites and Maoists who want to bring anarchy in India-to serve the purpose of their master: China. It is quite obvious that where the source of resource come from for these thugs to sustain themselves and unleashing their mayhem. India’s internal insecurity is at stake and these thugs are holding it at sway with ease. Violence of any kinds for any reasons can’t be brooked.

The proposed Operation Green Hunt has to be kept in abeyance by Indian government for a while for these thugs to come to their senses that their cherished goal of overthrowing the Indian government will remain a mirage. A primitive peasant rebellion by their idol Mao succeeded in the yesteryear and these thugs have the mindsets based on an outmoded ideology which is alien to modern reality. Their idol Moa is not even a revered pinup figure in China and their benefactor China has moved on by eschewing the discredited and moribund communist ideologies.

One difficulty has been that, under India’s constitution, security is a matter that comes under the state governments’ purview rather than the centre. National policy for dealing with the Naxalites or Maoists has been inconsistent. In 2004, the government of Andhra Pradesh held abortive peace talks with local Naxalites and their agenda wasn’t for peace, rather bringing anarchy to the state.

Before Operation Green Hunt begin, a fanal chance for the thugs to come to their senses to have a negotiated outcome for their constituents in a peaceful manner-by giving up arm struggles- with Indian governments-central and states. If they want to pursue their murderous path, the full force of Indian military might must bear on them-obliterate them completely. It is an onerous task; these undesirable are holding out in thick forests and engaged in guerrilla warfare.

Notwithstanding Chinese threat to India’s sovereignty is still extant and to say nothing of Pakistani threat is present, internal security is essential to deal the external threats
Scaria Varghese
Melbourne, Australia
Oct 31, 2009 07:06 AM

S.S. Nagaraj,

I want to inquire which passage in the Christian or Muslim faith glorifies worshiping nature ?

Worshiping the earth, water, space, sky and air ?

Oh wait isnt that the HINDU religion ?

So why are these people who worship these mountains - linked with Christian missionaries.

The sad part if that the Hindu in in the cities of India consider themselves hindus if they buy big idols and place flowers in front of them.

YOu have ALL forgotten that it was the HINDU philosophy that staunchly believes in worshiping nature as if it is God.....

These Adiviasis , protectors of nature, are more Hindu then you fake worshipers.

btw - if they discovered Bauxite in the Govardhan Parvat would you agree to blowing it up too ? Wouldn't that really be progressive for the people of Vrindavan - why the stupidity of worshiping a mountain when you can blow it up and become progressed ?

If you oppose that then how dare you support this ?

Why is your God mountain greater than these people's God ?
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 06:47 AM

In India the easiest way to earn money,publicity and hidden political is to become an activist of some sorts.Arundathi having failed to catch the attention of the west and after failing to come with some new story book thought to remain in limelight and thought it is time to enter into activism and create controversies as it readily sells.
The day she stood by a traitor like Afzal Guru in the name of protesting against capital punishment and working against nationalist forces.Then the only force remaining in the country to support,patronize were communist extremists like Maoists and Naxalites,notorious christian missionaries and the evil jihadi elements who are all working along with the enemies of the country.
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 06:32 AM


The robots who graduate from colleges in the gulis of India (I htink I saw 4 small Technology colleges in the street that I lived in) do not make inventions...they are not capapble of critical thinking either... So please dont lecture me on acknowledging the benefits of technology. What is education ? These third rate colleges do not provide it. They only create brainless robots. But that is another topic.

I am all for technology - if that is your choice. And it is mine. As a biomedical engineer I make cardiac devices - so I cannot deny that is definitely my interest.

But that does not mean that I have to demean people who do not choose this way of life.... I dont need to demean farmers and other tribal people who protect the forest and til the land from their choice - this is their Pride and their honor.

And I am OKAY with that. YOu on the other hand - cannot agree with their choice and want to FORCE your modern Way of life on them....

So who is really the Maoist ?

YOu feel like if these uncivilized half naked people were to be 'reformed' and to spend their lives on a computer taking calls to fix the computer for an american - that would be progress and to me that would NOT be progress.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 06:18 AM

Hi Gayatri,

I am really glad you are not in the business of educating people becasue that would be useless education ! God save people from such educators...

You have still not explained HOW this project from a corrupt organization who has flagrantly violated ALL LAWS - both financial and environmental benefits you, me or these people.

I really skipped over most of your post because you have ONLY restated the same thing again and again without answering any of my questions.

If you think that these Tribals will receive any royalty YOU are really delusional !! Do you know what happened with those displaced from the Narmada project .... go to any town in Maharashtra - the beggars are those who are displaced from that project.

Vedanta has not offered any royalty and even if they did they would not recieve anything.

Government CAN tackle poverty - by SUSTAINIng livelyhood of these people. Schools and Hospitals does not mean that these people have to agree to have their mountains their homes taken away.

Moaists ONLY turned to violence because that was their LAST resort - no one of such progressive people like you give a shit about people like them. You say you are concerned about Poverty but you still OKAY with them dumped in our citiies like coakroaches. What would be the quality of life for them them ? Eating out of your Garbage can... eating fresh berries from the trees NOW doesnt sound that bad does it ?

And if you are comparing Denmark as a future roadmap for India - you really need a reality check. India can never become a Denmark for very obvious reasons. We should have our own roadmap - trying brainlessly and blinding trying to imitate foreign countries with different cultures and histories will only lead to failure.

What we need is INCLUSIVE growth - That means NO MORE NANDIGRAMS...
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 06:12 AM


"To me the people who till the land and protect forest are doing a greater job than those , dumb robots who are 'graduating' from these third rate colleges and taking up mindless jobs of offering services to America

Not all humans are critical thinkers nor do they need to be.

Please dont enforce your view of life on others."

If you believe that not all people need to be critical thinkers, that's fair enough, your opinion is welcome. I have never tried to force my views on anyone here. All I ask is, do not equate two people of vastly different skill sets. If you think every engineer or critical thinker is a just a robot who is doing the work for corporations, then please get off this computer, it was built by the same 'mindless' robots you are referring to. If they had not done that, you would not even be able to express your views as easily and have discourse with multiple people from the comfort of your bedroom. So, a little acknowledgement of that would make you look more balanced in your view.

For all the problems of 'now' you mention, if you dig hard enough it comes back to what you say I am 'harping' about. I choose to look at the cause, you are choosing to look at the symptom, that's all.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 05:53 AM


You are again and again harping about population.

YOu will be happy to know that you are not the only one who has noticed this.

Everybody in third world countries are trying to control exploding population since many decades... but that is a hard battle to win...
But irrespective of how this effort goes...
What is happening TODAY cannot depend on how things will go on that front.
We have the population we have today - and that is just the way it is. That is a reality.

Also population is NOT the problem here - It was in Narmada project - but here this is a simple case of Corporate Greed. Indian Government wants to auction away our natural resources to Billionaires and dump all its people on the streets of cities - to make it Economic growth look Good...

Mining by Vedanta does NOT help YOU or ME or any other city person... WE are not competing with the tribals for LAND>
The corporations are..these same corporations will one do want to privatize water and all the resources and then you will wake up and realize what has happened.

America has already suffered at the hands of just Virulent corporatism...
Can we Indians not learn from them ?

Why are you supporting Vedanta ... If they start mining... and these people get their livelyhood snatches how does that help YOU ? I am really perplexed why there are so many people are supporing a Corrupt organization ( It is currently being investigated for corruption in Britan) ... Is it just because you hate Arundhati Roy so you really have no objective take on this..So if tomorrow A.R supports Red Cross you will oppose it ?!

Let me tell you that Fighting for your right is NOT an exclusive Maoist philosophy - every human being has that right. There is NO Chinese conspiracy.

When you go from being fairly well off to beggars - somehow you find a way and will to fight. And that is what these people are proof off.

To me the people who till the land and protect forest are doing a greater job than those , dumb robots who are 'graduating' from these third rate colleges and taking up mindless jobs of offering services to America

Not all humans are critical thinkers nor do they need to be.

Please dont enforce your view of life on others.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 05:31 AM

@ Raj
"With the increase in population, this is going to get worse. Tribals will be at the receiving end because they are at the bottom of the caste structure. This has nothing to do with ideology, its a fight for survival. Either you take the war to their door steps or you perish. And it does not come for free. You have to pay a price for survival."

Well, I can' say I disagree. People who are so desperate that there's no option left will fight to death, obviously. Question is - are all of them really doing that? WHy are they blowing up public property and killing innocent people then - how exacctly is that related to survival? Where are they getting the money to buy arms and explosives if they are so poor?

Then the plot thickens, doesn't it.

Emotional simplicities, as often voiced by A.R's articles are like perverse altruistic candy - everyone can partake and feel good about themselves that they are siding with the poor, downtrodden etc etc. No one wants to tackle the deep -deep root cause of it all. Population. nothing else.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 05:21 AM

With the increase in population, this is going to get worse. Tribals will be at the receiving end because they are at the bottom of the caste structure. This has nothing to do with ideology, its a fight for survival. Either you take the war to their door steps or you perish. And it does not come for free. You have to pay a price for survival.
Chicago, United States
Oct 31, 2009 05:21 AM

@ R

"How many engineers, nri's and other such riff-raff actually read an article in its entirety before blaming the victims ? Do you really believe intelligence is limited to city monkeys ?"

Read my posts again- did I blame the victims anytime? Look who's talking about reading articles in full here.

One more thing: if the tribals and farmers were so intelligent, how come they can't get away from nomadic lifestyles, believing in Mao of all the things (have YOU read about Mao) and subsistence living? how many of them can start coding or building an airplane in a week? I can assure, you I can pick up subsistence living and hunting and gathering in a day :-)

Sorry dude, your argument just ain't cutting it in logic.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 05:19 AM


one really has to spell out things for you.

i wrote about denmark to tell you that human societies
can achieve great heights in both life style, and in arts, science and so forth.

the maoists are not giveing the tribals a choice. they have shut the door on progress, by blowing up even the
pathetic schools that were built for tribal children.

you claim you are an engineer, but what has that taught
you. it must be to use knowledge to improve the standard of life of people, educate them ,so that they
can reach out for progress and development.

all that these tribals have are primitive huts, awful food,no health care and you postulate that this is the wonderful life which should be preserved.

ofcource you would not wish this for yourself-you
would not wish your children to be under nourished,
never have had a cold drink, seen a movie or have tasted a burger .

buddy you dont know poor people. i have done a bit of
development work in a village and i know them .

they want the same things which you,your family and
children wish for. dont be so god damned condescending,
and patroniseing.

the next consumer wave will come from the rural sector.
big mnc,s are now trying to sell small bars of shampoo,
soap, sweets to them. the villagers are buying cycles,
mobikes, and even cars.

you and roy are out of synch with have
dreamt up a vision of the happy savage, who must be protected from vedanta etc. this case was argued in
a british court, and vedanta won. they were able to assure the courts that the tribals would not lose out.

roy is peddleing fear, lies and distortions. contracts
can be made ensureing royalties to the tribals. however if the intention is to fight the capitalists , the bauxite will stay under the mountain, the tribal
population will keep growing, and they will be worse
off then before.

dr paschauri has claimed that environment protection
requires money. without this india,s environment will
get worse. no effective measures can be taken to clean indian rivers without money. and india will not be
able to fight climate change either.

lets close this debate- i am not in the business of
educateing people.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 04:59 AM

ragesh--"Adivasis dont care a damn about the lives and families of the innocent people they killed... There is no moral justification for killing innocent people.."

But the Government does ?!!

gayathri--"i quit here- i find people like you to be quite insufferable. "

Finally !! Thank you , thank you ....

huilgol--"How many tribals and farmers would you say possess a high level of intelligence and critical thinking?"

How many engineers, nri's and other such riff-raff actually read an article in its entirety before blaming the victims ? Do you really believe intelligence is limited to city monkeys ?

gayathri--"people like me who try and be fair and rational are censored"

Ive read several of your posts unfortunately and 'fair and rational' are certainly not the adjectives that spring to my mind !
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 04:30 AM

Gayatri . instead of personally atacking posters please write on what is relevant.( I dont know why you were writing about Denmark ?!!)

So far in all your posts you have NOT even ONCE, explained how taking away these peoples livelyhood is good for them !!

What does mining for bauxite in this hill help these people ??
Will you Gayatri ensure that these people get healthcare provdied by Vedant or are they more likely to end up as construction workeers building cheap flats - living in dirty slums and chawls in the cities ?

Will you Gayatri ensure that these people will NOT go from have 2 full meals a day ( who the hell told you they live on berries ??! - please write stuff that can at least pass as being credible !) to have 0 meals a day ?...begging ?!

NO you can give no such gaurantee becasue all you can do is criticize these people who are asking such questions.

You want solution here is the solution - MINING should only be permitted in certain areas. Govt cannot screw these people so that some rich people can get richer - and people like you can feel like India is progressing..

Oh and next time you stop at a traffic light in Delhi and see beggars - ASk THEM WHERE THEY ARE FROM - 9/10 TIMES THEY WILL SAY THEY ARE FROM THE VILLAGE AND THEIR LAND WAS TAKEN AWAY FOR A PROJECT.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 04:20 AM

@ Nikhil

"Just because engineers build pacemakers/computers/roads does not mean that they are contributing MORE to humanity - you are only doing this to get your daily earning - than these people who are self sufficient in their own way."

I agree with you. But I want to leave you with this - "An engineer could easily do what a farmer could, mostly. A farmer cannot do what an engineer is doing, not without real great effort and difficulty on his part".

I am not against these poor people. But you cannot just blithely ignore the skill level. many of the benefits that armers enjoy is borne out of years and years of hard work and thinking.

How many tribals and farmers would you say possess a high level of intelligence and critical thinking? Think about that, beofre getting emotional about these people.

Again, I am not against anyone here :-)
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 04:16 AM


i am an engineer and an environmentalist.have worked
on the ground level in delhi.

indias environment has been destroyed by the relentless
increase of population.

in 1900 the population of south asia was about 100 million. in 1947 it was 400 millions-india,pakistan
and bangladesh. today the popultion of the three
countries is 1700 millions.

people like you have no solution to such problems.
you do not even seem aware of them. your vision is
that of societies of half naked starved people, liveing
on berries and rats.contented and happy say you.

there are few people like you in europe.thank heaven for that. people here are looking for advancement in the material and the aesthetic. you have certainly kept your standards very low. this is where we disagree.

denmark is highly developed- it has the knowledge,
technology to provide a good life style to its people.
the income per head is 35,000 usd per year. education
is free from first grade to post graduate level.
health care likewise is free. even the food in hospitals is provided. the country has a clean environment. no dane lives in poverty. even the poorest are provided a decent place to live and welfare besides this.

it provides generous help to developing countries. tourists are thrilled to visit denmark.

what in heck are you proposeing to do.

nothing at all-

i quit here- i find people like you to be quite insufferable. to top it you go around with a hallo round your head.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 04:05 AM

By the way - I am staunchly against the degradation of nature, and wildlife habitat and, by connotation, tribals and the farmers. I hate what humanity is doing to them and planet earth. I take a very broad view but a scientific one as to the causes of all those problems, though. Simply stopping all mining (or other activity) is NOT the idea here. It will never work, as long as there enough pent-up demand and greedy humans who will exploit that demand.
*ends rant*
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 03:55 AM

Hey Nikhil,

I spellt it out clearly - it's the populatioon explosion, stupid! (not calling you stupid, I am re-using 'it's the economy, stupid' line here). How the heck do you propose mining for anything then? Some people WILL be displaced, and yes, there will be loss of land. Relocate them else where? I agree, this is not happening fairly in India, as opposed to, in western nations. Then they will discover something else there, and want to relocate them again.
It's the biggest elephant in the room. P O P U L A T I O N
E X P L O S I O N.
Simple. India is not a big enough country to support billion plus people. There will be mess and mayhem, even more than this in the future. Agreed, this is a 100,000 ft level view. But it's a valid one, and one NO ONE wants to tackle seriously. No ONE. I have never seen AR tackle this or any issue objectively, instead, resorting to rants, and inviting in return, rants in responses to her articles.

We all get very emotional when it comes to the poor, yes? Then go ahead and tackle the population menace. We will let them live, and the not-so-poor live, in harmony (it's an impossible dream now, isn't it)

I am asking AR to face up to reality and real issues, not just rant ' stop the mining! stop the mining!' like some immature 5 year old.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 03:52 AM


arundhati roy comments on progress and development.
this is the field for engineers and not of writers of
fiction,which is roys forte.

her views are firmly against progress . she is opposed
to building damns which provide irrigation and power.

she takes up the cause of tribals,which is fine.
most enlightened societies , includeing socialist
societies can combine development with protection of
tribals and minorities.

however there are some people who can not walk and chew gum at the same time.

roy lives the dolce vita, which requires development.
she does not fly on the back of a swan, or drink muddy
water. criticiseing development means allowing the
maoists to keep the poor tribals for ever in poverty.

that was what the pol wanted and achieved-people with their mindset are today thriveing in india, and outlook
india sponsors their policies.

in todays china such people would be sent to forced
labour camps.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 03:51 AM


What is Progess to you is NOT Progress to these people. It means from self sufficient people they will become beggars ( Are you having trouble understanding the fact that they are being thrown out of those areas that they have lived in generation so that some bilionaire can become a trillionaire ??)

They are NOT half naked - they are wearing the clothes that they wear in their culture. And what is wrong if they are not dressed like you.

According to Saudi Arabian women even you will probably be half naked !!

So by your standard even Lord Krishna was half naked , backward and requiring your engineering skills for progress ?

Please, these people dont need your HELP to acheive things. They have already acheived somethign that all of us are seeking -SELF SUFFICIENCY.

Please dont blame fingers on China - these poor people are protesting becasue their land is being taken away not because there is a chinese consiparacy.

If you have ever travelled abroad or read out western countries you might be aware that there are thousands of laws that prevent such enviornmental degredation that are flagrantly violated by Vedanta.

So please if you are crazy about following USA style progress dont ignore the respect they have for their environment ,

Also since you keep harping about being an engineer let me tell you that I am also an engineer (biomedical) and let me tell you that being an engineer is hardly anything to boast of - India is producing engineers like USA produces Corn.

Just because engineers build pacemakers/computers/roads does not mean that they are contributing MORE to humanity - you are only doing this to get your daily earning - than these people who are self sufficient in their own way.

I am not sure but have you heard of Environmental degradation due to illegal mining in Aravallis ?

Please learn to respect your envionrment - stop calling people backward simply becasue your world view is of cement and concrete.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 03:34 AM


what have the tribals achieved after decades of liveing
in forests, half naked and hungry. the maoists will
make sure that they stay this way.

all that the govt has tried is to build a few schools, roads and some other rudiments of modernity.there has
been no industry has come in.

the maoists have destroyed all of these. can you or
a roy find any excuse for this silly behaviour.

the govt has not exploited these people for the simple reason that no one can enter these areas and return
alive. even the police is not safe- and ofcource no
teachers, doctors, or govt people will ever enter.

the objective of the maoists is to keep them in their
present state.

bongos like roy have an anarchic streak in them. most do not believe in work or progress. they are spokepersons for backwardness, and the state of bengal
proves it.

as an engineer i would build roads, schools, hospitals
and build environment friendly industries for them.

all of this requires education, and a positive mindset.
you seem opposed to both.

the maoists were influenced by mao in china, who brought in the culture revolution and killed millions
of people. it sent china backward by a decade.

china has adopted policies which has improved the life
of most of its people- thats the way to go.

people like you are both backward, and opposed to
modernism. your ways will perpetuate poverty and
ignorance for ever, and you will masquerade as revolutionaries.

i frankly wonder what you are doing in usa.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 31, 2009 03:21 AM

And the little boy says "I want to be capitalism too"!!
Portland, United States
Oct 31, 2009 03:14 AM

A little boy goes to his Dad and asks, "What's Politics?" Dad says, "Well, son, let me try to explain it to you this way. "

I'm the bread winner of the family, so let's call me "Capitalism. "

Your Mom is the administrator of the household, so we'll call her "The Government."

We're here to take care of your needs so we'll call you "The People."

The servant lady works hard all day for very little money so, we'll consider her "The Working Class."

And your baby brother . . . we'll call him "The Future."

Now, think about that and see if it makes sense.

So, the little boy goes off to bed, thinking about what his Dad has said.

Later that night he hears his baby brother crying so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the Servant lady’s room. Finding the door locked, he peeks into the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the Servant lady . He gives up and goes back to bed.

The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now."

The father says, "Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is about?"

The little boy replies, "Well, while Capitalism is screwing the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the people are being ignored, and the Future is in deep shit...”

Anything to do with India...?
Zurich, Switzerland
Oct 31, 2009 03:11 AM

Seems like taking sides with adivasis is the easy "cool" thing to do for many here.. Ms. Roy belongs to the same liberal elite class who preache moral values to other people but does not set an example which severely undermines her credibility(and yes.. if she cares too much about the poor she should sell her house and give money to poor and live in a hut with them).... Basically everyone is selfish... Adivasis dont care a damn about the lives and families of the innocent people they killed... There is no moral justification for killing innocent people..
Portland, United States
Oct 31, 2009 02:49 AM

7% royalty seems ridiculous on the surface. You have realize that the real payout goes to the dalals, politicians and bureaucrats via their Swiss bank accounts. This laissez-faire capitalism of US variety. In US, people are kept sedated on Hollywood and Superbowl while the govt screws the world. In India, it is done on a smaller scale, people are kept stoned on the Bollywood, Cricket and feel-good soaps on the idiotbox while the govt goes about screwing people out of their land, and livelihood. Govt still needs to come out with a white paper on SEZ. Every thing is done on the shibboleth of Growth, I say, whose growth - our country's growth or gargantuan MNC's growth. What growing the country would do on 7% royalty ?
JayKay Chraborty
Kolkatta, India
Oct 31, 2009 02:45 AM

gayathri--"this is a challenge to roy and her aged accolyte vinod mehta. go after the rich ,corrupt people of delhi, whose undeserved prosperity hits one on the jaw like a sledgehammer.
i am an engineer and can say with conviction that roy
writes is pure and unadulterated rubbish. "

Who do you think Roy's ultimate ire is directed against ? If you have reading comprehension issues (being an engineer and all) maybe you should attempt to read a translation of her article. Or maybe someone else can dissect the article, analyse it, throw in some tadka and feed it to you so as to make it more palatable ?

After reading her article how can you surmise that she is 'going after' the poor ?

Does being an engineer qualify you as a literary critic ? What does being an engineer have to do with anything, besides being socially recluse and morally ambiguous ?!
Bangalore, India
Oct 31, 2009 02:25 AM


Just becasue Arundhati Roys doesnt live in a hut does not mean that her argument is not valid.

Do you mean to say that if she lived like a tribal herself - then it would be not okay to rape these people and our nature ?

How does Arundhati living in a hut or a palace have anything to do with her reporting on the threat to livelyhood of these people -

FYI _ She herself is not a tribal - she is writing about tribals. And one does not need to be 'Something' to write about something. In that case only Muslims should write on Muslims only americans on americans,

All she is asking is do you want more beggars in cities ? More slums - in case one Dharavi is not enough for you.

Even Al Gore flies in a private jet and have a huge mansion - so we should disregard his entire theory of Global warming becasue he himself does not set an example ??? !!

Is a person who was previously convicted of DUI tells his child do not drive while drinking.. should the child retort ... ' But you have no moral ground to say this' .. so I am going to drive and drink... ?!!...

If you have a problem with the logic of the article please spell it out - dont resort of personal criticism simply because you are unable to understand the plight of these people.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 02:23 AM

While I am a strong supporter of law and order and a strong opponent of violence, I am concerned that in this war between the Government and the Maoists, the losers may be the Adivasis whose culture, sensitvities, interests and grievances may be ignored and trampled on. It is good to see an articulate voice speak up for them.
Dallas, United States
Oct 31, 2009 02:19 AM

Looks like Arundhati's verbal diorrehea has started real diorrehea in you. You seem to be shit scared of poor capturing power and bettering their lives.

Have you any clue that in Europe and other western countries nuclear reactors and other polluting mining ventures are being closed at a heavy cost of job loss and revenue loss, to protect future generations? Are you aware, in place of these ventures forests are being grown? Do you know that the cost of environmental destruction is immence compared to the money you will spin through these mining ventures? Are you aware your quality of life improves with the growth of forests, trees, plants and livestocks?

VedantaM may save the poor but not Vedanta.

Go kiss your pet Guj. CM wherever you like, he's down with H1N1 flu.

If Arundhati Roy is unberable, stop reading her. We will be spared of your pathetic comments.
Zurich, Switzerland
Oct 31, 2009 02:10 AM

I cannot believe some of the comments of hatred directed at this author.

She is simply pointing out how the 'modern' indian people the so called civilized people have moral problem raping and looting their natural resources and in the process creating destitute of previously self-sufficient people.

All the people who are hurling insults at her are comfortably living abroad where there are strict rules of environment,

So they are enjoying the clear air and beautiful natural resources of these foreign countries and cheering the rapists of our countries natural resources.

Who the hell are we to tell these people 'YOU NEED TO changed your way of life..' become beggars or the streets of cities or better yet -> why not become these cheap laborers who build nice houses for us to live in while your children die of TB an Cancer. Basically...why don't you go from being completely independent to dependent slaves ??

Any person who has written against arundhati roy's articles . and who claims to be a hindu.. should know that Krishna is called Hari - Nature lover, Go-vinda- protector of cows , Gopala - protectors of NATURE....KUNJ_BIHARI - the one who plays in the forest...

Very soon in Krishna's land ... there will be NO remnant left of Krishana's loves. ....and all this will be cheered on by useless NRI whose children will enjoy the clean air of US/Europe.
Austin, United States
Oct 31, 2009 01:49 AM

It doesn't seem to get into your thick skull that elections in India are a farce as far as middle-class and poor are concerned (who constitute the majority). Indian elections have been designed for the benefit of the rich/exploiters and made so expensive that even a moderately rich cannot even think of contesting the election let alone the poor. So, keep your election sermons under your seat.

Only way the poor can come to power and make policies to benefit themselves is through a struggle. In the course of struggle good and bad can happen but the poor must win this war.
Zurich, Switzerland
Oct 31, 2009 01:45 AM

I am sorry to be so rude in my previous comment. I am not a rude person in real life, but Arundhati Roy's hypocritical, preachy rants devoid of ANY solutions make me so mad. I have frankly never seen her offer any pragmatic solutions in any of her articles on here.

If she's indeed living in a big bangalow in Delhi as other posters claim, then all I can say is - 'do as you preach'.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 01:12 AM

Stop the press! Arundhati Roy (no less) says 'stop the Bauxite mining!'. Please everyone, stop that. Since most Bauxite (and, by extrapolation every other raw material, since most raw material sits on top of land that is occupied by these poor, destitue people, or forest plants/animals) How do we get our Aluminum and other metals/materials needed to continue our society? We don't! We just... stop doing whatever we are doing! We can go back to cave society after all.

Wonderfully simplistic, inane and devoid of solutions AGAIN, miss Arundhati Roy.

Stick to fiction, that's your forte, your brain cannot possibly fathom the complex problems faced by our 'society' (which I assume, you are part of too) to offer any solutions.

Let me give you a hint free of charge: It's not the need for bauxite that's problem: it's the ridiculous population that's creating this mess on planet earth (not just India). Hope you get that through your thick skull.
Ninad Huilgol
Sunnyvale California, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:54 AM

>>Odd, isn’t it, that even after the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, the government was prepared to talk with Pakistan? It’s prepared to talk to China. But when it comes to waging war against the poor, it’s playing hard. [A Roy]

She is such a hypocrite that she is now putting blabbers like "even after the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, the government was prepared to talk with Pakistan". But few months back she wrote a sleazy thing like "9 is not 11", where her focal point was completely different. Her forefinger darted in all directions, when she talked about the bloody attack. She had the taste to scratch the wound of max Indians when it was still raw. What a mischievous trickster she is !
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Oct 31, 2009 12:34 AM

What is happening in India is the same that has been happening in Durfar. The Indian govt is engaged in cold blooded elimination of Indian tribals for the benefit of higher castes and multinationals. The International Human Rights agencies should step in to stop this pimp Chidambaram from committing this genocide and crime against humanity.
Chicago, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:26 AM

Facts, fiction, exaggeration, deliberate omimission, polemics, anger, protests....Arundhati's style is too predictable these days. Read for example the following excerpt:" And now, as the rivers dry up and forests disappear, as the water table recedes and as people realise what is being done to them, the chickens are coming home to roost. All over the country, there’s unrest, there are protests by people refusing to give up their land and their access to resources, refusing to believe false promises any more."
This is how she makes departure from truth to the realm of exaggeration and fiction .. like a Bollywood movie storyline that eventually dilutes the credibility of the writer.
Arundhati will never tread upon areas that are uncomfortable or potentially negating her conviction. She is right about the plight of the tribals in the resorce rich areas. She actually has quoted Asok Mitra, whose views differ from hers about the real intent of the Maoists. But then she dodged Asok Mitra's argument saying that people en masse cannot be misled by Maoists' selfish agenda. (That's actually true, that's why Maoists are killing all political dissents among the tribals.)
She will never answer why her notion about a popular revolt against the government fails to explan mindless bloodshed of fellow tribals- poor and helpless in the name of killing the class enemies. Note Arundhati, Maoists are as power hungry as Indian politicians. At least the latter need to get public acceptance through the ritual of elections and therefore are careful about outage at their constituencies. But Maoists without people's mandate and with their armaments need tot be answerable to anyone. As during the heydays of Naxal movement in Calcutta the Naxals used to quote Mao, " power lies on the barrel of the guns".
I for one can't take a stance here because I indeed support the poor Adivasis' right to protest against all oppressions and lack of developmental work. But at the same time I refuse to believe that those who are exploiting Adivasis' plight as a means to achieve their goal of a Maoist revolution using violence and bloodshed should desrve any sympathy. To prove her thesis Arundhati did not try to distinguish the violent Maoists from the hapless tribal masses.

Maoists did not want to give up violence and join politics in a democratic framework. But they don't mind keeping in touch with the satellite media on a regular basis.
Obviously Maoists do not want negotiations.. with unabated bloodshed everyday they are a part of law and order problem now. How could anyone engage a party that believes armed insurgency and not a political dialogue process to resolve problems of the population they claim to represent?
NEW YORK, United States
Oct 31, 2009 12:03 AM

everyone can see how arundhati roy lives in new delhi, in a house worth about 20 crores. same for vinod mehta.

they have attained this wealth because of riseing
property values -

lets cut out the crap.

let them start a -TRIBAL WELFARE FUND- and get fellow
samaritans to chip in say just 15 percent of their wealth- this should be enough to help a 100 families
at least.

madonna the singer, dancer is building a school in malawi for girls at a cost of 9 million pounds sterling. follow her example, or just shut up.

stop eulogiseing mms and sonia gandhi who look at corruption in their midst from the patch on their eyes.

roys hypocracy makes me sick.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 30, 2009 11:50 PM

An impassioned and excellent piece by Roy -- I have always found her strongest on the question of the advasis and the hidden (to the rest of us) costs of development. Her essay "The Greater Common Good" was searing...
Umair Muhajir
New York, United States
Oct 30, 2009 11:46 PM

Akil bunny, why don't you condemn the Indian misadventure with LTTE, the Chinese massacre at the Tienanmen square, and the Anglo-American daylight robbery of Diego Garcia!!?? why are you silent on these issues bunny??
Leipzig, Germany
Oct 30, 2009 11:43 PM

Having read Arundhati Roys article on the war against red terror,even though we may not agree entirely with her view.We must not forget that the etiology behind the rise of naxalism is deprivation.I cant but agree with her that those taking up arms against the state are people who are yet to have the fruits of devlopment which the urban middle class enjoys.I dont know how many of my fellow bloggers had the good fortune of serving in the heart of rural India which i have for 5 years.When i did it i got to see first hand the poor and poverty.I must admit that things arnt as bad as they are in the rest of the country when we look at TN.The reason bieng a effective PDS and a fairly accountable state machinery.Which does not exsist in DANTEWADA OR WB.I beg to disagree with Gayathri and Akil who i have found to be receptive to a honest debate on many a contraversal topic ,on there take on the way to tackle the naxal problem.Gayathri had written the last time that a few are bound to suffer the scourge of poverty in population of a billion,yes.But my question is why must the state use force to further the cause of MNCs in mining.As Arundhati traced the creation of Salwa Judum when the TATAS got to mine.Thats not fair to these desperately poor fellow humans.If the naxals have the best interest at heart for these poor tribals ,we have democratic means to meet the aspirations of the people.To me the very idea of these naxals colluding with AntiNational forces is unacceptable.Double standards adopted by the left in WB is just not going to work ,what with no devlopment and only anti captilist fodder.People have lost faith in them,Violence as method to achieve ones goal is just not acceptable.Yes the real red brigade must be eliminated and utmost care be taken to avoid collateral damage.
chennai, India
Oct 30, 2009 11:09 PM

I am not a huge fan of roy. In fact I loathe her. But to all the people above making 500000 ft above the sea level kind of comments - There is a grain of truth here.
I was born and brought up in a forested area of Jharkhand - I don't belong to that place.
You must go and see why Graham Staines (remember that guy who was turned to charcoal alongwith with his jeep) was burnt there. Why corps like TATA and Jindals and mittals are turning the once 1 lane state roads to more like a camel hump road with 20 wheelers??
Go there if you have the guts to see it. I know because my parents are still there.Someday they won't but the facts will linger on. Greyhounds , cobras are fine - they are bunch of lowly paid low level foot soldiers out to kill starving, ill educated, ill fed folks. Time to rejoice our democracy. And to hell with P Roys and all his look likes in the Indian TV space.
Praveen Tiwari
Bangalore, India
Oct 30, 2009 10:46 PM

>>>>>>Hargopal from Andhra Pradesh spoke of his experience as a civil rights activist through the years of the Maoist interlude in his state. He mentioned in passing the fact that in a few days in Gujarat in 2002, Hindu mobs led by the Bajrang Dal and the VHP had killed more people than the Maoists ever had even in their bloodiest days in Andhra Pradesh.

The above facts show that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS ) and its affiliated organisations are India's single largest internal security threat, and a very evil one at that.
B Prabhu
Mangalore, India
Oct 30, 2009 10:41 PM

I would like an article from someone about the plight of the families of 100s of policemen killed by maoists... I want a photoessay of their children.... I am nure they were not in the bauxite business.... Oh wait.. maybe they should form an organization and start beheading people until the maoists stop....
Portland, United States
Oct 30, 2009 09:59 PM

Some group of people in their infinite wisdom named Arundhati Roy as a thinking man's woman and this thought in itself makes the mind shudder.Now in Arundhati Roy' s books the only thinking men are Comrade Ganapathy and other top leaders of the Maoist movement.Sold as she seems to be with the Maoist movement and philosophy, it is high time Arundhati Roy shows some spine and joins the Maoists for a blissful life in the forests.
Shiv Adiseshan
Chennai, India
Oct 30, 2009 09:53 PM

vinod mehta once bragged on tv that he allways stayed in five star hotels, and travelled business or first class.

yasser arrafat was the person he admired most. pakistani women were the most beautiful in the world
according to him. arundhati roy is mother theresa,
alexander dumas , and mandela in a heady cock tail for

a anarchic streak runs in both roy and mehta, spiced
with dollops of hypocracy.

however the duo are quiet on certain matters- rahul baba and sonia are never criticised, but worshipped
from a distance.

there is enormous corruption in the upa govt. let
her try and get back 10 percent of this and give it
to the half naked tribals.

she should go after the politicians who live in lutyens
delhi. the houses occupied by the gandhi trinity could
fetch over 500 crores, which could be sent off to the

this is a challenge to roy and her aged accolyte vinod
mehta. go after the rich ,corrupt people of delhi,whose
undeserved prosperity hits one on the jaw like a sledge

i am an engineer and can say with conviction that roy
writes is pure and unadulterated rubbish.

people like me who try and be fair and rational are
censored, and several of my messages have been deleted
in toto.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
Oct 30, 2009 09:31 PM

Arundhati Roy's usual verbal diorrehea.Can she answer,that where from these Maoists get money to buy arms?Why do these Maoists kill the poorest of the poor?Why do they attack only Hindu establishments and never the rich Christian institutions?And ,if industries and mining companies do not come,will they be financially better off?Why are they poor even before a Vedanta or others came?Well,her pet hate Gujarat has unfailingly come in.She is just unbearable.
Bangalore, India
Oct 30, 2009 08:18 PM

Arundhati Roy at her best- did not read the article- never read her. SMS -‘Because they can’t afford your rates.’ was good. But why does she not take on the SWISS "SECRET" Bank accounts and the MAURITIUS route of investment in "SHARE MARKET". Is it because the TRIBALS are investing in "share market" through Mauritius or is she afraid that she will be "bumped off" if she talks about it??? Money is everything Honey!!!!Are the SWISS Banks spared because they are financing the evangelical activity in tribal areas through POPE- ARUNDHATHI being a good Christian can not afford to annoy the POPE- can she????- after all POPE controls her entry to heaven. Will "ARU" come clean as to why is she abstaining from targeting the TWO "HOLY COWS" of capitalism in India- the INDIAN BILLIONS in SWISS Banks and the MAURITIUS route of investment in share market???
Bangalore, India
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