ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Maoist Violence - I

I would like to congratulate you for writing the editorial “Violence of the Oppressed” (EPW, 8 June 2013). What you have written is correct. But you have not written three important things.

First, the violence of the oppressors have partly also dehumanised the oppressed, even their revolutionary leaders. At the moment, revolution is a far cry and for the oppressed adivasis what matters today is bare survival.  It is anger and thirst for revenge that drive the Maoist fighters when they kill their oppressors. It is naive to demand of them that they should respect the Geneva Conventions; they probably have not even heard of such things.

Second, it is true that central India is witnessing “the biggest grab of tribal land after Columbus”. But can India’s middle class and the common people, other than the adivasis, prosper without this process? Can India become an economic superpower without this process? The answer is, “No”.

The alternative is to give up this whole pursuit of prosperity. There are, after all, limits to growth. Gandhiji knew this, but our present-day leaders appear ignorant.

Finally, even if the pursuit of prosperity is given up, unbridled population growth will continue to cause conflict and violence. Paul Ehrlich said long ago, addressing political activists of the left, “Whatever your cause, it is a lost cause unless we control population”.

Saral Sarkar



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