Home > Book Review > The heart of India bleeds through self-inflicted wounds

The heart of India bleeds through self-inflicted wounds

Monday, August 27, 2012

Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion by Gautam Navlakha indicts this country of many atrocities against a whole population of tribals living in the vast region that comprises central India. If just half or a quarter of the accusations in this damning book are even partly true, we as a nation, will have some serious explaining to do to the rest of humanity. There will come time when the term ‘internal affairs of our sovereign nation’ will not suffice as an excuse to the world for wrongs being committed against our own disadvantaged peoples.  

We are talking about 1,10,000 square kilometres of territory covering rich forests, hills, major rivers like the Godavari, Indravati and Pranahita) apart from many other medium-sized rivers, rivulets, abode to tribals living in thirteen districts of the five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. The entire region is believed to have extensive deposits of iron ore, bauxite, dolomite, granite, mica, manganese, etc and mining has been sanctioned and is in full-swing at many places in outright contravention of major environmental guidelines. The complicity of local administrations at government and police levels has ensured that permissions are acquired, original inhabitants (tribals) coerced out or forcefully evicted from their homelands with minimal or no compensations whatsoever, and thousands are still displaced and destitute.

The major industrial players seeking to exploit the reserves of coal, iron ore, bauxite by setting up steel and aluminium smelter and processing units are Jindal, the Tatas, Essar, L & T, POSCO, among others. Navlakha documents that whole rivers are being privatised to cater to these industries thanks to which water is scarcely being made available for irrigation during summer months leading to a struggle by deprived farmers. The states seem to be complicit in all this. Add to that various regulations being imposed against tribals from entering forests and using forest produce, something they have been doing and surviving upon for thousands of years, and you have a cauldron of ills just boiling and brimming  over.

Stepping into this gap to stand up for their rights are those from among the dispossessed who have decided to fight back - the Maoists. How true are the claims of corporate India that its Corporate Social Responsibility is in place remains to be seen. In the meanwhile, the various armed outfits sent in by the state and Central governments, including those from the Armed Forces, continue to take severe casualties when they stumble into ambushes, or are surprised by sneak attacks. The harassment and detention or jailing of intellectuals and activists who intervene on behalf of the tribals continues to embarrass India at the global level.

Last Saturday’s national dailies have quoted the Naresh Chandra committee on national security saying ‘Need greater army presence in Naxal areas.’ The panel goes on to suggest: ‘Also, the army can reach out to the tribals residing in surrounding  villages by offering them facilities like schools, medical care and drinking water.

This may help in eroding the support base of the Naxalites.’ Is this not the responsibility of the governments in the first place? And does it not point to administrative failure if an army has to go out and do this?

Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion
By Gautam Navlakha
Penguin Books India

Facebook   Delicious   Delicious   submit to reddit reddit
No Comments Posted
  • Local Search
  • Classifieds
  • Go Shopping!
power by getit
power by Freeads
power by getit
My husband and I are both spiritually inclined. W
Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
Select Sun sign:
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)Overseas influence is strong and you will be offered a large contract that you have been pursuing for a long time. An expected payment will also materialize. You could enter into a joint venture or collaboration with those who live abroad or with foreigners. A romantic need or change of mood might make you decide to leave work early to spend some quality time with your mate or beloved.
Tarot for Love
Select Sun sign:
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)What the cards say: Restlessness Path: Be at peace. Don’t be hyper Ally: Libra shows you balance. Please stay away from Gemini and mental confusion Card of the week: Tarot key no. XIV Temperance. Invites you to seek and find the right combination and tempering
- Advertising -
‘As property prices are rising, so are marriage d
Baaya Design was found by Shibani Jain in 2009.
When you’re going in for a realty purchase, chanc
Read More