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Monobina Gupta on Nandigram and the CPM Whitewash

March 14, 2007

[As reports started coming in on Wednesday of wanton killings of the local population by a combination of the state's police forces and that dreaded being called 'cadre' in today's West Bengal, the CPM lie-machine in New Delhi swung into action. Monobina Gupta, a senior journalist who has been covering the Left for almost two decades now, reports on both the press conference and the incidents that brought it forth. Our further information is that two days ago the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had called a meeting in Writers' Building to plan out the offensive. As the report below shows, the Bengali daily, Bartaman had already predicted today's action almost to the detail - obviously based on information that the CPM finds uncomfortable. We have also been informed that the call went out from the state CPM leadership of "Occupy and Liberate" Nandigram shortly before the cadres swung into action along with the police force. Thirty years of unbroken rule has made the state leadership belief that they can get away with anything. This time they may have miscalculated. It is also worth bearing in mind that faced with feisty women leaders like Medha Patkar and Mamata Banerjee the most disgusting colours of the CPM leadership are coming out. So if Biman Basu had gone on record saying that Mamata is behaving like a spoilt little girl (in Singur), then his comrade-in-arms Benoy Konar had done far better. He announced that women from his party's women's wing would "display their buttocks if Medha visited Nandigram". We will soon be publishing Medha's recent report after her return from Nandigram where she was actually greeted by a demonstration of buttocks - of about a hundred and fifty little Benoy Konars. Only, the women - even from his party seem to have politely refused. Some hope here - even though the top leadership of the Mahila Samity has been completely silent. Is comrade Brinda Karat listening? - AN]

For the CPM central leadership in Delhi defending police actions in Singur and Nandigram has now become a routine matter. It is left usually to Sitaram Yechury – second in command in the CPM politburo (and Rajya Sabha member) to address the media in Parliament and whitewash the whole incident.

Today was just one more of such press conferences. The CPM politburo member condemned the killings at the same time made it clear that the police had no choice other than to do what they did. “The kiilings are unfortunate. But we condemn such activities that took place even after
the West Bengal state government assured that no land will be acquired without the consent of the people.”

By “such activities” Yechury of course meant the “activity” of the CPM’s political rivals – the Trinamul Congress, the Naxals and the Maoists. “The police action is not connected to the land acquistion issue. It is a political battle. We have fought it in the past and will fight it
now” said the Yechury.

He made repeated references to the bloody CPM-Trinamul clashes in Keshpur. “This is exactly what our adversaries did in Keshpur”, said Yechury swiftly disconnecting the real issue of land acquistion from the police action. He made it sound like a political conspiracy that has
been hatched by the Trinamul Congress and the Maoists.

CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said there were ‘agent provocateurs’ in Nandigram. The state government did nothing for days. But they could not allow the situation to continue.

Mediapersons drew Yechury’s attention to what Benoy Konar a CPM leader in West Bengal had said at a public meeting earlier. “Konar had said that the critics of land acquistition should be ostracised. Can this incident be looked at from that perspective ?” asked reporters. Yechury
asked, “Was this reported in the media ?” Many of us said yes. Then he asked with a sneer “Which media? the Bengali media ?” and laughed loudly dismissing at one stroke everything that is published in the Bengali newspapers.

For the CPM it is clearly now a matter of “Do or Die”. “Either with us or Them”. In today’s CPM language – either for or against industrialisation.

Later in the evening today the CPM politburo sent a press handout. “It is regrettable that lives have been lost in the police firing. But the organised elements who utilised bombs and pipe guns on the police have to take the blame,” said the politburo. There was no mention of the fact
that newsreports filtering in by the evening clearly indicated that those killed included more women and children than men. There were also reports that the police hd started whisking away the bodies to keep the toll down.

Yechury took great pains to explain how the people in Nandigram had first attacked the police and the police had only reacted. He kept repeating, “The outsiders had cut off a person’s leg.” Nobody in the media could confirm the incident. The CPM politburo in its statement said, “Even after the government categorically declared that no land is being acquired in Nandigram the Trinamul Congress and the other elements refused to allow the administration or the police into the area. Those who did not go along with their disruptive activities were targeted. Only a few days ago a woman Sumita Mandal was raped and killed.”

Yechury made the killings sound like acts in self defence. There was actually no even an iota of self defence involved in the incident. ‘Bartaman’ a Bengali daily, has been carrying
news about police preparations in Nandigram, for the last two days. Today’s edition of Bartaman said there were 3000 policemen surrounding Nandigram and there would be a police operation this morning.

Earlier reports in the same newspaper informed of a meeting that the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had this Monday with the state’s chief secretary and director general of police. The administration was asked to go ahead and ‘clean up’ Nandigram. The newspaper reports showed that the administartion had made preparations for the action and it was a well-planned attack on the villagers.

When the police attacked villagers in Singur the first time, even at that time Yechury at a press conference in Parliament said what he said today. “The police acted in self defence. The villagers attacked first.” The party then struck up a chorus about ‘outsiders’. When the clashes in Nandigram took place and the police fired killing several two months ago the CPM
again blamed the incident on ‘outsiders’ who were creating ‘trouble’.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. Shuddhabrata Sengupta permalink
    March 15, 2007 1:47 AM

    Dear Aditya,

    Thank you for this text on Nandigram. I am pasting below (as comment) what I have already posted on the reader list.

    The incident of the brutal armed police attack in order to ‘re-take’
    Nandigram in West Bengal yesterday is yet another milestone in the
    relationship between police and people in that state. According to
    newspaper reports, 14 people have died and more than 75 people have been
    injured in yesterday’s violence. The injured include around 12
    policemen. However, estimates of the dead and the injured vary.

    A brief and incomplete history of police violence in West Bengal would
    have to include police attacks on agitating Calcutta tram workers in
    1954, on the general population during the food riots of 1954, on
    striking school teachers in 1954-56, on protesting students on August
    31, 1959, which resulted in the death of 80 students, on 2nd September
    1959, when several others were killed (bringing the August-September
    1959, total of deaths up to 102). Again, in 1966, students agitating on
    issues to do with the rising prices of essential commodities were
    brutally repressed by police action, leading to the death of several
    young people.

    In all these conflicts, it was very often militants and activists
    belonging to the Communist Parties, and since 1965, the CPI (M) that
    faced police violence. However, with the election of the first (and then
    the second) United Front ministries (1967-69) (which included the CPI
    and the CPI(M) , the pattern of victims and patrons of violence had to
    undergo a subtle shift. And while the CPI (M) did continue to enjoy a
    degree of respect for having borne the brunt of police violence through
    successive erstwhile Congress administrations, it became equally clear
    that the party was not by any means hesitant to use the repressive
    machinery of the state to further its own ends. This became abundantly
    clear when, in the wake of the Naxalbari uprising, the then home
    minister Jyoti Basu (later to be Chief Minister of West Bengal),
    sanctioned the use of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) to quell
    dissident peasant activists from what had once been his own party in
    North Bengal. Hence, the popular slogan of the late 1960s “Jyoti Babu
    doley, CRP er koley” (Jyoti Babu Swings in the Lap of the CRP)

    After the fall of the United Front government and the Congress’s return
    to power police terror gripped West Bengal in the wake of the Naxalbari
    movement, and the state terror unleashed in Calcutta and several
    districts of West Bengal by the Siddhartha Shankar Ray led Congress
    ministry left several hundreds dead, and imprisoned. Many people
    disappeared.

    Since the CPI (M) dominated Left Front government came to power in 1977,
    clashes within the left front, within the CPI(M) and with an array of
    electoral and extra-parliamentary opponents (on the left and the right)
    as well as confrontations with ordinary people have left many more dead
    in West Bengal. Violence has been routinely used by the CITU, the
    CPI(M)’s trade union to enforce its writ in Industrial areas. When the
    suffocating tactics of consensus have failed, the Left Front government
    has routinely used official as well as unofficial forms of violence.
    This is a part of everyday life in West Bengal, and anyone with any
    links to the state is very well aware of the micro-managerial
    stranglehold that zonal, block and para committees of the CPI (M) have
    on most aspects of life in that state.

    The current conflict in Nandigram, which pits well armed police and CPI
    (M) cadre, acting directly in the interests of Capital against villagers
    and their sympathisers (politically organized as well as those who are
    not necessarily part of organized political formations) is just a
    reminder that in the more than three decades that it has enjoyed power
    in West Bengal, the CPI (M) has become the clone of the Congress.

    The same imperial arrogance, the same intemperate use of armed police,
    the same combination of urbane Kolkata sophistication and suburban,
    mofussil, para thuggery. The identical lethal combination of sleaze,
    rhetoric, money, muscle and humbug. The CPI (M) of today, is the perfect
    inheritor of the legacy of the Congress Party in West Bengal. Many
    people in families with a link to the history of the Communist Parties
    in West Bengal would no doubt find themselves waking up to the
    disturbing conclusion that the party that they have had an unthinking,
    emotional relationship with, through good days and bad, has in fact
    become that arrogant, belligerent, hypocritical other that they had
    grown up to despise.

    The metamorphosis of the CPI (M) into its own terrible alterity (as
    manifest in Nandigram) is an occasion for all those who remember 1954,
    1956, 1959 and 1966 to enter into some introspection. What is tragic is
    not just the fact that 14 people have died terrible deaths, but also
    that those ordering the police firing, including Chief Minister
    Buddhadeb Bhattacharya might have actually been once on the other side
    of the barricades.

    Three decades after 1977, the CPI (M) in West Bengal is a party without
    a moral backbone, bloated, sad, bankrupt and eager to be in bed with an
    enterprise (the Salim Group) that is itself implicated (historically) in
    bankrolling the masterminds of the genocide of Communists in 1965 in
    Indonesia.

    Those of us who continue to consider ourselves claimants to the legacy
    of the International Communist movement (in whichever form) have to add
    another notch on our long list of events and processes that should cause
    introspection.

    Kronstadt 1921
    The Show Trials of the 1930s in the USSR
    The Gulag Experience in the USSR
    Berlin 1953
    Hungary 1956
    Mao’s repression of Chinese Communists
    Czeckoslovakia 1968
    The Declaration of Martial Law in Poland
    The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
    Pol Pot
    The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia
    The Continued Romance of Bankrupt Authoritarianism in Cuba and North Korea
    Tienanmen Square 1989
    Nandigram and the Left Front Government in West Bengal

    (Everyone can add to this list)

    Let us take stock of all this, and then salvage what we can from our
    history for the twenty first century.

    In sorrow and solidarity with the people of Nandigram

  2. suchetha permalink
    March 16, 2007 1:34 AM

    much of the violence in Bengal over Nandigram is clear proof of how some people masquarade with red banners and kill the class they are supposed to serve. This whole desire of the CPIM to satisfy Salim’s monopolist greed for an SEZ in India is indication enough of its true colour which is certainly not red. perhaps many still remember that Salim is the one who butchered millions of communists in Indonesia and now he is invited to India by so called communists.

  3. Manoj permalink
    March 20, 2007 10:58 AM

    This is points to same old society structure – rulers and ruled. Rulers justify all actions even killing of innocents people. Is this political solution to problem? CM and others involved should charged with murder of innocents in court of law.

  4. B Prasant permalink
    March 22, 2007 10:04 AM

    A spate of accusations have been made against the CPI(M) and the Left Front government headed by it in West Bengal. It has been accused of being insensitive to people’s concerns, anti-democratic etc. Several well-meaning individuals have fallen prey to the misinformation campaign launched by vested interests and the opponents of the West Bengal Left Front and the CPI(M).

    It needs to be made clear at the outset that as far as land for industrialisation is concerned, in contrast to other Governments the West Bengal Government and its Chief Minister have repeatedly stated that the Government will have widespread consultations with local communities and elected Panchayat officials and will not proceed with any acquisition of land without taking all sections into confidence. The Government is firmly committed to protect the interests of the peasantry, sharecroppers, agricultural workers and other sections of the rural poor while taking forward the process of industrialisation.

    As far as the specific violent incidents related to Nandigram is concerned there has been no notice issued for land acquisition. Yet a deliberate campaign of misinformation is being run by opposition parties. This includes the most outrageous accusation that the Communists plan to destroy masjids and mandirs in the area. It needs to be pointed out that at least six CPI(M) workers have been brutally killed and two offices of the party burnt. In a planned drive, houses of CPI(M) workers were identified in areas where opposition parties dominate and families have been driven out and their homes attacked. This not a spontaneous outburst but a planned political attack led by the TMC and ultra-Left elements committed to violence. In spite of this huge provocation, the administration has displayed the utmost caution in not using the police so as to enable a normalization of the situation.

    The facts about the incidents are detailed below:

    What happened on 3rd January?

    The recent trouble in Nandigram began with attacks on Panchayat members, administrative officials and police on 3rd January, 2007. East Midnapur is poised to be declared as the first “Nirmal” district of the country,for excellent achievements in sanitation. A central team is scheduled to visit Nandigram on 12th and 13th January for this purpose. On 3rd January , the preparatory meeting for the visit was taking place in Kalicharanpur Panchayat .The Block officials were also present. The opposition parties, including Trinamool Congress, SUCI, some Naxalite factions and fundamentalist forces gathered together and spread rumors that the said meeting was for land acquisition. Suddenly 25-30 people gathered here and tried to break in the meeting. They were violent and abusive. They started pelting stones and the Panchayat secretary was injured. The health sub-centre was also stoned. Then only the panchayat members informed the Nandigram police station. As the police vehicle was proceed

    The so-called “Nandigram Bhumi Raksha Committee” destroyed bridges and culverts linking roads. On 4th January, they burnt a 25KV electric sub-station, In the afternoon, an armed gang with firearms attacked the CPI(M) local committee office and burnt it. Cadres of TMC and other forces roamed around and threatened CPI(M) leaders and sympathizers with dire consequences. In the night, they kidnapped local Panchayat pradhan. Many among the mob were naxalite activists from Kolkata, Gaya and certain places from Orissa. CPI(M) workers were forced to leave the villages where the opposition dominates and took shelter in a nearby camp. That the mob was armed were seen in the photographs published in newspapers too. The entire incident was meticulously planned.

    For the next two days, the Bhumi Raksha Committee blocked the roads within the villages, prohibited every movement and raised money forcibly from the people. The TMC, Congress leaders went there and issued threats of more violence. Meanwhile a heinous communal campaign was also been unleashed. The police remained restrained and they have not entered the village at all. The police convened a meeting on 5th January in Nandigram police station and leaders of TMC,SUCI ,JAMAT ULEMA were present. They verbally agreed to maintain peace and then reacted very differently in the villages.

    The incident on 6th night –7th morning

    On 6th January midnight armed miscreants of Bhumi Raksha Committee attacked the camps of CPI(M) workers who took refuge there. The attackers hurled bombs .The CPI(M) workers were forced to resist and in the ensuing clash two of the attackers were killed. Almost at the same time, the armed gangs of Bhumi Raksha Committee unleashed mayhem within the village. They killed CPI(M) supporters,torched homes,Panchayat offices .Five bodies of CPI(M) activists and sympathizers who have been killed lynched and hacked to death were found. They were: Bhudev Mandal,Sankar Samanta,Rabin Bhuia,Sudeb Mandal,Biswajit Maiti. According to reports, two more CPI(M) workers were also killed though their bodies have not yet been found. Four more Party workers have been kidnapped. Some of those who were killed have been threatened earlier too and it was reported in the newspapesrs.

    To cover up the ghastardly killing the TMC,CONGRESS and others called a Bandh .On 7th January night and 8th morning they burnt two CPI(M) offices in Talapati and Bhekutia-Dibanandapur.

    There was no case of so-called retaliation provocation from CPI(M).The Party leaders, including Biman Basu have appealed for maintaining peace to all political parties.

  5. Aditya Nigam permalink
    March 23, 2007 2:27 AM

    Prasant:Thanks for the CPM handout. It is interesting that a correspondent of People’s Democracy has to ‘clarify’ the situation in this way, in a forum like Kafila. I am sure that no such refutation of a People’s Democracy report would ever see the light of the day – were one to ever contradict it. And Why speak of PD, even The Hindu only ever dishes out party handouts and no refutation is entertained. Nonetheless, I must add that while I have no intention of refuting your ridiculous version of ‘what actually happened’ in Nandigram two glaring omissions in this version reveal your whitewash attempt.
    1. It has already been accepted by the state CPM leadership, after much ado, that the initial turmoil had been caused by an order of the Haldia Development Authority. We have had occasion to trace that entire sequence of events in this very blog
    (http://www.kafila.org/2007/01/10/‘scientific’-land-grab-and-the-lie-machine/). Thus to say that there was absolutely nothing – that everything was but a figment of people’s imagination, ignited by the false propaganda of the opposition parties is disingenuous to say the least.

    2.The second omission is even more damning: the peasants themselves are completely absent in your account – except as those manipulated by a whole range of scheming political parties/groups. When they support you, they are acting as enlightened peasants, but when they turn against you they are ‘misled’ and ‘manipulated’. This is a standard strategy of power: reduce all opposition to manipulation by some outside elements: Trotsky was a German agent, remember? And so was all the opposition in the Soviet Union, till, one day, it was no more. Utterly condescending statements like “several well-meaning individuals have fallen prey to the misinformation” will not hide the fact that it is not just interested parties like the Trinamool Congress or the Jamait-e-Ulema-Hind who have been ‘spreading misinformation’ but that all independent fact-finding initiatives have corroborated that it was a CPM sponsored massacre.

  6. B Prasant permalink
    March 23, 2007 6:22 AM

    Dear Aditya Nigam,

    1. Thank you for going through our report.

    2. CPI (M) has always stood by the fact that taking advantage of the situation, the right-ultra left combination ‘opposition’ ran riot at Nandigram. If indulging in mayhem and killing is part of the mindset that one chooses to support and justify, we may only wonder at the ‘democratic’ sentiments expressed by you in having been liberal enough to publish my commentary.

    3. CPI (M) has stated that in the fracas that took place, rural poor were involved as the scions of the ruling classes enjoyed the spectacle of women and children being forced at gunpoint to confront the police while the Trinamul Congress-Naxalite ‘braves’ took pot shots at the police from behind.

    4. If you choose to draw a line of distinction between the rural poor (who are mostly kisans and khet mazdoors) and peasants, then the problem, a serious one at that, lies somewhere else, and goes beyond semantic details. Certainly we hold that a section of the rural poor was manipulated and then forced to toe the opportunistic line of the right-ultra left who are basically out to ‘finish off’ the Left Front government as one particularly irate and self-styled singer-activist has recently blustered.

    5. CPI (M) does hold that when the rural poor is made to believe through invoking atavistic and religious sentiments to stand opposed to the pro-people, and pro-poor Left Front government, then the issue at stake concerns manipulation of the mind of rural masses for the sake of petty, sectarian interests. The ‘logic’, cruel and twisted, seems to be ‘organise provocation and then carry on more violence as action justified.’

    6. We are never surprised that you and the website we both have written in, would not speak a single line about the plight of the thousands of the rural poor who are ousted from their hearth-and-home and are even driven out at the point of guns from the relief camps where they have been put up. Perhaps you, in your innate hatred of the Communists would not count them as important enough for a mention because they stood opposed to the destructive politics of the Bengal opposition.

    B Prasant

  7. March 23, 2007 7:15 PM

    Sunday, March 18, 2007
    कामरेड ! तुम्हारी पक्षधरता क्या है?

    सुनील/रेयाज़-उल-हक

    नंदीग्राम : बदरंग लाल की आभा
    लोग कितनी आसानी से मार दिये जाते हैं!
    हालांकि उनकी चीख तब भी निकलती है और दूर तक पहुंचती है. नंदीग्राम में गैर सरकारी स्रोत बताते हैं कि डेढ़ सौ से ज़्यादा लोग मारे गये. लाशें नदी में बहा दी गयीं. दो सौ लोग अब भी लापता हैं. महिलाऒं के साथ बलात्कार हुए हैं और पत्रकारों को अभी भी वहां नहीं जाने दिया जा रहा है.
    तो क्या हम लोकतंत्र में रह रहे हैं? 1947 के बाद संभवत: यह अकेली बडी़ घटना है, जिसमें एक पूरे गांवं को घेर कर उसे इस तरह कुचल दिया गया हो. और यह सब कौन कर रहा है? वही सीपीएम सरकार जो गरीबों-किसानों की पक्षधरता के दावे करती नहीं थकती. आप उसके नेताओं के चेहरों को देखिए-वे फक पडे़ हुए हैं, मगर कह रहे हैं-हत्याएं सही थीं.
    याद आ रहा है वह अमेरिकी अधिकारी, जिसने कुछ दिन पहले बीबीसी पर सीपीएम को विकास की ज़रूरत और अमेरिकी हितों को सबसे अच्छी तरह समझनेवाली पार्टी कहा था. इससे समझा जा सकता है कि सीपीएम सरकार के हित किसके साथ गुत्थमगुत्था हैं, और सीपीएम विकास की जो अवधारणा पेश कर रही है वह कहां बनी है. मगर सिंगुर और नंदीग्राम के लोगों को समझने के लिए किसी अमेरिकी अधिकारी के बयान की ज़रूरत नहीं है. वे दरअसल उस आतंक को भोग रहे हैं, जो यह सरकार उन पर कर कर रही है. नंदीग्राम के लोग इंडोनेशियाई कंपनी सालिम को नहीं आने देने की कीमत चुका रहे हैं. यह वही सालिम ग्रुप है, जो इंडोनेशिया में 1965 कम्युनिस्टों के कत्लेआम के बाद अमेरिकी संरक्षण में फला-फूला. इसे भ्रष्ट सुहार्तो शासन ने विकसित होने में मदद की. अब सुदूर भारत में इसे एक ज़बरदस्त मददगार मिल गया है-बुद्धदेव भट्टाचार्य.
    इधर बंगाल में कथित विकास की प्रक्रिया पर ध्यान दें, तो पायेंगे कि बडी़ सफ़ाई से आम किसानों, भूमिहीनों और मज़दूरों की कीमत पर शहरों का विस्तार किया ज रहा है. शापिंग माल और मल्टीप्लेक्स बनाये जा रहे हैं. कामरेड बुद्धा के विचार में यही विकास है, मगर वे जिस तरह के विकास की बात कर रहे हैं, वह लोगों को झांसा देने के लिए है. उनका कहना है कि वे राज्य को क्रिषि से उद्योग की तरफ़ ले जा रहे हैं. उनकी राय में विकास की यही प्रक्रिया है. मगर विकास की एक स्वाभाविक प्रक्रिया होती है. इसके लिए पहले क्रिषि को काफ़ी विकसित करना होता है, जिससे जमा अतिरिक्त संसाधन उद्योगों के विकास में लगाया जाता है. इससे आम आदमी की क्रयशक्ति भी बढ़ती है. इस प्रक्रिया में क्रिषि का अतिरिक्त श्रम उद्योगों के काम आता है. मगर भारत में क्रिषि का वैसा विकास नहीं हुआ है. इसके उलट क्रिषि संकट गहराता जा रहा है. इसलिए आज बेलगाम औद्योगिक विकास का सीधा मतलब किसानों को उजाड़ना है. नंदीग्राम के किसान इस उजड़ने से बचने के लिए संधर्ष कर रहे हैं. नंदीग्राम में हुई इस तरह की ज़ुल्म-ज़बर्दस्ती सिर्फ़ इसी का प्रमाण है कि यह सरकार किस हद तक अपने उद्देश्यों से दूर आ चुकी है और अपने लोगों के कितना खिलाफ़ जा सकती है. महाश्वेता देवी कहती हैं-‘यही सीपीएम है.’ मतलब यही सीपीएम का असली रंग है. देश के एक बड़े तबके में अब यह सवाल उठने लगा है कि भारत में संसदीय वामपंथ कहां आ पहुंचा है.
    इस नरसंहार ने पूरे देश को झकझोर कर रख दिया है. गुरुवार को कोलकाता की जादवपुर युनिवर्सिटी में गुस्साये छात्रों ने कैंपस से खदेड़ दिया. देश भर में विरोध प्रदर्शन हो रहे हैं. नेट पर युवकों की एक बडी़ संख्या संसदीय वामपंथ के इस चेहरे पर अपने गुस्से का इजहार कर रही है.
    आखिर यह सवाल क्यों नहीं पूछा जाना चाहिए कि पुलिस के पांच हज़ार जवान किसलिए गांव में भेजे गये थे? हम कैसे समाज में रह रहे हैं? क्या हिंसा करना सत्ता का एकाधिकार है और जनता को, (क्या हम कह सकते हैं, निरीह जनता को?) हंसिये लहराने का भी अधिकार नहीं है? क्या वह रो भी नहीं सकती?
    नंदीग्राम ने पूरे देश को दो संदेश दिये हैं-एक तो यह कि भारतीय संसदीय पार्टियां अमेरिकी साम्राज्यवाद के हितों की रक्षा में किस हद तक जा सकती हैं. दूसरा संदेश यह है कि ऐसी बेलगाम बर्बरता के खिलाफ़ जनता को किस तरह उठ खड़े होना चाहिए.
    बांग्ला रंगकर्मी अर्पिता घोष का मानना है कि यह संघर्ष प्रकाश की रेखा है. वे कहती हैं-अगर हम इसके साथ नहीं हुए तो हम बच नहीं पायेंगे.

  8. Aditya Nigam permalink
    March 23, 2007 9:17 PM

    Prasant: Just to set the record straight, I am constrained to respond to some of your points here.
    1. Once again, the point that is being made by ALL independent fact-finding groups without exception is that the ‘mayhem and killing’ was CPM-sponsored – not that there was none nor that ‘we’ (whoever that may refer to in your dictionary) condone violence. You know it as well as Prakash Karat – and yet you indulge in this deliberate sleight of hand.
    2. ‘We’ do think we are ‘liberal’ or democratic enough to publish your commentary, so that your opinion is also there for all to see – so patently absurd though it may be. We do believe that ideas – even yours – have to be confronted in open contest; they cannot be banished simply by the writ of the Politburo as some people seem to still believe. Please remember that the Soviet Union did not fall because of a Right-Ultra Left conspiracy (nor an imperialist conspiracy) but simply because people started actively disbelieving what the official media told them. If, one accepts for arguments sake, that it was because of soem external conspiracy, even in that case, one must wonder at how truly fragile that totalitarian structure was. This is, in a microcosm, Nandigram today – the Biman Basus and Buddhadebs simply so many little fascists.
    3. The rural poor are of course involved and at the receiving end of the CPM sponsored violence. The question here is this: Till May 2006 (at least) these rural areas were ‘impregnable’ (pardon this term) fortresses of the CPM/LF. And why Midnapore? Nowhere in Bengal was it possible for any party to make any headway in any rural area largely due to the support that the CPM/LF enjoyed (sprinkled of course, with a judicious use of an economy of terror). What happened suddenly that CPM became the helpless target of some strange creature called the Opposition – so much so that they were being hounded out? The CPM may not have an answer but let me end with an apocryphal story:
    It is said that the precise moment at which the (Islamic) revolution against the Shah of Iran took shape was when a pedestrian walking the road refused to follow the command of the policeman on the street. Immediately the act of defiance communicated itself – everybody was defying authority. This is how sudden changes often are – especially because they are invisible to power till they burst forth on the stage. Except for those in power, others of course, share every bit of this knowledge; it is never invisble to them.

    4. Finally, please for heaven’s sake do not conflate CPM with communism. CPM is only the carrier of the worst legacies associated with communism in the twentieth century but as my friend Shuddhabrata has pointed out in an earlier comment here, the communist legacy is far richer and liberating than what stalinists can even imagine.

  9. B Prasant permalink
    March 25, 2007 12:46 AM

    Dear Aditya Nigam,

    1. Thank you for your responding to the urge of ‘setting the record straight.’

    2. When one adopts a partisan outlook against the Communists in particular, the most obvious syndrome is to be selective about facts of history—whether at Nandigram or in the former Soviet Union. The basic urge of this form of verbal and written discourse is not to analyse facts but to set up a hypothesis and instead of testing it dialectically, find, even invent, ‘facts’ to fit into the hypothesis, and thus come out with a happy, comfortable, and a grossly one-sided and tyrannous structure of arguments.

    3. Rather than bother you with a reminder that all the ‘independent’ ‘fact-finding’ groups at Nandigram and Singur started with an anti-Communist, specifically anti-CPI (M), mindset (and here they have had happy meetings of the mind with the right-reactionary Trinamul Congress, the ultra left, and the religious fundamentalists of both persuasions), we would simply point out that the truth is sometimes too dangerous to be confronted by votaries of anarchism and disorder: the plight of the thousands of men, women, and children forced to leave their hutments nor the brutal instances of killing and rape of helpless victims all because they would not toe the line of the right-ultra left groups, finds no mention in the ‘facts’ found by the ‘independent groups.’

    4. Several of the self-styled votaries of ‘kisans’ rights’ have of late declared a war against the CPI (M). They have called for the rolling of heads of CPI (M) workers, and the public hanging of the local CPI (M) MP, in open if smallish gatherings. They have taken for granted, and quite literally, we suppose, the dictum that truth should be made the first casualty.

    5. We certainly hold and all facts point to our conclusion that there is a right-ultra left conspiracy to respond fiercely and with an armed might against the attempts by the Communists to change the correlation of class forces in the rural stretches of Bengal through redistributive land reforms and the setting in motion of the Panchayat system, and then following the process up through building up of employment-intense industries on the strong agricultural and agrarian base.

    6. We appreciate and understand the desperation of the scions of the ruling classes to back to the hilt, the efforts of the right reactionaries, the anarchists, and the religious fundamentalists of both persuasions to try to embarrass the CPI (M) with organised mayhem and murder, preceded and followed by hate campaigns of disinformation and calumny. We are a little disconcerted at witnessing the ‘independent groups’ bent on finding / fabricating ‘facts’ of a certain kind eagerly joining the bandwagon.

    7. The rural people of Bengal have remained with the CPI (M) and the Left Front. Land is a sensitive issue. Yet the constant lie campaign about and organised violence against ‘land being taken over without compensation’ (a brutal lie) has failed and miserably at Singur where an automotive factory is coming up: the resistance of the anti-Communist ‘braves’ there are restricted to tugging feebly at a few wooden stakes and setting up small fires around a brick wall.

    8. Rumour-mongering, and a campaign of untruth, is being utilised by the right-left opposition to organise a cleansing of Nandigram of the Communists. A section of the kisans may have been led ashtray, but they have started to come back to the fold, and the vast bulk of them at any rate, has chosen to remain with the Communists. Popularity and depth of the mass base is hardly judged by the sporadic and intense of violence led and unleashed by anarchists determined to isolate the Communists and the Left Front government. Such attempts, you may not like to recall, have happened in the past, and have ended in complete failures. This time, too, the anarchists will fail and fail comprehensively.

    9. Finally, I am a little surprised at the clean chit you have given to the imperialists and declared that there was no imperialist conspiracy against the Soviet Union. Is this the new line of the little Trotskyites? If it is, then we are relieved that you have chosen in your unseemly haste to write off the Communists, to show yourself in true colours.

  10. Aditya Nigam permalink
    March 25, 2007 1:47 AM

    True colours indeed, Mr Prasant. Just one thing, for your ruminations when you confront yourself in solitude: NO ONE was really fooled about what was happening in the Soviet Union (neither the people inside USSR nor those in the wide world outside) except communist cadre – who were led to believe the nonsense that their leadership dished out; just as you do now. Let me tell you an inside story.
    This was in 1990. An all India students’ fraction committee (CPM fraction within the SFI – for those who do not know the CPM jargon), was meeting at the central committee office at 14 Ashoka Road. M Basavapunnaiah was present as the Politburo member in charge of the student front. An agitated member from Assam was asking Basavapunnaiah about Sitaram’s article in People’s Democracy, written shortly after his return from Romania, after attending the Romanian Party Congress. Sitaram had claimed that the unanimous re-election of the entire leadership by the Party Congress reflected the faith of the Romanian people in the Ceaucescu leadership. The assumption of course, was that Party delegates were popular representatives, whereas events very soon showed that they had no clue to the popular mood. Within a month of that article appearing, ‘socialist Romania’ had vanished from the map of the world. The Assam comrade was demanding an explanation for this. At this Sitaram – I wonder whether his memory still serves him right on this – somewhat aggressively challenged him, “so you’re saying I lied to the party”? Good old Basavapunnaiah caught Sitaram’s arm and said: “Sit down Sitaram. Neither you lied to the party; nor did the Romanian party lie to you. It was the Romanian people who lied to their party.”
    Mr Prasant – Please do not commit yourself to more than you might be able to defend.

  11. B Prasant permalink
    March 25, 2007 3:05 AM

    Dear Aditya Nigam,

    1. We see and appreciate where you have to refer to the international scene of some years past to bolster your weak-kneed and blustering thesis on Nandigram.

    2. We are not aware of whether you are aware of crucibles called time-and-place, situational reality, and their inter se dynamics.

    3. Anti-Communist hatred of a pathological kind would appear to make one quite desperate as your referential rejoinder clearly shows, bringing in Romania to prove your point (or the lack of it) in Nandigram in Bengal where a democratically-elected Left Front government is in office.

  12. Aditya Nigam permalink
    March 25, 2007 11:11 PM

    रियाज़ भाई, आपकी टिप्पणी ‘छापने’ में देर हुई इसके लिए माफ़ी चाहते हैं। यूनिकोड हर मशीन पर अभी मौजूद नहीं है, इसीलिए देर हुई। लिखते रहिएगा।

  13. radha upadhya permalink
    March 25, 2007 11:32 PM

    Hey Aditya and Prasant, i guess you guys write from Bengal. Let me tell you what the CPI(M) is doing in Karnataka. They were once a force of Movement?? Then their trade union leaders began to grow corrupt, built big offices and houses and swindled with funds. Eventually the workers decided to drive them out. So also their students’ wing SFI joined some united movements with other organisations and tried to boss over them, but could not succeed. Their cadre use foul language, get aggressively violent, are intolerant of any criticism or question and will go to any extent to justify themselves. As a result they are now bwing rejected by the people and in many places they have begun to live on Government funds by taking up some Literacy campaigns. Their contact with the masses is little or none at all. They combine with all kinds of elements here and are distanced from the people’s reality. BUT THOSE OF US WHO HAVE SEEN THEM FROM CLOSE QUARTERS know what their culture is (IS THERE ANY?? There is nothing about them which speaks of communist ideals, neither in their speech nor in their behaviour. OUr ordinary farmers and workers here will tell you what they are and what they must have done in Nandigram.

    Just ask Prakash Karat who funded their Suryanaryan Rao memorial building in Bangalore and what connections they have with Jindal Steel Vijayanagar!!

    One will not be surprised to see them floating stories about Nandigram. They have been trained by GOEBBELS. Any site will tell you what they are. Let Prakash Brinda Sitaram etc go to Nandigram or Singur or even Siliguri now unescorted and talk to the people in the absence of police and CPIM cadres. Then they will know what it is.

    For argument sake even if it is true that the ruling party in power found its cadres and police helpless against ‘outside ‘forces, they were unfit to rule ya. You think anyone will believe it. They commit murders in Kerala over student union elections, attack women from other parties in many southern states. I am sure they are at their worst in Bengal. So there is no need to defend the party which is serving capitalists. So why not call it Capitalists’ Party of India (Mercenary) instead?
    Radha Upadhya
    Bangalore

  14. Aditya Nigam permalink
    March 26, 2007 2:28 AM

    Hi Radha, The dude writes from inside the machine – AK Gopalan Bhavan, New Delhi. I too write from Delhi, not Bengal – but our experience matches with yours, perfectly.

  15. Gangamitra Baidyanathan permalink
    April 1, 2007 10:39 AM

    Hey Aditya, Radha, Prasant and Monobina,

    In a civilised society nobody or no group is expected to act in a repressive way to stand by their claim. In a civilised society there are registered means of staking claim and that’s why the judiciary and the legal framework do exist. Byepassing that is uncivilised and the Govt. administration is framed to curb down only such show of uncivilisation.
    The people of Nandigram have every right to oppose and protest land takeover. There are ample means and avenues. But when they exhibit uncivilisation it is the duty of govt. to intervene in order to save the society from it.
    A handful section of Nandigram, the powerful ones off course, initiated repressive measures to the persons and families who were not in tune with them. The lawnessness started that time. They created it a “Muktanchal” only to freely continue their acts of repression. The evidences are :
    — More than 1000 families were driven out
    — Some of them brutally murdered
    — They housewives were gang-raped
    — Even a meritorious school student like Sumita was gangraped and killed by hanging in open daylight
    — A muslim girl wasn’t allowed to go for treatment in hospital and she died.
    — Hundreds of children are thrown out of their homes, not to talk about their studies.
    All these were continuing for last two months. Hey Aditya, Monobina – why are you so partisan in nature not to acknowledge this? Are you Brainwashed?

    And the clashes by the two fronts continued for two months.

    WE, the people of Bengal, the rational ones, irrespective of colours, wanted an end to it and wanted Govt. to intervene, enter into the villages and dis-arm the hooligans. The Govt. did it. The objective wasn’t to supress the villagers, the objective was to drive out the hoologans and resore peace and normalcy. Objectivewise the Govt. is at no fault.

    What happened is definitely to condemn and it happened due to callousness and irresponsibility on the part of the police and administration. They should have aborted their move and retreat when they found women and children at the front. The Govt. must take the person on charge to task.

    Some may say that the people of Nandigram paid for their sins of rape, murder and torture only. But it is also an irresponsible statement. The ones died or injured are poor villagers, apart from some who were outsiders. At more news are coming up in the media, it is apparant that they were misled by the group of hooligans and some of them were forced to join in the anti-police front. Ultimately it is a loss for the poor people on either side.

    So who gained? Off course Mamta. She was being described a finished force. She needed some radical events and got it on the deadbodies. But Aditya, Monobina – if you too follow the same languges of that sinister joker, people of Bengal will simply spit on your face. I am telling this with full confidence and full understanding of peoples’ mood in Bengal. The people here now want development, not petty bickering.

    Sorry to say, unlike Aditya or Prasant I do live inside Bengal since birth.

    regards

  16. Panini Pothoharvi permalink
    April 3, 2007 9:09 PM

    Good to read this predicable but nonetheless hilarious ‘insider’s’ account of what transpired in a fractional meeting of the SFI where Com Basavpunniah rose to a credulous defence of a callow Com Yechuri on how the Romanian people had ‘lied’ to the party. I remember as a gullible undergrad being coaxed into attending a ‘study circle’ addressed by none other than but Com Aditya Nigam himself. You came across intellectually more refined and credible than, say, someone like Com Sohail Hashmi who most of us then agreed was severely short on ideas and seemed more often than not to rely upon either obsolete cliches or daring misinformation. However, my impression of you as of others of your commissarian ilk then was that you people functioned more like charged up robots completely bereft of human emotions and sensuousness. Your anger was not credible. Your show of compassion was motivated by ‘strategic’ needs. Your need to forge contacts was conveniently persistent and not a little suspicious. Your fractional cadre was out there to catch us young. Where else could hapless but sensitive souls, which I make bold to say we were, go but the leftist students’ outfit. For, we instinctively realized how utterly unacceptable the BJP and the CONGI would be to people with an iota of self-regard and self-respect.

    But how different were SFIs, the AISFs and the AISAs?

    I’m afraid the space within such ideologically driven straitjackets – mass manufactured designer’s outfit – was pretty repressive. The higher ups were at best uneasily tolerant of the lower cadres – you must agree or else… – but their normal behaviour betrayed unending distrust, plots and conspiracies. There were no genuine friendships possible. In order to be friendly you needed human resonance and that was in such appalling short supply. You often met up each other ravenously over evening dinners discussing in monotones the theoretical tedium you had left unfinished in the morning or simply which was quite frequently nothing more than inspired gossip. You could not make friends with people beyond the fold and the fold itself was so unfriendly. You were supposed to like shoddy Latin American cinema of the ‘El Salvador – another Vietnam’ kind what with the lady militant carrying a bazooka on her manly shoulders sending illibidinal comrades into visual ecstasies. No genuine debate was possible. It was severely and even sternly discouraged. One was not expected to raise questions about what the proponents of prolutkult did to the Meyerholds and Eisenstein, how the Zhdanovian thugs hounded out tens of thousands of cultural activists of Moscow and Leningrad into the consumption causing icicles of Siberia. You were supposed to reverentially attend lectures by the Patnaik’s and imbibe not only what they said but the very style and manner of their language and speech till you all began to sound the standardized same. Mauryas and Mazumdars were your cultural theorists who burned the midnight oil in academic vain trying to fix the postmodernist deviations – till they started slyly espousing the very thoughts that they once attacked so vehemently – and explaining the myriad shifts in Lukacsian positions. In order to rise in party hierarchy, you needed to be an appropriately well-connected Brahmin or a Kaayasth. The family fiefdom was also visible in full flagrant flow: the Yechuris and the Mazumdars, the Hashmis and the Karats, the Maurya, Bhattis and the Kovacs… You needed convent education to see yourself within the sorority of the select. If you happened to be a woman, you needed the ‘look’, the elan and the aural charm of a star to succeed. A plain Jane, no matter how intellectually dynamic, found absolutely no space…

    The way, for instance, you put up a dogged defense of Comrade Josef Stalin was beyond the pale of hilarious. It was simply sinister. I must say though that your smile was more convincing and more childlike and therefore more humane. For, others could hardly ever afford this luxury in the ‘public sphere’. They could be heard laughing out aloud now and then and the their laughter would be triggered by coarse chauvinist remarks made by the highly regarded ‘insiders’. Jokes about regions, communities, women and gays and lesbians…

    Much as I admire your writing, I cannot help wondering how someone like you could stay so long within such an outfit?

  17. radha upadhya permalink
    April 4, 2007 11:26 AM

    Hey i know that inside the SFI and the CPM there is no democracy they claim, also they do not remain consistent to what they term their ideology. Whenever it suits them they misinterpret or misquote Lenin as Konar did in the Nandigram issue. And if the CPIm wants development why does it not reopen the 56000 industries that have been closed down? What about the fallow lands available? That woul dbe useful too. ALso if they need space facilities etc, why not use the infrastructure of the industries which have been shut down?? No but Prince Salim would n ot be happy. So one needs to butcher people. You think those who are fighting genuinely will rape women?? Ha ha ha. The CPIm has been trained in all kinds of unimaginable manipulations- they kill their own cadres who differ with them, they kill the women with whom their leaders have close relations (YES),they even try to kill their own people, if it means they will gain and then put the blame on others. If they are not involved in all this in Nandigram why did they dump the bodies in the rivers where fishermen dread to go now, because they find only human bodies and crocodiles?? If they did not do anything, then why wre the undergarments etc of school girls found with blood stains near their leader’s bungalow, why were women’s breasts cut off after gangrapes? Why do the doctors in the government hospitals treating the victims refusing to examine them for rape??

    About those driven out- why do you hide that the CPIm goons put up camps around Nandigram all entry points, came at night and attacked them and continue to bomb them to create fear even now?? How come not a single police man was reported dead or injured by bullets in the incident?? What we see of CPIm police misbehaving with women who are fighting during Bandhs on TV – are they real of just computer generated images?? Why do they always defend themselves when their own cadre questions them? Also why did they come down so heavily in Nandigram which is their own area of influence??? Why were the people kept in the dark about the land acquisition? why were the left front partners not taken into confidence over use of the 1894 land act?? And what was the need for such a large police force to counter women and children in uniform even carrying household implements (weapons!!) and the men too. All the firearms used came from the direction of the police. Ok even if there wree outsiders in there, why did the police beat women who were running away- we have seen it on TV repeatedly?? WhY do they prevent fact finding teams and journalists who want to enter the area even now?? What was the meaning of the local Bundh soon after the incident (not the Bundh calld by the people on 16th but 15th by CPIM, if not to remove all possible evidence of their crimes, particularly murders and killings>> and after all thsi, if the common masses do not get angry and violent enough to burn their offices they would be saints!! Perhaps all of you are aware that the BUPC has an important constituent called SUCI whose volunteers promised to save the police at risk to their own lives on the day they dissuaded the police from coming near the memorial rally which had victims and was 15 km long as described in the press>>> Hey Proshanto, do not lose your cool , but remember we from outside can see and read many things.

  18. Panini Pothoharvi permalink
    April 5, 2007 9:34 PM

    Not just the SFI but also AISF and AISAs – I have seen them all already, seen them all!

  19. Sagar permalink
    April 7, 2007 8:43 PM

    Panini, that’s quite a journey to make from SFI to AISF to AISA. Would be interested to know what other such organisations you have been seeing lately.

  20. Panini Pothoharvi permalink
    April 8, 2007 10:22 PM

    Mimicry is the last resort of you know who! When you want to be crude you lapse into literal readings – quibbling and nitpicking a lot like Com Basavpuniah. I have never been associated with any of these organisations except the SFI very very briefly before opting out for very obvious reasons. But I have a fairly good idea how the other two organisations work.

  21. Panini Pothoharvi permalink
    April 8, 2007 10:32 PM

    If you know a bit of literature, you would immediately know from where the verse “I have seen them all already seen them all” comes from. I admire intelligent sarcasm. But literal mimicry? I’m not too sure!

  22. Sagar permalink
    April 8, 2007 11:49 PM

    I don’t know much literature (quite obviously) but admit the sarcasm was probably needless (but a lot of fun!). I was provoked by the fact that organisations of any kind- from the church to the communist party- are such sitting ducks for scathing critique by anyone who still has a head on his/her shoulder and a heart in the right place. The problem occurs when you realize that all organizations are ultimately the collective expression of the individuals who make them up (some more than others, of course) and their failings are actually those of the kind of society we are and the general culture we represent as a people. What should also be considered is that individuals are themselves mini-organisations on their own, complete with their visible or invisible little flags, national anthems, border police and weapons of mass destruction. Whether you are formally part of any organisation or not is immaterial. If you have any ‘belongings’ you already ‘belong’ to the Party of Those Who Have. Once in a while the barrel of the gun should point inwards to see what the battle brings. Personally I am petrified of doing anything of this sort but my lack of courage should not stop anyone else from doing some introspection along with their inspection.

  23. Panini Pothoharvi permalink
    April 9, 2007 12:26 AM

    I agree! Wholeheartedly! Kudos!

  24. Vrinda Karat yechuri permalink
    April 14, 2007 8:18 AM

    Its Corporate Communism Stupid!

  25. radha upadhya permalink
    April 15, 2007 9:20 PM

    Hey you guys If CPIM wants development and industrialisation it is time they re read the communist manifesto and define development> of the majority or the minority capitalists? Also how does capital intensive industrialisation help create more jobs? If the industries are to be set up on fertile lands, what happens to the 80,000 people in Nandigram belt who will be affected. Is it necessary to please anti communist Salem to be served with land and blood of poor peasants on a platter deprive them of their land, home, schools, colleges, markets, temples, mosques etc that they have lived with? Where is the alternative space for them and the facilities?? Also how can unskilled farm labour get jobs in industries? They will only end up as cooks, domestic help, watchman, attender etc. Is that a job gurantee? And why hide that the real lawlessness will prevail inside the SEZ. So what is wrong if people decide that it is better they prevent it? CPIM should feel ashamed that its police and administration have lost all confidence and trust of the people due to which they do not want them to step in. As for the ousted CPIM guys, who stops them from return to their homes unless they have abetted violence even as they hid behind their willing leaders?? CPIM is good at lies, lies, lies lies lies…
    We have seen it over the years. Why do they also not admit that even withing their own party there is dissent on this issue but it is silenced by citing power in the state?

  26. gangamitra baidyanathan permalink
    May 12, 2007 11:15 PM

    Hey Aditya, Radha, Prasant and Monobina,

    You people seem to have perfectly acquired the FASCIST attiudes. Whenever you feel your argunments are getting defeated you term the other side as “Dudes”, “Party whole timer”, “AKG Bhavan residents” etc.
    In your heart you feel humiliated when even simple persons like us question your Inteliigence, Intension and Integrity and show vividly how wrong, biased and REGIMENTED you are. All your responses reveal that your can’t tolerate that humiliation but at the same time have no matter inside you to counter it. That time you bypass or avoid the issues and go in for marking others with Adjectives.
    This is typical behaviour of non-intelligent self-proclaimed intellegensia. In Bengali there was a drama name “Chokhe Angul Dada”. This was about a character who finds faults with everyone and boost high of himself but the opperunity was given to him to prove himself his failed miserably. You are all such “Chokhe Angul Dada”, who have no skill to create anything but resorting only to rhetorics to hide their shortcomings.
    Whatever REGIMENTED propagandas and FALSIFICATIONs you GOEBBELs do or continue, people of West Bengal are enough intelligent to understand those and won’t heed to you at all.
    Today’s issue in West Bengal is DEVELOPMENT vs DISTURBANCE. We know that people like you are extremly hurt to find WB developing in industries too, after it’s thumping success in agriculture. The same kind of oppositions were faced when this Left Front of WB initiated the Land reforms and Rural developments. The same is faced now. But future will tell why the moves of LF and it’s govt. is right. Just wait for it only. It is bound to happen irrespective of whetehr you and your associates, fellow-feelers howl back or not.
    Sorry to undermine your writings. But it’s better to make you realise that you are generating “good for nothing” thinking it “good something”.
    Regards.

  27. Aniruddha Dutta permalink
    May 19, 2007 1:34 PM

    well, sorry to chip in so late but this is especially to gangamitra –
    even if aditya and prashant are simply “chokhe angul dadas” and unable to come to terms with the complex reality of nandigram, the situation at West Bengal can NOT be reduced to a simple binary of Development vs. Disturbance. the issue is not only what happened at Nnadigram, whose fault it was, who instigated who and so on and so forth. I think what is lost in such a narrow debate is the larger issue of ‘development’ itself – are SEZs and capital-intensive industries the right WAY to industrialisation and poverty-alleviation at all? as long as we don’t get to a democratic dialogue on development models, its no use blaming ‘disturbance’ on either the villagers or the CPM… the actual disease lies elsewhere! and such ‘disturbances’ will continue and the blame-game will also continue, unless such basic questions are faced and discussed in the larger public sphere, with all strata of people participating. or else, sections of people will undoubtedly feel left out/compromised and clashes will start again (so will the blame game).
    lastly, gangamitra is a bit too fast in drawing parallels between the land reforms and the current industrialisaton policy – there are actually contradictory. whereas the land reforms aimed to empower the ‘bargadars’ (or non-land owning class of farers), the present acqusition method relies on the land owning class and their willingness to part with land. it disempowers the bargadar, and does not draw such sections into a dialogue on ‘development’ models, or sustainable development alternatives.

  28. Gangamitra Baidyanathan permalink
    July 4, 2007 12:29 AM

    Hi everybody,
    Sorry, I was on a vacation and couldn’t interact. In sharp contrast to the howlings of Aditya, Radha or Monobina the notes of Aniruddha are really on constructive lines and on rational decent thoughts. I admire it.
    The point of debate, what Ani raised, is not a matter to be resolved within the corners of Kafila. It is a multi-factor dynamic issue and needs to be deliberated thoroughly across the society. Those who seek or decide a quick simplistic conclusion, whether from this side or that side, are real duds.
    I am raising only some fundamental issues :

    1. The arrangement, what is good and progressive yesterday may become a curse or sluggish or decadent today. The dialectics say so. The flow of history would bend towards the direction of strongest synthesis. This is the truth on inevitability, whatever you say. The rise of Capitalism in Europe, the rise of socialism in Russia and China and even the fall of USSR are all such dialectic flows. So while looking for “more progressive” structure we have to analyse whether what is progressive today would also remain progressive tomorrow.
    The Operation barga was a very progressive move in the way it brought reliefs and rights to the bargadars. The per-capita income of Bargadar class shot up due to higher productivity and higher share. But that the bargadar class remain CONFINED to land and cultivation may not be a progressive status for them in future. Why – because they would fall back on per-capita income compared to others in the society as their families grow and don’t find alternative avenues to earn.
    So finding or building such alternative imcome generation avenues is a progressive task now.

    2. What is the best progressive Avenue for Income generation? Some issues are
    – how long it is sustainable
    – how self-reliant it is
    – how equitable it is
    – how much permanent change in ownership on resources
    – whether transformation is gainful (cost-benefit)
    …..
    Definitely setting up big industries is not the only alternative but it is one of the means. And whereever this means is aimed, the am issues are to be resolved and answered.
    Ani, nothing is contradictory. Both Operation barga and industrialisation are different avenues to serve the same purpose of economic upliftment of the rural mass. But they have different impacts on the am points. For industries the impact would be different based on factors like the time of implementation, the nature of industry, the ownership pattern, the multiplication effect etc. Each project thus require to be analysed separately. Equating simply the TATA car project with Salem Health city is an over simplistic step – an immaturity which Adity & Co. exhibits.

    To your last point the development model also can’t be a static one or a fixed one. It would vary from place to place, from time to time. Its our duty to find out and point out the most progressive one at the right time at the right place. Ther is no point undermining every initiative in a lot, neither praising those in lot. That would be again an over-simplistic attitude, which normally the right-wing and left-wing extremists exhibit. And the Trinamool-Naxal hobnobing shows irrational extremism from even the opponents do find ally in each other in any war with rationalism.

  29. Panini Pothoharvi permalink
    July 4, 2007 11:56 PM

    Some doubts – on reading Gangamitra Baidyanathan (obviously only the ‘baidya’ of the ‘naths’ and not of the ‘das’)

    1. Sorry, I was on a vacation and couldn’t interact.

    You were??? See how things went completely out of control??? How could you desert the larger humanity in the lurch???

    2. The arrangement, what is good and progressive yesterday may become a curse or sluggish or decadent today. The dialectics say so.

    WHERE ??? And which dialectics??? There are many kinds!!! Aren’t there?

    3. The flow of history would bend towards the direction of strongest synthesis.

    You mean the rise of HINDUTVA, aggressive rhetorics of identity, unbridled desire to control, mindless depradation of ecology etc ???

    4. This is the truth on inevitability, whatever you say. The rise of Capitalism in Europe, the rise of socialism in Russia and China and even the fall of USSR are all such dialectic flows.

    Not surprised to know your understanding of dialectics is so transparently ‘destiny’ driven!!! WHERE IS THE HUMAN AGENCY IN ALL THIS??? Unless of course you equate yourself with the blue-blooded humankind and the rest – the ‘howling’ Nandigramites – with the nether animal kindom. Isn’t that a thousand shame???

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