Plain Thoughts in the Time of a War (and on the Recent Shenanigans of the Netri)

November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

by Krishanu Mandal

Fear has crept into them, Robeson…
The collective roar of the people has put fear into them,
The intensity of our solidarity has put fear into them,
The power of our defiance has put fear into them…

(This is an excerpt from a legendary song by Hemango Biswas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMqE6U7BhxM). The song is old but immortal. It inspires.)

Perhaps the most gruesome attack in their history is afoot on the people of Jangalmahal in Bengal. Fuehrer, that is the Netri, is leading this concerted attack. Benedictions and help are being showered on her from across the whole spectrum of ruling class political parties: from BJP to CPM.

These people in Jangalmahal have little to live on. At times they starve and die. More fortunate people steal even a part of the quota of rice thrown at them at times. Statistics and news are made of them. And when they attempt to assert their right to livelihood and dignity, when they attempt to create an egalitarian democratic order for themselves, Fuehrers plan to put them in place with sophisticated satellite-assisted guns.

But why pick the Fraulein as a person? After all, there are strings above that control her song and dance, her chappal and muri (see Endnote 1), her theatrics upon the stage and in front of TV cameras. The strings of the Jindals, of the CII, of the ubiquitous multinational capital….

Well, the primary reason is that she is the sole guru of her gang. Open any issue of “Jaago Bangla” (which reads like a serialised hagiography of the Netri by a set of sycophants) and Fraulein Fuehrer (and mostly only the Fuehrer) is splashed everywhere. Her apparent jealousy of her subordinates is legendary– while she is a cabinet minister, nobody else in her party should get a cabinet-rank post in the Centre so that she can continue to dwarf them! “I made him a minister”, “I put her in that place of chief”…she speaks only in such terms. She, not the people of the locality, is supposed to check the performances of her ministers. People’s rebellion, a glorious people’s rebellion spanning over nearly five years, overthrew the oppressive Left Front government and as a byproduct she succeeded in grabbing the seat of power (why this unfortunate outcome had to occur is a matter of a separate analysis) as happens with a classic fascist takeover. That is why she, the big boss–the Netri, must bear the brunt.

And the Fraulein has come to the forefront of leading the open war against her own people in Jangalamahal. Apart from the military machinery supplied by her chums in the Centre she is attempting to reinforce her private gang of killers in Jangalmahal using government money as dole to the hapless poor there (see Endnote 2). (And it beats plain thought that her mafia lieutenants picked up the name “Jana Jagaran”–a straight lift from Mahendra Karma’s first stillborn version of Salwa Judum–does evil indeed have a common banal pattern?)

Of course, the Maoist communist activists working in Jangalmahal are picked up as an excuse for exhibiting her gangsterism. They are indiscriminate killers and criminals: shriek the mainstream media and the Netri. This baffles plain thought. Forget the communist activists–like genuine revolutionaries almost everywhere else in the world, they are simply shot at sight in “encounters”. But even the activists of the PCAPA, the historic flower of the spontaneous assertion of democracy in Jangalmahal, are either killed or are thrown into jail with false cases and kept there for years as `preventive detainees’, their family members are beaten up and threatened and so on…(see Endnote 3). If these workers for the people’s movement decided simply to gain by committing crimes with the assurance that the police wouldn’t touch them, wouldn’t they rather have joined the CPM in the previous government so that they could amass capitation money by setting up fake medical colleges built using covert extortion? Or, wouldn’t they rather have flocked to the Trinamool Congress now so that the Netri could descend on a police station as benediction personified and annul their arrest for a crime (see http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/when-mamata-shouted-at-senior-policemen-148013 for an account of this extraordinary incident)? Perhaps having to kill an incorrigible informer of the state or a local goon-leader becomes unavoidable simply to survive when all routes to justice and freedom are blocked? Otherwise you yourself have to face the fate of a Lalmohan Tudu?

And plain thought gets perplexed by the incessant acrobatics of the different avatars of state agents about having a dialogue with the Maoist revolutionaries. “This is at bottom an issue of development, not a law-and-order problem”: come the sage statements–be it from CPM, or Trinamool; “we have to fight them politically”. Then the penny drops–that fighting the communist rebels “politically” is an euphemism for what the Nazis did against the communists: build a gang of stromtroopers, terrorize a locality, ally with the state defence forces to murder these communist activists physically or kidnap them and put them in prison. (Fraulein, as usually, excels in this hypocrisy–while touting about “political fight” against the maoist revolutionaries, she issues her supari-killer-like threats in the same breath to even academics who uphold that very revolutionary politics intellectually.) When the communists resist back comes the snivelling: “Look they are not interested in dialogue…they are–oh so violent”. And when the communists offer concrete plans of mutual ceasefire for a serious dialogue with the state, the agents of the state drum up a by now hackneyed bit of disingenuity : “Ohhh…they are feigning interests in dialogue because they want to regroup and acquire reinforcement…look, how clever…”. And the state simultaneously shoots the very spokesperson or the leaders of the revolutionaries. The bottomline for the Indian state is quite clear–we shall kill, we shall torture to our heart’s content and we shall shout also that we are simply forced into such sins by the oh-so-evil revolutionaries: you-talk-you-lose-we-kill-we-win.

By the way, what kind of things do these Maoist revolutionaries talk about when they sit down to a serious dialogue with the representatives of the state power? See for yourselves: http://www.bannedthought.net/India/PeoplesMarch/PM1999-2006/archives/2004/nov-dec2k4/Talks.htm. This report is on that infamous dialogue with the Andhra Pradesh Government in 2004 which that state government utilized to track down some of these communist organizers and later let loose the governmental Greyhounds on them. In that dialogue, the communists not only upheld the demands of landless peasants and dalits etc, they had strikingly clear and concrete plans: they demanded, e.g., “an enquiry into these illegal encroachments”–grabbing of agricultural land in the vicinity of Hyderabad in favour of big capital–“and to redistribute the land to the landless and homeless urban poor” (see also Endnote 4).

That may be one reason why the Fuehrer frets and fumes at any real possibility of dialogue with the Maoist revolutionaries. What if these communists demand in that dialogue, like their 2004 comrades, that all those posh palaces on the grabbed land of Rajarhat (on which the Fraulein shed many a pre-election tear) be confiscated and given to the homeless poor? She wants to force a bloody battle on the people instead.

Her very recent shenanigans in the context of this battle provide unintended comical effects. One would expect better from her than building a bubble around Jagori Baskey (as a proof of revolutionaries being converted by her call), only to be pricked the very next day even by the mainstream media (http://telegraphindia.com/1111118/jsp/frontpage/story_14767606.jsp, http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Kolkata/Jagari-was-nabbed-by-cops-in-January-2010/Article1-770930.aspx).

Blood is dripping out of the body of Bengal (see Endnote 5). How much blood, o Netri, does finally give you diarrhoea?

***

Endnotes:

Endnote 1: While some of the Fascist dictators display their lives of pomp and splendour openly, some others, most notably Hitler himself, liked to create an aura of plain living and honesty around themselves (see, e.g., Richard Grunberger (1971): A Social History of the Third Reich, Penguin). Our home-grown Fuehrer seems to have chosen the second path.

Endnote 2: Very recently Kabir Suman, a Member of Parliament from Trinamool Congress itself, has pointed out that one attractive feature of such “special” operations is that the expenses for such operations are not audited (http://www.kabirsumanonline.com/home/2011/10/17/dignity/). Presumably, governmental thieves, thus, have a special love for such operations.

Endnote 3: PCAPA Letters in Sanhati.

Endnote 4: A relatively sophisticated attempt at undermining the Maoist movement in India may run along the following line: the movement is successful only as a “resistance” movement but has failed as a force for fundamental social transformation. The success of the movement (which the underminers fail to deny), it can be argued, is built on relatively ad-hoc resistance to episodes of plunder perpetrated by the state in favour of big capital, not on a planned struggle against well-defined class-enemies identified through proper class-analysis and thus, it may be claimed, that the practice of these revolutionaries, at its most successful, seems to be at variance with their stated theoretical understanding.

The remarkable set of demands during the Andhra talks provides a fitting answer to such putative claims. What this shows is that in its programme of democratic revolution, resistance to people getting uprooted owing to land-grab (and thus losing the right to security of livelihood) followed naturally from the more “basic” goals of landless and poor peasants’ achieving security of property rights–in land and other productive inputs. Therefore, the struggle against the so-called primary accumulation of capital by the CPI (Maoist) seems to be not an appendage to but a well thought-out, natural and integral part of its broad agenda of democratic revolution.

A prescient article in Frontline way back in 2005 (“The Naxalite Challenge”,) highlighted this point. The article forecast:

“There are indications that the immediate manifestation of this theoretical projection would be in the form of struggles and strikes against the corporatisation of agricultural land. The specific demand for redistribution of land in Andhra Pradesh during the talks last year had this dimension. Jharkhand, where the National Democratic Alliance government is busy signing memorandums of understanding with industrial houses such as the Mittals, the Jindals and the Tatas for mining and related activities, could well become the next major naxalite target”

Endnote 5: This is from a memorable poem by Joy Goswami written in the context of the people’s revolt in Nandigram. This is, sadly, still relevant.

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