Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Will the meek ever inherit the earth?

Earlier in the 90's when India had just ushered in the new liberalization policy it use to be a fight between the state government and the opposition, but Nandigram and Singur have shown that finally the concerned section of the whole deal, the peasants and the landowner have got some due and recognition. The investor and the big companies have nothing to lose, simply because they don't come into picture until the land has been acquired and transferred to them.

In episodes like Nandigram and Singur, there are mostly four different parties, are involved. The State government, the Investor, the Opposition and finally the displaced, people who even after having everything at stake, are the last one who always manage to squeeze in, though 'just'.

It's a toss between economic development at the cost of displacement on one hand and status quo at the cost of economic development on the other. The only thing which tilts the balance in favor of such land acquisition is that there is no precedent which has given out a message against taking land, wherever this has been done, prosperity has followed, be it Bhopal, (not UCL; but BHEL) or be it Bhilai.

The above two episodes have also shown that love for one's own land is stronger than say, love for a political party. The leftist government in Bengal has been ruling the state for many years now, and it has been an unchallenged one. Still it faced resistance from the very people which voted it to power when it started the acquiring process. I now heard that the process has been shelved, and from Nandigram it has moved to Barasat-Sonarpur area, primarily because the government expects less resistance there.

Similarly when Sumit Sarkar, a staunch leftist vented his opposition against the acquisition, it showed that individual ideology is more loyal then the party ideology, and Mr.Sarkar deserves accolades for voicing his opinion, even though it was against the party mood.

Facts can be manipulated, hidden away, but still they can't be completely erased. The left government when confronted on the issue of forcible acquisition said that people were giving their land voluntarily and produced affidavits to further strengthen its argument, though it's a different story that most of the person shown to have filed the affidavit weren't having any land in the contentious area.

We saw a senior Congress leader who is also a Union minister driving pillion on a motorbike, which showed his urgency to meet and sympathize with the people of Singur who earlier had faced the police ire. Sadly that same feeling of being a people representative was missing in the case of Nithari, which was much closer than Singur, though later we saw some of the political heavyweights coming to Nithari, playing the usual and customary blame game and leaving with a word or two of condolence, but by then the damage was already done.

After every such incidents when the common man is at the receiving end, politicians are always their to make their presence felt. In Nandigram is was at the expense of people who were being displaced, it differs, sometimes its at the expense of people who have suffered due to riot, and sometimes its at the cost of a father who has lost his child. The reasons is never the same, it always differ. But the politicians do turn up, without failure.
In the end it always boils down to the stakes involved, not the human, emotional stakes but the political and materialistic one.


Abhinandan Mishra

2 comments:

miracles said...

It's a toss between economic development at the cost of displacement on one hand and status quo at the cost of economic development on the other

Abhinandan said...

yeah it is.

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