India: an Empire in Denial
"No word ever dies. What we are saying today may not be accepted by the
people at this moment. But our propaganda is not in vain. Our words remain
embedded among the people... One who doesn't dream and can't make others dream, can
never become a revolutionary." Ideologue
of Maoist movement,
Charu Mazumdar quoted in
Sumanta Banerjee - India's Simmering Revolution: The Naxalite Uprising,
'Calling Maoists mad Islamists is not going to help'
Times of India, 3 October 2009
The people in India's mineral heartland are tribals, who are
the poorest of the poor, says writer-activist Arundhati Roy . The
government's war against India's indigenous people is a frightening and
unjust one. Short takes from an interview to The Times of India.
The PM has said that the
movement is India's gravest security threat . It suits the Maoists and the
government to inflate the danger. It makes it easier to come down with all the
force of your security apparatus. The inflation is mischievous . And it creates
a situation in which every other kind of resistance is subsumed into this mad
binary and dealt with as such. The most frightening thing is the criminalisation
of the democratic space. You're either with us or against us. Bush is back, if
he ever went away.
Policemen are being killed. People are also being killed and that's not being
reported . If it is, they just say they are Maoists. You can't extract any easy
moralities out of these killings. You have to look at the principle. The debate
can't be about whether it is okay to kill policemen or whether it's okay to kill
tribals. Obviously, it's not okay to do either. How do you rescue the situation?
We have to look at why this is happening. If you are going to say Maoists are as
mad as Islamists and should be liquidated, it's not going to help. It would mean
liquidating hundreds of thousands.
These are the poorest people of the country - they have no schools, no
hospitals, no water, none of the amenities the state is supposed to provide.
When the state talks about their well-being and development, it means
displacement and mining. Bauxite mining in Orissa is one of the most devastating
kinds of mining. To get one tonne of bauxite you have a stripping ratio of 1:13
so you have to mine 13 tonnes. You create radioactive red mud. This is dumped
into rivers and belches carbon dioxide into the air. From bauxite you get
alumina and then aluminum. For one tonne of aluminum you need 1,300 tonnes of
water. All this for the weapons industry. Bauxite mountains are porous and
function as natural water tanks that hold water and irrigate the plains. Bauxite
mining is devastating a whole ecosystem . This is what the mining company
Vedanta is doing. The bauxite in Niyamgiri in Orissa is called Kondolite after
the Kond tribals in Orissa.
There's an MoU on every mountain and river. When profits are so huge, the
capacity for cruelty is also huge.