While polite society is happily talking about India’s miraculous growth figures, its emerging middle Class and prospects of a bright future, Indian small farmers on the ground experience a different kind of reality: a ‘bumper harvest in one of India’s rice producing states has led to a rash of farmer suicides. It is due to the market being flooded by cheap rice, which has caused prices drop. Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman reports from the Burdwan District of West Bengal’.
Another aspect of Indian reality not receiving sufficient attention is the undeclared war between the government and Naxalite rebels controlling vast swathes of land. Here is a ‘montage of pictures of Maoists and Naxalites from India taken from the Internet and set to the song Naxalite by Asian Dub Foundation’.
Neither the democratically elected communist government that has ruled West Bengal since 1977 nor the center-left federal government has brought the villagers long-promised relief, despite India’s expanding economy. Concerned by terrorism and geopolitics at India’s borders with its nuclear-armed neighbors, Pakistan and China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh nonetheless has identified the Maoists as his nation’s biggest internal threat. Investors, including global steel giants, are wary of placing money in the areas dominated by Maoists, who are gaining in strength in the rich mining areas of eastern India. The Maoists, who hold sway over vast swaths of forestland and rural pockets in 22 of India’s 28 states, dominate Lalgarh and its surrounding areas. They have created a long Red Corridor, stretching across several states through jungles, over hills and into mineral-rich terrains and remote tribal villages plagued by hunger, police brutality and underdevelopment. The rebels, said to number about 22,000 by official estimates, live in the forests with the latest weaponry and raise their army of men and women who intermittently attack police officers. The youngsters join them — driven by poverty or radical ideologies. They have ambushed police posts, killed government supporters, kidnapped officials, hijacked trains, triggered land mines and melted into the deep forests with their cache of weapons. In April , the Maoists killed 76 security personnel in one of the biggest strikes at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state of central India. That raid was preceded by the killings of about 25 security personnel at the Silda police camp near Lalgarh in West Bengal. “The rebels rule the area. We hope we can now at least protect us,” says an official in the Lalgarh police station, where authorities regained control in June after it had been captured and held for months by well-armed rebels. “The tribal people inhabit in the mineral- and other natural-resource-rich areas, but they have no property rights. On the other hand, the global demand for resources are displacing them from their own land. The Maoists have not made their dens in a day. This is the result of irresponsible, sleeping government, which has suddenly woken up after the eagle eyes of the corporates fell on those mineral-rich lands of tribal people,” Mr. Patel says. “There was virtually no governance in these areas. So Maoists became their friends.” Mr. Singh, the prime minister, has conceded as much himself: “We cannot overlook the fact that many of areas in which such extremism flourishes are underdeveloped, and many of the people, mainly poor tribals, who live in these areas have not shared equitably in the fruits of development,” Mr. Singh said last month’. The just-quoted text and the below video clip were made by The Reality of India.