Friday, October 02, 2009

The Maoist Massacre

The scene was straight out of the Sippy flick - Sholay. Families massacred. Little kids targeted. The first reports called it a Maoist attack in Bihar. Later we realized that it was a fight - a casteist fight that resulted in such picked-out killings. And almost in immediate succession, just we heaved a sigh of relief, that Maoist rebels were not really wreaking havoc on civilized society, came news about the ruthless beheading of a Jharkhand cop by Maoists. For someone sitting in another part of this country, it felt revolting. What on earth is Maoism? And does it really promulgate violence targeted at children? Well, elsewhere in the world, such acts would be termed 'dastardly acts of terrorism', but ask the perpetrators here and they may as well say that this was their cry against the 'establishment'.

Studying developmental figures for the erstwhile 'BiMaRu' states, the plight is understandable. With a Gini coefficient at 0.318, the inequality in Bihar is stark. Reminds one of the situation during the French Revolution where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The state keeps screaming for all-inclusive, pro-poor growth. But when the law and order system is crippled, and the number of convoluted, inter-twined problems is humongous, the system takes some time to unlearn and relearn and implement. Granted, unemployment is high. Granted the poor are poor. Granted, the inequality is high as well. But the truth is, that efforts are being taken, and the results will show, sooner rather than later. That said, if the issue is with the Government, why not try to sort things out amicably? Killing children will almost certainly not endear the perpetrators with others who are suffering similar plights. If not anything, just like how the killings of innocent people by terrorists dilutes the so called 'cause' in the eyes of the common man, making the distinction between villainy and martyrdom even more stark, even if the Maoists, as per the original Mao Zedong doctrine are fighting for the rights of the poor peasant, they will be viewed with disgust and perceived to be another bunch of inhuman, insane, indoctrinated, inglorious, murderers and villains.

Whatever the cause may have been nothing justifies ruthless killing - be it the killing of children or of a law-abiding officer. More so, on or after Gandhi Jayanti, where the world celebrates the winner who never won, of the Nobel Peace Prize, a man who famously declared that 'an eye for an eye makes the world go blind'. A man who abandoned a rather successful non-cooperation movement after a retaliatory attack at Chaurichaura, just because the retaliation violated his principles of non-violence. If the Maoists were trying to send a message, I guess all of young India, (and I take the liberty of speaking on behalf of all other young like minded people like myself), feel that a message has been conveyed, of course, but a message that is horribly wrong, and completely contrary to the kind of picture the perpetrators wish to project.

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