Naxals, Agitators and democracy

Chakravyuh is the latest localized adaptation of a Hollywood film by Prakash Jha. (see Avatar/Pocahontas, even Namak Haram for earlier versions of the same theme). At a time when our national morale is low again after the highs of India Shining, this is supposed to be a reminder to urban India that the poor are suffering. India is riddled with problems. Poverty is rampant, the powerful are corrupt and the enforcers are either impotent or unwilling to enforce change. Surprised? I thought not.

One doesn’t have to live in a village to know that there are huge problems in our country. Hell, there are Babas and activists on fasts all over the country and media reminding us that the ruling class is robbing us blind. We also know that when oppressed, people are prime to be taken advantage of, as the Naxals have been doing to the poor villagers and forest dwellers trapped between two forces.

Because Naxalism is not the answer. Nor is agitation/fasting. The answer is for the so called elites who rink they know better to go to the people who are being oppressed and teach them to vote right. in a democracy, the value of you as a citizen is determined by the number of votes you influence.

If you don’t even vote, or vote for the person most people in your community vote for, you have zero influence. If you convince a few to vote according to their interests, you have a certain influence. By the way, Facebook doesn’t count, and blogs count even less. The bulk of voters are poor, and they need to understand what their votes bring them.

That’s why Kejriwal is right, we need to use democracy to bring about change, and that’s harder than either agitation or violence. We also need to curtail the power the government wields and make it more transparent. We need to allow local governments to have a say in what happens there, but also need to incentivize them to industrialize. We need fair, market based compensation for the displaced, and we need companies to fight for the lands.

Only when there is true participation, fewer discretionary powers and more transparency will we progress. We also need a social safety net that support those who can’t earn enough for their needs, and helps them not just by handouts but by making them fit into the marketplace.

For all this to happen, the first step is to actively campaign for the candidates/party you care for. How many are willing to put their money where their mouth is and go sweat it out on street? I can only answer for myself: Not me. And that, friends, is the real problem with India. Any solutions for that?

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