March 23, 2008


Fil Munas

I was informed by my medical school, CMC Vellore, that our distinguished alumni, Dr. Binayak Sen, had been recently placed in solitary confinement by the Voldemotian Chhattisgarh government. However, try as they may, Chief Minister Raman Singh and his gang can't banish truth and justice forever. I was browsing Nepal's Himalayan Times online edition earlier today, looking for news about their elections and the front page headline said, Maoists Poised For Landslide Win. I emailed a letter to the Editor of the Himalayan Times on this topic as follows: "Dear Editor: As an observer here in the United States I have been closely following the Constituent Assembly elections in Nepal. The expected outcome of an overwhelming victory for the Maoists is not in the least surprising to me. This is the inevitable result of politically and culturally exploiting and oppressing the vast masses of citizens by a fortunate few. The same Nepal-paradigm is happening inside your neighboring country of India. In the Indian state of Chhattisgarh for example, the BJP state government has incarcerated without bail an internationally revered and honored physician and human rights practitioner, Dr. Binayak Sen, for allegedly supporting the Maoists (or Naxalites) after he spoke out bravely against the horrible exploitation and oppression of the poor and dispossessed in that Indian state. Feudal and unjust systems, whether in Nepal or India, are doomed to the dustbin of history."

Fil Munas

I enjoyed reading Professor Nandini Sundar's very thoughtful article that was linked here. Her allusion to the Mahabharata, with its lovely crescendo in the Bhagavad Gita, is a wonderful metaphor for the bloody civil war boiling over in modern India.

War between the state and its inhabitants is always caused by a lack of justice and equity in that society, as perceived by the inhabitants of the state, and who find themselves powerless to change the abusive polity through means other than warfare. This was the case for the successful American revolutionary war 233 years ago and the successful Nepalese one recently ended, and is the reason for the ongoing civil wars in Iraq and Sri Lanka among other places. Democracy, in its classical and restricted sense of one-person one-vote, cannot resolve the issue of fairness, as witness Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Belarus and many others. The answer is simply, justice.

All right-minded humans pray for peace, but peace will never come without justice first.


Thanks for the report, Nitin.

I think the situation is more complicated than can be described by simple assertions that the naxals always started it, or the state. The fact is that the violence exists, and needs to stop. Also, that the grievances that are giving the naxals a purchase need to be redressed quickly. Violence isn't the solution to this problem, but the rejuvenation of the naxals after more than thirty years is surely evidence that your alternative of "conventional politics" isn't working either. So why condemn people who are condemning the violence and calling for dialogue?


Dr Nandini Sundar was part of the independent citizen's initiative that published a report on Chattisgarh in 2006.

The trouble with that report is that it condemns violence whether it is by the police, Salwa Judum or the Maoists. This position---equating constitutional and unconstitutional violence---fails the 'Pai test' as you put it.

Further, while they do write to the CPI(Maoists) and ask them to stop violence, they write
Due to the violence unleashed by the government and government supported Salwa Judum movement and the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty created by your violent response, the situation in Dantewara is near civil war. We condemn both kinds of violence

Really? Is that cravenness intended to ingratiate themselves with the Naxalite leadership or they really believe that the Naxalites are only responding to violence? Troublesome.

(I refer to this report http://www.cgnet.in/N1/War%20in%20the%20Heart%20of%20India.pdf)

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