Nature Talk

A friend wrote a facebook comment that the Maoists are opposing development and are killing innocent people. I replied him that while making a judgement he should also take repression by the state into consideration when the state is forcibly removing people from their land. He shot back - it is not a fight to protect the land but fight on the amount of compensation. But it made me to ponder if my friend was correct i.e. "Is the fight only on the amount of compensation?" The fight to protect land, however, has become obiquitous much beyond the Maoists.

The land distribution in India has always been very skewed. In every region including a village as a unit, a few always owned much larger chunk of land than the majority of the area. Despite such skewed distribution the people in the villages lived harmoniously as a cohesive society. Presently in the name of development even such villages are gobbled up by the corporations and walls are raised around the area on which once stood such self reliant villages. The locals who lived in such villages for generations are uprooted and ownership of the vast stretch of land so evacuated passes over to one who remotely connected. Land looses its fragrance and the locality its culture in the bellowing smokes from the industries and the rootlessness of the migrant population.

In India, unlike other countries, we have a diverse culture in every region. As shown by Dr. Walling in his writing about the Yimti village of Nagaland that this small village had a social and administrative structure of its own; may be completely different from a nearby village or tribe.

Mr. N. N. Panigrahy and Rimi Panigrahy have shown in their article "Involuntary Displacement Of Tribals: Dandakaranya Experience" that a social problem (maoist) arose by forcibly settling outsiders (refugees) in the tribal areas. There is a continuous friction between the tribals and the settlers because the tribals think that settlers are the bread snatchers.

The powerful outsiders always tend to annihilate the existing culture to reduce the friction and legitimize their claim over the local resources. Sometimes they use brutal force and sometimes in a subtle way they use education. The article "Cultural Genocide: an appropriate concept in today’s world?" deals with this topic eloquently.

This issue of The Tribal Tribune hopes to create a better understanding among its readers who at times reduce a social problem to a conflict on the amount of compensation.