Be The Change

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Your Land – My Land?

Posted by k.r.a.k.t.i.k on April 8, 2006

Some observations on the Narmada and Sardar Sarovar Dam issue:

Who gets to decide on what is right and what not? Who really decides what is development for the country? My country.

Is it the person who gives the orders to send more than 300 policemen in riot-gear to forcibly arrest and fetch three almost unconscious people who have touched nary a morsel for eight days? The person who forcibly feeds them against their will?

Another observation from the above and having watched at least 5 odd movies on Bhagat Singh's life and times (which I don't claim were terribly representative, but the facts are recorded in history as well) – how is this forced-feeding different from what the British did in 1923? Is it that now its done in a fancy ward called the ICU in AIIMS Delhi instead of a jail in Punjab?

From an article on rediff.com: is it easier to identify with a MiG pilot killed in the line of duty for his country or a model, the decked up face of society, shot in cold blood and denied justice persistently, than 35,000 far-flung and remote families in a place most of us will never even place on a map, leave alone visit? Is identification all there is to addressing injustice?

On desicritics: How is Medha Patkar and her stand different from that of Lata Mangeshkar's on the Peddar Road flyover? Does anyone have a right to impede the technological progress of the country? By no means, but does that give anyone (read GoI and the Sardar Sarovar Project) the right to displace thousands of people from their homes without even offering the most basic remuneration – a suitable new home?

How many college students in our country care about this issue? How many even know that this is an issue? Or that thousands are being displaced? Or that there is a river called the Narmada? Is the youth of the country aware of this issue, leave alone pro-active on it? Would you exchange SMSes on this?

These and a lot of other postings all over the www; the only thing that seems to really stand out amongst all these is the fact that society in general doesn't seem to care, and that there would be much more done if only it were for some active participation from people all around the country.

Think about it – the freedom struggle, the anti-VietnamWar demonstrations in the US, the Jessica Lall case more recently – the only reason people have responded has been the presence of the fear that the malaise in question may and indeed will come to haunt them in the not-so-distant future. The Vietnam War had a draft in place in the USA – as against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with no compulsory enrollment for young people of military-service age; seems to explain the absence of those anti-war protestors better. And a lack of identity with the situation.

What if your home were to be seized in the name of development, and in return you weren't even given a suitable place to live? Leave alone compensation. Would you keep quiet?

Would you want everyone else to?

6 Responses to “Your Land – My Land?”

  1. Priya Ranjan said

    I have to agree with lack of response and outrage on such a big concern on the developmental scene. Thanks for posting it.

  2. […] Be The Change is furious that no one is paying much attention to the Narmada Bachao Andolan and recent hunger strike led by Medha Patkar. […]

  3. Mohan said

    One can only agree with you. Most bloggers don’t feel concerned! Here is the link to an interesting blog on this subject with my comments and links on post-development:
    http://ruinedbyreading.blogspot.com/2006/04/medha-patkars-fast-live-from-jantar.html
    There is too much misunderstanding on the concept of development , use of technology and natural resources.

  4. mohit said

    i agree that people should be more concerned but at the same time properly informed too.

    for a background related to the narmada issue, see
    http://www.prajatantra.blogspot.com

  5. Red said

    Thanks for the post. We tend to forget issues that don’t affect our lives directly. Thus, OBC quotas and Lakme Fashion week slip ups get more coverage than the NBA.

  6. Mohan –

    Very nice to read a first-hand account of the scene there – one wishes one could be there in support as well.

    Mohit –

    A most well-researched article on your part, but as was mentioned in the article here – it is not that one is right and the other wrong, but the basic subversion of democracy that rankles here – alongwith the fact that there isn’t even enough coverage on the issue, whether from one angle or the other.

    Red –

    OBC quotas: sure. Lakme Fashion Week slip-ups: quite fail to see whose life in general that is really affecting.

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