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?