democracy is also jantar mantar

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed at the admission stage a writ petition for a direction to the Centre and Andhra Pradesh to implement the provisions of the 1956 Gentlemen's Agreement of Andhra Pradesh.

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma dismissed the petition filed by one M. Narasimha Swamy of Hyderabad, seeking enforcement of the Agreement contending that it had been violated.

The petitioner submitted that the Gentlemen's Agreement provided safeguards with the purpose of preventing discrimination against Telangana by the Andhra Pradesh government.

“The alleged violations of this Agreement are cited as one of the reasons for the demand for separate statehood for Telangana.”
you've probably heard the argument that the maoists are not involved in the separatist movement. and that's very true, in my view. the maoists are quite busy right now in various other states. but would the maoists agree with the argument that global corporations aren't involved in the war in chhattisgarh or orissa?

the maoist contempt for parliamentary democracy, or 'bourgeois democracy', is well known. don't you notice strong traces of that contempt in the lawyer's petition before the supreme court?

the maoists have gone over to chhattisgarh and places further east, but if you listen closely you can still hear the ringing echoes of their voices in telangana. a telugu saying tells you, roughly: the husband turns into the wife and vice versa after living together for some time. telangana has lived with maoists for over forty years, it's not unreasonable to expect maoist thought to have left its traces. and the maoists are a political party, and they've every right to propagate their views, and not only because they have a lot of reasonable things to say. and i don't find anything wrong with others expressing those views, or the separatists expressing those views.

elections in a parliamentary democracy, as the maoists say, might only produce legislatures which endorse and work for the interests of the ruling classes. but do the lawyers, professors and politicians from mainstream political parties now leading the separatist movement, who want a parliamentary solution to the problem, also believe in what the maoists say? if yes, haven't they chosen the wrong solution to the problem?

from prof.jayashankar to the abvp hoods gheraoing film stars to make them chant 'jai telangana', everyone of the separatists has expressed, at various times, the view that the 15 elections to the state assembly held since 1956 did not reflect popular opinion in telangana. you might think they all believe in a 'new democratic revolution'. but no, they don't all believe in maoist ideology, it's only their political language that seems unable, anymore, to rise above the grammar and idiom set by the maoists. and there are many among them who don't wish to rise above that grammar. and the contagion seems to have spread too: in arundhati roy's 'lovely, 'beautiful' and 'fabulous' chhattisgarh, you hear the same ringing echoes.

in one place, roy asks, something like: should the adivasis have sat in a dharna near jantar mantar?

no, but i expect people like roy to sit in a dharna near jantar mantar. people like vara vara rao and prof.hara gopal to sit in a dharna near jantar mantar. i know, they've tried those things a lot of times, but you can't expect all the 'biggest internal security threats' to take up guns and die all the time. it's okay for the sections of the brahminized classes supporting 'democratic protests' to continue to preach contempt for electoral democracy and jantar mantar because all they need to do is produce evocative prose about how 'lovely', 'beautiful' and 'fabulous' those struggles and deaths were, either in telangana or chhattisgarh, not a hair on their own carefully disturbed heads disturbed. but should they continue to disparage jantar mantar, and jeopardize so many dalitbahujan lives, only because they've a difference of opinion with people from their own baradari like manmohan singh or whoever on who should have a right to loot chhattisgarh or telangana: the government owned companies and babus or private corporations and babus? because the bauxite in chhatisgarh, for instance, shall continue to be prized as 'national' wealth, by a socialist or a liberalized india, no matter what. wouldn't it be nice if they could spare a thought for those 'lovely', 'beautiful', 'fabulous' strugglers, once in a while?

so, why don't they keep trying those dharnas at jantar mantar? because they can always return to india international centre in the evening (and not forget to take their cousins, the maoist bosses and their corporate counterparts, along with them) and continue the debate in cooler climes, over wine and whatever, with montek singh ahluwalia or p.chidambaram. and the impure masses, in telangana or chhattisgarh, can stop expressing their 'democratic aspirations' through their deaths, rather than their votes.


Kiran said...

a beautiful article. When a movement claims that 15 demoratic elections count for nothing and do no bestow demoractic credentials on anything they do not have a fig leaf to cover their contempt of democracy - parliamentary or otherwise

Anonymous said...

'Contempt For Democracy'

irony isn't it?? The very people who abuse it blatantly crying foul about the "legitimate processes of a democracy"

Really ironical cos you leave people with no other choice

Sridhar said...

Kufr, it is interesting that though the maoists and the T separatists seem to share the same kind of language and grammar, their objectives and motivation do not converge. As you said the separtists would stil love to adhere to the model of bourgeois democracy. Becuase what they seek is the changes in the way wealth is shared between the two competing ruling classes (Andhra vs Telangana). The maoists on the otherhand seek complete dissolution of a democracy that exclusively serves the economic interests of ruling classes.

Except for her writing skills, I wasn't a big fan of Ms Roy and mostly hated her as being hypocritic and unreasonable. But I am not able to ignore her current avatar standing up against the mining industrialists of DK and the government that supports them. I liked her writeup in the Outlook and she has a point when she asks if we should expect the exploited tribals to stage a protest at jantar mantar. The tribals and their maoist protectors are not an educated sophisticated lot like the current Telangana separatists fighting legally, intelectually, democratically, technologically and so on. Ms Roy believes that the tribals do not have the resources or the intellect to challenge the state in a democratic fashion. May be one day the state will prevail with brute force and bring the enclosure into 'mainstream' but the neglect of tribal concerns, apathy for their culture, and plunder of their habitats for the greed of ruling class establishments living else where will remain true.

Kiran said...

To anonymous@ 9.03
"Really ironical cos you leave people with no other choice"

I leave people with no choice ? what are you talking about ?

Anonymous said...

AR wasn't preaching contempt for democracy, she was talking about how easy it is for privileged people to preach democracy rather than trying to understand how/why the people she was talking to had taken up the gun.

I don't enjoy her prose style but I admire her willingness to try to empathize.

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