The farmer protest at the Delhi border has long lost its credibility as it got hijacked by middlemen, Khalistanis and other Left and Islamist elements. After the PFI extending support and United Against Hate of Delhi riots fame got involved, now, the veteran protestor and anti-India writer, Arundhati Roy has reached the venue of the farmer protest to foment trouble.
On the 9th of January, Arundhati Roy addressed a gathering of BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) members at a protest site at Bahadurgarh. Speaking to the farmers, she started with her usual trope about how ‘Godi media’ (A pejorative term Leftists seem to use for media houses who don’t tow their line) has already branded her a Naxalite and anti-national, and hence, she did not ‘come to meet’ the farmers earlier, lest they too be branded the same. However, since the media had now already branded them as ‘terrorists’, she has now come to meet them.
Interestingly, in reality, the media has given a rather long rope to these protesting ‘farmers’ and tarnished anyone who raised legitimate questions. For example, when Khalistani elements were making statements about assassinating the Prime Minister, the media looked away and tarnished those who were asking questions about the presence of Khalistanis. When it emerged that most of the farmers were not even aware about the provisions of the 3 farm laws, that they were protesting against, the media that is sympathetic to any cause that creates fault-lines in India jumped to action to defend the ignorance.
She goes on to say that the entire country is watching the ‘farmers’ at the Delhi border and have pinned their hopes on them. Strangely, she says that this protest had made a reality on-ground, everything that people like her were writing for the past 20 years. Considering Arundhati Roy is the same author who called armed terrorists and Naxals ‘Gandhians with guns’, this statement of hers does not really inspire much confidence.
The most dangerous aspect of her speech, however, comes later.
She says that the government is doing with them, or is going to do them, exactly what “they did to those fighting in Bastar”. While speaking to the farmers, she defended the actions of Naxals from Bastar saying that they are “fighting” because the government took away their Jal, Jungle, Zameen of the Adivasis and gave it away to big industrialists. She then goes on to say that the same game is being played with farmers.
This rhetoric and just how dangerous it is can be understood from a 2018 interview OpIndia conducted of Pahad Singh, a surrendered Naxal, who “fought” in the jungle for 18 long years.
Pahad Singh said that these “nithale budhijeevi” (jobless intellectuals) are misleading the adivasis and that he too was lured into Naxalism by rhetoric about Jal, Jungle, Zameen.
It was in the jungles while collecting tendu leaves that he had first seen Naxals. He recalled that the Naxals used to approach the Tribals and claim that they are fighting for Tribal rights. Adivasi Asmita. The Naxals used to tell the Tribals that the government is corrupt and unable to provide employment to Tribals hence they should join them to fight for their dignity.
Pahad Singh was asked what he thinks about the contradiction displayed by the ‘jobless intellectuals’ (his term) as they claim on one hand that Tribals are being suppressed by Brahminical impositions by the government and on the other hand they use Tribals themselves to labour and serve them while they dictate rules. His reply was that there is a huge difference between the words and deeds of the Naxal leaders. They preach about Tribals rights and powers while being completely ignorant about the basic structures and needs of the Tribal population.
Upon being asked about who were the people who dictate and rule over the Tribals sitting in ‘Chaar Manzil’ (A hill with bolsters where the Central Committee members or the Naxal ideologues sit), he replied that there were hypocrites who talk tall on Tribal rights and justice. They had power, they had weapons. The Tribals they recruit have no idea about the realities of the world, many of them are the kind of innocent souls who had never seen a train in their lives, such people are exploited for their service and often their lives so the ‘jobless intellectuals’ can run their agenda and enjoy comfortable lives in cities. He asserted that the Tribals don’t even know who the head of the village is, forget understanding what Mao’s ideology was. They trust whoever convinces them in the name of ‘Jal, Jungle, Zameen’ (water, forest, land). He adds that while the rest of the world has been progressing with science and development how can a failed ideology uplift the Tribals. It is worthy to note here, that Pahad Singh himself had seen the city perhaps for the first time in 18 long years.
Pahad Singh said that the Tribal areas are full of natural resources and that is the reason why Naxal leaders strive to keep control over the forest areas. They demand a share from contractors and businessmen for every natural product and mineral obtained from the forests. Crores of rupees are accumulated and none of it goes to the Tribals or the lower cadre Naxals. All the money goes to the higher committee. He reveals that the lower cadre Naxals get neither salaries nor benefits. Their families are told that the service to the Maoist cause should be selfless and dedicated. He further adds that the top leaders and urban Naxals often maintain another face for the outside world so the government and media do not get to know of their activities in the Tribal areas.
It is thus extremely evident that the trope of ‘Jal, Jungle, Zameen’ is used to lure poor vanvaasis into picking up arms against the state and while ideologues like Arundhati Roy earn handsomely, it is the lives of the foot-soldiers that are sacrificed.
Essentially, it is evident that the attempt here is not just to radicalise the so-called farmers sitting on protest and ensure that they rise up against the government, but also, defend the Naxals who are fighting against the state and murdering police personnel, on the insistence of “jobless intellectuals”.