Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Irony of Extremism

The recent revelation in the media about atrocities against female members of the Naxalite group doesn’t come much as a surprise. The processes of formation of such anti-system and anti-establishment groups are based on such unstable grounds that this sort of exploitation is inevitable in the long run. When a radical group is being formed, there are generally a few founders with high moral and ideological mindsets. Groups that believe in taking up arms to oppose the system then tend to recruit aggressive individuals irrespective of their ideological stance (brainwashing helps… but I believe the idea of thrashing police officers – the image of authority in their eyes, appeals to them even more). The supposed power that the group may command as it increases in size seems lucrative for such individuals.

As the group expands, by recruiting the rural populace either by anti-system oration or by brute force, the numbers keep adding, but the ideological base gets diluted. With a high percentage of aggressive group members, violence is natural; even against the villagers. The co-founders are partially successful as the burgeoning group population keeps the popularity of the group very high, mostly through fear. The decision making is fraught with danger as the co-founders soon lose their control on their followers.

The simple ‘Robin Hood’ phenomenon deteriorates in to a Taliban effect. Rapes, murders, robberies, sabotage, all follow. To what aim? And for whom? At this stage, how are these ‘fighters’ any different from those they are supposed to be fighting against? Their ideology is based on opposing the atrocities inflicted by the state on the poor. And they end up doing exactly what they condemn.

Now, what if in a hypothetical scenario, the region is granted freedom? Would the state of the rural villagers improve? Would the exploitation of the natural resources there stop? If it does, do the so called Maoist leaders / Naxals and their ilk have any plans about revenue generation and development? Do they have any foresight in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.? Sadly, I don’t think there is any such plan. This would just be a transfer of power from one set of individuals to another with the end result that nothing changes for the common people.

The villagers are bullied and brainwashed into submission and to increase their group numbers this is important. I think that it is a bigger reason for the extremists to blow up schools and hospitals. Education would bring a larger and more accurate perspective to the villagers which would then put the extremists’ chain of command under question. And anarchy doesn’t like being questioned.

Even now, the power of the gun commands the ‘respect’ of the rural people rather than the ideology behind the gun. Until the time when the extremists can claim that they are absolutely devoid of any of the evils that the current system is corrupted with, they don’t have the right to ask for any sort of freedom on any ideological ground. From what goes on now, it doesn’t seem that they are even close to achieving this.


Manisha said...

good analysis .. but there is always a problem with what should be and what is .. and more so noone makes any effort to increase awareness let alone change things .. the govt can hugely benefit from laying bare the reality behind these movements yet it does nothing ..
and a request to make the colours of the blog some light shades and to strain my eyes to read it ..

sheel said...

I don't think there is any ideology with the current carriers of Naxal movement. Now it operates just to show that it exists and has not died. To achieve that visibility, it requires money and sansani .. so they loot trains, burn railway stations, or police stations, kill common people.

But at the same time we should ask ourselves what rights we have been able to give to the tribals? How much have we done for their livelihood issues? Its not the idea of thrashing police officers that appeals people to join these groups, but an alternate vision of the future that is seen by the oppressed and neglected tribals from the brainwash initiatives. The future they are being shown may not be very different from what it is now, but nevertheless they are able to see it because the current structure and govt. does not help them see a nice future on their own. Unless we do something about it people will continue to join it... may be just as a job.

I agree with Manisha about the color :)

Harish Rao said...

I completely agree with the point that the state's efforts towards addressing the issues of the tribals have been far from satisfactory. The complete surrender of the government to corporate lobbying has failed to generate a win-win solution for both the state as well as the tribals and has left the natives with a feeling of being totally exploited.

But what I was trying to explore here was how unscrupulous activities carried out by a few persons would create an illusion of power and how the lust for this kind of power may have been a catalyst in attracting unwanted elements into the struggle and resulted in complete annhilation of the original propoganda.

Thrashing of the police was a metaphorical usage towards a sort of instant gratification against the state oppression that could be obtained by taking up arms.

The term brainwash was used coz even the leaders of the movement know that the vision of the new future that the tribals are seeing, it is just a mirage. And there in lies the deception of the tribals.

Sam said...

abey tu nuclear plant chalata tha??? main to tujhey chota mota mazdoor samjhta tha....tu to bada mazdoor nikla....:P