Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm neither a Maoist nor a Gandhian but I'm an Adivasi who is determined to fight

Gladson is an Adivasi living in the now war-torn state of Jharkhand. When he was one, his family, prosperous farmers owning 20 acres of fertile land, were made homeless. Their ancestral land disappeared when a dam was built on the Chinda river. As compensation the family was paid Rs 11,000. When they and their neighbours protested they were sent off to Hazaribagh jail. Could a family of six ensure food, education, housing, health care for their entire life with Rs 11,000?

"The worst thing is the culprits were not brought to justice. Can anyone tell us why the Indian state did not deliver justice to us, who snatched our resources in the name of development? Why there is no electricity in my village even today? Why my people do not get water for their field whose lands were taken for the irrigation projects? Why there is no electricity in those houses, who have given their land for the power project? And why people are still living in small mud houses whose lands were taken for the steel plants? It seems that the Adivasis are only born to suffer and others to enjoy over our graves.

"After a long struggle, we all got back to life but my pain and sufferings did not end here. When I was working as a state programme officer in a project funded by the European Commission, a senior government officer and an editor of a newspaper (both from the upper caste) questioned my credentials saying that being an Adivasi, how could I have gotten into such a prestigious position?

Can those so-called supporters of the unjust development process, who have not given even one inch of land for the so-called national interest, coin me as a Maoist ideologue: why should I shut up my mouth and stop writing against injustice? I have lost everything in the name of development and now I have nothing to lose.
Therefore I'm determined to fight for my own people.I have taken the democratic path of struggle. A pen, mouth and mind are my weapons. I'm neither a Maoist nor a Gandhian but I'm an Adivasi who is determined to fight for his own people, whom the Indian state has alienated, displaced and dispossessed from their resources and is continually doing it in the name of development, national security and national interest even today." 

From Mallika Sarabhai's thought provoking article 'A story about an Adivasi's fight for his people' in DNA.
To read the full article click here.

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