Revolution in South Asia

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India: Uprising in West Bengal

Posted by n3wday on November 17, 2008


This series of articles appeared on Sanhati.

Nov 13, 2008: Background of the movement

By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati.

The events that have been happening during the last one week in the adivasi (tribal) belt of West Midnapur district in West Bengal are so unprecedented that the authorities do not know how to respond to them, and the media doesn’t understand their significance.

Even the political parties and civil society are at a loss trying to come to terms with what is happening. What had started off as protests against police brutalities have turned into a full scale uprising against state oppression and dispossession. Nothing like this has been witnessed in West Bengal in living memory.

The entire chain of events started after the 2nd November land mine explosion targeting the convoy of West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and union steel and mines minister Ram Vilas Paswan as they were returning from the inauguration of the Jindal Steel Works special economic zone (SEZ) in Salboni in West Midnapore district.

Around 5000 acres of land have been acquired for this project, of which 4500 acres have been handed over by the government and 500 acres have been purchased directly by Jindal from landowners. Reportedly, a large portion of this land was vested with the government for distribution amongst landless tribals as part of the land reforms program and also included tracts of forests. Moreover, although the land was originally acquired for a “usual” steel plant, last September Jindal got SEZ status for the project, with active help from the state government, which dispensed with the requirement for following most regulations for building and running the plant, including crucial requirements such as doing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The government was, and is, not bothered about the setting up of an SEZ having a polluting steel plant in the middle of a forested area, dispossessing tribals from their land and endangering their means of survival. Understandably, there were major grievances amongst the tribals against this, although the mainstream media had constantly portrayed a very rosy picture of the entire project.

The land mine explosion was blamed as usual on the Maoist insurgents allegedly active for a long time in Salboni and the adjacent Lalgarh area. According to press reports, the Maoist movement is active in twelve police station areas in the three adjoining districts of West Midnapur, Bankura and Purulia. Three junior-level policemen were suspended and show-cause notices were served on a few senior officers for negligence of duty.

Usually, the police harass and arrest tribal villagers after every Maoist attack; this time in order to hide their own failure in providing security to its political masters, and to save their skin from the wrath of the government, the police went on a rampage in the tribal villages. Having no clue about the real perpetrators of the land mine explosion, they started beating up and arresting people indiscriminately. Among the first to be arrested were three teenage students, Aben Murmu, Gautam Patra and Buddhadeb Patra, who were returning from a village festival during the night. They were charged with sundry charges including waging war against the state, conspiracy, attempt to murder, using dangerous weapons and obstructing justice. Then during the day on 4th November, an armed police party arrested Dipak Pratihar of Kantapahari village while he was buying medicine from a chemist’s shop in Lalgarh for his pregnant wife Lakshmi. In the process the police brutally beat up Lakshmi and threw her to the ground. She had to be subsequently hospitalized. Ten people were arrested during the police raids and beaten up, including a retired teacher Khsamananda Mahato and a civil contractor Shamsher Alam from Chotopeliya village, who was visiting the area for a day for some construction work. Although these two people were subsequently released, as the police could not formulate any charges against them, the rest were kept in police custody.

The police and CRPF, led by the officer in charge of Lalgarh police station, Sandeep Sinha Roy and the superintendent of police of West Midnapore district, Rajesh Singh, unleashed a reign of terror in 35 villages encompassing the entire tribal belt of Lalgarh. In raids throughout the night of November 6th, women were brutally kicked and beaten up with lathis and butts of guns. Among the injured, Chitamani Murmu, one of whose eyes was hit by a gun butt, and Panamani Hansda, who was kicked on her chest and suffered multiple fractures, had to hospitalized. Chitamani’s lost her eye because of the injury. Eight other women were badly wounded. These police brutalities soon reached a point where the adivasis had no other option but to rise up in revolt.

The adivasis of India are one of the most oppressed and downtrodden groups of people in the country. Police oppression is nothing new to the Santhal adivasis of the Bankura-Purulia-Midnapore area. But the unprecedented atrocities inflicted by the police in the past week, especially the wanton attack on women, wore out their patience. On the night of 6th November they assembled near the Lalgarh police station and surrounded it, effectively cutting it off, and the policemen inside, who had been rampaging in villages the previous night but had now locked themselves inside the police station, did not dare to venture out. Electricity to the police station was disconnected and all the lights were broken.

What began as rumblings of protest took the shape of a spontaneous mass uprising the next day. On 7th November, when the ruling CPI(Marxist) was “observing” the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution throughout West Bengal, ten thousand Santhal men and women, armed with traditional weapons, came out and obstructed the roads leading to Lalgarh, disconnecting it from Midnapur and Bankura. Roads were dug up and tree trunks were placed on the road to obstruct the entry of police vehicles, in the same way as it had been done in Nandigram.

The police jeep and the CPI(M) motorcycle have long been symbols of oppression and terror for villagers throughout West Bengal, so this digging up of roads, besides actually inhibiting the movements of these agents of oppression, have become a symbol of defiance and liberation. Towards the night of 7th November, the people also disconnected telephone and electricity lines, virtually converting a vast area into a liberated zone. The apex social organization of the Santhals, the Bharat Jakat Majhi Madwa Juan Gaonta took up the leadership of the struggle, although the leader of the organization, the “Disham Majhi” Nityananda Hembram has himself admitted that the organization has no control over the movement; rather the movement is controlling the organization.

Smaller organizations of the tribals, such as the Kherwal Jumit Gaonta, that have been playing active roles in the struggle have openly called for armed resistance, stating that there is no other way for the survival of the adivasis.

The demands of the adivasis were so “earthy” and original that the administration did not know how to respond. The demands were that the superintendent of police Rajesh Singh should publicly apologize by holding his ears and doing sit-ups, a traditional way of punishing errant youngsters, the guilty policemen should crawl on the streets of the villages where they had tortured people, rubbing their noses on the ground, again another traditional way of humiliating wrongdoers, and Rs 200,000 compensation for the injured and assaulted. The demands were marked by the total reliance of the adivasis on their traditional systems of dispensing justice, and not looking up to the formal judicial process which they have realized is by nature weighted against the poor and marginalized. Although these demands have since been modified to an unconditional oral apology from the police superintendent and punishment for the policemen involved in the raids, the administration has arrogantly refused to accept these demands, although they have said that the demand of compensation can be considered.

However, the adivasis have been in no mood to accept this “offer” and the upsurge has spread over an even wider area encompassing Dahijuri, Binpur, Jhargram and Bandowan.

The administration has virtually disappeared from these areas. On 10th November, adivasis led by the tribal social organizations set up new roadblocks in the Dahijuri area. When the police lathicharged the assembled people and arrested some of the leaders of the Gaontas, the situation turned explosive. The tribals surrounded the police officials present and a crowd of few thousand adivasis, armed with bows and arrows, axes and daggers, and led by women wielding broomsticks, chased the police for four kilometers along the road leading to Jhargram. The police were forced to retreat from the area and release all the leaders of the social organizations they had arrested.

Map of Bangladesh and West Bengal © National Maritime Museum, London

Map of Bangladesh and West Bengal © National Maritime Museum, London

The movement has been continually intensifying during the past week and spreading over a larger area.

The slogans emanating from the movement have also been changing and now the adivasis are demanding that the dispossession of tribals from their land, forests and water in the name of development and industrialization has to stop. The struggle against state oppression is turning into a bigger struggle against dispossession and marginalization.

The state has been helpless in front of this upsurge and has been trying to “negotiate” with the tribals. But what has been frustrating their efforts is the essentially democratic nature of this upsurge. Although the administration has been holding multiple all-party meetings with the dominant political parties, CPI(M), Trinamool Congress, Congress and the Jharkhand Party, the leaders of these parties have openly admitted to their inability to exert any influence on the adivasis.

The adivasis are not letting any political leaders access to the movement, including tribal leaders like Chunibala Hansda, the Jharkhand Party (Naren faction) MLA from Binpur. They are demanding that any negotiations be carried out in the open rather than behind closed doors. Even traditional leaders like the “Disham Majhi” Nityananda Hembram and other “majhis” are having to talk directly with the adivasis before talking to the administration. Villagers of the ten villages in Lalgarh have formed ten village committees with one coordinating committee to negotiate with the administration. This democratic nature of the upsurge have frustrated all attempts by the administration to “control” the movement till now, and have forced the political parties like the local Trinamool Congress to come out in support, although the state leadership of the party is strangely silent about it.

The state and the CPI(M) have not dared to respond with overt violence yet, although there are news that a motorbike-borne militia is being assembled nearby by Sushanta Ghosh, the notorious CPI(M) minister and Dipak Sarkar, the CPI(M) district secretary. The state has been forced to accede to the bail of the three teenage students arrested by the police and have also send Sandeep Sinha Roy, the notorious O.C of Lalgarh police station, on extended leave. There are also reports that, being unable to quell the resistance, the state government has requested the central government to send paramilitary forces to help in their efforts.

What we are witnessing in the tribal belt of West Bengal is of historical moment. A long oppressed people have risen up and are daring to confront their oppressors and question the logic of “development” that destroys their lives and livelihoods. It is interesting to observe that the nature of confrontation with the state, exceptional in scale and intensity, seems to be inspired by the popular resistance at Nandigram – thereby, providing some sort of continuity to the possibilty of an emerging people’s struggles against state repression.

The West Bengal government has been alleging that the movement is being organized and led by the Maoists, and that the Lalgarh area has become a “liberated zone” for them. These are common ploys used by the CPI(M), the government and its sympathisers to brand and delegitimize popular movements. The mainstream media, a faithful ally of the state in such matters, has been repeating the same allegations and lamenting that such acts, which are being dubbed anarchic in nature, has resulted in the breakdown of civil authority. In this manner, attempts are being made to dissociate the urban civil society and intelligentsia from the movement, who have not yet been able to formulate a response to the upsurge. Moreover, using such rhetoric, the state is perhaps also trying to legitimize whatever steps it wishes to adopt in overcoming the resistance.

It is quite expected that radical political forces would have been active among the adivasis as the latter have been the most downtrodden people in India and it is their land and resources which is being handed over for corporate plunder. However the presence and participation of the Maoists or similar forces in no way delegitimizes this seemingly spontaneous, and democratic, expression of people’s anger. This is amply expressed by what Arati Murmu, a woman who had been assaulted by the police, and who had gone to block the Lalgarh police station had to say:

“Whenever there is a Maoist attack the police raid our villages and torture our women and children. For how long will we suffer this oppression by the police? All of us are Maoists, let the police arrest us. Today we have come out.”


Nov 14: Movement spreads to Midnapur, Jhargram cut off

By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati

Yesterday the movement spread to Jhargram town in one direction and crossed over from the Jhargram subdivision, where the movement has been continuing for the past week, to the Midnapore sub division. Jhargram town has been disconnected from the rest of the state. On the other hand, roads have been dug up 4 km away from Midnapore town. Yesterday, leaders of the Bharat Majhi Madwa, Prabir Murmu and Munshiram Murmu, had been talking to the administration and at the end of the day they said that the movement would be withdrawn from Jhargram. But as soon as they went back to the protesters, the latter declined to withdraw the movement. Munshiram Murmu was reportedly roughed up by the protesters. As a result, they made a volte face and declared that the movement will continue.

The Bharat Majhi Madwa has again stated that they have no control over the movement. Yesterday, to complement the traditional show of force by the santhal villagers, the Santhal Students’ Association took out a motorbike rally in Jhargram town. Also, the latest news say that the centre has declined to send the CRPF because of the impending assembly election in 4 states.


Nov 15, 2008: Some reports from mainstream media

Report from The Telegraph

A new team of tribals from Lalgarh told district authorities today that the government would have to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to each villager injured in police raids and searches should be stopped from 5pm to 6am.

The delegation of the Pulishi Santrash Birodhi Jonosadharoner Committee (panel to protest police atrocities) was led by its secretary, Sidhu Soren. The committee was formed last night after villagers accused the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa, a group of elders negotiating with the officials till now, of “betraying the tribal cause”.

The panel put forward a list of 11 demands. The elders had wanted compensation earlier, but the amount was specified today. They had asked night raids to be stopped, too, but had not spoken of the time.

The police suspect the new committee has the backing of Maoists. Additional district magistrate (general) R.A. Israel, however, refused comment on the matter.

“Today, we did not come to work out a solution. We submitted our demands. They told us they would not be able to fulfil some of them. The SP will have to go to Dalilpur and announce the decision in front of villagers,” Soren said.

“We will discuss administration’s views with the villagers tomorrow and then decide our next course of action.”

Israel, who spoke to the team of 10 tribals, ruled out the possibility of the SP going to Dalilpur, which falls in the Lalgarh police station area, because of security reasons.

The committee repeated two earlier demands that the officials have rejected. One, that the district police chief should squat and apologise holding his ears. Second, that policemen should crawl from Dalilpur to Chhotopelia.

Israel added that “releasing those who were arrested with arms in connection with the (November 2) blast is not possible”. “We have asked them (the committee) to file a written complaint against those policemen whom they are accusing (of atrocities). A probe will be conducted.

“We have assured them (the committee) that the policemen in the camps set up in schools and hospitals will be removed once peace is restored. The administration will bear the cost of treatment of those injured in the November 5 raids.”

Today, the roadblock in Dahijuri was lifted, but Jhargram town remained cut off from the rest of the state because the damaged roads had not been repaired.

In Calcutta, home secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti said night raids would stop, but did not specify the time. “We have decided there will be no night raids. But the road digging will not be tolerated indefinitely.”

Lalgarh on boil, consensus elusive

Report from The Statesman

The state government is apprehensive of a clash between the blockaders and the those adversely affected by their stir in and around Lalgarh, Mr Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti, state home secretary said at Writers’ Buildings today. Locals are frustrated as supply of food and fuel like kerosene have been affected following the blockade in the wake of the arrest of some people after the Salbani blast.

The state government is yet to chalk out a strong action to remove the blockade and is looking forward to resolve the crisis through talks with the agitators, Mr Chakrabarti said. The decision regarding the ongoing agitation would be communicated to the government after the agitators representatives hold talks with their elders, the government representatives were told after the meeting today. He also said that demands for the release of those guilty in the blast case would not be conceded. Neither would the police camps be withdrawn nor the demand of some of the senior police officials apologising in public would be considered by the state government, he added.

Also a probe will be initiated regarding police excesses during the raids following the blast, he said. If charges against them is proved, strict action will be taken. No specific allegations about huts being ransacked have been received by the district administration, he said. Mr Chakrabarti however regretted that the consensus on certain issues which had been reached through yesterday’s talks could not be implemented after trouble broke out in the ranks of the agitators.


Nov 15: Spins of the corporate media, and the true story of Chotopeliya village

By Partho Sarathi Ray

It is interesting to see how the reporting on the movement is being done by newspapers like Telegraph and Statesman and the television channels. Everybody is out to prove that the Maoists are controlling the movement. And they are using the 11-point demand by the movement as a sure proof of Maoist control. For example, the TV channels are directly saying that the adivasis have demanded that all Maoists arrested over the last 10 years be released.

See what Shyamsundar Roy, a responsible journalist, is writing in The Statesman: “This stalemate has given rise to several questions like, who governs the area? ~ the civil administration or the indigenous people under the banner of the Sara Bharat Jakat Majhi-Madowa Juran Gaounta, an adivasi organisation, run by the Maoists behind the curtain. The charter of demands placed by the organisation leaders at least indicate so. They have demanded that all cases filed against the “innocent” natives of the area between 1998 and 2008 be withdrawn and the tortured families be duly compensated with unconditional release of the detained people, including those in 2 November blast case. These happen to be the same cases which the Maoists have been clamouring over the years.”

A copy of the actual demands, as shown on TV, tells a slightly but importantly different tale. It clearly states “1998 theke 2008 abdhi maobadi sandehe mithya mamlay jarano manushder mukti dite hobe” – “People arrested in false cases under suspicion of being Maoists, from 1998 to 2008, have to be released”. Now, it is natural for the adivasis to demand this, all adivasis arrested after every Maoist attack have been charged with waging war against the state, so they have to write “Maobadi sandehe” or “on suspicion of being Maoists”. This is being twisted as the adivasis demanding all “Maoists” should be released.

There is also a demand that the hated practice of police tahaldari (police vigils) during the night in villages should stop, but the home secretary has refused it.

In this context, it is interesting to revisit the incident at Chotopeliya village which had triggered the movement. It is interesting because it tells us a lot about the values of the santhals.

It seems that when the police was raiding Chotopeliya village, they found that this person called Shamsher Alam was staying for the night in the house of one person. He usually visited the village twice a year to recruit agricultural workers during the harvest season for his and others’ farmlands. When the police tried to arrest him for being a Maoist, the village women came out and protested saying that all of them knew him as he visited regularly and he was their guest. When the retired school teacher Kshamananda Mahato vouched for him the police also arrested him. Then they attacked the village women. The severely injured are from this village. This news spread around and triggered the revolt.

This illustrates how the traditions of protecting a guest, a non-adivasi and a Muslim, are still so important and powerful among the tribals. Both Shamsher Alam and Mahato were subsequently released after nothing could be found against them.


Picture courtesy Sanbad Pratidin

Picture courtesy Sanbad Pratidin

Nov 16: Peoples Committee Against Police Oppression formed, uprising spreads near Garbeta

By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati

The upsurge of adivasis is continuing unabated and is also spreading to newer areas. Although, after discussions between the Bharat Jakat Majhi Madwa Juan Gaonta and the administration, the siege of Jhargram town has been partially lifted. The blockade on the road connecting Jhargram and Dahijuri was lifted on 14th November but the Bharat Jakat Majhi Madwa could not convince the protesters to lift the blockades of the other roads connecting Jhargram. However, on 15th November efforts to lift the blockade on the other roads leading to Jhargram, mainly the Jhargram Lodhashuli state highway 9, which connects Jhargram to Bombay Road, have begun and it is being expected that the movement will lift the blockade of Jhargram town.

However, the movement has continued to spread to adjoining areas and reached Belpahari on one side and is approaching Garbeta, a stronghold of the ruling CPI(M), on the other. The grassroots adivasis organizations at the forefront of the protests, such as Jumit Gaonta, ESECA, Kurmi Chatra Sangram Committee etc. have come together to form the Peoples’ Committee Against Police Oppression (pulishi atyachar-er birudhhe janasadharan- er committee). Thus the leadership of the movement has passed on from the traditional elders of the adivasis to a younger generation. This mass organization is now leading the struggle and Santhal students belonging to this organization are moving from house to house telling people of the 11-point charter of demands that has been put forward.

These demands include the longstanding demands of the adivasis to stop night-time police raids in villages, removal of police and CRPF camps from the villages, release of all adivasis arrested since 1998 on the suspicion of being Maoists and charged with false cases of waging war against the state, punishment of the policemen guilty of the latest atrocities and Rs 200,000 compensation for the people injured in the brutal police attacks. The administration have flatly refused to consider the demands for removing police camps and for releasing the adivasis falsely implicated of being Maoists. The leaders of the peoples’ committee, Sidhu Soren and Singray Kisku, have said that the movement will continue till the demands are met.

On 15th November, a few thousand adivasi and non-adivasi people demonstrated in the Tamajuri area of Belpahari and cut off the road between Belpahari and Jhargram. This has disconnected the Jhargram subdivision from Bandowan in Purulia and Bnakura district. On the other hand, roads have been dug up and tree trunks have been piled up in Humgarh area under Garbeta police station and in Bulanpur near Goaltore. This is in the stronghold of the notorious CPI(M) minister Sushanta Ghosh, and there has been no opposition to the CPI(M) in this area for the past ten years. However, currently the CPI(M) cadres seem to have disappeared, although the district secretary of the CPI(M), Dipak Sarkar, have been holding meetings in villages in the Salboni area, exhorting CPI(M) supporters to get out into the streets.

The bandh called by SUCI in Jhargram on Saturday was successful. The Jharkhand Disham Party has called a bandh on Sunday in the three adivasi-dominated villages of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore. The CPI(M) state secretary, Biman Bose, has tried to give a new twist to the movement, claiming that its a separatist movement designed to separate the adivasi-dominated areas from West Bengal and include them in the neighbouring Jharkahnd state. This is a blatant attempt to stoke regionalism among the non-adivasi people and deligitimize the movement. Mamata Banerjee, for the first time, has expressed oral support for the movement from a stage in Singur, although her party has done nothing in its support. And five out of the seven arrested people who were still in police custody were given bail on 14th November as the police and the CID could not produce a case diary against them even ten days after their arrest. The judge has show-caused the CID officer Purnashib Mukhopadhyay. The polce are at a loss how to build false cases against these people whom they had arrested after rampaging through the adivasi villages.

9 Responses to “India: Uprising in West Bengal”

  1. Green/Red Rev said

    It is people’s struggle at last! And some day it shall fruit.

    Only for them not to be mixed or mistaken as Dalits (Untouchable caste;) i am providing the following Wikipedia version of definition of these very original peoples of India ………

    Ādivāsīs (in Devanagari script: आदिवासी), literally “original inhabitants”, comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India. Indian tribals are also called Atavika (forest dwellers, in Sanskrit texts), Vanvasis or Girijans (hill people, e.g., by Mahatma Gandhi).

    These autochthonous people, popularly known as the Tribal people are particularly numerous in the Indian states of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and in extreme northeastern states such as Mizoram. Officially recognized by the Indian government as “Scheduled Tribes” in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, they are often grouped together with scheduled castes in the category “Scheduled Castes and Tribes”, which is eligible for certain affirmative action measures.

    They have their own tribal religions which are different than Islam or Vedic Hinduism but more close to Tantric Shaivism. During the 19th century, substantial numbers converted to Christianity and Brahmoism (modern Hindu sect).

    Lord Shiva of the Hindus is believed to have been an Adivasi clan deity originally but was also accepted by the Aryans as a deity. Adivasis also occupy importance in the Ramayan, wherein King Gohu and his tribe help Shri Ram in Chitrakoot. This apart, even in the modern era, a prominent freedom fighter was Birsa Munda, an Adivasi, who was also a religious leader.

    ……… therefore, as much as you ought to care for indigenous peoples of the US, please also pay attention to Adivasi’s cause

  2. some more articles from the mainstream press: & &

  3. Green/Red Rev said

    To understand what an SEZ really means, how developed in India in particular and its destructive nature hereby I have to present the writing of our great Indian writer Sai Baba once again. The way it seems with SEZ and globalization, everything is fine from the third world countries; we love their people to give them jobs that without even their own law system! and Labor Regulations! read it… if it is too long, maybe they’ll put it somewhere else: Manufacturing Imperialism The political Economy of Special Economic Zones –GN Saibaba The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future –Marx, Capital, Vol I An epitome of beauty, serenity and colonial charm… –An advertisement for The Carlton, a luxury hotel created by the Rahejas in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu Introduction Land, development and displacement has once again become the central point of debate in India. Curiously the debate is on industrial development ostensibly, under capitalism. Suddenly it has dawned upon the learned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his policy experts that land and agriculture cannot be the main basis for the economy of a country like India that is marching ahead in the 21st century. The often erudite, soft spoken PM has even gone to the extent of calling all those, who oppose the present road map of prosperity and growth laid out by his government, anti-development and hence anti-national. The Prime Minister has equated the present policy prescription for growth tempered by the diktats of the World Bank and IMF with the ‘national interest’. Dr. Manmohan Singh is not alone in his concern about the future of the so-called ‘second generation reforms’, otherwise known as Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG). He is joined by the likes of Dr. Amartya Sen who is always ready to ‘grade’ the ‘performance’ of the Indian economy. In one of his interviews to The Telegraph while trying hard to pull the CPM-led West Bengal government out of the ignominy of Nandigram and Singur the Nobel Laureate has made it loud and clear that whatever is happening in the form of Special Economic Zones throughout the sub-continent is development through industrialisation that India badly needs. And make no mistake. This development package will inevitably have to exploit land that was / is fertile or otherwise. Gone are the days when agriculture alone could provide to the developmental needs of the Indian economy which as per Sen the economist is poised for a growth of more than 9 percent, mainly propelled through foreign direct investments. At best, it is nothing but Sen and the art of consensus building. Incidentally, when the people of Singur was protesting against land being taken from them against their will, Telegraph had carried photographs of CPM cadre moving in hordes on motorcycles in Singur with red flag and the life size portrait of Ratan Tata trying to ‘educate’ the people about the virtues of the TATAs as the harbinger of industrialization in post-47 India. Perhaps both, the Nobel laureate and the lumpen brigade of the CPM, were conveying the same, albeit, in different ways. It’s official now. Agriculture cannot be the main provider of employment for the vast sections of the masses abounding rural India. In fact, the first official warning came in the form of an innocuous survey of the NSSO—about which the government had made a song and dance, not to mention the media that had gone overboard—proclaiming that about 40 percent or more of the peasantry in India would want to rid their lives of agriculture. Yet in the maze of this publicity blitzkrieg by the proponents of LPG, what is carefully ignored is the question of development itself. The question as usual is deliberately posed in a manner where the pertinent aspects on the ramifications of a development model—that is totally reliant on foreign capital / dependent on imperialism—for the vast sections of the masses of this country hardly gets any mention. What is argued is that displacement is inevitable in development. The rest of the arguments are just a logical corollary of this initial refrain. Since the peasantry cannot provide labour opportunities through agriculture anymore for the bulk of the masses as required by the circumstances coupled with the diminishing returns for the farmers with a high input cost and low market price / support price for the output, there is no more incentive for them to continue in the same productive activity. Amidst all this effort of consensus building are the shocking and gripping accounts of violence and repression from the killing fields of Kashipur, Kalinganagar, Nandigram, Raigada, Jagatsinghpur and Singur. When this is being written the CPI (M) has resorted to the worst carnage in Nandigram which even the die hard supporters of CPI (M) itself have shockingly compared it to the worst genocide that followed the post-Godhra riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002. The scope of this article does not permit to deal with the entire happenings in Nandigram. It may be dealt in a separate piece. Is displacement due to development or the development of displacement an inevitable thing like ones own shadow, a necessary evil that has to be lived with when one thinks about development? Or is there a possibility of a development which is free of any form of displacement; any form of violence on the people? Is this phenomenon of displacement due to development a new feature in the trajectory that India followed post-47? These are vital questions we cannot shy away from if we are serious in fighting the four dreaded Ds—Displacement, Destruction, Destitution and Death, especially in a social reality like South Asia and that too at a time when private capital—foreign and domestic—is considered as the main vehicle of implementation of the policies of LPG. Towards an understanding of the politics of development A concrete understanding of the present phase of LPG of the Indian economy and its implications in the South Asian sub-continent, calls for the need of an approach toward development from the point of view of the vast sections of the masses. It then becomes pertinent to disentangle the maze that has deliberately been created on the question of development through a dialectical approach the politico-economic rationale of the path of development which India has been / is embarking. Any attempt to talk about the future of the path of development that India should embrace should flow from a perspective informed by the past and an understanding of the present rooted in the past enlightened by a theory that is in the interest of the vast sections of the masses. It is the effort of this paper to look at the present phase of policy initiatives—termed as the second generation reforms of LPG—in a continuum since post-47 India. It is argued here that any attempt to theorise the history and nature of development in post-47 India cannot escape the larger structural and causal elements within and without the Indian sub-continent which contributed and sustained the Indian state. In essence it is the mapping of the trajectory of interests that have contributed towards the forging and implementation of a model of development that is essentially an expression of the interest of the dominant class of that state. Poverty of critique or Poverty of the critique of poverty In their critique of displacement due to development, many of the activists, academics and social commentators consider the present phase of development (initiated through the second generation reforms of LPG) as the main cause of ruin of gains of the Nehruvian era. The main lacuna of this approach among other things is the obfuscation of the real nature of the politics of development that was unveiled soon after the transfer of power in India from the British. In this perception of development it becomes natural that despite the best efforts of the planned economy in the Nehruvian period certain people, certain communities, still remain out of the loop of the ‘fruits’ of development. Neither development could reach these people nor do people embrace development. Development thus becomes a neutral category. No matter which class or state is promoting it, development needs to take place. It also flows from the same argument that development, it does not matter who is getting benefited from it, should be promoted as it will ultimately make the country prosper, stable and secure for everyone. At the end of the day, commonsense has it that the ‘fruits’ of development will reach—trickle down to—everyone, irrespective of caste, class, nationality, religion and region. In this context, what Amartya Sen has to say, celebrates the commonsense that is shared in the abovementioned paragraph: When people move out of agriculture, total production does not go down. So per capita income increases. For the prosperity of industry, agriculture and the economy, you do need industrialisation. Those in effect preventing that, either by politically making it impossible for an industrialist to feel comfortable in Bengal or making it difficult to buy land for industry, do not serve the interest of the poor well. … The market economy has many imperfections… But it also creates job and income and if the income goes up, government revenues go up, so there is money available for education and healthcare and other things. Amartya Sen’s sophistry with the language of the market fails to locate the dynamic of the process of development in the interests of the classes that is promoting it. For Amartya Sen, logically those who lose out their jobs in the agrarian economy should get their labour in the industrial economy. And they are not getting jobs as there are no industries. And the way out is to bring in private capital—foreign / domestic—to start industries which will generate jobs. In other words industrial development cannot happen without capital generation. And hence private capital becomes inevitable. As to what kind of industry and what kind of jobs and the quantum of job creation—all these are immaterial. Any protest of the peasantry and the landless agricultural labourers against the loss of their livelihood becomes politically motivated opposition for him. He takes it for granted that there is forward and backward correspondence between the rural and the urban, between the agrarian and the industrial production in post-47 India. In other words, for Amartya Sen the shift of priorities from the agrarian to the industrial is a smooth exercise. Those who have lost their livelihoods will gain through jobs in the industrial scenario. The dynamic of development moves as a neutral category for him through time and space. The circularity of the logic is quite revealing when one looks at what the professor is saying: To start with, why was Five Year Plans important for capital formation during the planned economy period? For development. Why was Green Revolution important for capital formation in agriculture? For development. Why was land reform in agriculture important for capital formation? For development. Why was disinvestment in Public Sector Undertakings important for capital formation? For development. Why is privatisation of the social sectors important for capital formation? For development. Why is corporatisation of agriculture important for capital formation? For development. Why is concentration of land important for capital formation? For development. And why is mass use of agricultural land for industrialisation displacing the livelihoods of lakhs and lakhs of people important for capital formation? Again, for development. Reading between the lines will have Sen the economist telling us that development brings crisis, devastation, destitution, death, destruction, because of development and the only way out of this crisis is through development! Close on the heels of the above notion of development is the contention made by many that all was well till the mid-80s of the last century and things started deteriorating ever since then. Central to this argument is the nostalgia of the good old days of Nehruvian planned economy with Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Five Year Plans and Nationalisation being the hallmark of development planning during this period. This perception, which is shared by the socialists, Gandhians, the CPI, CPM and their ilk in the parliament again exalts development to the status of a neutral category, shorn off the real interest it represents in space, time and structure. Development is thus possible in the urban centres because there is availability of capital, market, and also income so as to consume the products that are available in the market. Conversely there is no or little development in the rural, tribal areas as in these social realities there is little income generation to match the parity of the products available, besides low income / low capital formation has resulted in a skewed or total absence of the market in these social formations. Thus development gets reduced to presence or absence of capital, market, income . People become less important in this model. Thus it becomes natural in this model of development to come up with programmes like poverty alleviation / amelioration, Food for work, Rozgar Yojana, National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes, etc. as externally induced initiatives to reach those sections who are out of the loop of the above mentioned model as if these schemes or concepts are in itself external to the notion of development. Not only those people who become targets of these schemes are reduced to lifeless things, to be worked upon so as to be uplifted, even the onus of responsibility of not being part of the model of development promoted by the state falls on their shoulders. Thus moribund capital leaves the imprint of its own parasitic nature on those people who are easy targets of its logic of surplus maximisation. Thus it becomes easy for the cabinet minister to dismiss the shocking instance of tribals consuming poisonous roots or grass to keep them alive as a ‘natural’ ‘cultural’ attribute of these people not in the habit of eating rice which is being provided to them by the government. The fact that they are left out of the loop of the model of development imposed on them by the State and hence they are starving to death due to lack of opportunities to survive as a people becomes politically motivated interventions of those who are anti-development and primitive in their vision. A deeper investigation into the period of Nehruvian planned economy would prove beyond doubt that what is being implemented today by the likes of Manmohan Singh in the form of LPG is yet another unfolding dimension of the politics of development in the present phase of imperialist exploitation of the world economy. It becomes pertinent then to look into the articulation of the planned economy of the Nehruvian era, how it was befitting the post-47 arrangement, the re-division of the world market after the World War II that emerged as a consensus among the erstwhile colonial powers and the emerging ruling classes in the erstwhile colonies, most of whom emerged in the anti-colonial resistance. The Legacy of 1947 The transfer of power in the Indian sub-continent also was when the Second World War had come to an end. The Indian big bourgeoisie, who had developed under the protection of British colonialism, emerged as one of the key forces that had to ensure the reproduction of a new division of market and resources as part of the imperialist division of the world. The comprador Indian big bourgeoisie in alliance with the big feudal landlords had emerged as the ruling classes of post-47 India . These classes lacked the political will to usher India through a self-induced development that would generate growth through the mutual correspondence between the rural and the urban, through the promotion of local innovation which can easily be absorbed by the vast section of the masses thus creating the way for large scale employment opportunities. A cursory glance into the state of the newly formed Indian economy would give the indications towards what were the major factors that had defined the logic of state building in post-47 India. In 1948-49, agriculture accounted for 49.1 percent of the total national income. This comprised of stock breeding and auxiliary activities, forestry and fisheries. The total work force in the agrarian economy rose from 69.4 in 1901 to 73.7 in 1951 . In 1950-51 less than two percent of the total working population was employed in the factory and its share in the national income was a mere 5.8 percent. Thus the main concerns of the emerging state were to manage the unfolding contradictions within the economy and society in the form of the demands of the people buoyant with the spirit of anti-colonial resistance and also the needs of a middle class that had a role to play as opinion makers in the formulation of the policies. The disparities between the rich and the poor were so wide. The overall stratification in the agricultural sector was also not encouraging. Less than 3 percent of the total agricultural population were non-cultivating landlords, around 63 percent cultivators (owners or tenants) and around 32 percent were agricultural labourers . The land was concentrated in the hands of the less than 3 percent agricultural population. The scenario is succinctly summed up by Charles Bettelheim: …the absence of the labour market in a large part of the rural sector; the personal subservience of the immediate producer to the landowner; the excessive importance of land rent; the underdeveloped marketing system resulting in little social division of labour, a low rate of accumulation, and the use of produce mainly to satisfy immediate needs . He further characterised the economy as “semi-feudal”. The comprador ruling classes in Indiaعد had to address two vital problems that were confronting the economy as bottle necks in domestic planning and development: (1) A low industrial base which will force the domestic economy to spend large sums of money (foreign exchange) to import all manufactured goods. (2) The much needed foreign exchange could be earned only through primary commodity exports to the developed capitalist countries. These exports were always subjected to wild fluctuations in demand and reduced purchasing power. Displacement is inevitable in the present model of development Given the subservient class nature of the Indian big bourgeoisie-feudal landlord alliance, an independent, self expanding capitalist development that could successfully address the above mentioned impediments was totally ruled out as that would threaten the very class basis of the emerging post -47 India. But at the same time they had to negotiate with the growing internal pressures from the domestic economy failing which would have been a grave danger to their expansionist dreams. This low industrial base and a relatively low rate of accumulation forced the comprador bourgeoisie-landlord alliance to agree for an economy with the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) as one of the principle sources of capital mobilization. The technology for the core industries such as steel, heavy engineering, mining etc. was obtained through foreign collaboration. Whatever efforts that were made to reduce dependence on foreign exchange (as the continual lack of foreign exchange was perceived as the main source of dependence) to the minimum proved counterproductive. Despite all the nationalist pretensions of the likes of Nehru—thus the coinage of the term Nehruvian socialism—the logic of imperialism prevailed over in a strategy conceived as Import-substitution Industrialisation. All the effort to reduce the import of manufactured goods to minimise the burden on foreign exchange by replacing the same through enhanced domestic production had faded into oblivion overwhelmed by the real image of imperialist development’s future in the sub-continent as it started reproducing itself in the multiple local specificities (multiple modes of production) of the less developed Indian economy. As the mass of the Indian population remained poor tied to the land for survival, incapable of providing a market for goods, the efforts to produce domestic manufactured goods did not translate into production of mass consumption goods. Thus there was hardly any correspondence—neither forward nor backward—between the agrarian and the industrial realities that unfolded in post-47 India. The development that was promoted by the Indian State created islands of prosperity amidst a sea of humanity languishing in poverty and destitution unable to find them worthy of anything in a model that was subservient to the imperialist interests of maximisation of the surplus. This model could only benefit a few in the Indian economy, those who form the dominant class/caste in this society whose interest was congruent to the needs of imperialist capital and it was only possible by holding back the productive capabilities of the Indian economy by not letting the majority partake in their role as active producers of use values. At best what these people would be of use is as cheap labour to perform the least skilled of labour that would further dehumanise them. This model could only degrade the labour by pushing them further down the pyramid of hierarchy that was maintained to produce and reproduce the status-quo. It was not necessary that the landless agricultural labourer who had lost his/her opportunity in the agrarian economy would end up as labour in the factories at the urban centres. What this model has perpetuated is the violent displacement of the opportunities of toiling sections in the countryside to convert them into pavement dwellers or squatters who are struggling to eke out an existence as these people have become misfits in the urban scenario. It would certainly be not at the risk of exaggeration, if one says that imperialism, which has become the way of life of capitalism, has lend its image of the future in the form of ‘development’, in less developed countries like India. Thus the realisation of the image of the future of imperialism in less developed countries like India as a model of development is a replication of the status-quo where the money lender-trader-landlord nexus hold the political power, while sharing the benefits of surplus generated in the economy with imperialism. The persistence of this model in a semi-feudal, semi-colonial reality cannot be ensured without total reliance on imperialism. Needless to say, displacement is inevitable in this model without which it cannot replicate itself. Greater unevenness, widening regional disparities, increasing impoverishment of the people etc. are necessary evils in this model. This is diametrically opposite to an alternative model which would move towards a structural change in the economy with redistribution of land and a thoroughgoing shift in political power in favour of the toiling masses. This model envisages mass participation, with the needs of the masses forming the propellant factor giving a sense of direction to the industries resulting in the production of items that are useful for the everyday life of the people, for leading a dignified meaningful existence. This would necessitate the orientation or the choice of capital that is sensitive to the resource base of the economy and indigenous technology. And such a model of development where people are an asset and not a burden to the economy and their physical, mental well-being is what development is all about will be detrimental to the interests of the landlord-money lender-trader alliance which is holding power in the economy. Let us now look into how imperialist logic or the reproduction of the future of imperialism gets articulated in a semi-feudal, semi-colonial reality like India. Five Year Plans—the Emperor’s New Clothes The eve of transfer of power in 1947 also overlapped with the crisis of food shortage in India almost akin to famine conditions. In the post World War II scenario it was US imperialism that was better placed to invest in the new markets of the erstwhile colonies. At the same time it was not an attractive proposition for the US private capital to invest heavily in the Indian economy. Indian economy did not have the necessary infrastructure at that time to attract private capital from foreign countries. Another factor that was looming like a spectre was the success of the Chinese Revolution which the ruling classes and imperialism feared would incite the imagination of the toiling masses. The Telangana armed struggle which was raging the fields, forests and villages of the Telangana region had fully developed into a movement of the peasantry and the landless agricultural labour. The remarks of Chester Bowles the then US Ambassador to India, is quite reflective of the emerging picture: We have a critical choice: we can help and guide the economic and social upheaval now sweeping Asia, Africa and Latin America into constructive, peaceful channels. Or we can sit back nervously and ineffectually, while the revolution of rising expectations in Asia, Africa and Latin America slips into the hands of reckless extremists who despite everything we stand for—and a succession of Red Chinas and Red Cubas comes into being. Amidst the rhetoric of the American tradition and moral bound duty of defending the free world to lead its own existence was to push India into a development path which would, in the first place consolidate the power of those classes who were vying for their position in the new republic. True to the parasitic, moribund nature of the capital that was being pledged to India in the form of US aid, what US—and other imperialist powers who had swooped down on the South Asian market including the erstwhile Soviet Union—was looking for was the same parasitic classes in the Indian economy that would carry forward the dynamic of surplus extraction in alliance with imperialist interests while retaining the Indian economy in the same old backward conditions of low technical know how and capital formation. It was in this context that India inaugurated the Community Development Programme which had later become an integral part of India’s Five Year Plans. Two agreements were signed between the government of India and the US on 31 May 1952 setting out detail the road map of the implementation of the programme. The programme was totally conceived and developed under the initiative of US ‘experts’ and agencies. Funds were provided by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, the US Aid for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of Agriculture who all worked in tandem with ‘experts’ brought from the US to ensure the implementation of the project. These included Wolf Ladejinsky and Professor Kenneth Parsons, both US experts in land policy . In effect the Community Development Programme further consolidated the rural power structure without unleashing the productive potential of the vast sections of the rural masses. It facilitated the extraction of the surplus in the agrarian economy under the garb of community development through the labour of the landless and the poor peasant while the middle and rich landowners and the moneylender remained as they are. The aid and the programme as well as various policies promoted by the Indian State resulted in benefiting and consolidating the richer sections of the rural community. It further inculcated an unproductive outlook or reinforced the parasitic nature of the landlord-moneylender-trader combine in the agrarian economy of rural India. The Draft Outline of First Five Year Plan also envisaged the above mentioned consolidation of the rural class/caste configuration conducive for introducing the so-called ‘cooperative farming’. It had its necessary sanction of the Nagpur session of the Congress in January 1959. In the sophistry of the language of Planning Commission, “the entire land of the village” will be regarded as “a single farm” while maintaining the ownership rights and compensating “through ownership dividends to be paid at each harvest”. For the utilisation of the labour of the landless and the poor peasantry, it was mentioned that the “management of the land and resources of the village should be organised so as to provide maximum employment…” Community Development Programme, Cooperative farming and the attendant state policies had further deepened the bond between the comprador ruling classes and US imperialism. Quite evidently, the dynamic of development that was set in motion was externally induced propelled fundamentally by the needs of imperialist capital rather than an internally induced self expanding dynamic which would have primarily responded to the needs of vast sections of the masses and that being the main source of its strength. The self induced / internally induced development is an inclusive model which cannot be implemented without unleashing the productive potential of the masses. Without land reforms, without distributing the land to the tillers this was not possible. Land reforms were a pre-requisite for this model. Besides, this model also gave an impetus for local innovations. The direct implication of going for an internally induced development was to undermine the existing class / caste hierarchy which was holding back the economy. Such a development which would have successfully addressed the question of possible ways of avoiding displacement or lack of participation or lack of opportunities for the vast sections of the masses was not in the interest of the ruling classes of this country. Displacement was inevitable in their pro-imperialist model of development where moribund, parasitic capital only looked for the maximisation of surplus while retaining the local regressive structures of the domestic economy which would facilitate this process. The Myth of Nehruvian Socialism The Indian state under Nehru’s leadership solicited the assistance of US land-grant universities and the Rockefeller Foundation in setting up Indian agricultural universities and agricultural research institutions. The then Planning Commission Secretary even urged the Ford Foundation to establish centres of applied economic research throughout the country to provide adequate data inputs and expertise towards policy making by the Planning Commission. At hindsight, one can say that the grounds for the policy package of the so-called ‘Green Revolution’ (implemented in the third five year plan) was already set when the close partnership among the Indian Statistical Institute, the National Council of Applied Economic Research, the Delhi School of Economics and the Gokhale Institute in Pune with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was facilitated with full blessings from both sides as the Ford Foundation provided funds for cementing the collaboration. Amidst this smokescreen of ‘socialist planning’ was the calculated foreign aid from the US and other imperialist countries. From 1952-59 (1952 being the year of signing of the first Indo-US agreement which has already been mentioned), India received a variety of assistance from the US in the form of grant and loans—the loan being payable at 4 percent interest or 3 if paid in dollars. The single largest grant of assistance for India was under Public Law 480 which was to the tune of $ 915 million. From 1958-62, India topped the list receiving 12.3 percent of the total US aid disbursed. She was placed only second to South Vietnam with 8.4 percent of the total aid dispersed in the period 1963-68 while India was placed in the fourth position with 2.9 percent of the total aid dispersed during 1969-74. India topped in the above mentioned two phases receiving 14.8 and 13.9 percent of the total US economic aid while being placed second in the last phase with 4.9 percent of the share. It becomes evident that there was a close correspondence between the development path charted by the Indian ruling classes and the interests of US imperialism which was the prime force after the WW II. It is significant to note what the US had to say about this development assistance pledged to countries like India to “help them help themselves” (to quote Chester Bowles). The then US Secretary of State Dean Acheson while submitting the case for the need for an Act for International Development to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had this to say: In a very real sense it is a security measure… Economic development will bring us certain practical material benefits. It will open up new sources of materials and goods we need, and new markets for the products of our farms and factories. Regarding the improvement of the lives of the people in the least developed countries, Its purpose is to encourage the exchange of technical skills and promote the flow of private investment capital. One of the principal architects of PL 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, Harold Cooley recalled after several years that the prime motive behind conceiving such an act was to enable way to “a surplus disposal program—a program through which we thought we would be able to expand our foreign markets.” Thus it was inevitable for foreign capital to cross its national boundaries in search of huge markets like India. The post WWII boom that was visible in the US economy and the aggressive aid packages for post war reconstruction in Western Europe and Asia along with the assistance offered to newly ‘independent’ countries like India had a dynamic that was set in motion from the domestic US economy itself. The essence of expansion under imperialism—propelled by the relentless search for surplus value—and its nuanced articulation in the specific local material conditions of countries like India, to realise the extraction of surplus, as a necessary condition to maintain the pace of accumulation for imperialism to perpetuate itself. To paraphrase none other than Lenin: “The necessity for exporting capital arises from the fact that in a few countries capitalism has become ‘over-ripe’ and …capital cannot find ‘profitable’ investment.” Moreover, “The more capitalism is developed, the more the need for raw materials is felt, the more bitter competition becomes, and the more feverishly the hunt for raw materials proceeds throughout the whole world…” Catching up with the West It becomes pertinent here to grasp the central aspect: the primary drive behind the export of capital is to utilize the possibilities where profitable opportunities exist. Hence it becomes necessary for imperialism to get behind tariff walls; the need to control supplies of necessary (present and future) raw materials, (which explains extractive investment and loan capital to assist the construction of infrastructure); the development of large-scale institutions for mobilizing capital; and the growth of monopoly and competition among monopolies (or oligopolies) for raw materials, markets, and profits in general, facilitated by a world-wide division of labour. As have been mentioned in the beginning, the initial efforts towards an import substitution industrialisation saw India resorting to an ambitious project of big hydel power projects in the form of Bhakra dam I Punjab, Hirakud in Orissa, Sharavathi project in Karnataka all with foreign assistance in the form of aid and expertise. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development had granted loans amounting to $ 62.5 million primarily for agricultural and power projects and for purchase of locomotives. The Sharavathi project had the assistance of the US. A total of Rs. 233 crores was envisaged in the First Plan for expanding the private sector which was double the money set aside for the public sector. This period also witnessed the initiation of the “system of joint enterprises” under which a lot of foreign concerns had established industries in the country in collaboration with Indian businessmen. The second five year plan saw the setting up of steel plants with foreign collaboration. The first steel plant was set up at Bhilai with the technological assistance of the USSR . It should be noted that Soviet Union under Stalin had approached the People’s Republic of China with technological assistance for setting up steel plants. But the Chinese under Mao’s leadership had rejected the proposal and had embarked on a drive of initiating and promoting small scale enterprises with stress to local know how as the cornerstone of the Chinese policy of self-reliance and massive production of steel. Thus Mao had decisively rejected the slogan of “catching up with the West” which was also being promoted by the then Soviet Bloc. Moreover, it was this policy of catching up which later got translated under the leadership of Khruschev of Soviet Union as the slogans of “peaceful co-existence” and “peaceful competition” with US imperialism—the culmination of revisionism and the full blown expression of Soviet Social imperialism. The other steel plants soon followed at Rourkela (West Germany), Durgapur (British). Despite the public sector producing the locomotives for the Indian Railways it was deliberately discouraged in favour of the Tata owned TELCO which sold the product at higher prices and never met the deadlines. Despite giving the private sector tax concessions, interest free loans, state guarantee for all loans taken from abroad, rebate on imports and development rebate it miserably failed to improve the position of machine tools—pointed out by the Government Expert Committee in 1954—as it was found that over two lakh light machine tools had become out of date. Indian private enterprises had also mooted an agency called the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) to channel foreign investment into India. The participating countries in this agency were India, Britain and the USA. Parasitism of the Private Sector: the exploitative vehicle of the Comprador bourgeoisie Even the Indian parliament could not shy away from the severe parasitic nature of the Indian industry promoted by the comprador bourgeois is so evident from the following extract from the Lok Sabha annexure. It is important to quote this as it is a telling example of the nature of industrialisation that was ushered in by the comprador bourgeois: …take the case of Jamshedpur Engineering and Machine Manufacturing Company Ltd. Replies to questions in the Lok Sabha in 1958 …certain broad facts emerge. The Government encouraged this firm to secure foreign technical collaboration, since the manufacture of chilled iron rolls was a specialised line. The main electric furnace was imported by the company at the end of 1955 and four long years later was it erected. By then it was found that ancillary and auxiliary equipment required for operating the furnace had not been installed! The government made inquiries more than once about the delay and even a “show cause” notice was issued. It was reported by the firm that important cables were missing and by the time the new cables were received the foreign erectors had left India. It was later said that the electrical furnace would go into production, but it would not satisfy more than 5 percent of the demand. Meanwhile, the government decided to put up in the public sector the Central Foundry Forge Project at Ranchi (with Czechoslavak collaboration)… Moreover, in the Lok Sabha debates, MPs noted with anguish the sudden conversion of more than 350 public limited companies into private concerns in a span of two years up to April 1958. There was even the tall talk of considering amendments to the Companies Act . Further a large number of industries in the private sector got a surfeit of concessions, relief and financial aid from the government. Also the government guaranteed all kinds of loans taken from abroad by the private sector companies. Still there were other kinds of benefits and incentives such as rebate on import and development rebate which as per TN Singh, the then Chair of the Lok Sabha Public Accounts Committee was unique in the world. He himself agrees to the fact that many of these companies owed much of their success of expansion programmes to this development rebate scheme. And this meant huge loss to the government exchequer . In 1948 the book value of outstanding foreign business investments in the private sector in India was Rs. 2646 million. It had increased to Rs. 12306 million by the end of March 1967. According to another source, of the 2200 foreign collaboration agreements approved between 1948 and 1964, 1900 of it were effected between 1956 and 1964. In a Table that maps the performance over a span of period starting from 1950 to 1967, along with countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, UK and USA, India came at the bottom as a country wherein the share of the Public Sector in the total national expenditure was the lowest. It should be noted that all the other countries cited along with India in the Table are all capitalist without any inkling towards any declared principles of Socialism. While the share of the public sector in National Expenditure was an abysmal 8.3 percent in 1950, it slightly climbed up to 12.7 percent in the year 1967. In the gross fixed capital formation the near insignificant role of the public sector exploded all myths of state control on capital formation for the greater common good. Perhaps in the table only US was an exception with even lesser control. In 1950 if was only 2.9 percent, by 1967 it slithered up to 7. This shows beyond doubt the near total lack of government control over the means of production in the Indian economy. Green Revolution: Pockets of uneven growth A much more technology driven response was the package of the fertiliser-pesticide-high yield variety combination celebrated under the magic slogan of ‘Green Revolution’. This package which was termed as “primarily a fertiliser scheme” by John D. Mellor, the then chief economist for the USAID made possible the newly irrigated areas under canal irrigation as captive markets. The rich peasant who owned the land in these areas was totally dependent for the fertiliser, pesticide and the HYV seed on the agribusiness and fertiliser corporations of the US. That the more prosperous farmers have got the lion share of the benefits of ‘Green Revolution’ was accepted by one of the key architects of the same policy, Wolf Ladenjinsky, who significantly, is a close confidant of Nehru and also a ‘rural expert’ from the US specially called in by Chester Bowles, US ambassador to India in the late forties and early fifties. Not only did ‘Green revolution’ failed to address the target of self sufficiency in food grains but also it aggravated regional income disparities by virtue of raising incomes in the technologically affected areas. Further there has hardly any change in the status of food grain imports to India despite all the euphoria about ‘Green Revolution’. Another concrete aspect that reveals the hold of the landlord-moneylender-trader nexus on the Indian economy and how their interests are served by a pro-imperialist development model is evident from the fact that the proportion of land revenue and agricultural income tax collected by the States to national income from agriculture had steadily declined from 1.63 percent in 1960-61 to .85 percent in 1970-71. Thus planning was nothing but to give a free hand for the rich and the big landed while cutting the pockets of the poor and the toiling through indirect taxation as the proportion of national income through indirect taxation had increased three fold from 4.2 percent to 11.0 percent during the period 1950-51 to 1970-71. Increasing inequalities, increasing disparities: the most violent form of displacement The study undertaken by PD Ojha and VV Bhatt for the Reserve bank of India on the pattern of income distribution brings out a key dimension of the nature of surplus accrual and mobilization in the Indian economy. This study shows that the degree of inequality in income distribution had increased in India with the initiation and implementation of the planned economic development. During the period covered for the study—1953-54 to 1956-57—they found that the top ten percent of households obtained up to 28 percent of total personal income. On the other hand they have also shown that the urban low income group as a whole has suffered a decline in it’s per household income. They also point out that direct taxes have not affected the pattern of changes in personal income. As a pointer to the direction in which the Indian economy is moving towards in the sixties, the degree of inequality of distribution in income, they indicate, has been more or less due to a substantial increase in the per house-hold income of the high-income non-salary earner (capitalist and landlord classes) group. The pretensions of ‘Nehruvian Socialism’ or ‘Mixed economy’ or ‘Socialist patterned society’ all fall flat when the concrete facts speak, unequivocally, what was actually becoming of the Indian economy under the smokescreen of the above slogans or empty rhetoric that was part of the electoral speeches or tall talk in the parliamentary debates of leaders of the various political parties. Today the situation that is prevalent in the Indian economy is no less different from what has been mentioned above—a situation that was way back in the early 70s of the last century. We will come to that later. The resulting imbalances—or the lack of forward and backward linkages—between industry and agriculture had put the economy under severe strain. As has been discussed before what industry produced could not meet the needs of mass consumption let alone erect the necessary support structure towards enhancing production in agriculture and manufacture in general. Public Law 480, the massive food import from the US was the first manifestation of the tremors set in motion by the imbalance between industry and agriculture. It was followed by the IADP (Intensive Agricultural Development Programme) again sponsored by the American institutions which concentrated more on the rich peasants supplying them with subsidized inputs, generous credits, price incentives, technical advice and marketing facilities. But none of these measures could address the real problems facing the people of India. Rather all measures were meant to consolidate the domination of the exploiting classes over the exploited—the nexus of the moneylender-landlord-trader grip on the Indian economy. Since 1950-51 the Indian economy went through several ups and downs, mainly due to the good and bad harvests that the agricultural sector recorded. This also shows the centrality of the agrarian sector as the mainstay for capital and foreign exchange required for the so-called industrialisation that was heavily dependent on foreign technology and equipment. There was continuous drain of the surplus from the agrarian sector towards feeding the industries in terms of ensuring a steady supply of machinery which were highly capital intensive. It was in the interest of imperialism that agriculture the mainstay of the economy received the least share in all the first three plans. As has been mentioned before it is in the same period that the US interest in investment in rural sector has come in the form of PL 480 and several other programmes targeted to bolster the surplus maximization capacity of the parasitic landed and comprador classes. By 1966-67, the big picture of Indian economy was bleak as it pulled along a stagnant industry unable to provide employment or produce goods of mass consumption. The overall stagnation in the economy was due to the decline in purchasing power of the masses and the shortage of foreign exchange with the spiralling demand for abnormally high imports of food grains and raw materials. After twenty years of planning, by 1971, the unemployment figures had more than trebled. During the Third Plan foreign aid represented 23 percent of the total investment. Although since the First Five Year plan the domestic saving rate which was 5.5 percent had gone up to 9 percent by 1969-70, this had always been less than the investment rate. The investment-saving gap was bridged with the help of foreign aid. With the growth in population, after twenty years of planning the plight of the average Indian had worsened as his/her access to agricultural land, housing, water, medical facilities and transport had in many cases deteriorated. This is nothing but displacement inherent in an economic system that is subservient to the needs of imperialism in process breeding more and more inequalities. In other words, we have to locate the prime motivating factor of displacement in the matrix of the production relations and productive forces that is the fulcrum of any economy. India is primarily an agrarian economy with vast sections of her people dependent on agriculture. It is the surplus generated in the agrarian sector that is being extracted to run the economy including the so-called industrial sector. This has created an economy with huge disparities; wealth getting concentrated at the urban centres and massive impoverisation of the rural sector. This in itself is displacement with a whole lot of people unable to utilize their productive capabilities held as captives under the confines of a skewed market in the rural sector. This development model creates disparities between the urban and rural, between agriculture and industries, big industries and small industries, big capital and small capital, big labour and small labour and finally mental and manual labour. As have been mentioned before there will pockets of ‘growth centres’ while the rest of the regions suffer from lack of opportunities and impoverishment. Men, women, young and old, none are left out of the ambit of this development menace. The central role of foreign aid: planning for the rich As regards the role played by aid in boosting the Indian economy the hand out of one of the key policy advocacy bodies of the State itself eloquent: Out of the total non-food aid received and utilised about 86 percent was devoted either to strengthening the infrastructure or to augmenting the output of producers’ goods. Of the remaining 7.6 percent went as investment into consumer goods industry, 3.6 percent as capital goods into education and research, and 2.8 percent into unspecified uses… It would appear, therefore that the present use structure of foreign aid in India provides only marginal possibilities, if at all, for reducing the amount received without direct damage to development. On the one hand in all the policy documents of the government and public pronouncements of the Prime Minister and various other leaders there are always repeated pleas with a visible impatience to rid of the dependence on foreign aid as one of the main sustenance for development planning in India. But on the other the government documents and advocacy bodies of the State indulge in their artful dodge to finally stand firm behind the need for foreign aid to meet the demands of the industry as well as to stave off the balance of payment crisis. India, like many of the Third World countries that had embarked on the path of ‘catching up with the West’ had a serious balance of payment crisis as it was not able meet its requirements of maintenance imports through its export earnings. And it was also widely shared in the officialdom that this situation is going to stay for a while. Thus what these agencies of the state do is to turn upside down the logic of self-reliance itself. By now what has been elucidated in this write up is the systematic erosion of self-reliance of the people of this country by making them more and more indebted and impoverished. On the contrary what these experts argue is that for attaining self-reliance we have to give fillip to industrial production for which the kind of technical know how that is needed cannot be brought in without foreign aid as most of the industries in India are capital intensive and dependent on foreign technology. Hence foreign aid will boost industrial production bringing with it effective employment and boom in the market finally making us less dependent on foreign aid. In this twist of logic, they conveniently shy away from the fact that the present crisis was triggered off due to dependence on foreign aid. Thus what they were effectively doing is using the same thing that was the reason behind the crisis to stave off the crisis itself! It is also carefully hidden that what was the necessity to go all out for getting foreign aid. We stress once again that without foreign assistance it would have been impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their dominance and hold over the Indian economy. And it is also very clear as to how crucial was the concern of US imperialism to ensure the perpetuation of this state as there were many factors of convergence than of divergence which is manifested in the extensive aid packages that it provided throughout the various Five Year Plans. From Rs. 380.3 crores in the First Plan foreign aid to India had steadily increased to Rs. 2731.3 crores in the Second and Rs. 3937.8 crores in the Third plan. The share of grants in overall external assistance fell off sharply after the first plan period and by 1970-71, had diminished to 5.5 percent Most of the foreign aid was country tied. This implied that loans from a particular country have to be utilized for imports from that alone. So, for a country like India, to buy from the cheapest markets possible was not a choice that she could exercise as she was bound by the loan contract. This was a severe disadvantage when it came to repayments which had to be effected in fully convertible foreign exchange. Further loan financed imports had to be procured in the donor countries regardless of price and other servicing considerations. Thus loan aid was nothing but giving money to a recipient country—which should be paid back over a definite period with principle and interest—to purchase imports from the donor country so as to promote its own market in the recipient country! The external debt situation of India was showing alarming trends in the same period. In 1970-71, the debt service burden of the Indian economy was as much as 28 percent of the country’s exports and more than 55 percent of the new commitments of foreign aid. Ironically it was under the guidance of the World Bank, and as a result of its ‘tied’ aid that India chose to go for foreign collaborations for giant fertiliser plants in the late 1970s. This is despite the fact that the public sector in India had acquired the basic expertise of fertiliser technology. The result was the total dismantling of the public sector enterprises dealing with fertiliser production and the initiation of projects with highly inflated capital costs. Thus the capital costs of fertiliser plants had risen to some multiples of the actual costs that would have been incurred if the government chose to rely on the locally available technology notwithstanding its shortcomings. This had pulled up the costs of the fertiliser thus hitting the farmer badly. The acute crisis that had gripped the economy had its political fall out with increasing discontent from the masses. It was at the same time that the clarion call of the Naxalite movement that emerged in the late 1960s reverberated throughout the length and breadth of the subcontinent. The rising spectre of unemployment, the acute shortage of food due to severe drought and the crisis that had rocked the ruling classes and their pro-imperialist politics all had its reflection in the call to revolution exhorted by the Naxalites. In fact this was the first movement since the transfer of power in 1947 that exposed the façade of the Nehruvian planned economic development. And it was also the first time that the debate on land was brought back violently into the political lexicon of India. This movement also declared that there can not be a development free from all forms of exploitation without fundamentally doing away with all the structures that was holding back the economy of this country in the service of imperialism. It was also the time when the country was forced to debate on the path of development it had been embarking on. Need for a new strategy The challenge that was facing the Indian big bourgeoisie was enormous. Firstly, in most of the Third World Countries like India, the bourgeoisie had to grapple with the crisis which was of their own making. They had to find a way out of the strategy of Import Substitution Industrialisation which contrary to their claims had driven the economy into further dependence to the external market and capital. Given the precarious condition of debt bondage with a major share of the earnings from exports resulting in only debt servicing and not the principle amount of the loan the ruling classes had to push for more exports. This also meant further dependence on the external market. At the same time there were also a situation emerging in the international scenario with the capitalist world led by US imperialism also giving an impetus to the Third World countries to resort to a new strategy of export led industrialisation. Imperialism had a valid reason to press for such a strategy which meant a new trend of international subcontracting by the multinational corporations. One of the major reasons for international subcontracting was the growing internal class pressures and struggles. In the US by the mid 60s capitalists were no longer able to maintain high profit margins with the rising demands of the working class for better wages and political gains. The international economic pressures like large balance of payments deficits and domestic economic pressures such as inflation, full employment and profit squeeze led the US capitalists to a dead end where profit margins could not be successfully restored through continued price hikes. One way of restoring the profit margin through reducing the costs of production and combating full employment pressures at home was by getting into the cheap labour markets of the Third World. Thus international subcontracting for more direct production for the US market unleashed a new international division of labour. It was also possible for the capitalists in the industrialised imperialist countries to think in terms of subcontracting with the development of new labour intensive manufacturing industries like electronics and light manufacturing joining older labour intensive industries like clothing and shoe manufacture. As many of the products in the industrialised West have become standardised being sold in mass markets it is easy to subcontract such products. The advancement in these product lines by new technological innovations in transportation and communication has also made possible the international subcontracting of such products easier due to their quicker, cheaper and safer dispatch its products and components. Yet another factor that contributed to this dynamic of the international division of labour was the inter-imperialist rivalry. Post WW II US was the dominant capitalist power investing in the Third World. Only US multinationals were investing in the Third World markets with the sole purpose of securing those markets. Most of such investment was in the Latin American countries with sizable domestic markets. By the mid-60s the emergence of Germany and Japan from the ashes of the WW II gave the US stiff challenge to its control over the international market. To meet the export led economies of these countries with the advantage of relatively cheap labour, more government assistance and more modern plants and equipment, US trans-national capital met this challenge partly by means of international subcontracting. Through this strategy, US protected her markets while also forcing Japan and Germany into a similar strategy. The Impact on India The pressures from within and without the Indian economy was visible in the mid-60s itself as can read between the lines from the policy pronouncements of the various government national advocacy bodies. To quote: For the rest [industries] they should undertake to earn the requisite foreign exchange through exports. It is possible that diversion of a part of the output to exports may involve some decline in the profit rate for the industry… The second measure, which is not entirely independent of the first, is to earmark certain plants/industry to be specifically devoted to exports. These plants could be treated for the purpose of taxation and other matters, even freight charges, on a different footing from other plants in the same industry. The special treatment would, of course, ensure that the unit does not suffer any loss as a result of exporting instead of selling in the domestic market. Besides there were also efforts to increase the target of iron ore production in lieu of the expected increase in demand in the European market in the mid 1970s. Among other possibilities of exports in the mineral field was that of coal, magnesite and other refractories, ilmenite and steatite; glass sand and dimension stone. The NCAER study also pointed out the loss due to transportation costs of exporting the Kiriburu iron ore from Orissa through Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Instead it pointed out the need to develop the Paradeep port which would foot a cheaper bill for transportation. Further, the possibilities of exploring the vast hydro-electric potential of the Indravathi river basin in Chhattisgarh region for profit maximisation through cheaper smelting of the iron ore produced in the Korba region was also being stressed in the document. No wonder, the profit hungry multinationals are up for grabs for all these areas, which are abundant in natural resources, in the present policy initiative of Special Economic Zones, mega hydel projects and mining operations. Export Processing Zones—Precursors of SEZs In tune with the above parameters set by the policy makers taking into consideration the new international dynamic as well as the domestic imbalances Export Processing Zones took off as way of more foreign exchange to beef up the needs of the industrial sector and to stave of the balance of payment crisis. Thus, the precursor to the SEZs were the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) that were set up in Gujarat, Kerala, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. In Gujarat, the first Export Processing Zone was set up in the late sixties. It was followed by the EPZ in Santa Cruz in Mumbai in 1973. In the early 80s another four EPZs were established at Kochi in Kerala, Falta in West Bengal, Chennai and Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. In the overview to Special Economic Zones the reasons for setting up EPZs were justified as necessary in order to “overcome the often repeated shortcomings on account of the multiplicity of controls and clearances; absence of world-class infrastructure, and an unstable fiscal regime and with a view to attract larger foreign investments in India.” But there is hardly any review of how much the policy of establishing Export Processing Zones have helped correct the “unstable fiscal regime”. India set the first special EPZ in Kandla, Gujarat, as early as in 1965. Santa Cruz Electronics Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) followed becoming functional in 1973. Four more zones were set up by the Central Government in 1984 at Kochi (Kerala), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Falta (West Bengal), and NOIDA (Uttar Pradesh). And also another one in Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). SEEPZ in Mumbai had eaten up the labour intensive small scale industries—most of them of the cottage industry status—by displacing it with a highly mechanized jewellery industry which accounted for more than 55 percent of the total jewellery exports in 2002-03. The collaboration of the Tatas with Burroughs an American company, 1977 in SEEPZ saw the beginning of India’s exports in software and peripherals. Citibank established a 100 percent foreign owned export oriented, offshore software company in SEEPZ in 1985. The first private EPZ started operations in 1998 in Surat, Gujarat. All these eight EPZs, including the one at Surat, have since been converted to the new SEZ scheme. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the total investment in EPZ was a low at 16.7 percent. Despite all the hype and expectations the sh
  4. some new updates on the Sanhati article: &

  5. Ka Frank said

    Re post #4, here is an update on the uprising of tribal people in West Bengal that began in early November.

    Nov 25: We talk of patricipatory democracy, Lalgarh is practising it

    By Sumit Chowdhury

    This is a report based on the findings of a team of concerned citizens from Kolkata who returned yesterday after a two-day stay in Lalgarh villages. Sumit Chowdhury, a member of the team, made the following points.

    The movement is led by the Pulishi Atyacharer Biruddhe Janaganer Committee (Peoples Committee Against Police Oppression), a non-party body. It has a secretary, Sidhu Soren, a 26-year old graduate, and a spokesperson Chhatradhar Mahato. Committees are coming up in villages covering a region of 3-4 blocks, but there is no higher-lower committee structure. Many committees are led by women. All major decisions are taken at large gatherings. The last such meeting at Dalilpur was attended by 10-12,000 people from 158 villages. Apart from the 13 point charter of demands of the committee, the posters covering the walls of mud huts in the villages are all hand-written and signed “Janagan”, “Janasadharan”.

    The people name the CPM, the Jharkhand parties, the Congress, the TMC, and the Maoists, and say that they will not allow any political party to call their shots. Young CPM, Jharkhand and TMC supporters repeat this. The Majhi Marowa and similar so-called umbrella organisations co-operating with the state government carry no influence in the villages and people like Dr Nityananda Hembrom (Disham Majhi) are completely discredited.

    This is an area where Maoist sympathies run high (Chhatradhar is the brother of the Maoist leader Sasadhar who is immensely popular) but there is no sign of any overt role of the Maoists in guiding the movement, let alone the state government and CPM’s apocalyptic vision of Maoist cadre led by Kisanjee(from Andhra!), Sasadhar and Kanchan (WB state secretary) prancing about.
    If anything, there is a lack of co-ordination between the committees, which is somewhat intentional because decisions are sought to be taken only from meetings open to all. Lalgarh has heard of similar happenings in neighbouring Belpahari, and Sarenga in the neighbouring district of Bankura, but a living connexion is yet to be established.

    We talk of patricipatory democracy, Lalgarh is practising it. Go and see while it lasts.

    The demands are all against oppression by the police and the CPM. Some 1500 people, including many women, have been arrested over the last 10 years, tortured (including stringing up upside down and beating up), released and re-arrested, villages raided at night-time with attendant molestation of women, CPM cadres, always guiding the police, and now overtly active in the periphery, attacking a procession near Garhbeta town and seizing motor-cycles and cash.

    The immediate spree of police torture followed the attack on the Chief Minister’s convoy on 2nd November. Now, the highlights. On the 4th, the pregnant wife of Dipak Pratihar was beaten up as, of course. Pratihar himself, who was subsequently arrested. On the night of Nov 6th the policemraided Chhotopelia and beat up people in their beds. Chitamani Murmu lost an eye even after treatment at Kolkata, Panamani Hansda had to be hospitalised, 7 other women were severely injured. Three schoolboys returning at night from a jatra show were arrested as Maoists.

    The demands include release of/withdrawal of cases against all arrested people from the area on charges of Maoist activity since 1998 , punishment (including crawling from Dalilipur to Chhotopelia, rubbing noses in the dust (nake khat) of all policemen guilty of beating people and torture, public apology by police and administrative officers responsible for the raids accompanied by sit-ups while holding ears, removal of police camps, ban on night-time raids, arrests only after informing the headman (Majhi), compensation of Rs 2 lakhs to each injured persons. The administration has refused to consider any demands except the ones related to compensation and night-time raids.

    The three teenage students were allowed bail and the notorious OC of Lalgarh PS sent on leave.
    Completely alienated from the masses, the officials are afraid of meeting the people for discussing the demands anywhere in Lalgarh and want meetings at Jhargram town or Medinipur town. The CPM have put forward a story of land mines. The committee on the other hand says even the CM is welcome — let him come and see if there are mines, but the meetings must be held at Lalgarh because the concerned people must all be present. It is their charter of demands and only they can modify it, the committee cannot.

    The CPM is preparing motor cycle squads in line with their re-capture of Nandigram.

    The state government is trying to prepare public opinion for an onslaught, waving the red herring of purported demands for autonomy of three jangalmahal districts and even for their inclusion in Jharkhand. The fact is no such demand has been made.

    The people of Lalgarh are fully engaged by the present . What is their perspective for the future : They oppose the ongoing policy of development — it is an attack on their rights over their land, forests, and water. Development means their displacement to make way for corporates, whether factory, resort or mall. So, they say they don’t need development and are quite content to pursue their culture and way of life, witness, the blockade causes them only minor disturbance..

    The committee emphasises the peaceful nature of the movement. They say the people want peace. On being asked what will happen if armed police and /or CPM squads enter forcibly and unleash violence, they reply, “The people will then decide“.

  6. Green/Red Rev said

    Thanks Ka Frank.

    History of what you refer to as CPM, i.e. Communist Party of India-Marxist is clear enough from Nandigram to… but it seems that people in India can somewhat distinguish between this and that communist parties.

  7. some new developments, updates on Sanhati:
    * Member of the People’s Committee killed while having tea (26/01/09)
    * Lalgarh and a basic problematic of people’s movements (29/01/09)
    * Violence in Lalgarh – overtones of a Salwa Judum style conflict? (02/02/09)

  8. meditation said

    That’s an all ’round amazing piece

  9. food recipe,food recipes,foods,food,recipes…

    […]India: Uprising in West Bengal « Revolution in South Asia[…]…

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