Armed conflict in the tribal area is called Naxalism. Many years back a group of people revolted against the landlords in Naxal bari village in West Bengal. Since then, all such revolts against landlords or oppressive regimes are called Naxalism.
The general understanding is that the Naxals believe in the philosophy of Mao Zedong of China, who of course believed not in negotiation and mediation but in annihilation of the so-called enemy.
Naxal groups are operational in different parts of India, mainly in the Adivasi region where they can hide and fight against the State. Because the Naxals are in the Adivasi area the Adivasis get victimized for all the crimes committed by the Naxal groups.
Many young people form the Adivasi area are forced to migrate, as they refuse to be part of this armed struggle. Many are also in prison. I wish that the leadership of Naxal groups will realize this reality and take steps to bring an end to this ongoing violence against the very communities whom they are supposed to serve...
- During my last visit to London, I was invited to an India exhibition in a university campus where the photographs exhibited were somewhat shocking. First part of the exhibition was all about poverty in India. The second part was related to caste violence, to show, how the so-called lower caste and Adivasi people were treated. The third part was about violence in Adivasi areas by the Naxal groups. Coming out of the exhibition one may justify the violence as it is directed against poverty and oppression.
This is a challenge not only for the Government but also for all social workers that, we were not able to change the ground reality in 75 years of freedom and as a result some people continue to justify violence. You and me know that violence is no solution.
- In every meeting across Europe, I was asked why are the Dalits treated the way they are being treated? Why are the Adivasis under so much poverty and oppression? I think these are serious questions and we can't escape from these questions at a time when we are going to celebrate 75 years of our freedom. The life condition of large number of Dalits, Adivasis, Nomads, fisherfolks and many such marginalized communities demands our attention.
Our Indian pride cannot be just limited to the fact that our passport has greater value in the international market or the kind of infrastructure that we have created in the name of development. The real pride should come when each one of us can stand up and say that there is no injustice or human rights violation in our country. I hope our young Indians will start appreciating that justice and peace are as important as our passport and infrastructure.
- When I met the junior Shankaracharya some years back in Banaras, I requested him to give a call to end casteism. I know this is a childish request, but I seriously think that the religious leaders will have to take this country beyond caste and religious divides. Our leaders should also understand that India is receiving negative publicity in many international forums because of our oppressive caste system.
In a modern world with all kinds of gadgets and technology, how can we continue to entertain an old idea that people are not equal? How can any religion say that all are not equal? This is a shame that our world continues to practice discrimination between man and women, black and white and also between caste and religion. How long should it take for the humankind to learn a simple lesson that all beings are equals. We keep repeating that God is in everyone. If God is in everyone, all are to be respected as equal. Nobody is preventing us form correcting the mistakes of the past.
- Every day we do hear discussions on hate and hate speech. My concern is that the people who are opposed to hate and intolerance are also spreading hate and intolerance. Right wing politicians are speaking ill about the left and left wing against the right. Upper caste is spreading hate against the lower and the lower against the upper. What is common is the fact that every one of them are against hate speech, but unfortunately everyone is involved in the same game. One great person who wanted to bring all religions together was Mahatma Gandhi. I am sorry that the religious leaders will not spare him. Mahatma Gandhi was committed to remove Untouchability from the face of India, but the Dalit movement will not spare him.
Gandhi wanted to see Hindu – Muslim, India - Pakistan all living and flourishing together, but the Nationalists of India will not spare him.
Gandhiji wanted women to be in the forefront of the freedom struggle, by introducing charkha, he made millions of women economically independent in a male dominated society, but the feminist organizations will not spare him.
If everyone loves to spread hate against the other, why are we opposing hate speech when that is target against us? This is time for us to get out of this deep Hypocrisy.
- Recently I was in Bali, Indonesia for the assembly of democracy. Bali is famous for tourism, but it is also a place where you can find a lot of intercultural togetherness.
In Bali one can see that the minority communities are not discriminated. You will be surprised to notice Hindu Muslim mix in the same name. One person, Mr. Ibrahim Krishna, a Muslim friend, was part of our conference. Ram, Krishna and Sita are very common even among Muslims.
In Tamilnadu I worked with Prof. Jayapragasam for many years, only recently someone told me that he was from Christian faith. Mr. Arokiasamy is a good friend of mine for many years, only recently I have understood that he is also from Christian faith. This is beautiful that we are all friends without caring for what caste or religion each one of us belong to. We should be together as human beings. In England, when people come to introduce themself, I often notice their name ending with cobbler, carpenter, gardener, etc. This doesn’t mean anything in terms of their status in the society. Can India move in this direction ?