Friday, March 31, 2006

why armed struggles?

A question that indirectly or directly comes up during discussions etc. is, "Why do people take to armed struggle?" In a democratic country like India, there is the voting process, the law and the police to implement it, and a judiciary system to mete out justice. Also, armed struggles implicitly lead to violence, deaths, greater restriants, brutalities and are "morally" delegetimizing the cause itself in some sense. Then why do poeple resort to such desperate measures? I do not exactly know the answer (and believe in non-violent means).

Do cases similar to this, have to do anything to do with it?
On Sunday, after nine days on a peaceful satyagraha outside the Shram Shakti Bhawan in Delhi, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar and 350 villagers from MP, Gujarat and Maharastra, were attacked by the police, dragged, manhandled, and arrested. They were only arguing that if the Sardar Sarovar Dam’s height is increased, another 35,000 families’ home and land will be submerged this June. And isn’t this a violation of the Supreme Court order which says rehabilitate the people before you build the dam?
Why were they suddenly attacked and arrested by the police the next day? Has the Narmada Bachao Andolan committed one act of violence in its two-decade long history of satyagraha? The last straw happened on Tuesday. The Bhopal gas victims were dragged, beaten up and arrested.

Reminds me of what Arundhati Roy said in one of her talks:
If governments do not do all they can to honor nonviolent resistance, then by default they privilege those who turn to violence. No government's condemnation of terrorism is credible if it cannot show itself to be open to change by to nonviolent dissent.

The question to ask then, Is the government really for the people and not pushing them into armed struggles to take back what is rightfully theirs---land, water, life, freedom?

1 comment:

satya_katha said...

effectiveness is what matters. how do you make the callous state understand you ? the state has all the power, the power of violence (police and army etc.) Now even private companies in India have started hiring full scale private security of their own.

Gandhi was messiah of non-violence. He withdrew the Satyagraha when Chuarichurah happened. But he remained silent during the Quit India movement when, the violence escalated in a greater magnitude than Churichurah. We need effectiveness, and good political planning for people's movement.
Vinoba's non-violence or literal acceptance of Gandhi's nonviolence, can be counter productive. So also unplanned violent tactics.

if violence necessary, let it be...

As Malcolm X used to say, "By any means possible"