By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
East India Company started from the Eastern Coast of India which is Bengal to do business in India but the main aim of the company was to control India and its natural resources. The company succeeded in spreading their empire all over India using all the tricks of the governance.
In the post independent India, the Eastern Sector continue to be a tough challenge for the new avatar of the company i.e. Sangh Parivar. It is an upper caste limited company where the shudras and Adivasis are kept as foot soldiers. Having won the western and northern frontier, the Parivar know it well that it would be difficult to stake a claim for the throne at Indraprastha unless the Patlipatra comes under its full control. And hence the tandava in Orissa were essential part of the entire exercise.
One wonder why people are fighting in Orissa, a state in news for all wrong reasons all the time. With enormous resources at hand, Orissa is one of the richest state of India, with similar story of poorest people in terms of economy. The rich cultivable land is in the hands of powerful companies. Therefore, right from Posco to Tatas, every one has ventured in Orissa. While the people die of hunger and starvation, it is Posco and Mittals which make news from Orissa. And chief minister Naveen Patnaik gets appreciation and acknowledgment from his supporters in the pink sitting at the India International Centres and deciding about the fate of millions of people. Yes, when the land of the poor from Orissa was being snatched there was no one except the poor themselves. When the issue of fighting against this iniquitous system came the ‘god fearing’ Sangh Parivar kept quiet. Perhaps that is not an issue for them. The issue for them is ‘conversion’. And often repeated charges of missionaries converting the people. What is wrong with that? If the RSS and Sangh Parivar want to give a better idea, let them do the same. But how are they doing. Full state patronage in Orissa. The Sangh Parivar’s goondaism has been exposed in Orissa. The multi headed monsters in the form of Bajrang Dal, VHP and others and language of Togadia who has been exiled from his own state of Gujarat, Orissa is a grim reminder of the divisive politics of the Sangh Parivar.
Of course, this is not to exonerate the Christian Missionaries who are despite all the protest take shelter under the garb of freedom of choice of religion. How would a starving and hungry person has a choice to select a religion. And why do they starve even after coming to your place. It is absolutely no control when the goons and thugs of Sangh Parivar are forcing people to reconvert to ‘Hinduism’. One does not know where will these Swayamsewaks place the new converts but one thing is sure, that there caste remain unchanged. They can not be the upper caste Brahmins or Patnaiks of Orissa.
This is the most unfortunate side of Orissa when the country should have been concerned about the incident; we hear nothing of that short since Christians in India are no Muslims. For the Sangh’s regular nautankis Muslims are terrorists, now they can not blame the Christians to be terrorists hence the charges of conversion. Orissa’s Dalits and tribal have been pushed to each other. They have been made to fight against each other in the name of Hindu and Christian. At the end of the day it is these people who are killing each other, burning the property of each other. The religious thugs will ultimately survive but the loss of livelihood of the poor will haunt them always. That the goons of Hindutva have not cared to burn a young woman who tried to save the orphan children unmask the demonic face of the Parivar. They have no time to take care of the orphans and tribal. And those who are at least trying to do some work for them are being threatened. Naveen Patnaik will always get the best chief minister’s prize from his friends in Delhi for inviting all big companies to loot Orissa and rape its natural resources. It is also important to understand that both the Dalits and tribals are made to fight each other in the name of religion. At the end of the day, a Dalit and tribal remain with in his community despite his conversion. However, my point is not to equate the Christian groups with the fundamentalist Hindu groups which have got full protection from the state police and state government. The question here is the role of state government and how come it surrendered itself to the Trishul wielding Hindutva fanatics. That Swami Lakshmananda was killed by the Maoist who have openly blamed him for spreading communal poison in the area. But the Sangh parivar refuses to buy the argument that the Hindu Maoist could kill a Hindu fanatic and hence they rioted and destroyed the houses of the Christians Dalits. It is reported that the Christian Kandh tribals were not attacked in their own village. It looks that the Hindutva gangs can not take on the Maoist head on. They know well that fighting against Maoist or the Naxal is a lost battle as even the state police are unable to do so hence the Christian become easy target for them. Here the police and administration also become their favorite choice. It also reflects a bit about Orissa’s social relations where the Sangh Parivar and its wings have carefully infiltrated among the tribal and Hinduised them completely. On the other side, the Dalits seems to have been converted to Christianity. And in this football game of religious identities the end result is that both the Dalits and tribals destroying each other. What an irony that in Orissa where both the Dalits and tribals are facing assault on their livelihood they have become pawns in the hands of religious organization to champion their cause. The government must work hard to restore normalcy and rule of law. They can not absolve themselves from the duty of protecting the people. Orissa can not be allowed to become another Gujarat just because Amarnath’s drama has failed to take notice of the country. Ofcourse, it has helped the communal fanatics in Kashmir Valley. All such organizations and political parties should be banned from contesting elections which raise the majoritarian communalism. I am particularly referring to Hindu communalism because the law is already punishing the others, it is these perpetrators of communal riots who have not been punished so far and need to be punished at the earliest.
Just near to Orissa is another legendary state of India named as Bihar. Today, it is passing through another anarchy, which is man made. While in Orissa, the religious goons played the tandava, in Bihar, it is river Kosi which has destroyed the livelihood of millions of people. If reports are to be believed an estimated 5 million people have been displaced in this Tsunami which has uprooted people from their places and rendered them homeless. There is not even a vacant space where people can hide themselves. In past 14 days people of Bihar have been left to fetch themselves. A state which proudly can proclaim an example of how different communities live together, Bihar is today seeking national attention. Unlike Orissa, Bihar has not seen communal disturbances in past 20 years. That Sangh Parivar and its monsters find it difficult to enter Bihar. It is to the spirit of Bihar’s people that such rabid rabble rousers remain at the outskirt of politics, even when the BJP is sharing power in Bihar yet it has to change its rabid anti Muslim rhetoric’s.
Apart from the communal politics, so called capital also has not reached Bihar. In India it is the cocktail of capital with religion which become the toast of the states. We have seen it happening in Gujarat followed by Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra. Now it has found it way in Orissa which is attracting not only investment but conversion and reconversion, but people remain hungry and starving. Bihar’s people are known to work hard and migrate. It is not that they are not religious. They are religious and perhaps have focused too much on politicized version of Chhuth in Delhi and Mumbai which has become a bone of contention for the local politicians. Chhuth is fastly becoming a festival of unity of all Biharis world over very much similar to what Ganesh Chaturthy was meant for Maharastrians. Of course, so far Chhuth has not been communalized and it remains true to its roots and the commercial interest has not yet taken over it.
But a national tragedy of this quantity which the prime minister himself referred as unprecedented, has not attracted nation’s attention is a matter of great anguish. Except for The Indian Express, none of the private organizations have so far taken up the cause for relief. During Tsunami and earthquake in Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Kashmir, the civil society organizations led from the front, news media, electronic channels lent their support but this time it does not look so. One does not know what are non resident Biharis doing? Is it because Bihar’s over assertion of its politics has damaged its cause? Is it because Bihari politicians have failed their own people? Where are they? Well, Ram Vilas Paswan is busy with his party’s meeting in Rajasthan, BJP and its hero Lal Krishna Advani does not take much interest in Bihar, Togadia and other Hindus perhaps do not think that Bihar’s Dalits and backwards too are Hindus or not. Neither Dalit organizations nor human rights groups seem to think of it. The only visible face at the moment is of Laloo Yadav, whose Ministry of Railways has been pumped into service in Bihar.
Actually both Orissa and Bihar give striking similarities. Both face natural calamities. But this time both faced man made calamities, whose impact have been enormous. It will take years to rebuild the lives of those who have lost everything, as Kosi’s fury is still on rampage. Orissa is burning. The chapels, the churches, the Bible, the houses of poor Dalits and tribal are explaining the enormity of this man made tragedy. That both Orissa and Bihar have some of the poorest regions yet they all have been living life of their own in these areas. These rural poor, the Dalits and Adivasis always had lived together in complete harmony of nature till one fine day the outsiders preach them and use them in their hatred and the result is destruction. This destruction of life and property in both Bihar and Orissa reminds us the madness of human being, madness of religious thugs and the madness of politicians who are ready to sacrifice people for their own political agendas. Bihar’s politicians failed to see that Kosi’s embankment was not repaired and still unable to respond to this catastrophe, the chief minister of Orissa has yet to visit Kandhamal and assure the Dalits, mostly Christians, that their life will be safe and that they will not become stranger in their own land just because they are not reciting Gita and Ramayana. State has to act. In the both the places it has failed. The poor Bihari is running to save his/her life from the villages as over 800 villages have been completely destroyed in 15 districts. More than 5 lakhs have been evacuated. Similarly, in Orrisa the Christians have migrated to the forest to save them from further assault from the rampaging Hindu goons. One hope that the state, civil society and other local organizations will not remain mute to such threats and work for unity among people so that all these migrants from both Bihar and Orissa, whenever they return to their roots, do not feel stranger and isolated in their own villages. If state fails in its duties then it will clearly be meant that it has succumbed to the forces of divisiveness and destruction and that would be the worst day for all of us who feel human endeavor to live a purposeful life with freedom and dignity is the essence of any successful democracy.