Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Farm Land Acquisition

Farm land acquisition, by Indian Government, or by the state governments on behalf of industrialists has for long been a quick and easy way to make money for Indian politicians and a professional past time.
Now even the Communists of Bengal, have given a new twist to the whole issue of farm land acquisitions. They are heralding a new era of handover of farm lands forcibly acquired from sharecroppers to be handed over to industrialists, expressing benign interest in capital starved West Bengal's industrialization efforts.
Tribal farmers in Singur are being forced to abandon planting potato crop to give way to the multi crore Tata project in Bengal.
After decades of moribund industrialization in Bengal, under Shri Jyoti Basu, and after it seemed only the Marwari capitalists dared to touch Bengal, with a barge pole, due to organized labour and trade union issues, attempts are afoot to draw up a new Bengal industrialization policy.
Of course, touching the salaried middle class government and public sector employees is still not considered acceptable by the Delhi based Communist leadership. They do seem to however, be winking at the issue of forcible land acquisitions, from farmers, in Singur.
Whether it has been the Marxists of Bengal or the Naxals, who can claim to be the true representatives of Lenin and Mao is no doubt a much debatable point. The new Bengal Tiger, seems to have decided to move on from the futile rhetoric, of trying to maintain the various party organs in line with an ideology. Praxis has a definitive upper hand over theory now. But what is this praxis ? Is it different from Mr Chidambaram's praxis ?
The new breed of young turks are the suave Communists, urbane and gentle, who realize the importance of balancing the needs of urban and urbane Bengal, with the demands of Marxian rhetoric.
Because this breed of young turks, are the ones who will lead the Indian communists at Delhi, and given the compulsions of Indian coalition politics at the center, makes it very important to understand, how they view the Singur movement of tribal farmers and forcible land acquisition from share croppers.
An exit policy for farmers in India is the need of the day. It is the contours of this exit policy, for tribals and small farmers from their lands, which is the moot point. Will these suave Delhi based Communists, usher in a regime of social security for uprooted tribals, farmers and sharecroppers of Singur ?
Or can we expect, liquor dens and arrack hot spots in Singur in a matter of a few years from now on, as these Marxists wink at forcible state acquisition of farm lands from unorganized tribal farmers on behalf of Mumbai based industrialists ?
The Marxist compulsions, for bringing in non Marwari capital into Bengal, is certainly a key issue here. Hopefully, the children of these dispossessed sharecroppers, and tribal farmers will be seen studying in model schools inaugurated by the Delhi based young Marxist leadership based in Delhi. In a few years time, we shall surely have a few questions to ask of Mr Yechury and Mr Karat. Or will it be difficult to distinguish Shri Karat from Shri Chidambaram in substantive terms ? We do know that Shri Karat did put his foot down, when it came to the issue of Indian public sectors or NavRatna. Will he do the same, with the share croppers and farmers of Singur, and ensure that the children of these tribal farmers, actually go on to good schools to study ? Will he adopt even a couple of these children and show us their examples in a few years time, as to the benefits of new Bengal ? Can we know the names of a couple of these children ?
What shall we find the sons and daughters, of these tribal farmers of Bengal, doing five years hence, once Tata Motors becomes the shining mascot and pride of new Bengal industrialization open door policy ?

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