Aam Aadmi, Nandigram and the like

Now all of us have heard the term ‘aam-aadmi’ being thrown around like crazy by more than one political party, especially during election seasons. However, what most of us in big cities fail to connect with is the basic ground realities that rural India, where the real population of India lives and thrives in face every day. Now, although I have lived all my life in cities like Bangalore, and now in Hyderabad, I ve had the opportunity to spend at least 2 months (during my Summer Internship) in small town India and I can relate to their lives at least that little bit.

So when I read this article by S Narayan on livemint.com, I was immediately taken back to those 8 summer weeks that I spent in and around coastal Tamil Nadu like Thiruvarur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam and Karaikal.

The article talks about how in spite of all the technological and scientific advances made by India in recent times, it is still difficult for rural agrarian Indians to survive and have 3 decent meals a day. Although we hear leader after leader, government after government make promises to alleviate poverty and make life easier for the rural Indian, all of it remains empty promises just to garner more votes for their political parties.

The author cites the example of Kumbakonam during this year’s Diwali and how a few private initiatives by individuals and companies are trying to better people’s lives. However, there is more that needs to be done, and wonder who will do it and how it is going to be done.

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For months now, I ve been hearing Nandigram this, Nandigram that on all news channels,and left wondering what the exact issue is and how it all started. Just when I was going to look up stuff on the net to get these answers, I came across this article by Amit Varma (of India Uncut fame) in livemint.com detailing what exactly has happened at Nandigram, at least from a historical perspective.

In this article, Amit talks about how “eminent domain”, the prerogative of governments and municipal bodies to use their powers to take away land and property from citizens for public good (with or without adequate compensation for the same) has landed the West Bengal government in the muck that it finds itself in with the Nandigram issue.

Amit equates the situation and the ground-realities in Singur and Nandigram today with the situation that the whole of India found itself in during the British Raj. What the Britons did with India and Indians, the West Bengal government and the CPI workers are doing with the poor residents of Singur and Nandigram.

When the Britons did it, it was mainly for the textiles and the spices that India had (and probably more), and they were doing it at the Queen’s behest. Today when the Marxists do it, they do it for the land and the fields probably at the behest of the lure of more money, more employment that the proposed SEZs will bring to the area.

Cheers………..Jamster

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