Facing up to Nandigram

To anyone who has been following Indian news lately, there are, of course, many, many troubling issues when it comes to the disaster at Nandigram. West Bengal, the stronghold for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for 30-odd years, is in a period of immense turmoil and violent protest, thanks to the CPM's conduct in Nandigram, the incredible levels of police and political corruption in the Rizwanur Rehman/Todi case, and, sadly, due to the furor over extending Taslima Nasreen's visa . I was in India for five weeks and the news was dominated by the Tehelka sting in Gujarat for the first bit and then by the CPM-backed murders, rapes and general mayhem in Nandigram for the second. Even the mainstream corporate media seemed truly appalled, and, between endless plugs for Om Shanti Om, managed to cover the escalating violence and insolent CPM response to any and all questioning with a surprising level of critical awareness. They even poked holes in the CPM's claim that even leftier "Maoists" were behind the violence and that the CPM thugs were only acting in self-defense. The one thing that most media fell short on was examining their own assumptions when describing the CPM. From newspapers, to the evening news, to those now-ubiquitous weekly red-and-white news magazines, the CPM was time and again described as "red", The Left, Communist etc. For the mainstream media to paint such a simplistic black-and-white or, ahem, red-and-white, picture, is to be expected. But when an open letter from Chomsky and "other intellectuals" was printed in The Hindu also continued to identify the CPM with "The Left" and therefore, somehow, as their ideological partners, things really started to seem hopeless.

Chomsky and other intellectuals on Nandigram displays the worst tendencies amongst Western, left-leaning academics. The fact that a group including the likes of Vijay Prashad and Tariq Ali – and Noam Chomsky himself – would author/sign on to such a piece of facile gloss on the Nandigram disaster betrays a good deal of arrogance and a certain degree of naiveté amonst these high-profile career intellectuals. “The balance of forces in the world is such that it would be impetuous to split the Left… This is not the time for division when the basis for division no longer appears to exist” says the open letter. Although what exactly this is supposed to mean is unclear, what is obvious is that Chomsky and co. seem convinced that they share with the CPM a larger, “Leftist,” ideology and therefore cannot betray the CPM by definitively condemning the party for its (widely publicized) atrocities in Nandigram. Why continue to employ labels that clearly do not apply, to a group that consistently embarrasses itself every time it attempts to justify its brutality?

This lack of a critical position on the part of these intellectuals is disturbing. Not only are they effectively giving undue and undeserved legitimacy to the CPM and its brand of goonda politics, they are also unwisely clinging to the dangerous belief that the CPM is somehow still representative of “Leftist” ideology. This misguided romanticization of the CPM enables its corrupt practices. The CPM has long-abandoned any socialist pretensions and is depressingly bereft of all ideals of social justice despite, infuriatingly, its insistence on continuing to employ “Leftist” rhetoric. Smug, opportunistic and gleefully and unrepentantly neo-liberal at its core, the waving around of hammers and sickles aside, the party has long ago divorced itself from anything that resembles Marxism other than perhaps a penchant for filling out all forms in triplicate. To be surprised at the CPM’s conduct in Nandigram or to be remained confused at this fellow Lefty’s fascist behaviour is tantamount to wondering how a Communist nation like China can put the interests of its fat cats ahead of those of the people of Darfur.

It seems almost silly to have to point out to such a group of eminent scholars and authors as the signatories of the open letter, but actions speak louder than words. No matter how red the shade of its flags or its tape, there is nothing “red” remaining about the CPM other than the blood it has on its hands. Rather than tiptoeing around this travesty, with phrases such as “we understand that those who had been dispossessed by the violence are now being allowed back to their homes without recrimination” that are clearly and simply untrue, for once, it would be so very refreshing if such powerful groups of academics would take a firm political stand. Their colleagues in Kolkata have decided to stand against the CPM because they understand that no matter what the party’s slogans, murder is, as they say, murder. It does the violated people of Nandigram no good to know that the Western Academy is reluctant to denounce their oppressors because at some point in the past or perhaps the future they all belonged to a ethereal club called The Left. It’s time for these well-funded Western intellectuals to also reconsider past alliances put aside their impotent delusions about “solidarity” with the CPM and “coalition politics” with hired rapists and surf a reputable Indian newspaper or two. That might encourage them to join in on the public shaming of West Bengal’s predatory and shameless government.

(keep any and all relevant links coming)

(Credit to go to Vivek) Here's a response to the Chomksy & co letter from their desi counterparts.

Also, if anyone needs a bit of background on what was going on in Nandigram before this round of retributive violence, here's an older post by, again, Vivek.

Sanhati is an excellent site for extensive information on the systematic erosion of people's rights and the brutal neo-liberal agenda espoused by the West Bengal state.

Another piece, this time speaking directly to Chomsky on the hypocrisy of the "Left-leaning intellectuals" who would defend the CPI(M)'s role at Nandigram (Thank you, PropaMcGandhi).

An open letter to Tariq Ali from Jadavpur Professor of History, Kunal Chattopadhyay in response to his defense of state terror in West Bengal.

Professor Rohit Chopra, who interviewed Vijay Prashad for SAJAforum has this to say (entitled Calcutta 1984 and Nandigram 2007: The End of the Left?) on his blog, Anti-History.

Sudhanva Deshpande and Vijay Prashad on forced land acquisition from farmers by the CPM in Singur and Nandigram. Counterpunch, May 23, 2007.

Brownfrown criticises support for the CPI(M) after Nandigram by academics in the West

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Thanks for this piece. I

Thanks for this piece. I hadn't seen the letter before you pointed it out, and it's so indescribably disconcerting that the open letter doesn't even allude to the state violence employed.

Here's something from one of the co-signatories of the letter withdrawing her name:

To my friends in India:

Without wishing to place responsibility on anyone but myself, I want to apologise for having signed the common letter concerning Nandigram and hereby withdraw my signature. I signed because the statement seemed reasonable, recognised that the signatories “could not say anything definitive”, seemed compatible with principles like left unity and non-violence which I try to uphold and, above all, had been previously signed by people I greatly admire and respect. Due to a certain urgency, I gave my name without consulting friends in India, particularly the two Indian Fellows of the Transnational Institute, Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik, as I ought normally to have done.

Now I have received further information from Indians who have regretted my signature and, while exercising great comradely restraint towards me personally, have pointed to the recent tragic events in Nandigram as unequivocally the responsibility of the CPI[M]. All the communications sent to me blame the government, but having consulted other signatories, I learn that some of them have received thanks and letters of support, also from India.

While my instinct is quite naturally to side with those who have written to me personally, particularly my TNI comrades, I regret above all that I was presumptuous enough to comment, however mildly, on a situation I was not, and am not, in any position to judge. I hope my Indian friends will forgive this presumption and accept my regrets for having signed a letter which has been used politically in India in ways I cannot condone and do not approve.

In solidarity,

Susan George (Sanhati)

Here's a response co-signed

Here's a response co-signed by other Indian leftist luminaries. Excerpt:

History has shown us that internal dissent is invariably silenced by dominant forces claiming that a bigger enemy is at the gate. Iraq and Iran are not the only targets of that bigger enemy. The struggle against SEZ’s and corporate globalization is an intrinsic part of the struggle against US imperialism.

We urge our fellow travellers among the signatories to that statement, not to treat the “Left” as homogeneous, for there are many different tendencies which claim that mantle, as indeed you will recognize if you look at the names on your own statement.

BrownFrown: Thanks for


Thanks for writing this. I received Arundhati Roy's et al. letter a few days ago, and I was shocked. Akeel Bilgrami signed that letter as well; very disheartening.

Yesterday while I was having tea with someone, he pointed out that The Hindu has had a somewhat muted response to what is going on in Nandigram vis-a-vis CPM, causing him to call The Hindu a "mouthpiece of CPM..."

I would agree. While I

I would agree. While I usually do enjoy reading The Hindu, I was left wondering where the outrage was and that open letter (printed the day before I left India) was the last disheartening straw. It was funny that of the mainstream media, it was CNN-IBN who seemed to speak the loudest against the CPM activity in Nandigram. As a friend of mine pointed out, this might have to do with the mainstream's antipathy towards anything "Leftist" but I think it has more to do with the disproportionate number of Bengalis on their staff :)

Excellent post, BrownFrown!

Excellent post, BrownFrown! It is interesting to note that the Chomsky letter was signed mostly by those based in the West and the Devi letter was signed mostly by those based in India. (It would be very difficult to question the political and ideological chops of the signatories on the Devi letter.) The difference then seems to be locational. It really is too bad that the Western imperialism talked about so much by Chomsky, Prashad, etc. extends so deeply into the academic world that they inhabit. I hope that there is enough of a public response in opposition to the Chomsky letter from those who would generally consider themselves to be on the Left, that we can begin to talk about Western Academic Imperialism in addition to the other forms that we discuss so freely.

[...] Facing up to Nandigram

[...] Facing up to Nandigram | [...]

See www.sanhati.com for

See www.sanhati.com for updates by the day- analytical pieces of the faces of destruction of rights in Bengal - by CPM, by the state. its the same story in nandigram, singur, mahishadal, POSCO, kalinganagar.
Only the face and the banner of the brutalizer changes.
To oppose the CPM's killers in Nandigram or BJD's complicity in Kalinganagar neednt be differential - isolation of people who deny rights to chose livelihood starts here.
For a a world where cultural choices define open futures,
In solidarity.
Sanhati Collective

Hey, y'all finally got it

Hey, y'all finally got it right..erm...Left. Nice post.

Just in case you missed them,

Just in case you missed them, I'll keep adding links to the "addendum" bit at the end of the piece as more reactions to the open letter/Nandigram come in. If you have anything you'd like me to add - send it along.

Below in its entirety is the

Below in its entirety is the CPM's explanation/spin from their newspaper, Ganashakti:


All the informed people of the country – whether right thinking or reactionary – have been getting tormented with the news of violence at Nandigram, East Medinipur District, West Bengal at times causing loss of precious lives. Now, let us have a quick glance on the socio-economic situation in West Bengal and issues and happenings in Nandigram till early November 2007 in order to have a better grasp on the problem:

Immediately after the last assembly election, in which Left Front won 235 seats out of 294 (getting more than 50% of votes cast), Govt of West Bengal embarked upon a renewed path of industrialization as the manifesto of the Left Front for the last election clearly spelt out the need for the same, following the footsteps of Industrial Policy Resolution, 1994. Let us look at the following indicators to comprehend the gravity of the problem at Singur and Nandigram:

q Though West Bengal occupies around 3% of the total landmass of the country and 2.5% of the total agricultural land, it has around 8% of total population of the country indicating a tremendous pressure on the existing land.

q However, due to rapid land reforms in the State undertaken by the Left Front Govt., 78.78% of total land in West Bengal are cultivated by the marginal (less than 2.5 acres) and small farmers (between 2.5 acres to 5 acres). In West Bengal the total land measuring more than 10 hectares is only 0.05%. Whereas, for the whole country, such big farmers continue to hold around 17.3% of total agricultural land and the poor marginal farmers hold only around 15.1% of total agricultural land.

q This coupled with wide spread decentralization of democracy through elected three-tier Panchayat system in villages and Municipalities in the urban areas created a congenial atmosphere to launch massive assault on poverty.

q As a logical corollary, according to even latest NSSO report, West Bengal crowns the glory of highest reduction in poverty among the 17 major states in the country in the post- independence period, especially in the decade from 1983 to 1993-94. Overall poverty ratio got reduced from 53.60% in 1983 to 33.45% in 1993-94 i.e. a reduction of 20.15%. The rural West Bengal saw drastic reduction in the same period from 61.56% to 37.35% i.e. a reduction of 24.21%, which too was highest in India. Even in the decade of reforms, from 1993-94 to 2004-05, West Bengal’s reduction of rural poverty is among the highest. It reduced it by around 9% to reach at 28.49% in 2004-05. The overall poverty ratio in the State stood at 25.67% in 2004-05 from 53.60% in 1983. (Ref. “Poverty And Inequality: All-India and States, 1983-2005”, S. Mahendra Dev, C. Ravi, EPW, February 10, 2007)

q However, the West Bengal agriculture is not without problems. The sectoral GDP contributed by Agriculture is only 24%( 2004-05), the industry contributed 19% and services 57%. Whereas, the population engaged in agriculture in West Bengal is 63%, industry holds 17% and services 20% of the population. This indicates the existence of massive disguised unemployment in Agriculture like the rest of the country.

q So, drive for industrialization is a must in the above backdrop to extricate the massive surplus labour force from Agriculture.

q In this backdrop, the need for employment generating manufacturing industry is rightly emphasized. This is also important from the perspective of development of working class movement too as the no. of factory workers in West Bengal dwindled from 9.5 lakh in 1980 to 4.28 lakh in 2002.

q Central Govt. selected Nandigram block for the proposed “Chemical Hub” considering its proximity to Haldia Port. Indian Oil Corporation, a Public Sector Navaratna Company, was selected as the principal promoter for the project.

q A chemical hub means production of no. of petro-chemical byproducts in a single contiguous area. These are butadiene meant for rubber industry, polyester for development of textile industry and other chemicals meant for development of Pharmaceutical industry, as the state of West Bengal has no base of this very important modern industry.

q The State Govt. never announced officially to take over land forcibly at Nandigram.

q Contrary to misinformation campaign, Nandigram is basically not so fertile block – mostly monocrop area having low level of water table.

q But the rainbow coalition of all hues organized under the banner of “Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee” led by the Trinamool Congress, the principal opposition party in West Bengal with only 30 MLAs in the State Assembly in a house of 294 and having only 1 MP out of 42 in the state, decided to carry out armed resistance since the beginning by spreading wide-spread canards about forcible land acquisition at Nandigram. Later on they also started to take the help of Maoists to forcibly extend their sphere of influence.

q Violent agitation, led by BUPC, started at Nandigram from 03 January 2007 by spreading canards.

q In the ensuing violence that continued from January to November 2007, no less than 27 CPIM supporters and one CID official were brutally murdered including some women after they were raped too. The CPIM have also published the detailed list of those murdered.

q Atleast 3500 poor people from Nandigram were driven out of their respective homes and were forced to live in makeshift tents in the nearby Khejuri Block for 11 months in appalling conditions and were subjected to daily brutal attacks, harassment, collection of ransom by armed goons of the rainbow coalition.

q In order to clear the misgivings and canards, Com. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, announced on 11 March 2007 in a mammoth rally organized by CITU at Kolkata that no land would be taken over at Nandigram if the people did not want to permit the establishment of Chemical Hub there. Subsequently, the Govt. officially notified this too abandoning its plan to locate the proposed Chemical Hub at Nandigram.

q The BUPC activists dug up roads, destroyed bridges etc. snapping almost all physical communication links to Nandigram. They also made Panchayats and local bodies dysfunctional. 15,000 poor children of the area could not be administered even Pulse Polio doses. NREG work for providing employment for 100 days could not be started. All developmental work in the area came to a grinding halt. Hapless students lost one or two academic sessions.

q In such a backdrop, the govt. authority, after due consultations with all political parties in the area including BUPC, wherein all agreed for govt. and police intervention for restoration of peace, wanted to enter the area for the sake of restoring law and order situation in the area that saw absolute lawlessness since January 2007.

q But, unfortunately, the activists of BUPC decided to confront the Police Force with arms putting the women and children in the forefront as the ‘human shield’. In the ensuing uncalled for Police Firing and internecine clashes on 14 March 2007, 14 people met with most unfortunate deaths. This unfortunate and avoidable loss of precious human lives (though only 8 people died of Police firing and balance 6 died of fires from armed BUPC members. Even today, one victim remains unidentified with multiple stab injuries) gave fillip to the nationwide campaign by BUPC and opposition parties against the ruling Left Front painting them as Anti-farmer.

q Since then, despite repeated govt efforts to restore peace including the efforts initiated by the legendary statesman, Com. Jyoti Basu, the rainbow coalition led by the principal opposition party in the state had disregarded all appeals to them for restoration of peace and allow the evicted CPIM sympathizers (who were mostly small, marginal farmers and landless labourers and who had already missed two precious cropping seasons) to move to their homes in Nandigram.

q In the cut-off area of Nandigram Block I, BUPC’s torture on common people increased manifold, they indulged in boundless corrupt practices selling scraps of a local, now closed PSU factory, fell and sold precious trees planted by the Panchayat. They illegally amassed lakhs of rupees, a part of which was diverted to purchase sophisticated arms to carry forward the so-called ‘war’ against the state and the CPIM. BUPC got a fillip after the arrival of so-called Maoists from adjoining Jharkhand state.

q From October 2007 onwards, they tried to spread their sphere of influence from Nandigram I to Nandigram II, Khejuri and other blocks by massive armed assaults, in which many CPIM leaders, activists and common poor people were killed. The timing for their renewed armed attack is to be noted. It coincided with the strident position adopted by the Left, especially CPIM, against the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal. We all know that the American Imperialism was deeply disturbed and unhappy with this principled opposition of the Left.

q When this armed opposition by BUPC, ably supported by a section of a reactionary intellectual, was in progress in full swing causing irreparable damage to lives, property of the poor people, the Chief of Times Warner Media group made a surprise visit to Kolkata. This gentleman had a long meeting with Smt. Mamata Banerjee, the TMC leader along with the owner and editor of a Bengali media baron who is well known for his strong anti-Left bias. Coming out, the Times chief told the waiting journalists (they were not allowed to this tête-à-tête) that he would make all arrangements to spread the message of this ‘democratic’ struggle of TMC to every nook and corner of the globe. Before this, sometime in 2006, some leading American officials had a secret meeting with Sri Siddhiqulla, another Muslim fundamentalist leader of BUPC.

q When all these subversive activities led by BUPC and Maoists inside Nandigram and outside by TMC, Congress, SUCI, Naxalites and a section of the reactionary and ‘sold-out’ intellectuals were in progress, democratic movement including that of the working class, peasants, youths, students, women of West Bengal carried out innumerable struggle throughout the state to highlight the issue. They also collected and donated lakhs of rupees towards the welfare of this ‘new refugees’ of Nandigram. Unfortunately, barring a few, majority of the media groups decided to totally black out this unique expression of solidarity.

q Some of the courageous young filmmakers like Ms. Anindita Sarvadhikary risked their lives to enter the occupied parts of Nandigram and shoot unforgettable films titled as “Nandigram: Uttarer Khoje” (Nandigram: In search of answer) that showed in graphic details the inhuman torture meted out by BUPC goons inside Nandigram and adjoining areas like Khejuri. She also filmed how the helpless CPIM sympathizers and common people numbering thousands are living in sub-human conditions in makeshift tents. The film was an instant hit but none of the members of the so-called intellectual community of Kolkata and ‘Civil Society’ was bothered with her vivid description of reality inside Nandigram. Incidentally, she told in one of her recent absorbing TV interviews that none of the so-called intellectuals, artists of Kolkata barring three (who were otherwise showing their concerns about the plight of the people of Nandigram) responded to her frantic sms calls to contribute to the fund to purchase new clothes for 994 displaced children of Nandigram who were living in makeshift tents during Durga Puja and Id festival. However, the common people contributed generously and she could distribute such new clothes to these hapless children.

q In such a situation, when the BUPC tried to extend their sphere of influence through brutal use of force, HEROIC PEOPLE OF NANDIGRAM, already at the end of their tether, decided not to tolerate any more. In early November 2007, THEY DECIDED TO RETALIATE AND DEFEND THEIR LIVES under the leadership of CPIM. Eleven long months in appalling sub-human conditions in makeshift tents strengthened their resolve to make a decisive final push to liberate their village from the clutches of heartless goons masquerading as members of BUPC.

q BUPC and Maoists again set the common poor people in front as ‘human shield’, as they did on 14 March 2007, firing indiscriminately from behind.

q In the ensuing clash, few people met with unfortunate deaths. Some in violent explosion of land mines planted by the Maoists.

q But poor people, those who still lived inside Nandigram weathering all the tortures of BUPC and Maoists, fled from the human shield to seek help of CPIM.

q In front of the wave of humanity, determined to get back their own land and house, BUPC and Maoists goons fled, leaving arms, ammunitions even Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) like land mines behind.

q His Excellency, the Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, unfortunately started to fish in troubled waters overstepping his constitutional boundaries. He gave two open press statements – one after 14 March 2007 Police firing blaming his own government and now when the evicted people from Nandigram started to return to their homes. In between, for mysterious reasons, his conscience did not trouble him though he got regular inputs from his state govt. and a section of the media about the plight of the people of Nandigram – both inside and outside.

q Some of the so-called intellectuals of Kolkata, ably supported by some migratory varieties from New-Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra are now unfortunately crying wolf about absence of democracy in West Bengal, creating trouble even at the 13th Kolkata International Film Festival, though they maintained a stoic silence when no less than 27 CPIM activists, sympathizers were murdered and thousands rendered homeless. Even today they stubbornly refuse to condemn the violence against the poor evicted people unmasking their bias.

q Fortunately, many intellectuals, artists and players refused to join the so-called chorus of the above disgruntled elements. Dada Saheb Phalke award winner, leading actor, Soumitra Chatterjee, actors Dilip Roy, Mithun Chakraborty, famous film director Tarun Majumdar, Anindita Sarvadhikary, Goutam Halder, Writers Debes Roy, Ajijul Haque, Abul Basar, and many others, Playwrights and Dramatists Mohit Chattopadhyay, Arun Mukhopadhyay, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Arjun Award winner player Santa Mitra, Surajit Sengupta, Bula Chowdhury, and many others came out in open support of the evicted people and the manner in which they forced their entry into their own village and home. Kolkata witnessed a mammoth peace rally on 15 November 2007 at the call of above intellectuals.

q As this write-up leave the desk of the author, peace has been restored in Nandigram. State Govt, CPIM leaders, activists and common people in thousands are joining hands to bring back the situation fast on to the track of normalcy.

q State Govt. also announced compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the victims of police firing on 14 March, transferred the police officers (pending final judgment of the court) against whom complaints were there, arranged for relief of Rs.1 crore in total for distressed people. CPIM is organizing separate relief operations on a massive scale.

q But there is no room for any complacency, as the displaced BUPC goons, and frustrated opposition will try to make every effort to foment further trouble with the active backing of imperialist forces. It is to be noted that these reactionary forces were confident to evict the ruling Left Front in the Assembly election in 2006 in view of unprecedented steps initiated by the Election Commission. When that did not happen due the exemplary unity displayed by the people, they tried to foment trouble using arms. In retrospect, it appears that the situation at the initial stages in Nandigram went out of control due to some inept handling at various levels, which was later recovered quite fast with the active help of the people. In any drive for Industrialization and development work, people have to be taken into full confidence. This effort is now bearing fruits in industrialization drive in districts like Burdwan, Purulia, Bankura, other parts of Medinipur and elsewhere in West Bengal.

q Nandigram also showed that it is not the ‘barrel’ per se that will have the last laugh; The people’s determined resistance is thousand times more powerful than the barrel of the gun. RED SALUTE TO NANDIGRAM AND ITS FIGHTING MASS.

I read that ^^ when it came

I read that ^^ when it came out and if I remember correctly, I smirked and hit delete. The best gem was this:

Fortunately, many intellectuals, artists and players refused to join the so-called chorus of the above disgruntled elements.

In the larger context, though, the CPM is quickly coming to be seen as resembling the very ideas it claims to oppose. A while ago, there was an article on the murder of a Bengali Muslim man who had married a Hindu woman. It is speculated that he was killed by the Calcutta police, whose involvement in the couple's marriage was at the behest of the woman's father:

Curiously, it was a Kolkata’s overweening police chief Prasun Mukherjee, said to be close to Bhattacharjee, who exposed the real face of the government at a press conference he called on Sep. 23, soon after the body was discovered. Mukherjee said Todi and his family were ”naturally” perturbed that Priyanka had married a Muslim from a low-income group.

Mukherjee had no qualms in admitting that the police had interrogated the couple and was involved in separating a legally married couple. “If the police won’t intervene, who will? The PWD (Public Works Department)?” he said sarcastically.


Meh, I don't think it

Meh, I don't think it matters. The CPI(M) (in Bengal anyway) *isn't* really a centre-left (at least in any meaningful way) option anyway, so toppling them might at least end the massive hypocrisy. And people who themselves are lefties might be more open to being critical of whatever the new party is instead of being confused as to where to stand (but they are left, i am left, oh what to do? what to do?!). The CPI(M) shops in Europe and builds SEZs at home, colludes with rich, immoral businessmen, bullies dissenters, muscles out individuals who upset vote banks... good riddance if they finally go.

bzah! you stole my post! :)

bzah! you stole my post! :) good post, though.

A trouble is that CPI(m) is going nowhere nationally, and if they fall in the state from external pressure, Congress and/or BJP or a secondary ally of either will make inroads, when both support the same industrial policies and have demonstrated the same willingness to kill people, etc. So if they fall--which would be a ways off--will there be an electorally-sustainable left (or centre-left) party or coalition in West Bengal to replace them or will the state be brought into the congress/bjp rivalry more fully? And what are the consequences for the rest of India if CPI(M) becomes marginalized both in West Bengal and Kerala? Maybe nothing...maybe something :)

I know this is a long way off from the original topic but I think it's important.

the party has long ago

the party has long ago divorced itself from anything that resembles Marxism other than perhaps a penchant for filling out all forms in triplicate.


I'm posting this article on

I'm posting this article on our blog here: http://development-dialogues.blogspot.com/2008/01/facing-up-to-nandigram...

If you have a problem with this, do let me know. Thanks.

q However, the West Bengal

q However, the West Bengal agriculture is not without problems. The sectoral GDP contributed by Agriculture is only 24%( 2004-05), the industry contributed 19% and services 57%. Whereas, the population engaged in agriculture in West Bengal is 63%, industry holds 17% and services 20% of the population. This indicates the existence of massive disguised unemployment in Agriculture like the rest of the country.

q So, drive for industrialization is a must in the above backdrop to extricate the massive surplus labour force from Agriculture.

And herein lies the problem. Set aside really important questions about whether GDP is accurately measuring contributions from different sectors or the integrity of these statistics as a whole. Even then, when you have a large percentage of people employed in a low-productivity sector, that doesn't mean that they're a "surplus labour force." That means they're a low-productivity labour force. Which they may want to be. I certainly am.

Now, we can argue all day after that if they have a right to be so or whether it's in their interests or the interests of their children, but first, CPM, you go find out and tell me if people want to industrialize and in what way. Because if you tell them that what development takes, they may not want it in the same fashion that you do.


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