Apropos of this account of Arundhati Roy’s foray into Maoist country, I am struck by how the indigenous people in this country has been so marginalised in their own lands and treated as foreigners. I am no leftist sympathiser, nor am I an apologist for the wrongs committed by the centrists and rightists. What is wrong is clearly wrong. The extent to which the ruling and educated elite can go to defend their own comforts and well-being is legendary. Mea culpa. We get so isolated in our own ivory towers that there seems no time and inclination for building bridges across moats.
The tribals of central India have some very praise-worthy traditions which I have described in another post. The Madia tribe’s Gotul tradition I have written about deserves praise. In a world that is paranoid about sex and hidden sexual sub-texts, where sex is the prime driver in the movie industry that dictates our urban traditions and cultures, we have ignored that in our own country there existed a custom by which young people could meet and then decide who to choose as life partners. The Madia women are considered as equals and even have the right to strike their husbands, who are generally younger than them. Something here points to a strong matriarchal system of familial structure common in the South.
But when a certain section in a society remains abysmally poor and backward in spite of the country careening crazily towards super-power-dom, eyebrows need to be raised at the foolish implications of it all. When they think of using the army against our own people, it is cause enough for alarm bells to ring.
What a superintendent of police said to Arundhati Roy is significant, nay, has the potential to shake the foundations of what we consider as brain-washing and indoctrination. The superintendent said, “Give these people colour televisions, they will forget about armed resistance.”
Almighty and merciful God, what have we come to? From a medium of entertainment, has the television degenerated into a weapon to enforce non-resistance and passivity?