Sunday, December 26, 2010
By Manuwant Choudhary
A sessions judge in India's Chhattisgarh pronounced his judgement in the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen, a paedriatician and national vice-president of the People's Union of Civil Liberties, "You get a Life-term in prison under section 124 A"
Dr. Binayak Sen, the accused asked, "What is Section 124 A?"
The judge replied, "Rajdroh".
Rajdroh means sedition.
I am not a Maoist. Nor am I a Maoist sympathiser yet I feel the sentence is out of proportion to the crime that Dr. Binayak committed `allegedly', he is said to have carried a letter from a Maoist leader and handed it over to another Maoist sympathiser a businessman in Kolkata.
The Indian press do not yet talk about the contents of the letter or how and why it amounts to sedition.
It is true that the Maoists are in armed rebellion against the Indian state.
It is also true that thousands of policemen have been killed over the years by the Maoists.
It is also true that hundreds of Maoists have been killed or arrested in counter operations.
Yet, its still not clear or conclusive that Dr. Binayak Sen is rightly charged with sedition for being merely a `courier'.
There are bigger Maoist leaders who deserve trial under Section 124A.
But why is the Indian state after Dr. Binayak Sen, I wonder.
I have never met him and for all I care he may have been sympathetic to the Maoists.
Even Nehru was a stalinist.
The origins of India's Maoists is from Naxalbari...a sleepy town in West Bengal...and in the sixties and seventies..many were under the spell of socialism and equality and they wore torn jeans and sang Beatles numbers and became Naxalites over coffee and cigarettes.
It was fashionable to be so in Bengal.
Their aim was to forcibly capture the land of the farmers and redistribute.
Yet, Mrs. Indira Gandhi was a Naxal sympathiser. The Congress Party has always been a leftist party since independence. That is the reason why they brought in land-ceiling laws, cooperatives and such collectivist ideas.
In that sense the Congress leaders should also be charged with `Rajdroh'.
I really don't like the Maoists.
Yet, at different times the role of Maoists have also changed.
The real issue here is Freedom and Right to Private Property.
Naxals were against private property and attacked farmers.
The Indian State is also against private property and believe in acquiring property and handing it over to Big industry.
The Maoists oppose this not because they believe in private property but because they hate Big industry more and also because the land which is being taken away usually belong to the poorest of the poor.
So the Maoists are today actually for private property.
Singur, Nandigram....they have supported pitched battles on the side of the farmers against the Indian state.
Should all Indian farmers also be charged with Rajdroh simply because they fight to defend their land from a greedy Stalinist State?
As for Binayak Sen its like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.