Two headlines that shared news space over the last couple of days were the audacious attack and cruel killing of Congress leaders and party workers by Maoists in Chhattisgarh and the arrest of Chennai Super Kings team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan on charges of betting and fixing Indian Premier League matches.
The details of both the incidences are more or less known to the public by now. While it can be assumed that the Indian upper middle class and above, youth and GenY, would be well versed with the cricketing debacle, would have debated over it and would have opinions on it, the brutal maoist attack , just news on the ticker and newspapers, would not have evoked responses of the former’s magnitude. However that is not the mainstay of the article.
Maoism is an internal threat, the largest one at that. When the Prime Minister said from the Red Fort that Maoists are our ‘own’ people, many would have questioned the reason for our ‘own’ people becoming dissidents and rebels. Of the variety of causes, one stark cause would be destitution and economic alienation. Not many rich kids become Maoists, do they? Tribes, the landless, oppressed, and also the gullible, anti-nationals, become so.
Abject poverty is a concept that almost all the readers cannot have a deep understanding of. My colleagues do not believe when it is told that people do live on less that Rs 3 a day; and on that basis are classified as below or above poverty line. It is actually unfathomable. But on the other side of the wall when it is brought to our collective notice that Gurunath Meiyappan, an individual, allegedly lost Rs 1 crore (owning fancy yatches too) on betting, it is believable and thought to be part-of-the-game. It is so because it is that world which is familiar to us.
It is the world of these Meiyappans who have concentrated the wealth and with greed are exponentially increasing it. Since money does not grow on trees, there is an imbalance that is created by these people. It needs to be mentioned here that it is not a diatribe against all riche people. In a capitalistic economy (with socialist leanings in government’s policies) everyone has the right and freedom to earn wealth. But when capitalism becomes crony capitalism, it becomes unhealthy and a cancerous growth like that of Maoism today occurs.
The recent attacks are to be condemned; the brutality with which it was conducted is scary; but it should not lead to an ‘eye for an eye’ situation. Heavy handedness of administration is required to crush a revolution but that it has not been achieved after several years shows the complexity and multi dimensionality of the situation. With the military might, the money-might issue needs addressing. In an increasingly evident and felt rich-poor divide, in an increasingly oppressive regime and its cronies, in an increasingly intolerant society, Meiyappans need to be crushed in order to crush the excesses of the Maoists.