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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aparna Sen, Citizen Journalist and Violence in Politics

Citizen Journalist concept has its high moments - Aparna Sen as a Citizen Journalist reporting on the Kolkotta bandh!

But, frankly I think the entire intellectual move in Kolkotta to protest against the CPI-M doesnt add up to anything. Buddadeb now says that the Film Festival will not be affected because some people decide to boycott it, that could be G.Bush talking for you. And the intellectuals cannot launch a new party or a movement, it is an evening out or a day out for them (or a CJ for a day) as they get back to their businesses, the cadres get back to theirs.

Nandhigram is not a sign of a weakness in the Communist outlook, it is the growing culture of violence across the Indian political spectrum, be it the right wing or the left. Recently the leader of the Congress party in TN was stabbed with a spear and the police are yet to catch the culprits , there have been reports of violent attacks in even supposedly sane states not to mention the perinneal violent ones. Unless we understand this is a larger issue, we will keep fighting it as an isolated instance and will only indulge in a blame game.

The roots of the increase in violence as a genuine expression of political position lies elsewhere, it is important that this is acknowledged. Violence as an expression of the crowd and the most successful one to get any point across stems from our insensitivity to listen to crowds that are non-violent. Recently there was a large crowd that gathered in Delhi from all over India consisting of Tribals walking non-violently to highlight the issue of land rights. Except forming yet another committee to look into these issues, I don't think anything else has been done so far. When you fail to listen to a non-violent crowd, you contribute towards the creation of the violent crowd. There is no getting away from it. The media wallows in projecting the violent crowd, so much so, that the Tehelka expose has been reduced to a 'media strategy' or 'sting' whose efficacy and timing has been discussed more than its contents and significance. That the expose could not pull down a government and a nation wide protest shows how much of violence has been accepted in this country and people are no longer surprised.

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