When India got its freedom in 1947, most states in India were pretty much at the same stage of development. But during the course of last 63 years of development, some states have made tremendous progress in terms of development while some have lagged behind. Reasons are many and have been discussed n+1 number of times across the length and breath of discussion forums, blogspot included.
But, there is one angle which did not find much mention in the circuits and I found it interesting to touch upon – the perspective and influence of local leadership.
In a large mass of living organisms, group formation is a natural phenomena. Birds while flying to warmer weathers in Autumn, fly in groups; Lions roam about in groups, Ants have their own groups and Honey Bees have an entire way of life structured around a group. Human Being is no exception.This element of group formation and eventual issue of leadership has had a far reaching impact on the growth and development of civilizations.
In the areas currently affected by naxalism, the local leadership over a period of time was too insecure to empower the society. The insecurity came from lack of education. States like Kerela, Gujarat, Punjab had sent number of citizens abroad who went there and saw how things worked, shared their knowledge when they wrote, spoke, visited their counterparts back in India and thus, these people were enlightened, states like WB, AP, MP (Chattisgarh was once a part of MP) were pretty much isolated, they did not know what the world was doing – they were left behind. Thus, the local level of leadership was aware of the happenings across and emulated the good eradicating the bad. There are many examples spread across the constituencies of Gujarat where MLAs have held vigorous battles with the central governments to avail a railway line for their constituencies. And we are also aware of vigorous battles fought by labor unions and social activists thwarting the progress of automation, technology and new ideas.
Secondly, the state level leadership of the developed states gave its citizens something productive to do. Punjab – Green Revolution, Gujarat – White Revolution, Kerala – Emphasis on Education. While the citizens of other states were left to do agriculture that too dependent on erratic monsoon.
Take a very recent example, Gujarat faced the Mandal Commission created riots in 1998, an earthquake in 2001 and then Godhara created riots in 2002. The quick succession of unproductive / counter productive activities were punctuated with years of bad monsoon, weak leadership, lack of good job opportunities and tremendous loss of life and property. Turn 2003, Narendra Modi assumes power. He slams down Medha Patekar led Narmada Bachao andolan, finishes up canal project in record time, makes sure water reaches areas of Saurasthra and even till Kachch and see the magic, people suddenly had things to do, money to earn, and leisure to spend their money. For the past 8 odd years, did we notice something funky in Gujarat? NO.
Turn WB – no major productive projects getting completed, not even Singur was allowed and where are we? The menace of Naxalites is a burning hot issue.
MP – Nothing major in the name of development, where are we?
Chattisgarh – more or less same story.
It is not that there were no efforts towards development there, there were, but they were drowned in protests by some social service activists with their list of misplaced priorities. Cases in point Posco deal in Orissa, Mittal Steel’s project in Jharkhand, Tehri Dam in MP.
The people who started the entire propaganda of Green Movement, Sustainable Development came from places which have the most developed infrastructure and have the most amount of resources are obese by eating a lot. They are not some poor adivasis in Indian jungles who probably are yet to see electricity, hospital and a tap with running water. And if you notice in the entire propaganda of social activists, they portray the private sector and the government as villains who want to steal whatever precious little these poor have and in the same breath brutally accuse the government machinery for not doing the needful! The paradox is not missed.
There is one likely workable solution to the problem of Naxalism – productive work. Schemes like NREGA are a right step in that direction and we should encourage them.
And, we should have a re-look at our priorities and focus on development. With money, we can find solutions to most problems, without it, problems will just remain where they are. America who is the most polluting country of the world through its money is able to impose restrictions on nations like Brazil and India on the name of Emissions!
Chamatkar ko hi Namaskar hota hai!
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