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Who is Kobad Ghandy?

Posted by Admin on September 28, 2009

28 September 2009 by satark,

I didn’t know the name leave alone the person Kobad Ghandy until yesterday. Indian express carried an item that a very high ranking Maoist, a catch prized by the police, has been arrested in Delhi. I guess that his Doon school back ground -he was classmate of Sanjay Gandhi -, his British education and the fact that he belongs to a wealthy family from Mumbai made it newsworthy. The man who would have been a flourishing chartered accountant or a corporate honcho was instead found to be concerned for poor people & even devoting his entire life time to them. A sense of disbelief pervaded at how one of us made the poor choice of joining the utterly forgotten tribals & others from the ultra under developed areas. It wasn’t without precedent. T Nagi Reddy, an elected legislator at state & national levels, first with CPI and later after the split with CPI(M), finally chose to forge militant mass movement to assert & claim the rights of poor people although he himself came from a rich & landed family. Incidentally, he was brother in law of Dr. Nilam Sanjiva Reddy, the first chief minister of Andhra & President of India in 1977. Some 24×7 news channels had reportedly likened Ghandy to Al Qaeda terrorists. Not surprising when our news anchors suffer from HAS (hyper newsy syndrome), while the spectators are displaying ADD (attention deficit disorder), may be due to sensory overload. So much so only few noticed the irony. Bibek Debroy chose to name it “The Insurgent’s mind” in his article. It was mentioned Ghandy was in his early sixties. That made him less than a decade older than me. Since I was a keen student of politics in college days – remember asphyxiation, mercifully short, of democracy in 1975-77 – and I got interested. This is what I found his late wife’s brother, Sunil Shanbag, has to say as told by Sheela Bhatt. Some others say this about him in India’s unlikely Maoist revolutionary. Ghandy’s story as it unfolds hereafter may become interesting, but I will return to it shortly after a detour – albeit a very instructive one.

There is another telling story in IE titled “Write/wrong, Orissa’s thin red line.” Laxman Choudhary is arrested by Mohana Police of Gajapati District of Orissa. What catches the attention is the charges that are slapped against him – waging war against the government of India (section 121) & concealing information about committing such illegal acts (section 120) of Indian penal code. These are very serious charges & the police must have had some very compelling reasons to invoke these sections. Here comes a curious turn. A bus conductor Pradip Patra was allegedly found to carry a packet containing eight Maoists leaflets. So police should investigate how Mr. Patra came to possess them, but what has that got to do with Choudhary? Here comes the rub! The packet was addressed to Laxman Choudhary, a stringer with the largest selling Oriya daily – Sambad. Now that is a highly tenuous evidence indeed to slap such a serious charge & arrest the journalist. If police in Delhi too share same thinking, then all that Maoists have to do is to address a packet containing their leaflets to Dr. Manmohan Singh, send it through some one, tip Delhi police and have PM of India arrested. A highly unlikely event considering the powerful position he occupies & constitutional provisions that safeguard him; but Indians at large could have their constitutional guarantees abridged at the whim of any police official bent on silencing them on the flimsiest of grounds. That is what happened to Choudhary who was in fact exposing the nefarious activities of the Police force. When delegation of fellow journalists went in protest to chief minister Patnaik, he too was compelled to call the whole affair ‘ludicrous’. Was this an isolated incidence? Recall that Dr. Binayak Sen languished in jail for two years as an under trial for alleged complicity with Maoists and bail was repeatedly denied even though he suffered from medical complications requiring urgent attention. He is a product of one of the foremost medical colleges in the country – CMC, Vellore. A well educated, mild mannered gentleman, who worked as health care giver for poor tribals & was may be a bit naïve about real politics according to a friend who knew him, suffered this fate at the hands of Chhattisgarh police until set free by the Supreme Court. That too after prolonged protests by civil rights activists that were later picked up by main stream media for reporting. Right there in Orissa there are other cases of Kirti Sahoo, Leninkumar, Debendra Das, all journalists, and a high court lawyer Pratima Das arrested under similar serious charges of sedition. Whenever inconvenient truths start tumbling out of the state’s cupboard into public domain, the easiest course is to silence the source, plug the leak, rather than investigate the wrongs and bring the real perpetrators who subvert our democracy to book.

Suvojit Bagchi of BBC-Bengali service met Kobad Ghandy last year for an interview. He responded to a query, ‘has educating the poor helped the Maoists consolidate?’, thus : “We are trying to give basic education through mobile schools. We are teaching children basic sciences, mathematics and indigenous languages. Teams involved in the process are specialising in designing courses for the people who are backward, so that they can learn faster. We are taking extra care to improve health facilities, as well. We have told the tribals to boil drinking water. It has reduced diseases and death by 50%. Even independent NGOs have said so. Child mortality decreased because we have managed to empower women to an extent. The level of under-development in these areas is worse than, as some indicators suggest, sub-Saharan Africa“. He cites that Prime Minister had described Maoists the deadliest virus & goes on to add when asked why, “We have a clear-cut definition of development. We think the society is in a semi-feudal, semi-colonial state and there is a need to democratise it. The first step is to distribute land to the tiller. So our fight is against land grab and exploitation of the poor, especially focusing on rural India. One important reason why we have managed to consolidate is because we talk about dignity of work. For example, villagers here collect tobacco leaves to make local cigarettes. This industry runs into billions of dollars. But the daily wage of these tribals was less than 10 rupees a day before we came to Chhattisgarh. That is far less than the daily wage defined by even the government of India. We have forced these contractors to increase this daily wage – we have managed to push it up by three to four times. That is one reason why people like us“. The issues raised by him sound like a development agenda of a legitimate people centric government : providing education & health care, enforcing land & forest rights of poor & tribal, implementing minimum wages in the ‘bidi’ industry & fetching just price for ‘tendu’ leaves.

Compare above with the following observations :

“The development paradigm pursued since independence has aggravated the prevailing discontent among marginalized sections of society. This is because the development paradigm as conceived by the policy makers has always been imposed on these communities, and therefore it has remained insensitive to their needs and concerns, causing irreparable damage to these sections. The benefits of this paradigm of development have been disproportionately
cornered by the dominant sections at the expense of the poor, who have borne most of the costs. Development which is insensitive to the needs of these communities has invariably caused displacement and reduced them to a sub-human existence. In the case of tribes in particular it has ended up in destroying their social organisation, cultural identity, and resource base and generated multiple conflicts, undermining their communal solidarity, which cumulatively makes them increasingly vulnerable to exploitation“.

“In the case of SCs and also tribes, protection against social discrimination is the essential condition for the enjoyment of any development benefits that remain unrealised. The pattern of development and its implementation has increased corrupt practices of a rent seeking bureaucracy and rapacious exploitation by the contractors, middlemen, traders and the greedy sections of the larger society intent on grabbing their resources and violating their dignity. It has invariably happened that in situations where the interests of the larger community have clashed with the interests of the tribal communities, the former have prevailed to the detriment of the latter. The participation of these communities in the articulation of this paradigm of development is at best symbolic and at worst non-existent“.

“It should be recognized that there are different kinds of movements, and that calling and treating them generally as unrest, a disruption of law and order, is little more than a rationale for suppressing them by force. It is necessary to contextualize the tensions in terms of social, economic and political background and bring back on the agenda the issues of the people – the right to livelihood, the right to life and a dignified and honourable existence. The State itself should feel committed to the democratic and human rights and humane objectives that are inscribed in the Preamble, the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of the Constitution. The State has to adhere strictly to the Rule of Law. Indeed, the State has no other authority to rule

“It is critical for the Government to recognize that dissent or expression of dissatisfaction is a positive feature of democracy, that unrest is often the only thing that actually puts pressure on the government to make things work and for the government to live up to its own promises. However the right to protest, even peacefully, is often not recognized by the authorities and even non-violent agitations are met with severe repression. Greater scope and space for democratic activity will bring down the scale of unrest, as it would create confidence in governance and open channels for expression of popular discontent. What is surprising is not the fact of unrest, but the failure of the State to draw right conclusions from it. While the official policy documents recognize that there is a direct correlation between what is termed as extremism and poverty, or take note of the fact that the implementation of all development schemes is ineffective, or point to the deep relationship between tribals and forests, or that the tribals suffer unduly from displacement, the governments have in practice treated unrest merely as a law and order problem. It is necessary to change this mindset and bring about congruence between policy and implementation. There will be peace, harmony and social progress only if there is equity, justice and dignity for everyone.“.

I have quoted here excerpts from the Maoists pamphlets to bring on record their concerns. Right? Wrong! I was kidding. These are observations made in the report of Planning Commission Task Force on Development challenges in extremist affected areas. The Planning commission not appointed by the Maoists, but by our own Government of India. It is a dire indictment of the failure of the government to ensure equity, justice & dignity for everyone. This is what Ghandy seems to be talking about. It is a wakeup call for everyone. It is important to recognize that Maoists are a symptom, not the disease. Media often describes areas where tribal movements & unrest are seething as Maoists infested. This is a straight giveaway of treating all articulation of legitimate discontent as pestilence, a dangerous nuisance. Even Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram, home minister have described Maoists movements as biggest scourge and efforts are afoot to raise a special armed force to tackle it on war footing. What is required actually of them is to declare a war on poverty, disease, malnourishment, hunger, lack of opportunities, dispossession, illiteracy, etc. that plague large swathes of our tribal lands. This is the war we actually need to fight & win.

3 Responses to “Who is Kobad Ghandy?”

  1. Kobad Ghandy, a very high ranking Maoist, alumnus of Doon school, classmate of Sanjay Gandhi, member of a wealthy family in Mumbai, was arrested in Delhi, in September last year, for being concerned for poor people and for devoting his entire life time to uplift them, especially the JUNGLY ANIMALS, the native Sindhustanis! He is still in Jail. How many years — if Binayak Sen spent two years there?

    My request to Binayak Sen, Arundhati Roy and all intellectuals who are on their wavelengths:

    You are not Maoists, I know; you sympathize with Maoists.
    Dear Ma`am and Sirs,
    Call a meeting of yours. Request Kishenji to take part. Please try to bring about a change in his attitudes.
    Oh, dear Kishenji!
    Throw away your gun after the meeting. Get a PIED PIPE. Playing the pipe you can lure the ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY crore Indians, including the 70 crore who are the poorest in the world. Play the pipe to your supporters in JNU first and plead to them, “March with me to New Heaven And New Earth, not to the BAY OF BENGAL, not even to Dandi.” They will follow you; those in other Us will follow them; Karat will follow; Mohanji will; Rahulji will; the “one hundred and thirty” will. You will become the Planet’s Gandhi of the twenty-first century. Only you from Sindhustan — at this moment — can be that Gandhi. If you pooh-pooh me, that clever school girl of USA will become the Planet’s Gandhi, who asked her President, “Among the ones reincarnated, whom will you eat with?”, for which she got the reply, “I shall eat with Gandhi only, even though he may discourage me from filling my stomach beyond capacity!” — after which only the President proudly proclaimed to his white compatriots, “I’m a black man,” though his mother was white!

    I am not pooh-poohing you.
    Even if you succeed with your gun, your fate will not be different from that of Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia — that “Napoleon the Junior” of Orwell — where my innocent students had heartily-wrongly taken part in the revolution, whom I had been teaching after I taught in Kenya where I happened to meet and talk to Barack Hussein Obama Sr., THE FATHER OF THE Jr WHOSE SOLE HERO IS GANDHI, both drinking Russian Vodka, sitting on the opposite sides of a table in a Patel’s bar in Nairobi, an hour after OBAMA’s MAN TOM MBOYA was shot dead by Jomo Kenyatta’s man, so the news in Hindi was secretly revealed to me by Mr. Patel — with a warning, “Run back home; I’m going to close the bar because somebody said a hired Patel has done that, after which he has taken his flight to South Africa” — Obama wondering at the nonsense going on between the two Sindhians.
    Poor Patel! Somebody had just rumoured to him! Kenyatta’s man was a Kikuyu.

    Kishenji, Kenyatta’s act had a resemblance to the one of Napoleon of the ANIMAL FARM who had arranged the killing of Snowball who had fled to the New World, am I right?
    What happened to Napoleon’s Animal Farm?
    You want to be a Napoleon? Or a Snowball of Napoleon? Or a Gandhi of Godse?

    Be a Gandhi of Godse, Sir. I’m 77, Sir.

    My view of Sindhu as the nation of some humans who belong to the richest in the world, who have become rich by starving and exploiting the majority of humanoids in the world — the ones being the inhabitants of Sindhustan working as ANIMALS for those rich guys of Sindhu — will be posted later.

  2. Second comment to show who will be, and is/are to be, in Tihar Jail.

    This is another “edited piece”, taken from my novel being written.
    The actual humanoid population — population of humans and of animals who do jobs that humans do — of the Sindhustani Neo-Manor Farm is about 130 crore of which 60 crore are humans and 70 are animals, so I read from newspapers.
    Let my green-mind’s eye work. Let me explain the simple-reliable pieces of information collected by my eye — with my Sindhustani humanoid-farmer’s simple arithmetic, and simple proficiency in economics and social demographics.
    Let the humanoid population of Mohanji’s Neo-Manor Farm be, and remain at, 1 billion (100 crore), until March 31 of this fiscal year — excluding: the kids born and to be born this fiscal year; the aged ones of the population that died and will pass away; and all those like me doing absolutely-no-work for the concerned humanoid families, being ready to pass away.
    Hey, novelist! Don’t treat me as a stupid person; the premise flaunted is not out of my stupidity; it is out of simplicity of this farmer-statistician.
    Out of this 1 billion, let us assume: that 600 million humanoids — housewives, children and each one of the elders acting as a housewife-child-combined — do only home-working; that they feed on what is earned by 400 million workers, two in a family working for five on an average — 1 for 2.5.
    We Sindhian population of the Neo-Manor Farm comprises a diverse mass. We include Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji, Sudha Murthy, Amar Singh, Mayaji, Sharukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Arundhati roy, my son, my wife, kangaroo-Munyappa-the-auto-driver, his wife kangaroo Gowri our domestic servant, her kangaroo parents and siblings in rural Karnataka far away . . ., the jungli animals in Bengal in regions such as Midnapore . . ., and similar ones in jungles in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra . . . Our actual (not exaggerated) average per capita income, applicable to the current financial year, is ~ Rs. 40,000. It works out to: Rs. 100,000 as the average earning of one of our workers (40,000 X 2.5); and Rs. 40 trillion as the GDP, the yearly national income.
    The value of one Usa $ in the foreign exchange market was Rs. 46.31 on Friday. Let this farmer’s imagination take into account: the previous turmoils in the market; and an expected lack of confusion in the near future. Imagining so, I take the current rate as the average rate for this financial year. If so, the average earning of one of our workers is ~ Usa $ 2,159; and the nation’s income for this year is $ 864 billion.
    In fact, the exchange rate has been calculated in a very stupid way.
    For example:
    The fact is that: one dollar can buy in Chicago, in the “early apple season”, one medium-sized apple of average quality; I must take Rs. 46.31 there to buy that typical apple for my daughter Pat; I can buy four apples of that size and quality for my Sarah in Bangalore in the early apple season of India.
    The genuine (not exaggerated) currency exchange rate must be @ ~ Rs 12 per $ — the rate virtually approved by the International Monetary Fund, based on the ppp (purchasing power parity).
    The genuine yearly national income is, then, Usa $ 3,333.333333333 billion which is ~ $ 3.333 trillion.
    The ppp will be the same for the next year, I believe.
    Basing on various claims of our experts, I claim: Sindhian per capita income will jump t0 Rs. 45,000 by next year — to ~ $3.750 trillion as the national income.
    By “~” I mean “approximately”.
    Basing purely on ppp and on my farmer’s proficiency, let me do the calculations on the jump.
    The jump will be from:
    per capita income of Rs. 926.2 million — ~ $77.2 million — applicable to 10,000 humans haut en haut, en haut [ high up, up ];
    per capita income of Rs. 46.31 million — ~ $3.86 million — pertinent to 90,000 humans jaloux [jealous];
    pci of Rs. 4.631 million — ~ $0.386 million — earned by 0.9 million humans flamboyant [grandiose];
    and pci of Rs. 463,100 — ~ $38,592 — pocketed by 9 m humans clinquant [glitzy].
    That means:
    The average daily income of a human being of the first group of 10,000 is Rs. 2.54 million; the daily wage of each worker in that category is more than Rs. 6 million; and the daily income of a family is more than Rs. 12 million.
    The combined workforce of four million humans working at the top of our pyramid, working for ten million including themselves, take home ~ Rs. 21.77 trillion (~ $1.814 trillion) annually. In other words, the per capita income of the first 10 million out of the 1000 million Sindhians is Rs. 2,177,000; the average daily income of a human being of that ten million is about Rs. 5,960.30 ($496.69); the daily wage of each worker in that category is Rs.14,900.75; and the daily income of a five-member family of a couple of husband-and-wife-workers is Rs. 29, 801.50.
    One-tenth of this daily family income ($248.35 ~ $250) of the richest Sindhians is the daily-family-income of a run of the mill Sindhian nurse working in the Usa, along with her hubby doing some sundry job there, together working for, say, five members of the family — with their two school-going children and the mother of the nurse.
    Let me make crystal clear the figures of the run of the mill nurse:
    With this daily income, the nurse and family live a life there as if they were living sort of upper middle class life with Rs. 3,000 per day amongst the Humanoids in Sindhu.
    And with its ten times, our ten million humans — the first category of our humanoids — are living a swanky upper-class Usa life in Sindhu.
    Look! Out of this category of humans that we are talking about, there are those who are very, very rich! Well, I shouldn’t be jealous of them.
    The second sub-category of ninety thousand Sindhian humans — well, I can’t describe — have a daily family income of Rs. 633,949.35
    The third sub-category of nine hundred thousand are Up-Upper Class humans, earning a daily family income of Rs. 63,394.93.
    The last sub-category of 9 million humans are only towards Upper Class! — making a daily family income of Rs. 6,339.49.
    Ah, in a nutshell: 1000 million humanoids-combine of Sindhustan together can make only Rs. 40 trillion (40,000 billion).
    Ten Thousand humans (0.001% of the total humanoids) amass Rs. 9,262 billion (23.2% of Sindhu’s amassing).
    Ten million humans (1% of the population) — including the 10,000 above — together make Rs. 21,770 billion (54.4 % of Sindhu’s making). Mr. Novelist, I prefer to call these humans anti-Sindhians.
    The remaining nine hundred and ninety million humanoids (99% of the population) together make 18,230 billion only (45.575% of Sindhu’s making).
    Let me consider the Sindhian humans of these humanoids now. They are 450 million.
    Ninety millions first. How much do they earn?
    Their per capita income is Rs. 56,310 ~ $4692.50; together they make Rs. 5.0679 trillion; their daily family income is ~ Rs. 770.84.
    The daily family income of a run of the mill nurse and her husband in Sindhu together is less than two-third of this figure — not more than that.
    Though humans, I prefer to call the next section of humans — 100 million — the workhorses. Their pci is Rs. 40,100 ~ $3341.67; together they make Rs. 4.01 trillion; the daily family income of that category is ~ Rs. 548.94. Even this figure is a bit higher than a run of the mill nurse and her hubby can together make in Sindhu.
    The next category of 260 million humans — whom I jokingly call buffaloes — have Rs. 16,615 as the pci; they make Rs. 4.32 trillion; their daily family income is ~ Rs. 227.45; definitely, lower than half of what a run of the mill nurse and her hubby together make.
    Now the animals who do jobs that humans do:
    The per capita income for 200 million Birds of Sindhustan is Rs. 14,400; they make Rs. 2.88 trillion; and their daily family income is ~ Rs. 197.13.
    And the remaining 340 million cattle make Rs. 1.9521 trillion; their pci is Rs. 5741; their daily family income is ~ Rs. 78.59.
    What will be the new figures — after the jumps from this year to the next?
    The per capita income of the top category of humans will go up by 20%; that of their first sub-category will jump by 30%!
    The per capita income of the cattle will go up from Rs. 5,741 to Rs. 5,913 — by 3%.
    I shall not ask silly questions on issues such as depreciation of money value. Enough of boring arithmetic!
    Let us ignore the issues affecting families of the cattle, such as over-milking of the cows, neglect of the calves, overuse of the bullock-carts and butchering of the old cattle.
    Each head of the cattle that is provided enough-and-not-enough grass & hay at the shed — including groundnut-cake given seldom or occasionally — at the cost of Rs. 15.72/day this year — will get stuff worth Rs. 16.195/day next year.
    “Oh, no!” say some economists. Our GDP will be nearly 5 trillion, so they claim. If so, the daily per capita income of cattle will be ~ Rs. 19.00, I believe, and of a member of the top 10,000 humanoids of Sindhustan will be Rs. 3,296,536.62

  3. Biju n jacob said

    sir.why u kill poor police constables?please come to Mumbai and kill politicians.Now also in City no one think about the importence of NAXALITES.Corruption is the basic problem in our society.Goverment land should use for hospital and school.In Mumbai noshelter home is available for old persons.Same time lot of CLUBS and rastaurents are working in government land.Why naxalites are not ready to come cities?

    That is why RAJ THAKRE AND NILESH RANE becomes leaders.Please come to cities and kill certain politicians and IAS,IPS PERSONS.

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