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They Suffer. We Dream. – (2)

September 5, 2011

They Suffer. We Dream. – (1) — Here

Pray tell me what do I do when I hear about Dawa Lepcha, a young guy from Sikkim who has been on a fast since March 10 and who had fasted last year for 63 days (2 days more than Jatin Das)? What should I do when I hear about how TATAs have systematically won their war with Kalinga Nagar?

River Teesta in north Sikkim!!!

Dawa and his friends are protesting against the dams on the river Teesta in north Sikkim – the dams that threaten to destroy the many tribes there. These young men are in hospital, starving to make sure their tribe survives. The Sikkim government has discovered that there is money to be made from Hydel power and it has proposed around 26 dams across the State – all this despite of the findings in the carrying capacity report. The report which says that there should be no large-scale development in the geologically sensitive and biodiversity-rich regions of north Sikkim because there is the danger of glacial lake outburst floods, massive landslides and flash floods.

Sitting on the hospital bed across Dawa Lepcha is Onchuk Lepcha. He cries, “If the land is taken by industrialists, we will be refugees in our own land. It hurts us to see our tribe being destroyed. If the corporations, hungry for money, are allowed to go ahead with the hydel projects, they will ravage, plunder and destroy everything. Is this what you guys call development?” The only dam completed has resulted in the drying up of water sources and landslides in villages near the 23-km-long stretch.

Same is going on in Arunachal Pradesh and at many other places. I am sure you have heard of Medha Patkar and her work with Narmada river (also called Maa Rewa). These big hydro projects have displaced and destabilized many of the tribal societies in both Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. “Now c’mon, so many people will get electricity. Some price has to be paid”, says an official as a response.

Small Price?

Well of course. I have heard that when Europeans had entered Australia, they had put the Aboriginals under the law made for animals. They destroyed the tribes without any qualms. How different are these Babus and Officials? Of course, the tribal are illiterate and uncivilized and there should be no hesitation in destroying them.

Coming to TATAs – 

Why TATAs? Because I had heard time and again from people that it is one big conglomerate that ought to be trusted and loved.

TATAs fought Maoists in Kalinga Nagar” was a news item widely spread by media. Madhyantara Vol 4 (a video magazine by the Samadrusti Tv Collective) showed a totally different story. It featured extensive footage of hundreds of policemen pillaging villages in Kalinga Nagar. A few defenceless villagers threw stones at a sea of marauding Para-military forces but at the end their food stocks were set on fire, their utensils were systematically broken and their water sources were contaminated with kerosene. The videos showed part of a long drawn battle between the Adivasi inhabitants of Kalinga Nagar and Tata Steel, with the entire administrative and police machinery at Tata’s disposal.

Had it not been for the Radia tapes then one would have found it almost impossible to prove that indeed the TATAs had campaigned with the media to portray the anti-displacement activists of Kalinga Nagar as ‘Maoists’.

On January 2006, 14 people were brutally killed as part of the pillage. Will TATA be ever able to wash off the blood stains of those killed?

Oh I forget they are big. 14 people!! They would even wash off the blood stains of 1000 people off their clothes.

In fact they have already done it. A year later, Tata hired some of the most credible documentary filmmakers to do the best whitewash job in recent advertising history – a series of TV Commercials highlighting some CSR ventures by Tata Steel – namely Bachendri Pal’s mountaineering antics; the story of another woman who has supposedly been empowered by wearing pant-shirt and being employed as an earth-moving vehicle driver, etc.

The TVCs announce that the Tatas have won Kalinga Nagar. Yes, they have won after getting about 20 Adivasis killed by bullets, including the 12-year-old Janga on the night of 31st Dec 2010, with hundreds displaced, villages divided and Scores arrested and tortured.

Do not believe all what is written above for my research is lowly and inadequate. For those working with TATAs or with Sikkim or AP government, do not quit your jobs.

Instead please do your own research and if you find a little bit of truth in what is written then listen to your conscience and do what it tells you to. No, this is not against TATAs or the government or corporations, but against all those big or small who commit atrocities. You call yourself educated. Do your research and stop partnering with those who are responsible for such criminal acts. How to do that is the question one has to answer for oneself. But do not be an accomplice to their crimes. 

Look at youngsters like Dawa Lepcha, Irom Sharmilla and loads of others who are fighting against these atrocities with their lives at stake. They are as young as you. They too have their dreams. But their dreams have special fragrance and flavour. They want to make this world a better place to live in by fighting for people they love against those who oppress. So do you. 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Pranoy permalink
    September 5, 2011 16:09

    Read it once, read it again. What should I say? Thank you for writing this. Thank you for questioning me and for giving me a sleepless night (or nights) !


  2. R Basu permalink
    September 5, 2011 16:46

    This world has made us/me selfish and self obsessed. It is delightful to read about those who remain untouched by it. I pray that Dawa and his fellow fighters get strength to fight the oppressors. Thank you for sharing and as Pranoy says for giving a sleepless night.


  3. September 5, 2011 19:19

    Yes praying is something we can do.. Anyways no qualms (rather feel good) about giving both if you sleepless nights.. 🙂


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