Sunday, January 27, 2008


For the past forty days- and nights- I’ve been truant: the last post on this Blog appeared last year. As such, the Arrival of the New Year- at least as far as ½ Freedoms is concerned- is yet to be acknowledged. It shall, no doubt, claim its due.

For in the only too fertile Womb of Anno Domini 2008, now lie quietly impregnated, Seeds of Great Life-altering, Destiny-shaping Outcomes: come December, they will be in full blossom & we- here, I use the first-person plural pronoun to refer to the twenty million, mostly clueless inhabitants of my home state, Chhattisgarh- shall know for certain whether we, to paraphrase the great Charles Dickens from his A Tale of Two Cities, are going to heaven or whether we are all headed straight the other way (depending of course on one’s point of view).

A cursory glance at the past four years’ national newspapers- and news television- is enough to convince anyone that Chhattisgarh has somehow, almost as if by Black Magic, vanished from the National Stage: it would seem that nothing that happens in these parts is worth mentioning; no, not even the systematic Uprooting & Genocide of tens of thousands of tribals in south Bastar.

India Today, arguably the largest circulated fortnightly magazine of the nation, hasn’t published one word about the rampant killings of Tribals in the aftermath of Salwa Judum, a state-sponsored Pogrom started in 2005 that has led to the evacuation of about 800 villages and the forceful displacement of more than 70,000 tribals into almost 30 Auschwitz-like concentration camps where they exist under conditions that can at best be described as subhuman. Those that dare to raise their voices against this Madness, like Dr. Binayak Sen, the erudite, soft-spoken vice-chairperson of PUCL, a civil rights organization, who ran several health-care centers in the state, are summarily put behind bars on the charge of being Naxalites.

In fact, infinitely greater coverage was given to the mobbing and harassment of two NRI women as they alighted from an all-night New Year’s Eve Gala thrown at an exclusive Mumbai seven-star hotel. Not many people noticed- or for that matter, cared- that on that same night, nine equally- if not more- innocent tribals were axed to death in not-so-far-off Dantewada. Human-life in Chhattisgarh, particularly tribal-life, is cheap; lamentably, not even worth the paper- or the talk-time, as the case may be- on which their story might otherwise have been told to a largely disinterested world.

To a great extent, a similar situation prevails with respect to the state of the Congress party in the state: the people of Chhattisgarh are trying to tell something- their collective voice amplified many times over when they went to cast their votes at Mahasamund, then at Kota and Rajnandgaon, and then shortly afterwards, at Malkharoda and Khairagarh- but nobody seems to be listening in Delhi; even if somebody is listening, nobody seems to be doing anything about it.

It is for this reason alone, then, that we should welcome the Advent of the New Year: if only on the pretext of covering the inevitable Pageantry of the Elections, the several, severed subtexts of our Stories might finally get uncovered, and begin to be told. Who knows, maybe the world wouldn’t be so disinterested after all? And we, the Forgotten of Chhattisgarh, might be spared the destiny of Dicken’s latter possibility: of us headed straight the other way, wherever that may be.

Happy 2008!

AJ Read More (आगे और पढ़ें)......

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CONTACT ME. मुझसे संपर्क करें

Amit Aishwarya Jogi
Anugrah, Civil Lines
Raipur- 492001
Chhattisgarh, INDIA
Telephone/ Fascimile: +91 771 4068703
Mobile: +91 942420 2648 (AMIT)
Skype: jogi.amit
Yahoo!: amitjogi2001