Can 'Civilised' People Show Such Disrespect
For The Land And Those Who Cultivate It
By Felix Padel
16 May, 2010
Burnt Paddy In Kalinganagar
It's so painful to witness the vicious attacks on the Kalinganagar and anti-Posco movements in Orissa. It is a similar story in all over Central Tribal India. Not just because the women, men and children in these movements have risked everything to stand up against a corpororate invasion of their land, with exemplary integrity and non-violence, but also because this state violence perpetrated by police and goondas contains the seeds of future atrocities, and acts as the surest recruiting ground for Maoist insurgency.
To understand what is happening demands comprehending simultaneously the credulity of so many middle class people who believe that these foreign-financed industries really will usher in a new age of prosperity for all, and on the other side, the incredulity of farmers whose families have always lived on the land that government servants
can perpetrate such terror and get away with it.
How can 'civilised' people show such disrespect for the land and those who cultivate it? When village people meet the ruthless reality behind the smiling face of Tata's or Posco's multi-million PR machinery, and see the land and communities they've struggled to preserve over generations annihilated, where should they place their exasperation
(Felix is the great grandson of Charles Darwin and is living in a remote village of South-west Orissa with his adivasi wife for the last 17 years. Felix Padel is a freelance anthropologist trained at Oxford and Delhi Universities. His first book analysed the imposition of colonial structures over a tribal society. His latest book ’Sacrificing People: Invasions of a Tribal Landscape’ has been published by Orient Blackswan)