Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bihar and the Railways.

The denegeneration of Bihar into utter chaos under Lalu's rule is remarkable and the incidents at Jehanabad are quite horrifying. However, the media of late has been on Lalu appeasement mode - Rajdeep Sardesai loves Lalu because they share a common hatred of the BJP - evident on Rajdeep's programming on CNBC. Plus, the ToI and India Today have both spoken glowingly of how the Indian Railways under Lalu have started to make money - nobody quite looked into the fact that the man has hardly been inside his chamber for the last twelve months. Then again, I must compliment Lalu Yadav for not screwing up the Railway system even more by announcing yet another Rail sub-Division. From an original six (I think) - NR, WR, CR, ER, SER, SR, today I've lost count of the thousands of different permutations of geographical directions that the Indian Railways has tried - there is ECR, SCR, SWR, NFR, NWR and the Konkan Railway today, each of them requiring a different head-office and legion of clerks just to deal with the paperwork. And honestly, so what if the railways made some money, I don't think the Bombay suburban system saw any of it back - nope - Lalu actually reduced fares - I'm pretty sure the citizenry of the city would have been happier if the tens of crores he spent by reducing fees was used for an improved suburban rail system.
The point I'm coming to is that under Lalu, Bihar has completed degenerated and the shocking incidents at Jehanabad where the city came under attack by thousands of Naxals/Maoists was quite scary. The UPA government is determined not to take the growing power of Naxals seriously, the idiotic commies they have sitting next to them will not let them do that. So, the Prime Minister gets shouted down by a bunch of unhygenic middle-class commie wannabes at JNU. Instead of helping out Nepal deal with its Naxalite and Maoist crisis we try and tell the Nepalese King to bring back democracy. Democracy is fine and dandy and I quite like living in it, however, as anybody who has played Sid Maeir's Civilization and Alpha Centauri series of games would know Democracy cannot survive alongside Anarchy. I think the US is beginning to come about to that viewpoint as well.
There is an urgent need for reform in the way that the government deals with such deranged characters, and I do not think that our current government has either the initiative or the the wherewithal to do that. We cannot be aspiring towards being a world-class IT superpower while fostering a large ultra-left wing movement. So I'm desperately hoping that Lalu loses in Bihar and hoping that this will start an unstoppable chain of events that leads to the UPA Government collapsing.
Of course, I'm also hoping that somebody someday ensures that Bombay suburban commuters also stop getting a raw deal. So maybe instead of creating new divisions, they could do something about creating some new trains out here? Anyway, Soumyadip has an interesting post on on the Railways too, if only most journeys for me were on long distance trains instead of trying to play dodgeball with signal posts.


Soumyadip said...

Democracy is a fruitful practice. But the voice of the majority is not necessarily the right voice. If a nation is of morons - it is morons that they elect to the parliament and elsewhere.

About Lalu and his endeavour with the biggest employer on planet earth. There has not much that has happened. The improvements that we see are in the natural course of development. Atleast he hasn't proved to be a roadblock. Yes, thanks to him that we haven't had any more divisions and subdivisions (the school kids will definitely bless him).

Something seriously needs to be done about commuting in Bombay. The city deserves much more than it gets. On the other hand Delhi ... (the argument is an endless one).

rani said...

This impatience with democracy is scary. A natural corollary to the argument is authoritarianism. This is, of course, not to say that lawlessness can be accepted or tolerated, but the effort should be to find solutions within the democratic matrix. After all, Jehanabad negates democracy - you can't maim and kill to prove your political point however valid or invalid it may be. This is true of naxals, the bajrang dalis who killed staines and many others or the marauding gangs of modi.

Please try to find answers to extremism without throwing out a system that you cherish. As for Lalu, it seems he's not winning this time. But I hope someone is winning or else Bihar gets into another spiral of uncertainty. I don't think the Congress will be too unhappy if Lalu loses. After all, as long as the prevailing politics in Bihar (or UP) remains caste coalitions and political baffonery (for drawing room liberals Lalu is great entertainment), parties like Congress don't stand a ghost of a chance. So, Congress will seek to encourage the change of political argument in the Hindi heartland from caste to development. So will Nitish and BJP.

Lalu is already on the decline and is perhaps now on a downward spiral.

thalassa_mikra said...

K, I do hope you realize that CPI and CPI(M) have absolutely no love lost for the Maoists. Also the Maoists hate the "Stalinist" CPI(M) and its participation in the democratic process with a vengeance. Completely different ideologies and funding sources (China in the case of the Maoists).

And how would the loss of Lalu and the collapse of UPA resolve the Maoist issue? I didn't see the NDA-supported Chandrababu Naidu make any headway on that count in Andhra.

Democratic institutions should be in force under circumstances. Not all agree on what constitutes "anarchy", and I'm sure there are enough Nepali activists, not all Maoist, who'd have very different ideas.

indiacorporatewatch said...

The media claimed 1000 naxalites attacked
Considering the lies that the media
I very much doubt this
initially they said 200 then 500

You said
Democracy is fine and dandy and I quite like living in it.

Try telling that to the 3 lakh nepali women sold in the free market to brothels in India .

shyam said...

Hmm.. can't agree much to the line of reasoning here since it switches every now and then to one thing or the other. First up, it was not thousands of naxals, but just under a thousand. Not that it changes the fact that the place is jungle now much, but you know the thing about perceptions. Second, Bihar is not at the heart of the IT superpower deal in India, so what happens there is of hardly any significance to that. Third JNU is weirdo place, in the sense that it is so far away from anything else outside the campus that it hardly matters what they think inside it. The same lot who preach there quite often can be seen half an hour later sipping LITs at TGIF in Priya. That does not mean that all of them are useless or crazy, there are people who do really good stuff in there, but those types are hardly ever written or spoken about.

Any kind of underground movement, be it the naxals or even an insurgency, cannot survive on fear alone. They will have a fair bit of local support and that is often based on issues which have been lying unresolved for decades. Same is the problem with Bihar, they have dropped so much off the modern agenda that it is unthinkable for people like us to see how can people still be bothered only about caste wars and so on. In fact, it is not just Lalu who benefits from this, the entire bloody political spectrum milks them to their heart's content. Ultimately, it is upto the people of Bihar to want better things for themselves. I honestly do not know how that can be made to happen, but our sitting here and pontificating on it won't make a bit of a difference to the Bhumihars and Naxals battling it out there.

See, the point is that fringe elements will always be there in any society. I have been working on this pet theory of mine where you chop off the top 1% and bottom 1% of an opinion spectrum to get a more reasonable view on any issue. If the fringe works into the rest, by more than that combined 2%, you have a situation where the mainstream is doing something wrong. Okay, I think I should just shut up now :)

Chenthil said...

Check out this blog naxalwatch.blogspot.com got it from technorati.

T_M, disagree with you on connections between Commies at the center and the Naxals. True, the naxals declare publicly that they are against CPI/CPI(M), but when was the last naxal incident in West Bengal? And also there was talk of Karat meeting up with the Nepal Maoists recently. I doubt that they are unrelated.

indiacorporatewatch said...

Your statement that china funds the Maoists is not true

The chinese have a lot to fear
for they believe that if the Maoists come to power in Nepal and India it will re-energize the original Maoists in China
and threaten the pseudo commies ruling china

here is the article

China goes after Maoists, but which ones?
By Siddharth Srivastava

NEW DELHI - It was an unexpected yet important statement, especially in the context of Washington seeking to build new bridges with New Delhi, with the purpose of countervailing Beijing's overpowering influence in the region. China's top envoy recently announced that Beijing was ready to help India crush its nagging Maoist insurgency that it one time directly promoted.

Chinese ambassador Sun Yuxi has said that Beijing did not even know why the Maoist guerrillas in India with strongholds in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh called themselves followers of the man who led the communists to victory in China in 1949.

"If there is any help [you expect] from us to India to get rid of them, we will try to do our best,"


In fact China has supplied large quantities of Arms to the Royal Nepal Army in its fight against the Nepal

The myth that China supports the Maoists is just one of the lies that the Media propogates here in India

thalassa_mikra said...

Just a quick clarification Corporatewatch. I made that statement about Maoists and China. And I stand by it. I did not get that information from the Indian media, but from someone who had been associated with the Maoist movement in India for all of his/her lifetime.

indiacorporatewatch said...

Well I could be wrong
Maybe it is possible that China supported them initially
Your source sounds more reliable

But from the information I have
I believe
In nepal
right now the Chinese are trying to win
over King Gyanendra with a promise to support them against the Maoists
which has the Indian army and government worried

K said...

The Chinese are paranoid about the Maoists and they certainly don't want Maoists anywhere near them. Coming to Codey's point about the Maoists having local support - obviously they have local support - the inequality in India is driving that local support. Bihar is stuck in a time warp, and a rather strange one at that because while bits of it are decidely 21st century many aspects of life out there especially in rural areas is quite 16th century. And when people see what the 'creamier' bits of society are doing courtesy Star TV, I guess there is this feeling of anger at their lot and when someone promises them that their lot will improve through a violent movement they will subscribe to it.
Abhay : While I'm not anti-democratic, your statement about the sex trade cannot be seen in the same context as the Naxalbari/Maoist movement, because that would be a bit too much of a stretch. Sex slavery is something that haunts even Western society and the only way to remove it is a strong centralised action from governmental agencies. OK, if I was to draw connections, I would say that in a country like Nepal which is wrestling with internal trauma, the forced mass migration of significant numbers of people often leaves young women vulnerable to sexual predators. So, my solution to the crisis would be the establishment of a proper government in Nepal. Nepal suffers from a tremendous problem - its autocratic leader is unpopular and the solution posed by the Maoists is even worse. Frying pan/Fire situation. And this impacts global geopolitics - so I don't know the solution nor am I one to suggest any!

rani said...

In a recent interview the Chinese ambassador to India said that China was willing to give every help to eradicate the Nepal Maoists. I don't know if this proves that China doesn't support them -- initially, they played footsie with the Maoists and encourated them. But now are willing to gang up with the king to screw them. To see this as Chinese 'policy' flip-flop would be missing the point; the point is that the Chinese are acting in supreme self-interest. Insofar as they saw an opportunity in fostering the Maoists to make the king more dependent on them (given Nepalese anethema for India, China is Nepal's only option) they did encourage them. Now that the king is looking for a saviour, Beijing is willing to pose as one and shaft the Maoists and become more entrenched in Nepal. After all, how will it shaft the Maoists? By lending Nepal military assistance (which will be protested by Indis very loudly). But talking of political cynicism, China takes the cake.

thalassa_mikra said...

Completely agree with Rani there. Perhaps there are lessons to be learnt here for India.

K said...

What we should do is to supress the Maoist movement in Nepal ourselves. The success of the Maoists there gives succour to the crazies in India, but as long as we have the whacko commies at the centre, nothing will hjappen. Instead China's too-clever-by-two commies will get into Nepal. Anyway, I hopes things have changed after Natwar has gone...

rani said...

Chill. The very fact that China is offering 'help' to Nepal doesn't mean that the Red Army marches into the kingdom. India still has influence in the area and will resist any Chinese military presence there with all it has. Besides, given China's growing commercial interest in India, I don't think they will take us on (not yet, at least). Also, since both Nepal and India have the loony left problem (and it's growing), I think sooner or later they will collaborate to kill the menace, that is, if they've not already started doing so.