Beyond easy binaries…

The recent killing of 76 jawans has evoked strong emotions. Today afternoon I had a brief debate with one of my friends who was all for military intervention to eliminate the Maoist threat. True, he conceded that he identified with all the grievances with the tribals, but first the small group of power hungry Maoists should be eliminated and then we can talk of development. How can state involve in development projects if they start blowing up schools and roads? And he confronted me aggressively, “Do you condemn the killings are not?” There was clear undertone of ‘with us or with them’ ‘Bush’ or should I say ‘PC’ binary in his question.

The reality is not that simple. Yes it is very easy to talk in binaries, unleash your military and eliminate the Maoists (by the way we did eliminate them in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh in the past, didn’t we).

But what next? How can I credibly believe that the State would undertake development activities after that? How can I be sure that the State would deliver what it has failed in the last 60 years? What about the overwhelming areas where the State prevails?

I do not interpret the Maoist insurgency as the “the single largest internal security threat”. It is a warning bell to the Indian State that has failed to live up to its Constitution.

Military intervention cannot be the answer. Military is trained to fight the enemy and that too only when provoked. Military is not for fighting your own people.

Beyond the easy binaries of ‘with us or with them’, there is a third in-between position that Shoma Chaudhury articulates so clearly in this article..She says it’s time to turn up the volume of this third position…so here I am trying to do my bit to turn up the volume..



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