Wednesday, 22 April 2009


In a land far away from us - a train has been hijacked. The whole train taken hostage by Maoist fighters.

That land is where we were working for 4 years. The station the Naxalites boarded the train was Barwadih - just 10 minutes from Daltonganj where we used to alight and take a 45 minute jeep ride to the Nav Jivan Hospital in Tumbagarah.

Once again, the contradictions of our large and confusing land raises its head. On one hand we are able to produce the cheapest car in the world, even shifting the manufacturing plant at the drop of a hat when political issues get in the way. On the other hand our medical corporates manage to be seen as world-beating entrepreneurs. And yet vast swathes of our nation are places people are fleeing from - places where the most archaic colonial style governance takes place - as the elites and plebians alike consider them basket-cases.

How will the current train hijack end? Will the Maoists melt away into the forests as they have done so far. Will the small communities that live in the rain-fed uplands of Jharkhand continue to grudgingly give them shelter? Quite likely - at least in the forseeable future. Why? Sometimes it is the point of a gun - sometimes out of admiration for people who stand up against other powers - and other times of the choosing a lesser evil.

Many will flee this India and go for a different world of the cities and a few will break out and go abroad. But the vast majority are still tied to place. Here in Mall-town India we forget this. The day to day illusions of commerce and trade and services at the click of a mouse cloud our vision. The sweat and toil of those who live in 12 hour power cuts - or where the copper wires have been stolen so that the 'electrified villages' do not get any power at all - are far from our urban minds.

Until the rumblings of a train hijack take us there reluctantly.

But what was I saying ... the IPL Cricket tournament is on! This news-smooze is just a time-pass yaar - change the channel to something more lively... Lets watch Yuvi hit some sixes and see the cheer leaders and...

1 comment:

  1. To always have to choose the lesser evil because there is nothing better on offer... It's no wonder the world tries to run away or close their eyes to the hard realities such as this. (sigh)... What would we do without Christ?