India going Green or Red ?

I was asked by NDTV to come on a show to argue with our Minister of Environment on the fact that the Himalayan glaciers are NOT receding. I wonder if he has been there ? This is not about statistics, dear minister, ask the local people. Statistics can be manipulated, as we all know. Just go there and look for yourself. Actually statistical data shows that the Himalayan glaciers are receding at the greatest rate than any other in this planet !
And now about India going Red. Naxalites and Maosists. The huge rebellion against oppression and mis-governance – that has led to ambitious armed groups to take advantage of the oppressed people to rebel. While our press and government call it a rebellion against the Indian State and Law and Order, the truth is that these people have never really seen the Indian State and the only Law and Order they have seen is the callous treatment and humiliations they have suffered at the hands of the representative of the Indian Govt or their Law and Order. And they have only felt India’s rise as a global is economic super power by the land grab for the rich resources that lie in their lands.
As the Indian army goes in for a full scale assault against it it’s own people – and this time unable to blame a foreign power, or Islamic fundamentalism – it’s time for us Indians to seriously think about ourselves.
What is it about us that allows the rich and powerful to completely over-ride not only the basic needs of a majority of our people, but oppress them, their families and their women often worse than animals. Does our constitution that gives EVERY Indian citizen the same fundamental rights not mean anything ? Or was the constitution written only for the elite, urban and powerful ?
What a contradiction. While the Indian government is (rightly) talking about Inclusive Growth, it is launching a huge armed offensive against its own people, And in the cross fire who knows how many innocents, women and children will lose their lives.
How did we ever let it get to this stage ?

19 Responses to “India going Green or Red ?”

  1. Pankaj says:

    Shekhar,
    I hail from a naxal prone area of Orissa. One good thing about the naxals is that they never trouble the general public – rich or poor. I have heard incidents like when they have to blow a police station they humbly ask the policemen inside to vacate the building and then they blow up the place. Their fight is mainly with the army. Source of income – contractors and such interested parties.
    As far as the problem itself is concerned, its not only the adivasis that are deprived in India. I think its wrong to say that they are oppressed or anything. Government has lot of pro adivasi schemes and even reservation in parliament, govt jobs, etc and etc. The problem lies in education and the life style. Instead of agreeing to their cause of violence its important to make them understand that its only their efforts that can save them. Governments can only put forth schemes but ultimately the adivasis will have to be able to utilise them. As far as ownership of land is concerned, I dont think any national resource belongs to any particular region or group or tribe. Resources must be viewed as national property but giving proper compensation for displacement. If the naxal leaders are really concerned about the plight of the adivasis they should fight(peacefully) for the utilisation of the various schemes and displacement compensation rights already available in the present laws and policies.
    The naxal menace is on for quite a while now and any hard measures must be supported by us or else we should be prepared for lots of smaller Indias.

  2. himanshu says:

    To bring the required change you need capable, skilled people and with all that you also need compassion to feel for the common people. Shekhar Sir, India is going red for sure if not green. We need to ask ourselves that why Development work is considered intellectually inferior, unlike high science, industry or diplomacy ? Our corrupt, self-serving political and bureaucratic elite bluff us for social and economic justice for those it had been claimed. Also, Indians have habit of thinking development as the work of government. Naxal problem is increasing every day, and no one to take care. Maoist gets arms through Nepal route (open border) still our home minister sleeps. And armed forces are taking arms against its own downtrodden masses in the land of gandhi. A minister is openly denying the truth. For more read an expert, Devinder Sharma view —
    http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.com/2009/11/himalayan-blunder-perils-of-denying.html

  3. chakra says:

    There is no doubt that population xplosion led to pollution and deforestration, we human beings pollute the environment even after we die coz burying means methane and burning CO2. I vaguely remember the Chipko movement when I was a kid but I never got a chance to actually participate in it thanks to our broad minded intelligentsia[read indians]. If the govt wants to insanely argue with Nobel prize winners like Dr.Pachauri then it is time for indians to impeach such an administration or for the Apex court to intervene and ask the govt to justify their stand like it did in the gay marriage case. I think it is only a matter of time that sanctions will be imposed upon india by the western superpowers for xponential population boom, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pillage, animal abuse etc. Bharat Jhunjuhnwala referred to indus valley civilization in his latest editorial and pointed out that deforestration was the primer that uprooted such an ancient settlement.
    India definitely is going RED in the coming years/decades and we as a nation absolutely and positively [or negatively?!] do not have the majority/vision/will to escape it; and the irony is that we r notorious for our escapades;)

  4. More than 2000 or 20000 hecters of forest area was put on fire by terrorists in Kashmir (some where in 1992-97 I suppose, I do not remember the exact year and month..sorry), when we indians were busy in debeating demolition of babree and karseva and also on Boforse. At that time itself, iraq declared the war against Kuwait and some crude oil was put on fire. At that time various people expressed the feeling that it will be dangerous for environment and in the same year in Kashmir black rain was experienced first time.
    Forget the past, two years back,there was earth quake in Indonesia and we experienced Tusnami, now from many months or days whenever there is earthquake we experience rain with thunder, it means there is something wrong going on rapidally
    Thanks that Dr Pauchari has rejected the report on glaciers.
    the root cause is we forgot our roots..the nature
    is always powerful, if god has created us he also has created nature and am sure he will give first preference to nature.
    Every leader has to think on whether he/she is atleast honest with himself/herself..tomorrow they may not get the time for confession.
    thanks and take care..subodh

  5. ks says:

    Its true, I suppose for the government & also we people.We r waiting for the change but we r not changing….for us,it doesn’t matters whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches the mice……we r so busy ,so careless ,so aware but still ready to ignore, that finally we will laugh or cry at a situation.As far as india is concerned whether it goes green or red….”INDIAS GOT TALENT.”

  6. bhagheerath says:

    hi shekar sir,
    nobody wants to get hurt, be hungry , to cry,to be killed or to be aboused. as these are basic instincts of human being. one cant stand fire toucking his/her skin. how can he/she give that to others. any solutions to these problems should no include those nobody wants to occur to them.
    we sure have a solution to all these problems by sharing, respecting each other ,majorly by sacrificing and leaving GREED.

  7. austere says:

    I disagree with you on this one.
    The moment the movement took law and order in their hands with those gruesome police murders they crossed the line and stopped being a group of misguided, ignored rural poor fighting for their rights and justice.
    And if you’re fighting an armed internal enemy, you cannot be wearing gloves and soft-talking.
    This is war- but they raised the stakes.

  8. kedar says:

    Sunata hai gurugyani…
    gagan me awaj ho rahi…jhini…jhini…jhini…
    OM is emerging on its own and dissolving…

  9. brahmastra says:

    It almost seems as if you are supportive of the ruthless and violent “uprising” of these RED idiots. Have you taken the time to follow what happened in Nepal? The maoists butchered thousands of people to get into power, so they can become a proxy for China.
    Their base – illiterates, tribals and jungle folk – are operating from primitive chakra instincts. Feeding them violent propaganda and supplying them with ammunition is an excellent formula to forment unrest in favour of the malevolent designs of external states such as China and Pakistan.
    The oppression is really not as bad as you describe it. And surely, the blame cannot be assigned to the rich folks in the manner that you put it. It is not that simplistic at all. Everyone comes with their own destiny as per their level of spiritual evolution. There is a reason that animals are kept in the jungle by design.
    You pseudo-intellectuals have little clue of what you are talking about. And this is probably the worst form of oppression that the Indian people have being subjected to over the last few centuries. This do-goodership that stems from personal inadequacy has created a wave of misguided pity and blame games. Look at Mayawati..do you really want leaders like that?
    This system of quotas and instant gratification to the lower caste is ridiculous. If you want them to move up, it has to be a gradual process and based on merit and performance. You need to create a proper channel to upgrade these guys..give them free resources to learn and become doctors, but don’t make them one through quotas.
    And most importantly, if these guys were not constantly told that they were victims of oppression, they probably would have been content with their lives. The higher self is completely comfortable as a king or as a janitor. The ancient caste system was based on this simple premise.

  10. Mohit Gupta says:

    Hi Mr. Kapur,
    I am sorry to intrude like this, but I had no other way to contact you. I have written a screenplay, keeping you in mind as the director, after listening to one of your interviews on NDTV Good Times. If you want to have a look please send me your email id. Thanks

  11. The link shows the level of pollution arising from agricultural burning in Northwest India besides Jaipur trail.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/40000/40956/India_TMO_2009303_lrg.jpg

  12. brahmastra says:

    Breaking News:
    Maoists got 30% cut in Koda’s Jharkhand plunder
    Pradeep Thakur, TNN 15 November 2009, 01:40am IST
    NEW DELHI: Maoists never tire of styling themselves as the vanguard of resistance to the plunder of resources in the tribal-dominated regions,
    citing this as one of the justifications for “class warfare”. But as the investigation into the gigantic Jharkhand scam progresses, it turns out they were party to the loot of natural resources, cornering a big share of booty from the “illegal mining” that allegedly thrived during Madhu Koda’s chief ministership.
    Interrogation of four aides of the former Jharkhand CM, including his personal assistant Harinder Singh, at the Delhi office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) reveals Koda issued about 200 prospective mining leases — for exploration of minerals in the state — besides 40 for mining.
    Though prospective mining leases were not permitted to mine scarce resources, in most of the cases, businessmen who procured those, it has come to light, resorted to large-scale mining. The share of the illegal activity was equally distributed among politicians, bureaucrats and the ultras who charged a hefty fee for providing protection to the illegal operation, say officials.
    Sources said the Koda aide admitted that the political establishment received Rs 10 lakh per acre at the time of issue of such a licence (total area extends to over hundreds of acres) while the Naxalites got 20%-30% on each truck of resources taken out of such a mine. The bureaucrats who were supposed to check any illegal activity received 10%-15% of the share of the minerals and the remainder about 50% was the businessmen’s share in the loot.
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Maoists-got-30-cut-in-Kodas-Jharkhand-plunder/articleshow/5230928.cms

  13. Dara says:

    Is the army going in for a full scale attack against its own people? From what I know the Air Force asked for permission to shoot back in self defense for its helicopters, when and if they came under fire. This had happened on a few occassions and the choppers were in danger of being brought down. Even this permission was grudgingly given. How this has been blown up by the media and interested people tells its own story. Nowhere has their been any mention of the army being called in. On the contrary, this has been rejected out of hand by both the Defense Minister and the Home Minister.
    While blaming the government for totally neglecting the tribals and their progress, I still find it impossible to excuse the means they are using to get their point across. In fact it is disgusting to see the well heeled chatterati and page 3 personalities who go around espousing and justifying their actions.

  14. jatin says:

    Dear Mohit,
    ALL the best to you if you can get him to listen your script. I am trying to get to him for past one year. But i am bounced back by his assistance many times. I am also not sure if my synopsis had reached him. It is about Vedanta philosophy. I can only hope that he devote some time for that.
    Thanks
    Jatin

  15. AJ says:

    Guess you heard and read
    Proud days for India
    A New Wave …
    Children’s Day 2009
    A very Special Day
    Indian media busy
    searching to write about great music release
    try to get hold of great music of paa
    ‘paa’
    Historic movie for Indian Cinema
    About to break world records
    Worldwide audience waiting
    and
    more to come …
    And the Oscar goes to …
    Sorry,
    this was a slip
    or malfunction
    but
    YES
    paa
    AND
    19
    days until
    paa
    Bay Area Indo American
    http://www.bayareaindoamerican.com/events/paa
    proudly promotes paa
    with great response from people

  16. AJ says:

    Did i share …
    New India IS SHINING TO RISE
    Halke Se Bole
    Kal Kay Nazare
    Aankhon Se Soon
    Kal Ki Dhoon Soon Soon
    Kal Ko Tu Choon Choon
    Jahan Naya Yahan
    1:24 will change the way we listen music
    http://www.bayareaindoamerican.com/events/paa

  17. Thank you for representing the common mans view-point precisely. We need to improve communication within India. Maoists are the result of the huge gap within Indian. One one side we have the upbeat urban population for whome it finally feels that the progressive India has arrived. On the other side as you have rightly written, for most rural Indians, the country seem to be travelling back in time. Blogs like your is a reminder of the missing connection within India. Thank You.

  18. kavitha says:

    Talking of green and red only brings memories of my travels through the ‘green’ and ‘red’ terrain of ‘God’s Own Country’ couple of weeks ago. I forewarn a LONG read ahead… 🙂
    Don’t know what Heaven would look like, but driving through the lush green interiors of Kerala always feels Heavenly, no matter how many times I go back – acres and acres of expansive green rolling hills of tea plantations, peppered with pepper vines, and interspersed with dense plantations of coffee, coconut, arcanaut and plantain trees, swaying and looking fresh and clean after the morning north-east monsoon showers – all quintessential hallmarks of Kerala’s ‘green’ charm. As I arrived into the driveway of the resort spread over several acres set inside the Wayanad rainforest, had a very ‘swarming’, multi-colored welcome with stunningly beautiful butterflies of various hues and colors, fluttering around the vast garden foyer. A couple of them fluttering around my ears as if to say, ‘welcome, come fly with me’ – wish I could!! It’s one thing to see butterflies in a controlled environment and another to see them in their natural habitat. Have never seen butterflies with such an amazing diversity of vibrant colors, in such huge numbers ever before — I was told this is not butterfly season…so I saw this as a very special welcome…
    The resort area, on and overlooking the Banasura reservoir, skirted by the bountiful and mighty Banasura hills in the backdrop of the misty skies of Wayanad, was breathtaking, picture-perfect and seemed like a frozen moment of Paradise on Earth. Here the break of dawn is greeted by the sweet melodic tweets of a zillion birds, some tucked away amidst the distant and dense fauna of the rainforest. Imagine being awakened by a zillion ”good morning” tweets, in various octaves of musical notes – every one of those mornings there was an interesting indulgence in tweets and re-tweets…quite an amazing exchange of ‘birdspeak’! Consciously stripped of internet connectivity, phones, TV and other distractions within the resort premises, one cannot help but connect to Nature, with one’s own Self (and those around you more personally, and less technologically!) in this magically serene and elevating space. And the air in Wayanad is so crisp and fresh, one can feel its purity through every pore, and every inhalation. Caught in the rat race of urbanized lifestyles and polluted environments, breaks like this are truly refreshing.
    Heard the saying ‘latching on like a leech’?… quite literally experienced what that means as I was trekking down to the resort’s private waterfall bath area – the resort crew had ‘prepped’ me adequately for the stream (vs. steam) bath logistics, and potential ‘leechy’ encounters along the way…with that in mind I had my eyes peeled as I walked along, and stepped gingerly as I put each foot forward. I was aware of the super-sensitive olfactory senses of leeches for human blood. And sure enough they did sense the scent of a woman! Despite all my cautious treads, two miraculously managed to perch themselves comfortably on my foot, God knows how and from where (of course this was not a regular trek and I had no trekking gear on). As the leeches latched on, I almost did a Tandava on the rock I had stepped on…common sense should have told me that leeches don’t fall off like that! But my common sense was uncommon at that moment – god bless my escort who managed to unlatch the leech off my tender toes! Yes, leeches suck only bad blood. Yes, leeches are less harmful than mosquitoes. All that was mindless theory at that point. So, I’m quite sure he thought to himself how woefully ‘girly’ I was being. Never mind. It was my first and I was not going to pretend to be brave after discovering a bloodsucker busy working on me! Was this worth it? Absolutely delightfully yes! The resounding sound of the abundant gushing waters falling from its heights after its restrained journey through defined paths from the peak of the Banasura hills, and gently flowing away after the fall, as a crystal clear stream further downhill and into the lake, has no parallels. I guess there’s a reason Kerala is called ‘God’s own country’ – one can feel the generous and bountiful Divine hand at play everywhere.
    Another episode among other adventures was an unplanned, but locally recommended off-the- beaten track trip into an ‘adivasi colony’ – a community that has seen and knows nothing beyond its cocooned lifestyle amidst remote forests atop the Wayanad hills. I was told a MTV crew from the US recently spent a week living amongst them, filming them, their lifestyle, beliefs, customs and culture. On the drive up, passed by a gated property, fencing 800-acres of forest land supposedly still owned by a British considered to be “generous” in giving away 1-2 acre plots to deserving individuals for development and/or spiritual causes – couldn’t help thinking about the fallacy in the perception of ‘generosity’ with something ‘seized’ and that didn’t belong in the first place. Having heard stories of adivasi displacements through the drive, Forest departments taking over forest lands for protection, I wondered why and how the owner of this 800-acre property in the middle of forest range was not displaced yet. The community I interacted with had ancestors who served as warriors to Pazhassi Raja – a Kerala king said to have been among the first to ignite the freedom struggle against the British, 60 years before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 taught through our history books. Filled with disconnected snapshots of an unsung hero of Indian history, and forgotten/untold stories of a ‘Malabar prince’ who launched a rebellion against the British from the hills of Wayanad, I walked away inspired to watch the period-film by that name (Pazhassi Raja) that I was told had recently released in Kerala. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zxPDKAh2Z0)
    No trip is wholesome until the taste buds are catered to – and catering here was truly wholesome in every sense of the word…what with the organic, healthy meals that were whipped up to your taste, requirements and in the moment of your choice. Organic – not as in going to hyped up ‘organic supermarkets’ to get your daily dose of fruits and veggies, but fresh off the farm… paneer (cottage cheese) made with fresh milk fresh off the cows in the nearby farm – boy does the aftertaste make you wonder what kind of junk we feed our systems with at other times. Such customized royal service only in Incredible India!…and at a price that does not [relatively] rip your wallet 🙂
    Talking about green, I cannot help bring up the ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore, where I stayed immediately preceding this trip. On course to be soon certified as the first truly ‘green’ hotel in India beyond the typical hype, I can only marvel at their attention to detail around the green consciousness embedded in their business practice – from the building materials used (that includes wood sourced from anti-deforestation vendors who plant trees solely for & in anticipation of consumption 10 years down the road)…to the massive ‘vertical gardens’ using tissue culture and drip irrigation that adorn their lobby walls (the only hotel in India to be doing this)…to the eco-friendly cleaning agents for housekeeping (rightly respecting not only the lungs of Mother Earth, but also the housekeepers’!)…and much much more. Not to mention an aesthetic convergence of traditional and contemporary design elements around the hotel, reflective of modern India’s pluralism. What intrigued me the most was how one of the in-house restaurants consciously chooses to lay no cutlery at its tables – a tribute to the Indian style of dining with your hand, I am told. Kudos to the brain behind this for upholding a conviction that 5-star (7-star in this case) does not mean relinquishing your 5 fingers! Of course in the spirit of 7-star service and hospitality, the restaurant crew is ever-ready to lend their 7-star ears to those voices of dissent unable to handle their hands at the table, appreciate the Indian way or even try their hand at it! We need more thinkers and doers of the ‘green’ kind in the corporate world.
    Back to Kerala. All along the drive, in and out, I saw several red flags with their stake on the [green] ground indicating presence and dominance of ‘red’ ideology in that area, including remote areas atop hills belonging to adivasi communities. A land so abundantly green, but one that has been predominantly ‘red’ through its modern political history…despite its ills, in talking to POS (people on the street) one gets a sense of a state with largely contented people, a state known for its highest literacy rates, largest percentage of women that are literate, preserved cultural wealth, no obvious and in-your-face poverty, an above-average sense of dignity even among the labor class with no expectant eyes or extended arms for alms (or tips), an above-average sense of respect for their ecology and environment, and more. I would think these are some common sense indicators of quality of life? On my way out of God’s Own Country, I could not help wonder if capitalism came to be adopted in India a little too early. Can capitalism and inclusive, broader societal welfare co-exist?
    It may be naivety, but is there such a thing as a judicious mixture of green and red that can work for all of India? What is the color and flavor that would emerge from mixing desirable hues of green and red into the free market framework? Neither green nor red, but a new definition that’s a harmonious balance of multiple – is that a crazy stretch?

  19. Mee says:

    Maoists are not the downtrodden as some opinions here will have me believe. So why such pitched battles? Once again it seems the politicians are the rakshasas…

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