Monday, November 8, 2010

NBA: Twenty-five Years: what next?

By ignoring a sustained non-violent movement, what message is the Indian state giving to other peoples' movements?

Important as it is to recognise the influence exerted by the NBA, there are fundamental questions to be asked of the movement. Ideologically, the NBA has been almost adamantly Gandhian. At a time when India's political sphere is punctured by debates triggered by the Maoist movement and their insistence on armed struggle (among other methods) as the path to achieve social and political change, how relevant is a movement that refuses to move away from the Gandhian path of ahimsa or non-violence? It is easy to notice that the State's (the government, the judiciary and the police force) preoccupation with the Maoist movement far outweighs its response to an NBA hunger-fast.

Expectedly, the State's response to the Maoist movement is a visibly violent one; but what of its continued apathy to the questions raised by the NBA through its non-violent methods? Does it indicate a failure of non-violence as a strategy to demand justice? "This is a question that should trigger serious introspection from the Indian State. By ignoring the demands for justice from the Narmada valley, what is the message they are putting out for other movements?” asks Swami Agnivesh.

Read the full piece in Tehelka

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