Pseudo Activists and Pseudo Intellectuals of Bengal

This is the middle of November and winter has just about begun to set in much of northern and eastern India. But Bengal seems to be on fire.

Last few days, newspapers and TV channels have been choked with celebrities and so called intellectuals, openly criticizing the government. They condemn everything that the government (as in a political existence) is trying to do at Nandigram.

The heart of the problem is the government trying to buy out land from farmers to establish factories. Farmers don’t want to sell. Land is the center of just about every problem/crime in this overpopulated nation of ours. Governments are empowered by the constitution to acquire land for such purposes as they deem necessary. This is nearly routine in India. This time things are however a little different. Armed rebels (Maoists) trained their guns and fought government forces at Nandigram, killing several men on duty. As government retaliated, the bloody affair led to (mis)reports of ‘government unleashing violence on its citizens’. Later, the political workers of the government wrested control of the villages. And this is what has infuriated our ‘intellectuals’.

Our ‘intellectuals’ are missing the woods for the trees. The chief minister argues the powerful point that the only way to eliminate poverty is by building factories. This can be done only by converting farmlands. These farms are roughly the size of a kitchen garden. The chief minister obviously has made an extremely important point, making sense in terms of economics. And we know that only economic well-being leads to stable societies, not distressed tillers of kitchen gardens. It is also therefore important for the government to win this battle. For if it loses, it won’t be able to acquire any more land anywhere, nipping in the bud efforts for poverty-alleviation / industrialization.
Our ‘intellectuals’ are wasting their energies over a misplaced cause. Or are they seizing the very first found opportunity for some television-activism, because now the state is ruled by a liberal chief minister? Such activism would have been unfeasible only some years earlier. Do they not realize that less than 5% of agricultural land is required for all those factories India needs? That if this opportunity is allowed to slip away, there wouldn’t be another in a long time?

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