The 'V' Factor

Geoffery *

Advertisement campaign of GMR (a multi business company) has two Jingles in it. First one is, “Getting Ready for India” and second is, 'Getting India Ready'. Both are applicable at Macro level to present-day India.

India has new enviable Image that is changing the world opinion and policies of the other nations towards India. In fact, it is a victory (V) for new and reemerging India. Second one is the negative aspect i.e. violence (another 'V') spread across almost 40% of India and is proliferating further. How long can India sustain this positive 'V' with negative 'V' in attendance?

India is on the enviable growth trajectory with annual growth rate of 9% and it is likely to continue. Indian business tycoons are emerging as global leaders with various mergers & acquisitions e.g. L.N. Mittal acquired Arcelor, Tatas acquired Corus, Vijay Mallaya acquired Shaw Wallace etc.

Tatas have created a history by manufacturing the cheapest car conforming to the latest norms. List of billionaires in India is growing. Not only this, it has been estimated that there are more millionaires in Kohima (Nagaland) than heart of India (Delhi).

India's foreign exchange reserves are increasing manifold after adopting the path of liberalization in early nineties. The reserves have grown from 5.6 billion dollars in 1991 to 118 billion dollars in 2006. French president Sakozy wished, if he could emulate the growth rate of India for France.

At recent World Economic Forum, confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has launched a campaign “India Every Where'”. Foreign polices of the nations are based on economic interest besides other factors. The effect is visible with leanings and support extended to India at various forums by world powers.

Now is the time for getting India ready for sustenance of changed world opinion. Having a look at the Indian milieu today, one sees violence spread across four corners. It has affected 231 districts out of 604 districts in India. In J&K -12 out 14 districts, in naxal affected 14 states-165 districts and in North East (NE) India-54 districts are affected. The texture & nature of this violence is complex and is driven externally & internally both.

In J&K almost 40000 lives have been lost till date since the commencement of violence in 1989. It is caused, abetted by Pak based out fits and sponsored by Pak ISI. The talks between the two countries are in progress as a composite dialogue and various confidence building measures (CBMs) have been implemented. But it seems to be only tactical and cosmetic and not strategic dialogue in the overall plan of our neighbour. Remnants of militancy and simmering are still noticed in neighbouring Punjab.

Red corridor (maoist violence) is extending from neighbouring Nepal through Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh etc. Recent incidents of Dantewada Jail break (end of 2007), attack on CRPF camp in Rampur (Jan 08) and decamping of weapons from Nayagarh Police station in Orissa (Feb 08) are alarming and display the strength and determinant nature of the violence.

Its geographical spread and influence is hair raising. It is shifting its strategy to more complicated form i.e. rural to urban. The important industrial belts identified are, Bhilai-Ranchi-Dhanbad-Calcutta and Mumbai-Pune-Surat-Ahamedabad. It is reliably learnt that naxals are joining hands with rebels in NE India and are likely to increase their area of influence. This is more relevant with recently formed outfit All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA) and their moorings in Central India.

NE Indian mosaic is more complicated due to its geographical location and influence of foreign interests i.e. Pak ISI & Bangladesh's HuJI. This region shares 98% of its borders with other nations and only 2% with India. In fact it is located at periphery of the periphery.

The number of outfits operating in this part of India is to be counted to be believed. Every day new outfits are born. Leaders of most of the outfits play in the hands of foreign interests to the detriment of own state and nation belying the cause they advocate to be fighting for. With the influence of red corridor the situation will become more & more complex.

With all the violence spread across length and width, our nation is still able to uphold the enviable growth rate. It portrays the strength of our democratic set up. But there is an urgent need to arrest this menace lest the beautiful canvas of our nation is eaten up by moth inside and devoured by monsters from outside.

In democratic set up these outfits cannot be snubbed dictatorially. But at the same the influence of this violence cannot be viewed as geographically localized because it is psychologically explosive. An outsider will only view this country as insecure and unsafe place for any long term interests.

There is a need to ascribe new dimension to our thought from vertical to lateral. Because vertical thought addresses the problem as it is seen and lateral provides insight and creativity to the same but both are complimentary to each other. Leaders need to have nationalistic aims rather than vote oriented political aims. There is a need to improve the policing infrastructure.

States with healthy police population are more peaceful e.g. Sikkim and Mizoram has police to population (100000) ratio as 609 and 854 respectively. Indian average is 122 and states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Assam has police population of 57, 85, 103, 90, 98 and 178 respectively per 100000 populations.

Utilization of funds has also been poor in these areas e.g. as per reports Jharkhand has been allotted 1, 72000 crores for police upgradation for past six years. Results are there for all of us to see.

Notwithstanding the democratic set up and various individual and collective freedoms enjoyed by the people there should be one law for all the nationals bereft of the divisive factors of casteism, religion etc. There is also a need to implement development plans in centrifugal manner for holistic development, both, centripetally and centrifugally.

There is need to see violence as violence alone and not mere statistics. For example there had been an all India decline in violence related fatalities from 3236 in 2005 to 2765 in 2006. Should this figure make us complacent or determined to radically remove the nuisance? There is simultaneity of period in hype of J&K violence, maoist violence and economic liberalization policies of India.

All of this happened in nineties. Is it an asymmetric war against India?

* Geoffery contributes to regularly to The writer can be contacted at jaey_geoffery(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in. This article was webcasted on April 02, 2008.

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