The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday, 31 March 2012


“These lives have been caught in the crossfire between the Maoists and the state. Certain sections of the government and bureaucracy conveniently tag them as collateral damage and scoff at the idea of compensating them for their suffering.”

‘Condemned as the collateral damage’ - a cover story titled ‘My name is NOT red’ on the alleged ‘Naxal’ prisoners in the magazine ‘The Week’ quotes some sections of the government machinery saying this on the plight of the tribal people trapped in the battle between the estranged bedfellows of the revolutionary reform ideology, the Maoist thought, and an equally estranged State with loads of ‘Peepli Live’ politicians and bureaucrats, ill-informed and ‘comfortably’ unaware of the ground realities.

Naxals/Maoists may be a case in point in a democracy that India is (and certainly there are other victimized groups), but treating human lives as the ‘collateral damage’ abounds the present and the past of the human civilization.

The global stage - It has been happening all around the world. Any surge of rightful or ill-intended protest claims lives of scores of the ordinary people. And when the protests become armed and specifically targeted against the state, this so-called ‘collateral damage’ just gets bigger and acquires brutal dimensions. So if Prabhakaran and Muammar Gaddafi had brutal ends so was the case with the thousands of the ordinary Srilankan Tamils and the Libyans who had no role to play in these wars except to serve as the statistical paradigms of who was advancing and who was falling.

Revolutions/uprisings in the name of positive change for the ordinary men - every protest is for them and they seldom get anything in the end. It happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other countries – where – one after the other ‘revolution’ just changed the faces running the tyrannies. Except Tunisia, all other countries are witnessing chaos and absence of control with ‘real’ chances of the next phase of the civil war. Continued killing of Syrians in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria is a slap on the face of the international geopolitics. Liberia, which gave the world two ‘Peace Nobel’ Laureates last year, is staring at another civil war after seeing dictators like Charles Taylor.

(It is the present scenario; past of the global geopolitics is no different either!)

International community is weighing options before intervening in Syria as it did in case of Egypt and Libya; as it did in case of many dictatorial regimes across the world. Tens of thousands died and the international community allowed the condition to worsen before the intervention came. Every such case rightfully deserved intervention after it was observed in the early phases that the continued ‘wait and watch’ policy was going to see many more dead. The same thing is happening in Syria and Bahrain right now.

The argument that has been – arming the opposition or military intervention might bring a sort of catastrophe with magnified destruction scale – and so accept the mounting figures of the dead – as the ‘collateral damage’. What bullshit!

Namecalling, stereotyping and using ‘them’ as the ‘reminders’ of the consequence of raising voice – by the so-called ‘revolutionaries’; by the opponents of these revolutionaries – the state; and sometimes, by the thugs fanning religious and sectarian riots.

And back in our own courtyard, the same sentiment prevails.

It has been ‘the’ sordid tale of misplaced priorities and poor understanding of the ground realities. The story mentioned above begins with some case studies where innocent tribal people were incarcerated for months and years on just whims and fancies of the security forces. Thousands are still languishing in jails. Those freed by the courts after going through the horrors of the ghettos that the Indian jails are, didn’t get any compensation; neither the State has any provision to take their very own people in its fold, for, their continued marginalization serves the interests of the ‘Peepli Live’ politicians and bureaucrats of the State as well as of their own opinion leaders, who after gaining the political ground riding on the support of ‘these very marginalized’ people, conveniently allow the state to co-opt them, in order to fill their coffers.

The result – mounting figures on this ‘collateral damage’ – according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, over two thousand civilians have lost their lives in the Left Wing Extremism in India since 2005. Their count is bigger than the other two categories – security force personnel and the Naxals/Maoists. In total, the Left Wing Extremism has taken over 5600 lives since 2005.

What is worrying is these figures don’t include the human lives lost and incarcerated either by the Naxals/Maoists, who have lost the track behaving like goons, and by the State. These figures run in tens of thousands. Seldom it happens when some atrocity on the tribal people or the activists working for them gets due attention. Not every case is like Dr. Binayak Sen, Himanshu Kumar, Valsa John or Kobad Ghandy.

A lame government cannot decisively act on the Naxal penance; neither has it the foresight to bring them to the mainstream. Remember, the Indian Republic is now over 62 years old. So the status quo continues. Maoist goons continue with their run; government continues with its inactivity.

Be it India or countries like Syria - human lives continue to suffer.

Collateral Damage of the human lives continues to rise.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -