The post comprises of the book review of “Hello Bastar” by Rahul Pandita and my thoughts on Independent India.
Few days back I went to a book launch where the joint venture of Westland Books and Yatra books was also announced. See the blogpost here. As soon as I entered the auditorium, I spotted Amish Tripathi the author of the The Shiva Trilogy and then the next thing I noticed was this screen where the a book cover on which a person carrying a gun was there and the title of the book said “Hello Bastar”. It intrigued me. My friend was there with me and after some time I told him, I am gonna read this book.
The very next day I ordered the book and got it delivered in 3 days. In the meantime, I finished reading Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi and Two Fates : The Story Of My Divorce by Judy Balan. The author of “Hello Bastar”, Rahul Pandita was there at the event along with the Ashwin Sanghi. Basically, the hindi translations of all the books that I have mentioned in the post were released that evening. The evening would have been more interesting if I had read all these books before but never mind. Better late than never.
Hello Bastar is about Maoism in India. It throws hard light on the facts and life of Maoists and how they came into existence. I personally think that the research of 10 years is very well visible in each and every word of the book because I was so hooked to it that it took me approx. 9 hours to finish this one.
Before reading this book, I didn’t had much idea about Maoists and everything else being said, shown or written about them. I used to think, they are a bunch of terrorists who are just trying to disturb the “So called peaceful India” with their acts. But all my myths were broken when I read the real story behind everything that they are up to.
Its a well known fact that the riches have always suppressed the poor people and the conditions worsen when they are being supported by political leaders and police. What I could get from the book is, the same thing has happened with people. The same old things that we have seen in numerous Bollywood flicks that a Zamindar suppressing a poor farmer, ill-treating them, abusing the females in their family and if they try to fight for their rights, even kill them. The same thing has happened with people who are now being known as Naxalites.
After knowing a few facts written in the book, I was so disgusted that I didn’t know what to do. I stopped reading and went to take a nap just to settle down the turmoil it triggered in my mind. A student who is going to a school to learn something new, ends up getting raped by some horny bastard in one of the classrooms or if a washerman’s son wants to study and improve the living conditions of his family, the upper class people, don’t let him do that by tearing his appointment letter into pieces and ridiculing him. Why wouldn’t a human being retaliate ?
Forget Maoists, I will share an incident from my life where I retaliated in such a way that I still regret it.
When I was in school, during computer classes, a classmate unnecessarily used to mock me a lot . I was not getting sufficient marks in the subject in spite of putting in so much effort and labor and finally after working really hard I finally managed to top the class. That classmate mocked me again and spread the word among whole class I cheated, which I did not. During final exams, I got a chance to lay my hands on the answer sheets when the exam got over. I took out two supplement sheets from his answer sheet, tore and flushed them in the school toilet and because of that, he failed in computers during final exams. I told this whole incident to my mom after the final exam results and she was clearly very upset after knowing all this but the damage was already done. Then Mom and Dad both counseled me and took a promise I am never going to do any such thing to anyone in the future. Luckily, that classmate was promoted to the next class.
It was just a minor thing that happened with me, who is supposedly well educated and a decent man as I come across now. Just give a thought about people, who deal with such things daily. Just to earn a handful of rice everyday, they had to work so hard and go through so much humiliation and live in a constant fear. I am sure most of you sitting and reading this post (including me) can’t even imagine what are the conditions there are like.
Rahul Pandita, the author of the book has gained my immense respect after I got to know, he personally visited the areas where Naxalites live and have seen and experienced the kind of life they live. Many of you who would take my word and will read the book might or might not agree with his viewpoints but it hardly matters to anyone.
The reason I named this post as “Hello Bastar & Independent India” because tomorrow is our 65th Independence day. But, are you proud of your Independent India? I am certainly not. I know, its easy for me to say to this but I have my own theory behind it. Let me throw a few examples from the book itself which makes my theory stronger
In Delhi, Bawana, after selling 1 Kg of Cardboard, women are making only 60 paisa per day. People are dying of hunger while tons of food rots in the warehouses of FCI and corrupt people, which is a well known fact.
Another examples are
- After 8 P.M., people cannot move out of their houses freely.
- People are more concerned about Independence day because its a dry day.
- Post Independence Day celebrations, you see the Indian Flag lying on roads and gutters.
- Corruption and Indians mock those who try to fight it (No matter what their personal intentions are)
- Brain Drain.
- Political Drama
and trust me, my list is endless.
I don’t mind in accepting that I am behaving as one of those arm-chair critics here, but that is how it is. Tomorrow more speeches shall be given, more promises shall be made, but what is going on today shall continue and will get worse with the time and the popular blame game shall continue.
And as usual Indians will keep whining about the problems but very few will come up and do something about it. Revolution is the need of the hour and this entire Maoism thing, is a kind of revolution only. Brutal in its way, but thats the only way out.
Another thing about the book that I would like to mention here is the story of Anuradha and Kobad Ghandy. Emotional and inspiring in its own way. Both are famous names in their own way and this book offers much more about the kind of life they live and Kobad Ghandy is still living. The last chapter of the book is by Kobad Ghandy which gives a whole new dimension to the book.
I strongly recommend this book to all those people who have their own theories about Maoism. I am sure it would be able to change some opinions and will definitely improve their knowledge with the facts written in it.