Ramblingsbybones sent Aparna on Special Assignment for an exclusive interview with Bakwaas Toy, the privileged champion of the underprivileged, the lazy thinker who picks points from Naom Chomsky’s writings and the goddess of big lies. I must warn you, this post is not for the peace loving.
Aparna: Ms. Toy, thank you for offering me your valuable time. I must say it is mighty generous of you to take time from your latest cause to speak to me about the Maoist problem. I’m sure you have read about the Maoist massacre of 75 CRPF jawans in Dantewala district of Chattisgarh. What are your views on the methods used by them to further their cause?
Ms.Toy : This war between the Maoists and the government is the most cowardly wars ever fought in history, a war in which the government of India is using military force to disarm poor defenceless people..
Aparna: But the Maoists are using violence too.
Ms. Toy: Let me finish. The Maoists are a poor marginalized people who are trying to resist the usurping of their land and resources by the rich and powerful. They’ve realized that dharnas and hunger strikes don’t work and so more and more of them are reaching for their guns. Will the violence escalate? Yes it will if the ‘growth rate’ and the Sensex are going to be the only barometers the government uses to measure progress and the well-being of people.
Aparna: So, you condone violence?
Ms. Toy: No I do no such thing. But the question is, is violence immoral? Morality is an elusive business, as changeable as the weather. Non-violent movements have knocked at the door of every democratic institution in India for decades, and have been spurned and humiliated. Look at the the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Irom Sharmila has been on a hunger strike years. What has been the result? We are in the era of sponsored dharnas and NGOs the sarkar is comfortable with. We are in a different time and place now. When people decide to take up violence because every other option has ended in despair, should we condemn them? Does anyone believe that if the people of Nandigram had held a dharna, the West Bengal government would have backed down?
Aparna: But the Maoists haven’t tried using peaceful democratic methods, have they?
Ms. Toy: Will you let me finish what I have to say? It’s sad that hundreds of innocent people are getting killed but they’re as much the victims of government policy as anybody else. For the Maoist guerrillas, the police and CRPF jawans they have killed were the armed personnel of the Indian State, the hands-on perpetrators of repression, torture, custodial killings, false encounters. They were not innocent people – if such a thing exists – by any stretch of imagination.
Aparna: So, if a poor farmer in Tamil Nadu kills his rich oppressive landlord out of frustration, would his action be justified?
Ms. Toy: No, absolutely not. He has no right to take another person’s life. You must understand that the situations are different. The Maoists are an organization fighting for justice. To equate a resistance movement fighting against enormous injustice with the government to a personal vendetta is absurd. They are heroes, not demons. The farmer is a plain old murderer and should be hanged.
Aparna: I still don’t understand the difference. Murder is murder in my book. If you feel so much for the poor, weren’t you and your husband served a notice by a court in Hoshangabad district in M.P. for encroaching on tribesman Vijay Singh Desh’s land?
Ms. Toy: That’s got nothing to do with the topic we are discussing.
Aparna: So, you basically stole land from the same person you claim to represent. Is that ethical? Do you get paid by the movements you represent?
Ms. Toy: Wh-what?
Aparna: In one of articles, you’ve described Maoists as ‘Gandhians with guns‘. Could you please elaborate?
Ms. Toy: Well, in my book they are more Gandhian than Gandhi was. Maoists are poor and so waste nothing. They have no houses to call homes and roam the jungle looking for their next prey. They lead very simple lives. Did you know that they even recycle bullets and body parts? They are Gandhian environmentalists and should have been conferred the Nobel Peace Prize instead of that capitalist Al Gore.
Aparna: Ms. Toy, the leader of the Maoists had asked you to be the negotiator, the mediator between them and the Indian government. Why did you refuse?
Ms. Toy: Frankly, I don’t think I’m right for the job because I don’t have detailed knowledge of the situation or the language required to be a mediator. I mean, my knowledge of the Maoist problem is romantic at best and I use flowery language when I write so being a mediator was not an option.
Aparna: Thank you again Ms.Toy for sparing time for us.
(Disclaimer: I have used information from interviews and articles and have also added my two bits)