To justify enforcing a corporate land grab, the India needs an enemy – and it has chosen the Maoists. The low, flat-topped hills of south Orissa have been home to the Dongria Kondh people long before there was a country called India or a state called Orissa. The hills watched over the Kondh. The Kondh watched over the hills and worshipped them as living deities. Now these hills have been sold for the bauxite they contain.
The Kondh’s Niyamgiri hill has been sold to Vedanta. Vendanta is one of the biggest mining corporations in the world and is owned by Anil Agarwal, the Indian billionaire who lives in London in a mansion that once belonged to the Shah of Iran.
Vedanta is only one of the many multinational corporations closing in on Orissa. If the flat-topped hills are destroyed, the forests will be destroyed, too. So will the rivers and streams that flow out of them and irrigate the plains below.
The government has announced Operation Green Hunt, a war purportedly against the “Maoist” rebels headquartered in the jungles of central India as a convenient target for military actions against resisting tribes. The Prime Minister told parliament in June of 2009: “If left-wing extremism continues to flourish in parts which have natural resources of minerals, the climate for investment would certainly be affected.”
The “Maoist”’ guerrilla army is made up almost entirely of desperately poor tribal people living in conditions of chronic hunger. If tribes take up arms, they do so because a government has given them nothing but violence and neglect—now wants to snatch away the last thing they have – their land. They believe that if they do not fight for their land, they will be annihilated.
Title: The Heart Of India Is Under Attack
Source: guardian.co.uk, Friday 30 October 2009
Author: Arundhati Roy
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips
Sonoma State University