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Articles in the Select Writings of Balagopal Category

politics & violence, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 5,910 views]
Beyond violence and non-violence

It is good that there is some openness in the matter now, for dogmatic attitudes have done considerable harm. To say that one should not be dogmatic about violence may be morally a little unsettling but it is a defensible position even without adopting a relativistic attitude towards the preciousness of life or a casual attitude towards one’s moral responsibility for injury caused in the course of a struggle. More of that in the right context. But the discussion will unavoidably be based on assessments  of the effectiveness of the …

politics & violence, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 25,299 views]
Maoist movement  in Andhra Pradesh

Birpur, near the Godavari river in the northern corner of Karimnagar district, is the native village of Muppalla Lakshmana Rao, better known as Ganapathi, the general secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Before a road-building mania took over the state in the regime of Chandrababu Naidu, it was a village difficult to access. Today it is accessible by a black-top road from the temple town of Dharmapuri on the incompletely laid out National Highway 16 from Nizamabad in Telangana to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh. As …

politics & violence, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 5,657 views]
Have We Heard the Last of the Peace Talks?

It began as a tenacious essay in political realism, entered a phase of sheer drama unbelievable in its unreality, and ended in the bitter rattle of gunfire.
The reference is to the ‘talks’ between YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s government in Andhra Pradesh and the Naxalites. To be fair to the devil, Rajasekhara Reddy never really believed in the talks and never joined the effort, nor the theatre that was enacted in Hyderabad for about a week. That is about the only good thing one can say about his conduct in the matter: …

politics & violence, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 8,311 views]
People’s war and the government : Did the police have the last laugh?

Unreasonable tenacity usually has a way of proving itself, establishing perhaps that reasonableness lies in nothing other than perseverance. About five years ago, when a retired IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre by name SR Shankaran gave voice to the idea conceived by a small group of his associates, that responsible citizens of this state cannot be content watching the Naxalites and their foes killing each other, blaming the state off and on for violating the law, and perhaps the Naxalites too sotto voce for violating revolutionary norms, he …

Land Rights, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 7,762 views]

The tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh present a disheartening picture: events are fast overtaking the adivasis, and there is no concerted effort to oppose them. Land and the produce of the forest remain their main source of livelihood, but availability of land is restricted by forest reservation on the one hand and non-tribal encroachment on the other. They cannot move out of the forests and seek livelihood in the strange and – it often seems to them – hostile society of the plains. Where they do, they are exploited ruthlessly …

chhattishgarh, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 6,012 views]
The NHRC on Salwa Judum:  a most Friendly Inquiry

The Salwa Judum phenomenon has occasioned a number of reports, most of them strongly critical and the patronage it gets from the state in Chhattisgarh. Not many who know the situation in Dantewada (now Dantewada and Bijapur) districts of the state and who are fair-minded would quarrel with the criticism, though there can be and there are differences in the assessment of what exactly the Salwa Judum signifies. But the fair-minded observer would be disturbed by the almost total absence of any critical comment on the Maoists in most of …

reservations, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | 2 Comments | 16,674 views]
Ideology and adjudication: SC and OBC reservations

Adjudication of public issues is an ideological act. Courts say they do their job within the four corners of the law, but the four corners are only corners. The space enclosed may be quite wide, and can permit divergent tendencies, all of them passing for interpretations of the law or the Constitution. It is idle to pretend that this divergence is the result of a pure difference of a juridical character. There is considerable politics in these divergent tendencies, when social issues of significance are involved.
The vicissitudes of the law …

reservations, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 5,583 views]

Living apart as they do from social realities, judges sometimes come up with wrong judgements at disastrously wrong moments.
A notable feature of Indian society in recent years is that from out of disadvantaged people who are dealt with by the law as well as in the idiom of social justice as homogeneous classes (dalits, minorities, women, etc), categories asserting their further discrimination have emerged, seeking society’s attention to their particular plight. The situation calls for a sensitive response that will neither deny them further discrimination nor use it as a …

kashmir, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 8,492 views]
What will they do to Kashmir now?

What will the US, India and Pakistan do to Kashmir? That is the proper order, the US first, India next and Pakistan last. What do they aim to do to Kashmir? For this time round, there is a certain apprehension (one can hardly call it hope) in the Valley and elsewhere in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that American interest in snuffing out the germinating grounds of Islamic militancy – rather than any Indo-Pak desire for peace – may well ensure some form of resolution of the ‘Kashmir dispute’. …

Gujarat, Select Writings of Balagopal »

[21 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 6,105 views]
Reflections on Gujarat Pradesh of Hindu Rashtra

The predominant emotion as one leaves Gujarat is that of fear. Not the fear that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been watching what you have been doing there and will catch up with you and cut you up or burn you alive. It may, but if you have been a human rights activist long enough, you have come to terms with the idea that you could be killed some day.
Nor that the next time half an opportunity offers itself, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will kill more Muslims in Gujarat. It …