By Mani Mahesh Garg:
The Home Ministry put up a big advertisement in The Hindu a few days ago, and I believe in other newspapers also. The advertisement speaks of a destitute woman, whose everything is lost in the never ending conflict between the Government of India and the Maoists.
On the first look, it is hard to comprehend for what purpose this advertisement appeared. Who is the target audience? What does the government want to convey? Is it trying to tell itself that there are people suffering because of their negligence (fiat accompli)? Â Or is it trying to convince Maoists to drop weapons (As all other semi-adopted methods, they tried, have failed)? Or is it trying to speak to the people of India — a majority of which is not concerned, as they are not affected directly and those who are affected and are concerned, are no position to do anything on their own but feel pity and sympathy.
Since April 2010, when 75 CRPF Jawans were killed, attacks by Maoists have become more frequent and the concern of the authorities has diminished proportionately. The root cause of the issue is well known and understood — Lack of development. It is sad that we are not able to integrate the tribal people into the growth story of India and it is a common failure. But to take the first step to assimilate them is the duty of the government only.
The advertisements won’t help, and talks among people won’t help unless the government actually means what it portrayed in its advertisement that day, and takes some hard and decisive steps to help the people, whom it projects as the sufferers in the advertisements.