The fundamental question is why are we not able to realize the beautiful dream of exploitation free and just Jharkhand even after completion of 8 years?
“Jharkhand” literally means ‘the land of forests’ came into existence as the state in 2000 after a long mass struggle, took place in the 20th century for realization of a beautiful dream, dreamt by the Adivasi heroes – Tilka Manjhi, Sidhu-Kanhu and Birsa Munda. The dream was the formation of exploitation free and just Jharkhand, where the community can practice ownership rights over the livelihood resources, enjoy autonomy and rule themselves. Earlier, the outsiders used to perceive Jharkhand as the abode of uncivilized, uneducated and the most backward people i.e. Adivasis therefore the region was mostly neglected in terms of the development but its natural resources were highly exploited. Besides, the Adivasis were alienated from their resources, exploited and injustices were done to them in the name of development, civilization and nationalism.
When the exploitation and injustice crossed the limit of tolerance, the mass struggle, revolt and resistance began in the different parts of the state. The conclusion was that the exploitation and injustice would not end till the region is given a separate identity and the power transferred to the Adivasis. The Jharkhand movement was at its peak, meanwhile it was coined as the separatist movement, supported by the Missionaries but it failed to block the mass resistance. After the mass response to the exploitation and injustice, the dream of a beautiful Jharkhand was materialized politically and the Adivasi leaders took over the driving seats. But unfortunately, the exploitation and injustice remain the same, which shocked the most. But irony is the Adivasi leaders do not realize it even today.
The fundamental question is why are we not able to realize the beautiful dream of exploitation free and just Jharkhand even after completion of 8 years? The Jharkhand CM Guruji Sibu Soren was the co-travelers in realization of the beautiful dream but even during his rule the police firing took place at Kathikund of Dumka, where one Adivasi was killed and two others are battling between life and death. Guruji Sibu Soren had started his political career by fighting against injustice and exploitation inflicted by the “Dikku” (exploiters). But now he has changed his mind. Recently, he said that all the people living in Jharkhand are Jharkhandi. But does it mean the exploiters and moneylender Dikkus are also Jharkhandi today? If so then it is a horrible death of a beautiful dream of exploitation free and just Jharkhand because the dream can not be realized with the exploiter and moneylender Dikkus.
It is needless to say that the beautiful dream of exploitation free and just Jharkhand was assassinated many times in the past. In the first time, it was assassinated in 1963 when the Jharkhand Party merged with the Indian National Congress merely for the political temptation and self interest. In the second time, the Jharkhand Mukti Morch ruined the people’s aspiration in 1991 when the party supported Narsimha Rao government at the centre and the JMM MPs indulged in the bribery case. After formation of Jharkhand state, the horse trading and hijacking of MLAs became a regular phenomenon, which was grandly launched by the BJP in 2005 by hijacking Enos Ekka, the MLA of Jharkhand Party for supporting their government. Ironically, the Jharkhand Party was the first, who had demanded for the separated state and fought for it became the first victim of the horse trading democracy.
The second obvious reason is the state was ruled for such a long time by the people who were not part of the dream but they had something else in their minds and hearts. They wanted to make Jharkhand as Vananchal state where there is no place for the Adivasis but only the Vanvashis can live in under the control of so-called nationalists i.e. Sangh Parivar. Their aims were to bury the identity of Adivasis, alienate them from their land and sell the state’s natural resources at the market rate. Sangh’s heroes – Babulal Marandi and Arjun Munda were pioneers in burying the Adivasis’ identity, dividing people in the name of religion and inviting the multinationals in the region rather than attempting for realization of the dream of a beautiful Jharkhand.
Thirdly, right from the beginning, the state government is under the controlled of New Delhi. Consequently, the drivers are not able to take any decisions without the consent of the high commands, which lead to uncertainty. Besides, the loot culture replaced the working culture of the state. The bureaucrats, government officials and traders are busy in bagging the state’s money and resources therefore nobody bothers about the dream.
In these circumstances, do we have any hope for resurrection of the dream? One optimist would surely say, “Yes we can”. But one needs a radical mind and work hard to kill the bird. Firstly, liberate the state from New Delhi, which means reject the national political parties and hand over the state power to a single regional political party and hold the key. Secondly, make the system function with transparent and accountability and thirdly, implement the laws and deliver justice in the time bound manners. The question is do we really wish to resurrect the beautiful dream?
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based at Ranchi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org