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Re: Secession




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
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Hi sanjeev and everyone,
Sorry if I am found repeating issues dealt with already but I was away
and my
mail intermittent.
Why are we talking  of secession? Do  we see it as coming from an
analysis of
the problems facing our nation? In that case clearly there is an
underlying
assumption that  secession or right to secession could be a solution to
some of
the problems that India is facing. And that makes it pertinent that  we
spell
out exactly where, which problem can be so solved. There is  no merit in

discussing secession or any other issue just because in a democracy this
or such
a provision should be there or because in some democracy somewhere it is
there.
In my opinion problems of  regional imbalances is quite natural in a
large and
developing economy like India and already this has been used by radical
sections
to raise the flags of secession to the detriment of those very regions
and
people whom they claim to represent. The insurgency in north east for
instance
today  is the single largest factor behind  continued underdevelopment
of the
region. And including a provision for secession will only aggravate the
situation, only encourage  these ideologies. Besides, since essentially
a demand
for secession is a nationalist assertion of an ideology  which views a
people as
historically emerged identity separate from and locked-in an irresoluble

conflict with the rest of the country AND are facing a colonial
exploitation
form the nation of which they are  currently part – therefore granting a
right
to secession(with whatever provision) will essentially  assume that
India as a
nation can afford to give political space and legitimacy to such
ideologies.
This  in my opinion  only spells disaster given the low literacy levels
and
still lower levels of public debates, and prevalence of totally
irrational calls
for political mobilization, strong sectarian appeals, lack of developed
infrastructure for a free and fair propagation of  competing viewpoints
and all
other such and related factors (already brilliantly outlined by Mr.
Shashi and
others). Any region which feels it has remained underdeveloped or not as

developed as some other region will then provide a fertile ground for
those
politicians who may wish to call for a separate nation. Providing
impetus to
such forces will add pressures on an already strained and overworked
system and
it will  derail all other issues relating to development and
strengthening and
developing of democratic institutions. Already a whole lot of bogus
issues have
found way in the system and are needlessly sapping the energies of a
nation –this in my view will  turn India into a nation   devoting allits

resources to firefighting and firefighting alone – last thing that an
emerging
economy needs is a provision that will increase its internal tensions.
To my
mind engaging efforts and resources towards an all out debate for and
against
secession among communities and states  really doesn’t seem to be among
the
priorities that we need to define for a national reconstruction.
In addition this will provide a major incentive to  foreign agencies
intelligence and others to now deliver interference directly into a
legitimised
political process (this  is as it is a major problem in almost all
border areas-
and I don’t see how we are going to rule this foreign angle out except
as we are
trying to do now- and that has clearly not succeeded)
I have worked as a journalist in  two most insurgency prone regions
including
the  north east. In Assam there is in fact,   a group in Guwahati (
prominent
amongst them is  a high court lawyer) who have been propagating this for
years
now, this  group sympathetic to ultras in ULFA argue that militants take
to guns
because they cannot legitimately fight for their demand. So you make it
legitimate to struggle for a  separate nation and there will be no
violence -
simplistic as it is, they  assume that the positions  of the ultras and
their
assertion  that assamese is a separate national identity and is
colonially
exploited by India is legitimate. (I am aware that taking advantage of a
hurt
Assamese pride –at their being reduced to a minority in their own state,
ULFA
has managed to evoke lurking sympathies among many) We should, however,
note
that these ideologies(separatist) do not always reflect a rational
analysis of
the situation and have inspirations often quite contrary to the
interests of the
people. In the Indian context a provision for secession will provide
easy means
for  subverting  the system  by making   irrational,  emotively
explosive calls
for self determination.
And such ideologies flourish taking help form each other. Their common
goal is a
strategic aim. Motives, inspirations are not related to expression of a
democratic choice but something radically different. They develop
tactical
interests in encoraging secession in the neighbouring states and region.
They
are by nature aimed not at empowering people but at weakening the system
and
state. It will be interesting for those interested,  to study the role
of NSCN -
the mother of all insurgencies in the north east- in stoking fire among
other
communities. Bodo ultras blame Assamese for the same thing that ULFA
blames
‘India’ for –colonial hegemony. A group amongst them is  demanding a
separate
nation too. Tiwas, Rabhas and numerous other tribes who wanted autonomy
because
they believed there interests were not adequately safeguarded under the
Assamese
now  have their own voices for separate status, what was really too much
was
that a small tribe comprising  less than 2 % of the population in  Karbi
Anglong
and Diphu districts  recently formed its own liberation army for a
separate
nation, in Manipur Tripura everywhere such groups have sprung up  and
ALL,
invariably all are somewhere,  in some manner linked with the NSCN whose
foreign
funding and support are too obvious to dwell upon. And they are all
linked with
each other too – they had (2 yrs back) even formed a unified command. So
you see
it is all not  so much  - a wish of the  people.  This whole line of
argument
(this tribe, that community is willfully hegemonised by India or by
another
community) is so ridiculous and leads nobody nowhere, it confuses the
issues
and only goes to prove that even when there is no political legitimacy
to such
viewpoints  they have been able to take advantage of the ignorance,
illiteracy
and poverty to organise under such banner. Provision for secession will
allow
self seeking groups (often at the behest of foreign intelligence and
military
prompts) to carry on this totally ridiculous campaign to reduce this
country
into a hopeless mire of sectarian secessionist tendencies, forever
eager  to
foment trouble –more trouble and easier to convince that people are
uncared for.
Where in every state and in every community there would be voices
claiming a
separate nationhood and we will be legitimising political forces who
would have
a vested intrest in malfunctioning of the system. This will only retard
growth.
We would be unnecesarily introducing forces in our politcal dynamicsare
Comparison with Canada –Quebec case is, I would say quite misplaced. you
cannot
compare French speaking Canadian’s ability to to rationally assess the
implications of  an argument  with the poor illiterate, dispossessed,
wood
gatherer on the hilltop of a remote village in  Churachandpur dist in
Manipur-
who has no access to live shows and  panelists explaining with colourful

histograms the intricacies involved in making of a viable nation.
Do not for a moment think that you can filter violence out of it.
Movements and
ideologies have their own dynamics and their own momentum, once
unleashed they
don’t care too much for lines  written in some book, whether or not you
call it
constitution. You will be adding trouble for this already troubled
nation. This
will be  allowing  disgruntled politicians to play upon the
frustrations  of
people to their detriment whereas the need is to empower them(people) by

strengthening grass root democracy and all round development of
democratic
institutions which could watch against the Corruption  which in my
opinion has
been a MAJOR contributor in divesting people of their rights, economic
and
civil - especially in the north east.
Including such a provision because there are desparate groups involved
in
terrorising and killing and that this will stop violence is untenable.
For they
clearly have their own reasons. What if they kill those opposing
secession?
Suppress? This is what the govt. does now. Why is our conscience not
clean now?
You think Assamese have not been given a chance to speak their mind? Or
for that
matter does ULFA represent Assamese people?
“I have seen unimaginable damage caused by the arrogance of majorities
who are
willing to use the gun at the slightest pretext against our own brothers
without
hearing them out”
 In a democracy, groups take to terror  precisely because they do not
have the
majority with them – they take to terror not ‘to be heard’ but because
they
want to dictate. Because ballots don’t serve their purpose they assume
bullet
will. It is the  the arrogance of the minority.
Only ground for  supporting provision for secession in the constitution
could be
if  one believes or suspects that there are strong grounds for the
supposition
that India as a  nation is willfully, colonially exploiting a national
identity.
For then in that case it is the democratic duty of everyone to see that
the
supposedly ‘colonised people’  get  a chance to express their wish. And
in that
case lets fist discuss who these colonised people are.
But if we  see no strong ground for believing that India has a nation
has
hegemonised and is exploiting a people, there is indeed no reason
whatsoever to
have any discussions on the matter. For we have seen that such a
provision will
create more problems than it can solve.
Although, I fully share your concern at the mindless violence against or
for a
cause(I have myself lost two good friends to the warring sides , one a
journalist , a very genuine and committed romantic wedded to the ULFA
cause (was
killed allegedly by SULFA)  and another an idealist oppsed to ULFA
killed by
ULFA.) I however would be the last person to advocate inclusion of right
to
secession as this will unduly inject  dangerous  forces in our political

dynamics which we, at this stage of our development and given the
current
strategic involvement of hostile froreign powers in our border areas,
cannot
afford.


dhar







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