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Time Not for Impartiality, but Decisions

Adhikar/July 2011

Time Not for Impartiality, but Decisions

Book criminal suits against several politicians including the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri. Y.S. Yediyurappa. This is not a demand of the Opposition parties in the state, but therecommendation given by Justice Santosh Hegde, the Lokayukta of Karnataka in his report. The report came in the wake of allegations of illegal mining going on in Bellary district of Karnataka.

This report has 25,238 pages. The report names not only BJP and Congress politicians, but also 787 government officers in this matter of illegal mining. This is not just the storyof one state, or just Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chattisgarh, but it is the reality of mining areas in every region of the world.

The condensation of such an elaborate report is not an easy job. But we will say this for the benefit of the reading public that the mining industry is the mother of corruption and cruelty and it also gets enriched by these. Second, the mining industry is being run by an unholy and shameless nexus between mining mafias and the administrative and political systems in the country. Third, this industry takes pride of place among human rights violators.

Looking at this character of the mining industry, it is difficult to even think that it is mining which introduced humans to the Iron Age and Copper Age Civilisations and cultures and helped human society to lay the foundation for many good values and moresin that period. The purpose of mining, then, was to strengthen the society. If so, which are the elements, which took away those values from mining? Let us discuss this. The kind of mining that is going on in the world today, its systems and techniques were all developed by the colonizer countries in the era of colonization. This has been very well explained in the book, “British Rule in India” by Sunder Lal. He writes, “Through the loot of India and especially Bengal, (Jharkhand was also a part of Bengal at that time) by the end of the 19th century, the industries of England which were very much backward till then started developing and factories started opening in places like Lancashire. This observation of Sundar Lal is supported by a remark made by Lord Dalhousie on the Railway system in 1853. Lord Dalhousie had said that it was necessary to develop the railways to develop India as a market for British goods as well as a source for raw materials. For this process, the British Empire coined a new word, ‘Development of the Resources of India.’

The character of mining industry in India did not change even after Independence. The geographical, social and cultural systems were irrelevant to those controlling the mining industry, since they had no interest in them. On the other hand, the mine owners looked at all these as obstacles in the way of amassing profits. Hence they wanted to be freed of these and till now they have been free.

The mineral resources, which have been freed of all these has been a source of enormous profit to those associated with mining. This profit attracted a small section of human society. This small section changed our centuries-old perceptions and values for the safeguard of their profit. When the perceptions were changed, all of us started running after the glitter and dazzle of the new world they had set up.

There are many in this world, who run after this glitter and dazzle and that majority is the strength of the minority who amass profits. In reality, those who run after the glitter don’t even get the leftovers of the profit from the mining industry. They get displacement, starvation, poverty, migration, grave illnesses, bullets and lathis from police and mafia. But they still hope sometime or the other, a few drops of this elixir in the form of profit from this industry might reach their throats too.

This is that society which plays an important role in forming governments and it is the representatives of this society who are in important positions in government- Prime minister, Chief minister, ministers and members of Parliament and Assemblies. Therefore, the question of ministers and members of government being involved in illegal mining and corruption is not just a question limited to them, but a question of that section of society which they represent.

We will have to think what meaning does corruption have for these fleeing people. What is their relationship with people around them? When we think about this, we realize that these people who live in their own world of make-believe are in the embrace of dying individualism. These individualistic people have no meaning for corruption. They want their interests to be taken care of using any means. Even if they have to hold laws at bay, to this end, it does not matter for them. In these circumstances, the graph of corruption will show an upward inclination, doubtless. Along with this, if there is murderous competition, there will be cruelty, exploitation and repression.

Therefore the problem of corruption and brutality in mining industry calls for an in-depth reflection, without which we can neither get rid of this problem nor can we make anychanges. Hegde’s report is not directed at this senseless society, but appeals to those who have kept their senses and consciousness in tact, how long would this empire of corruption and cruelty continue. Come, let us think if we are people who have lost our senses or we are still in our senses and want to put an end to the corruption and brutality. In this we cannot be impartial and standing on the sides watching, because impartiality means to keep the status quo in tact.