Monday, June 28, 2010

Bihar since 1970s

From last 5 years social activist Chandawar in association with Bihar Sarvodaya Mandal has devoted himself in the campaign to hand over land to the real owners.
Nothing much has come out of it. The man has now resorted to the last measure of the desperate crusaders - hunger strike. Acharya Binobha Bhave and his followers had painstakingly acquired surplus land and distributed it among landless tillers - but very few of them own the land that they were handed over under the Bhoodan initiative. Why?
The causes are mutiple. One - endemic corruption that binds the corridors of power and bureacucracy like a leash. The deeds have either been tampered with by the landlords - preventing the farmers from staking their claim on the land that rightfully belonged to them. Thousands of land disputes - with roots in the Bhoodan movement- are pending in court and the administration is strangely apathetic even after more than 30 years. The subaltern nexus between local govt officials, landowners - and the political power heads - is still active. Second - militancy. The caste conflicts, private militias and the Maosists have bled the poor farmers. While land has been bone of class struggle in Bihar, the Maosists have liberated vast tracts from the stranglehold of the zamindars for themselves.
The victims - caught between the two- the poor landless farmer. Can protests help ? Is Nitish Kumar listening? Things have not changed since 70s.Or are they

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reportage and Anthologies

Journalism - as someone once quipped - is the mother of a book. Fiction or non-fiction, for a journalist in the thick of action, comes easy because the grist is always at a pen's throw. Either at interviews, spot coverages, special assignments or among scores of human characters that a journalist has to navigate to flesh out a story. Strangely, each of these - animate or inanimate characters (sometimes situations) - has a story to tell. Compiling a book is relatively easy. Put your tales - I mean the news stories that the scribe have filed every decrepit evening after another - in sequence. Spice it with colour, locales, mood - some legwork from an archive or even the wikio- and behold you have a non-fiction volume. An anthology is a shortest route to fame. A comprehensive non-fiction requires some more sweat and midnight's oil. Moral: The non-fiction writer and the interpreter/analyst win the day. It is time, journalists thought before putting their despatches together as a book. Innovative thinking coupled with the real-life encounters make for a good non-fiction.