Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I happened to read two reports from Wayanad (in Kerala) in The Hindu; one by P. Sainath (TH April 25, 06) and another by Anita Joshua (TH April 26, 06). Both are about the election scene there and they wish the CPI(M) to win from the three assembly segments. This will indeed mean that the Congress party, whose citadel Wayanad was, will be trounced this time. Well, this may happen.

But what struck me in these reports is that (and if the reports are correct), there are hardly any adivasis in Wayanad. The issue before the voters this election is that coffee and pepper prices have crashed and the voters are, hence, angry with the Congress. And hence the LDF will breach the UDF citadel!

Sainath, grudgingly, mentions the Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha and C.K.Janu. But just grudgingly and in passing. Both these reports do not recall the struggle by the adivasis in Wayanad demanding their rights over their land (that the settlers have appropriated) and various other issues confronting the tribal people there; there is no reference to the Mutanga atrocities and the repression against the tribal people and their leaders. There is no mention that Wayanad happened to be an area neglected by the CPI(M) and the CPI over the years and it was left to the naxalites to organize and take up the demands of the people there. There is no mention about the legendary Stephen who was killed by the police and all the rights violations that were carried out to protect the settlers and their property.

Well, what if the mainstream media pretends to ignore the indigenous people. Their struggle will continue and that is how it should be.


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