The Game of Dice of the Mahabharata epic is being enacted on the banks of Narmada river. The actors are Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) as Dushasana; Government of India (GoI) as Duryodhana; the Narmada river represented by the people who are being forcibly evicted for protesting and demanding their rightful due, as Draupadi being disrobed; the Legislative and the Judiciary as the impotent Elders witnessing the game of dice; the neoliberal economic agenda as the loaded dice made from the bones of Shakuni’s father; and the people-oriented political parties as Yudhishtira who cravenly gambles away his heritage and is powerless to oppose injustice. It would be unwise to name any person who plays the modern-day Shakuni or Dhritarashtra in this drama. Lord Krishna who saves Draupadi’s honour is yet to manifest …. The powers-that-be are surely familiar with the the Game of Dice in the Mahabharata epic, and should be easily able to understand the allegory in today’s context.
Closing the sluice gates of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam affects over 40,000 project-affected families (PAFs) who have not been provided rehabilitation which the Supreme Court has mandated. The Supreme Court silently watches as the peacefully protesting PAFs, some of whom are on fast for 12 days, are forcibly evicted through brutal police action ordered by GoMP. GoMP and GoI deliberately suppress the Justice S.S.Jha Report which reveals incomplete rehabilitation due to humongous corruption in the rehabilitation process, and this has the sanction of the Supreme Court, which has also accepted false Action Taken Reports on rehabilitation filed by GoMP.
The peaceful resistance of the courageous children of Narmada mayya to the rank injustice and violence by the very pillars of our Constitution, has received unconditional support from all over the world. The whole, unvarnished truth of the decades-long resistance of the children of Narmada mayya against State repression cries for wide media coverage; even the on-going crisis is barely reported. But right now, the demand is for justice, although the much more immediate demand is that the forcible eviction must be stopped and the SSP dam gates should be immediately opened. The children of Narmada will fight this as a last-ditch battle.
Where are you, Lord Krishna? In her extreme distress Draupadi awaits rescue …
Major General S.G. Vombatkere, VSM, retired as Additional DG Discipline & Vigilance in Army HQ AG’s Branch. His area of interest is strategic and development-related issues. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org>