Jesus Christ walked on water as per certain Christian belief systems. It appears that the local clergy who supported the struggle of the fishing community against Vizhinjam Transit Harbour has finally decided to allow Adani to walk over a globally significant bio-diversity region of an ocean in Kerala. The fisher people were on strike for 12 days. The Communist government in Kerala, Adani and the protesters made a patch up and called off the strike. The local church played a crucial role in ending the strike.
I wonder whether the local clergy has finally compromised to take Adani as their Pope. The existing Pope Francis seems to be much more radical in his outlook. In a press conference on January 15, 2015, Pope Francis stated that: “God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much’. It is high time that both the Christian leaders and the Marxist leaders in Kerala listen to this basic wisdom.
There is also a conflict of Adani’s profit interests with the Marxist values envisaged by Karl Marx. Therefore the decision makers of CPI(M) on this matter should also understand that the Marxist values should not be subjugated under the accumulation of capital agenda of Adani and the agenda of extraction of surplus value at the cost of people’s lives and environment.
Jesus Christ worked for the poor and the oppressed. Following that tradition, the clergy has a moral responsibility to work for justice. Marx also envisaged a different paradigm in the 19th century with his strong critique of capitalism, from the view point of justice. It is certainly the responsibility of the CPI and CPI(M) to uphold these values, in case they go by the name of Karl Marx.
Justice for the people is not limited to those who are living today. It can also extend to the lives of the future generations as well as various species of the present and future. The ecological destruction of the bio-diversity of the sea would be much more, when Adani starts blasting the existing rocks under the sea, for the construction of the port inside the sea. The following environmental effects cannot be predicted.
The environmental effects of dredging in this high bio-diversity region have already been demonstrated even with video footages. The leaders of the fishing communities must realize that it is their
Mother Sea’ that is going to be blasted. If they remain as dumb spectators to the event, they cannot be called leaders of the fishingcommunity’ which has a historical deep tradition of conserving the fish resources as well as respect for nature. This tradition cannot be violated by the
community leaders’ in this trade-off between profits andMother Sea’.
Kerala has witnessed protests against the destruction of even one tree on many occasions in the past. But in this case, it is not one tree which will be destroyed. The exact number cannot be calculated at this moment. Those who participated in the `Save Western Ghats’ activities must realize that here is a case of two hills from the Western Ghats to be removed and to be dumped into the ocean. Even if there are not much trees in this region, the hills of Western Ghats play an environmental role for Kerala. The houses in these localities will also be affected. Already, people in these regions have expressed their deep dissent to this process of quarrying the hills.
At this moment, it seems that the negotiation is for the salability of the lives and livelihood of thousands of fishers, their coasts, the ocean and its biodiversity, the beaches which attracted the tourists and also the sale of two hills from the Western Ghats to be dumped into the sea. The main card for negotiation for this sale will be undoubtedly with Adani . And this sale is taking place entirely at the cost of the taxes from people.
No Government, no clergy and no Adani own the sea, the beaches, the lives of coastal people and the hills of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They do not `own’ nature. Nature is not their private property, even if they think that they are powerful enough with their electoral power, economic power or with their spiritual power. Those who control these powers, please realize this basic reality. Nature belongs to the future generations as well as for thousands of people existing as its dependents today, as well as a wide number of species of the present and future. No money can compensate such destruction.
Interestingly, Kerala also has a tradition of having stopped many destructive projects by the people’s movements right from the days of the Silent Valley Movement. Both the clergy and LDF must understand that Kerala’s natural resources and lives and livelihood of people are not for sale. There are enough socially, ecologically and politically aware activists, groups and movements in Kerala to question this process. If the LDF Government has any misunderstanding on this, please check the election promise of the left before they came to power, which says that they stand for `development without destroying the environment and the lives of people’. They are bound to keep this election promise for which people have voted them to power. If they cannot fulfill this promise, they must step down graciously admitting their failure, and express their criticisms against Vizhinjam project openly the way they did when they were in opposition. Otherwise, Marxism itself will have no value in Kerala.
In fact, the CAG report on Vizhinjam seems to be more Marxist and Christian in its spirits for justice. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had clearly stated that the interests of Kerala were not protected in the agreement with Adani Ports and SEZ Private Ltd for implementing the Rs 7525 crore Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport project. For people to respect either Christianity or Marxism in Kerala, these leaders should at least follow the spirits of justice written in the CAG report. Says Pope Francis: `Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities’.
The problems of this man-made disaster are only at the beginning stage today. Enough warnings have been given before. It is becoming more and more clear that this planned disaster will be something that the left will not be able to handle. And if they try to handle it for Adani, their credibility for the future will be gone forever. Let us not have any doubt about its implications. It is high time for us to assert that let us not repeat the same mistake of Nandigram and Singur in Kerala. We have seen the effects in West Bengal. Let us not repeat the same mistake in Kerala.
And tomorrow, if Jesus Christ and Karl Marx visit Kerala, I would not be surprised if they may be trapped under the stones dumped by Adani, millions of tonnes of rocks to be thrown inside the sea. For Christ had not learnt to walk under the sea. And Marx did not have much idea about falling rocks on his head inside the globally significant bio-diversity region of an ocean, supervised by the Marxist leadership in Kerala. But I am sure, if both of them ever come to Vizhinjam waters, they will not be coming to compromise with Adani
K.P Sasi is a film maker, writer, activist and cartoonist. He can be reached at [email protected]