It was a bizarre incident. I was shocked to see, hear and feel the voice of the villagers for their rights. I was in Lahan recently to assess the situation and interview few locales when I happened to witness this fight for right.
A small group of children belonging to the so-called well to do castes were playing football in a nearby field – all of them belonging to Madhesi community. They were aged between five to 12 years and were quite engrossed in their play. Then suddenly, a group of Musahar children aged around 15 years entered the venue. They too wanted to be the part of the team and play with them but none of the children wanted to include them in their team. They had only one concern – their ball was small and if the older boys will play with them, the ball would burst due to harsh and rough handling. They stopped the play and there was a heated discussion between the two groups. Eventually, the older boys sat down on the field and didn’t allow the smaller boys to play, so they left the ground with huge grudges on their faces.
I was a mere spectator, I tried to solve their differences but the older boys acted like hooligans and I had to opt out. It was not a case of simple fight for right – it was the awareness that has risen in the last few years. Had the seeds of awareness not been sown by the leaders, those Musahar children would have never dared to step forward and asked for their place in the football squad.
In a way, I was happy to witness the rising voices for inclusion. However, gloom slipped down my throat as I thought of their way of demanding the inclusion. I now compare that situation to our country’s problem. Everybody is adamant in getting included in the mainstream, but instead of raising the voices peacefully, they are indulging into violence and vociferous mob mentality.
The leaders should be aware of what is happening in the villages. We can imagine, if 15 year old children can be so nasty for inclusion, what is cooking in the minds of people who have been oppressed for so many years.
The Lahan incident was not only a Maoist misdeed but it was a huge dent in the democracy. It was a hole through which the differences between the communities started percolating. The same hole is widening day by day but nothing substantial has been done till date to block its ever widening trait. The eight party leaders who are enjoying their new found status should be aware of the bubble which is going to burst. All voices raised should be heard and addressed accordingly. It is the only way to save the country from a disastrous debacle.