A camera has been stolen/lost from the organization. A heated meeting ensured in the morning about who may have taken it and where it has gone. The last time the same camera could not be found, the staffs’ belief in spirits led to the camera being surreptitiously returned. A similar strategy seems to be in the making this time. In the afternoon, I sat with Muneshwarji and we marked the proposed schemes on the resource map with a new set of symbols.
While we had gone to the nearby dhaba for our evening tea, Ronak joined us with two men. They were members of CPI-ML (Marxist Leninist) Liberation party in Chattarpur. When we came back to the office, we were able to talk to them about their party and its beliefs, but not for long. The tables turned and soon they were asking us questions about our ideology, our family backgrounds, etc. One of them kept saying ‘Great people like you all’ and expressed interest in having us meet his wife and daughter. I felt de-valued, being judged solely on the social capital I presented myself in. This imposed greatness was simply a byproduct of the class I seemed to come from and the associated caste I belong to. In fact, I was sitting on the floor when he came in and he seemed surprised at that choice. This surprise was followed by exclamations of admiration, that people as educated and as great as us sit on the floor, whereas uneducated people from the village aspire to sit on chairs and hold their head up high. It makes sense. After generations of oppression, a chair holds much greater meaning than after a life where one never had to question whether or not to sit on a chair, because it was always offered and available. Context.
The party members said they will come tomorrow morning to speak with us. I have so many questions for them.
- What is the strength of CPI-ML Liberation in Chattarpur?
- Which districts have the highest Communist support in Jharkhand and why?
- What is the caste breakdown of CPI-ML cadre and leadership?
- What is the relationship between the Maoists and the party in Chattarpur?
- What sort of alternative system does the party propose for governance?
- Have party representatives managed to take up positions in the Panchayat?
- What is the participation of women in the party and the what types of roles do they take up?