By Sourish Samanta | Kolkata
TATA’s history of perpetrating violence against Adivasis is not a thing of the past but is also a concern of the future.
The plight of Tanishq is admissible in the light of the recent controversy that split the internet, where the progressives were coming to the rescue of the company’s effort to portray an interfaith marital narrative in the backdrop of India’s religious polarization.
But does that absolve them of the company’s deep-rooted ties with violence against Adivasi farmers?
But why involve Tanishq at all? For starters, Tanishq is a jewelry brand that is a part of the Titan company which is again promoted by the Tata Group alongside Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO).
What happens in Kalinganagar stays in Kalinganagar!
14 years after the infamous Kalinganagar shooting incident in the Jajpur district of Odisha, the towering walls of the Tata Steel plant had buried to what remains of the violence that did not just dislocate the Adivasi farmers from their own lands but the entire premise was chucked out of the public memory as well.
As per the media reportage on the Kalinganagar massacre, “the District Administration has been trying to take over the land for TATA steel for the last few months after an attempt to start construction on 9th May 2005 was foiled by resistance by the local Adivasis, who claimed that they will not vacate the land till their demands are met. During their annual get together at Chandiya on Jan 1st, the people came to know through sources within the administration that the TATAs would initiate Boundary wall construction on the 2nd January 2006 without taking the consent of the people. The tribals decided to oppose the attempt as they have opposed other attempts earlier.
On 2nd January 2006 morning, the district administration including the Collector and the SP and TATA Steel officials reached the site with a bulldozer and started construction of the boundary wall. The team was escorted by 12 platoons of armed police armed with sophisticated weapons.”
Counter Navigation in the time of progressives
In the backdrop of a history steeped in violence against the Adivasi community, TATA’s progressive fame shines brightly within the thresholds of social media platforms.
The progressive majority with their skeptical edges will throw lethal paragraphs, but it does not take theories to connect the dots which are as obvious as this.
The land acquisition dispute still continues where the Adivasis are made to re-live the horrors since TATA in collaboration with the Odisha government still continues with their unsolicited construction.
Now, the question remains, if there will be at all any deeper introspection or will the outrage be selective as far as the liberal progressives are concerned.
The Tanishq ad might have a different angle altogether, but their flailing progressive ad was nothing more than an audience-specific marketing output, one that stands on the pillars of upper-class and capitalism.
The issue was highlighted by the acclaimed Indian poet Meena Kandasamy in one of her tweets.
All of Tata's progressive posturing with one Tanishq ad that celebrates Hindu-Muslim marriages does not take away from the fact that they built their Kalinganagar Tata steel plant on the dead bodies of tribal people killed in police firing.
— meena kandasamy || இளவேனில் (@meenakandasamy) October 14, 2020
Now, the question remains, if there will be at all any deeper introspection, or will the outrage be selective as far as the liberal progressives are concerned.