Experiencing The “Life Tax”
Shankar Sharma experiences one of the ad-hoc existential toll-booths that pop up on open transportation networks where the Naxalite/Black economy nexus is active.
We were driving back from a sales trip into the (further) interiors in the stockist’s car when a bunch of gray boys, in their mid teens, formed a human chain across the road to block us…It did seem a primitive toll tax booth but when we stopped, the stockist actually started negotiating the toll amount with them..they came down from 100 bucks to 70, but started getting agitated when pressed further. Suddenly the leader of the gray pack shouted angrily “Pay up 100 now nahi to bhaiya will visit you personally tomorrow.”
This bhaiya ,I found later, is the local self styled naxalite who does the ‘collection’ to keep the wheels of agitation well oiled.
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