Something strange, something miraculous has happened in the annals of India or for that matter the world. The Tatas, a leader of the capitalist system was defeated by the proletariat, 100 odd farmers. There was a lot of politics and a lot of betrayal even by the Marxists who were supposed to be a standard bearer in fight by the people. What was seen at Singur, a hamlet in West Bengal, was against the ideal of a welfare state. It was a new interpretation of dialectical materialism. When it comes to greed there is no difference between the yogi and the commissar. The CPI-M has given yet another blow to the ideology of communism. This was inevitable because the Marxists joined hands with the Capitalists. Politics apart, the triumph by the farmers, over the Tatas, was historical. It was an unequal fight, to begin with. Still David killed Goliath. Resourceful corporate leader Rattan Tata, supported by the West Bengal government and the CPI-M cadre, was on one side and 100-odd farmers on the other. The Tatas were bent upon setting up a factory to produce cheap cars - Nano. Farmers were equally firm in their resolve not to surrender their land. The have-not won and the haves lost. The villain of the piece was Marxist West Bengal government. Its obsession to industrialise the state led the government to acquire a large tract of land in one of the most irrigated areas, giving four to five crops. The purpose given out for acquiring the land was "public interest". But the land was given to the Tatas at a throwaway price in easy instalments. Farmers close to the CPI-M gave away their land. Was it discipline or fear? You should guess. The rest of the farmers, who were against the government diktat, were beaten in full view of television cameras. The government imposed Section 144 for over two months and built a compound wall around the factory. More and more farmers caved in. At the end, not more than 100-odd farmers were left in the fray. State Governor Gopal Gandhi intervened and an agreement was signed. It meant returning to farmers some land, only 400 acres from 1100, from the one the Tatas had already occupied. They said "no" and the West Bengal government also went back on its words. However, there is a lesson for the corporate sector: Stay away from the cultivable land. Corporations will face a similar type of confrontation all over in the country. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung all the way, from left to right. Narender Modi was Ratan Tata's refuge. The latter says he got better terms. The Gujaratis who have not questioned Modi's involvement in ethnic cleansing in the state dare not ask about the terms offered to the Tatas. Over the years, the people in the state have changed. Their values, unlike those of Mahatma Gandhi who was born in the state, have come to acquire a material, selfish touch. As regards Modi, he considers Gujarat his fiefdom and rules the state ruthlessly. Still, Singur has set an example which the cultivators all over the world, serving their masters, would like to emulate. It may not happen again. I do not see a similar thing taking place in the neighbourhood, Pakistan. With landlords commanding hundreds of thousands of acres and treating the cultivators as serfs, even a semblance of challenge is crushed to bones. The government is a party to it because the rulers themselves are big landlords. Can there ever be land reforms in Pakistan? Now that democracy has begun to bloom, is it possible that feudalism which dominates the country may one day come to be challenged? President Asif Ali Zardari who talks about democracy in every conversation should realise that the democratic system means giving power to the people. How can he or, for that matter, those in the limelight, whether in the Pakistan People's Party or in the Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League, discuss the rights of the common man when they possess thousands of acres of land without ever thinking of reforms? Indeed, they are the vested interest which does not fit into the requirement of a democracy. In a way, this explains why Pakistan loses democracy so easily. People have very little stake. Leaders of political parties, when confronted by popular uprisings have surrendered power to the armed forces. They have preferred the military rule to the abolition of feudalism. Religious orders in fact, have gained ground because the few families - once their number was 26 - protect their wasteful standard of living by pawning liberty to the fauj. True, Z.A. Bhutto won the election on plank of roti, kapada aur makan. So did Mrs Indira Gandhi when the slogan of Garibi Hatao brought her to power resoundingly. Both failed when it came to the implementation. Mere slogans of progress do not mean progress. The writer is a former member of the Indian Parliament and senior journalist E-mail: knayar@nation.com.pk