Tales from Dantewada: India's      Great Internal War

The question ‘whose side are you on’ is an often repeated one in history. Marx, Gandhi and even Hitler arrived on the world stage as answers to this particular question. Revolutions, freedom struggles and revolts have all been different manifestations of the quest to answer it. They all happened as responses by the people to their realities in different contexts in history.But what happens when the very concept of a single reality is shattered? The 21st century is characterised by multiple voices, true, but it’s also characterised by multiple realities. This short introduction is meant to draw your attention to the changing nature of the Indian state since its ‘conversion’ to neo-liberalism, especially after the 80s. Also, to impress upon the contemporary complexities of the seemingly simple ‘on whose side are u’ question.
It was in 2005 April that Dr. Manmohan Singh described Maoism as the ‘gravest internal threat’ of India. It can be seen that the then Maoist movement, when compared to the present scenario, hadn’t really qualified itself for such a remark. But today what we see is a movement spreading over 60,000 sq.k.m of forest land, with lakhs of supporters, in thousands of villages. It has become a movement that has established itself as the strongest rebel force challenging the writ of the Indian state.

Some History

The 1967 Naxalbari movement in Bengal under the leadership of Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jungle Santhal (later came to be known as Naxalism) is the first organised Maoist movement in India. This movement characterised by the adage ‘the thunder of spring’ rose to prominence in the 70’s and was suppressed by the 80’s. The Charumajumdar essays and speeches inspired by Chairman Mao gives a general idea regarding the nature of this movement. Majumdar’s violent and unpopular ‘annihilation theory’, lack of influence in the urban areas etc were some of the reasons for the failure of the Naxalbari movement. The Naxal uprising in AP during the 80’s can also be viewed in this context. Like Naxalbari, it was also suppressed ruthlessly and effectively by the state. The gov. intervention using special forces such as the ‘Grey Hounds’  in AP is regarded as a model for anti naxal campaigns even today.

Today, India is witnessing the strongest Naxal resurgence ever in its history. The media, irrespective of its corporate and alternate avatars, has been continuously voicing its concern over the issue. The Indian state has launched ‘Operation Green Hunt’, a massive military campaign against the Maoists. In one of their most brutal attacks, the maoists massacred 75 CRPF personnel in an ambush in Dantevada recently. Special Police Officers and civilians have also been targeted. Maoists have also had to face severe setbacks. Talks about the armed forces being brought in to action are in the air.
What is it that enables the Maoist movement to re-emerge from their ashes time and again even after being repeatedly and brutally suppressed by the state? What makes a country that claims to be the largest democracy, declares war against its own people? What exactly is the alternative put forward by the Maoists? What should be the stand of the civil society of this country in this highly volatile and threateningly huge issue? These are some of the issues to which answers are sought through this article.
                                                                                      ( continued in the next post..on page 2..pls scroll up!)


Anonymous said...

excellent yaar........ eagerly waiting for the next post

Nivedita said...

I'm waiting too. Theres nothing I like better than a good debate