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Naxalism – an entrenched philosophy [Part 1 of 5]

Posted on May 20, 2010 in Politics

Abhirup Bhunia:

In the mid sixties, a lean man of 47 had set in motion, a phenomenon — a radically motivated one — that stemmed from a belief that rampant social inequity had plagued the nation, poor and the backward weren’t part of socio-economic development and that the only way to avenge it or to bring justice unto themselves was treading the path of violence. Defying the times gone by — the pre independent era when injustice against people was dealt with walking the conduit of non-violence — Charu Majumdar, the initiator of what is known as Naxalism, gluttonously gave India its worst enemy at home — internal insurgency at its cruelest. After breaking away from CPIM, this communist leader went on to form his own group consisting of the youth which embarked upon ultra Leftist attitudes and considered aggression the way to go. Naxalism, the name, came from the Naxalbari uprising which refers to a place in West Bengal where the peasant’s movement was triggered following an alarming incident. Several tribals were killed when they retaliated to attacks by goons sent by landlords. The Left front government, supported by the Congress at the centre, clamped down on the tribes. The tripartite clashes over three days left 9 tribals dead apart from a police employee. And, Naxalism was born. The ideology, deeply influenced by Marx’s theory of class struggle and social justice, is a stretched form of communism which has spread out to more than 200 districts throughout India, with Jharkand, West Bengal, Chattishgarh and Bihar among the worst hit. There is an emotional aspect to it which makes a few quarters of the society sympathetic towards the cause of Maoist/Naxals. And it requires little mention that the locals, brainwashed by hard ideological theories, give their silent support to this armed rebellion. Tired of chronic neglect and abandonment, weighed down by a strong conviction that they have been left behind in the race for development and perturbed by the half-heartedness shown by the government in addressing concerns of the tribals, these people took up arms to engage in guerilla warfare against the state. Insurgency of this sort is not a new-fangled thing in India, neither the world. The Naga rebels were secessionists, the Telengana mutiny are separatists, however, the Maoists simply seek to overthrow the Indian state — a nefarious concept!

Denying that development has been denied to them would amount to pusillanimous evasion of the truth. At the same time, acknowledging that the path treaded by the Maoists — of that of violence and bloodbath — is rightful would mean advocating death of innocent people. Talks, believed to be the best way to tackle such menaces, have never surfaced. While Chidambaram snubs the talk offer one time, Kishenji (Maoist commander) rejects truce offers by the Home Minister another time. All such discussions boil down to a few things: That the Maoists hate the state because a conviction works in them that the latter hasn’t taken up welfare of tribals, that they believe violence, which many say has been their last resort, will force the government to address their concerns and, and lastly, that the nation is divided as to how to tackle Naxalism — while many believe development should precede crackdown by the state and it is to be seen as a deep-rooted social problem rather than a law and order problem, others think the other way round and yet others consider that both should occur simultaneously and the latter forms the majority including the government at the centre ruling the nation.