Untangling the Maoist Knot

Posted on July 19, 2010 in Politics

By G. Amar Tejaswi:

In India, voices are seldom heard. What travels through the tunnel of one’s ears is a cacophony of people, few important and quite a lot unimportant, trying to make space for themselves in public eye. Of course, they have wild motives of acquiring ephemeral power and accumulating as much affluence as possible during that period. But who cares? We, the general public, are living happily oblivious to the outer world. No, do not protest; I am not talking about the world of technology, the world of our comforts, the world immediately around us. We are far too submerged in it, not to be aware of it. What I am focusing on is the world of the poor, which seems obscure when seen through the lenses of our eyes. It is in this world that people called Maoists are thriving. And now they are taking us on, showing utter contempt, almost elated over the damage they have caused.

Maoists pride themselves for being the saviours of the proletariat, although, quite a few people including you and me would doubt that. They want everyone to believe that they fight for the poor, on behalf of the poor. What then have they achieved in all these years of struggle? It would be utterly naïve to consider their killing of policemen an achievement. By embroiling themselves in the lands of the poor, they are making life for the people inhabiting those lands harder. This certainly doesn’t count as an achievement! But we know that the Maoists have the villagers’ support. It is a synergy that the government is finding hard to defeat. Why is it so? Why do the people of these lands not despise them? Well, the answer perhaps lies in the human nature.

After being battered by the Maoists for so many months, the security forces finally tasted success when they killed a politburo member named Azad. When you think of Azad, you might feel a surge of acrimony from within yourself, or you might not. Azad’s death must be condemned. True, he was a Maoist, but he was not attacking anyone, he had never attacked anyone. Worse, he was willing sitting on the negotiation table. The forces could simply have had him arrested. They acted in haste; it was foolish to kill him, especially when he didn’t retaliate. Now, the Maoists have a martyr! But at the same time, the Government and the security forces must not be condemned. The soldiers were hungry to score a point, the Maoists had already scored quite a few.

All this while, the government has been making a mockery of itself. Losing a battle is alright, but not knowing how to fight is plain ludicrous. Surely, with all the resources the governments at the centre and the state have at their disposal, they should have got the better of the Maoists. Still they don’t seem to understand. At this juncture, we desperately need a paradigm shift. The approach to eradication of Naxalism is erroneous. Counter-attacking the Maoists with force will not subdue their cause. If at all the Government is somehow successful in wiping them out of their strongholds, it will not be the end of the war. They will come again until nobody can find a reason why they should not. What we need is a Gandhian approach. The Government must take urgent and immediate steps to usher in a new era of development and egalitarianism in those areas where Maoism thrives. A separate development policy for these badlands must be evolved and implemented with haste. Schools, hospitals and ration stores must be setup within a short period of time. This will bring the people closer to the Government. The presence of the Government must be felt not through the security forces but through able and efficient administration. The day this happens, the Maoists will surrender voluntarily; if they don’t, then they are no different from terrorists.

On the other hand, the Maoists have the obligation of proving if they really are fighting for less privileged people, for their development. Nothing they have done until now has caused a sense a jubilation among the people. They seem to overlook the most obvious point; revolution does not need to be armed, it does not need to be malicious. Bhagat Singh, the immortal martyr, was a revolutionary and communist. He did not wage a war like this; he never intended to maim anybody. He deliberately threw a bomb on the floor of the Parliament so that nobody would be hurt. Now, there is a lesson for the Maoists.

Caught in this crossfire between the revolutionaries and the government is the poor man. He cannot take sides because if he does, it will bring about his end. Notwithstanding all the rhetoric on this issue that is tearing the poor lands apart, disconnecting them further from the world, neither the government nor the Maoists will change their course. Each side is thinking about itself. Alas, there is none to think about the poor man, he will have to live within himself.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.