By Avneesh Kumar:
“See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.” — Noam Chomsky.
The tragedy with Naxalites is that to mark their presence they have to perpetrate violence. Otherwise, the government and the media overlook them. And every time Naxals carry out an attack, the media and the policy makers arise, garnering all their vigor, to condemn their ideology and thus their resistance. It was not different even this time. The Naxalites attacked the Congress convoy and killed Mahendra Karma, the founder of Salwa Judum, and 28 others in Bustar. Consequently, an avalanche of excoriation came, from every corner. The arguments favouring government became more clear and louder. And Naxals were accused of waging a war against India and labelled as the ‘enemy of the state’.
But in this process, a basic fact which was largely sidelined or rather ignored is that the government enjoys a kind of legitimacy only because the policies made by it are beneficial — or supposed to be beneficial — for each and every people of the state. The day people feel that the government is inept and no longer addresses their issues, frustration grips them, which causes the trust to diminish.
The problem of Naxalism, inter alia, came into existence because people were marginalized. A feeling of anger and distress engulfed them because their trust in the system was broken. And this caused their exclusion from the mainstream. This rupture also disseminated the belief that the government has turned into an oppressive political system which will continue to oppress and marginalize them, and so the need to take the help of violence and turn down the ‘oppressive government’ emerged.
However, our political class is hell-bent on snubbing the failures of governance, not even considering it worthwhile to talk on that. They, instead, join the large section of public opinion that advocates the use of force and does not hesitate to suggest that a full-fledged war should be waged against Naxalites. They also allege Naxalites of trying to subvert the democratic system and the rule of law, which is, to a greater extent, true. But the necessity is to underline and discuss who has provoked these innocent peoples to come into the influence of the ‘misguided elements’ and pick up the gun and participate in the revolt against the political establishment and state machinery.
Naxalites operate in poverty-stricken areas where people live in hopelessness. They do not get the benefit of government policies and also suffer the atrocities of corrupt officials and upper-caste elites. Furthermore, they witness the destruction of their homes. They are displaced, more than once, because the government has to lease out mines to make multinational companies happy. They resist, by all means, taking all the alternatives available to them, but the government does not listen. And then originate the inevitability of being prepared to die, adopting the gun and embarking on an underground armed resistance.
This Naxalite movement might not succeed eventually, for the fighting is between a powerful state and some disorganized and disoriented people. But the deprived and distressed people are fighting and struggling to protect their existence while endorsing that even if the resistance is unequal, it must continue.
At this point, the movement manifests the destiny of the poorest. They have always been exploited, and the responsibility to resist has always been imposed upon them.