Sunday, 21 July 2013

BOOK REVIEW : Hello Bastar by Rahul Pandita


                      "Naxal, Naxalite and Naksalvadi are generic terms used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational envelopes. In the eastern states of the mainland India (Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha), they are usually known as, or refer to themselves as Maoists while in southern states like Andhra Pradesh they are known under other titles. They have been declared as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of India (1967).[1][2][3] Leaders of the movement have been found to have hideouts located in China.[4]
In 2006 India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing estimated that 20,000 armed cadre Naxalites were operating in addition to 50,000 regular cadres[6] and their growing influence prompted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare them to be the most serious internal threat to India's national security.[7]"
The above paragraph is taken from wikipedia. I wanted to find out what the term NAXALITES meant to us , and, I am not surprised that as usual we have half-baked information at our immediate disposal. Though it is authors like Rahul Pandita who passionately work hard to bring the real picture infront of us.
Yes, I agree that the maoist or the naxalite movement is the biggest internal threat to our democracy. And kudos to our security forces for sacrificing their lives to keep us safe and trying their level best to contain and reduce the influence of the naxalite movement in India. But is this all that is there in this picture?
Are the naxalites power hungry? Are they doing this under the influence of some foreign power? Are they really forcing the localites and the adivasis of their areas to follow them against their wishes?
The answer is an emphatic NO..
Though our country India claims to be the biggest democracy in the world, I would say it is a farce. How can a country be democratic when more than half its population, living in villages are ruthlessly exploited by the local officials and the rich landlords since the time of Independence. We talk about globalisation and FDI and becoming a global power but on what account? A country does not become advanced just on the basis of its handful og big cities and a handfull of rich inustrialists. Today whether it is Chattisgarh or Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh or Bihar, it is the downtrodden and the forgotten section of our society who are taking up arms to protect their right to live peacefully in their areas.
I wish to applaud Pandita for writing such a meticulous and detailed book on the maoist movement in India. As expected, it is a very well researched book which traces the origins of the naxalite movement from West Bengal upto the present day scenario. I was surprised and at the same time impressed to read about the Janathana Sarkar or the People's Government formed by the Maoists in the areas of their influence, which really works for the beefit of the localites and guarantees the massess all the fundamental rights denied to them by the sysytem.
Pandita has written extensively about the organisation structure of the Maoists,their fundings and even their method of procuring the weapons.
The book ends with an afterword written by Kobad Ghandy, a pioneer and a visionary of the Maoist movement, who is in Tihar Jail since his arrest in the year2009.
Here is a poem by revolutionary poet Gorakh Pandey  which expresses the sentiments of the thousands of young men and women who fight for a purpose which we the common citizens know as MAOIST MOVEMENT :
                       It's thousands of years old
                       their anger
                       thousands of years old
                       is their bitterness
                       I am only returning their scattered words
                       and you fear that   
                      I am spreading fire.

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