In favor of the Naxalites

Naxalites in India
Red Corridor : Naxalites in India
I believe a title needs to titillate. Obviously, it serves no meaning if it turns you off. But, on the other hand it also needs to serve its original purpose of informing the reader about what comes next. Quoting Sidhuji ” A title should be like a bikini : it should titillate just enough to arouse interest.”

I abhor violence, love Gandhiji and Gandhigiri, and in no way do I subscribe to the methods of the naxalites.  But I also tend to agree Gandhigiri doesn’t work in real life as well as it does in and for the movies. I just did some research about Naxalites after yesterday’s attack and came to several conclusions. Through this post I intend to clear several misconceptions about the Naxalities tormenting our country. I have taken a fair bit from Hindustan Times and Wikipedia to explain my position, but they just help me make my point.

Wikipedia defines Naxalites:

“Naxalite or Naksalvadis (name from the village of Naxalbari in the Indian state of West Bengal where the movement originated), are a group of far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. Their origin can be traced to the split in 1967 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), leading to formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist).”

Samar of Hindustan Times explains how it came into being:

Naxals are driven by the inequities heaped on the people in the liberated zone — in part, certainly; for the rest they are just a murderous mob — while India was busy with its great economic leap. Indeed, much of the fuel for that leap has come from the mines, rivers and land of the red corridor, often to the detriment of the impoverished locals. They, frankly, are not the subjects of our democracy, living as they do in an unseen feudal/tribal twilight world beyond the horizons of modern India.

From the Iberians who harassed the imperial Roman army before the birth of Christ to the Marathas who harried the Mughals in medieval times to Che Guevara who romanticised the Cuban revolution of the 1950s, guerrillas have always thrived in societies with such split personalities, inequities and a strong culture of intellectuals. India, where we ignore wretchedness like no other people, is fertile ground for the guerrilla, who wins local support by living among the ignored and implementing social reform. Thus has emerged the red corridor.

Mao Zedong, the great Chinese communist leader has remarked:

A revolution’s need for a base area… is just like an individual’s need for a buttocks. If an individual didn’t have a buttocks, he… would have to run around or stand around all the time.

Naxalites have created a base for themselves in India only in those regions of the country where poverty is rampant and government apathy is visible for one and all to see. At its height in the 70’s, the Naxalite movement in India found a lot of followers in colleges like St. Stephens of Delhi – where the rich political class of India studies and graduated from. Those who have seen the movie “Hazaaron Khawishein Aisi” will recollect how the rich, young Kay Kay Menon fought for the poor. The dichotomy of India is that the inaction and apathy of the great Indian middle class is what helps India grow at 8% a year and it is the same middle class that makes the rich richer and turns a blind eye to politicians’ digressions.

Coming back to Naxalite insurgency, Samar, in his HT article mentions how Peru had a Maoist insurgency problem, similar to the one present in India. It was aggravated because of the social inequity to such and extent that in the 1990’s there were nearly 10,000 Maoists who were responsible for the death of nearly 70,000 people in a nation of 28 million. Peru eventually was able to shake off insurgency after it arrested the leader and improved public facilities. In Samar’s own words:

The unravelling(of Maoist insurgency) was borne on two things: war-like military action using crack troops and equipment, and rapid economic growth after Guzman’s arrest.
Last year, I travelled through the Peruvian Andes, a dry, poor area that was once the stronghold of the Maoists. Though poverty is still widespread, you can see the state’s war efforts: concrete pavements in the poorest villages, the rapid spread of electricity and smooth mountain roads maintained by workers so well equipped that an Indian can only marvel.

Even Mr Chidambaram seems to agree as he said in a statement that the onus of ensuring that the Naxalite movement doesn’t increase depends on the state government.

The Naxalite movement and its spread in nearly 30% of India indicates how deep rooted the problem is. I wrote this post to clear a few misconceptions people have about Naxalites. They are murderers, no doubt, but then so were Che and Lenin. Their victories ensured that they were remembered differently.

We hope that development occurs at the grass roots and not just the rich are pampered by the government, but some consideration is provided to the poor of this nation too.


I have been a life long fan of Ayn Rand. Yet it seems I am turning communist in this godforsaken country.

9 Replies to “In favor of the Naxalites”

  1. Just tuned to a news channel where it was branding maoist sympathisers as accomplices. Pathetic or wat? The latest outlook article on maoist of Arundathi Roy is also under scrutiny.

    Even I too abhor violence, but I despise people who turn blind eyed to the needs to poor and then condemn those who fight for their rights.

    “They are murderers, no doubt, but then so were Che and Lenin. Their victories ensured that they were remembered differently.” Well said.

  2. I wrote everything I did out of indignation….the media, unfortunately is in cahoots with our politicians….actually, the proliferation of news channels these days has led to a huge decrease in quality…they go on harping about “What” happened without having a single episode that addresses “Why”.

  3. I too abhor the inequities.. but then, there has to be some rationality!
    Shouldn’t people be responsible for their own children?
    Should the entire populace be held responsible for the misdeeds of ones parents?
    The child labour act punishes the employer, not the parent… why?
    If the employer is fined, shouldn’t their parents be sterilized and jailed!
    Government employees…. why are Government jobs so popular? aren’t they lowly paid? (seeing how they go on strikes so often?), and why can’t they be fired for incompetence? if they are not satisfied with their lot, there is a long list of people willing to take their place (at half the cost!), why doesn’t the Government save our money by replacing them?
    The question of the labourer and farmer… are you willing to pay for their equity? Could you afford the prices of food, clothing, housing etc. if you paid them a decent wage?
    The middle class and the media has a lot to account for! Your screams are the loudest, and you make the government do whatever (rollback prices, release terrorists etc.) because of your physical proximity to the centers of power…on the one hand every one wants equity for the poor, but no one wants to pay for it!
    I know communism doesn’t work, but for any other system to work, every one would have to sacrifice a little (or a lot).
    The rich may afford it… can you?
    And again for the have-nots… do you really think that by taking over all the property of the haves and redistributing it among the have-nots the problem of inequity would be solved? Get a life! If you cannot earn it you don’t deserve it.
    Look around… USSR, China… where did communism go? What makes you think it would work in India! (and don’t get me started on religion!!)

  4. @Anil,
    Thanks a lot for your comment. I am happy to see that I have been able to elicit such a response through the article.
    Through this article I have been trying to make a point that Indian democracy is not yet mature enough to run as a true democracy. It is not a “Of the People, For the people, By the People rule” as we have been taught.
    The people who are labeled Naxals are ordinary tribals fighting against the government’s tyranny as in this lawless land, there is no one ready to hear them out. The solution of the problem is not to murder these tribals but to provide them schools, education and care. The Gandhian way, not the communist and definitely not the capitalist. 🙂

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