It has been a couple of years since the Dantewada incident had happened. An act which became the news of the nation for weeks and months. Today, after 2 years it seems that everybody from media to the government has forgotten this aberrant act. At a stage, when the nation is facing probably it’s biggest crisis of corruption post 26/11, ‘Maoism’ is something that the government and the citizens of this country cannot turn their faces away.
The India story, is described as an economic miracle and celebrated as the world’s largest democracy. But away from India’s booming cities, poverty and despair are creating a violent wave of Maoism. Indian Maoists, or Naxals, were named after a 1967 armed uprising aagainst the Indian state originating in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal. The movement had its intellectual roots in the doctrines of Mao Tse-Tung promoting armed overthrow of the ruling class by exploited workers, in India it was led by Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal initiated a violent uprising in 1967.
But, the original movement had weakened considerably by the 70s, but it started spreading across a swathe of India’s poorest districts, the so called red corridor, a tribal belt running through the mainly Santhal regions of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, and then through the Gond and other tribes of Andhra Pradesh and into the Bastar region of Chattisgarh. With the passage of time, the reasons of Naxals or the so called “Maoists” have shifted, today, the rebellion is viewed as a response to the commercial exploitation of forest regions that are home to the tribals, resulting in widespread loss of livelihood.
It is a very surprising element that over the years, the maoism has gone through a massive face-lift. Once started with a cause has now become a medium of threat and terror. Considerably, the threat to the state has picked up within the last two decades, and in 2009, even the Prime minister Manmohan Singh said that the Maoists pose the biggest internal threat to India’s security and this gets proved with the recent attacks in ‘Shilda’ and ‘Dantewada’.
In response to the growing insurgency, the Indian paramilitary forces launched a large-scale offensive, popularly known as Operation Green Hunt, against the rebels. The offensive has been undertaken along the red corridor which includes the Dantewada district. But, even that has not demotivated the Maoists to bow down, rather they have taken a much aggressive stand.
It always make me laugh, whenever I see any Maoist sympathiser on the TV, sympathizing and trying his level best to justify an attack or say any act. The massacre of 76 lives demands Indians face the harsh truth. So does that mean, Maoists are terrorists..?? Let’s understand, if we go by the dictionary, and try to understand the definition of terrorism then it says, “terrorism is the use of force or violence to intimidate.” Well in that case, Maoism is terrorism draped in a big leaf of virtuous intent, in Marxist-Leninist ideology. For six years Maoists have been “enemy number one” and grown without fear of retribution.
But has anyone of us ever tried to answer that how the transformation from a mere organization which was created to fight for the upliftment of the tribals in the villages to a massive terror unit where even the existence of a police is of a shier luck? Today, the Maoists are thriving because India has been hostage to romantic notions of a band of do-gooders chased by evil in uniform. It is high time that, India declares a war on the conditions that foment Maoism and Maoists.
Let’s not make any mistake, that Maoists are nothing but a bunch of hooligans. Rather, let me tell you, Maoists are extortionists and terrorists masquerading as modern day Robin Hoods aided by a thick fog of sentiments. Yes, it’s a fact that every third person in India, or say nearly 400 million people live below the poverty line. It is deplorable and a reflection of failed politics and stalled governance. Maoism has flourished because the vote has transformed itself into a four-letter word that impales decisions, a disincentive for political parties from doing the right thing. Poor road connectivity, the fading application of law, abject poverty as a fairytale’s magicwand for all allies of Maoism. Only poverty though cannot be an alibi for violence, nor a justification for terror. Not in a democracy which affords citizens a number of avenues to seek justice. I am sorry to say but, its like fashion or say style statement, that some commentators find reasons to sympathise with the cause of Maoists, to condone criminality and intellectualise the indefensible act. Eloquence cannot be a substitute for rationale. Those presenting poverty and oppression as justification for stoking terror are ideologically in the company of the likes of Saeed Hafiz, Zakir Ur Rehman Lakhvi or Osama bin Laden.
It has always seen that, India also seems to be the emerging refuge of the banal babel. Every Maoist attack triggers in its wake a tedious tide of rhetoric on the need for a political approach to tackling Naxalism. When the 76 jawans were bled to death, it was surprising to see that the Government of India was trapped in a debate on whether it will deploy the army or not, whether it will use air power or not? And whenever it was been questioned, the only answer that we used to get was, “how can we use force on OUR OWN”, forgetting the fact that, India has never been so bloodied by its so called “OWN” ones.
One has to understand that every inch of India is ruled by the states and war will essentially have to be waged by states. The Centre can at best be a catalyst, the evangelist. The war cannot be and will not be won by bullets alone. Even, the Government of India have to understand, that there are many places which are being untouched by the government and when it comes to the development of those areas one can simply give a big zero to it. It is a disapointing fact that, there hasn’t been anything credible that the government can boast about in order to develop the faith in the minds of the tribals of that area.
Circumstance of poverty though cannot be an alibi for violence, nor a justification for terror. Not in a democracy which affords citizens many avenues to seek justice. Like fashion victims some commentators find reason to sympathise with the cause of Maoists, to condone criminality and intellectualise the indefensible.
Let’s not forget the goal of Maoists is to overthrow the Government through an armed struggle. Eloquence is not a substitute for rationale. Those presenting poverty and oppression as justification for stoking terror are ideologically in the company of Osama-Bin-Laden.
Dantewada is just another milestone on the Maoist agenda. Since 2004, India has suffered over 7,000 incidents involving Maoists in which over 5,000 have been killed. In 2009, Maoism claimed a life every eight hours. Apologists for Maoism cite lack of development even as Maoists wrecked over 1,700 schools in just two years-in 2008 and 2009. More lives have been claimed by Naxal violence than jihadi terror in the past decade. Maoist guerrillas have described the state as the “enemy” and the conflict as a “war”. A war is being waged against India in 220 of its 600 districts, or one in three districts. Home to the argumentative billion, India also seems to be the emerging refuge of the banal babel. Every Maoist attack triggers in its wake a tedious tide of rhetoric on the need for a political approach to tackling ‘Naxalism’. A day after 76 jawans bled to death, the Government is trapped in a debate on whether it will deploy the army or not, whether it will use air power or not. How can we use force on “our own” ask the pacifists in the system, forgetting that never has India been so bloodied by its “own”. This is not the occasion for semantics-military or paramilitary, air power or air force. And the war can’t be won with just 7,000 trained men. It calls for a new strike force and drafting of trained ex-servicemen.
The operative phrase should be “fitting response”. Thus, if India truly aspires to be a superpower then it needs to reclaim both the landscape and the mind-space.