Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Naxalism ....-- Mahasweta Devi (Writer & Social Thinker)
The topical relevance of Naxalism and the people’s response about it is not riding low ebb. On the contrary, one feels that the movement has more relevance in our times than in the 70s. During the period of last 10- 15 years, there has been a marked increase in the number of starving and destitute masses. The political and economical (tantra) is a lame mare in the hands of the rich and the influential. This movement is going to intensify in the forth coming times as a plethora of people are standing on the edge of razor in this existing socio- economic system. The government too feels that the influence of this movement is increasing by leaps and bounds and further more at least more than one – third of the country’s area is under the strong influence of this movement [ Government have termed this area as The Red Corridor]. However, the government is always in a dilemma regarding this movement- either to term it as a law and order problem or consider it as a socio- economic problem. The real problem is that the government walked on the road of curbing down the Naxalite movement with force, but never paid heed to curb down the socio- economic problems, which resulted in the augmentation of the Naxalite angst.
Naxalism still finds a place in people’s heart and more and more people are drawn into it because the activists of this movement never want any thing in return to quench their own needs. They neither want power, nor vote. They are self-sacrificing warriors fighting an ideological war. They are bestowed with inconceivable bravery. I find my ideals in the sacrificing personality of these activists. Their [andolan] movement is [imandar] and attractive and is for good ideals. This is the reason why they get a prominent position in my writings. You also need to understand that Naxalism is not a separatist movement like ULFA, BODO, NSCN. Moreover, the local support earned is much more and stronger in the case of the Naxalites as compared to the separatist groups. The roots of the Naxalite movement are still at hand because it has its roots at the very base of the social strata. For example the very first instance of this movement is when the tribals of Chhattisgarh were unified against the [Bichaoli] and Tendu leaves contractor [thekedar] who were exploiting these tribals. As this movement started at the very base of the social order, it has become a bone of contention in the eyes of the government (curbing it has become a challenge for the government). The criminalization and paralysis of the state-system is the reason for the rapid growth of Naxalism.
The issues that led to the birth of this movement are still as fresh as new; therefore there is no reason why this movement will lose its vitality. Today, there are 56 Naxal groups in our country, who have their influences over around one- third of the total land available. I understand and foresee that in near future, the area of influence under this movement will definitely increase as [asantosh] and [bikshobh] in society is yet to be razed down. Lakhs of people are starving, suppressed, oppressed and are bereft of even their basic needs [fundamental rights? It is a distant dream]. In such a dismal situation, how can we hope for the demise of Naxalism? As long as there will be an unbalanced growth in the socio- economic system, suppressed, oppressed, exploited, demoralized people will struggle and rise up in arms against so called ‘System’. This struggle will be eternal and universal.
[Inspired by a interview published in Rashtriya Sahara, Tuesday, 5 August, 2008 (Hindi) by Ashutosh Pratap Singh]