Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
I haven’t had many substantive posts recently. It’s the end of term and I’m swamped. I’m also working on some pieces on the Naxalites for a few publications. I’ll put up the links once they’re online.
The BBC has a really, really, really (!) good piece on the Maoists by the always solid Soutik Biswas. I have a few minor quibbles with what he has to say (in particular his link with the Maoists of the past and the Maoists of the present… they’re an entirely new rebel group that has re-constituted itself since the 1980s), but this observation is spot on:
As the toll rises, the conflict provokes a sharply polarised debate.
On the one side are the city-bred romantic revolutionaries. One perceptive analyst calls them a “Maoist-aligned intelligentsia vicariously playing out their revolutionary fantasies through the lives of the adivasis [tribespeople], while the people dying in battle are almost all adivasis”. They protest against the government’s plans to smoke out the rebels.
On the other, are supporters of strong state action who believe the security forces should annihilate the rebels and wrest back areas under their control. Collateral damage, they believe, is par for the course.
So India’s Maoist rebels, in the words of another commentator, are either “romanticised, eulogised [or] demonised”. It depends on which side you are on.
I couldn’t say it better. The debate lacks nuance. The Maoists are neither evil terrorists nor are they freedom fighters worthy of support. The only benefit of the Maoist insurgency is derivative. They have forced India’s elites to confront the marginalisation and miserable social conditions of much of its population. If a counter-insurgency strategy emerges that provides even a modicum of the services and political empowerment that citizens in a democratic state are entitled too, then some good has come out of the insurgency. I’m skeptical. But, I like to be proven wrong.
The Economist had a short piece on Naxalism in late February extorting exhorting (thanks to a sharp-eyed reader for catching this, although, who knows, The Economist may ‘have something on Delhi… heh) the Indian government to ‘get serious’ about the insurgency. Not a substantive article, but of interest because of the global reach and influence of the magazine (or ‘newspaper’ as they would say). It can be found here.
According to the BBC:
More than 100 policemen fighting Maoist rebels in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have died of malaria in the past two years, a police body says.
They also claim that malaria has claimed more lives than the Maoists.
I’ve just discovered Eric Randolph’s blog, Kikobar. Eric is a freelance journalist based in Delhi. He has quite a bit on the Naxalites and his thinking seems to mirror mine quite a bit. I’d highly recommend popping in.
(thanks to Shlok at Naxalite Rage for bringing Eric’s excellent blog to my attention)