INDIA'S FORGOTTEN WAR – blogging naxalism.

Objectivity and Maoist Insurgency

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My first comment!

My blog has been getting a respectable amount of traffic and I’d encourage anyone with an opinion or a thought to speak up. It’s great to know what people who share my interest think.

Now is a good time to clarify exactly what my, umm, ideological perspective on Maoism in South Asia is. On my coverage of the crisis in Nepal, a reader has said:

This article is inspired by all those anti maoist journalist of nepal.
In nepal journalist don’t cover new but always make news.

Had anybody seen that a nepali journalist speaking to cnn ibn not as journalist but a part’s spoke person…

I’m not a journalist and have never claimed to be. I do, however, try to be as ‘objective’ as possible. One of the many reasons that I’m interested in Naxalism (and South Asian Maoism in general) is my belief that they have tapped into deep and dangerous undercurrent of alienation, misery and rage amongst millions of people who have been failed by the economic, social and political system. Naxalism, in the first instance, is not a police problem.

Am I sympathetic to the ideology, goals and tactics of the Naxalites? Well, it depends on the day that you ask. Many of their immediate demands (such as their opposition to the alienation of tribal people from their lands in mineral-rich states like Jharkhand) are noble. The people whom they are purportedly fighting for have been failed by every institution in the country. On the other hand, the Naxalite’s ideology, their aims and some of their tactics are terrifying. I have a deep dislike of authoritarianism and cannot but think that much of the Naxalite concern for the interests of tribal groups and the lower castes is little more than tactical expediency.

As for Nepal, I am not at all ‘anti-Maoist’. It seems to me that all of the major players in the country (the Maoists, the other political parties and the army) are playing a dangerous game with the stability of the country and the future of her people. The leaked video of Prachanda’s speech to the leadership of the PLA did not just underscore the Maoist’s insincerity to building a democratic and pluralist Nepal, it also underscored the shallowness of the peace agreement. All of the actors are jockeying for control of the state. I may not much like the Maoists, but the reactionaries (to use a nice Marxist term) opposing them are even more unsavoury.

Maoism is a plant that grows from misery and desperation (terrible metaphor). That misery and desperation is real. If it takes the Maoists to get people to sit up and take notice, so be it.


Written by Michael

May 7, 2009 at 11:25 am

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