INDIA'S FORGOTTEN WAR – blogging naxalism.

Archive for October 2010

What’s up with West Bengal?

with 7 comments

I’m considering my locations for fieldwork next summer. West Begal is one of them. Out of all of the fronts of the war, this one is the most confusing, complex and enigmatic. There are a lot of players (some of them in the central government) and a lot of questions. I’ll be writing more about what I think may be happening. In the meantime, I’d love if any of my readers might pitch in with their view. Is it a strictly power related play between political factions? Is it tribal? What is it?

I’d love to hear from you.

Written by Michael

October 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Posted in West Bengal

Tagged with , ,

Bread and Circuses (at least today)

with 3 comments

It’s hard not to be cynical about the Indian government’s strategy when one reads rubbish like this:

The police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) force set up a medical camp and distributed gifts to local tribals in the Maoist-affected Chandrapur village in Orissa’s Rayagada District.

Apparently they even organized a magic show! Wow. So shiny. I’m still not clear how any of these ad hoc, one off (and largely irrelevant) acts of charity by the Indian government constitute any sort of counterinsurgency strategy that  could assist the adivasi people become autonomous and empowered communities in India able to  exercise their democratic citizenship.

I have no doubt that the local commander in charge of this initiative has the best of intentions. But, once the clowns go home and the food runs out, the systematic exploitation and marginalisation of India’s eastern tribal populations will continue. There is no rabbit in the hat.

EDIT: And to preempt some criticisms of my admittedly snarky post, yeah, I have no doubt the kids dug the magic show. Hell, I loved magic shows when I was a boy and I was hardly lacking in toys and other childhood distractions. And, no doubt the medical care will make a real difference in some people’s lives. I have no intention of minimising this. The fact is, however, this is not part of some ‘relief’ mission- it is an ad hoc initiative being conducted under a counterinsurgency strategy. It is short term and misses the point.

Written by Michael

October 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm

End of the Hiatus (Really)

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I was perhaps a little overly optimistic my last post. Unfortunately, I was unable to resume blogging these past few months. In addition to some personal commitments, I’ve been busy with my PhD work. Thankfully, I was able to pass my comprehensive exams and have now begun the (hopefully not quixotic) search for funding. If all goes well, I hope to begin fieldwork in India by next summer.

Blogging is, as much as anything, a habit- maybe even a compulsion. It’s a habit that I miss and one which I hope will now again become a part of my daily routine. Naxal War has not only provided me with a platform to voice my views. Importantly it has become an invaluable forum for the discussion of views with and between my readers. Thanks for all of those who have taken the time to participate in this project. You have forced me to re-examine some of my views and lead me in new intellectual directions.  I hope in the next few weeks and months, I’ll be able to engage with you and (hopefully) expand the number of people involved in this conversation.

Written by Michael

October 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized