INDIA'S FORGOTTEN WAR – blogging naxalism.

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 , ,

7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. yes, it is there, before any conclustion a deep study and analysis is required. it can only be done when we stay in between such type of affected peoples for a long time.

    Rajesh Roat

    October 15, 2010 at 3:06 am

  2. It will be interesting to see what happens after next year’s election. If Mamata wins, it is unclear what will happen to the CPM goons that have been battling the Maoists in West Midnapore. Mamata will no doubt want to dump the Maoists as soon as their electoral use is over, but they will remain a necessary tool in the remote regions and the two sides will no doubt continue to exploit each other to gain political control in specific areas. This could quickly turn into a Bihar or Jharkhand where Maoists play a key role in politics.

    Meanwhile, the huge mobilisation of the PCAPA and the fact it proved fairly ineffective as a non-violent movement has provided a pool of potential radicalisation – as we saw with the train derailment earlier this year.

    Added to which, W Bengal’s institutions are heavily politicised. I saw this first hand in the police chief. It’s hard to imagine how they will react to Trinamool bosses telling them to keep away from engagements with Maoists.

    Chaos basically.

    Eric Randolph

    October 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

    • Yeah. I think you hit an important point. Even if Trinamool does win state elections, I can’t imagine that the state apparatus which is deeply tied to the CPM would make it even possible for the party to govern. Although I don’t like to predict, it does seem likely that a disconnect between the power of the ruling party and opposition from entrenched interests in the bureaucracy would make the state pretty ungovernable. Something which is always good for insurgents.


      October 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

  3. Hi Michael and Eric,

    1. Michael, do let me know when you come to WB,,,I am located in Kolkata ..

    2. btw, some info : the Mahatos, who basically are the leaders of the PCAPA, belong to the upper echelons of the Adivasis. They have lands of their own. They feed upon paddy & potato cultivation.

    3. the Baskeys are Adivasis; e.g. Buta Baskey or Sidhu Soren, who was killed by the police.

    4. i agree with Eric that the maoists can be a deciding factor in WB politics as in Jharkhand & Bihar. however, Michael, pls do not consider Indian bureaucracy to be working for CPM once that party is ousted. Our bureaucracy is fully committed : i mean committed to the party in power,,,,

    5. so, almost no qs of the province being ‘ungovernable’. the maoists wud find the going tough during TMC days if by then the TMC cadres cud know the whereabouts of the maoist guerillas.

    6. rather on the whole, it wud be good for WB as the CPM wud act as a strong opposition & keep the TMC on their toes….something which is good for the ppl at large

    Dr Uddipan Mukherjee

    October 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    • Hi Uddipan,

      Will do. Likely coming by this summer (2011). Thanks for the offer!

      I’m not going to dispute any of yourfirst few points (am interested in the Baskey distinction
      and if you have any docs, send them my way)… but, I do find the claim that the bureaucracy in W.Bengal isn’t partisan to be hard to swallow. They’re very entrenched as a political party and as a political apparatus. Not sure they would ‘switch’ so easily. Do you believe that in W. Bengal if the TMC won and election, they’d take the state appartus with them?


      October 18, 2010 at 6:28 pm

  4. You may criticize, if not appreciate this:


    Dr Uddipan Mukherjee

    October 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

  5. Hi Michael,

    the data that i gave U regarding baskeys et al ar all oral data that i collected from 1st hand sources & ppl belonging the area….i am not able to disclose the names on conditions of anonymity….but the facts are well known …

    i am never saying that the bureaucracy in WB is ‘non-partisan’….what i was trying to say was the fact that whichever govt will come to power, the Babus will shift sides with elan,,,,,that wont be a problem….

    that wont make the province ungovernable…

    this has been a hallmark of indian bureaucracy since 1967 when our erstwhile PM Indira Gandhi talked abt a ‘committed bureaucracy’………..

    well, there have been a few IAS, IPS officers who have sought postings in New Delhi as a pre-emptive measure, lest they are shunted in a TMC regime….

    however, thats nothing unusual as in UP,, these things happen,,,when BSP comes to power it transfers the old men & bring in its close confidants…..

    i hope i cud make myself clear….

    Dr Uddipan Mukherjee

    October 19, 2010 at 2:52 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: