‘Naxalism is the biggest threat to Indian security’ this is how our Finance Minister Mr. P.Chidambaram projected Naxalism long back. A political statement-contradicted by many- weighted against history and time to come. When the whole country was commemorating Budh Purnima, a day of peace and serenity, our Naxal brethren had some other plans. The same day Naxals ambushed a Congress convoy in Bastar region’s Darbha forest killing 27 people including senior Congress leaders. Still questions which crop up every time with such grievous acts of violence never get answered. Is Naxalism the militia threat to Indian state or to an extent Indian society? Is Naxalism an armed rebel or has it a social dimension? Both questions have nuanced values attached to it. The answer simply doesn’t lies in textual criticism but rather in understanding the ideological and functional aspect of Naxalism.
To define Naxalism is to be defining a range of things. The best way to look at it is to conceptualise it from varying perspective people have regarding them. It is the issue where different group have different opinion right from ordinary people, intellectuals, writers, sympathizers, government officials, Police to politicians. Very interestingly it at times differs among the same group across the geography. The definition is vast and even blurred. However we will try to look at some of its aspects.
As said earlier different people have different opinion about them. The ordinary citizens look at Naxals as insurgents. The credit to such depiction of Naxals goes to the print and electronic media which always showed them in bad lights- news of blast, ambush, and mass killing. This is the one part of the account. The other claim comes from the scholars, academicians and researchers of Naxal movements. Naxal movements are credited with creation of social awareness, knowledge of owns right among the underclass, deprived, lower caste, laborers and the tribal. However, if the recent trends of Naxal movement are seen, it can be termed more of armed and militarized rebel, rather than a social movement. The functioning is more through gun than the participatory and democratic set up. This is on functional front.
The other important aspect is the ideological facet of the Naxals. To say, they are there because of the vacuum created by the state and its agency won’t be too misleading to many. Many literatures find Naxalism a socio-political movement against the exploitative landlords, state mechanism and not to forget capitalism, possibly aimed to destablise defunct exploitative state under the new capitalist system. The movement is for Rule of people at class parity, and without exploitation. Therefore, these battue are in line of their ideological illusions. No matter how audacious their attacks are, it might take years to even shake the government forget about destablising, considering the enormous power India has generated in the last couple of decades in almost every front.
On another note why then Naxal still persist and hold sway over large tribal areas? Naxal has always claimed to have own model of so called development for these tribal areas. Unfortunately, their claims of own model of development counter to state and capitalist model is not visible. The conditions in these tribal areas are as bad as at the time of Independence. Surely due to lack of good civic infrastructure, which has made lives in these places more complicated and problematic. Deprivations of these civic infrastructures have multiplied miseries of inhabitant tribal. The blame for poor condition of tribal areas equally goes to Naxal along with state, which have boycotted state sponsored projects.
The boycotting of state’s model of development by the Naxal is not seen by many as a welcome step and is not based on the participatory decision process. Tribal have little say in these Naxal areas, which are caught in the struggle between the state and the Naxals. The enforcement of their own will and decision on the people are in contrast to the ideologies they have always promoted- ‘pro poor, pro people’. This makes them no different from state that works independently without people’s concern, as far as Naxal understanding of state is.
Amid all this, armed revolution has become the real face of the Naxal movement in India. The pro-poor and pro-people development model they have righted for has been missing in their agenda and functioning. Their persistence in these tribal areas is by default and by gun. Tribal are caught and will remain trapped till the state would comes to protect them. The chances remain low, apparently due to lack of political will and consensus. The rising India, with urban middle class conglomerate has little time to think about rural tribal areas. It simply reminds us of the grave social discrimination these tribal has faced since centuries. But, then century’s old legacies have to be carried out both by the politicians as well as citified citizens. As long as this lack of political will and consensus will remain wrapped with callous urban citified ignorant attitude – the Naxal will exist in the rural tribal areas.
For Naxal, no matter they go with or against the state, their success will always depend upon the social mobilization of tribal and their development, which they have claimed to be champion of. Nonetheless, their latest attitude towards violence based movement is surely going to lead them to nowhere, accounting to huge lose on the social front. The gun is not going to hold out the people’s resistance for long, least state who is waiting to prey once the movement start to decay within, but not before so much of killing. Naxals are now believer of the adage let the blood flow through the barrel of the gun; equally, someone has said it right “the rise of the Naxal movement has been built on the gun—and its fate will depend on the gun”.