The Naxalite Movement

April 2010 – The Newspapers were storming with headlines containing streaks of Naxal violence. The reports were gory to the point of making one feel nauseated.

Sitting several hundreds of kilometres away from the affected areas, we can just see what we are shown. Questions contort our minds asking whether such an act can be human and we start picturing the Naxalites as brutal beasts sans human emotions. But, if we turn the pages of history to the one which marked the birth of the movement, we would realise that it was at a time when we were not even born and hence concluding about them from what we have been made to hear in a few years would not be justified.

The Naxalite Movement started as what is called Left wing extremism and has been even termed an independent political stand several times. Following the Marxist policy, they advocated land for the landless and rights for the tribal clans. They started an upheaval against the State and demanded equal rights for everyone. The effort brought no remarkable results and hence slowly it turned into a war against the state.

The tinge of red which is spread across all the Naxalite chapters got its first mark in March 1967 in the Naxalbari village of West Bengal, when a tribal youth went to plough his land, after getting legal permission. Despite that, the landlords attacked him which landed as a punch on the face of the tribes who retaliated in the same fashion. They found violence and arms against the state to be the only solution to their unheard pleas. This started off the struggle of the landless and the tribes which has now stacked up too high that if it falls, there are bound to be casualties.
The Naxalite Movement was supported immensely. Students from top colleges and institutes came out for help for the cause of the revolution and hence began the Naxal Movement.

Since then, the share of violence has grown steadily. Killing and murdering of the state officials and policeman, targeting economic zones for the financial support and the efforts to turn mass against the state has been on the rise.

Presently, approximately 220 districts of the country have been declared under Naxalite effect. Most of them lie on the eastern and south-eastern border of the country. This area is often demarcated as the “Red Corridor” on the map of India and termed the same.

Stepping out of the facts and statistics and analysing the situation neutrally points out to the fact that during all these years of violence and declining mass support, the principles have faded away. The reason has been lost in the maddening fight against state and rule. The rationales with which the movement started has lost its meaning to a great extent and given place to bloodshed and violence. This has also been utilised by many for fulfilling their own selfish purposes blanketing themselves under the name of the movement.

If one doesn’t dig deep in the pages of history, the reason of violence seems futile but if one does, it’s intriguing.

“Operation Green Hunt” is the step taken by the government to counteract the Naxal Acts. CRPF, the Border Security Force, State Police, Indian army – all have been deployed in the “Red Corridor” to curb the insurgency.

Recently, in his speech, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared Naxalite movement as the greatest internal threat to the national security. Indeed, it is!

But unfortunately what started off as a movement to support the unprivileged has turned into a recognized terrorist organization. It does sound like the story of every terrorist organization taking birth in the country. And, surprisingly, we do not even know whom to blame. With being the largest movement sustaining for more than 25 years, the Naxal movement has had its share of failures. These were primarily due to lack of mass support and the attempt to fight the state with arms. These had been the weaknesses of the movement, which according to critics, have had a major role in the non accomplishment of the goals of the movement.

The situation is very upsetting. We don’t want to breed more such organizations but the stimulation is hidden somewhere in the social flaws. The following story is a common tale which we have heard several times but might help in reflecting how closely we see a Naxal born every day around us.

“A poor orphan boy without any money was hungry. He went to a mango farm and started picking mangoes. The farm owner saw that and did not let him pluck more fruits. Rather than understanding his state, the owner smacked him with his stick. The boy took a stone and threw it at him. The owner got hurt and ran back to his house. The boy realised that the only way he could get his things straight is revolt. Soon, others joined him. He kept on stealing things he desired and fighting those who came in his way. Gradually, he forgot what he was looking for but he found joy in his achievement which never let him stop.”

The story of this orphan boy can be extrapolated to the story of the Naxal movement. What is left now is just violence. Neither the State nor the Naxalites remember the real reason of the fight.

Recently, there had been reports stating that there is a plan by the Naxals to target the Special Economic Zones and gradually grab the National Capital of Delhi. This implies that soon the whole country is going to be the prey. There is bound to be bloodshed in every part of the nation. But the rack up is that nobody knows the origin of this vehemence. It has grown into a battle but whoever wins, the result will be violence and loss of morals.

If the State wins, that will be the defeat of a movement and 25 years long struggle for equality. And if the Naxals win, that will be the defeat of democracy and peace and an encouragement to more such acts.

The only solution left is to devise a way to stop the war so that no one loses and no one wins. Irrespective of the results, humanity will lose and so will the strength of justice and equality, which were the principles of the revolution.

Seema Dahiya

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