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September 22, 2015 / subramanyam

A one sided affair.


You buy books for various reasons ,  some times the covers attract you, some times the blurbs and many a times the titles.  This was a book I picked because I just liked the title.   The moment I saw Hello Bastar and saw the kid like face in Army Fatigues  I picked the book.

This book starts with the arrest of Kobad Ghandhy, the Maoist leader who was arrested in New Delhi a few years. Then the author takes us to the Bengal of 60’s and 70’s and the events that led to Naxalbari and the birth of the naxalite movement inhello-bastar India.  He traces the origins of the movement, tells us as to how it spread its roots and wings and ended up becoming a big force in the country.  He speaks in a great detail about the the uprisings of Srikakulam , Telangana and the ones in Gadchiroli.

He then speaks about the front organizations of the Maoists, tells us about the the strategies the first generation leaders adopted and the work they accomplished. The reasons for the establishment of a base in Bastar and the way all the naxal groups came together to form an umbrella organization are also discussed.  Then the rules and regulations of the party , the code of conduct, the hierarchy in the organization etc are brought to the fore. A good amount of the book is dedicated to the personal lives of Kobad and Anuradha Ghandy.

My opinion

I felt that the book was eulogizing Maoists.  A good amount of the book is dedicated to the Maoists and the ideals but almost nothing was written about the misdeeds of them.  There are allegations that Maoists resort to  extortion and other crimes.  Some of the Maoists who surrendered complained about sexual harassment of the women cadre.  The guerilla warfare and killing of the  policemen can be justified in no sense.   Why is it so that the people who speak of ideals kill the policemen who are doing  their duty. The police constable who is doing the duty in Bastar is also a poor man with a few mouths to feed. What do the Maoists achieve by killing them.  Rahul Pandita (the author of the book)  must have spoken about these things too.  The fact that MAoists are buying arms worth millions of dollars is a testimony that something unlawful is being done.  Why didn’t the author question it ?

In a nation where ballot is creating a revolution one after the other, the way of bullet is not at all advisable.   Naxabari started in India when opportunities were limited, when land was the only source of income and the oppression on the dalits and other castes existed.   The book says that the Maoist party is working for the upliftment of the poor and the oppressed, particularly Dalits.   India has come a long way now, the P.M. of the county comes from Backward classes , we have a number of Dalit entrepreneurs, till a few years ago a Dalit woman ruled the most populous state of the country,  a dalit is the deputy CM of the state I live in.  Democracy is serving the nation, the way of non violence and protest is the only way to solve the problem.  Unfortunately the book  presents the perspective of Maoists only and fails to project the other side of India.  That way the author could not deliver a balanced perspective as far as the book is concerned.

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