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India is a millennium old civilisation, with one-sixth of humanity within its borders and 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line. It has led to huge economic disparities which create a feeling of deprivation and desperation among the unprivileged classes. The pluralistic Indian society is characterised by ethnic, religious, linguistic and socio-economic disparities which pose a serious threat to the internal security of the country. The Information Age has made globalisation a reality, where nations and societies are constantly creating wealth. Economic prosperity is only possible with sustained economic growth which demands a peaceful internal security environment. Naxalism or Left Wing Extremists (LWE) is an expression of the aspirations of the people who are deprived of a life of dignity and self-respect. The pattern of violence perpetuated by Naxalism is an indicator of an emerging serious challenge to the internal security and economic stability of the nation. This article introduces the polemics of Naxalism/LWE/Maoism and the prevailing situation which has seriously endangered the democratic fabric of the Indian states. An attempt has been made to contextualise the nature and spread of Naxalism/LWE and the threat it poses to the Indian states. The terms “Naxalites”, “Maoists” and “Left Wing Extremists” have been used interchangeably. The article has Prof. S. Adhikari is a former Head of Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, University of Allahabad.


AIR POWER Journal Vol. 7 No. 1, SPRING 2012 (January-March)


been divided under the following sections: Genesis of the Problem; Naxal Strategy; Counter-Naxal Strategy; Measures and Recommendations; and Conclusion. THE GENESIS OF THE PROBLEM

To understand the genesis of the Naxal movement, one has to study it within the framework of the Communist movement in India. The term “Naxalism” comes from Naxalbari1 , a small village in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, where a section of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal led a violent uprising in 1967. They tried to develop a “revolutionary opposition” to the of cial CPI (M) leadership. On May 25, 1967, landlords attacked a tribal who was granted right to a piece of land by the court on the basis of tenancy rights. Revolutionary cadres of the CPI (M) counter attacked the landlord, giving rise to the “Naxalbari Uprising”. The uprising was spearheaded by Charu Mazumdar. Similarly, a peasant revolution was launched in an area called Srikakulam of Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh led by C. Pulla Reddy. Both incidents were violent in nature and drew their inspiration from the success of the Communist movements in China and Russia. The radicals comprehended the Indian situation then to be similar to that in China prior to 1949 and characterised it as essentially semi-colonial and semi-feudal. Based on that analysis, the revolutionaries concluded that the “People’s Democratic Revolution” should be launched in India by immediately resorting to an armed struggle on the Chinese lines.2 ROOT CAUSES

The roots of Naxalism or LWE date back to preindependence times. The Telangana movement in the Nizam’s Hyderabad and the movement in Bengal were the rst of their kind in the 1940s. The main cause of the problem, when it began, was class and social inequality.In India, the people followed two distinct lines of thinking within the Communist movement. 1. 2. V. Marwah, India in Turmoil (Rupa Publication, 2009), p. 98. M. Manoranjan, Revolutionary Violence: A Study of Maoist Movement in India (New Delhi, 1977), p. 60.

AIR POWER Journal Vol. 7 No. 1, SPRING 2012 (January-March)



The rst line of thinking was propagated by Ranadive and his followers. They rejected the importance of the Chinese revolution and lay emphasis...
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