Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Which is the biggest threat for Indian Elections?

Which is the biggest threat for Indian General elections to be held in April/May 2009?
a.Jihadi militants from across the border
b.Insurgents from the North East
c.LTTE from Srilanka
d.None of the above

The answer according to Indian Election Commission is d, none of the above.
The biggest threat for smooth and peaceful polling is the left wing extremist Maoist/Naxalite movement in the heart of India. But most of the Indians seemed to be blissfully unaware of the threat.Or are they trying to wish away the reality?


The naxal movement has been one of the biggest threats to the general elections for quite some time now. The threat is spread right from the Nepal border to Tamil Nadu. According to a Union home ministry assessment, Maoist or Naxalite violence is of serious concern in 12 of India's biggest states.
These States include Andhra Pradesh,Bihar,Chattisgarh,Jharkhand,Orissa,Maharashtra,Madhya Pradesh,West Bengal,Uttar Pradesh,TamilNadu,Karnataka and Kerala.

Who are these Naxalites?

Naxalites are Communist groups wanting to over throw the current set up of governance by a violent revolution of the working class and peasants.
The term comes from Naxalbari, a small village in West Bengal, where a section of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal led a violent uprising in 1967, trying to develop a "revolutionary opposition" in opposition to the CPI(M) leadership.

During the 1970s the movement was fragmented into several disputing factions. By 1980 it was estimated that around 30 Naxalite groups were active, with a combined membership of 30 000. A 2004 home ministry estimate puts numbers at that time as "9,300 hardcore underground cadre… [holding] around 6,500 regular weapons beside a large number of unlicensed country-made arms. More recent figures claim that the guerrillas control an estimated one fifth of India's forests, as well as being active in 160 of the country's 604 administrative districts. Now it is believed that 50,000 Naxals are currently involved in the growing insurgency.

Today some groups have become legal organisations participating in parliamentary elections, such as Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. Others, such as Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Janashakti are engaged in armed guerrilla struggles. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) was founded on September 21, 2004, through the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India.

Recently I happened to read an informative book on Maoists. The book titled "Red Sun" written by Sudeep Chakravarti is an extensive documentation of the Naxalite movement in India.The author, travelling deep inside the Maoist territory brings you a first hand chilling account of the threat and the weak and faltering response of the Government. He is also is trying to explain the reason for the successes of Maoists. Here are some excerpts:

There is little debate that the spread of Maoist influence is at its core the consequence of bad Governance or plain non-Governance and crushing exploitation in the World's next superpower........ According to National Sample Survey Organisation about 250 million people in India,which constitutes a third of rural population lives on less than Rs 12 a day......
Close to half the Children here[ India] are malnourished or stunted.... Three quarters of Indians do not have access to safe drinking water or sanitation.........

For much of middle-class India,Maoism today is something vaguely alarming,to do with shifting lines on the Country's map that they see every once in a while in the mainstream media. To me these are as significant as the LOC on India's western border with Pakistan and the northern borders with China.These lines within India mark the of ideologies of the 'oppressor' and the 'oppressed': they mark the lives lost to landmines,crude bombs,gun battles and 'encounters'.They are connected lines of conflict across which police and paramilitary forces battle daily against hands of the desperately disaffected.

The danger lies in increasing the degree of denial.By all accounts,half a billion people[500000000] will remain a long way away from the country's high growth party in the foreseeable future. They won't like it one bit,and many- even a modest one percent of this amounts to 5 million people-could do anything to crash the party,to destroy the frame work,if they cannot join in the merrymaking.There is already enough ill will and resentment about for generations.......

In the neighbouring Nepal Maoists won......showing what armed revolution triggered by decades of neglect,nepotism and corruption can achieve.It was a classic case of privileging violence;nobody listens in this part of the world until a fire is lit......

There is no indication of Maoism wrapping up,because the key triggers for Maoism-- massively skewed development,massive corruption and great social and ethnic discrimination--shows no signs of wrapping up either.
Of course,it doesn't have to be this way--if central and state Governments do as they should,if India's prejudiced millions do as they should,and do the right thing.If they don't,if a country desperately seeking superpower status is blinded by unrealistic ambition and social sores,the Maoists and others like them will be there to show the way.

The Maoists are patriots,by their own admission.
India's Maoists do not want a separate country.They already have one.Its just not the way they would like it----yet.


10 comments:

  1. Not an Atheist, deleted your comment because it is not related to this post.Please post it in the post titled "BJP worried about falling mask?" ok?

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  2. I've always wondered why the government hasn't paid much attention to the Naxal problem and why they are not considered terrorists...Although Maoists say that they are fighting for the disadvantages, from what I've read they are instead terrorizing them...Maybe, the plight of the poor rural folk is not as glamourous as an attack on the Taj and Oberoi hotels by Pakistani terrorists...

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    ReplyDelete
  4. My dear friend I think somebody has provided you with wrong information...

    This is what India's leading thinkers have to say about the Naxalite movement..
    Shocking but true quotes about Maoists
    Maybe you should add it to this post...

    Anyway's you seem to be a doc...
    And that too a dedicated and efficient one..
    Keep up the good work...

    Regards

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  5. aren't these naxals once upon a time landless laborers who started a uprising against the supressing landlords ?

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  6. Bones, Maoists do terrorize people, especially those who do not join them in the areas of their influence. But it is not just a law and Order problem. It is also a social and economic problem. Only inclusive development in all parts of Country can help contain their growing influence. Yes what happens in rural India is never glamorous

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  7. Abhay,it is evident that where your sympathies are. I can never support the way the Maoists are fighting oppression.

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  8. Anrosh,yes they mainly repesent landless labourers and wants to violently ower throw the Government.

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  9. Hi,

    I landed here from BlogBharti. This is an excellent post and an eye-opener. Thanks for this post, and thanks for recommending the Red Sun. It is next on my reading list now.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kiran , welcome here.Yes the book is a must read for anyone interested in India.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome especially if you do not think like me. But anonymous comments behind masks and those not relevant to the post are not encouraged.