South Asia Wired Rotating Header Image

Maoist violence is not the disease - its a symptom

The “Maoist insurrection” is all the news from India these days. Are they in the right with their assertion that they’re virtuously defending the most vulnerable?  Or are they wrong for using violence, not only against the authorities, but against the very same poor they claim to be defending?

Human rights workers like Himanshu Kumar who’s dedicated his life to trying to help the people of Dantewada District has witnessed the bullying tactics of the State and says that at least some of the people he knows in Dantewada see the Maoists as their saviour against government neglect so extreme that it can be termed brutal.  He ran an education and medical help centre in the District but was driven out of his home because his defence of the adhivasis drove him inevitably into a collision course with corporate backed government interests.

But what astonishes me is that the Indian middle class has actually taken by surprise by an insurrection they can no longer ignore.

Holy Moly - how come its taken this long?In a country that’s been climbing up the greasy pole to global power while at the same time ignoring the plight of its poorest sectors, in a country which pops new millionaires and billionaires on to the Forbes list  regularly while still making it on every sector of the UN’s Poverty Index, why in the name of anything that’s reasonable, has it taken this long for a revolution to make it to the front pages?

For every farmer who kills himself because he can’t pay a debt that could be wiped out by the change in the average Mumbai businessman’s pocket, for every maid denied her wages for being sick, for every villager made homeless by a new Tata factory or dam or mining company that’s decided that they can make better use of his land, the anger has been building up.

Newspaper comments pages are full of public scoffs.  And yes, I can see their point, India is a powerful country and yes, maybe the Maoists have no chance of a victory in a violent struggle. But perhaps its time to stop the rhetoric over whether violence is the right means, and to start thinking about what are the root causes for that violence and what can be done to rectify that situation.

2 Comments on “Maoist violence is not the disease - its a symptom”

  1. #1 David Berridge
    on Apr 12th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Even Ghandi admited that he did not realize the enormity and diversity of India and its people until he travelled it from numerous regions. This is a parallel situation with India today, as the social and economic diversity is accelerating the country apart by leaps and bounds. The Maoist rebellion cum revolution has been isolated apart from the middle-class both geographically and demographically. Until the plight of those people suffering these injustices is brought into the newly created wealthier urban areas, (violently or hopefully non-violently) the massive divide between Indians in their own country will continue. The newly created wealth and class formation in India will and must have to organize even a miniscule fraction of its resources, towards achieving simply the smallest of assistance in aiding the rural and outlying areas of the country. If a businessman’s pocket change can end a farmer’s crippling debt, then a serious priority has to be made in a voluntary distribution plan to bring Indians together. Creating an omnibus bank account in financial instituions where such debts are held, and facilitating small deposits of just a few rupiah each to eliminate these debts, should be encouraged as a patriotic act as treating the poor as fellow countrymen and creating a stronger India.

  2. #2 Deepak
    on Aug 22nd, 2010 at 8:41 am

    The maoist issue and topic of dicsussion has gotten worse and worse since earlier this year. Dishonorable killings of maoist spokesperson, Azad in an “encounter” (whereas many reports actually speak of Azad actually heading to initiate dialogue with the Indian State), more tribal targetting, activists’ reports of more rapes and torture by the police and army float around.

    the state of chhattisgarh is in complete darkness- no media in there, no army in there- it is completely closed to the outside.
    A massive initiative where international media lands up in the heart of India in these war areas needs to happen. Indian government needs to be embarassed about its methods of war and its nonchalance

Leave a Comment