The recent revelations by Podiyam Pandu alias Panda, a Naxal leader carrying an award of Rs. 1 lakhs, regarding the involvement of Delhi University Professor Nalini Sundar and “so called” human right activist Bela Bhatia is not the first time when the relations between academics, human right activists and Naxal came on the surface. Just two months ago in March the Gadchiroli sessions court convicted DU professor G N Saibaba along with former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University Hem Mishra, former journalist Prashant Rahi and three others under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in relation with naxals.
Sundar a known naxal sympathizer made headlines when earlier in November 2016 she along with 20 others, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Archana Prasad, was booked for the murder of a tribal Samnath Baghel in Chhattisgarh. The naxal-intellectual romance is as old as the Naxal movement itself and names like Sundar or Saibaba are just tip of the iceberg as it is well-known that the uprising turned into an “ism” because of the left-leaning intellectuals who expanded the literary base of Naxal movement and presented annihilation policy and the “red terror” of Naxals as a means to achieve an egalitarian society.
Naxals were firm believer of the Maoist doctrine that “power comes from the barrel of gun” and tried to create “red terror” by public execution. A large section of communist intellectuals hailed the uprising and some of them rushed for the Naxalbari immediately after the uprising to meet the rebels providing moral support. These were the people who never accepted India as a nation and following the idea of Antonio Gramsci placed themselves in academics and produced literatures to deepen the historical divisions of Indian society and weaken the social cohesion. Taking ques from Marx they presented the state as an exploitative structure and instrument of capital.
The role of urban sympathizers and organizations of naxals had not only been highlighted by the media houses which reports about the role of NGOs and the contribution made by the city-based shadow organisations and sympathizers in the Maoists funding. Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri R.P.N. Singh while answering unstarred question no. 2276, told the parliament in 2014 that one can’t rule out the possibility of Naxals clandestinely getting foreign funds with the help of certain front organizations working in urban centres.
Today naxal movement is not about the villages and rural areas. Naxals areas shrunk from 223 districts in 2009, to 68 in 2017. But, the threat continues as naxals are joining hands with Jihadis and gaining ground in the urban centres. We will have to understand that it is not under-development or ignorance of tribal areas but the divisive- murderous communist ideology and ideologue that forms the root of naxalism. If “some sections of the society, especially the younger generation, have romantic illusions about the Maoists” (LWE Division, MHA) it is because of hegemony of Left in the academics who portrays naxals as “Robin Hood”. The main role of gangs of Arundhati Roy, Nalini Sundar or G N Saibaba on the one hand, to present state as draconian and atrocious exaggerate and fabricate the story of high-handedness by counter-insurgency forces and present the war against insurgents as a war against tribal. On the other, in case of attacks on security forces and national indignation start building against Naxals, they deviated the issue from Naxal barbarism to development, procedure of operation, state’s failure etc.
On 25th May 1967 when uprising in Naxalbari took place it was an uprising of “have nots”. But after five decades, the movement seems to be fallen in the hands of a nexus of some academics, contractors and politicians. For whom it is an empire of thousand crores – based on the terror and threat. It was to be an “ism” of egalitarian society but today it is an “ism” of murder, exploitation and loot. An “ism” extorting thousands of crores per year.
There has been a serious flaw in our response to Naxals. We came heavily on the poor deluded people holding arms but not on the urban naxals. As a result, the urban guerrillas, using state’s own machinery, infiltrated in media, academics NGOs and gave new edge to their propaganda. While the tribals, facing the brunt of state felt more and more alienated. Naxal exploited the alienated tribals well for strengthening their jungle militia.
It has been fifty years and we have lost thousands of security personnel and all together more than fifteen thousand people. We cannot rely solely on guns, tribal are nor our problem they are not more than a pawn in the hands of people sitting in the air-conditioned rooms, enjoying the facilities, speaking to media, receiving the funds, brainwashing youths, deluding the tribals.
It’s time when we recognise that the real enemies are not there in jungles, they are in very urban centres, sitting beside.