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India: Democracy, Nationalism and Conflict II ‘Maoist/ Naxalite uprising in India’. Harinda Vidanage PhD. Naxalites.

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india democracy nationalism and conflict ii maoist naxalite uprising in india

India: Democracy, Nationalism and Conflict II‘Maoist/Naxalite uprising in India’

Harinda Vidanage PhD

naxalites
Naxalites
  • The Maoist movement, also called the Naxalite movement, after Naxalbarithe name of a rural town where a 1967 peasant uprising ignited this tendency within the Indian Communist movement, has the New Democratic Revolution as its declared objective, the overthrow of the ‘‘semi-feudal, semi-colonial’’ state through protracted people’s war. Because of this, it has always faced severe state repression. (Giri 2009)
slide3

Why Naxalite, The word Naxalcomes from the village of Naxalbari, near Siliguri in West Bengal where the movement first originated. The origins of all Naxalitegroups come from the CPI (ML), the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist

slide4

Until the 1990s the Naxalites were a marginal presence in Indian politics. But in that decade they began working more closely with the tribal communities of the Indian heartland. About 80 million Indians are officially recognized as “tribal”; of these, some 15 million live in the northeast, in regions untouched by Hindu influence. It is among the 65 million tribals of the heartland that the Maoists have found a most receptive audience.

tribals
Tribals

Economically The tribals are the most deeply disadvantaged segment of Indian society. As few as 23 percent of them are literate; as many as 50 percent live under the poverty line. The state fails to provide them with adequate education, healthcare or sanitation; more actively, it works to dispossess them of their land and resources

naxal tribal
Naxal + Tribal

The naxals enjoy immense support among the lower strata of the society in what is known as the Red corridor, a collection of states with active naxalism(most of these atates are mentioned in the above para). The adivasis regard the Maoists as their friends for it is these rebels who have stood by them. All the normal channels of redress are closed for them. The police beat them. The political parties – be they the Congress or the BharatiyaJanata Party – are with the SalwaJudum (A anti naxalite movement in Chhattisgarh.)The courts do not give them a hearing. The media does not care. Where else will they go except to the Maoists? When the police attack them, it is the Maoists who save them

(Awaaz 2010)

operations
Operations

They were strongest in the states of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, where they organized low-caste sharecroppers and laborers to demand better terms from their upper-caste landlords. Naxaliteactivities were open, as when conducted through labor unions, or illegal, as when they assassinated a particularly recalcitrant landlord or made a daring seizure of arms from a police camp

two phase struggle
Two phase struggle
  • The original struggle was against feudal landlords and landownership
  • The new struggle is against state domination, modernization and development which parallels the rise of India as a strong economy propelled by capitalism and liberal economic gains.
  • The issue of identity politics is a strong driver of the conflict
nation state and security
Nation state and security
  • Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, called Maoist insurrection, “the single biggest internal-security challenge”
  • Home Secretary G.K Pillai reiterated the magnitude of this threat, saying the Maoists want to completely overthrow the Indian state by 2050.
framing of the problem
Framing of the problem.

This security-centric understanding of the Maoist ‘‘problem,’’ is challenged by sections of the dissident left who see it as a socio-economic problem, arising from deprivation, loss of livelihood, lack of employment opportunities and abject poverty, given a neo-liberal state abdicating all welfare functions

slide14

Politically the tribalsare very poorly represented in the democratic process. In fact, compared with India’s other subaltern groups, such as the Dalits (former Untouchables) and the Muslims, they are well nigh invisible. Dalits have their own, sometimes very successful, political parties; the Muslims have always constituted a crucial vote bank for the dominant Congress Party.

space for expansion
Space for expansion

The twin marginalization, economic and political, has opened a space for the Maoists to work in

operation green hunt
Operation Green Hunt
  • Green Hunt either began in July 2009, September 2009 or November 2009. Speaking off record, senior policemen confirmed that the intensification of “search and comb” operations in Chhattisgarh began as early as July last year. In September 2009 the press reported on the progress of “Operation Green Hunt”: a massive 3 day joint operation in which the central CoBRA force and state police battled Naxal forces in Dantewada. (Hindu 2009)
chinese connection
Chinese connection
  • CharuMazumdar, the pioneer of the Naxalite movement had said: “China’s Chairman is our Chairman and China’s path is our path”.
  • While we Indians are sensitized about the ongoing proxy war by Pakistan, there is very little or no consciousness that Maoism or Naxalism is actually a proxy war by China being waged against India for last five decades. (Singh 2010)
ideology
Ideology
  • When more than 70 CRPF personnel were martyred in Chhattisgarh, some students of a university in Delhi, created for pioneering research but now considered a leftist bastion, celebrated the tragedy. Some students of the same university had celebrated the Tiananmen Square massacre of students in China in 1989 for what they thought was necessary to prevent China going down the Soviet Union way. This university does not lie in the ‘impoverished, underdeveloped and exploited tribal mineral heartland of India’. Its students thrive in excellent facilities made possible by the tax-payers money. (Singh 2010)