One of the most important ingredient of a civilized society is the recognition of responsible rebellion. I stopped writing about the Maoists, positive or negative, when they started acting irresponsibly by killing non-political civilians because it is dangerous to publicize irresponsibility even while condemning it, for all publicity is good publicity. But, in the changed circumstances, they indeed deserve publicity; so at least I am writing about them for whatever it is worth — also, off-late, the Maoists have not been in bad news too very often.
The Maoists are the most relevant alternative political force in India today. In a democratic setup like that of India, the political forces are either on the right side of the law by fighting elections and obeying the command of the security agencies or else they are outlaws by not only disobeying but also attacking the security agencies and like by forming their own armies– yes, the things have not changed much to stop thinking the security agencies don’t run this world; the military and the intelligence agencies of the states run this world even now, period. In India, the right-side political forces have more or less merged towards a US-centric, psuedo-liberal, conservative ideology. In this ideology, the combination of business and military decides the strategy, and the part and parcel of the strategy are also the activists, who, more often than not, are nothing more than make-up celebrities. So, there is a perpetual vacuum for the justiciability of the rights of people, the PILs notwithstanding. In other words, the rights have become irrelevant for getting justice as the politics has become all-encompassing.
In such a scenario, the poor and the marginalized are left with no choice but to take recourse to the outlaws for getting justice, and if the outlaws can deliver justice, their methods automatically become institutions, at least in the limited sphere of their operation. So, it is these methods of the Maoists that have gained wide acceptance amongst the tribals in certain areas of India, and which have come to be known as alternative government or “Janatana Sarkaar“. The methods are not well documented. My only instant-noodle source of information of acceptable credibility is one essay written by Arundhati Roy in which she called them “Gandhians with a Gun” but later retracted — I am not really sure if she is also a make-up celebrity; however, if she makes her appearances sans makeup, she is a natural beauty. Following are the highlights:
1. The Maoists fight for the rights of the tribals against police, zamindars, forest authorities, etc.
2. The tribals live their normal lives, nevertheless, in jungles; they dance, play and celebrate under the auspices of the Maoists.
3. Both boys and girls join the armed forces of the Maoists and fight side-by-side (the most important feature).
4. The educated liberals, especially professionals, are in high demand.
5. The life is tough for the guerrillas; they sleep less, dream more and act circumspectly; some of them ride bikes, but most just run.
6. The Maoists are well-informed about the rest of India and the world, through their limited channels of communications.
7. The Maoists are “Gandhians with a Gun”, which literally means they follow Gram Swaraj, but, metaphorically, it means they resist like Gandhi albeit with guns, but their methods are peaceful, and the gun is just for self-defence.
Now comes the question of relevancy of the Maoists in urban India. The current situation in urban India is becoming more or less like Dantewada forests: Politics has become the only recourse to justice; for some, the fight for justice has turned into a fight for means of survival especially food; women, at large, are being turned into prostitutes, by force or by lure or by deception; scarce resources especially land have been misappropriated by a few sharks, and the rest are either mortgagors or tenants; stealth tools like mind control, gang stalking, forced suicides, etc, are being used on unsuspecting individuals for no good reason except for some arbitrary notions somewhere that they are prospective terrorists/rebels; the judiciary has been unclothed, and the only garment it is wearing now is a blindfold, which is making it live in an illusion of modesty.
In such circumstances, the emergence of outlaws is but necessary, and the Maoists are the best amongst the available choices: Maoists, Mujaheedins, mafia, ULFA, et al. The Mujaheedins have no respect for women, and also they are less relevant in India except Kashmir (if you want to call it a part of India), and I hope it so remains; the mafia are opportunists; the ULFA are localized with no global strategy; but the Maoists have been time-tested in a part of India and offer the best bet for money. But, I only hope some people somewhere come up with a better alternative; till then, the Maoists are the most relevant alternative political force in India.
© 2014 Ankur Mutreja