India’s forgotten war-The Maoist Rebellion
It is almost 50 years since Mao Zedong proclaimed, “The guerrillas must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea”, and no movement better represents this infamous quote than Mao’s ideological children, India’s Naxalites.
Born from a peasant uprising in 1967 in the small village of Naxalbari (from which they get their name), the Maoists quickly became one of the world’s leading guerrilla forces, attracting the support of millions across the globe. However, the movement lost momentum during the 70’s as the Naxalites failed to capitalize on previous successes. Now, however, the movement appears to be regaining strength, and the Maoists appear to be regrouping, deep within India’s jungles; forging new alliances, honouring old ideologies.
India has always experienced violent guerrilla movements; the Kashmiri separatists during the 90’s, the Sikh separatists during the 80’s, and the armed conflict in the eastern states today. However, while the Indian government has managed to crush these previous movements, the Naxalites remain very much intact. Perhaps this is because attitudes towards the Naxalites haven’t changed. Some still consider them terrorists, whereas others see them as liberators, fighting for the rights of the rural proletariat in an India that is quickly moving away from tradition and culture, in pursuit of a more materialistic, consumerist future.
Capitalism creates wealth like no other system, and perhaps that is why it seems to appeal to so many; it appeals to our greed. However, capitalism is incapable of spreading the wealth around, so to speak. India’s middle class now numbers roughly the population of the United States, but this still leaves roughly 700 million people living on the edge of “The New India”. Despite government efforts to develop Maoist infiltrated areas economically, their policies have had little effect, further radicalising the population. This is not to say that Maoism is...