Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rahul Pandita's "Hello Bastar"

Investigative journalist Rahul Pandita's book "Hello Bastar" provides the account of Maoist conflict in certain areas of India like Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar. Rahul traveled to the hinterlands of these states and interviewed Maoist leaders and guerrillas over a long period of time so his account feels authentic.
Maoist conflict started with Naxalbari uprising and it extended to other places in India. The persistent inequality, caste-based discrimination and the deprivation of Adivasis' rights to land resources have proved fertile grounds for Maoist activities.
Indian government's approach is negative in the sense that rather than fulfilling people's basic needs, it tries to suppress Maoist rebellion with brute power. This state oppression has involved even the innocent people and has inspired them to join the Maoist fold.
While Maoist tactics of physically eliminating class enemy cannot be justified, the cause they raise has to be addressed by the state. Maoists are also at fault as they accept gifts from big corporations and work against people's interests. But Maoist dream of a communist regime is a pipe dream at best.
Rahul maintains objectivity in the book although at times he seems to fall in charm of Maoists.He provides the portraits of certain Maoist leaders among whom Anuradha Ghandy stands the best. She sacrificed her life for the uplift of poor Dalits, Muslims and the proletariat, unlike our own Maoist leaders who enjoyed privileges in India while common cadres were tortured and killed here. Since Nepal too went through Maoist conflict, Nepali readers can relate with it.

No comments: