That India has failed its people in many aspects of governance is a bitter pill to swallow for many. For all its successes, achievements & clout at international high tables the fact remains that India has failed to provide for the poorest of the poor who occupy vast swathes of its hinterland. Instead it has taken away from them their meager means of sustenance and made them refugees in their own land. It is in this context that the backlash against India and Indian institutions needs to be seen.
The people brainwashed by maoists and their virulent philosophy are predominantly tribals, dalits and farmers who view the Indian state as not just an indifferent one but a tyrannical one, one which is hell bent on killing their sons and raping their mothers and daughters all the while depriving them of their meager means of livelihood else why would a predominantly agrarian society who were largely non-violent during British rule take up arms against a government which is supposedly their own. It is another matter that those who are espousing their cause will probably turn out to be worse rulers than the current lot. For all its failings the Indian state is still respectful of divergent opinions but if the maoists, God forbid, come to power will , in all likelihood, turn out to be autocratic and tyrannical rulers who’ll promote collectivized mediocrity and stifle discordant voices.
India with its huge natural resources and vast manpower could have been turned into a cherished land had our politicians and bureaucrats a vision for its development. Instead the valued minerals became a bane for the poor people living on top of it. Their ancestral land usurped, they were evicted from their homes, given a pittance (if any) and made to relocate in a foreign land totally out of sync with their mode of living. Alienated form the Indian state and without access to its developmental policies they became easy fodder for the maoists and their so called revolutionary cause.
In this context the military solution being proffered by the Indian political class is a simplistic one, that which addresses the symptoms rather than going into the complexities of Indian social dynamics. We had already tried it once in 1979. The success was short lived. If anything the maoists became better organized and found more appeal to the effect that they challenge the Indian polity now. Who is to guarantee that the current use of force won’t make them any stronger? The use of force against them is precisely what the maoists want. It will get them more popularity and appeal them more to their target populace who believe that they are fighting for a just and noble cause.
You cannot kill a thought with a stone. To eradicate the maoist menace a twin-pronged strategy is required. The government must supplement its military endeavors with a concerted strategy aimed at development of people in the affected regions. The people must be sensitized and incentivized to give up arms and those committing atrocities against them must be stringently punished. The people at the frontline of this war are a simple lot. The battle they’re fighting is grim and desperate and seems to them the only means to salvage their lost identity. It’s India’s responsibility to show them that there is a better way to do it rather than fighting their own people and sacrificing their precious lives.