In Defence of the Defenceless – Siddhartha Mohapatra, Rourkela, Orissa


Siddhartha Mohapatra

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.


  1. Good writing……..A writer in the making, keep up the goodwork and enlighten us with your thoughts

  2. As if everything was fine before independence. As if governance of those days took care of the poorest of the poor. Why didn’t they rebel in those days?
    There is an organized propaganda against liberal democratic form of governance that is succeeding so well in India now. These self-proclaimed saviors of poor are against prosperity and peace, against world uniting through globalization, against individual freedom, against freedom of expression and thought, against countries like USA that are proving all their propaganda wrong. Where do Maoist ideas come from? The propaganda also comes from the same source. It comes from the dark minds of people who believe in mass violence as a solution for injustice. The propaganda says that democratic governments have failed and therefore people are taking arms. There is a justification for their violence. If force is used against Maoists, they would become more powerful and seize power of the country. It is painful, at least some people are falling to this!

  3. As long as inequality, disproportionate distribution of land and wealth and our so called pseudo democracy exists, all these will continue.
    The tribals are caught between Scylla and Charybdis !

  4. Raju, could u name a few countries with REAL democracy and PROPORTIONATE distribution of land and wealth, where everything is fine?

  5. The Maoist problem is a tricky one. Certainly they have become a menace to normal life. Whatever may be the consequences they need to be terminated once for all. Govt should have an integrated and multi pronged approach. Political mendicancy is the real cause of the rise of the Maoists. Development for the people to whom the Maoists falsely represent is the real answer. These people are real sufferers of various activities of the government like industrialization. They didn’t get any livelihood and though they lost the same. In the name of development they were trampled. Industrialization has become a bane for them. Better to be without industrialization than industries with starvation, death, alienation and beggary in own land.

    And finally govt should tackle the problem of parallel govts run in states like Chhatishgarh, Orissa, WB, AP. As long as we have political unwillingness and lack of strong government i don’t see any end to the menace. But it’s enough, the time has come for strangulation of the Maoists. They champion nothing but block normal life as they blast railway track and work against development of India.


  6. @Raju we’ve had enough of this radical communist ideology. This is impracticable and an utopia. Nowhere in the world this situation exists. Russia shrunk but failed to materialize its dreams of stateless, caste less society.


  7. Let me first apppreciate the concern which the writer reflects at the passive and tacit state of health of Indian democracy and its symptomatic reflections.

    But having said that I would like to say that the article oversimplies the systemic and structural redressal that is an impertaive to resolve the maoist issue. The problem therefore lies not only in the manifest intended but also in the latent unintended, consequent upon which the neo-liberal agenda of the goverment and the notion of a capital”s supremacy over labour and the rampant fascist outrage stands a stong guard against development- which ensures general levels of prosperity.

    The anarchist- fabian -Trotskite propensity of the so called “Maoist”s ” ( Mao must be crying at his coffin) is nothing new. The Goverment”s rather inaction and the pseudo calls- the paramilitary offensive , Salwa Judum , or the Koya commando etc is a garb which is as detrimental for the common adivasi , dalit as is the mayhem by the Maoist” s and at a fundamental level both actions violate the Right To Life .

    But at the crux of all this I would point out that the character of these offensive”s ( both by Govt. and Maoist) are a “sincere” or I would be politically correct in saying a “novel” attempt to foil any democratic movement in this country that promise’s to fight the neo-liberal regime and champion the cause of the working class , adivasi”s and dalits.


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