People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 27

July 05, 2009

Who Are The Maoists Working For?


Debasish Chakraborty


The rifle slinging carelessly from his shoulder, the Maoist zonal commander Bikash faced the electronic boom and openly admitted in public that the mine blast in Salboni in November 2008 was meant to kill the West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. He then added that Buddhadeb had been sentenced to death by the Maoists. In the middle of the interview, Bikash ran his fingers through his hair to smoothen it. The total episode may have resembled the shooting of a Bollywood thriller �Main Maoist Hoon.�




The above sequence must have made some people very excited. Sitting kilometres away from Lalgarh, somebody may have had the desire to participate in a �war-war game�. Some had even travelled there in search of the �cute� Maoists but ended up only in meeting Chatradhar Mahato. The loveliest of beauties among the retinue openly lamented, �What Maoist? We didn�t see a Maoist anywhere!� Really, what a pity!

The experience of the people who do have to meet and live with the Maoists, though, seems to be a wee bit different in general. Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have been going through the experience for the last decade or so. From afar, it was easier to paint a romantic picture of the �perpetual class war� going on in these areas. Now people in Belpahari-Lalgarh-Bandwan area have had a first hand experience of the state of things in a �liberated� (!!!) zone.

The Maoists have been able to expand their influence in some districts of six or seven states. Although there has been a debate about the area of the so called Red Corridor, it cannot be denied that the Maoists have been successful in expanding their �Raj� in these six or seven states. Has this �Raj� been the outcome of a vibrant mass movement? Has the movement of the peasantry, or of the working class, been the driving force behind the Maoist domination? Has anybody been the witness of such happenings? Has anybody heard the Maoists spearheading any mass movement for the rightful demands of the poor landless peasants, the rural poor and the adivasis? By name, they are indeed a communist party. But nobody can condemn them for having waged any movement in favour of the class they claim to be the representatives of, that is, the working class. They do not bear any responsibility of building any mass movements. The theory of acquiring dominance at gun point has been termed as a �continuous people�s war� while at times the �self- proclaimed revolutionaries� termed it as guerrilla warfare. Maybe at times, perhaps to win over support from the middle class, they may enter into a public debate. Then they would say that if the state itself is an armed apparatus, an instrument of coercion, the working people should also take up arms against the state for survival. But the flaw lies here.

The Chinese revolutionaries, who understood the true character of the state far better than the Indian Maoists have ever understood, had always stressed on the necessity of mass action and mass movements. And the man in whose name the Maoists are running their party had always emphasised on the supreme importance of mass participation. Comrade Mao had had, several times before as well as after the Chinese revolution, stressed on the active initiative of crores of people.




But the Indian Maoists believe in the politics of terror, perpetrated by their armed squads, instead of an organised and spontaneous mass movement. This particular trend is quite harmful for the real mass movements in our country. The territory where the Maoists are very powerful at this present moment of time happens to be the abode of a vast section of the poorest of the poor Indian masses. Even if, suppose, somebody claims that the adivasi population is the main �proletariat� in the country, he or she must be aware of the fact that a vast majority of the adivasi population too lives in this belt. They are living under the shadow of the Maoist guns and have not been mobilised in any genuine mass movement. They are even being kept several light years away from the primary movements on economic demands. All these must surely be making the ruling classes of this country very happy. Apart from the law and order situation, our ruling classes have nothing to worry about.

Some people may feel thrilled with the thought that the Maoists have built their bases in the adivasi preponderant areas. But it is to be remembered that building such bases has nothing to do with sympathy for the adivasi population. In numerous documents, the Maoists themselves have categorically stated that the reasons behind choosing such areas are related to military tactics. The remote areas, the jungles are tough for the state to reach quickly. Due to this inaccessibility, obviously, these areas become favourable for their �guerrilla warfare.�


Thus the entire interest of the Maoists is in geography, with love or compassion for the adivasis and the poor having never been an issue for them. But, obviously, they can --- and they do --- make use of the intense poverty of the adivasi population, though not for enhancing their consciousness. Instead, this poverty has been used for making the people surrender to their diktat. As long as the news of Maoist mine blasts poured in from Andhra Pradesh or Chhattisgarh, an element of adventurism was there in the air. Now living amidst the muzzles of A K 47, however, people are bitterly realising the harsh reality prevailing in Lalgarh, Belpahari and other areas. As many as 73 CPI(M) activists have been killed in the Junglemahal area of Bengal. A large number has been driven out of their villages. This has been done precisely to create a reign of terror there. The world does not hold any other example where the poor people are afraid of �revolutionaries.�




What are the Maoists doing in their so called open corridor? Are they distributing lands? Is feudalism being ousted? Are collective farms being run? Are development programmes for the adivasis and the poor being implemented? Nothing of the sort is being done. The areas in Bihar where the Maoists are most powerful, are quite comfortable areas for feudal lords. Very interestingly, due to the role of some other naxalite groups in these areas, there was some advancement of land movements in these areas earlier. Those advancements have now faded away. The Maoists and the feudal lords, in fact, share a common understanding among themselves. Land movement does not even have the remotest place in the Maoist agenda. Payment of levy to the Maoists clears the contractors from all sorts of hazards. The added advantage in this regard is that the contractors do not have to even construct the roads. The levy alone suffices the purpose. The Maoists share the same relation with the illegal wood and mine mafias. All parties are getting benefited from this symbiotic relationship. The Maoists act as paid agents of different political parties during the elections in Jharkhand. Children belonging to the poor adivasi families are taken away in the name of Balasangham in Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The Maoists have reached the final stages of degeneration. They are basically a mafia group now.


Of late, it has become a fashion to attribute underdevelopment as the reason for Maoist fervour in the Junglemahal of West Bengal. Lack of development is definitely there, particularly in the backward areas. In spite of some remarkable advancement in some sectors, poverty still persists. The neo-liberal policies pursued in our country over the last two decades have further widened the divide between the rich and the poor. It is an irony that on television channels some people argue for speedy realisation of the policies of neo-liberalism while, side by side, pointing out that lack of development is making the Maoists powerful. The Maoists themselves are against any kind of developmental model. In a capitalist society, any development cannot be there outside the sphere of class components and contents. But before a complete or thorough transformation of society take place, is it a crime to demand development for the working people? If the conditions and chances exist for development somewhere, is the utilisation of such opportunities a crime? Even the weird leftists whom Mao derided as the �Marxists sleeping on Marx,� never stooped so low!


The Indian Maoists oppose the projects of development everywhere. They oppose the laying of rail tracks, construction of bridges and establishment of power projects. Blowing up schools by the Maoists has become a very common phenomenon in Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. In West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts of West Bengal, the Maoists have established themselves to be the strongest hindrance to any sort of developmental works. Whose interest are they protecting?


And let us have a look at their �class enemies.� They have killed 73 CPI(M) activists in the Junglemahal area of Bengal. Out of them, 50 were either agricultural labourers or poor peasants. These poor unarmed people were dragged into the jungle and stabbed or shot to death. Their bodies were left lying on the spot, only to decompose. Their family members were not given the right to cremate them. We don�t know what sort of infernal pleasure these atrocities provide to the Maoists. Making the life of the poor adivasis horrible does not possibly serve any class interests of the downtrodden.  




The political motive and interest of the Indian Maoists is definite and clear. Thanks to the long and sustained struggles, the three districts of Junglemahal have become strong bastions of the CPI(M). And the Maoists look upon their arms as the last resort in their sordid game to order to break this bastion. But this belief is not shared by the Maoists alone. Keeping the Maoists in the forefront, others including Trinamool Congress are playing their role as well. Nowhere in India have the Maoists earlier faced any political challenge. They have had confrontations with the police and the administration. West Bengal has provided the first instance where the Maoists have to taste the people�s resistance and the barrier of a mass movement. Naturally, the attack on the Left has become focussed.


There is no doubt that Bikash or Kishenji will become a star. With the CPI(M)�s tally having come down in the parliamentary elections, the share market has now nothing to worry about. Washington had played the tunes of delight and ecstasy. Big media houses can�t help expressing their excitement. At this point of time, it is quite obvious that the people engaged in killing the cadres of the CPI(M) are slated to definitely become stars. Naturally, the demands of the Kishenji, Bikash & Company are on the high side!