A key paragraph;
When a country that calls itself a democracy openly declares war within its borders, what does that war look like? Does the resistance stand a chance? Should it? Who are the Maoists? Are they just violent nihilists foisting an outdated ideology on tribal people, goading them into a hopeless insurrection? What lessons have they learned from their past experience? Is armed struggle intrinsically undemocratic? Is the Sandwich Theory – of “ordinary” tribals being caught in the crossfire between the state and the Maoists – an accurate one? Are “Maoists” and “tribals” two entirely discrete categories, as is being made out? Do their interests converge? Have they learned anything from each other? Have they changed each other?
We passed the house of the superintendent of police (SP), which I recognised from my last visit. He was a candid man, the SP: “See Ma’am, frankly speaking this problem can’t be solved by us police or military. The problem with these tribals is they don’t understand greed. Unless they become greedy there’s no hope for us. I have told my boss: remove the force and instead put a TV in every home. Everything will be automatically sorted out.”
It’s the most beautiful room I have slept in in a long time. My private suite in a thousand-star hotel. I’m surrounded by these strange, beautiful children with their curious arsenal. They’re all Maoists for sure. Are they all going to die?…Why must they die? What for? To turn all of this into a mine? I remember my visit to the opencast iron-ore mines in Keonjhar, Orissa. There was forest there once. And children like these. Now the land is like a raw, red wound. Red dust fills your nostrils and lungs…Into a “growth rate” that leaves economists breathless. Into weapons to make war.
Also interesting is the fact that Naxalite control seems good for forest conservation efforts.
“We have a Save the Jungle department now.” Comrade Venu says, “you must have read the government report that says forest has increased in Naxal areas?”
The rest in the Guardian (here)