Monday, January 21, 2008


Maoist resurgence


MAOISTUKAL ARAAJAKAVAADIKALO: R. Sunil and S. Mohammed Ershad — Editors; Banner Books, Kollam. Rs. 100.

THE TITLE translates as "Are Maoists anarchists?" The contents list is studded with such famous names as Manmohan Singh, V.P.Singh, Justices S. B. Sinha and Markandeya Katju, Prakash Karat, A. B. Bardhan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Sitaram Yechury, Anil Biswas, Vara Vara Rao, Aparna Sen and Arundhati Roy.

The book appears even as increased Maoist activity is reported from several states. All this raises expectations, but the book fails to deliver on the promises. The book is a compilation of essays, statements and interviews with a bearing on Maoist activity, which, the foreword notes, now extends to 160 districts in the country. V.P. Singh is quoted as saying he wants to become a Maoist if this is the model of development, "but I can't at this age." The two Supreme Court judges are included on the strength of a judgment in which they reportedly made an appreciative reference to Maoist people's courts. The CPI (M) leaders' condemnation of Maoists as anarchists is followed by essays that seek to rebut their criticism.

The editors are researchers but this is not an academic work. They have downloaded most of the material from pro-Maoist websites. They have not gone to original sources even for the Prime Minister's remarks and the Supreme Court judgment. However, there are a few informative pieces like Anand Patwardhan's profile of Binayak Sen, the human rights defender, and the editors' own report on the counterinsurgency movement in Chattisgarh.

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