Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sen and I - 1

Mr Sen,
In your book India:Development and Participation, while expostulating coercive measures undertaken by the government in its drive for population control, you have criticized many post emergency measures/administrative pressure tactics that have developed and in some cases, received official approval, in order to achieve their family planning targets. The examples you cited of "making verbal threats, ...sterilization a condition for eligibility for anti poverty programs, depriving mothers of more than two children maternity benefits, reserving certain health care services for those who have been sterilized and forbidding persons who have more than 2 children from contesting panchayat elections." You go on to specifically denounce the last policy as being in violation of democratic norms and personal liberty and express fear that the relevant legislation(in force in 5 states at the time of writing) might be extended at the national level. In my own small contribution to the public deliberations, discussions and debate your writings so consciously cultivate, I hope that any factual errors or value misjudgments will be pointed out by others better informed.
I do not begrudge you the points that you have raised. I think a very plausible case can be made against such pseudo-coercive measures for family planning( Refined coercion ,of course , being benchmarked by Mrs Indira Gandhi's infamous sterilization drive) on the grounds of being undemocratic and a state entering into what is ,quite obviously a personal space.Indeed, as you point out later, the Kerala phenomenon has done better than China in this regard through non coercive measures by a heady mix of expanding female literacy and larger female participation in the work force. My 'criticism', more appropriately, my doubts are with regard to how this might translate into actual public policy action.
Forbidding persons with more than two children from contesting panchayat elections:
This is certainly undemocratic, for it excludes a large share of population from "representative" democracy due to their failing an apolitical and irrelevant criteria. Having 3 kids is not equivalent to a criminal conviction and a sentence for 3 years, for e.g. My point of contention is this: Political leaders at all levels,despite their powers of mass  mobilization , seem to be accreting votes by conformism and support to social norms, primitive archaic or morally reprehensible though they might be. One would wish to see a closer amalgamation of democratic institutions working through political figures to cause social change rather than be moulded and enslaved by it. I admit that this should "emerge" out of reasoned public debates and a consensus among the participants(in this case, the citizens) but in light of the contraints placed by limited education, blind adherence to traditionalistic values(even only 50 year old 'values' are sometimes seen as rigid lakshman rekhas) and lack of sufficient fora , I cannot but feel that the lead must come from those who have a larger multiplier effect than civil society deliberations- viz central/state level legislation. Perhaps my impatience for results shines through but until conditions of education, literacy and health services improve, when 2 child norms are followed out of empowered female agency, one must try to continuously tweak incentive structures through available, direct measures rather than wait for a revolutionary upheaval.
Whom does it hurt? It disallows a large population to contest and win panchayat elections , true, but becoming a public servant should be seen to involve more than just a position completely disentangled from the personal values upheld by the public servant as a representative of the State. And with the power, should come certain preset qualities that such a public servant upholds through his personal/social being. Moreover, with a functioning participatory democracy, a man's ability and access to 'voice' is not substantially hindered by contesting elections to panchayats. Perhaps, while democratic norms should be seen as something close to being inviolable, in certain contexts such as these, a slight flexibility of principles could somehow be justified.
Other concerns and replies-
Can this be extended to the other measures mentioned above?
Certainly not! The basic services (health, education) cannot be restricted on such an artificial criteria nor can it be compared with the electoral tweaks. While not denying the role democracy plays in the full enjoyment of life and its infinite potential , state supported health and education services  are more 'absolute necessities in the sense that they are critical for a right to physical existence as well as right to opportunity for social and economic mobility.
Can this be extended to include other eligibility criteria- educated representatives, no alcohol consumption perhaps?
No, care must be taken that the ineligibility does not stem from economic or environmental constraints(poor education) or criteria which are difficult to ascertain/subjective. Also, feature creep should be guarded against and such 'social' tweaks must be measured rarely and with great restraint.

Being a strong believer in "moderation in everything including moderation", in my judgment, this measure is a moderate enough yet with enough multiplier potential to make a salutary impact on how family planning is perceived, by impacting a negative push factor. Nothing in the above discussion denies the importance of continuing with other much larger initiatives that further women's agency and spread of family planning measures- technological, social and medical.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Anna Hazare's agitation

          History replete with instances of sensible movements led by brilliant minds, great strategists going out of their hands - leading to violence, anarchy or something as intangible as a deepening perception of "Sab chor hain" - the damage of which is invisible but in my opinion, more damaging than what a diluted Lokpal bill might be and erosion of trust in democratic principles which is the touchstone of this country.Slippery Slope generalizations - Taking this model of public coercion by say, 10,000 or even 100,000 people to an extreme- goes against democratic principles. And then how different would it be from 10,000 jats agitating for reservation.
          Another development of a mass agitation is that its efficacy and success is disproportionately dependent not just on the personality , resolve and moral strength  of the one who leads but also his "political" skills. (Aside: For those who flinched and felt repulsed at the use of this "dirty" word, "politics is the process by which a group comes to a collective decision"). For he must not only rally his following in constructive channels, prevent them from resorting to unethical practices(performed under illusions of the "Greater Good") and excercise control so as not to lose the leadership to vested interests(e.g the opposition) who have a different ace to grind . Besides all that, he must also be ready to compromise(nelson mandela, Nehru(more than Gandhi, I believe), martin luther) even at the risk of the collective outrage of all his followers as well as detractors. Is Mr hazare up to it? I dearly hope he is but past history tells me - a mass upsurge of popular sentiment causes leaders to take up more and more uncompromising positions rather than working behind the scenes for an amicable solution
       If however the idea is to gain a majority in the drafting committee at the exclusion of the political executive, the bureaucrats and the agencies who will be affected, that can hardly be called a flexible attitude.

R: What do you suggest?
S: I wont even try to say what the best lokpal bill would be. There is a general consensus among all concerned that the bill is incredibly dilute and if legislated, is certain to have minimal impact. And I am certainly not qualified to understand the institutional linkages and repercussions of the Jan lokpal bill if enacted in its present form. however my main concern is with the process of policy making and there is a general agreement to the principle of greated CS role in the situation. RTI showed why public demonstrations are important but holding a gun to the centre's head and a possibility of a repeat of Potti Sriramulu is quite inimical to the country's social fabric.
Also, CS needs to figure out the manner of its involvement. Ambedkar's warnings in the Constituent assembly were quite portentuous dealing with the contradiction of satyagrahas, civil disobedience etc in a democratic polity.Speaking from a citizen's point of view, I personally would like to see a return to the Moderate era of national movement wherein the CS worked for reforms through petitions, memorandums ,political education of the people through speeches and edits in the press, peaceful demonstrations that do not border on threats of self starvation. Extremist modes and the gandhian mode should be the last resort.

R: Aha! The last resort. But this is a last resort! If this passes , all is doomed. Politicians will always remain corrupt.
S: That is quite an overstatement. The Indian polity, warts and all, is much more strong than it is given credit for. It has withstood stronger pressures, bigger crises and immense fissparous tendencies. it is important not to be so naive as to believe the Jan Lokpal bill will remove all corruption from the society nor be so naive as to believe that enacting a diluted form will preclude all reforms in the future.
In the end , there is no substitute for the political education of the electorate , for which AHA's stand is making an incomparable contribution but its crucial that it tone down its tenor so as to work more contructively towards a consensual bill rather than let the energy of the frustrated facebookers  dissipate while pounding there heads against an increasingly obdurate political executive.
Meanwhile, repose some faith, like Nehru did in the judgment of the masses- who, if you recall correctly, punished Indira gandhi for subverting democracy even if it meant political instability and risked depriving them of the newly infused discipline and the paltry amounts of food on their table

Main concerns :
1. Selection of CS representatives

2.Unity and Diversity of opinion- the right to "beg to differ" not CS's sole preserve
3.Civil Society overreach
4. Dysfunctionalities and unforeseen outcomes

I can see the main objections to my arguments - the unjustified "babudom" complex kicking in, even if I am just preparing for civil services : ) , the "what right do you have? Hazare has impeccable credentials" (I am sure he does, but even if I watch porn 12 hours a day, pay off land barons for illegal acquisitions and kill cuddly rabbits for fun, I still have a right to comment  - a part of judging the validity of arguments is certainly as to who is making them, but it should not be made overwhelmingly so, let rationality and logic take first place in evaluation, IMO)  and the third - the question of judgment (Subjective)
Wish I could write more. Sadly, I have stuff to do. however always interested to hear your comments, reviews. Trolls are welcome too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On human tragedies

"I suppose I have changed a good deal during these twelve years. I have grown more contemplative. there is perhaps a little more poise and equilibrium, some sense of detachment, a greater calmness of spirit. I am not overcome now to the same extent as I used to be by tragedy or what I conceived to be tragedy. The turmoil and disturbance are less and are more temporary , even though the tragedies have been on a far greater scale.
Is this, I have wondered, the growth of a spirit of resignation , or is it toughening of the texture? Is it just age and a lessening of vitality and of the passion of life? Or is it due to ling periods in prison and life slowly ebbing away, and the thoughts that fill the mind passing through, after a brief stay, leaving only ripples behind?The tortured mind seeks some mechanism to escape, the senses get dulled from repeated shocks, and a feeling comes over one that so much evil and misfortune shadow over the world that a little more or little less does not make much difference. There is only one thing that remains to us that cannot be taken away : to act with courage and dignity and to stick to the ideals that have given meaning to life..."
- Nehru in The Discovery of India

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Public Discourse and Arguments

Sunil Kumar goes anti-gaga over Pratap Bhanu Mehta, shoots off his head
Original article
Rant Part I
Rant Part II

Compare this to disagreements expressed to and fro between the following 2 on the issue of Mehta's resignation letter from NKC after implementation of OBC reservation by the UPA government

Resignation Letter
The Disagreement
The Agree to Disagree letter

Leave the subject matter, just the contrast in the manner of articulation is worth comparing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bihar Elections: A Decisive Mandate?

With the media houses christening him as the "Indian of the Year" and the World Bank and the Gates Foundation acknowledging a drastic turnaround in the fortunes of what has long remained one of the most backward states of the Indian Union, in both social and economic terms, Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar has many reasons to smile on the eve of the State elections. This is the election that political observers believe, will be a decisive indicator of whether Bihar has finally come out of its post Mandal infatuation with divisive, caste based politics and whether the future politics of this long maligned state will be determined by wars fought on the development plank or will continue to be based on caste arithmetic and calculations.

The political landscape of the state stands as follows: the current government is an JD(U)-BJP combine headed by Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister coming into power after 15 years of RJD led rule in the state. The combine currently enjoys a comfortable majority(~150 seats in an assembly of 243). The RJD+ combine was trumped in the last state elections garnering just 66 seats while LJP, headed by Lalu Prasad's long time friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-turned foe... , Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan got 14 seats. The denouement that this people's verdict made was clear, specially seen in the light of the opinions held by World Bank which believed that issues faced by the state was "enormous" because of "persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance" and The Economist which unequivocally stated "Bihar [had] become a byword for the worst of India, of widespread and inescapable poverty, of corrupt politicians indistinguishable from mafia-dons they patronise, caste-ridden social order that has retained the worst feudal cruelties". Having spent a childhood in the safer confines of a semi-urbanised state capital, Patna, it was obvious to us from reading both the English dailies and vernaculars that something had gone terribly wrong with a state , a state that once boasted of statesmen and leaders like J.P., Dr. A.N. Sinha and Mr. L.N.Mishra had kneeled for 15 years to a government that consisted entirely of self serving individuals and groups who had no commitment to political ideologies or norms of governance.
The past 5 years have been in stark relief with the previous administration with the growth rate of the state increasing from its 1999-2008 average of 5.1%(national average 7.3%) to the 5 year 2004-2009 average at 11.08%. And despite apprehensions, this wasnt a result of fudged data(a theory which does have some takers simply because the data collection authority, CSO merely guides the states in collecting data rather than verifying it) but was a very real growth.
Much of this impetus, however, was not provided by private investments which are still yet to pick up a healthy pace or by agricultural expansion which is expected of a priamrily agricultural economy but by a rigorous public funded expansion of the dilapidated road network and construction. A mammoth 47% boom in construction activities in the last 5 years, an eightfold increase in yearly road construction and government development spending increasing from 2000 crores in 2004 to over 16000 crores per year in the last 5 years speaks for themselves. The companies and industries have been a bit more hesitant in buying in the Bihar boom mainly because of political uncertainities that is hogging the upcoming state elections, especially in light of the fact that in the not-so-recent by-elections on 18 seats, JD(U) won 5 while RJD won 9 seats.The organised sector has stagnated but the Finance Ministry has worked hard to garner investments from industrial houses. A lot, thus hinges on the Nitish Kumar government being re-elected in 2010.
But for most Bihari people, the statistics and awards for the Chief Minister havent really mattered a lot. If anything, it brings to the populace's memory the 'India Shining' fiasco that brought down the NDA in the 2004 general elections. In fact, there are very real fears of that happening in the state elections though there have been very faint indications of complacency from the current government. Part of the confidence stems from the fact that the Government has touched the lives not only of the urban middle class but of the more obscure, interior regions of the Gangetic plains. Outside of the improvement of connectivity to the rural hinterland, there has been a pervasive crackdown on criminal elements with almost 40,000 convictions of big and small time goons that once controlled entire districts and displayed illegal armory with gay abandon in public. The fear of criminal power has decreased in most areas, major victories in that context being the conviction of Shahbuddin, 4 time winner from the Siwan constituency , now serving life imprisonment. Whereas in the past, the well know Don of Siwan had fought and won elections while being jailed, in 2009 the proxy candidate from Siwan, his wife, lost the Lok Sabha elections. Another high profile casualty of the new regime change was Pappu Yadav, a 4 time Lok Sabha member who was convicted for CPI(M) activist, Ajit Sarkar's murder and is now serving life imprisonment. Coupled with concerted efforts to improve medical facilities in the state's primary health centers by improving and streamlining doctors' and nurses' attendance and filling up of long vacant teacher positions in primary and secondary school, the current government has taken care that the policies are premeating to the services provided to the lowest rungs of the society and are not restricted to the middle and upper classes.
But public memory, as one would imagine, is fickle, especially in a state that has long been the laboratory for Mandal politics and due to the extremely low reaches of education, boasts of an antiquated mindset that is more comfortable talking about caste than about development. And much as an intellectual would wish to see RJD and JD(U) fight it out in the state elections in a logical and clean manner upon matters of policy and ideology, he can't hide the whimsical smile that such a false hope elicits universally. Indeed, Nitish Kumar's success in turning tables on the RJD was not entirely due to the fatigue of the people of Bihar with Lalu Prasad's(or Rabri Devi's, if you will) administration. Sure, the emphatic wins of BJP and JD(U) in the urban centers could be attributed to the highly dissatisfied middle class who saw in Nitish Kumar , a change from old practices, a man who could improve the current system. But this dice wouldn't roll in the more rural areas simply because politics has almost come to be equated to caste allegiances here. Society in Bihar has long been very sensitive about castes, quite a bit of that observation stemming from the inability of post-independence governments to enact and implement land reforms. The bloody class wars of the nineties only reaffirmed the lines that had been drawn long back and it is no wonder that Mandal politicians talk not as much of policies as they do of vote banks and the caste of a candidate. But Nitish Kumar displayed his knack in the art of rajniti as well when he reformulated Lalu Prasad's caste equations and postulated one of his own. His creation of the "Mahadalit" faction will always be famously(or infamously) remembered as one of the greatest tour de forces in political battles in recent times. By including almost all backward castes in the state and branding them Mahadalits, thus making them eligible for extremely benevolent government programs that promised land, economic statbility and assurances of safe living and protection, Nitish's ploy ate into the classical Yadav + Muslims +OBC combine that Lalu Prasad had had firm backing of. More significantly, since this hardly left out a couple of OBC factions which were firmly behind LJP and RJD (the Yadavs and Paswans included), there wasn't as much social fragmentation as such divisions are wont to cause. Thus breaking up an assured RJD vote bank, Nitish came up trumps and chalked a marvelous victory in the 2005 elections.

The question that remains: the political landscape, like the ever changing ever morphing montage it is, what are the chances that RJD and the LJP combine might play to upset the incumbent government's plan? More importantly, since the RJD and LJP have been decimated in the Lok Sabha Elections (RJD coming down from 21 to just 4 and LJP from 4 to no members in the Lok Sabha) ,it almost seems like JD(U)'s game to lose. Nitish Kumar recently held out sops reserved for the Mahadalit category, to the paswans to wean that vote bank away from the now decimated LJP and there are indications that this move would win him additional support from that community. His secular image among muslims, though, is dented by his coalition with the communally tinged BJP but his public remarks against Narendra Modi, the star son of VHP and BJP, to campaign in Bihar have won him sympathisers among the muslims as well. The administration's willingness to reopen cases from the Bhagalpur riots has also gone down well among the minority community and the muslim group seems eager to look beyond the rhetoric of Lalu Prasad Yadav who became a secular messiah after stopping L K Advani's rath yatra from entering Bihar.
As Swaminomics said in one of his articles, industrial participation in the Bihar story would only materialise if Nitish Kumar again wins a mojority in the new set up. A hint of power to RJD or LJP would put the brakes on what is promising to be a good period for the state after a very very long time. But there are a couple of factors that could play spoilsport. There has been public dissent in JD(U) with party members complaining of the one man show that the Chief Minister seems to be running. There was a tricky period when there were doubts about whether JD(U) would split after a very public dichotomy of opinions between Nitish Kumar and his second in command, Sharad Yadav. With the bill again coming up for discussion in the Winter session(or even before that) it is important for the CM to keep his flock disciplined and together. Another unknown entity this time around would be the Congress, which heady after its success in Uttar Pradesh LS elections, would be anxious to replicate its experiments in Bihar by going alone, head to head against staunch UPA supporters, the RJD. Rahul Gandhi, though not as active in Bihar as he was in UP still has the ability to turn a few votes here and in case of some unforeseen events on the eve of the state elections, its not inconceivable that the Congress could play spoilsport in some crucial seats. In my persona opinion, though, it seems hard for Congress to really make that much of an impact in the coming elections since its party infrastructure on the ground is dismal and the central leadership, after an initial spurt of interest, seems to have backed down, seeing the rather subdued response to its overhyped enlistment drives in the state.
All said and done, the upcoming elections in Bihar would set the agenda, not just for the next 5 but for the next 50 years. I Think.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

History of the Naxal Movement

This is a precis of the rise of the Naxal movement and its ideological evolution ever since. Should be an interesting read( if you are patient enough to read it all)

Origin  and  Rise

The  earliest  manifestations  of  the  movement  can  be  traced  to  the  Telangana  movement  in  Andhra  Pradesh  ,1948-1950  where  deep  rooted  dissent  against  the  government  over  inefficient  land  distribution  rules  had  provided  an  apt  laboratory  for  communist  ideologues  to  put  to  test  ,  the  experiences  and  inspirations  from  the  Chinese  Peasant  revolutions.  During  the  4  years,  some  2,500  villages  in  the  telangana  region  were  ‘liberated’,  sharecropper’s  debt  cancelled  ,  rent  payments  suspended  and  land  chunks  redistributed  making  this  movement  one  of  the  major  chapters  in  the  history  of  peasnt  struggles.  The  rise  of  the  CPI(M)  and  CPI  as  political  entities  received  another  shot  in  the  arm  when  they  formed  a  democratically  elected  government  in  Kerala  in  1957  under  E.M.S.  Namboodaripad,  the  first  such  deposition  in  the  world.  The  Indo-china  war  soon  after  in  1962  caused  a  split  in  the  CPI  with  the  newly  formed  CPI(M)  entity  now  toeing  a  more  radical  centrist  line.
The  naxalite  movement  traces  its  physical  origins  to  the  village  of  Naxalbari  in  West  Bengal  where  a  farmer  by  the  name  of  Bimal  Kissan  was  beaten  up  by  henchmen  of  local  landlords  when  he  attempted  to  plough  his  land  in  contravention  of  a  judicial  order  that  allowed  him  the  freedom  to  do  so.  This  small  incident  fired  up  the  sensibilities  of  the  Santhal  tribals  in  the  region  who  retaliated  ,in  the  process  recapturing  land  that  had  been  illegally  occupied.  Charu  Majumdar    and  Kanu  Sanyal  broke  away  as  a  more  extremist  group  from  the  Communist  Party  of  India(Maoist)  and  spearheaded  the  spread  of  the  then  popular  movement  which  they  considered  to  be  the  progenitor  of  a  new  national  revolution.  Despite  brutal  suppression  by  the  West  Bengal  government,  the  support  of  sympathetic  revolutionaries  from  across  the  country  led  to  the  formation  of  the  All  India  Coordination  Committee  of  Communist  Revolutionaries(AICCR)  in  1968  and  the  Communist  Party  of  India(Marxist-Leninist)  in  1969.    This  fragment  of  the  erstwhile  CPI(M)  deviated  from  its  predecessors  in  their  basic  manifesto  which  aimed  at  usurping  political  power  by  taking  recourse  to  an  armed  uprising.  The  adoption  of  philosophy  of  violence  differentiated  the  Naxalite  movement  from  other  trans-national  movements  who,  though  reactionary  and  extremist,  believed  in  achieving  social  justice  through  legal  and  peaceful  means.  Under  the  Naxalite  Guru,  Charu  Majumdar  aided  by    kanu  Sanyal  and  Jagat  Santhal  ,  the  CPI(ML)  movement  peaked  in  1971  when  over  3,650  violent  outbursts  were  reported  in  Bihar,  Andhra  Pradesh  and  pockets  of  Kerala,  Tamil  Nadu,  Punjab  ,  UP    and  Delhi.    However,  joint  operations  by  the  Police  and  Army  leading  to  arrest  and  incarcerations  of  thousands  of  Naxal  leaders,  casualties  and  Majumdar’s  death  in  1972  led  to  a  rapid  decline  of  the  movement’s  intensity  so  much  so  that  by  the  late  seventies,  the  Naxal  movement  was  given  a  final  obituary  in  the  pages  of  history.  That  the  naxalites  had  had  no  formal  training  in  Guerilla  warfare  and  countered  the  Army’s  .303  rifles  and  carbines  with  antique  pipe  guns,  axes  and  sickles  didn’t  help  their  cause  either.
K.P.  Singh  characterises  this  highly  volatile  and  incendiary  phase  of  movement  in  his  article  “The  trajectory  of  the  Movement1  ”.  This  period  was  fuelled  by  an  ideologically  sincere  leadership  and  mid-level  activists  and  thus  appealed  not  only  to  the  extreme  left  wing  and  deprived  sections  of  the  society  but  also  a  large  chunk  of  sympathetic  intellectuals  and  students  in  reputed  colleges  like  Delhi  University(remnants  of  which  can  be  seen  even  now  in  the  political  commentaries  of  renowned  individuals  who  were  deeply  influenced  by  the  idea  of  a  Robin-Hood  like  organisation  giving  the  people  back  what  was  ‘rightfully’  theirs  in  the  first  place).  China,  locked  in  a  bitter  dispute  over  claims  on  Siachen  and  Ladhakh  during  that  decade,  saw  the  movement  as  its  own  extension  and  extolled  its  virtues  at  an  international  scale  supporting  it  with  financial  aid  and  training.

The  Revival

Post  emergency,  the  now  dormant  movement  got    a  fillip  when  it  witnessed  a  revival  primarily  in  Andhra  Pradesh  in  form  of  the  Anarchist  People’s  War  Group(PWG)  under  Kondapalli  Seetharamaiah  ,  the  Marxist  Leninist  CPI(ML)  Liberation  and  in  Bihar  by  the  Maoist  Communist  Centre(MCC)  along  with  a  couple  of  other  transient  organisations  like  the  Unity  Organisation    etc.  The  CPI(ML)  Liberation  functioned  within  the  parliamentary  democratic  setup  but  did  not  rule  out  stepping  in  with  an  armed  revolution  in  “a  country  where  democratic  institutions  are  essentially  based  on    fragile  and  narrow  foundations  and  where  even  small  victories  and  partial  reforms  can  only  be  achieved  and  maintained  on  the  strength  of  mass  militancy.”  The  PWG  on  the  other  hand  initiated  the  line  of  thought  that  most  naxals  today  relate  to.At  this  point  it  would  be  enlightening  to  note  an  excerpt  from  the  document  Path  of  People’s  War  in  India    Our  Tasks!,  a  comprehensive  PWG  party  document  highlighting  its  aims,  objectives  and  strategies  and  adopted  in  1992.
“The  programme  of  our  Party  has  declared  that  India  is  a  vast  ‘semi-colonial  and  semi-feudal  country’,  with  about  80  per  cent  of  our  population  residing  in  our  villages.  It  is  ruled  by  the  big-bourgeois  big  landlord  classes,  subservient  to  imperialism.  The  contradiction  between  the  alliance  of  imperialism,  feudalism  and  comprador-bureaucrat-  capitalism  on  the  one  hand  and  the  broad  masses  of  the  people  on  the  other  is  the  principal  contradiction  in  our  country.  Only  a  successful  People’s  democratic  Revolution  i.e.  New  Democratic  Revolution  and  the  establishment  of  People’s  Democratic  Dictatorship  of  the  workers,  peasants,  the  middle  classes  and  national  bourgeoisie  under  the  leadership  of  the  working  class  can  lead  to  the  liberation  of  our  people  from  all  exploitation  and  the  dictatorship  of  the  reactionary  ruling  classes  and  pave  the  way  for  building  Socialism  and  Communism  in  our  country,  the  ultimate  aim  of  our  Party.    People’s  War  based  on  Armed  Agrarian  Revolution  is  the  only  path  for  achieving  people’s  democracy  i.e.  new  democracy,  in  our  country.”
The  People’s  War  Group  emerged  out  of  the  disillusionment  of  cadres  in  the  CPI(ML)  Liberation  when  they  took  to  participating  in  democratic  elections.  This  was  thought  to  be  a  far  cry  from  Charu  Majumdar’s  vision  of  a  protracted  people’s  war  against  feudal  armies  and  the  resistance  against  state  attacks  and  these  legalist  reformist  policies  were  portrayed  as  a  transition  into  “stooges  of  the  ruling  classes.”  For  the  first  few  years  of  its  existence,  PWG  was  mainly  confined  to  Andhra  Pradesh  while  the  CPI(ML)  dominated  in  its  stronghold  in  Bihar.  However  the  birth  of  CPI(ML)  Party  Unity  in  1982  from  the  merger  of  the  erstwhile  Unity  Organisation  and  the  Central  Organising  Committee  gave  rise  to  a  bloody  territorial  battle  between  CPI(ML)  Liberation  and  PU,  decimating  cadres  on  both  sides.  In  August  1998,  the  PU  and  the  PWG  came  together  to  form  the  United  Party,  with  a  joint  release  heralding  the  coming  of  “The  Age  of  Revolutions.”    Coupled  with  the  steady  decline  of  the  Liberation  party  because  of  the  shrinking  vote  base  and  inefficacy  of  reforms  ,  the  PWG  thus  outgrew  the  confines  of  Andhra  Pradesh  and  spread  its  network  into  Bihar,  Orissa,  MP,  UP  ,Jharkhand  and  Chhatisgarh.
The  Maoist  Communist  Centre  (MCC)  was  formed  as  Dakshin  Desh  in  1969  with  a  central  agenda  of  an  armed  uprising  against  state  actors.  It  later  metamorphosed  into  MCC-India  in  2003.  The  MCC  swears  by  Mao  Tse  Tung  and  his  ideas  of  a  protracted  People’s  War  and  “to  establish  a  powerful  people's  army  and  people's  militia  and  to  establish  dependable,  strong    and  self-sufficient  base  areas  in  the  countryside,  to  constantly  consolidate  and  expand  the  people's  army  and  the  base  areas,  gradually  to  encircle  the  urban  areas  from  the  countryside  by  liberating  the  countryside,  finally  to  capture  the  cities  and  ...  by  decisively  destroying  the  state  power  of  the  reactionaries.”
The  important  thing  to  note  here  in  the  decades  of  frequent  splits  and  mergers  and  parting  of  ways,  the  naxalite  movement  was  continuously  spreading  its  areas  of  influence  and  expanding  extensively  through  aggressive  recruitments.  For  any  division  led  to  shrinking  of  numbers  on  both  sides  and  in  a  zealous  effort  to  swell  them  up  to  past  figures  and  go  one  up  on  the  adversarial  fragment,  the  two  sides  often  went  on  recruitment  drives  that  basically  increased  the  reach  of  the  movement  as  a  whole.  At  the  same  time,  a  merger  caused  large  scale  escalation  of  the  scale  of  the  struggle  and  any  weakening  of  ideology  that  would  have  followed  a  split  was  reaffirmed  and  strengthened  thus  continuing  the  rise  of  naxalism.
In  2004,  the  naxal  movement  took  a  huge  step  forward  in  its  quest  for  forming  a  nation-wide  revolutionary  organisation  when  the  People’s  War  and  MCCI  under  the  general  secretaryship  of  Ganapathy  and  Kishen  respectively,  declared  their  merger  into  a  monolithic  Communist  Party  of  India(Maoist)  or  the  CPI(M).  This  was  but  a  culmination  of  the  long  standing  process  of  organisational  politics  that  resulted  from  organisational  conflict.  As  discussed  below,  the  broad  aims  of  the  different  parties,  so  different  from  one  another  on  crucial  points,  gradually  moved  towards  the  boldly  expansive  aims  and  manifesto  of  the  CPI(M).  The  movement  has  only  seen  the  rise  of  a  hardening  of  stands,  first  against  the  unjustified  agrarian  policies  and  land  redistribution  by  the  state  and  later  on,  against  what  they  call  the  semi-colonial  semi-feudal  and  comprador  bureaucratic  capitalistic  system.  The  reformist  line  taken  by  the  CPI(ML)  was  rejected  by  the  people  whose  grievances  it  was  supposed  to  redress  and  progressively  more  violent  methods  advocated  by  the  PWG  and  the  MCC  were  adopted  as  part  of  the  armed  agrarian  revolutionary  war  started  in  1969.  The  new  line  that  was  taken  up  by  the  CPI(M)  after  the  merger  was  the  intention  of  forming  a  Compact  Revolutionary  Zone  (CRZ)  that  stretched  from  Nepal  to  Bihar  down  through  Chhatisgarh  to  Andhra  Pradesh  ,  the  so  called  red  corridor  that  would  split  India  into  two  separate  halves  and  controlling  some  of  the  most  well  endowed  regions(from  the  perspective  of  natural  resources).  Dr.  Rajat  Kujur  in  his  profiling  of  the  naxalite  movement,  concludes  that  though  the  focus,  methods  of  operation  ,fighting  capabilities  and  character  of  the  groups  have  continuously  evolved  over  time,  the  core  ideology  of  the  leadership  is  unshaken  and  has  remained  consistent  over  the  years.
  However,  the  CPI(M)’s  aims  of  completing  a  New  Democratic  revolution  through  armed  rebellion  certainly  raises  eyebrows  in  the  sense  that  the  CPI(M)  seems  to  be  more  interested  and  active  in  highlighting  the  violent  nature  of  the  revolution  rather  than  its  aims.  Plans  of  what  they  reforms  they  will  implement  if  placed  in  power  is  much  less  clear.  Moreover,  after  the  collapse  of  the  Soviet  Republic  in  the  late  nineties,  collapse  of  socialism  ,  India’s  movement  towards  more  globalised  open  markets  have  really  had  no  impact  in  the  shrill  propaganda  that  the  CPI(M)  leadership  advocates.  Indeed,  this  can  be  considered  as  an  indicator  of  ideological  penury.  Indeed,  the  motive  factor  of  the  large  support  base  that  the  movement  still  enjoys  cannot  be  said  to  be  ideological.  As  we  shall  see  later,  the  reasons  for  the  same  have  changed  drastically  from  the  “high  on  Maoism”  cadres  that  existed  in  the  pre-independence  era.  As  far  as  dealing  with  the  naxal  movement  during  these  ‘unstable’  years  is  concerned,  because  of  the  multiply  existing,  sometimes  incompatible,  parallel  organisations,  successive  state  and  national  governments  were  unable  to  follow  a  uniform  policy  of  tackling  the  menace  before  it  grew  unmanageable.