Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: Hello Bastar

My recent reads in the past have somehow tilted towards non-fiction. I would say that is so because there have been some interesting titles in context to various Indian states that have been published. I started my non-fiction reading spree with the much talked about book on the Maoist movement and who better than Rahul Pandita writing about it.  Rahul has been studying the Maoist movement at ground level for more than a decade, travelling through the remoter jungles of Central India for weeks and spending time with the tribal people says Patrick French, in his book India: A Portrait.

How did the Maoist movement begin, how did it grow, what caused it to find support in other states, why do the tribals trust them more than the government itself. Rahul very candidly tries to answer all these questions and gives the reader an insight in this movement which is becoming difficult by the day for the government to bring under control. Unbiased reportage by the writer, gains more credence since he has been intimately following their lives.

With direct access to the top Maoist leadership, Rahul Pandita provides an authoritative account of how a handful of men and women, who believed in the idea of revolution, entered Bastar in Central India in 1980 and created a powerful movement that New Delhi now terms as India’s biggest internal security threat. It traces the circumstances due to which the Maoist movement entrenched itself in about 10 states of India, carrying out deadly attacks against the Indian establishment in the name of the poor and the marginalised. It offers rare insight into the lives of Maoist guerillas and also of the Adivasi tribals living in the Red zone. Based on extensive on-ground reportage and exhaustive interviews with Maoist leaders including their supreme commander Ganapathi, Kobad Ghandy and others who are jailed or have been killed in police encounters, this book is a combination of firsthand storytelling and intrepid analysis.

The book speaks extensively about Ghandys- Kobad and Anuradha, their belief in the movement, the reasons why they became a part of it. There is absolutely no denying that some sections in India have been long ignored and the government just kept pushing the problem under the carpet till the time the Maoist movement came to haunt them and grow into a movement which is now difficult to curb.

Though at times I did feel that at some places the writer tries to justify the movement, with a ‘we deserve it’ kind of writing but all in all a book which gives an insight into the movement like no other.

This book should definitely be in your must read list if you would want to know more about the history of the movement.

Read more about the author here :   

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