Afternoon Voice

Combat Naxalism with acceptance of dissent and freedom of opinion

Since the last two days, the term #UrbanNaxalism is trending on the social media and this trending was followed by the arrest of some intellectuals who support the Dalits and the downtrodden people. Somewhat they are the other side of the Sanatan Sanstha. Sanatan Sanstha is an organisation that stands for Hindutva and its practices and the upper caste community, especially the Brahmins, support them staunchly. Whereas, these leftists are the supporters of the Dalits, minorities, and they don’t believe in any religious practices or superstition. The brigade of intellectuals supports both sides. They are funded typically and they are extreme in a typical way. Both have their own agendas too. In the recent past, both are under attack by their opponents.

There is a phenomenon where the educated individuals living in cities provide legal and intellectual support to both these sects by their followers. These individuals could be lawyers, professors, writers, journalists, and activists who are not involved directly in their activities. A Modi supporter, one who is an author and a small time filmmaker, Vivek Agnihotri had outlined the nature of this phenomenon in his book Urban Naxals. According to Agnihotri, who was once associated with the Naxalites in the past, they operate in a phased manner. To summarise, the Urban Naxals are out to win the information/perception war through the legal means. The real Naxals want to overthrow the state through an armed conflict in the selected combat areas where they see an opportunity. So far, there is no such book on Sanatan Sanstha and its operations, but there was a huge outrage against them demanding a ban.

Sanatan Sanstha enjoys BJP support being a staunch Hindu organisation. These days, there is a perception that the people, who are well read, living in the mainstream society, are Naxal Sympathisers and commonly referred as Urban Naxals. The Indian Constitution “ratified the colonial policy and made the state custodian of tribal homelands”, turning tribal populations into squatters on their own land and denied them their traditional rights to forest produce. There is an umbrella movement that is not running for a specific demand rather a multitude of demands have been put forth by these groups over the number of years but the prime characteristic is the revolution against the rich (landlords) and the redistribution of the lands. People from some institutes like Cultural study centers, Film industries, and media etc. with the same ideology, are supporting their thoughts and creating an environment in support of such groups. They are not using their Guns, Bombs or Swords to lynch or kill people, they are not violent people but they use Pen, Mikes and Films to spread their information. I personally came across many scholarly minds saying Naxals took the guns because of poverty, unemployment, hunger, and inequality, as there was no development in their region.

If you get into the film era of the 70s, that was an era of parallel cinema, the environment was created such that like rich people always oppress the weak and poor ones or you take recent movie Sairat or Dhadak, or Manjule’s most of the films take you to that era of oppression. Such movies have somewhere convinced the people at large that the atrocities are happening in the name of caste, creed, economic imbalance and poverty. There are two sections of people — one in the power corridors and privileged and others who are powerless and poor. But such people are labelled as the Urban Naxals because they are bringing that silent revolution against the establishment and so-called powerful upper crust of society. We as intellectuals should not be in a denial mode for such happenings around. I am neither a leftist nor a right-winger; I am a citizen of this country and I feel bad when things are not right with a fellow Indian.

Many such organisations, some supporting the Right-wing ideology and some supporting the left, and some supporting the Minorities, in particular, have created the environment that destabilises the current system. You read books like “Walking with Comrade” or “Naxalbari Ek Hi Raasta” (Naxalbari is the only way.) or Urban Naxals, all these authors have given their own opinion; end of all, it’s up to the readers what they want to believe and adopt and what they want to support but there is definitely a social impact of this. It is a gruesome act if the government in power makes use of such things by adopting and opposing some for their favour. There is a need for a democratic atmosphere in the State. The government should respect people’s right to fight for their democratic demands. The government should not prevent agitations, peaceful demonstrations, and meetings. The government should implement reforms in the agricultural sector.

The implementation of land reforms is the need of this hour. First of all, handover to the occupants the endowment, government, and forestland and lands belonging to landlords already occupied by people, implement the Land Ceiling Act, complete all the pending irrigation projects, farmers should be given irrigation facilities and supplied adequate power, waive all private loans taken by the farming community to stop suicides by farmers, prepare a permanent and integrated plan for tackling the drought situation, scrap corporate agriculture.

Moreover, implement policies of industrialisation and other schemes based on local resources in the place of the liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation policies being followed now. Withdraw all World Bank projects and schemes supported by imperialists, protect small and medium-scale industries from competition by multinational companies (MNCs) and revive cooperative and other PSEs and withdraw user charges on drinking water, education and health services.

Besides, recognise the tribal people’s rights on forest, announce autonomy for the tribal communities, implement the “1/70 Act”, which provides protection against the alienation of land held by tribal people in scheduled areas to non-tribal people, stop settling of non-tribal people in areas inhabited by tribal people, initiate steps to develop and support tribal languages. The government has to formulate an integrated plan for the development of backward regions of India, emphasise more on the development of these people than hiring intellectual goons as keyboard samurais on social media to act as moral custodians and sideline progress. Accept the facts that there will always be some opposition and every opponent is a not an enemy of the nation or the government. Have acceptance for all, give them freedom of expression and see how you can combat all sorts of Naxals including the Urban Naxals.

 

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