The Red Storm
The first armed Communist movement in India took place in the Telangana region of present day Andhra Pradesh during the early fifties. It was brutally put down after great loss of life and unleashing of oppression against the poor peasants. The movement's leaders included several idealists, though they too committed heinous and unpardonable crimes. The Telangana region even today has produced the most dedicated and committed Maoist cadres and leaders in India.
During the late sixties and early seventies the Naxalite movement started and spread in many parts of India, most notably in West Bengal and Kerala. But within a matter of five to six years, this dangerous and anarchist ideology was effectively tackled by the State police forces and many of those who had taken up arms were eliminated.
Generally peace prevailed from the mid seventies onwards. Leftist ideologues continued their activities using democratic means and formed many regional splinter groups. However, their mass influence and acceptance was minimal. From the mid nineties many armed radical Communist Dalams became active in the common underdeveloped and adjacent forested areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chathisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
However, it was the leaders from Andhra Pradesh who took the lead to unify these groups, formulate their common dogma and policies, start centralised armed training of core cadres, ensure an efficient arms and explosives procurement network, coordinate the intelligence gathering by over ground workers and sympathisers, and develop operational capabilities based on hitting weak targets with overwhelming local superiority followed by quick dispersal. They worked amongst the poor and dispossessed and acted frequently against the exploiters thus gaining a strong local following and acceptability.
Their morale also got a tremendous boost when the Nepali Maoist movement became very strong and entrenched against the oppressive and corrupt Royal rule there. Thus a great swathe of Maoist dominated influence came into being by the first decade of this century.
Funds flowed into their coffers from the mining interests, contractors, and from illegal octroi collections. The States abdicated their authority over vast regions, as long as the semblance of normalcy could be maintained and the electoral interests of the dominant political party could be taken care of. However, this facade had to crack one day, as the doctrine of power dictates that the superior entity has to keep on expanding in order to ensure its very survival, until a balance of power and human failings combine to dictate the limits. We have presently reached this stage in our country.
The Maoists, respective State governments, and the Central Government have all become aware of each other's strengths, but are not yet ready to raise the stakes any further and go all out for the required push which is essential to achieve total victory.
Image: Folk artist and Naxal leader Gummadi Vittal Rao (C) popularly known as 'Gaddar' performs with folk artists from The Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh during a protest in New Delhi on February 28, 2008. (Photograph copyright AFP)