Naxalism and Goa

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
10 May 2010 20:38 IST

The deadly word Naxalite is once again in the news, after one Orissa-based 25-year old Shambhu Deck, belonging to an outfit Maowadi Trishul Manch, was arrested in Goa last week.

He was found moving among the Orissa-based workers working in different factories here. The tip off came from the Orissa police. Goa police nabbed him, along with his accomplice Rajendra.

Police also rounded up hundreds of other workers, but later released them. The information we got from the police sources was that Shambhu's Naxalite outfit is working among the Adivasis in Sundergarh district of Orissa. The main issue they had taken up was increasing alcoholism among the tribals. To end it, they had taken an extreme step of killing one such liquor supplier.

Orissa's Naxalite movement is not a new phenomenon. In fact it took me back to the famous Marathi play, written by Anil Barve in 1975 - "Thank You Mr Glad". Based on a life of then doctor-turned-Naxalite Nagbhushan Patnaik, the play had glorified Veerbhushan Patnaik, the Naxalite in the play. The play had made waves in Marathi and Gujarati theatre.

Sundergarh is one of the Naxalite-infected 30 tribal districts of Orissa. It's on a border of both Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The plight of tribals, peasants and landless labourers has resulted into left extremists gaining ground in these areas.

There are many outfits working in these areas. I tried to search for Maowadi Trishul Manch. The Google search is full with only one news - MTM leader Shambhu Beck arrested in Goa. I went through some research articles on Naxalite movement in Orissa. It lists out many Marxist-Leninist groups (called Naxalite since ‘70s and Maoists nowadays). But no mention of MTM...

But our local media speculated a lot. The prime speculation among these was whether Naxalite movement has some roots in Goa. Even our state chief secretary has asked the police to investigate into this angle. The investigation is fine. It is a must. But simply jumping to a conclusion that Naxalism has started taking roots in Goa appears premature.

Naxalite movement cannot be equated to the movements of religious fanatics or terrorist outfits, just because all three believe in violence.  That does not mean violence by Naxalites is justified and by others is unjustified. Any violence is unjustified, including the war!

But Naxalite movement has always grown with middle class leftist intellectuals identifying themselves with the poor, downtrodden, neglected and exploited - may it be peasants, workers, landless labourers, tribals etc. It grows in underdeveloped areas, where the locals are exploited beyond imagination. The struggle between ‘Haves' and ‘Have-Nots' thus takes a violent turn with armies of both the camps battling with each other. It literally becomes an internal battlefield... with killings and blood all over...

This is not a sheer imagination of mine. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admits it. Let's read the following quotes of the PM, who made a speech last month on Civil Services Day function in the national capital.

QUOTE:
Underscoring the fact that Left-wing extremism was flourishing in under-developed areas of the country, Manmohan Singh asked the civil servants to ensure that no area of the country is denied the benefits of the government's developmental programs.

"But we cannot overlook the fact that many areas in which such extremism flourishes are under-developed and many of the people, mainly poor tribals, who live in these areas have not shared equitably in the fruits of development."

"It is incumbent upon us to ensure that no area of our country is denied the benefits of our ambitious developmental programs," the Prime Minister said.

He asked them to devise innovative ways and means to harness the tools of information technology and to involve the intended beneficiaries in implementation so that complaints of leakages, corruption and lack of transparency get addressed.

Manmohan Singh said that inclusive growth was the centrepiece of the developmental agenda of the UPA and fast economic growth provided the government with the resources to address the problems of poverty, ignorance and disease.
UNQUOTE

The issues and problems highlighted by our prime minister, in this speech, are:

1.    Many areas are still underdeveloped
2.    These areas are denied benefits of government's developmental programme
3.    People in these areas, mainly poor tribals, have not shared equitably in the fruits of development
4.    Benefits don't reach the people due to leakages, corruption and lack of transparency
5.    Thus exists there poverty, ignorance and disease

Mr Singh is not the first prime minister to say this. Even BJP's former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had spoken on the same lines. Former union home minister L K Advani had also echoed similar sentiments. N T Rama Rao, founder of the Telugu Desam Party and ex-chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, was voted to power for the first time with a slogan - Naxalites are Patriots.

Nobody wants Naxalism to rise in our country. Nobody wants an internal armed battle, threatening our internal security. Nobody wants Indians fighting with each other and killing each other. Nobody wants HATE to dominate the socio-economic scenario of our country. But still, Naxalism is rising day by day...

If we go by what our PM says, it's rising because underdevelopment continues and may be even rising in the rural and tribal areas. India is marching towards becoming a superpower; but only with cities and towns getting developed. Contrary to this, rural economy is going from bad to worse.

Mr Singh has indirectly admitted that poverty is the cause of rising Naxalism. The developmental schemes are not reaching them, due to corruption, leakages and lack of transparency. He also suggests indirectly that only realistic pro-people governance can neutralise rising Naxalism, and not mere gun force.

Who are thus responsible for increasing Naxalism in the country? The powerful, the corrupt and the unruly rulers. If the root cause is eliminated, the Naxalites won't have support of the people. And if people don't support them, they just can't exist.

In this background, we may analyse whether Naxalism can take roots in Goa. The ideological movement obviously does not exist here. There are no signs absolutely of any section of intelligentsia going towards extreme left.
But does the socio-economic situation exist? If not, have we started creating such a situation? Is Goa progressing or regressing? Is it going from bad to worse? Or bad to good?

The word Naxalite came into existence from a village called Naxalbari in Darjeeling district. The peasants rose violently in May 1967 and killed one landlord. Few years ago, we witnessed one such incident in Saleli village of Sattari taluka. The public sympathy, after this incident, went to the people and not the landlord. Even the state governor went and met the fighting villagers.

Such incidents should not recur. Such situation should not exist. Such conditions should not be created. Such violent uprisings should never take place. Naxalism should not take roots in Goa.

But, to avoid it, we should do what our PM has said. Not mere speculations and blind crackdowns. What we need is practical POSITIVE action of development of ALL the people.

Are we doing it?

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of HCN and Prudent, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities.

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Previous Comments

Akshar you are right, PM cannot solve the problem alone. but why? is he alone in the country with 1 billion masses of humanity? He may be honest in his work and what about the honest people of India suffering because of his sainthood? Have a sight on Goa and how honesty has robbed Goan by this Government. Goa is not what is before "it is fully in the hand of Delhites or companies under the direct influence of the central command of Sonia Gandhi". Naxals are not terrorists but fighting for their own rights. What if all the judiciary power fades and controlled by the rich then what a individual will resort to in such a situation? If the Govt controls the courts, CBI, or the goonda police in drug business then who will be your guide? Witness the horrors in Andhra Pradesh and how slavery still exists in this state and how the people are treated by Rao's and Reddy landlords and Goa is not far away may be one day you will be robbed away by the justice of Goa or India. The people of Bhopal disaster after the loss of approx 30,000 death got the half baked justice and the culprits are still Scott free.

- Emediavoices, Goa | 11 th June 2010 00:04

 

When the understanding of the problem itself is marred by wishful thinking, it is impossible to expect that our PM can solve the problem.

There is plethora of content available about the whole Naxalism and Maoist terror in India. These are not some poor and oppressed people revolting against the state but well co-ordinates groups working with efficiency that will put our government apparatus to shame.

It is a lucrative business as well. It is linked with drug trafficking, gun running, human trafficking, extortion and so on. Not to mention helping politicians win elections.

In the name of development government pours more money in this region which eventually goes into the pockets of terrorists themselves.

MMS is only playing his so called "inclusive growth" deceit.

- Akshar, Panaji | 10 th June 2010 20:42

 

What we need is practical POSITIVE action of development of ALL the people. Are we doing it?

My Reflection: A journalist of Sandesh stature should not be asking questions to his readers. He must answer. The question he asked is a fortnight old. Perhaps he has something to enlighten now.

- rajendra, Curchorem | 07 th June 2010 19:21

 

Be with the Naxalite and reason out their ideology or be a fool to listen the PM voices, a rubber stamp of congress dynasty. Vishwas P. narrated about "Mining" is true and this reason may one day lead Goa to Naxalism. We have mingled and heard the voices of the Naxals, 45 years ago- they are not illiterate nuts, among them are doctors, engineers etc fighting for their own rights against the corrupt governments and landlords/ religious bigots. Their voices are not heard and their fight is for their community for a noble cause. One should read the works of Vinoba Bhave and not believe on the preaching of ministers, who amasses wealth by exporting the natural wealth to foreign lands. How venomous is the teaching of our political leaders to the Jawans- Thou shall not lose an inch of motherland to the enemies" while " openly exports precious millions tons of Goan soil "

- Emediavoices, Goa | 13 th May 2010 22:11

 

When there is poverty, unemployment, injustice and oppression, the unrest among the masses takes birth which ultimately takes a form of revolt against the establishment! Only for the benefit of few when the masses are made to suffer, all such Naxalism/Maoism can flourish! In Goa one typical area is the Mining, where for the benefit of a few, the masses are made to suffer, in addition to causing destruction of the environments, and influx of unskilled labour! If timely remedial action is not initiated, this could also be a potential hazard giving rise to problems similar to Naxalites/Maoists etc. It is time the concerned wake up to the realities!

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 12 th May 2010 09:02

 

Sir, being an undergraduate student i had no much knowledge abt what exactly this naxalite movement is n its repercussions but after going through your blog i could comprehend it well and also got a good insight into it.

- Ashwini priolker, Mangeshi | 11 th May 2010 11:09

 

I would say one of the most important things which leads to such unrest from the economical backward sections of the society is the unjust practice of giving/getting their proper rights as a Human and secondary as a Labourer.

Rich most of the times end up capitalizing over the Poor.

How many pay our maids the right per day ? NONE

Again I think if we put ourselves into the position of a farmer who is suffering we are sure to end up with arms.

Maoism is a politically/externally supported terrorist organisation .. it uses the poor people who are facing problems and brain wash them into their evil acts.

It would be the same as Terrorists or any other example.

Hence we as people should stop exploiting the poor and also ensure that we get the quality of labour by fair and just means. If we can change this approach I am sure we can turn all the brainwashed Maoist into social citizens of this country.

- Amit , Goa | 11 th May 2010 01:37

 

Sanjay you have written my mind and you are fully right. I was about to say the same thing. Since you have said what was in my mind, I need not write anything more. Let those, who have understanding power, understand – Menino(Valpoi)

- Menino G. P. T. Fernandes (Valpoi/UK), United Kingdom of Great Britain | 10 th May 2010 22:23

 

As per my knowledge Naxalite has come up because of social unrest. Causes of social unrest are poverty, unemployment etc. in most of the Naxalite areas in India. Whether it is in Bengal or Orrisa, problems are many. It seems in many villages there are no roads, no health facilities, no electricity no proper drinking water facilities etc. When are respective state governments will make available this basic requirements to this poor people? Our Prime Minister and finance minister nowadays more talks about financial inclusion. But without having basic necessities, how are we going to achieve financial inclusion?

- Sanjay p Sawant Dessai, Curchorem goa | 10 th May 2010 21:32

 

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