Tracing The Origins Of Naxal Movement


As the political cauldron in India continues to simmer; the left pitted against the right, the centrists up in arms against a government many of whose representatives are regularly  accused of stifling civil liberties & setting communities against each other to further their Machiavellian motives.

At such ominous times (pun intended!),  it’s never late to take a lesson in India’s political history. Here, we bring you the first in a series of pieces delineating the origins of various political ideologies found across the length & breadth of India.

The Naxal issue which often elicits passion ironically is an imbroglio for the wider masses. It’s origins are often said to be shrouded in the ‘enigmatic’ woods of Eastern India! No more shall this be the case, here’s a compendium that may come handy.

We’ll try put up a summary of Naxal movement in Eastern India here. At the same time it’s worth noting that the Naxal movement is an armed struggle within the Communist umbrella.

  1. TheTelangana Movement (1946-51) was the first serious effort by the Communist Party leadership to learn from the Chinese revolution & try recreate it within India.
  2. TheTelangana Movement would create the first fissure within the communist movement giving rise to three distinct lines: followers of Ranadive promoting socialist & democratic revolution; fiercely attacking Mao. The second line was the one propagated by Andhra Secretariat relying heavily on the teachings of Mao as an inspiration against the Nizam’s despotic rule.  The Centrist line proposed by Ajay Ghosh would push the Communist party to pursue its goals within the purview of India’s parliamentary democracy.
  3. By mid 1950’s Communists looked strong within Kerela. They’d form the first leftist government here in 1957 but, were soon overthrown. Soon, the Indo- China war would break out in 1964 & the Communist party was split between:CPI CPI (M) where the CPI was strongly anti- capitalist & CPI (M) trod a centrist path. However, both of these parties put aside their ideological differences to form the United Front government in Bengal.
  4.  As the Communist movement was weathering a precarious phase an incident in the hinterlands of Bengal would permanently change the landscape of Eastern India. Bimal Kissan; a tribal youth was thrashed by local zamindars & their goons in Naxalbari. The tribal populace of the area responded by retaliating strongly. Various Communist revolutionaries jumped on the bandwagon of this soon -to -be armed struggle. The United Front government of Bengal responded repressively, instead of withering the morale of people it further convinced them to coalesce together.
  5. The splintered revolutionary entities would converge in 1968 to form All India Coordinating Committee for Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) vowing to further intensify this armed struggle & boycotting elections altogether.


With this the Naxal movement would turn pervasive across Eastern India. Thousands of disenchanted Adivasi youth joined the ranks & files of numerous Naxal militias, this movement would soon become the single most menacing threat to India’s internal security.

Should India allow formation of smaller states on ethnic lines particularly in the Red Corridor? 

In a single word, it’s a big ‘no’. We’ve seen the formation of Jharkhand &Chhattisgarh in the past, despite overwhelming Adivasi population both the states are still far from subduing the menace of Naxalism. The Naxal fiat runs amok across various districts of Jharkhand Chhattisgarh. Kangaroo courts, cold blooded murder of hapless Adivasis & demanding levy from industrial establishments is a mundane affair here.

If the Centre were to buckle down under this threat & would hypothetically agree to form new states on ethnic lines where Naxals looked strong then, it’d unwittingly give legitimacy to the Naxal movement turning it into an even bigger threat.
©Haris Ahmed

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