I have been thinking to write reviews on the books I read, but couldn’t do that previously because of some reasons. But from today onward, will write my take on the books I read. I will also include the books I have already read. Today I am writing my take on “Hello Bastar – The untold story of India’s Maoist movement” by Rahul Pandita.
I came across this book “Hello Bastar” on flipkart website. Read a little bit of synopsis on the book and decided to buy it. The book got delivered the very next day and I started to eat the pages.
The book is written in very lucid manner. The typography is simple and well spaced so as to cause no trouble while reading. But what caught my attention was the detailed study of the author regarding the subject. Right from the page one, Rahul Pandita speaks with authority on the subject. And why it won’t be? He has spent some years to live with the Naxalites and have done extensive research on the subject.
He has put forward the views of Naxalites and why the Naxal groups have started in first place. We get the inside view of Naxal camps and more importantly Naxal thought process. According to me, Naxals have ideologies just like our government does. But the action plan both have is different. Government goes too much on defensive side and Naxals the other way round. As Rahul has mentioned, Naxals have come into existence because of the void created by Government policies and its execution. Politicians have always wanted to fill their pockets and never cared about those suffering from it.
The book tells in details how government has tried to suppress the Naxal movement. Without understanding their ideologies and trying to touch bases, government sees them as threat to internal security. I too was having strong reactions against Naxals till I read this book. After reading their ordeals and hardships they have lived into, government and we people are only to blame for not understanding or listening to their side of story. Government has always proposed to listen to them and whenever those people came above ground to talk, they were captured or encountered.
But the story now can be a different one too. From where Rahul has started this book, Naxal movement was really for betterment of tribals. But internally we don’t know what’s cooking between higher authorities of Naxals and government.
The book includes afterword by Kobad Ghandy, a Naxal leader who was captured and is now in Tihar jail. I can understand his pain of losing his wife – Anuradha Ghandy. But the way he has started his afterword is something I couldn’t digest yet. He says in UP a girl was raped and murdered. This has happened in the region where Dalit are in power. This has happened because Dalit have no power to fight against upper caste. This is completely wrong. Kobad mentions inhumanity because of superiority of upper castes but fails to mention inhumanity because of political support. This inhumanity is not just against a Dalit girl/woman but this happens with girl/woman from any caste. He didn’t need to bring caste in this issue, even after considering that he and Anuradha worked for Dalit people. Inhumanity doesn’t have any religion or caste.
But in all, the book is informative and insightful. It gives details about why Naxal Movement started actually and where it stands as of now.