Monday, 10 October 2016

Naxalism - A Red Corridor

Naxalism term is derived from the village of Naxalbari in Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district in the state of West Bengal . The revolt that marked the beginning of revolutionary struggle in India began in Naxalbari in the spring of 1967. Under the acts of 1859 and 1879 the British government had leased out the lands to a group of people known as the jotedars .These jotedars were rich peasants who held most of the cultivable lands. This formed the objective basis for their socio-economic domination in the countryside. There were three villages in Siliguri where poor peasants had began to organize against the jotedars- Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansideva. The organization which was working on the peasant front was All India Kisan Sabha which was formed by Swami Sahjanand Saraswati in 1936. The wars with Pakistan and China had jolted the national economy and frequent droughts were making the situation worse for the peasants thus igniting the fire of revolt. Charu Majumdar, then the dirstrict secretary of CPI(M) and later founder and general secretary of CPI(ML) was the main ideologue of the party leading a group of young activists like Kanu Sanyal, Jagan Santhal, Kamakhya Banarjee, Kadam Malik and Khokan Majumdar who had formed a revolutionary nucleus inside the CPI(M). From April 1967 the agrarian revolution was in full swing. The leaders adopted the Maoist outlook for an armed peasant rebellion and Charu Majumdar wrote a series of monologues which came to be known asHistoric Eight Documents and still remains the guiding principles for the Maoist revolutionaries. Under the leadership of AIKS the armed peasants began to confiscate lands from the jotedars and redistribute among themselves. Meanwhile, a dalit peasant was killed by men of a jotedar. This incident intensified the clashes between jotedars and the peasants and the movement took an extremely violent turn. The state government under the pressure of the central government increased the police presence in Naxalbari. The rebel peasants clashed with the police in which many peasants were killed. On May 25th peasant processions from different parts of Naxalbari came to converge at the village prasadjote and held a meeting defying the police order. The sub divisional officer of Siliguri, Deepak Ghosh ordered open fire on the crowd. After several rounds of firing many peasants were killed including women and children. IT WAS THIS INCIDENCE THAT ASSOCIATED THE WHOLE MOVEMENT WITH NAXALBARI AND THE MOVEMENT ITSELF WAS TERMED NAXALISM.

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