Comrade Azad the official spokesperson of the CPI(maoist) responds to the Economic and Political Weekly articles on Maoism

You may first want to read the articles that appeared in
Economic and Political Weekly July 22, 2006

Beyond Naxalbari

Learning from Experience and Analysis

Maoism in India

On Armed Resistance

The Spring and it's Thunder

Maoist Movement in Andhra Pradesh

Given below is the response of Comrade AZAD the official
spokesperson of the CPI(maoist).Please note this response
was published in the middle of october 2006.

Maoists in India
A Rejoinder
Economic and Political Weekly October 14, 2006 4379


The special issue (July 22, 2006) devoted
to the Maoists in India reflects
recognition of the growing importance
that the Maoist-led movement plays in the
polity and the economy of the country.
However, what was disconcerting was
that an issue devoted to the Maoists did
not have a single article by the Maoists
themselves. The majority of the essays
appeared preoccupied with the question
of violence and not with the horrifying
conditions of the masses and finding a
way out for them.

Though the EPW has chosen a wide spectrum of views, it
would have been more constructive if the articles were
linked more to the question
of the alleviation of the horrifying
conditions of the masses, particularly in
this period of globalisation when the
situation has worsened.

The issue of violence should have been seen in this
context. In this reply, we will first very
briefly present our understanding of the
Indian social order, then discuss our own
goals as the framework from which to
view the points made by the writers, and
subsequently take up some of the main
issues on which we differ. We shall
assign importance to those arguments that
are really disturbing the well-wishers of
the movement.

Semi-Colonial, Semi-Feudal Order

Our beloved country, so rich in natural
wealth, human power and ingenuity, has
been reduced to a condition that is, in some
respects, worse than most of the countries
of sub-Saharan Africa. In these nearly 60
years of so-called independence the situation
has not significantly improved compared
to what prevailed in the last years
of the British Raj – at least for the general
masses. In the Nehruvian period, the model
of development relied on the “trickle down
effect”; now, in the present phase of
globalisation, there is no pretence of even

The one lakh figure (official) of suicide
deaths in rural India in the past 10 years
is only the tip of the iceberg of misery that
none of the writers refer to. Poverty and
deprivation of the masses have continued
apace, more so in the present phase of

And, if the masses (not just Naxalites) dare to
even raise their voice for justice, they face the
lathis and guns of the state machinery with increasing

This was evident not only in the workers’
struggle in Gurgaon, the tribal people’s
struggle of Kalinga Nagar, the slum
dwellers’ resistance in Mumbai and Delhi,
the struggles of displaced people of the
Narmada, peasant struggles in Rajasthan,
the electricity employees’ struggles in UP
and Punjab, and the struggle of the state
government employees in Tamil Nadu,
but even in the protests against the recent
demolitions in the middle class localities
of Delhi. In all these struggles the people
were ruthlessly trampled upon, as they did
not have the strength to withstand the state
onslaught. As a result, their conditions
have gone from bad to worse. What answers
do the writers (in the EPW special
issue on the Maoist movement in India)
have to put an end to such endemic state
violence on different sections of struggling
people? How should these people
organise to improve their lives? How
should they fight back?

To negate the Maoist method, which has at least
achieved some degree of success, at least in those
areas where the Maoists have adopted the
path of armed struggle, without providing
an alternative, in effect, is to push people
into deeper and deeper despair (and poverty),
even as the moneybags strut around
flaunting their wealth.

The increasing state violence on the
masses and the growing impoverishment
are not just an accident or some isolated
instances, but endemic to the existing
system, which we Maoists broadly characterise
as semi-colonial and semi-feudal.

Semi-colonial because the Indian ruling
classes (big business, top bureaucrats, and
leading politicians running the centre
and the states) are tied to imperialist

Semi-feudal, as the old feudal relations have not
been smashed, only a certain amount of capitalist
growth has been superimposed on them. So also,
the Parliament is no democratic institution
(as in countries that have been through
a democratic revolution – a bourgeois
democracy) but has been instituted on
the existing highly autocratic state and
semi-feudal structures as a ruse to dupe
the masses.

The contemporary Indian economy is
unduly influenced by the activities of
carpetbaggers, a ruthless mafia, rapacious
mining interests and giant speculators, all
linked to the politics of criminality. The
degeneration is so deep, the rot so acute
that these same moneybags are floating
thousands of non-government organisations
(NGOs) in order to trivialise the
ills of the system so that people are
diverted from seeing that these are endemic
to the very system itself and not due to
just some bad individuals or policies.

The semi-colonial, semi-feudal order reproduces
social polarisation – a growing rich
and their vast number of hangers-on, and
an increasing mass of the impoverished.
A small section of the middle class is
moving into the first category, partaking
of some crumbs from the opulent dining
table; the bulk of the people are being
pushed into squalor, unemployment,
agrarian crisis, business bankruptcy and
financial ruin.

Even the local bourgeoisie(small) and small
traders are being squeezed out in increasing
numbers with the entry of giant companies in
all spheres of the economy.

With these extremes of wealth and
poverty, in order to protect the enclaves
of the rich and powerful, the state will be
driven to resort to more and more repression
of the people and their organisations.

It is only within this framework that one
can understand why the home ministry
designates the Maoists as the number one
threat to “internal security”. We Maoists
seek a just and equitable order. In this
endeavour, the key question is how does
one confront the repressive Indian state
that brutally tramples upon the people,
even as it defends and pampers the
wealthy. But before that let us get to what
we stand for.

Maoist Model of Development

We Maoists stand for a people-oriented,
self-reliant model of development. In this
model, people play the central role; their
initiative is released to the fullest extent
possible. We are of the opinion that all
wealth generated within the country should
stay here and not be allowed to be drained
off abroad. India is a very rich country with
tremendous human power and ingenuity,
together with a vast natural resource base.
The vast wealth, illegally and immorally
appropriated by the imperialists, feudal
elements and compradors, should be seized
and turned to use in developing the
economy, first and foremost in agriculture
and in rural areas, where the bulk of our
people live.

Our model of development is oriented
to vastly enhancing the purchasing power
of the masses. This will create a huge home
market in the country itself, which will act
as the main engine for growth. The starting
point for this is overhauling the rural
economy, where 70 per cent of our people
live. This will be initiated through land
reforms, by the redistribution of land on
the basis of “land-to-the-tiller”. In his
article, Tilak D Gupta says that this is not
viable any longer as there is not enough
surplus land. But has he fixed a viable
ceiling to determine how much land will
be available for redistribution? Has he
determined how much land is with the
government/panchayats; how much land
is with religious institutions and mutts;
how much land is with absentee landowners
(even most bureaucrats/army officials
maintain land, and many, in fact, purchase
more); and how much land is with the
private corporate sector and with luxury
resorts, golf clubs, etc?

The land reforms, coupled with large
investments in agriculture (to also regenerate
the soil destroyed by the green
revolution), forestry and allied activities
(poultry, goat farming, fishery, etc), will
enormously expand the rural populace’s
purchasing power. This in turn will create
a market for the basic necessities of life
and will help generate local industry,
resulting in employment generation.
With this employment generation the
purchasing power will increase further,
leading to more industry, and it is this
spiral that will result in continuous growth.

In this development model, growth (and
extension of the home market) will be
linked to people’s welfare and will in fact
be dependent on it.

In the urban areas too, industrial production
will be people-oriented. The opulent
expenditure of the super rich will cease (as
their surplus and ill-begotten wealth will
be confiscated) and the vast slums will be

Job security will be ensured with a living wage and
there will be no necessity to cling to ancestral land
as a source of security to fall back upon. This
will release a further amount of land for
the impoverished rural populace.

Cultural, sports and recreational activities
will involve the masses, while education
will be made available to all. All forms
of caste and patriarchal oppression/
discrimination will be fought against and
prohibited. Untouchability will be abolished
and severely punished. All degenerate and
feudal ideas will be fought against long
after the revolution through cultural
revolutions. Healthcare will be freely
available, and more focus will be on
preventive care and hygiene.

In a nutshell, this is the model of development
that we Maoists stand for. It is stated
in the party programme and political resolutions
issued from time to time. On this,
there is no ambiguity. In Bastar, before the
massive state onslaught in the present
Salwa Judum campaign, extensive development
projects along the above lines
were taken up and have been documented
in the booklet New People’s Power in
Dandakaranya (2000).

In Andhra Pradesh,Jharkhand and Bihar, it was the just
struggles of the peasantry under Maoist
leadership that led to the seizure of lands
from the big landlords and distribution
among the landless and poor peasants.
What we propose is a model of new
democracy built around the axis of land
reforms and a self-reliant economy. It is
also this new democratic model that we
seek to implement (on seizing power) in
its rudimentary form in the guerrilla bases
and later in the base areas.

That is why in Dandakaranya the Maoists not only
implemented people-oriented projects
(when the military operations were not as
intense) but also called for the stopping of
our rich iron ore being taken away by Japan
at the Bailadilla mines and supported the
400-odd indigenous small-scale rolling
mills facing closure due to government

Is this model violent? Is it undemocratic?
It is in fact the most humane and
peace-loving model of growth. But when
we try and implement it, the state comes
down heavily on us and on the masses that
support us. It is not we who seek violence.
In fact, for over a decade we were able to
build extensive developmental projects in
Dandakaranya and Jharkhand when the
government’s military actions were at a
lower scale.

We seek to implement the model of development
just outlined; if this can be done peacefully,
so much the better. But history has shown us that
the moneybags and their political representatives are
unable to accept even the thought of such
a transformation.

The Question of Violence

The question of violence is the single
most important thread passing through
all the articles. No real communist is for
violence per se. Communists are for a
peaceful social system built around
equality and justice. But when they seek
to work for such a system they are attacked
most brutally. This has been the case ever
since the birth of the communist movement.
They have been massacred and exterminated
right from the days of the Paris

It would be naïve to think that
the Indian ruling classes, who have a lengthy
record of violence unleashed on the
oppressed masses, are any better. Besides,
it is not just state violence that people
face; in a class society, as in India, violence
is endemic to the very system and the
oppressed masses are exposed to it in the
course of their daily lives – by the feudal
authority and by factory managements,
and also as a result of untouchability,
patriarchy, etc.

Human society, ever since the origin of
private property and classes, has moved
forward only through a process of prolonged
and tortuous struggles, and by
countering the violence of the ruling classes.

To expect that the ruling classes will today
accommodate those demanding a new and
more advanced social system is to deny the
lessons learnt from history. For instance,
K Balagopal has speculated regarding an
alternative response that could have been
pursued by the Maoists even after the
encounter killings began in Andhra
Pradesh. Would the government, as speculated
by Balagopal, have allowed the
Maoists to concentrate on exposing the
anti-poor bias of the present development
model and extend their mass activity to a
point that would have given their aspiration
for state power a solid mass base?

If that possibility existed, why in the first
place did the ruling classes attack the legal
movement in Karimnagar and Adilabad?
There was then no armed activity when the
Disturbed Areas Act was put in place by
the Chenna Reddy government in 1978.

And, how does one confront the attacks
by the landlords and the police? Balagopal
also asserts that a positive response from
the state would have de-legitimised the
argument for revolutionary violence. Such
speculation only displays the illusions of
our intellectuals with regard to the nature
of the state. What is needed is a realistic
appraisal of the situation.

To put so much emphasis on the violence
of the Maoists appears to divert the issue,
where, in the present system the masses
have to face violence everyday of their
lives. Hundreds die each day of hunger,
starvation and easily curable illnesses.
Semi-feudal authority in the villages has
only force as its major instrument of control.

Workers in all but the big industries (some
time even there) have to regularly face the
hoodlums maintained by the management
and even the police. The women of our
country have to face daily patriarchal
violence and there are many so-called
dowry deaths each year. Dalits have to face
humiliation and abuse on a daily basis.

And, over and above all this is the violence
of the state, the Hindutva fascists, the mafia
linked to the mainstream political parties,
big business, and so on.

The violence of the Maoists, which is
preceded and provoked by the violence of
the oppressors, is not really the main issue;
justice is. If Naxalite violence is to be
discussed, it should be in the context of
violence pervading every aspect of our
system. If not seen in this framework, one
falls prey to the abstract bourgeois concept
that “violence breeds violence”, without
understanding the structural causes of

One important aspect of today’s counterinsurgency
operations is the massive use
of an informer/espionage network to decimate
the movements, not only externally,
but also from within. Today, this is one
of the major weapons in counter-insurgency
strategies in the world, including
India. Counter-insurgency operates right
from the village level, the mass organisation
level, to covert operations within the
party itself.

Massive funds are being secretly allocated
for this purpose. Most of these informers pose
as “civilians”, and many can be from the poorer
classes. But, their existence has lead to the death of
thousands of the best of revolutionaries
throughout the world. This has been accompanied
by brutal torture to extract
information. Earlier, accounts of brutal
torture became public; now, the ruling
classes make sure that this does not happen
by killing the tortured victim and by
legitimising torture as a necessary component
of the “war against terror”.

What the world sees is only the overt
violence of the state, not these covert
operations. The only long-term method of
countering these operations is through
deepening the mass base of the party (not
mere mass support) and raising its political

It is also necessary to deal with the
problem in the immediate; otherwise the
best of our cadre get killed. If all persons
in every village are tightly organised (into
mass organisations, militia, and party units)
it is very difficult for an informer to
survive without getting noticed. But such
intensive organisation takes time and is
not so easy in the bigger villages and the
urban bastis. In between, the informers are
recruited. Most of the elements recruited
by the state may come from ordinary backgrounds,
but they are mostly lumpen or
degenerate elements. They are recruits in
the covert operations of the police and the
army. Any leniency towards them can mean
(and has meant) the death of the best of
our comrades.

Actions against these elements cannot be construed
as violence on civilians, but on recruits to the police/
paramilitary forces, and should be seen as
such. This is important to understand, in
the light of modern-day counter-insurgency
in the form of Low Intensity Conflict,
originally devised by the MI5 (of Britain)
and the CIA (of the US), and used throughout
the world.

Major Misconception

There is yet another major misconception
– that “innocent” people are being caught
in the crossfire between the Naxalites
and the police. First, this is not a fact.
Secondly, the “people” are not a homogeneous
mass; the ruling elite and their
hangers-on are with the state, while the
masses of the oppressed are with the
Naxalites. The former support state terror
(as in the Salwa Judum), while the latter
act together with the Maoists to resist such
terror. The misconception of a homogeneous
populace is linked to postmodernist
thinking of a so-called “civil
society”, which conceals class divisions
within society. All the same, in conflicts
involving state terror and the people’s
resistance to it, there will be some sections
not allied to either side, but the majority
are polarised into two camps – a minority
allied with the state, on the one hand,
and the masses backing the Naxalites,
on the other.

The above-mentioned fallacy of
conceptualising the people as a homogeneous
mass runs through all the articles,
including that of Sumanta Banerjee when
he writes: “… the Maoist guerrillas often
betray an immature mindset by intimidating
them, instead of patiently politicising

In our view, at the village level, the
masses are divided into three sections: the
diehard reactionaries, the intermediary
sections who may vacillate between the
two contending forces, and the masses
won over by the Maoists. Banerjee’s statement
would apply to the intermediary
sections. The reality however is that the
bulk of the actions taken by the Maoists
have been against the diehard reactionaries.

There may have been errors, as also
different conceptions of who belongs to
the first or second category. While these
can be discussed, the three sections have
to be clearly demarcated, for this is fundamental
to understanding the class struggle
at the ground level, which is a struggle for

The diehard reactionaries have to
be suppressed, while the rest have to be
patiently politicised. There are, of course,
problems of class analysis and consequently,
incorrect handling of contradictions
among the people due to inexperience
of some cadres. Although this is an
exception rather than the rule, the state has
used these aberrations by magnifying them
and many intellectuals who refuse to see
the reality have become a prey to such
intrigue of the state, often joining the chorus
against revolutionary violence.

Further in the same vein Sumanta
Banerjee adds: “Of the two (i e, state and
communist revolutionaries), the communist
revolutionaries who claim to look after
the welfare of the poor and the oppressed,
are expected to be more humane in their
choice of tactics and genuinely democratic
in getting popular consent for them –
particularly when such tactics affect the
vast masses of uninvolved citizens.

If in their drive for retaliation they stoop to the
level of the police or security forces and
indulge in indiscriminate attacks on soft
targets…” Now, real humanity entails
unconditionally standing by the oppressed.
But there is no all-encompassing humanity.

In a class society, where the ruling
classes fiercely crush the oppressed at every
step, real humanity entails fierce hatred for
their oppressors. There can be no love
without hate; there is no all-encompassing
love. The Maoists may err in certain
actions, from which we will learn certain
lessons, but “to be more humane” cannot
be associated with the question of civil
behaviour vis-à-vis the enemy and their
agents in our tactics. Having said this,
quite rightly, there should not be any attack
on soft targets, but targets have to be
assessed within the framework of the
politico-military aims of the movement –
both immediate and long-term.

For Sumanta Banerjee, a school building
housing the paramilitary, or, communication
towers, may be soft targets, but for
the Maoists it would be part of their longterm
aims to counter the enemy forces.

Sumanta Banerjee’s clubbing of Maoist
violence with that of the Islamic fundamentalists
is unfair, as nowhere have the
Maoists consciously attacked civilians.
The so-called civilians of the Salwa Judum
are basically the SPOs and “lumpen”
elements mobilised by the state as a vigilante
force to kill, burn, loot and destroy
tribal life in countering the Maoists. Though
unnecessary losses should be avoided, like
the two children in the Errabore camp, no
people’s war can be so clinical, as to have
no civilian causality. The point is whether
the maximum care has been taken not to
affect civilians. The police/paramilitary
have been utilising this principled stand
of the Maoists in their tactics to counter

For instance, they travel in public
transport buses along with civilians and
use the masses as human shields while
entering areas that are Maoist strongholds.

They know well the Maoists will not
attack if civilian lives are involved. They
also employ unarmed policemen and
home guards to collect information about
the Maoists from villages in Naxalite
strongholds, and even use women as informers
as the Maoists do not easily target
such people.

Three thousand home guards were recruited recently
in AP along with 1,500 SPOs, as admitted by the chief
minister at the chief ministers’ meeting
on terrorism and left extremism on
September 5 this year. The home minister
and DGP of AP admitted that they had
deliberately not given rifles in about 500
or so police stations in the state as they
were sure Maoists would not attack
unarmed policemen.

So, to sum up, violence is endemic in
this brutal system. One cannot appreciate
the need for revolutionary violence unless
one understands the fascist nature of the
state, the cruelty of the state’s forces,
tortures and fake encounters, bans on
peaceful meetings, and state violations of
the democratic rights of the people. The
fascist nature of the state is exposed when
confronted by powerful people’s movements,
as we witness in all those areas of
activity of the Maoist movement.

In fact, Maoist violence is only to put an end to
all the violence in this rotten system and
to bring peace to our country and people.
There is no other recourse in such a brutal
and ruthless system. We sincerely ask the
writers to please suggest how to end the
violence of oppressors and the state that
acts on their behalf?

How can the oppressed masses gain justice?
Finally, we wish to state that in the course
of the revolutionary movement we do make
mistakes on this account; but wherever we
have done so, we have never sought to hide
it, but have issued a public apology. While
we will always try and learn from our
shortcomings, it must also be realised that
no class war can be conducted with clinical
precision. It is very tortuous and painful;
just as the daily life of the bulk of our
population is no less agonising.

We will now take up some other major
arguments and leave the rest for a future

Comparisons with Nepal Maoists

There is a tendency to compare the
Maoists movements of Nepal and India,
pitting the Nepal Maoists’ present tactics
as a supposed peaceful alternative to the
Indian Maoists’ violent methods. One
should not forget that the present victories
of the anti-monarchy movement are primarily
a result of the success of the politico-
military battles by the People’s
Liberation Army and their ability to beat
back the attacks of the king’s army.

Their victories are built on the backbone of a
30,000 strong PLA and one lakh militia,
and the loss of 12,000 lives. This fact is
brought out in a recent interview with the
Hindi magazine Philal where comrade
Prachanda, the chairman of the CPN
(Maoist), said: “When we talk with the
leaders of these political parties we say that
had we not been armed, there would have
been no 12-point understanding. Had we
not been armed, Deuba would never have
been able to come out of prison. Had we
not been armed, many of you would have
been killed because of the feudal
monarchy, which murdered its blood
relations inside the Palace…

We also told them that our weapons only made the
revival of your parliament possible, you
are not credited with it; the credit goes to
the PLA…”. Besides, change of tactics
depends on the situation in the respective
countries and the strength of the contending

Sitaram Yechury has particularly
sought to pit the Nepal Maoists against
the Indian Maoists. While the CPI (M)
brutally suppresses the Maoists in West
Bengal, it is hypocritically speaking in
praise of the Nepal Maoists. Instead of
pitting one revolution against the other, it
would be far more constructive to take the
positive experiences of other revolutions
and see how best these could concretely
be applied to the Indian revolution to take
it forward. This brings us to debates about
the revolutionary path.

On the Revolutionary Path

Among the writers, the most forthright
in questioning the very path of the revolution
was Tilak D Gupta who said: “…the
case for revising the ideological-political
line and the strategy and tactics of the
CPI (Maoist) is quite potent by itself
because of the changed international
situation and above all due to the major
worldwide setback to socialism”.

Earlier in the article, he also raised doubts on the
change to Maoism. He questions some of
the very basics of the CPI (Maoist). Sagar
too, after raising questions on a large
number of tactical issues – idealising
elections, pitting mass action against
armed struggle, opposing democratisation
of tribal culture, negating its successes and
only focusing on its supposed lack of
presence everywhere (as though all over
the world Marxists are making sweeping
gains) – he goes to the extent of clubbing
the entire “left”, including the parliamentary
CPI and CPI(M) with the CPI (Maoist)
in a single category by calling for a “genuine
confederation of the various Left

Sagar goes so far as to equate the parliamentarians
with those leading the armed struggle by saying:
“In the broad context of Indian politics
it would appear to him/her that the Left
in all its diversity is actually part of one
‘parivar’ with one component doing nothing
but parliamentary work and the other
focusing on armed struggles and the middle
consisting of many combinations of these
two extremes”.

Mohanty, while even erring on facts (claiming that all
the ML groups have equal strength, which not
even the enemies of the movement say),
equates the CPI (Maoist) with the revisionist
Liberation and Kanu Sanyal groups.

Some of the writers have highlighted certain
lacunae within the movement to negate
the entire path, others negate it in the
name of the “changed situation”, and yet
others negate it by obfuscating the lines
of demarcation between Marxism and

Let us take some of these arguments. As
Tilak says, it is true that there have been
some changes in the international situation,
though the basic essence of imperialism
has not changed. But the changes,
linked with the economic crisis, and the
increasing ferocity of imperialism, particularly
US imperialism, would warrant
more extensive and deeper armed resistance
than what we have today.

Witness what happened in Iraq, or the arrogance
displayed by Israel in Lebanon and Palestine;
or the massacres of communists and
even liberal opposition in Latin America;
the butchery of hundreds of mass leaders
in the Philippines, etc. The much talked
of “space” for the revolutionaries and
democrats is shrinking, not because of
the armed activities of the Maoists, but
because of the increasing fascist character
that imperialism and its agents throughout
the globe are acquiring.

This is evident in India where the governments at
the centre and the states are enhancing their armed
might on a scale never seen before. They
realise that with the aggressive implementation
of the policies of LPG, mass revolts
will have to be dealt with. So, it is not clear
in which direction does Tilak pose the
case for revising the ideological-political
line and the strategy and tactics of the
CPI (Maoist). There is need for much
greater depth of analysis before making
such far-reaching statements.

Today if the movement is weak in many
parts of the country, the need is to strengthen
it there, not change the path to some vague
“genuine confederation of the various Left
organisations”. What is needed is not such
an amorphous conglomeration, but a genuine
United Front (UF) of the four classes
of the workers, peasants, middle classes
and the national bourgeoisie. An effective
UF is the only way to rally all the antiimperialist,
anti-feudal forces and not a
confederation of the various Left
organisations, which blurs the basic distinction
between the different class forces.

The history of all revolutions, particularly
that of Russia and China, has clearly shown
that victory was only possible by fighting
an uncompromising ideological-political
battle with all forms of revisionism. Where
the path of compromise was adopted,
the socialist goal was lost, though there
may have been military victories, as in
Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea, etc.

Tribal and Caste Questions

There is a tendency to focus on identity
politics, as in K Balagopal’s article, and
idealise backward tribal societies, as in
Sagar’s and Nandini Sunder’s articles, both
of whose approach is linked to a postmodernist
perspective actively promoted
by the NGOs.

K Balagopal not only talks of identity
politics but also believes that as a result
of the revolutionary struggle the biggest
sufferers are the oppressed themselves –
what he calls the “decimation of the organic
leaders”. It is true that our movement has
generated hundreds of intellectuals from
the most oppressed; yet Balagopal negates
the revolutionary process when he ends his
piece by saying that “the daily losses of
such persons is a sacrifice the oppressed
cannot be called upon to put up with

This is an ambiguous end and could have many
implications – it seems to imply that the oppressed
should give up,
what to him seems a futile path. If there
are excessive losses, the causes have to be
found and corrections made, but to expect
revolution without sacrifice is illusory.
As far as “identity politics” is concerned,
it divides the masses; what is required is
a class approach that unites the masses,
including the oppressed.

A class approach to the caste question demands an end to
upper-caste oppression, brahaminical
ideology and abolition of the pernicious
caste system, including ‘untouchability’.
But, “identity politics” only emphasises
caste and acts to ossify caste divisions

As far as preserving tribal culture NGOstyle
is concerned, it would be good if
Sagar and Nandini Sunder talk to the women
of Bastar who would recount what that
culture also gave them – forced marriages,
witchcraft, superstition, forced drudgery,

Though not as bad as the Hindu patriarchal system,
tribal culture is far from idyllic. The Maoists have indeed
sought to learn from the adivasi masses
and have taken all that is positive in tribal
culture, while doing away with the dross.
So, we have not only sought to preserve
the Gondi, Santhali and other languages,
but have also developed them; we have
preserved and adopted the folklore of
the tribal peoples and their dance forms,
infusing them with social content. We have
encouraged and further enhanced the elements
of community and collective living,
which were a natural part of their

We are preserving the forests and
taking up reforestation campaigns. In
addition, we have taken education to the
tribal peoples and modern knowledge,
which cannot be expected to continue to
be the sole preserve of the established
intellectual elite.


India is a vast and highly complex society
with uneven and varied development. It
has the universal features of any semicolonial,
semi-feudal society under the grip
of finance capital; it also has many a
specificity, which requires deep study and

Revolution here is no simple task.
While focusing on the axis of the armed
agrarian revolution it would additionally
entail dealing with and solving the varied
and numerous diseases afflicting our sociopolitical
system. The new democratic
revolution entails the total democratisation
of the entire system and all aspects of life
– political, economic, social, cultural,
educational, recreational, etc.

The standard of life has to be enhanced, not only
materially but also in the sphere of outlook
and values. A new social being has to
emerge in the course of the revolutionary
process. As communists we are always
ready to rectify our mistakes and listen to
others, as we have the interests of the
people at heart.

But the criticisms would help if they were concrete;
those that we agree with we will willingly accept and
try and improve our practice; where we
disagree we can freely and openly debate
the issue.

[The author is the official spokesperson of the
CPI (Maoist). This is an edited and abridged version
of the original manuscript.]

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