23 Jul 2013

Naxalism : An Ideology or the Biggest Threat?

The term 'Naxal' derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the movement had its origin.



Indian Origin: The Naxals are considered far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. Their origin can be traced to the split in 1967 of the Communist Party of India (CPI).They are the followers of Marxist-Leninist Theory. Inspired by the doctrines of Mao Zedong, Naxalites work to overthrow the government and upper classes by violence. From West Bengal initially, these movements spread to less developed & rural areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.   The Naxalites are active in approximately 40% of India’s geographical area.  They control large portions of remote and densely forested areas and are concentrated in an area called “Red Corridor”. This area is also the tribal belt where the tension between economic development and aboriginal land rights is most apparent. 

International Origin: We inherited Industrialization and feudalism from the British. This led to the initiation of Zamindari system which includes the Zamindars (land/feudal lords). Also, they followed Communism whose traces can be seen in their ideology.
Before 1990, it was fight against the landlords for their lands. After 1990, the revolt took a violent phase.


It can be elaborated well by the following points:
       1)   Culture: Tribals have a different culture as we have ie.  They are very close to nature viz...Forest, rivers, land and other natural sources, they have their own way of amusements, social behavior, matriarchal society, so altogether a different lifestyle. In the wake of above views, tribals sense that outsiders are threat to their culture and can mutate their way of life. If their area has been forcibly taken away, they will revolt back for it.
      2)   Forest policy: These conflicts go back to the failure of implementing the 5th & 9th Schedules of the Constitution of India. In theory these Schedules provide for a limited form of tribal autonomy with regard to exploiting natural resources on their lands, e.g. pharmaceutical & mining), and 'land ceiling laws', limiting the land to be possessed by landlords and distribution of excess land to landless farmers & labourers.
      3)   Land reforms: In the name of Urbanization, government is taking away their lands. Due to increased land acquisition by the elite class, its adding fuel to naxalism.
       4)   Economic cause: The government fails to implement the different incentives to be provided in exchange of their land. If they get no means for survival and earning livelihood, opposition takes place.
     5)   Governance: As said earlier, there are many rights which these socio-economically backward people are deprived of. As most of them are not educated, there is no awareness among the people, so they revolt.


Naxal’s point of view:

They are socio-economically backward people. They survive by earning small means of livelihood which is from their land. On one hand, India has experienced relatively fast economic growth, which has led to increased levels of national wealth. To facilitate and continue this development, businesses need more land and natural resources such as minerals.  On the other hand, this economic growth has been uneven among regions, and has widened the disparity between the rich and the poor. The conflict between economic progress and aboriginal land rights continues to fuel the Naxalite’s activities. Their strongest bases are in the poorest areas of India. Second, the alienation that is being exploited by the Maoists has a social, communal and regional dimension. The battle can also be described between India’s most neglected people and the nation’s most powerful industrial businesses.  

The adivasis make up about 8.4 percent of the population and live in severe poverty. They live in remote areas where government administration is weak and there is a lack of government services. These indigenous people have the lowest literacy rates in the country and highest rates of infant mortality.  Given this socio-economic alienation, it is easy to see how the Naxalite’s ideology is popular among the rural poor and indigenous tribes, and why the adivasis view the guerrillas as their “saviours”.  The adivasis do not feel like they have any political power to voice their grievances legitimately, and therefore the alternative of subversive, illegal groups seem attractive.


The Naxalite threat is the biggest security problem for India’s future as its effects are multi-layered. The Maoist movement highlights India’s interior weaknesses, which makes India also vulnerable to external threats. As part of globalization, threats such as the Naxalite movement can no longer be viewed as simply internal as it also affects external security. As far as the funding of naxals is concerned, there would be a third party who supplies arms and ammunitions and also, a lot of black money might be involved. Government failed to implement its schemes but there are many innocent people there. It’s a dilemma as in if they agree to their decision, people will feel that violent methods bear fruits and if they disagree, they endanger lives of innocent people. The police were on duty but many of the police stations were set ablaze. The situation was out of control that the CRPF unit had to take over.


The problem calls for a three-pronged solution: social and economic development, multi-lateral dialogue and military force.  More of the national expenditure needs to be focused on developing these poorer regions through initiatives regarding health, education, social welfare and rural and urban development. Government service delivery should be improved in these tribal areas. Both state and government must ensure that things such as statutory minimum wages, access to land and water sources initiatives are implemented.  In coming up with strategies for national economic growth, the government must always bear in mind the possible effects of fast growth for all socio-economic groups in a country as large and diverse as India. If the social needs of these marginalized people are addressed, there will be no discontent to fuel the Naxalite’s movements. Our military must be trained to fight such people and a special set of good officers must be sent forward.



To conclude, the Naxalite problem reflects underlying issues in the Indian social, economic and political institutions which threaten to expose India to even more danger from outside forces. While the Naxalite movement is mainly an internal threat, with globalization, external and internal security threats are inextricably linked. The complex and multi-faceted approach to solving the Naxalite issue also reflects the fact that this is going to be the biggest menace to India’s security also in the future.

Do you think Naxalism has become more dangerous than outer terrorism for India?

Should Indian Army be used by the GOI to tackle the Naxals Problem?

Who is right in their approach: GOI and State govns vs Naxals?

What can be solution for this biggest internal security problem?

Please comment your views and opinions here…

(Written by co-host Komal Patil of the event Group Discussion for UPSC CSE (Daily 9PM to 11PM) of the group Mission Mussoorie UPSC Civil Services based up on daily discussions. Please join and give your valuable views)



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