Tag Archives: Lalgarh

A People’s Uprising Destroyed by The Maoists: Santosh Rana

[This is a guest post by SANTOSH RANA, one of the legendary leaders of the Naxalite revolt in 1967. Rana lead one of the important CPI(ML) groups that is active in the Jharkhand region. Here he writes of the Lalgarh and the Maoists. The post was written sometime ago. It gives a more nuanced picture of the different strands and phases of the movement, including the PCPA phase.]

Lalgarh lies in Jhargram sub-division of West Medinipur district of West Bengal. It is part of the Paschimanchal (western zone) of the state and is an extension of Chhotanagpur plateau. With its laterite soil of low water-retention capacity and Sal-Mahua forests, the area differs from the Bengal plains both geographically and culturally. It is indeed a part of the Jharkhand cultural region. Nearly 30 percent of the population are Scheduled Tribes (ST), 20 percent Scheduled Castes (SC) and the rest are communities like Kudmi-Mahatos, Telis, Kumbhars, Bagals, Rajus, Tamblis, Khandaits and others. The Kudmi-Mahatos are the biggest among the rest, who had been treated as ST till 1935 when they were de-scheduled. The Mahatos, Bagals and some other communities are actually semi-tribals who have been partly Sanskritised but still retain their tribal characteristics; now they are treated as Other Backward Classes (OBC). There are other OBC communities like Kumbhar, Tanti, Teli and others. But in West Bengal, benefits for OBCs started not only late but also unenthusiastically. Even today, there is very little reservation – only 7 percent, and that too in the government jobs only – given to the OBCs here. The OBCs are not given any reservation in higher education. The SC communities living in the region ( Bagdi, Dom, Jele, Mal and Bauri etc) are so backward that they are unable to get government or semi-government jobs through reservation. The tribals constitute 30 percent of the population Jhargram sub-division, but in local jobs, they are given only 6 percent reservations – the stipulated quota for the STs at the  state level.

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Requiem for a Movement

Current media discussions about Lalgarh seem to miss out one crucial fact: Till less than a month ago, it was not a Maoist fortress, but a place where a fascinating experiment with a new kind of democratic politics was being undertaken. Maoists were certainly present, but they were constrained to go along with the mood inside Lalgarh, as earlier posts on Kafila have pointed out. This mood was certainly not one of forming ‘dalams’ or squads of roving Maoist guerillas. In fact, as People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) leader Chhatradhar Mahato told Times of India a couple of days ago, ‘if the state government had done even 10 percent of what we have done, the situation would have been very different.’ Continue reading Requiem for a Movement

Where there is no police: Kumar Rana

This is a guest post by KUMAR RANA

Where there is no police – what a wonderful state that would be. It’s a place that many have dreamt of, at least at some point of time if not all through the life. What a wonderful land that would be where one can eat or fast,  sleep or remain awake,  work or rest, move in or move out  completely freely, where her wishes would not be monitored by the police. So the episodes in Khejuri in East Medinipur and Lalgarh, in West Bengal, had apparently made some of the citizens happy: what a relief, there is no police.

But, alas, it was only a dream. Because there was the state and a state without police is as alive as a dead animal, the khaki was quickly replaced by lungi or jeans, and the gun by perhaps more lethal AK47 and its sort.
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