Sociology Index

Naxalism and Maoism

Naxalism and Maoism have found support from elite intellectuals from the leading institutions of India. Social inequality, inequality of opportunity and inequality of condition gave rise to Naxalism and Maoism. When the Naxal uprising began in 1967, the Indian government looked at it as a law and order problem. It did not analyze the causes of the movement and the extent of mobilization of people. The government of India defines naxalism and Maoism as left wing extremism and is dealt with by a separate division of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Naxal, Naksalvadi and Naxalite are generic terms used to refer to various militant Communist groups.

In the eastern states of India Naxalites and Naxalism are referred to as Maoism and Maoists. Women's brains are believed to be wired for Compassion, but how then could a group of women Naxalites or Maoists brutally inflict 78 stab wounds on a state leader and former home minister. Though the framers of the constitution devised special measures to mitigate such inequality, the political parties did not care. Naxalites are not a few men and women who have gone astray. The groups have a dedicated cadre that operates on military lines. According to the government's own estimates, Maoists have thousands of combat cadre operating in nine states.

'Naxal' derives from the name Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal where the Naxal movement began. The Naxals are considered radical far-left communists, supportive of Maoist ideology. They have been declared as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of India (1967). The court had to step in to disband a resistance movement against Naxalites. In its order, the court came close to justifying the revolt against the State. "People do not take up arms, in an organised fashion, against the might of the State, or against human beings without rhyme or reason. Guided by an instinct for survival... people revolt," the court had noted.

Naxalite Movement in India: The State's Response

The young and fiery ideologies of the Marxist-Leninist movement in India, envisioning a spontaneous mass upsurge all over India that would create a 'liberated zone' gave birth to the Naxalite movement in India.

In 2008 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned, “Naxalism is the greatest threat to our internal security.” The credit for the survival of the movement for over 40 years must go to the Government, which has failed in addressing the causes and conditions that sustain the movement.

The problem is in the Indian state's perception of the causes of the Naxal movement. - Raman Dixit.
In order to understand the current phase of Naxalism, we need to understand different aspects of organizational transformation that have occurred within the Naxal movement - Naxal Movement in India: A Profile, Rajat Kujur, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, India.