The Indian Maoists engaged in another massive attack in India, once again in Chattisargh, Ground Zero for the Maoist insurgency in India. A bus filled with state police, containing 40-60 people was blown up by a Maoist land mine, killing at least 50 of those aboard. The attack probably took place in the Dandakaranya Region, which was where the previous devastating attack took place.
One problem for the Indian Maoists is that they have not yet set up any base areas. However, word is that they are just now finally setting up a base area in the Dandakaranya Region. I have seen videos of Maoist forces swarming over the dirt highways in this region. There are huge columns of both sexes that seem to have scores or hundreds of members.
The people in this region are Gonds, and they speak the Gondi language. The Gondi language is in bad shape, as it has never had any state support. The Maoists have started to support the Gondi language, and the state has finally started to do so too, to “stop the Maoists.”
The problem is the same as with all civic action programs. They throw the starving people a few crumbs to ward off revolution, but crumbs don’t fill your stomach. So revolution is warded off, but the system barely changes at all. Instead, it makes just a few rudimentary changes around the edges. If the state would really fundamentally change to ward off the Maoists, that would be nice, but it’s never going to happen.
There is a lot of talk on this site about economic growth in India. True, there has been some impressive growth in recent years. But only 5-10% of the population has benefited from this growth. The Indian state is just fucked. It’s never worked for the people, and it never will. If there was an Indian Hugo Chavez, I would renounce support for the Maoists, but there never will be one. The only way to a just government in India at this time is with the gun.
One problem is that the Maoists are going to need to expand beyond tribals in their war. An obvious target is the Dalits or low caste untouchables. However, 85% of Dalits still believe in caste, that is, they think that they deserve their station in life.
The Maoists have actually been very pragmatic about religion, and have not said much about Hinduism. Maoist ranks are full of religious Hindus, and the Maoists have not even been able to get rid of caste in their own ranks. Maoists do not wish to engage in the issue of caste as they see it as too divisive. They want Hindus to join their movement, and an all-out war on caste will leave them tagged as a Dalit movement.
Dalits are angry at the Maoists in both Nepal and India since their leaders are high caste Brahmins. But Brahmins have always led movements for good or bad in both countries. And the more advanced classes tend to lead revolutions, while the oppressed and less advanced classes tend to be foot soldiers. The leaders of Sendero Luminoso look like White Peruvians, but a look at the ranks of Sendero’s foot soldiers shows deep Indian features in almost every guerrilla you see of either sex.
The Maoists have a huge presence in southern Bihar, Jharkand, Chattisargh, western West Bengal, northern Andhra Pradesh, eastern Orissa, and far western Maharashtra. They’re going to need to expand quite a bit outside of this region in order to make some good gains. The state is waging a huge offensive against the Maoists. The offensive could either wage deadly blows against the Maoists or it could paradoxically cause them to dramatically increase their power in the land. It will be interesting to see what unfolds.