Maoist vs Naxalite
If you are from India, you know what the words Maoists and Naxalite mean. These are the names with which insurgent groups fighting for their lawful rights with the forces of the government of India are known by. These groups are labeled insurgents or extremists by the Indian government and seen a big threat to India’s internal security. Maoists and Naxalites are active in the Indian heartland, and their activities signify the ongoing conflict between the poor and tribal people dissatisfied with the pace of development, unfinished land reforms and caste and gender discrimination with the authorities in their areas. Those who are not Indians fail to understand why people would take up arms and fight authorities in an independent country. They also fail to appreciate the difference between Maoists and Naxalites. This article attempts to make clear the terms Maoists and Naxalites and the reasons for the continued support these people get from the local population.
Many states have been declared as hit by the activities of Maoists, and more than 200 districts in these states have been badly affected by the activities of Maoists and Naxalites. Indian states of Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh are the places where Maoists and Naxalites are fighting the authorities and security forces are waging a bloody battle on many fronts in these states.
Maoists belong to an underground political party called Communist Party of India (Maoist) that aims to overthrow the government of India by waging a war with the support of the poorest of the poor. Maoists say they are working for the rights of the poor and tribal people who have been left far behind in the journey of development that has taken place in India since independence. The party was formed in 2004 with the merger of People’s War and Maoist Communist Centre. Maoists work for the uplift of the tribal people by waging a guerilla war against the government of India and their aim is to install a people’s government at the centre.
Maoists are a result of lack of development in tribal areas. The poorest of poor live in these areas and the areas are said to be full of mineral reserves and forests. Mining of minerals from the belt has accumulated wealth for the mining companies and the government while the tribal people have traditionally been not given their due and rightful share in all this income and development.
Naxalites are the same people fighting with the authorities for their rights known as Maoists in other districts of India. However, the reason for this name lies in the fact that it was a village in North Bengal called Naxalbari where tribal people took up arms and revolted against the misrule of the landlords. Centuries of oppression has resulted in people taking up cudgels to fight for their own rights. Naxalite movement can be labeled as Indian edition of Maoism as it was seen in China. There are 2 distinct phases in naxal movement in India with the first phase being at its peak during 1970-71. This was when Communist Party of India was founded by Charu Majumdar along with other veteran communists. The movement saw many uprisings against landlords and a series of violent events that were crushed by the government of India using police and paramilitary forces. Charu Majumdar was captured and killed. The present phase is the revival of Naxalite movement with the merger of PWG and MCC, and today, it has become a lethal Pan India force fighting with the forces of government of India for the rights of the poor people of India.
What is the difference between Maoist and Naxalite?
• Naxalites and Maoists are two sides of the same coin and, in fact, it would be correct to label Naxalites as Indian face of Maoism
• Naxalites draw their name from a village called Naxalbari in North Bengal where tribal took up arms to revolt against oppression of the landlords
• Today, Maoists-Naxalites pose as the single biggest threat to internal security of India but they are not regarded as just a law and order problem as government realizes its lapses and excesses in lopsided development in tribal areas that has left poor poorer and more backward
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