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People Power: The Naxalite Movement in Central Bihar

Prakash Louis (Author)
Synopsis In Naxalbari where it originated, the militant agrarian movement seems to have faded away. But in Central Bihar it has been alive and gathering strength for over three decades since 1968, defying state repression and recurrent episodes of massacres by the feudal elements. This is the region in the eye of the storm, with mushrooming caste-based private armies of upper-caste landlords to counter the upsurge. It is also the arena where the various militant groups are waging their war of attrition, placing in doubt the very ideology of class struggle. In five districts of Central Bihar—Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Gaya, Patna, and Aurangabad—three left-wing groups are active: CPI (ML) party unity, Maoist Communist Centre, and CPI (ML) liberation. Contemporary radical agrarian movements have sharpened consciousness on issues like uneven land-ownership, low wages, caste discrimination, sexual exploitation of lower-caste women and similar structural oppression and exploitation of the lower strata of society. Agricultural labourers and small peasants, who predominantly hail from the lower-caste category and who are the most deprived and marginalized section of Indian rural society, charted out a vanguard role in the agrarian movements, spurred on by the militant political organizations which exerted themselves to sharpen the consciousness of the caste, class and gender contradictions. The main objective of this enquiry is to examine the socio-economic setting of central Bihar in order to understand the radical agrarian movements—their origin, historical growth, ideological principles, the actors involved, the strategies followed and the outcome. Except for newspaper reports, the Naxalite movement has not received sufficient sociological examination from social scientists. The present study aims at highlighting the internal dynamics of agrarian movements, peasant consciousness and local leadership, which rise up in militant revolt in favourable conditions.
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About the author

Prakash Louis

Prakash Louis is the Executive Director of the Idan Social Institute, New Delhi. He has been working as a grassroot activist for almost a decade in central Bihar. Collecting primary data about the Naxalite movement was not without its risks, neither is it easily available. After the Lakshmanpur-Bathe massacre (December 1997) in Jehanabad, which mobilized some human rights activists in conscientization activity, the author found an opening into many of these groups and, through them, to some remote villages where radical agrarian movements are changing the landscape of central Bihar. He is author of Jharkhan Rajya: Kiske Liye, Kyon aur Kaise? (on the formation of the new Jharkhan state); The Emerging Hindutva Force: The Ascent of the Hindu Nationalism; and Casteism is More Harrendous than Racism: Durban and Dalit Discourse.

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Bibliographic information

Title People Power: The Naxalite Movement in Central Bihar
Author Prakash Louis
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st Ed.
Publisher Wordsmiths
Language: English
isbn 8187412070
length xviii+326p.
Subjects History