Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In memory of Mahmoud Darwish

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died recenlty leaving behind a great legacy of poetic resistance. Following is an article received from A World to Win News Service

In memory of Mahmoud Darwish (13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 )

A World to Win News Service

The celebrated Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died 9 August after complications from heart surgery. In life, he was one of the world’s very few people who could fill a football stadium with as many as 25,000 listeners for a poetry reading. He had a special place in the hearts of the masses of Palestinians and other Arab people, and this was matched by the high regard in which many intellectuals of all countries held him. His poetry captured the pulse of Palestinian pain in magical ways, making readers laugh and weep. In death, throngs of Palestinians gave homage to him as the symbol and expression of Palestinian aspirations for the return of their land, their country. Darwish put in words the collective passion felt by the women and men, rich or poor, educated or not who were and still are victims of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing and occupation of their lands by the Zionist state of Israel 60 years ago. His poems were put to music and became anthems for two generations of Palestinians and others.

He founded one of the Arab world’s top literary magazines, al-Karmel, in 1981. He wrote 20 volumes of poetry and was translated into more than 20 languages. His first collection of poems in the 1960s included “Identity Card”, which became something of a signature poem for him. It is written in the first person. A common practice among many Palestinians in those days was to respond to hostile Israeli authorities and Arab governments by simply giving an identity number. A few of the lines are:

Write it down!
I am an Arab
My number is 50,000
I have a name without a title
Patient in a country
Where people are enraged. …………….

At the time of the Nakba in 1948, he was seven. He fled with his family from Birweh, a village in Galilee. The family came back in 1949, risking death at the hands of Zionist militias that had murdered countless Palestinians who tried to return to their homes. He spent the rest of his youth living as a second-class Israeli citizen. His grandfather chose to live on a hill overlooking his land. Until he died, the grandfather watched Jewish immigrants from Yemen living in his home that he could not even visit. Darwish acquired a reputation as a precocious child poet, at age 12. He was asked to compose a poem for a public reading on Israel’s “Independence Day”. His poem described the feelings of a child who returns to his town to find other people sleeping in his bed and tilling his father’s lands. Summoned by the military governor, Darwish was told that if he continued to write subversive material his father’s work permit would be revoked. This incident marked Darwish for life.

His militant poems defined Palestinian existence in the face of Golda Meir’s assertion “There are no Palestinians”. He was jailed five times between 1961 and 1976. Eventually Israel stripped Darwish of his “citizenship” and he became part of the Palestinian diaspora. Once a member of the pro-Soviet revisionist Israeli Communist Party, he spent a year studying in the Soviet Union where he became disillusioned. He became one of many stateless persons wandering around first in Egypt, then Jordan, and finally Lebanon. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 marked another defining moment in Darwish’s life. In Beirut, he lived under the shelling and siege of the city amidst the world’s deafening silence. In the camps outside the city, the Israeli army stood guard while the Lebanese Christian Falangists conducted the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

In 1973 he joined the Palestine Liberation Organisation headed by Yassar Arafat. In 1987 he was appointed to the PLO’s Executive Committee, although he saw his role there as symbolic. In 1993 he broke with Arafat and resigned his position the day after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the U.S.-brokered deal between Israel and the PLO that was to lead to today’s “road map” to nowhere and the PLO’s current role as flunkies under the Israeli occupation. But with the Accords, he was able to return to Palestine in 1996. He lived in the West Bank town of Ramallah, and travelled throughout Palestine when he could, including Gaza.

In the early days of the second Intifada, the world reeled at the infamous photo of Muhammad al-Durrah, a 12 year-old boy crouching in the shelter of his father’s body during an Israeli Defence Force incursion in September 2000. Israeli bullets killed the boy, despite his father’s efforts. Darwish wrote: “We love life – if we can have it.”

In 2002 Ariel Sharon launched Operation Defensive Shield, a barbarous reinvasion of West Bank cities, in particular Ramallah. At that time Darwish invited a number of Nobel Prize-winning authors (José Saramago, Wole Soyinka, Juan Goytisolo, Breyten Breytenbach and Russell Banks) to see the military occupation for themselves. Breytenbach recalled the former apartheid rule of South Africa. Banks compared it with American Indian reservations of the nineteenth century. The invasion inspired Darwish to write “A State of Siege”. Some of the lines address the Israeli soldiers shooting up his neighbourhood:

You, standing at the doorsteps, come in

And drink with us our Arabic coffee

For you may feel that you are human like us.

Other lines address the soldier/killer of a foetus:

If you had left the foetus thirty days,

Things would’ve been different

The occupation may end, and the toddler may not remember the time of the siege,

And he would grow up a healthy boy,

And study the Ancient history of Asia,

In the same college as one of your daughters.

And they may fall in love.

And they may have a daughter (who would be Jewish by birth).

What have you done now?

Your daughter is now a widow,

And your granddaughter is now orphaned.

What have you done to your scattered family,

And how could you have slain three pigeons with the one bullet?

Also in 2002, an Israeli reformist Education Minister tried to have five of Darwish’s poems introduced into a “multi-cultural” school curriculum. This aroused a maelstrom of controversy in the Israeli parliament where the proposal was roundly defeated. Darwish commented, “They teach pupils the country was empty. When they teach Palestinian poets, this knowledge is broken. Most of my poetry is about love for my country.” He added,” It is difficult to believe that the most militarily powerful country in the Middle East is threatened by a poem.” The Israeli government considered Mahmoud Darwish a dangerous foe to the end.

His poems expose a wide range of targets: the Israeli government (for instance, its pretending to be the victim (”You stole our tears, wolf”), the U.S. government (for giving every Palestinian child the “gift” of a cluster bomb to play with) and the Arab governments (who refrain from helping the Palestinians and hide their ineptitude behind anti-Semitic rhetoric).

A secular nationalist, Darwish was depressed and angered by Fatah and Hamas, the two main Palestinian political organisations. He was unsparing in his criticism of their narrow power struggle, calling it “suicide in the streets”.

That makes it all the more significant that his funeral in Ramallah was attended by many thousands of people, making it the biggest mass political event in the West Bank since the burial of Arafat.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marx on Money

Money is one of the greatest influences in human life. It can do anything. American empire can purchase parliament members of India with moeny. Money corrupts everything. Here in this post let's read what Karl Marx thought about money.

The Power of Money

If man’s feelings, passions, etc., are not merely anthropological phenomena in the (narrower) sense, but truly ontological affirmation of being (of nature), and if they are only really affirmed because their object exists for them as a sensual object, then it is clear that:

1. They have by no means merely one mode of affirmation, but rather that the distinct character of their existence, of their life, is constituted by the distinct mode of their affirmation. In what manner the object exists for them, is the characteristic mode of their gratification.

2. Wherever the sensuous affirmation is the direct annulment of the object in its independent form (as in eating, drinking, working up of the object, etc.), this is the affirmation of the object.

3. Insofar as man, and hence also his feeling, etc., is human, the affirmation of the object by another is likewise his own gratification

4. Only through developed industry — i.e., through the medium of private property — does the ontological essence of human passion come into being, in its totality as well as in its humanity; the science of man is therefore itself a product of man’s own practical activity.

5. The meaning of private property — apart from its estrangement — is the existence of essential objects for man, both as objects of enjoyment and as objects of activity.

By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession. The universality of its property is the omnipotence of its being. It is therefore regarded as omnipotent. . . . Money is the procurer between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. But that which mediates my life for me, also mediates the existence of other people for me. For me it is the other person.

“What, man! confound it, hands and feet
And head and backside, all are yours!
And what we take while life is sweet,
Is that to be declared not ours?

Six stallions, say, I can afford,
Is not their strength my property?
I tear along, a sporting lord,
As if their legs belonged to me.”

Goethe: Faust (Mephistopheles)

Shakespeare in Timon of Athens:

“Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?
No, Gods, I am no idle votarist! ...
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
... Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed;

Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: This is it
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again;

She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put’st odds
Among the rout of nations.”

And also later:

“O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
‘Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
Of Hymen’s purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, loved and delicate wooer,

Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian’s lap! Thou visible God!
That solder’st close impossibilities,
And makest them kiss! That speak’st with every tongue,

To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts!
Think, thy slave man rebels, and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!”

Shakespeare excellently depicts the real nature of money. To understand him, let us begin, first of all, by expounding the passage from Goethe.

That which is for me through the medium of money — that for which I can pay (i.e., which money can buy) — that am I myself, the possessor of the money. The extent of the power of money is the extent of my power. Money’s properties are my — the possessor’s — properties and essential powers. Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness — its deterrent power — is nullified by money. I, according to my individual characteristics, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame. I am bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, stupid; but money is honoured, and hence its possessor. Money is the supreme good, therefore its possessor is good. Money, besides, saves me the trouble of being dishonest: I am therefore presumed honest. I am brainless, but money is the real brain of all things and how then should its possessor be brainless? Besides, he can buy clever people for himself, and is he who has a power over the clever not more clever than the clever? Do not I, who thanks to money am capable of all that the human heart longs for, possess all human capacities? Does not my money, therefore, transform all my incapacities into their contrary?

If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, also the universal agent of separation? It is the coin that really separates as well as the real binding agent — the [. . .] chemical power of society.

Shakespeare stresses especially two properties of money:

1. It is the visible divinity — the transformation of all human and natural properties into their contraries, the universal confounding and distorting of things: impossibilities are soldered together by it.

2. It is the common whore, the common procurer of people and nations.

The distorting and confounding of all human and natural qualities, the fraternisation of impossibilities — the divine power of money — lies in its character as men’s estranged, alienating and self-disposing species-nature. Money is the alienated ability of mankind.

That which I am unable to do as a man, and of which therefore all my individual essential powers are incapable, I am able to do by means of money. Money thus turns each of these powers into something which in itself it is not — turns it, that is, into its contrary.

If I long for a particular dish or want to take the mail-coach because I am not strong enough to go by foot, money fetches me the dish and the mail-coach: that is, it converts my wishes from something in the realm of imagination, translates them from their meditated, imagined or desired existence into their sensuous, actual existence — from imagination to life, from imagined being into real being. In effecting this mediation, [money] is the truly creative power.

No doubt the demand also exists for him who has no money, but his demand is a mere thing of the imagination without effect or existence for me, for a third party, for the [others], and which therefore remains even for me unreal and objectless. The difference between effective demand based on money and ineffective demand based on my need, my passion, my wish, etc., is the difference between being and thinking, between the idea which merely exists within me and the idea which exists as a real object outside of me.

If I have no money for travel, I have no need — that is, no real and realisable need — to travel. If I have the vocation for study but no money for it, I have no vocation for study — that is, no effective, no true vocation. On the other hand, if I have really no vocation for study but have the will and the money for it, I have an effective vocation for it. Money as the external, universal medium and faculty (not springing from man as man or from human society as society) for turning an image into reality and reality into a mere image, transforms the real essential powers of man and nature into what are merely abstract notions and therefore imperfections and tormenting chimeras, just as it transforms real imperfections and chimeras — essential powers which are really impotent, which exist only in the imagination of the individual — into real essential powers and faculties. In the light of this characteristic alone, money is thus the general distorting of individualities which turns them into their opposite and confers contradictory attributes upon their attributes.

Money, then, appears as this distorting power both against the individual and against the bonds of society, etc., which claim to be entities in themselves. It transforms fidelity into infidelity, love into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant, idiocy into intelligence, and intelligence into idiocy.

Since money, as the existing and active concept of value, confounds and confuses all things, it is the general confounding and confusing of all things — the world upside-down — the confounding and confusing of all natural and human qualities.

He who can buy bravery is brave, though he be a coward. As money is not exchanged for any one specific quality, for any one specific thing, or for any particular human essential power, but for the entire objective world of man and nature, from the standpoint of its possessor it therefore serves to exchange every quality for every other, even contradictory, quality and object: it is the fraternisation of impossibilities. It makes contradictions embrace.

Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust, etc. If you want to enjoy art, you must be an artistically cultivated person; if you want to exercise influence over other people, you must be a person with a stimulating and encouraging effect on other people. Every one of your relations to man and to nature must be a specific expression, corresponding to the object of your will, of your real individual life. If you love without evoking love in return — that is, if your loving as loving does not produce reciprocal love; if through a living expression of yourself as a loving person you do not make yourself a beloved one, then your love is impotent — a misfortune.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book review: Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country

Following is a slightly abridged review of the book Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country by Sudeep Chakravarti (Penguin/Viking) from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) Information Bulletin (no. 2, 10 May 2008). Editor’s added clarifications are in brackets.

The Maoist movement in India is one of the oldest and longest-sustained revolutionary movements in the contemporary world. Spanning four decades beginning with the first earth-shaking volcanic eruption in a tiny village in Naxalbari, it has become part of folklore in some regions in the country. It had risen, phoenix-like, every time the political pundits had confidently pronounced its certain demise. Top political and police brass had time and again boasted that they had "finished off" the revolution, which, they claimed, had been "imported from abroad". They asserted that Maoist revolution is something alien to the conditions in Gandhi's India where, they claim, people are not prone to violent ways. The latest in this long list of liars, wishful thinkers and vicious propagandists is Mahendra Karma [Congress Party leader in the state of Orissa], who declared amidst much fanfare in June 2005 that he would decimate the Maoists within a year through his state-sponsored terrorist campaign christened salwa judum (peace campaign). When his armed gangsters and the state's khaki-clad goons took a beating in the hands of the Maoists, this scab of the imperialist- big business-feudal combine kept on barking over the past two years that he would finish off the Maoists within a short time. However, nailing all these lies and disgusting boasts by the mediocre politicians and police officials ruling the country, the resilience and growth of the Maoist movement had surprised many sceptics who see the Indian state as an almighty behemoth that can snuff out any armed resistance.

Surprisingly, given the great international significance of revolution in a vast country like India – the second most populous in the world – very few scholars have attempted any serious research into this social phenomenon and books dealing with this protracted insurgency are very few. But of late, several research scholars belonging to various persuasions and particularly so-called independent agencies have suddenly jumped into the fray. There is very less objectivity and realistic analysis in most of these writings. Many of these have begun to paint a scary picture of a rapidly growing “Red Terror” which is supposed to undermine development measures undertaken by the government. They talk of the Maoist movement spreading at an alarming speed to the majority of the states in India.

In Red Sun, published by Penguin (Viking) Books India in early 2008, the author, Sudeep Chakravarti, makes an attempt to understand and present the phenomenon of the Maoist movement in India. It is not, as the writer himself claims, a history of the Maoist movement, but a travelogue that tries to understand the Other India, as he christens it. The positive side of the book is the writer's attempt to present the conditions of the vast majority of the common people – their grinding poverty, excruciating indebtedness, horrific tales of their destitution and displacement by so-called development – leading to extreme helplessness and heart-rending suicides. The writer tries to focus on the aspirations of the majority in India that have been left out of every development scheme and model touted as great boons for the poor by the Indian ruling classes. Overall, the writer has been able to present in a lucid manner the explosive socio-economic milieu that gave rise to, and continues to nurture, the Maoist movement in India. And as a travelogue, this aspect often comes forcefully through conversations with people from various walks of life. He logically anticipates the inevitable spread of the Maoist movement to the urban areas, since similar conditions had pushed the vast majority of the urban poor into utter wretchedness.

Good exposure of state-sponsored terror campaign in Dandakaranya

The exposure of the state-sponsored terrorist campaign in Dandakaranya through the so-called salwa judum comes out forcefully in the book. It is here that the writer is seen at his best and he boldly exposes the havoc created by the state-sponsored vigilante gangs combined with the state and central [Delhi] forces. There is some amount of depth in the writer’s presentation of the movement in one of the crucial regions of the Maoists. He vividly describes the war theatre, the explosive situation and the strategies and plans of the state. As far as the writer’s description of the Maoist movement goes this is the best part in the entire book. After this, the presentation of the movement elsewhere is shallow and based more on hearsay.

None of the movements in other regions such as Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, or Andhra Pradesh are given any in-depth analysis. This reflects a lack of real interaction with the actual players. Even the conversations with such an eminent personality in the revolutionary camp like VV [prominent Andhra Pradesh intellectual Varavara Rao, accused of connections with CPI(M)] lack punch and analysis. The principal weakness of the travelogue is that the writer travelled more along the periphery of the war zone and had hardly any interaction with the Maoist fighters and leaders in any of these regions. Whether this is deliberately done, or the writer found no opportunity to meet the Maoist revolutionaries in the battlefield, is not clear. With the right contacts – and the writer claims to have many such contacts – it is, of course, not difficult to meet CPI (Maoist) underground cadre.

The excerpts from the Fact Finding Report by a team of democratic intellectuals released to

the media in December 2005 and from the Report of April 2006 entitled "When the State Makes War on Its Own People" [see AWTWNS 18 December 2006], Mahendra Karma's statement on the aim of salwa judum ("Unless you cut off the source of the disease, the disease will remain. The source is the people, the villagers.") , the presentation of the full text of Bijapur SP D.L. Manhar's instructions on the wireless to his men which was taped by the Maoists, the story of local journalist Kamlesh Paika, conversations with K.R. Pisda, Collector of Dantewara, the abuse of journalists in the most filthy and uncivilized manner by Alok Awasthi, additional director in Chattisgarh' s Directorate of Public Relations, etc., are well brought out. The aim of the salwa judum as admitted by the government in the official document is also quoted exhaustively.

The most chilling story of the evacuation and setting afire of the village of Darzo in Mizoram by the Indian Army during the early 1970s as part of the sordid plan of resettlement of the villages is very much relevant in the context of the salwa judum campaign and the planned resettlement of the tribals in Dantewara. The comparison with the Mizoram of the 1970s is a commendable job.

At several places in the book, during conversations with the revolutionaries, bureaucrats and police officials, the activities and viewpoints of the two opposing forces in this class conflict are brought into sharp contrast. Some of the remarks by top political and police brass make interesting, and at times, disgusting, reading. For instance, the health minister of Jharkhand, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, says in an interview: "One vasectomy in a Naxalite dominated village means that many potential comrades less… when you have too many mouths to feed and too little food to eat, you may turn into a Naxalite. All I want is to minimize the number of mouths."

The cynical revelation by an officer of the military intelligence of how he and his team had hacked off the heads of six militants just to petrify their Islamic colleagues and to serve as a spiritual insult makes chilling reading. "Then we heard these human rights chaps were coming. So we put the heads back on somehow, crudely stitched them up. We didn't bother with matching head and body." That cynical laughter of the officer while narrating this ghastly incident shows the general sadistic mindset of the police and security establishment, whether it is in Kashmir, the North East, Dandakaranya, Jharkhand, Andra Pradesh or elsewhere. Their proposed solution to the Naxalite issue is outright murder and fascist suppression, despite their occasional declarations to the contrary, meant only to please and appease civil rights activists and liberal-minded intellectuals.

Chattisgarh' s DGP OP Rathor (who died of heart attack on Anti-Terrorist Day) bursts out venom against the Naxals: "Bloody nuisance. There's not a socio-economic one, rather than a law and order problem. Khadi and Khaki bandits are all one and the same with regard to this. Marxism, Leninism or Maoism about them. When I was young I at least sensed some ideology about the Naxalites. But these chaps (now) are nothing but thugs and extortionists. " The Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Government of Chattisgarh, BKS Ray, shows the same abysmally crude attitude and approach towards the Naxalite movement. "These people are just thugs and extortionists. That's why in Chattisgarh you have a spontaneous popular movement against them – these tribals are fed up of the Naxals", he says. Why the tribals were not fed up with the Naxals for 25 years and why all of a sudden they became restive is something this arrogant bureaucrat will never be able to grasp or explain. And why will the tribals be angry with Naxals, even if one accepts the allegations of the rulers that they are extortionists, since the tribals have nothing to lose and everything to gain? Is it not only the big contractors, bureaucrats, traders and industrialists who have big property amassed through primitive methods of exploitation of tribals and loot and plunder of the entire region that actually fear the Maoists and try to snuff them out with all means at their disposal? No wonder, this bureaucrat with a police mind set can only think of exterminating the Maoists as the solution.

It has become a fashion for every police officer and political bigwig to express nostalgic feelings about the Naxals of yesteryears as if they really believed Naxals were sincere in the bygone times and had become a nuisance now. They say they were an educated lot in earlier times but now have lumpen elements in dominance. The fact is today Naxals have the real oppressed classes behind them, which is why it is becoming increasingly difficult for the reactionary ruling classes to suppress them. The change in the composition of the Naxalite movement shows the maturity and grass-roots strength of the movement.

Ideological biases

As is natural in a class-divided society, the presentation in the book, and the conclusions drawn, are subject to the limitations set by the class [outlook] of the writer, in addition to the inescapable influence of oft-repeated verdicts on the movement by earlier writers of various hues. It is not easy to wriggle oneself out of the shackles of ruling ideology, culture and long-inculcated values that continue to reinforce upon one's mind ever since one's childhood. Some of the remarks of the writer bring home this point. For instance, referring to VV's speech at the Tehelka summit in November 2006 in Delhi, the writer says: "Democracy, with all its ills, allows him this public space. I hope he realizes the irony that dogma and undemocratic institutions have no space for others, tolerate no dissent. Mao didn't. The bloom of a Hundred Flowers turned into deepest tragedy. Maybe when the Maoists talk about New India, they really need to talk about gentler Maoism – possibly an oxymoron – as their counterparts have done for Nepal's fragile peace." (p. 292)

The author also cites some instances of punishment given to informers in Dandakaranya, Jharkhand, Orissa by the "dreaded Jan Adalat, or People's Court, which is little more than kangaroo court" and concludes that "These acts are as gruesome, and gratuitous, as what the Maoists accuse state security of."

Another comment or rather conclusion of the author without any analysis runs thus: "In Dantewada, democracy is quite dead, on both sides of the battle line." Surprisingly, he cites the game of chor-police (cops and robbers) played by tribal children to arrive at such an obviously biased conclusion! The author's ideological biases can be seen also from his bland statements regarding the future postrevolutionary society and about Maoist China. He says: "What would it be like if ever revolution were to succeed in India, enough to impose its imprint beyond tribal and caste-roiled areas? Most probably, instant justice, dogmatic and Puritanical life, Soviet-style post-revolutionary rot, vast May Day parades." And he goes on: "Perhaps even brutal China-style state control and a repeat of the Cultural revolution of Mao himself, that ended up killing and damning millions of unbelievers. " He concludes: "From available historical evidence, a Maoist state might do little else but backslide all of India's hard-won victories despite the mire of grand corruption and the utter small-mindedness of administration. "

Needless to say, this writer, as any other writer without living links with the lives of the oppressed masses and the movement, has also become a victim to the almost inescapable influence of the imperialist and ruling class ideological biases as regards comrade Mao and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, post-revolutionary societies, and so on. From the opinions expressed by the writer such as the above one cannot but come to the conclusion that he prefers the status quo in place of a new revolutionary order where, he imagines, freedom will be the first casualty. He forgets that Maoists are also learning from the socialist experiments of the past and will certainly imbibe the positive aspects while rejecting the negative ones.

Some factual errors

There are a few minor factual errors in the book, which could have been avoided with a little more diligence and care by the writer [here the review cites a number of mistakes regarding the identification of individuals, organisational matters and historical questions].

Another problem with the presentation is that several allegations are made regarding the activities of the Maoists by some police officials and political leaders, while no opportunity is available to the former to refute these allegations. When an author quotes these officials it will also be the bounden duty to get the response from the Maoists. Or else, it would mislead the people and amounts to gross injustice to the other side in the ongoing war. For instance, the superintendent of police of Dantewada district, Prabir Kumar Das, alleges that Maoists are against development and do not allow bore-wells to be sunk in their stronghold villages. He is quoted as saying: "When we entered an area 50 kilometres from here, deep inside, we found they had broken hand pumps. Initially, we thought it was to deny police water. Later, when we went to areas we hadn't been to before, there too the pumps were broken. Villagers told us that they were asked by the Maoists to drink only from wells and other natural water sources." The rationale of the Maoists, behind this move, is attributed to their perception of bore-wells as a sign of oppression (!!) "Hand pumps were provided by the state or NGOs with state funding; they were a sign of oppression, and therefore taboo" says this gentleman.

Nothing could be farther from truth. This even goes against common sense, which the top police brains in India pitifully lack. How can the Maoists (the police can at least get their own mineral bottles), survive if they break the hand-pumps? If the author had verified the facts by touring the areas deep inside it would have been really useful in exposing the deliberate concoctions of the police chief. And all this is only to justify the brutal state-sponsored terror campaign in the name of salwa judum with the pretext that the villagers are fed up with Maoist attempts to block development schemes and such trash.

The writer comes to the conclusion that the Maoist movement will soon encompass the urban areas and mobilize the vast masses of the have-nots living in the most distressing conditions in the slums and factories. He rightly says that all the material conditions for the spread of Maoists to the urban areas exist there. He includes entire sections from the document of the CPI(Maoist), "Perspective of Urban Areas", as an appendix and quotes extensively from this document to prove how the Maoists will emerge as a strong urban force too.

The author also tries to place his own theories of In-Land, Out-Land, City States, etc., which he says will characterize the country’s social scenario in the future. Or in other words, that India will increasingly be divided into two: one inhabited by the haves and the other by have-nots, with continuous friction between the two. Although the essence of his thesis will be the unfolding reality – the pointers to this division are already emerging with the fast multiplying expressways, multiplexes, shopping malls, super fast trains, amusement parks, high cost of education, housing and health, drastic cuts in social welfare schemes, and so on – the emerging scenario will be one of acute class struggle with the vast majority of the Indian population locked up in bitter struggles, armed and unarmed, against the exploitative set-up, and fascist state dictatorship becoming the norm. In this cruel, bitter class war the Maoist movement is certain to gain ground and advance towards the goal of liberation of our country from the clutches of the imperialist marauders, decadent feudal forces and comprador big business sharks.