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A New Brand of Radical Politics Under the Lens

T. Ananthachari

By Arun Prosad Mukherjee
K.P. Bagchi and Company, Kolkata, 2007, pp. 319, Rs. 595.00


Maoist Spring Thunder is a detailed account and analysis of the momentous events, which made not only the West Bengal Administration but also the whole country sit up and think about the ruthless manner in which violent means were resorted to get the demands for land reforms and distribution of land among the have-nots in West Bengal. An altogether ‘new brand of radical politics’ took birth, thanks to the Naxalite movement. The author has recaptured the attempts made by him and a few other police officers to understand the underlying genuineness of the demands and therefore, not to deal with the uprising as yet another routine breach of law. In the process, the predicaments which daunted the political, administrative and the law and order machinery, have been brought out with sincerity and openness.   The book recounts, on the basis of authentic, first hand records, which were meticulously maintained (and preserved for nearly four decades) by the author when he had to deal with this ‘movement’ which erupted rather suddenly. The Darjeeling Police in whose jurisdiction Naxalbari and other places of action lay, had intercepted information even as the ‘movement’ was taking shape. But the ground realities, about which the author has rendered painstaking account in the book, were obviously complex and therefore, it took quite a while to come to grips with the problem. What needs recognition is the fact that the entire political and administrative apparatus worked in tandem on the basis of the ground realities projected by the officers in the field. The book is full of official references in this regard.   It is heartening that under the leadership of the author, who was then Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling District, the desirability of the police operations being conducted with restraint and under the careful supervision of senior officers was realized very early in the day. Detailed and authentic accounts given by the author about adherence to well-laid down guidelines and methods while undertaking ‘with a different mind-set’ combing operations, search and arrest, should have served as a timely reminder for the police all over India when facing similar challenges almost regularly. But it has not been so and the author’s well thought-out approach remained at best a one-time experiment.   This approach of a ‘different mind set’ negated the hope of the Naxalite leadership ‘that the inevitable clash with the police would take place very early in this ...

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