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Naxalism and Beyond

Lattars

Kashmiri Hindus

G
autam Navlakha’s solemn exhortation to the government of India to “place the aspirations of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir at the centre stage and uphold their dignity” (March 18) egregiously excludes the “aspirations” and “dignity” of Kashmiri pandits whose population has dwindled from 4,00,000 (1989) to about 8,000, while others have fled to squalid refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi in the wake of planned massacres, rape, and plunder by jehadis. A genocide that has hardly evoked even a ripple of attention and action from any quarter in India. The sole activist for the pandits is the selfless Vijay Sazawal, president of the Indo-US Kashmir Forum, who was able to enlist the good offices of representative Frank Pallone in introducing a resolution in the US House of Representatives (February 2006) condemning human rights violations against pandits of Kashmir and calling on the government of India and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir to work with the pandits “to find a peaceful, equitable solution”. Pallone noted that “over the past 15 years militant forces, including the elements of Al Qaida and Taliban, have used violence against Kashmiri pandits in an effort to institute Islamic rule in this region”.

For good measure, Navlakha also provides a laundry list of the putative grievances of Kashmiri Muslims, without a word about the abject squalor and poverty of pandits in refugee camps – the only community in the world to have become refugees in their own land. Today there is not a single Hindu left in Pakistan Kashmir, a grim holocaust that also awaits the remaining Hindus of the valley and Jammu and the Buddhists of Ladakh.

The abysmal plight of Kashmiri Hindus is a grisly reminder of the consequences of disregarding Ambedkar’s warning to Nehru on the eve of granting Article 370 status to Kashmir: “You cannot have a republic within a republic”.

ANAND CHANDAVARKAR

Washington DC, USA

Naxalism and Beyond

T
his is with reference to Rajeshwari Dasgupta’s article (‘Towards the ‘New Man’: Revolutionary Youth and Rural Agency in the Naxalite Movement’, May 13) on the Naxalite movement in Bengal in the early 1970s. The author has offered an overall assessment of the movement with some pertinent observations. She has rightly argued that the peasantry and women were assigned mainly auxiliary roles in the revolutionary discourse of the top leadership of the movement. She does not fail to remind us that there were instances, which suggest that the peasantry and women often created autonomous spaces for themselves by violating the central directives of the party leadership.

Some of the questions raised by Dasgupta are not unique to the Naxalite movement. In the Tebhaga uprising in Bengal in the second-half of the 1940s, women and the peasantry also created autonomous spaces for themselves. In the Duars area, located in Jalpaiguri district of north Bengal, the Krishak Sabha (peasant wing of the undivided Communist Party) had no existence when the movement began. The movement in this region was “neither planned nor even foreseen by the Jalpaiguri district leadership of the CPI”. But available evidence shows that “something in the nature of a parallel government was set up in the Duars area of the movement”. The

(Continued on p 2684)

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Economic and Political Weekly June 24, 2006

Lattars

(Continued from p 2506)

militant movement in the Duars region was essentially a tribal upsurge. In the later phase of the Tebhaga movement, when the leadership of the Communist Party “abstained”, rural poor women spontaneously took over the leadership of the resistance through their semi-militia forces, the ‘nari bahini’ (all quotes from Peter Custers, Women in the Tebhaga Uprising, Kolkata, 1987).

Actually, the question of assigning auxiliary roles to women and the peasantry is not just a problem of Naxalism or Bengali Marxism. It is a deep rooted problem associated with the dominant discourse of classical Marxism.

ARUP KUMAR SEN

Kolkata

Students of GIPE

W
e, the students from the MA batch of 2003-05 of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, wish to voice our concern regarding the disturbing events that have been taking place at the institute.

We were students of Ajit Sinha and Tirthankar Roy for two years and we have high regard for both of them. Ajit Sinha is one of the best directors the institute has ever had. We respect him for the positive changes he has brought about in the institute. He was an excellent administrator and an approachable director. Tirthankar Roy was a very good and cooperative teacher.

We are disturbed to know that these two senior faculty are now facing charges. We, the ex-students of GIPE, wish to show our support to Ajit Sinha and Tirthankar Roy. We hope the problem is resolved quickly without harming the institute’s reputation further.

ANAGHA DEODHAR, ABHINAV ALAKSHENDRA

BHARGAVI, M RAM NAVEEN AND

SIX OTHERS

Pune

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