10 May, 2021

Dangerous Daydreams

A journalist recounts encounters with Maoist ideology, activity and way of life through multiple angles

Dangerous Daydreams

Ashutosh Bhardwaj lived in Chhattisgarh for over four years (2011-2015), reporting from Maoist-control­led areas. This is an account of his trips to the jungles of Dandakaranya, where he has combined facts with novelist imagination, making The Death Script a thrilling read.

Bhardwaj vividly describes the harsh life of Maoists who live with minimum facilities, in constant fear of attack by security forces. We learn about guerrilla life from various perspectives. A woman cadre, for instance, claims that she and other women are not subjected to the male gaze or molestation. But soon it is revealed that senior cadres were punished for misbehaving with women.

Bhardwaj writes that “a variety of reasons” push Maoists to surrender. Their resolve crumbles when they realise the improbability of revolution. The desire for a family is overpowering too. Korsa Joga, a Gond tribal, who left the party to live a peaceful life in his village, Gangalur, with his wife, was killed by a boy whom he had rec­ruited three years ago bec­ause he joined the...

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