ed Sun evokes a sense of distance. Not geographically—the author’s travelled widely in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bengal. He has interviewed activists, bureaucrats, policemen, businessmen and intellectuals. He has discussed Maoism with the legendary Kanu Sanyal and K.P.S. Gill, probed links between Nepali and Indian Maoists, met health ministers who want to solve the problem via vasectomies, security experts who want bigger budgets, and students convinced that India will soon become their version of a People’s Republic.
Rather, it’s the distance that separates its readers from those he writes about; industrialising India from its victims; the dreams of middle-class youth from those of the impoverished cadres who look forward to an ideologically-driven dictatorship. The author’s investigations highlight the apartheid-like tendencies that have resulted in a spiral of violence, and the lackadaisical attitude of the political class to the administrative failures of which Maoism is a glaring symptom.
The writing is...