05 August, 2021

Embers Of A Revolt

Thirty years on, the Naxal movement is lost in its place of origin

Embers Of A Revolt
THE massive Naxalite congregation in Calcutta last week to celebrate 30 years of the movement ended quite tamely—in 10 minutes flat—because of a massive thunderstorm. The renowned balladeer, Gaddar, who recently survived four bullets allegedly fired by the Andhra Pradesh police, was just beginning his act when the downpour dispersed the diverse, battle-weary gathering. The Bengal Naxal brigade was represented by veterans Suniti Ghosh and Nisith Bhattacharya, who resurfaced after ages. Other comrades swapped memories, looking out of place among a predominantly non-Bengali milieu-peasants and tribals from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh who sang, danced, and shouted rousing pro-Naxalbari slogans. So limited was West Bengal's contribution that one onlooker commented: "The initial spark of the Naxalbari movement may have occurred here, but the embers blaze elsewhere. The Naxalbari movement was sparked off by the symbolic killing of police inspector Sonam Wang Di in Naxalbari in Darjeeling district during a raid in April 1967. In retaliation, the Assam Rifles had...

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