08 May, 2021

Lingua Guerre

Maoists learn Gondi, but not the police

Lingua Guerre

The Maoists have a language advantage over the security forces: their mostly Telugu-speaking leaders have learnt Gondi from the people in their areas of influence. They have even brought out a few publications in the adivasi language using the Devanagari script. At a Maoist function somewhere in Bastar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Naxalbari uprising last month, many of the speeches and songs were in Gondi—the lingua franca in the villages from where nearly 1 lakh adivasis had trekked all the way to the place of the gathering.

Unlike neighbouring Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, where the administration has learnt to use Gondi in its interactions with adivasis, there has been no such initiative in Chhattisg­arh. In 2013, the government reportedly planned to start training IAS probationers in Gondi, but the project reportedly ­never took off. Gondi has only been used for raids so far, first by Salwa Judum and then through the District Reserve Guard’s Gondi-speaking recruits. The administration’s language deficit proved to be a...

Latest Magazine

May 17, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section