26 November, 2020

My Book Is Red

The word is Revolution. Maoists give a leg up to tribal languages.

Illustration by Sorit
My Book Is Red
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

It’s not just guns that keep the engine of the Maoist rebellion revving. Away from the battlefield, in the quiet of the camp schools, textbooks developed by the “people’s government” are becoming crucial tools in the next war, the one for young minds. The books may be focusing more on the Maoist worldview, but to children in the tribal regions of Chhattisgarh they are often the only means of education. Outlook met with a few outsiders who had a chance to look through the texts, and asked them about the greater role it plays in the Maoist heartland.

Gautam Navlakha, consultant editor of the Economic and Political Weekly, spent about a fortnight deep in the Dandakaranya jungles in January this year and got a close-up look at the way the Maoists function. He says the “people’s government” in the Dandakaranya division already uses four textbooks for mathematics, social science, politics and Hindi for classes I to V. The books are written in Gondi, which is the language of instruction (also...

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