Origin and Evolution of Naxalite Movement in India

The first question which comes to mind is what are Naxalites or what is Naxalism and how this movement evolved in India over a period of time. This article will try to answer some of these questions and will shed some light on how the government dealt with the Naxalite issues in the past few years and if their efforts are enough to counter the Naxalite problem.

Naxalites are basically the followers of Maoists' political sentiments and ideology, they refer to the various militant communist groups operating in different parts of India under the name of different organizations. The Naxalite movement was first initiated in a small village of West Bengal, where a section of the Communist Party of India (Maoists) (CPM) led by Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal initiated a violent uprising in 1967. Naxal or Naxalite has no meaning as such, but the word Naxalite is derived from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal where the Naxalite movement was initiated. This uprising was against the landlords and aims at the distribution of land to the landless poor people. So initially Naxalite movement was for landless tribes and the movement gained much support among them.

The Naxalite movement first concentrated around West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh but declined due to some reasons like: state force, land reforms by Government, splits within the Naxalites, and many others. The movement didn't end there, parts of the Maoists cadre which remained intact in an earlier phase started their political operations in new districts, especially in forested areas, where people were exploited by the contractors, local politicians, and local bureaucrats. These factors provided fuel to the expansion of the Naxalite movement. Maoist groups like the People's War Group ( PWG), Maoists Communists Center (MCC), The Red Flag, and others arose again and spread in the tribal areas. These groups came together in September 2004 to form The Communists Party of India (Maoists).

The Naxal-infected areas as the Indian Government call them falls under the fifth Schedule area that has a special status in the Constitution for the purpose of preserving tribal existence. The Government claims that almost one-fourth of the 600 districts in 12 Indian states consisting of 7,000 villages and 19% of the Indian forests are "extremism affected ". This could be considered as one of the reasons, though not much influencing, for the stronghold of Naxal ideology and movement in India.

Between 2005 and 2008, there has been a threefold increase in Maoists' armed cadres. They mainly get support from the tribal, Dalits, the poorest and most deprived section of the Indian people who face economic, social, and political exclusion, denial of justice, unresolved land disputes, non-payment of minimum wages, eviction from their land on account of mining and other projects, attacks from the upper castes, contractor lobbies, etc. Reports show that violence against them is increasing resulting in the strengthening of this movement. The areas where Government is unable to perform or is absent, are the main targets of Maoists and this nonfunctionality of government is evident from the poor condition of schools and primary health centers. Earlier Maoists used the voids created by the government to establish their alternate system of power, and now the condition has become so worse that they are not providing any space to the government for carrying out development activities. Hence they are exploiting the gap between government and people to spread their movement and not allowing the government to fill those gaps while people are resilient by force not by choice.

In the year 2008 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned, "Naxalism is the greatest threat to our internal security". The credit, however, goes to the Government for the survival of the movement for over 40 years, which has failed in addressing the cause and conditions that sustain the movement. The government is looking at the Naxalite problem as a law and order issue without analyzing the root cause of this uprising. Government policies of repression against Naxalites are just like cutting branches of trees without uprooting its root. The government is totally failed in detecting the root cause of this disturbance which is the socio-economic disparity among different classes. All the regions in which the Naxal movement took holds are ones with alarming levels of poverty. This movement is simply thriving on the dissatisfaction of the marginalized population. However, in the current scenario, it has taken a different form.
  • The government has to do much more than plan counter-insurgency operations or support violent vigilante groups to suppress the Naxalite movement.
  • Instead of using repression policies in Naxal-infected areas, Government should think about the development of these areas.
  • Government should increase the participation of people in these areas in policy making and make them feel more Indian.
The government is rejecting these people so they are bound to accept Naxalism and fuel this movement, as they are not left with any choice. Their youths are unemployed, they are poverty-stricken, and suppressed, Government should at least provide them some options, so that they could choose between Government and the Naxals. The Maoists have linked up with the local struggles for livelihood. Where the local people see some significant effort by the government, the Maoists are not popular. Who would want to go to the Maoist school if the government school functioned? People argue that they are caught between the ' Maowadi and Khaowadi' (The Maoists and the corrupt police).


  1. Male-ego conflict based in male's natural ego system, resulted in many movements,for thousands of years. In, male dominated society and government, male-ego is always pampered from both the sides,causing every movement, which is originally meant for the beneficial of suppressed group, to divert from its goal and ultimately to fall in the hands of male dominated violence and suppression. So is the Naxalites movements

    1. Not to belittle the people who initially gave up their life for the well being of deprived people, those who are now leading this front don't want it to end as it will make them irrelevant.

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