The Naxalite Movement, the Oppressive State, and the Revolutionary Struggle in India

  • Ashok Kumbamu


The Indian state has been waging a war on adivasis, the aboriginal people who make up about eight percent of India’s population, in Bastar in the state of Chhattisgarh. Bastar is one of the mineral rich regions in the country. To tap into the mineral wealth, the transnational corporations as well as big Indian corporations have signed hundreds of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the government of Chhattisgarh. To execute these MoUs and extract resources, the state has been attempting to remove the adivasis from their land. But, adivasis are not alone; the Maoist revolutionaries are with them. They are resisting together the Indian state’s plans of dispossession and raising a historic slogan “Jal, jangal, jameen” (adivasi rights over water, forest, and land), izzat (self-respect) and adhikar (political power). India’s war on adivasis can only be understood by situating it in the context of neoliberal extractivism and its relationship with transnational corporations, the Indian capitalist class, and the state apparatus. Extractivism is an age-old process that the colonial power used for the expropriation and exploitation of marginalized people and their resources. Although extractive methods and dynamics have changed in the neoliberal age, what remain intact are the ruthless plunder, violence, and the enclosure of the commons. Drawing insights from Nandini Sundar’s, The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar (2016), this chapter critically examines the motives and methods of the Indian state’s war on adivasis, alongside the indomitable resistance of adivasi-Maoists.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashok Kumbamu
    • 1
  1. 1.Qualitative Research Unit, Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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