Friday, May 16, 2008

Interview with an Indian Maoist

Thanks to the anonymous blogger who pointed this out. This interview with Indian Maoist spokesperson Azad appeared in yesterday's edition. As he pointed out in the comment, the interviewer K.Srinivas Reddy himself seems to sympathize with the Maoist worldview. This is the question he put:

How do you envisage the future scenario in Nepal? Will India and U.S. imperialism adjust to the new reality and support the Maoist government? Or, will they create hurdles?

Frankly, I fail to see the point of this interview in the first place. Apart from a desire to give coverage to these 'Indian maoists' whoever they are (I believe there were several maoist groups in the country and I am not sure which one this is), of what interest is it to the readers what the spokesperson of some far left outfit thinks about a victory of an ideological ally in a foreign country (note that no questions have been asked about whether the victory has changed the Indian Maoists' own political strategy in any way)? Secondly, as the commentator rightly asks, should the interviewer be expressing such sentiments about any country in his questions?

The answers indicate a clear preference for armed insurrection over electoral politics and a contempt for the Indian government and its interests in Nepal.

Lacking a majority in the CA, the Maoists will be powerless. They will have to compromise and adjust, sacrificing the interests of the oppressed in whose interests they came to power. Or they will have to mobilise the people and intensify the struggle through all means, including armed insurrection, to implement genuine democracy and establish people’s power. There is no other alternative.

We will be living in a fool’s paradise if we believe that the U.S. and India will be comfortable with the Maoists in Nepal or that they will adjust to the new reality. Although they will continue diplomatic relations, they will create an adverse situation if the new government does not obey their dictates. The U.S. tried its best to keep the monarchy alive as the King was a pawn to rule by proxy. As for India, it received a slap in its face when G.P. Koirala and his NC faced a defeat.

Note that the concerns throughout of both the interviewer and the interviewee are only about the attitudes of India and the US. China, despite being a powerful northern neighbor barely gets mentioned. The implied meaning is clear - China is a friendly country that is always helpful, does not cajole or bully and opposes imperialism. India and the US on the other hand are countries to be wary of.

After reading it, I am forced to conclude that the primary purpose of this interview is ideological, i.e., to promote Maoist propaganda by providing an outlet to them to vent and convince the public that their line of reasoning, however sympathetic it may be to armed violence, contemptuous of democratic ethos and Indian interests, it is a perfectly legitimate and honorable political force to contend with.


socal said...

I wonder how these Maoists miss Chinese imperialism with so many exiled Tibetans around them. China's claim on Tibet and other countries that it wishes to usurp are purely based on the reign of dead Chinese emperors. Is that not imperial enough?

Pilid said...

Apparently not (in their worldview). According to Communist dogma, the Communist state is the only one that follows the 'people's' agenda. The rest are capitalist/imperialist agendas driven by narrow bourgeoisie interests. The claim is that because the communist system is obtains its support, both politically and financially from the working classes who constitute the bulk of society, it is sworn to protect their interests and no others. Hence, all its actions including violent ones are committed in the 'larger public interest' whereas other political groups derive their financial and political muscle from industrial bigwigs and others whose interests are opposed to those of the working classes. Their actions, eve if similar in nature, are different in intent and must be opposed. The emphasis as you can see is on 'intent' of the state and who they believe it represents, not the act itself or its outcome.

When the second world war began, communists denounced it as a capitalist conflict that deserved only contempt because it held nothing for the masses. When the Soviet Union got involved in 1941, suddenly the Communist view changed and it now turned into the 'people's war' and it was the duty of all peoples to fight Hitler.

Human rights outfits and others may see China's actions as imperial (and they certainly have the ring of it) and oppressive but Communists only see a kind and beneficent state that is being forced to confront the ugly face of imperialist aggression. Again, if the struggle for Tibetan autonomy was being led by, say the Tibetan communist party instead of the Dalai Lama, then the parity in class composition of the two political groups may have forced the Indian Left to see the genuineness of their struggle. That is because communist orthodoxy (which is still the dominant strain in India) cannot comprehend that popular sentiment may not always follow the narrow, strictly utilitarian logic that their dogma dictates.

reason said...

The timing of the interview certainly has to do with Binayak sen's trial. Hindu woke up after a long slumber and produced an editorial asking for his release, when the trial has just started. Pilid wrote an excellent piece on the jessica lal murder case. It would be good to see his views on the binayak sen trial, particularly since some sectinons of media (hindu, ndtv, hindustan times) is playing a similar game again, though this time they want a not-guilty verdict.

Binayak's supporters issued a very libellous statement on the supreme court judge whose bench denied him bail - and that statement was cleverly issued in binayak's 80 year old mother's name. see -

"A Bench consisting of a senior and a junior judge was appointed to hear the appeal for bail. On December 8, the Chhatisgarh government invited the senior member of this Bench to Raipur as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of a Legal Aid Centre, and extended its hospitality to him till December 9 when the senior judge returned to New Delhi. The very next day, the Bench dismissed Dr Binayak Sen’s appeal for bail in just thirty-five minutes."
link -

Binayak's wife gave an interview where she uses some language surprisingly similar to the language christian missionaries used during Dangs shabari kumbh - that tribals are animists and BJP was converting them into 'hindus'. I had a link to that interview in their site (, but that page is blank now. obviously they woke up to their mischief. google still has a cache of it here -

quote below -

"Raipur suffocates under the veneer of glittering shopping malls and consumerism, while Hindutva tries to synthesise the cultural pluralism and streamlines the indigenous culture into sanskritised Hinduism."

It is not clear how this crap on 'sanskritised hinduism' is related to the charge binayak faces of supporting maoists.

I had read in some rajeev srinivasan's writings that maoists and the christian churches are related. Now we have a group here, that are friends to both the maoists and missionaries.

like i said, it would be good to get Pilid's views on this trial.

Rangrezi said...

Actually as the introduction by Reddy says, the questions and answers were both written by the Maoists.

Anonymous said...

N RAM needs to be hanged and shot just for this interview

Pilid said...

Reason, a lot of good points there. It may be the upcoming trial of Binayak Sen but reading the transcript of the interview, I do not see how the sentiments conveyed by 'Azad' would really help Sen's image either with the general public or in a court of law.

Most people who have written upon the denial of his bail plea usually have a strong view one way or the other. A plain statement of the facts of the case and how they fit in with case law (in light of the provisions of the Chattisgarh law that he has been indicted under) has been hard to come by. Reading what I found on the PUCL website, I gather that there is enough material for it to go to trial though given that he is not a flight risk and is not in a position to tamper evidence either, the denial of bail does not seem very logical (I may be wrong as I am not in possession of all the details). When the trial is over, it may be worthwhile to dissect the judgment at that point.

Thanks for all the details that you have posted. Do keep writing such enlightened comments on the blog.

lapog said...

chindu edit on binyaka sen has nice summary of all case details and charges, makes pt pilid makes of binayaka not being flight risk, denial of bail quite untenable

reason said...

Chandan Mitra wrote in pioneer about 'sparring with a group of supporters of binayak in the US'. link -

I pointed out that binayak's supporters were targetting 'sanskritised hinduism' of 'indigenous' people - they are bringing in a communal angle to the issue.

Given that and Chandan's experience, why is it that the congress has not bitten this 'secularism' bait? Congress's track record on 'secularism' makes it particularly more interesting. Leader of opposition from the congress in chattisgarh is a leading supporter of salwa judum (i am not getting into the merits of a government raising a force like this, and that is a different issue entirely that needs to be seen in the entire context of maoist violence).

Is there something more to the whole thing? What could the maoists want from christian groups interested in the souls of Indian 'indigenous' people, and what could the christian groups want from the maoists? And what could make the congress resist the secularism temptation and not blame the BJP on binayak arrest/trial?

The only incident of fatal violence in karnataka elections so far involved a bjp supporter (a school teacher) getting shot dead by naxalites near udupi.

Pilid said...

Reason, you ask what the maoists could want from Christian groups. Notice that the same strategy is also pursued by the mainstream communist parties. They too insist that adivasis are not hindus but animists, that they have their own Gods and rituals that are unrelated to the practice of Hinduism as we know it.

The question therefore is why this is so important to the marxist agenda. The answer, I think, is that marxists feel that allowing the Hindu groups to proselytize amongst them and bring them into the Hindu fold will strengthen the BJP and the religious right. Those who strongly identify with Hindu roots are unlikely to vote left (in fact, in Gujarat where the faultlines are quite clear, Yogendra Yadav in of his surveys found a clear correlation between religiosity and support for the BJP), so in order to break up the Hindu vote, it is necessary to divide up the communities into separate isolated entities that can be managed independently. To do that, it is important to stress their own separate and distinct identity and that they be treated as such.

This is really a battle for the hearts and minds of tribals in that region. And the left everywhere adopts this strategy. The pleasant sounding words 'multiculturalism' and 'respect for diversity' are essentially a part of this agenda to break down and attenuate the power of organized religion.

The Congress, of course, is a party without a defined ideology. It sort of leans left though it often has a foot in both camps and leaves itself enough leeway to tend towards whichever way the wind is blowing.