Book Review: Jangalnama: An honest, compelling tale of travel in Maoist land

South Asia Monitor, Books, April 8, 2015

Suparna Banerjee, Junior Research Fellow, ISSSP, NIAS

Copyright: Penguin Books India

The book ‘Jangalnama – Travels in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone’ is not just a travelogue. It brings out the human element of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in a compelling and heart-rending way. Written by Satnam, a journalist by profession describing his experience of living among the guerrillas and providing a first-hand account of their life, what and how they eat, what they wear, what is their leisure activity, the life of the girls in the camps etc. The author primarily focuses on the distinct life led by Maoists in the wilderness and thereby deals with the theme of LWE in a nuanced way.

The geographical area covered in this book is part of South Bastar and it includes Bairamgarh, Golapalli, Konta, Durnapal, Maadh, Maded and Basaguda. The uniqueness of the book lies in the fact that the important issues generally associated with LWE such as underdevelopment, exploitation, land distribution, forest rights etc. are dealt with rather in a subtle manner. 

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