National Seminar on Identity Politics: Power and Protests from the Margins
Suparna Banerjee, Junior Research Fellow, ISSSP, NIAS
The seminar is organised by the Department of Political Science, Government Brennen College on December 17-18, 2014 in Kerala. Ms. Suparna Banerjee presented a paper titled “Protest against Exploitation: A Naxalite Perspective.”
Abstract of the Talk
The protests of the Naxalites began with the class perspective but gradually began to change when the idea of class was not a sufficient reason to garner support among the masses. The new composition of masses included the tribals, lower castes and other disadvantaged sections such as manual scavengers, house-helpers etc. These groups have always been on the receiving end of the government’s developmental efforts and the politics of the powerful clan. The support rendered by the Naxals is of a different kind. It is violent in nature and has been going on since the 1960’s, the longest protest ever in the Indian scenario. This does not imply that the movement itself is stain free, however, it is undeniable that the protests brought some serious issues to light; issues, so far, neglected from the agenda of mainstream politics. The recent surge in the Naxalite activity has been because of the government’s effort to meet the demands of globalisation, heedless of the demands of the marginalised. The vacuum is thus filled by the Naxals. This political movement sustains itself on social issues.
The paper discusses how the Naxalites sustain and garner support because of these flawed developmental trajectories followed by the government. The paper explores the link between development, exploitation and the Naxalite movement, as the cause behind its sustenance.