The Naxalite Movement -Biplab Dasgupta

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Naxalite is derived from an area called Naxalbari, situated in Darjeeling district of north Bengal, which in 1967 witnessed a brief struggle against the authorities with the declared aim of.capturing state power in India. This incident by itself was perhaps not very significant, but its importance in the contemporary
political history of the country lies in marking the beginning of a political movement which pledges its loyalty to the thoughts of Chairman Mao Tse-tung of China. At this moment the movement is splintered into a number of small groups, but the largest.of these, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), made a significant impact on the politics of West Bengal during 1967-71.Although in most places in the book we have tended to equate
CPI(ML) with the Naxalite movement as a whole, the other Naxalite groups have not been ignored and their differences in
ideology and programme with the former have also been indicated.NAXALBARI, A COLLECTION OF 60 ODD VILLAGES IN THE FOOT hills of the Himalayas, was barely known to outsiders until 1967. When it became the scene of an attempted armed uprising
which led to the formation of a new political movement in India.It spreads over an area of 80 square miles of forests, tea plantations and agricultural land inhabited by a population of
42,000, the majority of whom are tribals: Santals, Oraos, Mundas and Rajbanshis. There is nothing in its ecological characteristics which would distinguish it from other tribal pockets in the country. The economy is predominantly agricultural, based on shifting cultivation, but a good part of the land is also devoted to the production of tea. Geographically it is a part of the Siliguri
subdivision of Darjeeling, the northernmost district of the state
of West Bengal which is famous for its tea gardens and mountain resorts. Its proximity to the borders with Nepal and China assumed a great significance when the uprising began, but otherwise the legislative assembly constituency to which it belongs(one of the 280 in the state) has always been consistent in returning candidates of the ruling Congress party in elections. The area is well linked with the national highway system, and there is a vast army camp in the vicinity.1967 is an important landmark in the history of West Bengal. In
February that year the fourth general election brought the 20 years
of unbroken rule by the Congress party to an end, and an alliance of 14 parties came to power with two communist parties -Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Mar-
xist), the first popularly labelled “pro-Moscow” and the second **pro-Peking”-among its constituents. The two communist parties opposed each other in the elections; the CPI aligned itself with
a party of dissident Congressmen(Bangla Congress) and several other parties, and the CPI(M) headed another united front of several leftwing parties.

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