Intro: State oppression can never be the answer for tackling red terrorism. Government can ban one outfit but other would crop up tomorrow. The need is to alienate them by addressing poor people’s grievences first.
Once attending a matrimonial function in a village of Goplaganj, suddenly witnessed an unusual whispering, everybody in the premise of bride’s house stood up in reverence of one guest who came on Bullet bike with two pillion riders holding two rifles. At that time, all matrimonial rituals were suspended for a while and even bride and groom both came out of marriage the Mandap to have the blessings. Surprised enough and asked one villager about him, he announced proudly, he is Naxalite! But sure to infer, all the respects were out of fear only. And he joined Naxal group (Moist outfit) only to excel his own criminal interest because he does not know anything about Marxist ideology as it was evident when he was talking to villagers. He joined to justify his criminal acts, not to establish the proletariat society or dictatorship of proletariat against bourgeoisie.
The book written by Bappaditya Paul proves that Kanu Sanyal joined Communist Party of India (CPI) few days before Durga Puja in 1951 as whole-timer Party member with very little knowledge of Marxist Theory and less awareness of present peasants and labour class position in India. From to 7th chapter, the book indicates that Kanu Sanyal being a mediocre student was trying to get a job for the survival of middle class family and heavily influenced by the heroism of Subhash Chandra Bose in 1940s. As the book depicts, Kanu Sanyal became comrade slowly caused by his failures in life and growing negative political construction by Congress after Independent India. When the provincial Congress government of West Bengal banned the Communist party in 1948, he started asking the question to himself—“Why on earth a political party would be banned in Independent India, which now free from the clutches of the British?” This is a real shift in his personality and he happened to be active member of Communist Party. So, in this authorised biography comprising many interviews of Kanu Sanyal to writer Paul, it is evident at many places, he joined Communist Party not based on certain growing ideology but only by the cause and effect of middle class youth normal life struggle.
In India, Bappaditya Paul declares Kanu Sanyal “The First Naxal” or the founder of Naxalite Movement. Kanu Sanyal started his journey from CPI to CPI(M) to CPI(ML) mainly confined to the terrain of North Bengal, especially, Naxalbari and its vicinity. At the level of the fact, Naxalbari is the name of a village and a block under the jurisdiction of Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district. Naxalbari became famous for being the site of a left-wing poor peasants uprising in 1967, which began with the “land to tiller” slogan, an uprising continuing to this day. The “Naxalbari” incident was triggered on May 25, 1967 at Bengai Jote Village in Naxalbari when the police opened fire on a group of villagers who were demanding their right to the crops at a particular piece of land.
In the 14th Chapter of “Off to China and Meeting Mao Tse-tung”, it is mentioned how China helped the Naxalbari rebels, four member delegation including Kanu Sanyal to learn about both the ideological approach and military tactics of Mao Tse-tung. The training was started on October 4, 1967. This book claimed that China had planned a secret transit route for Naxals to India via Nepal-Bhutan during the height of their movement. Finally, By the time of his release from Visakhapatnam jail in 1977, Sanyal had publicly condemned the original strategy of armed struggle of the CPI(ML), without building prior and proper popular mass base amongst the common people.
The person who failed to grasp the Bengali translation of Stalin’s “The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” even after repeated attempts remained most comfortable within the peasantry and poor class. We can get one most important solution from him as he says, “State oppression can never be the answer for tackling any sort terrorism. You ban one outfit today and another would crop up tomorrow. Thus the need is to alienate them by going closer to the poor people address their grievances first.” Thus, if someone wants to understand the futility and emptiness called Naxalism, this biography is the best read.
Naveen Kumar (The writer is a senior political analyst and VP of Viplav Communicatios Pvt Ltd)