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An Unfinished Revolution: A Hostage Crisis, Adivasi Resistance and the Naxal Movement review: From ground zero

An Unfinished Revolution: A Hostage Crisis, Adivasi Resistance and the Naxal Movement
Kishalay Bhattacharjee
Pan MacMillan India
₹399

An Unfinished Revolution: A Hostage Crisis, Adivasi Resistance and the Naxal Movement Kishalay Bhattacharjee Pan MacMillan India ₹399  

A journalist’s troubled stories from the heartland

On March 14, 2012, two Italian tourists, Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo, were taken hostages by Naxalites in Kandhamal district of Odisha. During the month-long crisis, Kishalay Bhattacharjee was part of a team of journalists that engaged with Sabyasachi Panda, leader of the Maoist group, and facilitated the release of Colangelo.

This is the typical boots-on-the-ground reportage that takes a reader deep into the jungles of eastern India, where Maoists and mosquitoes swamp the anonymous lives of Adivasis. Bhattacharjee and a host of other TV reporters landed up in a small township, Daringbari, on the fringe of that forest in Kandhamal in 2012, in search of news on the two Italians who had been kidnapped.

And thus began an unusual saga that is one of the key highlights of this narrative. A small township bathed in harsh summer sun and poor mobile connectivity was now a key dateline. TV journalists were competing to do live telecasts, and one of those days Bhattacharjee and team slipped out into the forest.

Bhattacharjee places his entire experience against his growing up years of the 1970s and 1980s, when a wave of armed left-wing movements struck at the zamindars and police in various parts of India. What started in the Naxalbari village of West Bengal later became a fad among the restless youth of many campuses, and urban youth descended in dozens into the forests of central India. They were there to fight for the rights of the Adivasis, against the oppressive state.

The romance has all but disappeared. The movement of urban youth is now mostly populated by Adivasis, who are now its foot-soldiers.

This book is a sobering read about the reality of modern India. Across the wildly beating heart of this country, where tribals live in harmony with thick forests and wild animals, under which great mineral wealth is deposited, the nation is at war. The Adivasi is caught in the middle. Every actor in the theatre — extraction industry promoters and police, the Maoist fighters and the NGO activists, missionaries and religious leaders — is claiming that his actions will improve the lot of Adivasis. For now, however, there is only blood on their broken streets and sleepless nights. Unless peace returns to the heartland, India will never find its place among liberal democracies

An Unfinished Revolution: A Hostage Crisis, Adivasi Resistance and the Naxal Movement; Kishalay Bhattacharjee, Pan MacMillan India, ₹399.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:27:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/an-unfinished-revolution-a-hostage-crisis-adivasi-resistance-and-the-naxal-movement-review-from-ground-zero/article22326321.ece

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