Saturday 26 November 2016

Book Review: Hello Bastar

It's thousands of years old
their anger
thousands of years old
is their bitterness
I am only returning their scattered words
with rhyme and rhythm
and you fear that
I am spreading fire.
- Gorakh Pandey

Hello, Bastar by Rahul Pandita is the story of Maoist movement in India. The book starts with a very gripping story. In fact, throughout the book, the author seamlessly weaves one story into another. The book sheds  light on the origin of the movement. It further explains that how the struggle continued in different parts of the country with special focus on Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. The book is  well researched and backed with chilling statistics.

The book gives us insights into the hardship that people face. It tells us how the simple agitation against landlords in West Bengal turn into a nationwide movement. The author also throws light on how this issue has been politicized and made into what it is not. The role of media in furthering this agenda has also been discussed. 

The party's ideology, structure and funding is explained in a  simple manner. I especially love the part where the author's experience of staying in camp is described. It reminded me of Arundhati Roy's Walking with Comrades. The section on Anuradha Ghandy's life is very informative. The book culminates with the issues faced by slum dwellers and how they can be unionized to further the Maoist agenda.

The book covers the subject adequately. The narrative style makes it an interesting read. The only thing  I don't like is that I feel the narrative is one-dimensional. 

In a nutshell, this book is perfect for a beginner who wants to understand the issue.

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