Photo Essay

Into The Woods

By MUSTAFA QURAISHI | 1 May 2010
Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, left, with a female commander in Kandhamal, Orissa. Panda’s wife, alias Mili, was arrested by Orissa police in January 2010.

LAST MONTH, The Caravan explored one aspect of India’s Maoist conflict, from inside the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Chhattisgarh. This month, we take you into the forests, where the insurgents live and train. 

The Indian government’s current preoccupation with development seems to focus wholly on its urban centres, ignoring the rural poverty that has made India infamous among developing countries. Consequences of this glaring social disparity are many. This revolt is one.

It is a movement that, whether intended or not, has come to be associated with militancy—often reported in newspapers as a crime story. But the only way to deal with this uprising is to understand it as a social problem. 

Until this chasm between the rebels struggling against political apathy in the countryside and the urban upper classes working towards India’s superpower status is bridged, the Maoist issue will remain.

LAST MONTH, The Caravan explored one aspect of India’s Maoist conflict, from inside the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Chhattisgarh. This month, we take you into the forests, where the insurgents live and train. 

The Indian government’s current preoccupation with development seems to focus wholly on its urban centres, ignoring the rural poverty that has made India infamous among developing countries. Consequences of this glaring social disparity are many. This revolt is one.

It is a movement that, whether intended or not, has come to be associated with militancy—often reported in newspapers as a crime story. But the only way to deal with this uprising is to understand it as a social problem. 

Until this chasm between the rebels struggling against political apathy in the countryside and the urban upper classes working towards India’s superpower status is bridged, the Maoist issue will remain.

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