What after all is ‘Urban Naxal’?

Naxal- a term used for the people involved in the armed struggle against landlords of Naxalbari village, has been redefined. It seems, what was ‘anti-national’ till now has become ‘Urban Naxal’

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

NH Web Desk

The term ‘Urban Naxal’ has suddenly become the focus of public attention in the country. Right from books to articles and TV, discussions are being woven around this term. In various cities of the country many lawyers, social activists, writers and human rights activists have been arrested who are being called ‘Urban Naxals’ by a section of the media, although no official statement has been made by the government or government agencies regarding this.

However, it is essential to understand this term ‘Urban Naxals’ for many obvious reasons. Let alone the common public, even those who have been using this term openly perhaps hardly have any understanding of the term--in India, any scholar of Marxism and Naxalism can say this with great confidence.

As far as the question of rural or urban Naxal is concerned , the Naxalbari movement was supported by many youths, students, workers and intellectuals during when it was being carried out and also after it was suppressed. Therefore, there is no question of a person being ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ Naxal.

On the basis of whatever information is available in the public domain, it can be said that this term is the brainchild of the semi-educated, unlearned right-wing and the section of the media which is half-educated book-starved supporter of the right-wing or the ruling party.

First we must know what is Naxal and then discuss its rural or urban aspect.

In 1967, an armed movement against the rich zamindars took place in a village of West Bengal called Naxalbari. A section of people who parted ways from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) spearheaded this movement under the leadership of Charu Majumdar. Charu Majumdar believed that the the CPM has wandered away from its political objective and so he opted for a different way. Later, the Naxalbari movement was suppressed but many communists expressing their faith and allegiance to the movement formed various communist parties and groups. They considered themselves closely associated with the Naxalite stream of thought, and hence they were called Naxals. Although most of these groups remained away from the armed struggles or they gradually gave it up considering it not very effective.

As far as the question of rural or urban Naxal is concerned , the Naxalbari movement was supported by many youths, students, workers and intellectuals during when it was being carried out and also after it was suppressed. Therefore, there is no question of a person being ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ Naxal.

Now, the other aspect of this idiom. Many people living in the cities who are opposing the present ruling government are being called ‘urban Naxal’ or their supporters. Many among these ‘Urban Naxalas’ are Marxists, liberals, socialists, journalists, writers, lawyers and even people associated with the Congress and the right wing too.

It is important to note here that except for a section of the Marxists, hardly any of them supports the Naxalbari movement. It is pertinent here to ask why then they should be called urban Naxal or even Naxal? There are many kinds of Marxists in India and Naxalites too have many sections. There is more of disagreement and differences between them than agreement and understanding among them. And these differences have been quite sharp in the past which is recorded in the newspapers of the 80s and 90s.

Thus, it seems that what was ‘anti national’ till now has become ‘Urban Naxal’.

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