Maloy Krishna Dhar on Left Wing Extremism

MK Dhar

MK Dhar

Maloy Krishna Dhar started life off as a junior reporter for Amrita Bazaar Patrika in Calcutta and a part-time lecturer. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1964 and was permanently seconded to the Intelligence Bureau.

During his long stint in the Bureau, Dhar saw action in almost all Northeastern states, Sikkim, Punjab and Kashmir. He also handled delicate internal political and several counterintelligence assignments.

After retiring in 1996 as joint director, he took to freelance journalism and writing books. Titles credited to him are Open Secrets-India’s Intelligence Unveiled, Fulcrum of Evil – ISI, CIA, al-Qaeda Nexus, and Mission to Pakistan. Maloy is considered a top security analyst and a social scientist who tries to portray Indian society through his writings. In this interview with Nandini Krishnan, he discusses the Maoist menace and how it can be tackled.

Some excerpts:

You had once told Sify that your secret dream was to become a Naxal. Does that mean you endorse what the Naxals are doing now?

As an IPS probationer, I was attached to Siliguri subdivision and Naxalbari police station (Darjeeling) in 1965. The split in the Communist party had taken place and Charu Majumdar had broken away from both the groups. He used to live in Siliguri. I managed to meet him several times and assessed his philosophy of action. I agreed with land, economic and exploitation issues, but did not agree with the barrel-of-the-gun thesis and the utility of mass killing.

Later, at Naxalbari, I met Jangal Santhal and Kanu Sanyal. These meetings prompted me to read more on land related rebellion in Bihar, Bengal, UP and Andhra. I became sympathetic to the philosophy and fact that for hundreds of years (even today) nothing was done to improve the destiny of the rural poor and the tribal people. These are Outer India for which they are no concern in the ruling powers and systemic bureaucrats. They live in a different India. I had developed sympathy to the movement, in the sense that it focused on ”Outer India”, the rural poor and deprived hill people. But, I do not support the means they have now adopted. They do not accept Indian Constitution and they are not in favour of Democracy.

However, my basic sympathy with the rural poor and the tribal communities is still intact. I try to work with them. I do not support the present armed guerrilla warfare of the Maoists. They are different from original Naxalites. They are endeavoring to build up a parallel political force that wants to change everything through the barrel of the gun.

If you were a Naxal leader, what would you do differently?

Most of the land and economic ills related rebellions have been violent, be it the Faraizi movement in Bengal, Tebhaga Andolan in Bihar and Bengal, Srikakulam/Andhra rebellions etc. Even Gandhi,s Quit India movement had turned violent.

If I were a Naxal leader, I would have preferred Samhati (unity) of the people in a given area, refusal to pay taxes, immobilize the civil administration and paralyze the state machineries till they realized that votes could no more be purchased, coerced and forced.

In India, people of a given constituency have not experimented with this Asahayog (non-cooperation) movement. Armed violence is the easiest route to draw attention but mass Asahayog is slow but a sure weapon. I believe in that.

Would you equate Naxalism as it is now practised in India with terrorism?

Maoist activity is guerrilla warfare; armed insurgency. It is an open rebellion that believes in engaging the state wherever and whenever possible.

Terrorism is the name of another kind of warfare where isolated acts of terror are committed for advancing a particular cause – say, Pakistan-inspired jihad, urban terrorist groups of Germany, Italy, Greece and Japan.

Jungle guerrilla warfare is based on Mao’s policy. Terrorists believe in operating after establishing cells, modules and committing sporadic acts of terror.

Maoism is an insurgency; terrorism is organized graduated means of escalating a group’s ultimate goal.

For the rest of the interview, click here.


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