Fish in Water

October 2010

India is well along on a systematic purge and plunder of tribal people and their land. Those opposing this – primarily organised under the umbrella of the Maoist (and unofficial) ‘Communist Party of India’ – are described by the government as terrorists.

Author Arundhati Roy spent some time with the Maoists, and wrote this amazing essay which describes how the Maoists are fighting to preserve what remains of their way of life, and to resist the government program against them – which equates to little less than ethnic cleansing in the name of corporate interests.

(Elsewhere in the world, Colombian revolutionary guerrilla group FARC [‘terrorists,’ according to Colombia's government] [invests significant money in infrastructure](http://colombiajournal.org/the-significance-of-the-killing-of-farc-leader-mono-jojoy.htm) in territories it controls. It is responsible for building electrical grids, hundreds of miles of roading, and implementing progressive agrarian reform projects, in areas that had long been ignored by the ‘legitimate’ government. FARC has also offered to negotiate; the Colombian government prefer to pursue their military campaign.)

An Indian policeman describes the problem with attempts to assimilate and conquer the tribal groups:

“See Ma’am, frankly speaking this problem can’t be solved by us police or military. The problem with these tribals is they don’t understand greed. Unless they become greedy, there’s no hope for us. I have told my boss, remove the force and instead put a TV in every home. Everything will be automatically sorted out.”

And Roy describes this beautiful scene at an annual Maoist festival, deep in the jungle:

At first, the PLGA comrades watch the dancers, standing aside with their guns. But then, one by one, like ducks who cannot bear to stand on the shore and watch other ducks swim, they move in and begin to dance too. Soon there are lines of olive-green dancers, swirling with all the other colours. And then, as sisters and brothers and parents and children and friends who haven’t met for months, years sometimes, encounter each other, the lines break up and re-form and the olive green is distributed among the swirling saris and flowers and drums and turbans. It surely is a People’s Army. For now, at least. And what Chairman Mao said about the guerrillas being the fish and people being the water they swim in, is, at this moment, literally true.

Read Roy's ‘Walking with the Comrades.’

Greg commented:

Interesting. I read quite a few local magazines and newspapers in India last week, and I definitely came to think the "Maoists" are justified in their action - but what I don't understand is the name. In anyones book, Mao was a pretty evil dude... why not "Marxists" or some such?

Also interestingly, after a 10 year unrest Nepali Maoists have managed to become part of the government; lets hope they don't go the way of Mao.

Christina commented:

I'm going to second that :)