While differentiating between Naxalism and Maoism, critically examine the ideological basis of left wing extremism in India. To what extent, the government polices help Maoists to mobilize the masses?

Model Answer:
Naxalism originated in Naxalbari village of Darjeeling district in West Bengal as a rebellion against marginalisation of the poor forest dwellers and gradually against the lack of development and increasing poverty at the local level in rural parts of eastern India. Maoism originated in China as a form of communist theory derived from the teachings of Chinese political leader Mao Zedong. While Maoists work with an agenda and use weapons to achieve their aims, Naxalites focuses on mass organizations.
The leftist ideology believes that all existing social and state structures in an elitist or capitalist society are exploitative by nature and this exploitation can be ended only through a revolutionary change through violent means. Left wing extremism is most intense precisely in areas which are rich in natural mineral resources, i.e. where coal, iron, bauxite, manganese, nickel, and copper are found in abundance. Currently, Left Wing Extremism has been identified as the gravest internal security threat to India, surpassing terrorist movements in Kashmir and the North-eastern insurgencies in overall impact.
People’s optimism that the democratic government would carry out land reforms and social welfare reforms as promised in election manifesto. But, the rural people could not find any change in the attitudes of political elites. The problem of poverty and economic inequality and underdevelopment in the naxal affected regions remained same. Under such circumstances, the Maoists are able to convince the local people that they can meet the need and aspirations of the rural people and are able to mobilize the masses.

Question for UPSC Mains:
While differentiating between Naxalism and Maoism, critically examine the ideological basis of left wing extremism in India. To what extent, the government polices help Maoists to mobilize the masses?

Published: February 7, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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