In the 70s the Naxal movement started in Naxlbari in West Bengal. Situated in dense forests the movement soon gathered force as an extreme leftist movement and was one of the defining occurences of the decade. In today’s India Naxals inhabit the forest area that stretches across the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Chattisgarh. The forests are their hideouts their base. Jharkhand is full of such dense shrub growth. At some places the cover is dense enough for one to travel right through to Chattisgarh without ever coming in contact with civilisation.
After days of unrest, accidents laziness and being lost, I’ve hit the road. the second day of my journeyis currently underway, and I’m driving back from Sahibganj to Dumka, known as the second capital of Jharkhand. It’s also the hometown/constituency of one of the state’s most well known leaders. Shibu Soren. It’s night time and the road is a single laned road, surrounded on both sides by thick forest. No animals yet. The silence in the car is unbelievably tense, Rakesh Uncle probably more than I am. Kishore Kumar hums in the background.
“Iss sab area mein itna aaram se raat ko chal sakte hain naa?”
“Abhi tum yeh jyada mat socho toh. Aaram se chalte raho.”
“Arey! Dekhiye naa, jiss se bhi puche hai, have not expressed concern over law and order. Sab ka complain road condition ka hai.”
“Haan! Idhar Naxal involvement nahi hai. Isliye loot nahi hota hai.”
“But yehi sabse under developed area hai Jharkhand ka. Atleast abhi tak hum jo dekhe hain. I would have assumed that Naxal involvement here would be maximum.”
“Haan. That is logical. Par ab un log koi ideology wala Naxal thodi na hai. Aisa koi bolta nahin hoga but it is true.”
At dinner, yesterday I start off this conversation with my father. He explains differently. He assumes that the situation is such because the forest cover there is not continuous and dense, something I refuse to believe. It is nearer to Naxalbari than the other Naxal affected areas. The reason for this absence is cause for research. Answers will be provided soon.