India’s revolutionary patriot said almost one hundred years ago ‘Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist,’ pre-warning an armed insurrection simmers in Bastar, in the troubled central India.
But in the east too, beleaguered Adivasis from the mineral-rich hills of Odisha come forth bearing their axes, and their songs. And in the north the swelling protests by Punjabi peasants sees hope coagulate — once more — around that iconic figure of Bhagat Singh, revolutionary martyr of the anti-colonial struggle.
‘Maoism teaches us that self-preservation is possible only through war’ the disembodied voice of an ideologue fills the forest, now peopled by armed guerillas. This secret war broke out over 50-years ago and the battle still rages but not just with guns and explosives, but ideas.
The officer in charge of training new police jungle warfare says ‘Population is the center of gravity,’ turning them into armed soldiers who can fight the Maoist rebellion – ‘whichever side the population tilts, that side wins.’
It is this very struggle that the Indian Prime Minister cites as the ‘single greatest internal security threat to the nation.’