Till yesterday, I hardly knew a thing about the Maoist movement in India. Except for the number of Police men and people killed by them, and a few articles here and there which could only tell, at best, that the other side of story wasn’t being shown, something quite obvious.
But then, while reading Rahul Pandita‘s blog ‘Sanity Sucks‘ a few days ago (I don’t remember how I came across the blog, but it was recently only, when I read Rahul’s post about Hemchandra), I came to know about his book called Hello Bastar.
And something inside me, probably the curiosity to know the ‘other side’ of the story (add to that my recent obsession with Flipkart), made me order the book instantly. Two days ago I got the book, and Tuesday morning I started reading the book while on the road to office. On the journey back home I read again, and then kept reading through the evening, to 1:45 AM, when I turned the last page of the book.
I think even the story says something about the book. I do not say that it’s a book you can’t put back once started, but if you are interested in the topic and want to know, the book can be easily finished in a reading, that interesting it is.
As for the Author, I would first like to praise him for the research he seems to have done for the project and then for coming out with the book. I cannot decide which of the two needs more guts.
About the book, the first thing I would like to say is that it’s the outcome of some real hard work, and the research done for the book is extensive. The author has not only gone to the areas and interviewed people, but has also got their pictures, and more than that their experiences, which cannot come without a sincere understanding and rapport.
At the same time, Rahul has clearly written about the agendas of the the Maoists, including the ‘Urban Agenda’ that, according to the book, they plan to follow. I am still trying to understand how the Maoists have opened so much of their plans, even though just in shapes of basic ideas, to the Author.
As for the other side of the story, Rahul hasn’t really written a lot. Except for a few small incidents and the ‘big’ incident, the attack in which 75 CRPF personnel were killed, not much is talked about. This may be taken as a negative of the book, but then where state is giving us all the details about the other side of the story anyway, there is not really such a need to write about the state’s side of the story in detail.
Now, I don’t think this is part of the book review anyway, but in case you are interested, a line from the book even expresses my thoughts about the Maoists plans. The last line of the chapter Urban Agenda says, “It may sound like a far cry, but it’s not as far as the government thinks it is.”
To end the review, I have just one thing to say. If you’re interested in the topic, read the book. And if you don’t have any interest in this, develop some. After all, it’s about our own country.
You can buy the book from Flipkart on some good discount HERE.