Journalism of a type.

IMG_2774Some may think the quality of – ehem – journalism about the Maoist struggles in India is somewhat lacking in style. Others may think that this over-worked topic really pushed a writer to find a unique angle, a way in to the jungle that is the Naxalite narrative tradition (of demonization and ‘counter). But I warn over hasty readers that a subtle use of dialectics (here to be distinguished from literary ping pong) is often hard to discern. OK OK, in this one its really just ping pong, and certainly not of a type sourced in Yenan. How could so many neat reversals (contradictions to be handled?) be crammed into the one piece? And I am only quoting the first few paragraphs, see the whole thing here for the amazing unfolding truths.

This excerpt is from – ( I have no details as to who they are – they say they are my ‘window on news analysis and features on Pakistan, South Asia and the world’ – fab.).

Want to hate Maoists? Start calling them Taliban.

Jawed Naqvi 
Monday, 12 Oct, 200

IN the mosquito-infested inaccessible forests of Chhattisgarh, Maoist guerrillas often carry an insect repellent cream called Odomos. God help you if the security forces hunting the guerrillas — now for the first time with the help of helicopter-borne commandos — ever catch you with a tube.

Other than that there is little to distinguish a Maoist from an ordinary tribal or a Dalit, the two major communities that form the bulwark of their revolt straddling 20 Indian states.

Very little is made known about the Maoists except that they are a bloody-minded lot. The gap in information about their worldview can be partly ascribed to their cultivated aloofness from, and suspicion of, the mainstream Indian media. Otherwise too it has become a risky proposition for journalists to venture to assess them objectively.

The rest of the piece goes on to survey such wildly varied themes as poverty, water, kidnappings, the views of the PM, and of [confused] chief ministers, the BJP, the Business Standard, the Taliban, beheadings, including that of the Norwegian tourist in Kashmir more than ten years ago, Roman crucifixion and the marital peccadilloes of Henry VIII. It really does deserve to be read as abstracted (dialectic?) poetics. And in the last paragraph, the killer punch that assures this journalist his Pulitzer is the phrase: ‘Shoring up the chorus of unrelated idioms are the security forces…’ As I said, read the rest here.

OR, you can find better writing on Naxalites here and maybe here.


One thought on “Journalism of a type.

  1. General strike in eastern & central India against looming anti-Maoist offensive

    12 October 2009. A World to Win News Service. The Communist Party (Maoist) of India called a two-day bandh (general strike) throughout eastern and central India beginning on 12 October against police atrocities and the central government’s plans to send a massive paramilitary force into the forest areas where the party is leading a revolutionary upsurge among tribal people and others.

    According to initial reports by The Hindu and BBC, the armed shutdown was especially strong in the states of Bihar, where all movement and markets ceased in the rural areas, and Jharkhand, where rail and bus traffic and coal mining stopped. Also said to be affected were Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Some trains were redirected, and the Railway Protection Force deployed along other lines.

    The central government has announced that it will send 70,000 paramilitary police, commandos and special forces units into seven states. Some 20,000 are to be sent to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, where 35,000 troops are already operating. (Christian Science Monitor, 6 October). The paramilitary Border Security Force is to play a major role, under the protection of Air Force helicopters. Indian government officials said their goals were to “wipe out the top leadership” and secure some 40,0000 square kilometres of territory now largely controlled by the Maoists. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soberly warned a September meeting of police chiefs that so far the government’s campaigns against the Naxalites, as Maoists are known in India, had failed to produce results. (BBC, 9 October)

    “I have consistently held that in many ways, left-wing extremism poses perhaps the gravest internal security threat,” he said. “I would like to say frankly that we have not achieved as much success as we would have liked in containing this menace.” (The Hindu, 11 October)

    As preparations for this central government offensive were underway, guerrillas attacked a police station in Gadchiroli district in the western state of Maharashtra, killing at least 17 police, including a “top commander”. (BBC, 8 October) It was the third major successful attack on police units this year in this forest area near the Chhattisgarh border.

    Preparations for the anti-Maoist offensive are being accompanied by a campaign of government-paid advertisements in the newspapers to portray the Maoists as heartless killers….. more here:

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