[Reader-list] Naxalite heroes

Jesse R. Knutson knutson at uchicago.edu
Tue Apr 29 11:40:59 IST 2008

To respond to Shuddha whose mail is pasted below...Yes all one
has to agree with is that the only heroes, even
Naxalite ones, are the rich and that the only palatable mode
of politics is the asceticism of the nobility.  Punwani's
piece is nice, especially as it can actually convey something
partially meaningful
to its mindless and self-satisfied yuppy audience, but it also
smacks of age old conservative narrative strategies, like the
tale of the prince Buddha who could only really renounce the
world because he knew all its pleasures and privileges.  What
about another kind of story?..One about poor people who
receive true education and empowerment in a
Marxist-Leninist-Maoist milieu (and not in some liberal ngo),
people who reject instinctively the moralism and liberalism of
the Indian bourgeoisie whom they regard as cannibals in
practice.  What about people who turn on their betters
reversing the violence inflicted on them, teaching the rich
what it means to suffer and be humiliated...Well that would be
another story, not of bloated empty complacent 'conviction'
but of meaningful revolutionary practice, which is what
Anuradha Ghandy
actually strove to embody. In solidarity with her, J   


Dear Sanjay,

many thanks for forwarding the tribute to Anuradha Ghandy by
Punwani. One does not have to agree with Naxalism of any
variety to  
be moved by the example of the kind of life that this text
points to.  
What is important for me in it is that it suggests that the
of one's convictions do not have to automatically translate into  
making other people feel guilty about their life choices, or
patronizing them. The world would be a better and more
place if we had more people like Anuradha Ghandy in our midst.


Jesse Knutson
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

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