Book Review: Hello, Bastar – The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement

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February 27, 2013 by Ashwin

Author: Rahul Pandita
Genre: Non Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Hello Bastar
Hello Bastar by Rahul Pandita is an untold story of Maoists in India. This book was given to me by a friend Yatin Gupta and having read Rahul Pandita’s latest book, I had to read this book. Hello Bastar is an extraordinary book which is going to shock you with events about Naxalites but we know so little about them.

The cover of the book gives a certain idea what the book is all about but it’s the sequence of events which will leave you perplexed. The book tells you how Maoism started in India and the reasons which instigated Maoism in India. Most people believe there isn’t much difference between Terrorists & Naxalites and this book will put all your misbeliefs about Naxalites to rest.

Rahul Pandita spent around 12 years in the Naxalite areas and after in-depth research came with this special book. It’s a book which everyone must read to know about people which have been ignored the Govt of India to an extent that they lost all their beliefs and had to take up arms to fight for their basic rights. The author describes in detail the misdoings and neglect by government which created a void and hence lead naxalism to flourish and gain sympathy of poor, especially the tribals and adivasis who are the worst victim of government apathy.

The book explain in details about the terrible conditions in which Tribals live and they don’t have access to basic amenities of life. They have to work for landlords occupying hundred of acres of land for survival and are exploited to the limit and end of the day don’t earn more than 5 Rs a day ad govt doesn’t even care about them.Few people who sympathized with them took to the task of giving them their rights forcefully and empowered tribals to fight for their rights. When gov’t found they were losing ground, by various means tried to put an end to the Naxal movement but the movement had grown wings and was spreading like fire in a forest.

All the killings of security personnel by Naxalites is not by choice but when they are left with no option. Their battle is with the govt not with security personnel. Rahul describes in detail how the Naxalites work and function. They don’t kill innocents but they target politicians and powerful people who make atrocities on the hapless.

The book is an eye-opener. It gives information about popular Maoists who have died in battle with their own govt and many who still waging this battle from jungles or jails. Prior reading the book its quite obvious for any common Indian to have sympathy with government forces fighting Naxals, but once you read the book you will be forced to change your views. It highlights how the government hasn’t tried to touch base with the real cause ,the ordeals they had to go through,the political exploitation they were meted to whenever they resumed to talks. Instead government has been trying to suppress them by force.The book tells about the guerrilla warfare,their goals,recruitment,party structure,history of movement and their plans for future. The book entails details about Anuradha Ghandy’s struggle from the eyes of his husband Kobad Ghandy who is facing trial in jail.

Rahul Pandita’s Hello, Bastar – The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement is a very different from books which we usually come across and about a topic which hasn’t been touched and treated well enough. It’s a must read for everyone who wants to know about the biggest internal security issue for the people of this country and how solely the government is responsible for this.


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