Hello Bastar by Rahul Pandit : Book Review

Thursday, September 01, 2011

So the other day, I was browsing through Blogadda website, and saw this book Hello, Bastar -: The Untold Story of India'S Maoist Movement up for grabs! I read the short synopsis of the book, and immediately knew that I wanted to read this one! And three days later, I got my free copy to review! Woohoo!

The author of the book, Rahul Pandit, has spent a good amount of time with Naxals, and as they say in our industry - has done extensive primary research to develop a thorough understanding of the topic! :D He has not only interviewed the Maoists, but also tried to empathize with them, and tried to bring out the other side of the stories reported in the regular news journals. Having spent about 10 years with Naxals to understand their perspective and to gain deeper understanding of their motives and demands from the government, Rahul Pandit has a uniquie opinion on this matter.

Hello Bastar

I was always curious that how did it all start? How did Maoists turn into what they are now from lungi wearing, crops growing farmers! And that is precisely the reason why I got interested in reading this book in the first place.

The book tries to present the inside story of the Naxals, from the hardships they faced in the hands of governments to their futile attempts to communicate with the government. Most of the times these guys were caputered and jailed when they came out to talk with the government. The book also highlights the government apathy towards these people, which fuelled the Naxal movement and incited more and more poor and adivasi people to join their movement.

It brings out the fact that most of the effort from the Government's side has been in supressing the movement by use of force. Not much efforts have been made in understanding the real causes of the discontent prevailing in these communities and the ways to eradicate it.

In short, the book provides you with an overview regarding the history of the Naxal movement, their present status and their future plans. In addition, it also covers the most obvious topics regarding Naxals, such as Guerrilla Warfare, their organization structures, key personnel and leaders etc. The book also details some of the smaller incidents you must have read about in the newspapers in the past, also the recent big event in which 75 army jawans were killed. Though all these incidents provide a different story, this time from the Naxal's side.

If you practically know nothing about the Naxals and the issues, you will be tricked into believing that state and national governments are to be blamed for all the unrest in the area. However, having read this book, and some other articles and magazines on the same topic, I am of the opinion that neither this book, nor the newspapers present a 100% unbiased view of the situation.

This book is a bit too much on Naxals side, and the news papers totally dismiss those guys as a threat to national security. So I guess everyone writes their own views on this topic and it is really hard to find an unbiased fact based opinion on this matter.

I would give this book a rating of 387 on a scale of 500 ! Well, as it goes with most of the stuff I write, this rating is completely meaningless! :D

Pick this book up if you really want to know the intrinsic details about the history of the movement! Or else, head over to the Twilight or chick flicks section of your library! :D

PS: I know this is the second continuous post on a serious topic on this blog, which is kind of.. err.. unexpected! But well, this is my blog so ...

PPS: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

PPPS: Ahhh.. forget it ! :P
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