The tribal areas of central and eastern India have been under the intractable shadow of left-wing extremism in recent years, fuelling a serious internal crisis in the country. While the clashes between the Maoists and the State have been highlighted by the media, academics and others, the situation of the people caught between the crossfire has often been overlooked.
Kindling of an Insurrection provides a gripping account of the lives of people in the conflict-affected district of Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal as experienced by a District Collector. By focusing on the plight of the people of Junglemahals — the term for the forested areas of the region — the author draws attention to the harsh living conditions, unstable occupations and almost non-existent education, highlighting the people’s lack of access to developmental schemes implemented by the government and non-governmental organisations. Based on extensive tour notes, the narrative attempts a subtle balance between a personal diary and official documentation, bringing to fore complexities, challenges and dynamics of the ground reality as also the administrative work carried out in the region.
Accompanied by photographs, this book offers a rare chronicle of life in rural West Bengal, exposing the roots of the alienation of marginalised tribal communities, and the circumstances leading to the rise of an insurrection within the nation’s heartland. Authoritative and lucid, the book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers in the areas of public administration, social work, development studies, social anthropology and politics. It will also prove useful to policy makers, journalists and the general reader interested in West Bengal and left-wing extremism.
Table of Contents
List of Plates. List of Abbreviations. Glossary. Acknowledgements. Prologue. Part I. Charting Perilous Seas. The First Weeks. 1. Where Extremes Meet: Binpur-II, 10 March 2004. General Elections 2004. 2. In Pursuit of Kendu Patta: Gopiballavpur-I, 3 April 2004 3. Public Meeting in Bansberh: Small Expectations: Binpur-I, 14 April 2004 4. Amlasole: Binpur-II, 10 June Section 5. Hungry in an Ashram: Nayagram, 30 June 2004 6. Nuts and Bolts: Visit to Binpur-II, 29 July 2004 7. Living with Diarrhoea: Binpur-I, 4 August 2004. Supervision and Monitoring. 8. Pension for the ‘Queen of Roses’!: Keshiary, 5 August 2004 9. Three Faces of Development: Binpur-I, 9 August 2004 10. The Waterlogged Rice-bowl: Ghatal, 19 August 2004. Food Entitlement: An Awareness Campaign. Part II. Setting Course 11. Raising Hope on Hard Laterite: Sankrail, 13 September 2004 12. Peeping in Nooks and Crannies: Binpur-I, 4 October 2004. A Baseline Survey. Another Explosion. 13. A Field Channel Runs through Eden: Jhargram, 29 October 2004 14. A House for Pramila Sabar: Jhargram, 31 October 2004 15. Of Chickens and Sech Bundhs: Jamboni, 4 November 2004. A Crop Calendar. 16. Harsh Reminders: Binpur-I, 24 November 2004 17. In the Name of Greed: Jhargram, 24 November 2004 Tour Continued. A Village Vulnerability Index. Part III. Full Steam Ahead. 18. No Road Leads to Tamakbari: Midnapore Sadar, 17 December 2004 19. Some Tourist Spots: Midnapore Sadar, 18 December 2004 20. The Bleakest Village: Jhargram, 20 December 2004 21. Urban is Rural: Ghatal Town, 27 December 2004 22. Revisiting Fundamentals: Binpur-I & Salboni, 2 January 2005 23. Pursuit & Persuasion: Nayagram, 8 January 2005 24. At the Edge of the Forest: Midnapore Sadar, 12 January 2005 25. A Fair in the Forest: Nayagram, 14 January 2005 26. Unequal at the Margins: Nayagram, 14 January 2005 Tour Continued. The Lodha Housing Project. 27. A Glow in the Darkness: Jhargram, 19 January 2005 28. Two Villages: Midnapore Sadar, 25 January 2005 29. Work in Progress: Binpur-I, 29 January 2005 30. Of Houses and Homes: Jamboni & Binpur-II, 17 February 2005 31. Pukurs and Bundhs: Jamboni & Binpur-II 17 February 2005 Tour Continued 32. The Damned Dam: Jamboni & Binpur-II, 17 February 2005 Tour Continued 33. A Beautiful Valley, Disturbed and Disturbing: Jamboni & Binpur-II, 17 February 2005 Tour Continued 34. The Santal Families Robinson: Keshpur, 8 March 2005 35. East of Eden: Kharagpur-II, 11 March 2005 36. A Tale of Two Villages: Nayagram, 19 March 2005 37. A Moonlit Visit: Midnapore Sadar, 21 March 2005 38. Maharajpur ... ‘What’s in a Name?’: Salboni, 27 March 2005 39. Life at the Peripheries: Midnapore Sadar, 28 March 2005 40. A Twice-Told Tale: Dantan-I & Narayangarh, 9 March 2005. Epilogue: At the Heart of Darkness. About the Author. Appendix. Index
Chandan Sinha is currently Secretary to the Governor, West Bengal.