Down the Red Corridor

A review of Sudeep Chakravarti’s Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country

Chandrahas Choudhury

MAO ZEDONG is alive and kicking in India, and how. Jailbreaks, frequent guerrilla attacks on security forces, the emergence of parallel governments in so-called “liberated zones”, and the victory of Maoists in neighbouring Nepal have woken Indians up to realities that for decades they could afford to ignore. Not only have the persistent failures and the eventual retreat of the state been clearly exposed, the dismaying possibility of a “Red Corridor” stretching, like a gash on the Indian subcontinent, from Nepal all the way down to Andhra Pradesh has also been raised.

Who are these Indian citizens who want nothing less than the total destruction of the Indian state, of the Constitution, of democracy? What does their rise reveal about the apathy of the Indian state towards some of its poorest and most marginalised subjects, particularly the tribals? To what extent has the state’s response only exacerbated the problem, and what is the condition of the innocent people trapped between two ferociously warring forces? All these questions are answered by Sudeep Chakravarti’s fascinating work of reportage Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country.

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