Anthropologist Alpa Shah found herself in an active platoon of Naxalites—one of the longest-running guerrilla insurgencies in the world. The only woman, and the only person without a weapon, she walked alongside the militants for seven nights across 150 miles of dense, hilly forests in eastern India. Nightmarch is the riveting story of Shah's journey, grounded in her years of living with India’s tribal people, an eye-opening exploration of the movement’s history and future and a powerful contemplation of how disadvantaged people fight back against unjust systems in today’s world. The Naxalites have fought for a communist society for the past fifty years, caught in a conflict that has so far claimed at least forty thousand lives. Yet surprisingly little is known about these fighters in the West. Framed by the Indian state as a deadly terrorist group, the movement is actually made up of Marxist ideologues and lower-caste and tribal combatants, all of whom seek to overthrow a system that has abused them for decades. In Nightmarch, Shah shares some of their gritty untold stories: here we meet a high-caste leader who spent almost thirty years underground, a young Adivasi foot soldier, and an Adivasi youth who defected. Speaking with them and living for years with villagers in guerrilla strongholds, Shah has sought to understand why some of India’s poor have shunned the world’s largest democracy and taken up arms to fight for a fairer society—and asks whether they might be undermining their own aims. By shining a light on this largely ignored corner of the world, Shah raises important questions about the uncaring advance of capitalism and offers a compelling reflection on dispossession and conflict at the heart of contemporary India.
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Alpa Shah is associate professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the author of In the Shadows of the State and a coauthor of Ground Down by Growth.
Table of Contents
Preface PART ONE: Going Underground 1. Following the Call 2. Half a Century of Armed Resistance 3. Living in a Mud Hut PART TWO: Prashant, the Kid among the Goats 4. Meeting the Guerrillas 5. The City in the Forest 6. Dressing as a Man PART THREE: Gyanji, an Agile Mind 7. Night One 8. Sacrifice, Renunciation, Liberation and Violence 9. Morning One PART FOUR: Kohli’s Home Away from Home 10. Night Two 11. Egalitarian Ideals, Humaneness and Intimacy 12. Night Three PART FIVE: Vikas, Frankenstein’s Monster 13. Night Four 14. Accelerating the Reach of the State and Capital 15. Night Five PART SIX: Somwari’s Autonomy from the Shackles of Patriarchy 16. Night Five, Continued 17. Gender, Generation, Class and Caste 18. Night Six PART SEVEN: What Came to Pass 19. Night Seven 20. Incarnations Fieldnotes on Making New Futures A Bibliographic Essay on the Naxalites Notes Index Acknowledgements About the Author