Naxalism in India: How The Red Uprising Started And Why It Still Exists

The Naxalite insurgency that rocked the stronghold of the government even after several years of its origin, has been provided a fresh outlook through ZEE5’s new show Naxalbari.


August 20, 2020


3 min


One of the major issues plaguing India’s advancement towards a strong, democratic nation is the Naxalite insurgency that started in West Bengal in 1967. It all began in the village of Naxalbari, hence the name Naxalbari Uprising. In the spring of 1967, the village was the site of a revolt organized by oppressed peasants against the feudal landlords. These peasants were inspired by the communist movement in China. Mainly led by the radical communist leaders of Bengal along with the local tribals, it further developed into the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) in 1969. This event became an inspiration to the Naxalite movement that rapidly spread from West Bengal to other Indian states.

Watch the promo for the new show Naxalbari here.

The creation of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in 1925 strengthened communist beliefs and ideals in the country. By 1956, communists had gained land in the Naxalbari region. By March 1967, peasants started seizing land from the landlords and harvesting crops there. Steadily this movement became more pronounced, which led to the government taking part in suppressing the peasants through armed police officers. It went on to greater heights until the government sent paramilitary forces to subdue it, arresting and killing many leaders and members. This uprising, however, received moral support from Nepal and China, a belief not shared by the CPI. Many communists who supported the uprising were expelled, which was followed by them starting their own organization (AICCCR), further developing into the CPI(ML). The CPI(ML) became the center of the Naxalite movement until 1975.

Still from the sets of Naxalbari on ZEE5
Source: ZEE5

Since its creation, the Naxalites aimed at seizing land from the rich landlords and giving them to the peasants. However, their motto has now changed as they no longer fight against the dictatorial landlords but the State and its development industries. India’s advancement towards becoming a world power, and its unification, remains challenged by the Naxalite insurgency. Through their attacks on the development and infrastructure projects, Naxalites obstruct the growth of India’s economy all the while sustaining the unending cycle of poverty and discrimination of rural populations. The Indian government has shown success in its counter-insurgency plans, but there is a lot more to be done and many more hurdles to be crossed.

Still from the sets of Naxalbari on ZEE5
Source: Instagram

ZEE5’s new show Naxalbari focuses on this struggle between the government and the Naxals as they uprise in Gadchiroli. Starring Rajeev Khandelwal, Tina Datta, Sreejita Dey, and Satyadeep Mishra in pivotal roles, Naxalbari is surely a deserving watch owing to its well-researched content and its fresh perspective of the Naxalbari uprising.



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