Saturday, December 10, 2005


Guest Column by Rajesh Tembarai Krishnamachari

Abstract: This paper analyses eight paths leading to establishment of a Marxist thought-process in a person. It also enumerates the ways that lead a thinking Marxist out of this affliction.

Introduction: While Marxism today is a depleted force politically, the ideology continues to command considerable following in the academic community. The history of Marxism and its deleterious effects on various facets of human society have been well documented by researchers. However little thought has been given to the causes that create a Marxist mind-set in an intellectual. A thorough analysis of these causes would aid us in ameliorating those conditions and pave the way for rapid and unhindered progressive human evolution.

The Astangika Marga (Eight-Fold Path):

There are principally eight chitta-vritti-s (mental propensities) that lead to Marxism. In decreasing order of importance and prevalence these are:
Funding from host nation’s adversaries
Nihilism and anarchism
Theoretical appreciation of dialectical materialism

These eight categories represent a broad classification of the ensemble collection. They do not represent mutually exclusive or independent sets as such. For e.g. a Marxist motivated by factor 4 above is more susceptible to factor 3 than a Marxist motivated by factor 8.

Path One: From liberalism (Udaar-manaska-vadi)

Cause: The current human intercourse is bound by oppressive social rules having their origin in the Victorian era. The governments, often incited by religious figures, transcend boundaries and impose ethical rules premised on utilitarian assumptions. This pushes the artists in various fields (theatre, movie, music, literature, painting, dance etc) away from the philistine population into Marxism. Similar causes can also be seen in movements for human rights and against socially sanctioned racist attitudes.

Remedy: A society guided by dharma or dharmic values would be inherently and ipso facto liberal. As long as a person remains committed to his/her duties towards rashtra (nation), kula (ancestry) and jaati (profession), his sva-dharma (personal choices) is never intruded into. A dharmic society would not torment homosexuals nor would it adopt hypocritical attitudes towards human sexuality.

Path Two: From atheism (Nirisvara-vadi)

Cause: The Semitic faiths constitute a veritable rebellion against logic and reason. Stunned by the enormous absurdity and fallaciousness of these religions, the intellectual swings like a pendulum to the other extreme position. He/she then launches a life-long battle to annihilate these faiths. Repeated attempts by these religions to impede the progress of science and to combat reason with blind belief aggravate the situation.

Remedy: A dharmic society has no problems with atheism. It might be shocking for the Western reader to know that 3 of the 6 traditional (aastika or believer) schools of Sanatana Dharma in India are nirisvara i.e. they comprehensively reject the conception of God. Yet the traditional Hindu society holds them up as a valid school of aastika-s or believers. A dharmic society only objects to philosophies like that of Charvaka who preach rank hedonism uninhibited by moral or legal restrictions. And most surprisingly, Hindu scholarship does not deny moksha to even these atheists. [nor it does persecute them in any physical manner.]

Path Three: Funding from host nation’s adversaries (Shatru-rashtra-vadi)

Cause: An attachment for material possessions has reduced man to the condition where he charges money for the very rope with which he would be hanged. Innumerable quislings, funded by enemy nations, have emerged who act feverishly to undermine the foundations of their host nation. In some regions like divided-India, almost 90% of the Marxists come under this category.

Remedy: A dharmic society does not promote jingoism as it relies on the principle of universal brotherhood. (Vasudheiva kutumbakam). However, it warns against betrayal of one’s motherland as traditional dharmic belief accords a position higher than heaven for one’s biological mother and motherland. (Janani janma-bhoomishch svargadapi gariyasi)

Path Four: From self-hate (Aatma-dvesha-vadi)

Cause: A feeling of self-hatred can emerge from disillusionment with society (of which one is a part), from frustration at lack of personal success, from a traumatic childhood or other psychological reasons. In the developing world, self-hate emerges from a deep-rooted inferiority complex (from centuries of foreign rule). In divided-India, the Macaulayite syllabus aggravates this effect.

Remedy: Psychological treatment, spiritual advancement (meditation etc) can offset the negative feelings in a person. Self-hate is as unsustainable as scratching a wound is to satisfy the itch. In the developing world, a correct understanding of their stupendous glorious past would embolden the intellectuals to come out of their self-imposed Stockholm Syndrome and combat the challenges of current reality without any sense of despondency or defeatism.

Path Five: From pro-Islamic mindset (Islam-prachar-vadi)

Cause: A cardinal unwritten principle of the Marxist intellectuals is that they only self-criticise. Every Marxist criticizes his own religion, his own nation and his own identity. Even when they criticize the United States, it is done so assuming themselves as humble citizens of the vast American empire on this planet. The only exceptions to this are the Muslims who join the Marxist parties.

While the Christian-born or the Hindu-born Marxist attack their parent religions and excuse other faiths, the Muslim-born Marxists do not do so. Instead they join vigorously in a defence of their parent faith. By a strange coincidence of circumstances and luck, they have not been questioned so far on this point even within closed Marxist circles. A thorough examination of the above point would reveal that the so-called Muslim Marxist is actually a Muslim Middle Roader, who is practicing the age-old Islamic technique of taqqiya.

Remedy: It is essential for the Marxists to ascertain the credentials of the Islamic members of their community. Secondly and more importantly, there is an urgent need for a re-evaluation of their stand on the Islamic faith in light of developments over the last decade. The Muslim members need to be made aware of the contents of their religious scriptures and incorrigible ones need to be expelled from the Marxist circles.

Path Six: From anti-capitalism (Samya-vadi)

Cause: Capitalism with its innumerable ill effects on human society and environment has prompted a severe counter-reaction. However various attempts at alternatives (now disowned by the Marxists as Stalinism and Maoism) have also failed to emancipate the suffering plebian class.

Remedy: The swadeshi or self-reliant village economy model offers the hope of a sustainable and harmonious eco-topia. In fact, Hinduism is defined as a conglomeration of ways that enable mankind to live harmoniously in a sustainable fashion. [The definition also explains why the Hindus have no ideological convulsions accepting atheists as part of ‘believers’]

Path Seven: From nihilist or anarchist feelings (Sarva-nash-vadi)

Cause: Youngsters when confronted by a seemingly insurmountable mountain of impediments often conceptualize revolutions as the panacea to the problem. This approach, when logically extended, leads to Trotskyite ideas of perpetual revolution. Such nihilist and anarchist ideas are neither practical nor are they conducive to the progress of the human race.

Remedy: A progressive, slow but steady evolution offers far better results and alternatives than a revolution. But this evolution should not Proudhon-style; rather the evolution should be guided by Aurobindo’s conceptions of human progress.

Path Eight: From dialectical materialism (Tarka-vadi)

Cause: A miniscule segment of intellectuals come to Marxism attracted by its materialist word view, evolutionistic sociology, hedonistic psychology, utilitarian ethics, consumerist economy (words of late Sita Ram Goel) and its unique philosophy of history.

Remedy: Some parts of the description of Marxist theory have already been dealt above; the others are out of scope of this paper that is introductory in nature. However, if an intellectual possesses the necessary acumen to combine vast knowledge with acute insight to come at the above understanding, the very same innate talent in him/her would also provide the outlet from the Marxist dungeon.

Geographical impact of Marxism:

Marxism has not been wholly useless or unnecessary. From a global perspective, it continues to play a vital role in preventing the Christian west from bluntly attempting to extend its hegemony over the rest of the world. Sadly, the Marxist movement is almost non-existent in the Islamic Middle-East where its presence is most required to ensure basic human rights for the residents of these nations. The Marxists have done unimaginable damage in dharmic Asia. In their blind self-hatred and mistaken conceptions of progress of history, they have utterly annihilated the institutions of dharma in this region. The effect of this rampant destruction has been the collapse of traditional society (in Bengal in India, in China, in Indo-China, in Mongolia and in North Korea). This has created a vacuum that would sooner or later be filled by Christian fundamentalists or the Islamists; and either of these developments would condemn Asia to Dark Ages for centuries to come.

Marxism continues to be fuelled by the existence of prophetic religions, current Western education system, failure of capitalism, western notions of culture, and a general lack of understanding of dharma. It is held back by the immense stupidity of the human race (99% of which is incapable of appreciating or analyzing any intellectual philosophy), prosperity with its consequently lethargy (inertia against revolution or any change in the established order) and its demonstrated failure in the erstwhile Socialist bloc.


Marxism was and continues to be a philosophy embraced by the intellectuals. Both the ignorant cretin and the sufficiently capable thinker are immune to its advances or lures. While Marxism is emasculated today, its strength and ability to destroy humanity should never be under-estimated. A convinced intellectual is far more dangerous to human welfare than an ignorant tribal mouthing incantations and pejoratives in the same line. Hence the current-day intellectuals should accord more time to understand the mental make-up of the Marxists and devise ways to liberate them from it.

Far from being the enemies of the Marxists, we would then be their real friends. By annihilating Marxism, we would be assisting them in coming out of what has been the most pernicious ideology ever conceptualized by man (other than some of the religions). While the overall determinism of history is a debatable point, there is no doubt in the fact that the entire forward progress of the human race from here on rest on one crucial premise –the eradication of the Marxist menace form this planet once and for ever.

(TK Rajesh is a R&D engineer based in Bangalore and writes on the ‘convergent triumvirate of Indian nationalism, Indian culture and Indian religion’. email-

Two naxals killed in encounter in Andhra Pradesh

Ongole, Andhra Pradesh: Two Maoists, including a woman, were killed in an encounter with police this morning near Marrivemula village of Prakasham district, about 200 km from here.

According to police, special combing parties accosted the naxals and asked them to surrender. Instead, the naxals opened fire.

Police said when they returned the fire, two naxals were killed.

The police also found some weapons and literature.

The seized weapons include two SLRs, five kit bags, four rocket launchers and 20 detonators. Police suspect that the woman naxalite, who was killed in the encounter, could be Deputy Commander of a particular group. They said both the naxals belonged to Guntur district.

Police said most of the important leaders of the CPI(Maoist) had escaped from the spot.

Bihar: Two maoists held

Sasaram, Dec 10 (PTI) Two naxalites belonging to the proscribed CPI (maoist) were arrested during raids by Special Task Force (STF) personnel from Mohammedpur village in Bihar's Rohtas district today, police superintendent N H Khan said.
One single-barelled gun, besides a number of live cartridges and naxal literature were recovered from the naxalites who were identified as Rampyare Ram and Ganesh Ram, Khan said.

The naxalites were wanted in connection with several cases relating to attack on police stations, loot and abduction, he said. PTI

BSF to take on Naxals in Bihar


Posted online: Saturday, December 10, 2005 at 0218 hours IST

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 9: After the PMO pulled up the Union Home Ministry for failing to contain the growing Naxal menace, the ministry has decided to send in the Border Security Force (BSF) to Bihar. The move is part of a massive anti-Naxal offensive, sources said.

Sources said that at least 3 battalions of BSF—over 3,000 men—will shortly join the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Bihar which already has about 4,000 men involved in anti-Naxal operations. Besides, the Centre would send an additional 3 battalions of CRPF to the state, sources said. It is understood that anti-Naxal operations would shortly be launched in Bihar and adjoining states where the ultras have of late stepped up their activities.

National Security Advisor M K Narayanan was understood to have expressed strong displeasure at the daring Naxal attacks in Bihar, the latest being the Jehanabad jail-storming in which prisoners including some Naxal leaders were set free. The ministry is believed to have been asked to take a ‘‘proactive stand’’ and galvanise Naxal-hit states into action against the ultras.

The reasons for sending the BSF are many. It’s being argued that unlike the Black Cat Commandos of the NSG who returned from Bihar without much success, the BSF was not a specialised force. BSF is also specially trained for counter-insurgency, has wide experience, and is better equipped than the CRPF or sate police to take on Naxalites. Moreover, it has its own intelligence wing that has proved itself in J-K.

The Union Home Ministry has also set in motion a fresh monitoring mechanism. In a meeting of state nodal officers—appointed to coordinate inter-state anti-Naxal operations—it has directed states to start anti-Naxal operations and told them that the Ministry would monitor the operations and play a more proactive role.

Now, internal security establishment of the ministry would be camping in various states to assist the state in their operations. The decision comes close on the heels of the ministry deciding to have a separate wing within the ministry to exclusively deal with Naxalism.

Govt move to combat Naxal menace

Sonali Das
[ Saturday, December 10, 2005 02:25:58 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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PATNA: The 15-day-old Nitish Kumar government in Bihar means business if its new policy on curbing Naxalism in the state is any indication.

Taking serious lessons from the Andhra Pradesh government's failure in curbing Naxalism by negotiating with Naxalites or declaring a rehabilitation policy for the banned outfits, chief minister Nitish Kumar has decided to combat the menace by introducing a "government at your doorstep" programme set to take off next week.

It will entail development at the block and panchayat levels along with simultaneous police action.

"The basic idea is to make the people living in the Naxalite-hit villages of Bihar feel that the government is people-friendly and will be at the door to ensure on-the-spot solution of their problems relating to land and other disputes," said a home department official.

In effect, this will restrain the villagers from rushing to various Naxalite outfits for finding a solution to their problems which often leads to violence.

The scheme ready to take off from December 16 (approximately) initially in the three sensitive districts of Patna, Arwal and Jehanabad will involve local officials of all government agencies holding regular meetings with villagers, listening to their problems and solving them on the spot.

The police will also be conducting regular raids and combing operations in the areas so that extremists do not get a chance to retaliate against the government initiative.

The government intends to move its officials from village to village in a continuous process so that all gaps are filled.

"As many as 23 people were killed in Arwal over only six katthas of land," said home secretary H C Sirohi, adding that small problems in the villages often lead to massive violence and that it can be averted if government agencies are alert and sensitive.
In the first phase of action, areas have been selected by the government and strategies drawn out both for conducting development work as well as solving people's problems.

Villagers themselves will be involved in gainful, long-term jobs in the villages like building roads, schools and culverts among others.

The programme also aims at curbing corruption at the block level given the transparency entailed in the scheme.

Tackling Maoist terror

The Jehanabad raid involving a virtual army of Maoists that took over the prison freed all inmates, including their comrades who were detained, and killed and kidnapped several upper caste Ranvir Sena activists has, once again, highlighted the failure of the administration to tackle the menace. The war-like siege revealed meticulous planning and smacked of colossal intelligence failure as 1,000 - odd guerillas took control of the town for several hours and conducted their daring operating without being effectively challenged by the police, which had been deployed elsewhere for election purposes. The fury of the attack on the upper caste army, often blamed for committing excesses on lower castes, raised fears of counter retaliation, which has been prevented by rushing Central paramilitary forces to the area. Pamphlets left at the site of the attack spoke of social justice, atrocities on the poor, many of whom are rotting inside jails while the big criminals are going scot free.
Following an earlier attack near Raipur in September, in which 24 security personnel were killed, the Centre had decided, in consultation with the home ministers of states, to work out an action plan to tackle the menace. It was agreed that, side by side with police measures, action would also be taken to improve the socio-economic conditions of the under-privileged. But, there is no evidence yet of a coordinated strategy having been evolved at the national level to persuade the Maoists-Naxals to lay down arms and join the mainstream and action being initiated to remove the cause of injustice to the under-privileged.

Local resistance groups are also being organized to fight the guerillas but the upper caste activists have used them to raise their own armies to perpetuate their feudal hold on the countryside.

The problem has assumed alarming dimensions, with the government having brought 21 more affected districts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme. The Naxals and Maoists have been expanding their operations gradually and now 167 districts in 12 states are affected. Starting from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the so called red corridor runs through several states including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. Parliament's Standing Committee had urged the Centre to take the initiative to hold a comprehensive and meaningful dialogue with extremist organizations that abjure violence.

Unfortunately the recommendations of the Committee have not been acted upon and the states are being left free to use their own devices to deal with the problem, which is growing, instead of being controlled. The Centre faces difficulties in dealing with the states ruled by the BJP and its allies and the Communists, who advocate a hard line against the Maoists for their own reasons. The Congress Party too has advocated strong arm measures to curb the insurgents' violent activities, while keeping the doors open for dialogue within the ambit of the Constitution and the law.

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh wants the Centre to come out with a plan for the development of the backward areas to counter extremism in an integrated manner. The governments in the affected states are trying out different strategies and there is no coordinated approach to the problem which had acquired national dimensions. There are complaints about weak intelligence and lack of machinery for redressal of grievances of the poor farmers and landless labour and to tackle violence by upper castes on members of the under-privileged classes who demand a fair deal.

The ban imposed by the Centre on People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre has had no effect on the activities of these outfits. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil insists if regrouping is taking place, efforts would be intensified to ensure violence does not occur. He is not opposed to a dialogue with the rebels to solve the problems and insists there should be no hesitation about it as India was talking to Pakistan also. "Why should we treat talking to out own people as a soft approach? We are prepared to persuade them, remove their grievances and take action as per the law". He admits it is necessary to develop the affected areas and give their people economic, political and social justice. The Naxalites need to be convinced that by killing others they would not achieve anything, but by cooperating in understanding the real situation and proving remedies, they would achieve their objective.

Naxal-Maoist violence has been accentuated by the caste factor. The upper, landed castes in most parts of the country resent when members of the lower castes demand better wages for working on farms, access to village facilities such as, drinking water and schools and equality of opportunity want to acquire land and pursue professions hitherto reserved for the upper castes. In most cases the aggrieved lower castes have no access to justice wether at the hands of the administrators or the lower judiciary. Therefore, they fall an easy prey to the call of the Maoists to take to arms and bring about a socio-economic revolution through violent means. The Maoists manage to control area, redress the grievances of the underprivileged by dispensing ready justice and eliminate members of the upper castes who do not obey their orders.

Broadly speaking the various Naxal and Maoist organizations have a similar set of demands. They blame the police for faking encounters to kill them and get rewarded by the state for miscarriage of justice. They want an end to such encounters, judicial probes into them and stopping police promotions for killing them without provocation. They want land reforms to be implemented speedily, strict implementation of the land ceiling laws and distribution of surplus lands among the landless. All pending irrigation projects should be completed speedily so that farmers get adequate irrigation facilities; all private loans taken by farmers, whose crops fail, should be waived to prevent suicides among them and permanent and integrated plans for tackling drought situations should be drafted. The scores of upper caste armies which justify their existence on the plea of fighting the guerillas should be disbanded because they are committing excesses on the under-privileged classes. They also want setting up of small industries in rural areas to provide employment to the unemployment youth and protect such industries against competition from multinationals. The tribals people's rights on forest land should be recognized, alienation of their land and settling of non-tribals in reserved areas should be stopped. Another demand is to probe the illegal assets and wealth acquired by corrupt bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen and make the rich pay their taxes to finances development.

While the methods to enforce these demands may be questionable, there is little to object to in them in the face of a stone-walled bureaucracy and politicians who are influenced more by the affluent and the privileged classes in devising policies which increase rural poverty and indebtedness. The guerillas also seem to realize the futility of continuing violence, but want an honourable settlement based on speedy implementation of their socio-economic demands. Their leaders insist that it is violence by the police in the first instance that leads to counter violence by the Maoists. "Let the repression go and there will be no violence", said one of them, but they would continue to demand strict implementation of the land reforms, which had been sabotaged by powerful vested landed interests in collusion, with obliging politicians, and solutions to a host of their pressing problems and righting the injustices committed on them.

When it is conceded by the Union Home Minister and the Maoist leaders both that the root cause of violence is socio-economic inequality and denial of justice to the rural poor and of their legitimate demands and rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution, then where is the scope for conflict? Police measure under way in most states have failed to solve the problem. Actually, the government has played into the hands of anti-national forces by relying solely on police methods and putting other measures on the back-burnet. The result is more violence on both sides, more security personnel getting killed as also Maoists and their sympathisers. Indiscriminate arrests of sympathizers leads to massive harassment and resentment against the administration and strengthens the Naxal movement. This is happening all over, particularly, in the North eastern states where problems have compounded and insurgent outfits proliferated.

It is necessary to separate the problem of externally - sponsored and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism from the indigenous Naxal-Maoist movement; while the former needs to be firmly tackled with all of the resources at the command of the state; the latter must be dealt with sympathetically, because the grievances articulated are regarded genuine by all and must be addressed by a democratic state that relies on people's support. The problem calls for a socio-political approach and principally democratic solutions. Instead of creating more problems for itself, which become chronic and insoluble, a democratic state should go about earnestly and systematically solving them.

MK Dhar, NPA

Naxal dump seized from Maoist sympathiser

Nizamabad | December 09, 2005 7:50:14 PM IST

A naxal dump was unearthed from the house of a Maoist sympathiser at Kaligati village of Jakranpally mandal today.
The police party, on a tip, raided the house of Boruganga and recovered a naxal dump. He told them a Maoist called Santosh had kept the dump in his house, according to police.

The dump included two tiffin-box landmines, two wire bundles, two blasting flash cameras, 70 electrical detonators, 16 non-electrical detonators, two electrical fuses, six battery cells, 18 live rounds of cartridges of AK-47 and SLR and five empty cartridges of AK-47, police said.

The naxals were planning to plant explosives near Rammadugu area of the district, police added.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Provide 20 pc revenue to police benevolent fund: DGP

Friday December 9 2005 11:00 IST

DAVANAGERE: The police department will send a proposal to State government to provide 20 percent of additional revenue earned through checking bootlegging, seconds sale of liquor and single digit lottery to police benevolent fund, said B S Siyal, Director General of Police (DGP) here on Thursday.

Addressing media at police officers meeting, he said the police and excise personnel were jointly conducting surprise and regular raids on illegal transportation of arrack, liquor, seconds and thirds sale of liquor where the state exchequer was losing revenue heavily.

As a result of raids on liquor dens and in curbing single digit lottery, the revenue had gone up by Rs 75 crore. The 20 percent revenue was sought for police welfare activities like health and housing care, education to children of police officers, providing basic facilities and sophisticated weapons to fight against criminals.

Instead of demanding financial aid from Government, this fund would help police perform more effectively. The meeting discussed about the preparations of police forces to be deployed during panchayat elections.

The police officers from SI level have been asked to tour the constituencies to get first hand information about the election, which help in law and order maintenance. As per Central government instructions, national highway police patrolling and police aid centers were opened in State, which will be extended to state highways too.

Siyal said he had suggested to Chief Minister at SP’s conference to introduce helmet for all two-wheeler riders.

Lift ban on recruitments: The police department has appealed to Government to relax ban on recruitment of over 8000 police personnel, said DGP Siyal here on Thursday.

Talking to media, Siyal said each district needed more than 200 police personnel apart from armed reserve and civil policemen. As the ban was imposed for recruitment of police personnel, relaxation was sought up to March 2007, as recruitment and training for new policemen would need at least 18 months.

For Bangalore city alone, 2003 traffic police were sought and a proposal sent in this regard to Government. As per an estimate nearly 15,000 civil police personnel and about 10,000 armed police force was required to keep vigil on law and order and crime rate.

As the budget for police department was not sufficient, an additional fund of Rs 61 crore has been sought from State government to meet the unforeseen expenditure. Last year the Government had provided Rs.200 crore, he said.

Naxal problem: To check naxal problem in Malnad, the police department had taken up rehabilitation of tribal people in KIOCL and unemployed youth were given training in carpentry, electrician, iron smith to earn their livelihood.

To a question on police terming any person opposing irrigation projects, dams as naxal sympathiser or supporter, he ruled out it as lie and baseless. Any person who tries to exploit unemployed youth by giving him a gun will face retaliation with a gun.

Men masquerade as Maoists to extort money

Nani Gopal Pal in Purulia

Dec. 8. – “They have some discipline, I do not believe they would indulge in such activities,” was the response of a retired police officer on hearing the arrest of three Maoists from a lodge in Purulia for collecting money from traders.
These persons — one from from Murshidabad and other two from Nadia — were arrested for collecting money in the name of Maoists. They were produced in the Purulia district court and remanded in police custody.
Mr Rangaswami Sivakumar, superintendent of police, Purulia, at last, admitted that they had no connections with the ultras, but the police will be keeping a close watch on their movement.”
Earlier, police had detected the operations of a few political leaders who had been acting as the members of Peoples’ War Group (PWG).
As a result, the district police officers are in a dilemma whenever they get information about the operations carried out in the name of Maoists.
Security arrangements were beefed up in the districts of Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura in view of Peoples’ Army Day of Ultras on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the state government has allotted Rs 4. 46 crore, Rs 4. 26 crore and Rs 89 lakh for Purulia, Midnapore West and Bankura districts respectively for developing the services of drinking water, road, bridge, irrigation, watershed management and electricity.
The state government has also extended financial grants to various clubs and youth organisations to discourage the village youths from joining the Naxalite organisations and besides creating Village Defence Committees.
The Union Home Ministry has sanctioned Rs 50 crore to the West Bengal government on “security-related expenditure Scheme”, to fight the extremists.
Mr Chayan Mukhopadhyay, officer on special duty (Co-ordination) for fighting the Maoists, stressed the need of Village Protection Committee. “The SPs of Purulia, Bankura, and Midnapore West were asked to select the eligible clubs and youths for financial grants,” he added.

End of anarchy?

A state that has not cast a vote in decades, only voted castes; change in government appears a loss for Lalu. It’s not yet a win for progress

It was supposedly late in the night. Which would mean about 5, on a winter evening (not early morning, when you can still get stuck in a traffic jam in Bombay’s bustling suburbs).

The streets, or more likely the woods, were eerily quiet. A rickety cop jeep parked itself at least 200 metres from the desolate police station that it belonged to.

And a fairly unkempt inspector walked out of the vehicle, adjusted the waist of his tattered trouser, looked around slightly uncomfortably and yelled aloud, “Dost” (Friend). The ‘password of the day’ was returned like a mating call. And the jeep drove into the dusty driveway. The inspector turned around with a nervous grin to explain, “We are most scared inside a police station! You never know what’ll hit us any time. We’re here to protect people. But who the hell will protect us?”

The word ‘anarchy’ comes from the Greek word anarchia, meaning “without a ruler”. And I’d come from Bihar. From a fairly large town of petrified policemen. It seemed like a trip back from a dark film, several watts darker than Prakash Jha’s Apaharan.

But the image that played on my mind was not of helpless khakee-clads talking about how they don’t attend any emergency calls after sunset, unless they had a death-wish.

What I kept thinking about was a popular, prosperous temple-town teeming with East Asian tourists, who walked and shopped around freely, closer to 10 in the night, unconcerned, unaffected.

Both Bodh Gaya (the place where Buddha had attained enlightenment) and Gaya, the city without lights, were not just in the same state. A mile or two from each other, the ‘problem’ and the ‘solution’ in fact, came under the same town. Not too far from Jehanabad where in what should be termed a civil war, a bunch of militants, who called themselves comrades, blew up a jail and freed up inmates last month.

Surely those mass-murderers still roam the streets of Gaya, fairly sure no one can touch them, least of all the police. And you cannot propel such chaos, unless the people (large number of them) are on your side. Which they have been. The ‘naxalite’ groups belong to Hindu surnames that signify lower castes. Ranvir Sena, their rival army represents ‘landed’ ‘rich’ upper castes, who are hardly landed, or rich anymore.

No one around me in Gaya could quite come up with why Bodh Gaya remained a cradle of prosperity and hence peace, while its neighbourhoods lay in pieces. Over a few days I realised that was because they actually hadn’t thought about it, so deeply they were enmeshed in matters of caste groups — how one needed to retaliate to a particular episode perpetrated by the other, how the other was justified in avenging sins of the past….

All aspects that came to be labelled ‘Lalu Raj’, a strong, spell-binding leadership that thrived on keeping all busy with interpersonal problems, waxed eloquent on how the subaltern finally had a voice (read: guns), and which threw up parallel governments headed by likes of Syed Shahabuddin (Nana Patekar in Apaharan).

Those with more pertinent concerns eventually gave up and moved to other parts of the country, to make a living. Those who did not, never cast a vote. They just voted ‘caste’. And they’ve done so for decades.

So yes, Lalu is gone. What I wish to know is if he took away his regressive supporters who made up 40 per cent of Bihar’s population and voted for him for 15 years regardless.

So yes, Nitish Kumar is the new one in, as much as a result of yet other “caste equations”.

So, for those who just chanted “end of Lalu, end of anarchy” actually quite forgot that yes, a change in government in ‘India’s Africa’ was necessary. That does not yet mean change in deeply embedded mindsets. Which is where lay the real problem.

* O yes, Lalu is gone. What I wish to know is if he took away his regressive supporters who made up 40 per cent of Bihar’s population and voted for him for 15 years regardless

* When he is not busy being world weary, Mayank Shekhar writes on movies

Bihar:2 naxalites held in Aurangabad distt

Aurangabad, Dec 9 (PTI) Two activists of the proscribed CPI (Maoist) were arrested from Nayur Dubey Bigha village under Navinagar police station in Bihar's Aurangabad district today, Police Superintendent Sushil Khopde said.
Acting on a tip-off, police raided a house and arrested former zonal commander Pramod Sao and another naxalite Sanjay Ravidas early this morning, Khopde told PTI.

Both Pramod and Sanjay were evading arrest for a long time in connection with several criminal cases relating to attack on police stations, loot of firearms and kidnapping, he said here.

The details of seizure during the operation were not immediately available.

They duo were later sent to jail. PTI

26 battalions for Naxal-hit states


NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 8 In order to tackle terrorist and extremist violence, more battalions are being raised to help states, and the task of increasing the number of men and officers was being addressed by the Centre, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said.

During a discussion on internal security in the Lok Sabha Patil said that Naxal affected states like Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh would get 26 battalions to help control Naxalite violence. But, he said, the Naxalite problem could only be tackled through land reforms and implementing social legislation.

Patil said in order to modernise their police force, states had been given funds. However, he said, some states had not used the funds. He said lack of local intelligence that could be acted upon was a shortcoming that needed to be rectified.

He said that among the proposals for tackling terrorism, the government was considering installing cameras at major intersections in cities and metros and setting up control rooms. Patil told the House there had been suggestions that law and order should be brought from the state list to the concurrent list, but the government’s position was that the present situation should not be disturbed, unless all or the majority of states supported the proposal.


Naxal dump seized from Maoist sympathiser

Nizamabad | December 09, 2005 7:50:14 PM IST

A naxal dump was unearthed from the house of a Maoist sympathiser at Kaligati village of Jakranpally mandal today.

The police party, on a tip, raided the house of Boruganga and recovered a naxal dump. He told them a Maoist called Santosh had kept the dump in his house, according to police.

The dump included two tiffin-box landmines, two wire bundles, two blasting flash cameras, 70 electrical detonators, 16 non-electrical detonators, two electrical fuses, six battery cells, 18 live rounds of cartridges of AK-47 and SLR and five empty cartridges of AK-47, police said.

The naxals were planning to plant explosives near Rammadugu area of the district, police added.


Strengthen intelligence network at local level: Patil

New Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI) Government today said the intelligence network has to be strengthened right from the grassroot level to tackle terrorism and naxalism, apart from ensuring socio-economic and political justice.
Replying to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on terrorist and naxal attacks in the country recently, including the October serial blasts in Delhi and naxal attacks at Jehanabad last month, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said existing laws were adequate to handle all kinds of cases and thus POTA was not required.

"If POTA is not there, it will not make any change," he said, and pointed out that terrorist incidents occurred even when POTA was in force.

Patil, who appreciated the suggestions made by various members to improve internal security in the country, said there was a need to strengthen intelligence network even at the grassroot level to pre-empt terrorist activities.

"The best remedy is intelligence," he said, and emphasised that the set-up needs to be strengthened at state- and local-level units.

"This (network) has to be developed by the local police," he said.

Also, the Minister said the government was considering to install TV camera recorders in sensitive areas and cities. "However, this is yet to be worked out," he said.PTI

Nexus between government, extremist forces not desirable': Advani

New Delhi | December 08, 2005 8:44:31 PM IST

BJP President L K Advani today said that any nexus between the government and the extremist forces was not desirable and his party would take up the issue in Parliament.

Asked for his reaction about the news reports claiming that some media organisations had reciept of payments made to extremist organisation by Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, Mr Advani said it was not desirable for any government to get mixed up with extremist forces and naxal groups.

The naxal violence of late had assumed serious proposition in the recent months partly because of lenient political view and the growth and spread of Nepalse Maoist forces not just in the neighbouring country but also within India.

As far as Manipur incident was concerned probably the Prime Minister's Office may be aware of it and the opposition too will raise the issue in the Parliament, he said.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Despite spurt in violence police succeed in neutralising Maoist factor, says DGP

Despite spurt in violence police succeed in neutralising Maoist factor, says DGP
Staff Reporter

Number of surrenders, arms and ammunition recovered vouch for it: Swaranjit Sen
Activities of naxals under control: Swaranjit Sen

Number of people killed in naxal violence so far this year put at 190

ELURU: The State has witnessed a spurt in the incidence of naxal violence and dacoities in the current year, according to the data provided by Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen.
The number of people killed in naxal violence reached 190 by December 2 this year as against 78 in 2004, 161 in 2003 and 105 in 2002.
By the year-end, 145 encounters took place between the police and Maoists as against 73 in the previous year.
However, the DGP, who was here on Wednesday, did not subscribe to the view that the figures gave the correct picture.
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Sen observed: "The figures give such an impression. But the number of surrenders by Maoists, the amount of arms and ammunition recovered from the extremists vindicate the fact that the police have succeeded in neutralising the Maoist factor in the State."
Revealing the year-end data, the DGP drove the point home. The police recovered 474 weapons from Maoists this year as against 107 last year. Similarly, snatching of weapons by extremists from the police had also drastically come down to three in the current year from five in the previous
Threat form Cobras
The DGP claimed to have kept under control the activities of Maoists, "thanks to the intelligentsia who are of late vexed with the entry of unsocial elements into the party and therefore gradually drifting away from the Maoists."
On the attacks by the so-called "Nallamala Cobras" against the activists of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) reported in Prakasam and Anantapur districts, the DGP made it clear that the police would not encourage any sort of covert operations against anybody for that matter.
"We are quite capable of handling Maoists on our own and don't require any pseudo organisations to combat the extremists," he added.

IntelliBriefs: Internal security scenario in the country --SHRI ARUN SHOURIE

SHRI ARUN SHOURIE, initiating the discussion in the Parliament

Internal security scenario in the country --SHRI ARUN SHOURIE

What is wrong , if we call Terrorists ' BROTHERS AND SISTERS' -- HOME MINISTER

``They [the naxalites] are our brothers and sisters. What is wrong if we call those who are born in India as our brothers and sisters? They could be angry, they could be misled. But one should not conclude that they should be tackled only with bullets,'' --

Hon Minister of Home Affairs , Responsible for Internal Security


Maoists burn road project equipment in Bihar

Patna | December 08, 2005 5:15:06 PM IST

Maoist rebels set ablaze eight tractors and ransacked the office of a contractor engaged in a road building project funded by the centre in Bihar, after failing to get Rs.3 million ($64,000) as extortion money.
The rebels, who had demanded the extortion money from the contractor, burnt the tractors and damaged his office Wednesday night in Khagaria district, police said.

Road construction is being undertaken in the district under the Prime Minister's Rojgar Yojna (employment programme).

The incident has created panic among officials and contractors engaged in the project.

There were reports last week of the Maoists demanding extortion money from contractors in Begusarai, Rohtas, Muzaffarpur and some other districts of the state.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist), an outlawed group, has been active in Khagaria district.

Few months ago they blasted the brick klin owned by union steel minister Ramvilas Paswan's younger brother Paras Kumar Paswan and blasted his house with dynamite.


Maoist terrorists impose night curfew in Jharkhand

Ranchi | December 08, 2005 4:15:06 PM IST

Maoist rebels in Jharkhand have imposed a night curfew in areas considered their den, threatening to kill the violators, to offset the police drive against them.
The extremists have distributed pamphlets and pasted posters in Palamau, Saranda and some other areas, listing the do's and don'ts to be followed by the people during the 12-hour night curfew beginning 8 p.m.

"People who violate the directives will be killed by bomb, bullet and in landmine blasts," said one of the pamphlets distributed by the Communist Party of India-Maoist.

The extremists have restricted movement of people and vehicles during the curfew hours. They have warned not more than four people should walk together and two people should not ride a bike together.

Those who need to come out during the restricted hours, should first make a special sound as directed by the Maoists, the pamphlets said.

The move is seen as a strategy to counter the anti-Maoist drive launched by the state police.

The policemen are moving around in the Maoist infested areas in plain clothes and with sophisticated weapons.

Reacting to the Maoist threats, an official engaged in anti-extremist drive told IANS: "We are not bothered about such a move. This will only help police gain support of the people."

Maoists are active in 16 of the 22 districts of the state. Around 550 people, including 220 policemen, have been killed in Maoist violence in the last five years.


NAXALITE TERRORISTS are 'brothers and sisters' , Home Minister Shivraj Patil

Patil insists on talks with naxals

Special Correspondent

He says they are our brothers and sisters

NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Wednesday underlined the importance of dialogue in tackling naxalite violence in States.

Replying to last week's discussion in the Rajya Sabha on national security, he said it was difficult to agree with Arun Shourie's (BJP) suggestion not to talk to naxalites or allot funds for development in affected areas. ``We are talking to [people on] the other side of the border, in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East. It was due to dialogue that Mizoram is peaceful and there was no violence in Nagaland because the Government was engaged in discussions with militant groups.''

Dialogue, he said, was one of the methods to solve the issue. ``They [the naxalites] are our brothers and sisters. What is wrong if we call those who are born in India as our brothers and sisters? They could be angry, they could be misled. But one should not conclude that they should be tackled only with bullets,'' he said, reiterating his earlier statement that was ridiculed by Mr. Shourie.

At the same time, the Home Minister was confident that the naxalite problem would not become an insurmountable problem for the Government. ``Naxalite activity is on the increase, yet I would not say it has increased to an extent presented in the House. Not all districts mentioned are affected. One affected village or hamlet does not mean that the entire district is affected. The country is big and strong, it won't be cowed down by a few arms.''

Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike , TERROR SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION ,criticises Government move

KKSV criticises Government move

Thursday December 8 2005 11:03 IST
MYSORE: The Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike (KKSV), which has been branded by the Government as one of the organisations supporting the naxalite cause, has said that it is ready to hold talks with naxals to stop violent activities.

Vedike member and litterateur Lingadevaru Halemane said here on Wednesday that the Government decision to include KKSV under the frontal organisations supporting naxal movement in State was unfortunate.

“The Vedike has always condemned the violent activities of both the Naxals and the police. The Vedike members have always remained fir in their stand and condemned violent actions of both the police and the Naxalites,” he observed.

He said the real estate and land mafia who had raised its head in the metros and towns are more dangerous then naxals. No one dares to speak about these issues, while there is no space for the voice of thinkers.

On Vedike observing ‘Souharda Sapthaha’, in condemnation of the activities of the Sangh Parivar at Bababudangiri in Chikamagalur by Sangh Parivar, he said the two issues cannot be resolved in a same way and needed different approach.

State Secretary of the Vedike, Ashok, said that a week-long campaign against the conduct of Datta Jayanti celebrations by the Government would conclude with a convention in Bangalore on December 11 at the Senate hall of the Central College premises.

Police recover a can bomb ; major disaster averted

Jamshedpur | December 08, 2005 5:43:09 PM IST

A police contingent of East Singhbhum district had a narrow escape when a powerful can bomb, reportedly planted by the CPI (Maoist) activists, was unearthed at naxal-dominated Muchrisol chowk under Gudabandha police station yesterday.
The ultras assembled in the area to observe the foundation day function of Peoples' Gurriella Army (PGM). Hundreds of extremists gathered in the area, situated near a police picket and erected a martyr's alter, and a sophisticated can bomb, weighing about 10 kg, was planted under the flag.

Acting on a tip off, the police team, led by Deputy Superintendet of Police Shailendra Barnwal, reached the spot and cordoned off the area. Police used metal detector to locate the bomb and dug it out carefully.

A high alert was sounded in the area and police partrolling was intensifed following the incident, police said.


Naxalism no longer a threat to internal security: DGP , Karnataka

Thursday December 8 2005 10:46 IST
HUBLI: Naxal movement in the State is losing its support base in tribal areas as well as in other parts of the State, said B S Siyal, Director General of Police.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, he said that naxalism in the State was no longer a threat to the internal security, as the State government was engaged in implementing several developmental programmes in naxal-infested areas and anti-naxal operations were being taken up on a war-footing by the police department.

He disclosed that 13 districts in the State have been identified as naxal-infested districts and it was believed that as many as 50 to 60 trained cadres were active in the movement.

The State had deployed 14 battalions of Karnataka State Reserve Police along with anti-naxal force comprising 543 police personnel trained in Andhra Pradesh for forest combing operations in the State, he added.

He expressed displeasure over a section of media for portraying naxals as ‘mass heroes’ and ‘branding’ the police villains. He expressed confidence over conducting the ensuing Panchayat polls free from violence and irregularities.

He said that a proposal had been sent to the Centre by the State government to set up ‘Mega City Police Force’ in Hubli-Dharwad along with Bangalore for curbing anti-social activities.

Naxal arms dump unearthed in Medak

Thursday December 8 2005 10:26 IST

SANGAREDDY: A special party of police early on Wednesday morning unearthed an arms dump belonging to the Maoists at Lingapalli village under Koudipalli police station limits.

The arms were hidden in a bag under a culvert on the village outskirts.

The arms were kept their to be handy for attacking targets. The police officials are worried at the arms seizure at a time when it is being said that the Maoist activity had come down drastically in the district.

With the intelligence officials warning that there could be attacks by the Naxalites marking the People’s Guerrilla Army (PGA) formation week the police officials have been alerted. And the police had intensified the combing in the past one-week.

The plastic bag found under the culvert about a kilometre from Lingampally contained 10 kg claymore mine, a landmine, a plastic bucket bomb, a small cylinder bomb, 50 electric detonators, 21 gelatin sticks, 50 metres of electric wire and 5 metres of fuse wire.

A bomb disposal squad defused the landmine and the claymore mine, the SP said.

Following the seizure of the dump the police further intensified combing and vigil.

Naxals Issue Threat to Police Officials, Politicians

Patna: December 8, 2005

Extremists with allegiance to various Naxal outfits in Jehanabad district, on Wednesday, plastered the walls of the town with hand-written Naxal posters issuing threat to the government and the police of dire consequences if they did not stop 'terrorizing' innocent people in the name of raids to capture Naxalites in the district.

The posters apparently planted on all government buildings and public places late Tuesday night were discovered on Wednesday morning. They accused the police of arresting and torturing innocent poor people in the name of combing operation in Jehanabad and adjacent districts.

Sources said some of the posters also contained names of police officials and politicians with warnings issued against them if they did not stop harassing innocent villagers.

Jehanabad Superintendent of Police (SP) Bachchu Singh Meena, however, denied any such accusation saying the police was not targeting villagers and were only performing their duties in an attempt to flush out extremists from the region.

As part of the operation, the police had, on Tuesday, arrested nearly three dozen people who were identified as those who took part in the Naxal attack last month on Jehanabad jail that resulted in the disappearance of over 350 prisoners including noted Naxal area commanders.

Naxal menace a major internal security concern: Patil

Political Bureau

New Delhi, Dec 7 The government on Wednesday unveiled a multi-pronged approach to deal with the naxal menace, wherein it was willing to hold talks with those who lay down arms and on the other strengthening and modernising the para-military forces, police force and the intelligence system.

Winding up a short-duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the internal security situation in the country, home minister Shivraj Patil said, “the Naxal problem is causing concern and we shall have to do something to solve this problem.”

“It has to be a multi-pronged strategy and the Centre has already decided to raise 250 battalions of para-military forces besides modernising and strengthening the police force,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Patil said, the government would not shut its doors and was willing to have dialogue with all those laying down arms besides evolving plans to wean away misguided youths from violence and bring them into the mainstream by providing employment.

The minister said he proposed to strengthen intelligence system particularly at the local level and to provide all assistance to states for economic and social development in naxal-affected areas.

Welcoming the suggestion of senior member PC Alexander to set up a research institute, he said government would consider the proposal as it would be useful in visualising and preparing a detailed plan of action to handle emerging situations from time to time.


Two Maoists, involved in prison attack, held

Thursday December 8 2005 08:42 IST

JEHANABAD: Two hardcore CPI (Maoist) rebels, who allegedly participated in the November 13 night attack on the sub-jail here, were arrested on Wednesday.

Superintendent of police B S Meena said Rajiv Kahar and Shivratan Das, both wanted in several cases of Naxal-sponsored violence, were arrested in a raid on their hideout on Barabar hills under Makhdumpur police station of the district.

Observing that no weapons were found on them, Meena said the two, hailing from Godiha village under Parasbigha police station of the district, confessed to their involvement in the attack.

Over 350 jail inmates had escaped following the November 13 attack. The arrested Naxalites told the police that a meeting of around 200 members of four armed squads of the 'guerrilla army' of the underground outfit belonging to Jehanabad, Gaya, Nawada and Aurangabad districts was held at a place in Aurangabad a day before the attack on jail.

"They have given other vital information about the attack and those involved in it but we don't want to share these with the media as it would cause adverse impact on our campaign against the Naxalite organisations," Meena said.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

‘I now realise the consequences’ Top Naxal cadre’s wife speaks after arrest

Wednesday December 7 2005 10:00 IST

KORAPUT: I, now, realise the consequences of being involved in Naxal activities, said Chandrama alias Akhila, the senior woman cadre of CPI (Maoist) who was arrested along with her husband Gudda Nageshwar Rao alias Suresh, a local dalam commander of CPI (Maoist) on Monday.

Suresh, police said, was commanding Pappulur local guerrilla squad (LGS) in Malkangiri after serving more than a decade in the southern Orissa district and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

‘‘There was a time I led an ordinary but peaceful life at my village, Agrawaram, under Godem police limits. But things were set to change soon. It all started with my husband (they weren’t married then) attending meetings conducted by Naxals at his native village, Konamuli, under Pedabailu police limits of Visakhapatnam district in 1994. The meetings inspired him to become ‘revolutionary’ and join the Naxal stream. It was only after three years that I followed in his footsteps,’’ Chandrama told mediapersons here on Tuesday.

The two got married in 2001.

‘‘Suresh was involved in the operation at Janbai-Maliguda police camp in 1998 where a constable was killed and fire-arms were looted and the one at Duggaguda in Andhra Pradesh where seven constables were killed in 2000. Besides, he was involved in the killing of 10 policemen including CRPF jawans at Gumphagunda in Malkangiri. It was the success of these operations that made my husband a commander in various dalams (otherwise known as LGS),’’ she revealed.

While Chandrama had been provided with a 12 bore country-made gun, her husband had a 303 gun. But Chandrama said they were not being paid for the operations.

‘‘In fact, I was not keeping well and we had decided to withdraw. Besides, we were scared of being caught by Andhra Pradesh police. Thus, for the last one-month, we had settled in Jaiphoolguda under Padua police limits in Koraput. We had also purchased land in the village. We wanted a peaceful life together but it was not to be, ’’
Chandrama said.

‘‘Now I regret the pain we have given to so many families due to our operations,’’ she added.

Govt has 'roadmap' ready to fight Naxals

Mahendra Ved
[ Wednesday, December 07, 2005 01:34:25 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: The way to fight Naxalism lies in building roads, government has concluded. Responding to a proposal from Orissa, it has asked Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh also for a revised scheme to lay the Ranchi-Vijaywada National Highway.

Fifty five districts in nine Naxal-affected states have been earmarked for a Rs 15-crore annual grant to build roads, create infrastrcture and in the process, generate jobs for tribals.

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana is being utilised, asking the states to explore ways to develop state highways and give them high priority in the annual plans.

Orissa has been sending alarming signals since the "Compact Revolutionary Zone" that provides the north-south link between the Nepalese Maoists and the Andhra Pradesh Naxals is being pushed eastwards.

It is a significant push that has caused concern at the Union home ministry. Officials say the ban on CPI (Maoist) in Andhra and Chhattisgarh in August and September and the consequent pressures to curb their activities have pushed them to the fertile terrain of Orissa.

The Orissa government has reported to the Centre that the Maoists are planning to open the corridor from Nepal to Andhra.

Trains thru naxalite-prone areas will have 5 Guards

Railways admit security lapse

DH News Service Hubli:

The authorities of South Western Railway have admitted that absence of security personnel on the Yeswantpur-Ajmer Express train near Davangere in the early hours of Monday, made the job easy for dacoits to loot ....

The authorities of South Western Railway have admitted that absence of security personnel on the Yeswantpur-Ajmer Express train near Davangere in the early hours of Monday, made the job easy for dacoits to loot some passengers. Without mincing words, a senior officer of railways admitted that “somehow they lost sight of that winter special train which had been introduced to clear the extra rush of passengers. As a result it became an easy target for dacoits.”

Instead of blaming others, an officer was quite brave to admit the ‘fault’ on their part in providing security to passengers travelling in that particular train.

There will at least be four to five armed guards in trains which passe through naxalite-prone areas and areas vulnerable to criminal activities. The Yeswantpur-Ajmer train had skipped their attention since it had been a winter special train. The dacoits who might have noticed the absence of security personnel on board the particular train. “The dacoity incident has definitely opened our eyes that we should never have been complacent,” the officer said.

The police came to know about the incident around 2:30 am and immediately swung into action, he said.

Get the real picture

Platform | K.S. Subramanian

December 6, 2005

The recent jailbreak in Jehanabad by a group of armed Naxalite militants does not come as a surprise to those familiar with the region and its machinery. For someone who has officially assessed, for the home ministry, the agrarian conflict situation in the central districts of Bihar, it reminds one of past experiences.

The Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha (including ‘Naxalites’), in the early Eighties, was implementing organised assertions for the payment of minimum wages, protection of civil rights and social dignity. Added to these were attempts at land reforms and honest implementation of rural development projects. A certain amount of militancy on such issues was understandable. The district administration was expected to be sensitive, and avoid any situation that would bring on police brutality. A responsive administration should display commitment and sincerity to social justice. This, however, did not happen and a large number of the agrarian poor were killed in police encounters as reported by the press.

The IB, reporting to the Home Ministry, and the state police asserted that only 12 people had been killed in police action — all of them Naxalites. The disparity between the figures of death-in-encounters between IB and state police reports (12 dead, all ‘Naxalites’) and press reports (very large casualties) was too striking to be missed.

A furore ensued in Parliament and Indira Gandhi, then prime minister, decided to send a central team to Bihar led by the then member-secretary, Planning Commission, Manmohan Singh, with officers (including me) from the Union Home Ministry, the Department of Rural Development and others. The DM and the SP of the then Patna district, that included Jehanabad, had assumed that the Centre’s team had come to appreciate their good work — for putting down incipient Naxalite militancy. They were taken aback to be asked tough questions and be ticked off on inadequate action on issues such as land reforms, minimum wages, civil rights and rural development projects.

In the course of a meeting later held in the Union home secretary’s office in Delhi, the chief secretary, Bihar, admitted that the number of deaths in police encounters had been 59 and not one of them had been a Naxalite.

The Naxalite movement which had started in the late Sixties in West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and reached Bihar later on, has been described as an ‘ontological divide’ in Indian politics by the distinguished historian, Ranajit Guha. The movement has its own significance in Indian politics and cannot be treated in a facile manner as a ‘national security’ threat, as many security analysts have been inclined to do.

The movement is really a protest against the failure of the State and allied machinery in delivering on promises made in the Indian Constitution. While police action is a necessary component in analysing the Jehanabad jailbreak, much more serious steps are needed on the social justice front to come to grips with situations — neglected so far.

A recent study by P. Sainath states that the average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) of farm households across India was Rs 503 in 2003. This was just about Rs 75 above the rural poverty line. Since this is an average figure across regions and classes, it hides huge inequities. Even the statewide averages of some states such as Orissa (Rs 342), Jharkhand (Rs 353), Chhattisgarh (Rs 379) and Bihar (Rs 404) are well below the poverty line. The Union Home Ministry needs to go into such data in Bihar and other states where the Naxalite movement is rapidly growing to chalk out central strategies for poverty alleviation.

The challenge was appreciated by home secretaries in the Sixties. They were keen to institute ministerial mechanisms that would study social conflict in the country in an independent and sensitive manner. This could be used to develop appropriate strategies of intervention by the Centre. L.P. Singh, a farsighted home secretary, set up the Research and Policy Division of the ministry for this purpose. One of the earliest reports on the causes and nature of agrarian tensions, in the late Sixties, had clearly warned that the ‘green revolution’ could well turn into a ‘red revolution’ if suitable steps were not taken to correct the emerging agrarian imbalances. Unfortunately, only weak action could be taken, with results that are only too visible today. But unfortunately, the Research and Policy Division has been wound up.

The ministry today relies far too heavily on the admittedly law-and-order oriented reports churned out by the overwhelmingly IPS-dominated IB. The ministry must create its own sources of information gathering and analysis on social tensions. Collation and analysis of such data must be the task of inter-disciplinary study-cum-action groups of social scientists, civil servants and social activists. Until then, responses are bound to remain weak or confused, especially with regard to complex social movements such as the Naxals. We should not be carried away by the reports skewed to include law-and-order considerations — this will only be misleading.

The writer is a former IPS officer. He retired as DG of the State Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development, Government of Tripura

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Village Naxal poser murdered by NAXALS

Jharkhand at a Glance

Jamshedpur: Chandil police, on Monday, recovered the body of a tribal youth, Bholaram Oraon, suspected to have been killed by extremists late Sunday night. District police sources suspect that a group of eight armed rebels had visited Oraon’s residence at Raidih village late Saturday night.
Later, villagers found his body at the side of Chowk-Chandil Road early Sunday morning. His throat was slit and there were bullet marks on his body.

Sources added that Oraon had a criminal background and had eight cases to his name at the Chandil police station. “Although our investigations are on, we do not think rebels have killed him. The murder could be fall out of personal enmity,” the Chandil police claimed.

But district police insiders admitted that they suspect the rebels. Apparently, they have the information that Oraon was misusing the Naxalite name to collect levy and terrorise the locals for quite some time now.

“The feedback that we received from villagers was that the killers had come in army fatigues. Moreover, the victim had put up posters on behalf of the rebels warning villagers of dire consequences if they did not pay levy. These type of activities might have irked the rebels,” a senior police official commented.

Meanwhile, the rebel leader, Naveen Bhattacharjee, who was arrested by the west Singhbhum police on Saturday, has revealed names of many sympathisers from urban areas of West Bengal involved in Naxalite activity.

Naxalite couple nabbed

BHUBANESWAR, Dec. 5. — A sex racket operating from a posh locality here, allegedly under the patronage of a ruling leader, sparked an uproar in the Assembly today with the Opposition demanding a full-fledged discussion on the matter.

The Opposition members staged a dharna in the Well and shouted slogans, some of which are unprintable, against the chief minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik and a BJD leader. As the noisy scenes continued the Speaker adjourned the House. Some ruling members, at one point of time, also started indulging in slogan mongering against the Congress.

Trouble started right from the first question when the Congress members, Mr Gajadhar Majhi and Mr LB Mohapatra, wanted to know from the chief minister as to who owned the house where the alleged brothel was operating besides the name of the kingpin’s husband.

Mr Patnaik replied that he had not received any information on this and sought time to learn the matter. Agitated over his reply, the Congress members trooped into the Well of the House. At this point of time, OGP member Mr Arun Dey stood up and referred to a news item in a local daily on the matter.
But when he named the alleged owner of the house raided by the police, the Speaker expunged it from the records.

Amidst the noise and din, Mr Dey was heard shouting that this was a case of stifling the voice of Opposition and gagging the press.

Earlier, replying to a question on the police raids at a private guest house, chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik said that it was being run by one Mrs Mamata Patra who had taken the building on rent. While eight persons were arrested in connection with the incident two more accused, including Mrs Patra, are absconding, he said while adding that all efforts were being made to arrest them.

Dissatisfied with the reply, several Congress members tried to raise supplementary questions. The House fell into turmoil as the Congress members rushed into the Well.
During a brief resumption, amidst the series of adjournments, Mr Arun Dey, Mr Nalinikanta Mohanty and Mr Satyabhusan Sahu pressed for a full-fledged discussion on the issue.

The ruling BJD members — Pradip Maharathy, Ranendra Pratap Swain and Debi Prasad Mishra — tried to take an offensive stand by stating that they were prepared for a discussion which should include several cases of the past including those of Anjana Mishra and Babita Panda.

For most part of the morning session, the entire Opposition continued to occupy the Well of the House raising slogans, trying to climb the Speaker’s podium and banging the reporters’ tables. The pandemonium continued till the House was adjourned for lunch. — SNS

Top Naxalite leader arrested in Orissa

Koraput Orissa | December 05, 2005 8:41:10 PM IST

A top naxalite leader, Nageswar Rao, carrying Rs two lakh on his head was arrested along with his wife during a combing operation from Padua forest, about 85 km from here late last night.
Koraput Superintendent of Police Arun Bothra told newsmen here today that Mr Rao was operating on Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border as Area Commander of Papul Dalam and was involved in a series of Naxalite attacks and landmine blast in both Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

He said the Naxalite leader was involved in Gompakunda landmine blast in 2003 in which ten policemen were killed. He also led the attack on Kalimela and Motu police stations in 2002 and Maliguda police station in 2001.

The SP said Nageswar Rao has been actively involved in as many as 20 naxalite attacks in Koraput and Rayagada district during the last ten years.


Leftwing Monster: Mao Zedong

By Steve Mosher | December 6, 2005

This is the sixth article in our "Leftwing Monsters" series, the first of which featured Humberto Fontova's profile of Fidel Castro. "Leftwing Monsters" is a feature of where the entire series will be archived -- The Editors.

Mao Zedong was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death in 1976. Chairman Mao, as he became known to generations of admiring Western leftists, is arguably the greatest mass murderer in history, eclipsing even the murderous Joseph Stalin in this regard. Some 70 million Chinese, along with countless Tibetans, Mongolians, Manchus, Koreans, Hmong, Uyghurs, and other nationalities, perished at his hands during his long and brutal reign.

Mao was born into a rich peasant family in a valley called Shaoshan, set in the heartland of China in Hunan province, on 26 December 1893. Hopelessly doted upon by his mother, alienated from his hard-working father, Mao balked at having to dirty his hands with farm work, once even threatening suicide in protest. Instead he successfully insisted that his father send him away to school.[1] He arrived in the provincial capital of Changsha in 1911 at the age of seventeen, turning his back forever on peasant life.

He later claimed that his peasant upbringing had filled him with concern for the plight of poor peasants, but there is no contemporary evidence of this. Indeed, one of his early teachers wrote how Mao had told him that in “his clan … it is easy for them [peasants] to get rich.”[2] Mao also maintained that, as a young man, he was moved by the sight of people starving. But he was in Changsha during a famine when, according to a friend of Mao’s, the numerous beggars “looked like skeletons wrapped in yellow skin.” There is no mention of these unfortunates in Mao’s writings of the time.

Instead, as his early journals make clear, Mao admitted no duty towards or responsibility for anyone other than himself. Indeed, he described himself as wu fa wu tian, which literally means “without law and without heaven.” As he wrote, “I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motive of one’s actions has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others … People like me want to … satisfy our hearts to the full, and in doing so we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are all there only for me. … People like me only have a duty to ourselves; we have no duty to other people.”[3]

He considered himself to be a “Great Hero,” and argued that, for this elite group, absolute selfishness and irresponsibility was the rule: “Everything outside their nature, such as restrictions and constraints, must be swept away by the great strength in their nature. … When Great Heroes give full play to their impulses, they are magnificently powerful, stormy and invincible. Their power is like … a sex maniac in heat and prowling for a lover … there is no way to stop them.”[4]

(Chairman Mao was a sex maniac, as it turned out, who in his later years did in fact prove unstoppable. Around 1953 the “Great Hero” ordered the People’s Liberation Army to provide him with a steady stream of fresh, young, attractive female “recruits.” Leading General Peng Dehuai, later purged, bitterly complained about having to pimp for Mao, comparing it to “selecting imperial concubines."[5] Unlike imperial concubines, however, who had lived in the Forbidden City, had a certain status, and were well cared for, most of Mao’s date rape victims were warned by his bodyguards never to speak of what had happened—and sent packing.)

Mao Zedong, who was at least as well versed in Chinese history as in Marxist dialectics, envisioned himself as much the founding emperor of a new dynasty as the ruler of a Communist state. His poem “White Snow,” written in 1936 during the Yenan years, scarcely cloaks his vaunting ambition:

How beautiful these mountains and rivers,

enticing countless heroes to war and strife.

Too bad that Emperors Qin Shihuang and Han Wudi lacked culture

and that Emperors Tang Taizong and Song Taizu lacked romance.

Genghis Khan was the pride of his time,

though he was only good at shooting eagles with his bow.

They all belong to a time gone by,
Only today is a True Hero present.[6]

The True Hero was proposing himself, correctly as it worked out, to be superior in both ability and ruthlessness to the founders of the Qin, Han, Tang, and Song dynasties. If he was offended by comparisons that many made between himself and Emperor Qin Shihuang, arguably the most hated figure in Chinese history, it was only because he saw himself as Emperor Qin’s superior in ruthlessness and cunning. At the Second Plenum of the Eighth Party Congress in May 1958, Mao scoffed, “Emperor Qin Shihuang was not that outstanding. He only buried alive 460 Confucian scholars. We buried 460 thousand Confucian scholars. [Some democratic personages] have accused us of being Emperor Qin Shihuang. This is not true [I told them]. We are a hundred times worse than Emperor Qin. To the charge of being like Emperor Qin, of being a dictator, we plead guilty. But you have not said nearly enough [I told them], for often we have to go further [than Emperor Qin Shihuang did].”[7]

In another of his poems, Mao contrasted his admiration for Emperor Qin Shihuang and the Legalist order to his utter disdain for Confucius:

Please don’t slander Emperor Qin Shihuang, Sir

For the burning of the books should be thought through again.

Our ancestral dragon, though dead, lives on in spirit,

While Confucius, though renowned, was really rubbish.

The Qin order has survived from age to age. . . .

Mao’s disdain for Confucianism was rooted less in his Marxist-Leninism than in his drive for power. Mao despised the old Confucian orthodoxy for its impracticalities, for its moral niceties, for its preachiness about virtue and benevolence. Even more, he despised it because its tottering remains stood in the way of building a strong state that would dominate the Chinese and neighboring peoples. Confucius had preached what is known as “the silver rule”: “Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Mao’s motto—what should perhaps be called “the black rule”—was “Do unto others what you would not want done unto yourself.”

Growing up around the turn of the twentieth century, Mao had steeped himself in Chinese historical classics, absorbing the frank and brutal advice they offered to would-be Hegemons.[8] “Know the future in the mirror of the past,” as the Chinese say, Jian wang zhi lai. His ambition was to found a dynasty by naked force, to be a new Emperor Qin Shihuang, to rule all of China’s traditional domains through the same kind of totalitarian institutions. To successfully establish the “Qin order” in the modern age, however, he needed a replacement for Confucianism, a new legitimating ideology that the people could be taught. He needed to reconfigure imperial rule for modern times.

With the victory of the Communist revolution in Russia, Mao found an unlikely companion for his totalitarian ambitions: an imported Marxist ideology that was every bit as statist and elitist as traditional Chinese political culture, while at the same time claiming to be even more “modern” and “progressive” than its chief ideological opponent, liberal democracy.[9]

Democracy, after all, would be the nemesis of Mao’s ambitions, dispersing power among elected representatives instead of concentrating it in his hands, weakening instead of strengthening the state, empowering rather than subjugating the people. The principle of the self-determination of peoples, in particular, threatened to undermine hegemony by opening the possibility that border regions where minorities were numerically dominant, such as Tibet and Xinjiang, would go their own way. He detested the Christianity underlying Western values and feared that the weakening, even the dissolution, of China would result from the widespread propagation of such altruistic views.

While formally acknowledging civil rights and the equality of man, Marxist-Leninism was an enabler for Mao. It defended the monopoly of power by an educated elite (and in practice by one “Great Hero”), and defined a relationship between state and society very much in keeping with China’s autocratic tradition. It was a much more effective tool of indoctrination than Confucianism and, with its pseudoscientific terminology, provided a stronger defense for autocratic rule. As a bonus, it even commanded a respectful audience in the very heart of Western society.

Mao saw Communism as an allegory for hegemony, showing how the revolution that had come to China was predestined to spread to neighboring countries. Meanwhile, China could keep a tight grip on border regions; it would only be a matter of time until a common proletarian identity unified China’s diverse ethnic nationalities. Mao, already a leftwing radical, decided for very practical reasons to become a Communist.

It was largely due to Mao that the early history of the Chinese Communist Party is encrusted in self-serving myths. For example, official histories—along with most accounts by Western scholars--date the Party’s founding to 1921 to bolster Mao’s false claim of being a founding member, when it was actually begun the year before without him.[10] Nor was it even a Chinese initiative, having originated in Moscow in what Mao biographers Chang and Halliday call “a huge secret program of action and subversion for China, starting a commitment of money, men, and arms three decades long, which culminated in bringing the Communists under Mao to power in 1949.”[11] Young Mao, though he proved difficult to manage, was effectively in Moscow’s pay from 1921 onward.

After a flirtation with the Nationalists, whom the opportunistic Mao for a time cast his lot with, he was driven out by Chiang Kai-shek, who in 1927 moved to reduce the influence of Communists and suspected Communists in Nationalist ranks. Mao then returned to Hunan, where he managed to convince the Party Central Committee, based in Shanghai, to let him lead an August assault on the provincial capital of Changsha. For the first time, troops were placed under his command.

This episode--the beginning of the myth of Mao as a peasant leader--appears in history books as the “Autumn Harvest Uprising.” In fact, in what the Soviets called an act of the “most despicable treachery and cowardice,” Mao called off the assault before it began.[12] Instead, he made off with his new “Red Army,” taking them into the remote fastnesses of the Jinggang mountains to become “mountain lords,” or bandits.

For this duplicity, a furious Central Committee stripped him of all his posts. But Mao, now safe in his lair, could not be budged. He cleverly passed his Party post along to a stooge while as “Division Commander,” a title he had awarded himself, he kept a firm grip on the army. Mao kept the base alive by raiding surrounding areas, even capturing a county seat. Stalin, who was impressed that Mao had an army and a base, ultimately intervened on his behalf. He was insubordinate, Stalin later remarked to the Yugoslavs, who knew something about insubordination, but a winner.[13]

Another myth created by Mao was the Long March, which began in October 1934. Most history books recount how the Red Army, guns blazing, fought its way out of the Nationalist armies that had encircled its southern base and through hostile provinces to reach the Red Base of Yenan in the far north a full year later. But this heroic epic—the central myth of Communist China--is a complete fabrication. In reality Chiang Kai-shek, who had encircled the Red Base with a 500,000-man army and four lines of blockhouses bristling with machine guns, simply allowed them to decamp. He opened “one side of the net,” thereafter using his superior forces to herd the increasingly pitiful Red forces along like sheep until they reached his intended destination. Chiang made absolutely sure that the Reds would flee to Yenan by allowing the Communist base there to flourish, while others elsewhere in China were vigorously stamped out. The so-called Long March should properly be recorded in the history books as a forced march.

Why did Chiang “relocate” the Red Army instead of simply destroying it? The Generalissimo was afraid that Stalin would execute his only son, Ching-kuo, at that time nine years a hostage in the USSR. The Confucian-minded Chiang did not want to betray his ancestors by leaving no male descendants. He herded the Reds to the north to please Stalin, knowing that the Soviet supremo wanted them where he could control them, arm them, and use them against the looming Japanese threat. Chiang hopes for the return of his son went unfulfilled, however, and the Red Army was fatefully able to “link up” with Moscow.

To visiting Westerners, Mao claimed that he had won the Chinese civil war with “only millet plus rifles,” but research into the Soviet archives has uncovered regular payments from Moscow to the CCP, including receipts dating from the 1930s for US$300,000 (worth about US4 million today) signed and sealed by none other than “Mao Zedong” himself.[14] Without this generous and continuing support from his Soviet “older brothers,” which included, after World War II, the entire arsenal of the surrendered Japanese Army in Manchuria, Mao would have remained a minor bandit on China’s periphery. Instead, with Soviet aid, he had by 1949 extended his writ to all of China.

Mao was mightily assisted in his conquests by Western journalists. Chief among these was socialist Edgar Snow, whose Red Star Over China (1938) airbrushed the Chinese Communist into an austere patriot dedicated to agrarian reform. Later journalistic visitors to Yenan, well-fed and pampered, isolated from the dark side of Mao’s rule, likewise fell under the same spell. Guenther Stein of the Christian Science Monitor declared ecstatically that “the men and women pioneers of Yenan are truly new humans in spirit, thought and action,” and that Yenan itself constituted “a brand new well integrated society, that has never been seen before anywhere.”[15] Most agreed with A. T. Steele of the New York Herald Tribune, who thought that a Communist victory would “open the way to a new day in China.”[16]

They were carefully isolated from, and completely oblivious to, the terror that underlay Mao’s rule in Yenan.

Rule by Terror

From the beginning, Mao had been no stranger to murder and mass executions, always in the pursuit of power. Given a heartfelt welcome in Yenan in October 1935 by a local Red army that outnumbered his own, Mao had 200 of its officers shot for “rightwing deviations” and the popular base commander, Liu Chih-tan, assassinated. He destroyed rival Politburo member Chang Kuo-tao’s army in 1936 by sending it on a hopeless mission into the wastes of the Gobi desert, and then ordered that the survivors of this debacle be executed—after being forced to dig their own graves. In 1941 he had Politburo rival Wang Ming poisoned—twice—crippling his health and forcing him to seek medical treatment in Moscow. Many more examples of his utter ruthlessness could be cited.

But what really distinguishes Mao as a leftwing monster is his use of terror to systematically destroy entire classes of people who might prove obstacles to his rule, deliberately striking fear—and instilling blind obedience--into the remainder of the population. Mao had written in the early twenties that China “must be destroyed and then re-formed.” Once in power, he began applying the Leninist principle of class struggle to the Chinese people under his control.

Mao launched his first terror campaign, called a zheng-feng in Chinese,[17] from 1942-44. It was aimed at the tens of thousands of young volunteers who had come to Yenan and other base areas in response to Communist--and Western--propaganda. Expecting to enter into a patriotic, egalitarian paradise, they instead found themselves trapped in joyless, regimented hellholes from which escape was nearly impossible and even the attempt was punishable by death.

Mao needed to turn these increasingly disillusioned volunteers into obedient cogs for his machine. So, after torturing one of their number into confessing that he was a Nationalist spy, he had them all placed in detention for “screening.” Because their numbers were so great, most remained in their places of work, but were kept under watch, forbidden to leave of have visitors, and subjected to interrogations. As Chang and Halliday comment, “turning ordinary organizations into virtual prisons was a significant innovation of Mao’s … Here he went far beyond anything either Hitler or Stalin achieved.”[18]

The torture that followed produced hundreds of absurd confessions of spying. But its real purpose lay elsewhere. It was intended to break the will of these idealistic young people to resist until they, like Winston in George Orwell’s 1984, would swear that four fingers were actually five—or however many Chairman Mao wanted there to be. Mao’s reality was the only “reality” they were allowed to possess.

After winning the civil war, Mao launched one terror campaign after another, each aimed at neutralizing this or that class of enemies:

· The “campaign to suppress counterrevolutionaries” in 1950, in which many of those in any way associated with the Nationalist regime were arrested and shot, terrorizing the political class.

· The “land reform” of 1950-53, in which not just large landowners but smallholders were publicly condemned and tortured, often to death, terrorizing the rural population.

· The “three-antis” campaign of 1951, referring to embezzlement, waste and something called “bureaucratism,” really slacking, succeeded in terrorizing the ranks of Communist government officials.

· The “five-antis” campaign of 1952, against bribery, tax evasion, pilfering state property, cheating, and stealing economic information, aimed at terrorizing the China’s capitalist class.

· The “collectivization of agriculture,” from 1953 to 1958, forced the peasantry into ever-larger collective farms run by the state.

· The “anti-rightist” campaign of 1957, aimed at critics of the regime of all stripes.

· The famous Great Leap Forward, from 1958-60, which resulted in the creation of the People’s Communes—and the deliberate pauperization of the peasantry.

Each of these campaigns cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives, and reduced another portion of the population to abject servility. Official propaganda touted these movements as popular in origin, and necessary to destroy roadblocks to the brave new world of modern China. Predictably, these fabrications and others endlessly repeated by starry-eyed overseas sympathizers. Professor John K. Fairbank of Harvard, for example, wrote in the Atlantic Monthly in 1957 that the regime’s controls over “prices, person and minds, mobilizing of patriotic youth, collectivizing the rural economy and pushing of industrialization” were “remarkable successes” and great achievements.”[19] Not a word about the Maoist terrors that now held the Chinese people in a grip of fear, nor about Mao’s larger aims.

Mao intended his terrors to preempt opposition to his rule, of course, but the “True Hero” had a greater purpose in mind: The Chairman wanted to put China on a war footing in preparation for the wars of conquest that he intended to launch.


Left-Wing Monster: Mao Zedong: Part II
By Steve Mosher | December 6, 2005

The Chairman as Hegemon

When, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People’s Republic of China, his words suggested not merely wounded national pride but a thirst for revenge:

The Chinese have always been a great, courageous and industrious nation; it is only in modern times that they have fallen behind. And that was due entirely to oppression and exploitation by foreign imperialism and domestic reactionary governments. . . . Ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation. We have stood up.

In the view of Chairman Mao, a cabal of Western and Western-oriented countries—Russia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and America—had treacherously combined to attack the old Chinese empire, loosening China’s grip on hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory and a dozen tributary states in the process.

Mao reserved special rancor for the United States, fulminating in a bitterly sarcastic speech called “‘Friendship’ or Aggression” in late 1949:

The history of the aggression against China by U.S. imperialism, from 1840 when it helped the British in the Opium War to the time it was thrown out of China by the Chinese people, should be written into a concise textbook for the education of Chinese youth. The United States was one of the first countries to force China to cede extraterritoriality. . . . All the ‘friendship’ shown to China by U.S. imperialism over the past 109 years, and especially the great act of ‘friendship’ in helping Chiang Kai-shek slaughter several million Chinese the last few years—all this had one purpose [according to the Americans] . . . first, to maintain the Open Door, second, to respect the administrative and territorial integrity of China and, third, to oppose any foreign domination of China. Today, the only doors still open to [U.S. Secretary of State] Acheson and his like are in small strips of land, such as Canton and Taiwan.[20]

Mao now controlled all of China proper. But it wasn’t enough. Even as a young man he had dreamed of controlling a global empire, musing in a poem: “I ask the boundless earth, who after all will be your master?”

Once in power, he launched a program to industrialize and (secretly) to militarize China. Spending of the military and its arms industries took up three-fifths of the budget, a ratio that even his chief arms supplier, Joseph Stalin, criticized as “very unbalanced.”[21] Nuclear-tipped ICBMs were a particular priority. The end game was Chinese hegemony or, as he bluntly told his inner circle in 1956, “We must control the earth.”

The disastrous Great Leap Forward—in which the peasants were dragooned into large, state-controlled communes--must be understood as an outgrowth of Mao’s lust for ever-expanding power. The Chairman wanted steel not just “to overtake Great Britain in steel production in three years,” as the standard histories relate, but to build a blue water navy for conquest. “Now the Pacific Ocean is not peaceful,” he told his leading generals and admirals on June 28, 1958. “It can only be peaceful when we take it over.” Lin Biao, Mao’s closest ally in the military, then interjected: “We must build big ships, and be prepared to land in [i.e., invade] Japan, the Philippines, and San Francisco.” [Italics added]. Mao continued: “How many years before we can build such ships? In 1962, when we have XX-XX tons of steel [figures concealed in original]…”[22]

Calling together his provincial chiefs later in 1958, Mao was even more expansive: “In the future we will set up the Earth Control Committee, and make a uniform plan for the Earth.” Observe Chang and Halliday: “Mao dominated China. He intended to dominate the world.”

The fact is that Mao was in a hurry to industrialize, build a first-class war machine, and become the Hegemon. Yet, virtually the only thing he had to sell to the Soviet Union in exchange for arms was food. Setting up large, centrally controlled people’s communes allowed him to more efficiently extract food and work out of the peasantry. Loudspeakers were set up to urge the peasants to work longer and harder, and women were forced into the fields to work alongside the men for the first time. Most of the grain they produced was turned over by the Communist cadres in charge to local “state collection stations.” For there it was shipped to the cities—and to the Soviet Union.

As the Great Leap Forward picked up speed, senior officials kept increasing the quotas of grain to be delivered to the state collection stations. In response, commune-level cadres worked the peasants longer and longer hours on shorter and shorter rations. Mao, who saw people only as means to his ends, was unmoved by reports that millions of peasants were starving to death. Instead, this ruthless megalomaniac calmly declared that, to further his global ambitions, “half of China may well have to die.”

The people’s communes were arguably the greatest instrument of state exploitation ever devised. They proved so efficient at squeezing the peasantry that tens of millions of villagers starved to death from 1960-62 as a result. Mao’s efforts to build up his arsenal cost an estimated 42.5 million lives.

News of the famine was suppressed by the regime, and what were innocuously called “food shortages” were blamed on bad weather. American leftists and academics once again proved to be Mao’s willing collaborators, swallowing and regurgitating his lies.[23] Edgar Snow came back from his 1960 trip to write that “One of the few things I can say with certainty is that mass starvation such as China knew almost annually under former regimes no longer occurs.”[24] Professor Fairbank’s introductory history of modern China, The United States and China, dismisses the worst famine in human history in a sentence: “Malnutrition was widespread and some starvation occurred.”[25]

The Imperial Project

Mao believed that China’s greatness, Communism’s universalism, and his own destiny as a “Great Hero,” demanded empire-building. Lost territories must be recaptured, straying vassals must be recovered, and one-time tributary states must once again be forced to follow Beijing’s lead. Military action--engaging the Japanese invaders, defeating the Nationalists, and capturing the cities—had delivered China into his hands. Now military action would restore the empire. For these reasons Mao intervened in Korea in the early years of his rule, invaded Tibet, bombarded Quemoy, continued to bluster over Taiwan, attacked India over Tibetan border questions, confronted the Soviet Union, and gave massive amounts of military aid to Vietnam.

Maps were drawn up showing China’s borders extending far to the north, south and west of the area that the PLA actually controlled. Any territory that had been touched by China, however briefly, was regarded as rightfully Beijing’s. Fr. Seamus O’Reilly, a Columban missionary who was one of the last foreign Catholic priests to leave China in 1953, recalls seeing, in the office of the local Communist officials who interrogated him, a map of the PRC that included all of Southeast Asia—Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Singapore--within China’s borders.[26]

But such maps were marked for internal distribution only. For Mao, although willing to go to war to restore China’s imperium piecemeal, was uncharacteristically coy about his overall imperial aims. Even as his troops were engaged in Korea or Tibet, he continually sought to reassure the world, in the policy equivalent of a Freudian slip, “We will never seek hegemony.” Once he had vanquished his enemies, Mao may have been open about his dictatorial aims at home, but along his borders he still faced an array of powerful forces. The United States occupied Japan and South Korea, and had bases in the Philippines and Thailand. The British were in Hong Kong and Malaysia. Even his erstwhile ally, the Soviet Union, was occupying large swaths of Chinese territory in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.

“When hemmed in, resort to stratagems,” advised Sun-tzu. The diplomatic establishment of the PRC, headed by the charming and crafty Premier Zhou Enlai, developed not just one stratagem, but three. The first was for China to play the role of a loyal member of the Soviet-dominated Communist bloc. The second was taking an anticolonial posture as a member—indeed the leading member—of the Third World, a posture used to great effect with India, for example. The third stratagem, which proved increasingly useful as time went on, was posing as a responsible member of the post-Westphalian international system, a respecter of international agreements and international borders, merely one nation-state among many.

As befits a well-designed stratagem, each of these postures seemed to reflect a certain truth about the PRC. Mao’s adopted ideology demanded that lip service, at least, be paid to international Communist unity, but the relationship of China’s “revolutionary, statesman, theoretician and scientist” with Stalin was complicated from the beginning. Mao was grateful for Stalin’s aid, but suspicious that the Soviet leader was trying to keep China disunited and weak, and more often than not rejected his advice. In 1936 he ousted the “28 Bolsheviks” that Stalin’s Comintern had foisted upon the CCP, thus reducing Moscow’s influence over his guerilla movement. In 1945 he rejected out of hand Stalin’s staggering suggestion that he disband his army and join Chiang Kai-shek’s government, advice which he later ridiculed.[27]

The USSR’s late entry into the war against Japan had allowed Soviet troops to occupy parts of Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and Xinjiang. Mao could do little about this insult to China’s sovereignty until the CCP had emerged victorious in the civil war, when he journeyed to the Soviet Union for two months of hard negotiations with Stalin. The terms of the Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance, which Mao and Stalin signed on February 12, 1950, gave Moscow a degree of economic and political leverage within China all too reminiscent of the old colonial days. Mao had told Edgar Snow in the late 1930s that Mongolia would “automatically” be part of the new China. Now he was forced to concede the existence of a separate “People’s Republic of Mongolia.”[28]

By 1958 Mao was publicly expressing unhappiness over the way these negotiations had gone: “In 1950 I argued with Stalin in Moscow for two months. On the questions of the Treaty of Mutual Assistance, the Chinese Eastern Railway, the joint-stock companies and the border we adopted two attitudes: one was to argue when the other side made proposals we did not agree with, and the other was to accept their proposal if they absolutely insisted. This was out of consideration for the interests of socialism.”[29]

Despite his unhappiness at Russian “colonialism,” Mao had accomplished his principal goals, which were the removal of all Soviet forces from Chinese soil, the return of the China Eastern Railway and Dalian (Port Arthur), and the avoidance of any additional territorial concessions. Mao’s determination to recover China’s lost grandeur did not include kowtowing to one of the imperialistic powers that had humiliated it, even if it happened to be a member of the same ideological camp. For the Chinese, Soviet ascendance meant domination by a people that, rightly or wrongly, they regarded as culturally inferior. “The hungry land,” as they called Russia, was not going to devour any additional Chinese territory.[30]

On January 12, 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a speech at the National Press Club, the main thrust of which was that China, left alone by the West, would soon break with the Soviet Union. The Soviet “absorption” of Outer and Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Manchuria, he vigorously asserted, was “the most important fact in the relations of any foreign power with Asia.” America must avoid conflict with China so as not to “deflect from the Russians to ourself the righteous anger and the wrath and the hatred of the Chinese people which must develop.”[31]

Ironically, Acheson's speech is not remembered for its prescience on the issue of a Sino-Soviet split, but for its contribution to the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean peninsula. Having been assured that Stalin had not targeted South Korea for aggression, Acheson famously failed to include it within the U.S. defense perimeter in Asia as he defined it. North Korean Communist dictator Kim Il Sung soon thereafter won Stalin’s agreement to a limited offensive and, on June 25 of that same year, the entire North Korean army poured across the border and fell upon the almost defenseless south.

This was Mao’s first opportunity to reassert China’s traditional prerogatives over one-time vassal states. With the world’s attention fixed on the Korean peninsula, he sent elements of the People’s Liberation Army to take control of Tibet. The Dalai Lama was forced to sign an agreement on October 21, 1950, acknowledging Chinese sovereignty. Tibet became a protectorate of China, although it would continue, for a time, to control its own domestic affairs.

On the Korean peninsula the war had quickly turned against Kim Il Sung. By late November 1950, American forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur were approaching the Yalu River, which separates Korea from China. With his half-kingdom fast disappearing, Kim appealed to China for succor—exactly what tributary states were expected to do when threatened by outside powers.

Mao responded promptly with a grand imperial gesture, throwing a huge “volunteer” army into the fray. He was not reacting to a threat but seizing an opportunity, in this case to reestablish Chinese suzerainty over a once and future tributary state.[32] Recklessly inviting casualties, the Chinese army advanced by overwhelming the beleaguered Americans in wave after wave of attacks, eventually forcing them to retreat south of the 38th parallel. After intense fighting, the front was consolidated near the 38th parallel in October, and Kim Il Sung’s half-kingdom was restored.

Mao later summed up the Korean War in a 1958 speech to his generals as “a big war in which we defeated America and obtained valuable experience.”[33] With Korea regarded strictly as a military contest, Mao’s comment may seem mere conceit. After all, the PLA lost at least a quarter of a million men (as opposed to some 34,000 American casualties), gained no territory over the original North-South partition, and settled for a negotiated armistice. Viewed as a bid to recover a tributary state, however, Mao’s intervention was an impressive first step. He fought the United States to a standstill, establishing China as a military power to be reckoned with. He impressed the Soviets, who had been unwilling to commit ground forces into the fray. Even more importantly, he had brought at least the northern half of the Korean peninsula back into its traditional relationship of dependency on China. The first step toward the restoration of Chinese hegemony over Asia had been taken.

The Sino-Soviet Split

Although Mao was never comfortable with the Soviet domination of the Sino-Soviet relationship, he was for many years careful to avoid open criticism. But Khrushchev’s “secret speech” discrediting Stalin, delivered to the CPSU Twentieth Congress in February 1956, marked a turning point. Whatever compunctions Mao may have felt about privately criticizing the Soviet leadership vanished.

Talking to the Politburo in 1956, Mao warned, “We must not blindly follow the Soviet Union. . . . Every fart has some kind of smell, and we cannot say that all Soviet farts smell sweet.” He was irritated that his countrymen worshipped all things Soviet. He complained at one point that he “couldn’t have eggs or chicken soup for three years because an article appeared in the Soviet Union which said that one shouldn’t eat them. . . . It didn’t matter whether the article was current or not, the Chinese listened all the same and respectfully obeyed.” He mocked Chinese artists who, when painting pictures of him and the diminutive Stalin, “always made me a little bit shorter, thus blindly knuckling under to the moral pressure exerted by the Soviet Union at that time.”[34] He remained conciliatory in public, however, largely because he was hoping to get his hands on Soviet nuclear weapons.

Mao’s eagerness to acquire nuclear weapons, so as to confirm him as the leader of a great power, knew no bounds. Although he had earlier rejected, as an affront to Chinese sovereignty, a Soviet offer to set up its own nuclear bases on Chinese soil, he managed to convince Stalin’s successor to aid China’s nuclear weapons program in return for massive shipments of foodstuffs to the Soviet Union. A nuclear technology transfer agreement to this end was signed in 1957. Under this agreement, Khrushchev later recalled, the Chinese received “almost everything they asked for. We kept no secrets from them. Our nuclear experts co-operated with their engineers and designers who were busy building a bomb.”[35]

The Soviets were about to hand over a prototype bomb when Mao’s saber rattling over Taiwan spooked them. As Mao prepared to invade Quemoy (Jinmen) and Matsu (Mazu) in September 1958, Khrushchev advised caution. Mao was deeply offended, in part because he no longer respected Soviet military advice.[36] So it was that when Khrushchev pointedly reminded him that America possessed nuclear weapons, Mao airily dismissed the possibility of mass casualties. “So what if we lose 300 million people,” the Great Helmsman told a stunned Khrushchev. “Our women will make it up in a generation.”

Not surprisingly, in June 1959, Khrushchev unilaterally abrogated the agreement that was to have provided China with an atomic weapon.[37] Mao was furious. In September of that year he angrily denounced Soviet meddling in Chinese affairs, telling members of the Military Affairs Commission, “It is absolutely impermissible to go behind the back of our fatherland to collude with a foreign country.”[38] The Soviets were “revisionists,” China was soon telling the world, and a greater threat than American “imperialism.” In going his own way, Mao was now less a part of an international revolutionary movement than the reawakening Hegemon slowly exerting control over ever wider territory.[39]

With the onset of the Cultural Revolution, the war of words escalated, and armed clashes broke out at several points along the 4,000-mile border with the Soviet Union. Mao dispatched additional troops to the border and on March 2, 1969, on the Chairman’s orders, a battalion-sized PLA force ambushed Soviet patrols on the Wusuli River. The Soviets promptly retaliated, and during the next two years there were repeated skirmishes at many points along the frontier.

The Ninth Party Congress, held April 1–24 that same year, took an openly hegemonic tone. The only published speech was that of Lin Biao, then Chairman Mao’s heir apparent, who repeated Mao’s formula that a third world war would promote revolution and dig the graves of both revisionism and imperialism. “We must be ready for a conventional war and also for an atomic war,” Lin said. “Both the Soviet Union and the United States are paper tigers.” The present border between the Soviet Union and China could be made the basis of negotiation, he avowed, but Moscow would first have to admit that the historical border treaties were “unequal treaties.”[40]

Instead, the Soviets threatened nuclear attacks on the Chinese heartland, and deployed forty-four heavily armed mobile assault divisions along the border. The crises gradually passed and no territory changed hands, but the message was clear: The existing border was ultimately dependent on Soviet strength, not Mao’s acquiescence.

Strangling Tibet

After PLA troops entered Tibet in 1950, the government of the Dalai Lama was gradually isolated. Those members of the international community who questioned Chinese actions were haughtily informed that the Tibetan question was a purely internal affair. The Himalayan plateau had been an integral part of China for centuries, Beijing’s story went, having been brought under China’s sway as early as the seventh century, when the Tang Emperor Li Shimin sent his daughter Princess Wencheng as a bride to the great Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. The princess then bestowed culture on the uncouth Tibetans, bringing them and their land forever into the debt and the orbit of China’s superior civilization.

In fact, the emperor sent his favorite daughter, famed for her beauty and talents, as a peace offering to Songsten Gampo because he had a healthy respect for the military prowess of his Himalayan neighbors, not because he intended to civilize them. Had the Tibetan king been seeking a closer association with Chinese culture, the tribute would have flowed the other way.

Chairman Mao, having promised to respect Tibet’s autonomy, instead gradually suffocated its political and religious institutions during the 1950s. Half the land of traditional Tibet was carved up and handed over to other provinces where Chinese were in the majority. The process of Sinicization was accelerated during the chaotic days of the Great Leap Forward, when Mao’s cadres carried class warfare into the Land of the Snows, sacking monasteries and killing monks. When the Tibetans rose in protest in 1959, Beijing, claiming that the Tibetan local government had “instigated a rebellion,” used brute force to consolidate total control.[41]

On March 25, 1959, after heavy fighting, Chinese Communist troops occupied Lhasa. The Dalai Lama fled the capital. Beijing announced that its army had “swiftly put down the rebellion in Lhasa and was mopping up the rebels in some other places in Tibet.” The Tibetan government under the Dalai Lama was formally dissolved, replaced by a puppet regime headed by the 21-year-old Panchen Lama. For the first time since the thirteenth century, the Tibetans did not control their own country.[42]

To justify their intervention, the Chinese Communists invented a mythological Tibet where the masses were enslaved by a slothful priestly class. The propaganda machine churned out horror stories of a dark and brutal theocracy of bonded labor, vast monastic fiefs, indolent monks and immoral abbots. As late as 1998 the Chinese Communist Party, in the person of Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, was still patting itself on the back for ending monkish “slavery” in Tibet.[43]

In order to bring the partly nomadic Tibetan population under control—and generate more grain to build arms—Mao had Tibetans herded into communes, a new form of serfdom far worse than anything in Tibet’s past. As in China proper, the commune system proved to be an economic and ecological disaster of the first magnitude. Chinese agricultural officials ordered the Tibetans to raise wheat rather than the barley they preferred, and the resulting crop failures on the high Himalayan plain with its short growing season left them malnourished.

Meanwhile, the monasteries and nunneries were emptied and the resident monks and nuns put to work in the communes. The 70,000-character Petition of the Panchen Lama, written in 1962, states that 97 percent of Tibet’s two thousand monasteries were destroyed following the 1959 uprising, presumably by the People’s Liberation Army. A few years later, the Cultural Revolution completed this destructive work. All of China suffered from the depredations of Chairman Mao’s Red Guards, but Tibet, outside the Chinese cultural sphere, was a special target. Thanks to Beijing’s propaganda, these young zealots saw Tibet as the very embodiment of a corrupt and exploitative feudal tradition, and they set about with picks, shovels and even their bare hands destroying every religious edifice and artifact they could find. By the time their rampage ended, Tibet’s few remaining stupas and lamaseries were in ruins.

War with India

Nehru insisted on recognizing China’s “rights” in Tibet despite the pleas of the Tibetans, along with many Indians, that he weigh in against this new form of Chinese hegemony. His appeasement of the “New China” came back to haunt him in 1959 when Mao, having disposed of the Dalai Lama and his followers, began building military roads right up to the existing Indian-Tibetan border, and then, in early September, ordered troops to cross over into India.

Mao’s aggression took Nehru completely by surprise, which is perhaps less a consequence of his naiveté than of Zhou Enlai’s sophisticated sales pitch about the two countries being fellow victims of the Western imperial powers. The Chinese premier had first visited him in New Delhi in April 1954, stopping over on his way back to China from the signing the Geneva peace accord on Indochina. Zhou played the second international stratagem to the hilt, portraying the PRC as a country with impeccable anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist credentials, a country that was a natural member of the Third World club. Nehru agreed.

To be sure, Nehru had been favorably disposed toward Mao’s China from the beginning. India had been the first “capitalist” country to recognize China (in April 1950), the leading non-Communist proponent for admitting the PRC into the United Nations, and the principal intermediary between Beijing and Washington during the Korean War.

The result of Zhou’s 1954 visit was a joint communiqué based on China’s “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.” Nehru breathlessly announced that relations between India and China would henceforth be governed by “mutual respect for territorial sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-intervention in internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.” These high-sounding principles were reaffirmed at the April 1955 Conference of Asian Countries in New Delhi, and again at the Conference of Asian and African Countries in Bandung, Indonesia.[44] By now, Nehru had assumed the role of Zhou’s patron, eager to advance Zhou’s cause by smoothing over China’s past support for destabilizing guerilla movements throughout the region. For his part, Zhou spoke of the “Bandung Spirit,” a new policy of peacefully wooing nonaligned nations in the region according to the Five Principles. Mesmerized by the Five Principles and the Bandung Spirit, Nehru could not bring himself to see that Mao was intent on making himself the master of Asia.

The Indian delegation at the U.N. was arguing passionately on behalf of Communist China’s admission to the General Assembly on the very day that the Chairman sent Chinese forces pouring across the border into India. As Nehru pondered Mao’s perfidy, PLA troops continued their march southward, seizing two important mountain passes that guard approaches to Sikkim and India.[45]

Nehru allowed two years of border skirmishes before responding to the pleas of his generals for leave to stop the slow-moving Chinese steamroller. Then the ill-planned Indian attack proved a disaster, and the Chinese advance picked up speed. As tens of thousands of square miles of disputed territory passed into Chinese control, Nehru panicked and requested help from the Soviet Union and America. Moscow blasted the Chinese advance, and the Seventh Fleet steamed up the Bay of Bengal. Mao, having gotten the territory he wanted, offered a cease-fire. An overwrought Nehru, who had begun to have nightmares about Chinese troops on the Ganges, was only too glad to accept.


Left-Wing Monster: Mao Zedong: Part III
By Steve Mosher | December 6, 2005

Expansion by Guerrilla

Chairman Mao initially supported Maoist-style Communist parties in Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Burma, India and Thailand. The Malaysian Communist Party launched an armed rebellion, which the Chairman supported until it became clear that the guerrillas were losing. At the Bandung Conference, a conciliatory Zhou Enlai declared that those Chinese who adopted another nationality should be good citizens of the countries they joined. But this pious statement did not completely allay suspicions that Mao was encouraging indigenous Communist movements among the “bridge compatriots” of Southeast Asia.

After the invasion of India, Mao once more began manifesting a new militancy toward countries in Southeast Asia. The Bandung Spirit was a thing of the past. Instead, Chairman Mao began to act in accordance with an ancient Chinese diplomatic principle, yuan chiao chin kung, meaning “to appease distant countries while attacking those nearby.”[46] Faraway Canada, Italy, Belgium, Chile and Mexico were courted for diplomatic recognition, while neighboring countries like Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Laos were attacked in word, and sometimes in deed.

Laos, one of three Indochina states covered by Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) protection, was a specific target of Maoist aggression. Although small in size and population, the country was important because of its strategic location between China, North Vietnam and the non-Communist states of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and South Vietnam. It also had a tributary relationship with China going back centuries. A Communist guerrilla group, the Pathet Lao, began receiving increasing amounts of military aid in the late fifties. The U.S. countered with an expanding program of military and economic assistance. The conflict intensified in 1959 as North Vietnam sent military units across the border to reinforce the Pathet Lao. On September 4, Laos appealed to the U.N. to dispatch an emergency force to counter aggression by North Vietnam. The U.S. responded by warning both the Soviet Union and Communist China that it would help counter any new danger to peace in the region. Mao responded by stepping up aid to the Pathet Lao, who eventually won control of the country, bringing Lao back into China’s orbit.

When America began sending military assistance to South Vietnam in the early sixties, Mao responded by coming to the aid of China’s tributary. The Chairman not only positioned large numbers of troops at the North Vietnamese border as a deterrent to a U.S.-led thrust into the north, he also deployed forces over the border into Vietnam. One study has reported that, between 1965 and 1972, over 320,000 PLA troops served in Vietnam, peaking at 170,000 troops in 1967. These served largely in anti-aircraft and engineering capacities, seeking to bring down U.S. aircraft and repair the damage caused by the U.S. bombing of transportation nodes.[47]

In Indonesia as well, the local Communist Party, responding in part to encouragement and aid from Mao, launched a coup against General Sukarno’s increasingly restive generals in 1962. This particular gambit backfired on the Chairman. The result was a bloody purge of suspected Communists, which quickly developed anti-Chinese overtones. As many as a million lives were lost, many of them Chinese. The food distribution system and other large sectors of the economy, which had been run by this mercantile minority, consequently collapsed. Centuries after assaults upon Java and Sumatra by imperial forces, the Indonesian archipelago had once again eluded Mao’s grasp.


It was the recovery of Taiwan that remained Mao’s principal obsession. No sooner was the Korean armistice in place than the Great Helmsman ordered the PLA to begin preparing for the invasion of Taiwan that would mark the delayed final battle of the Chinese civil war. There was only one problem: the PLA invading force would have to cross the ninety-mile-wide Taiwan Strait, which was patrolled by the carriers and cruisers of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Moreover, the Nationalist army was growing more formidable, as a U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group helped to train and equip its expanding ranks.

The Chinese Communist press on August 14, 1954 issued a blistering denunciation of the “American imperialists” for their continued “occupation of Taiwan.” The island would be “liberated,” by force if necessary.[48] Battle-hardened Communist divisions were moved to staging areas along the Fujian coast and MIGs appeared over the South China Sea.

Chiang Kai-shek did not back down. He put the Nationalist army on alert and strengthened his garrisons on the offshore island groups his forces still controlled. Neither did the PRC's bellicosity unnerve President Eisenhower. When the question of Communist China’s war preparations came up at a press conference on August 17, he replied that he had recently reaffirmed standing orders to the U.S. Seventh Fleet to defend Taiwan against any attack. “Any invasion of Formosa,” the former general remarked, referring to the island by its Portuguese name, “would have to run over the Seventh Fleet.”[49]

Deterred from launching a full-scale attack on Taiwan, the Mao shifted his attention to the offshore islands, bombarding Jinmen (Quemoy) and Mazu (Matsu), and invading a small island chain to the north. The crisis speeded passage of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty through the U.S. Senate, in effect including the offshore islands within the defensive perimeter of the treaty.[v][50]

The use of force had given Mao nothing except an insignificant chain of islands. Faced with a virtual promise of heavy U.S. retaliation in the event of any further attacks, Mao shifted course. The shelling of Jinmen and Mazu came to an abrupt halt, as did the feverish preparations for an assault on the islands. The ever-genial Zhou Enlai arrived at the Bandung Conference, held in Indonesia in April 1955, bearing an olive branch: the PRC was willing to sit down with the U.S. at the negotiating table to discuss ways to ease cross-strait tension.[51] Talks between the U.S. and the PRC began in Geneva and dragged on for months, but no formal armistice was ever reached, nor did Mao agree—then or ever—to renounce the use of force.[52] That was not his way.

Instead, Mao’s traditional truculence reasserted itself. When the Soviet Union in 1957 launched Sputnik, the first space satellite, Mao saw it as proof that the Communist bloc had surged ahead of the United States, and he was eager to press its newly won strategic advantage. Following a meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Beijing, he suddenly imposed a blockade on Jinmen on August 23, 1958, in an effort to starve out the garrison force. A relief convoy arrived two weeks later, escorted by warships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. The commander of the U.S. squadron had permission to return fire if fired upon, but the Communist guns were silent.[53] The Great Leap Forward was underway, and Mao was perhaps waiting for his “big ships” to be built.

Bloody Borders

Because of the PRC’s peace-loving rhetoric, Chairman Mao has largely avoided the reputation for bellicosity that his history of aggression against peoples on China’s periphery deserves. In the years that he ruled China, his armies intervened in Korea, assaulted and absorbed Tibet, supported guerilla movements throughout Southeast Asia, attacked India, fomented an insurrection in Indonesia, provoked border clashes with the Soviet Union, and instigated repeated crises vis-à-vis Taiwan. When an opportunity arose to send out China’s legions, Mao generally did not hesitate—especially if the crises involved a former tributary state, which is to say almost all of the countries with which China has a common border. Under Mao, the would-be Hegemon, China had bloody borders.[54]

Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution

The Great Leap Forward ended so disastrously that Mao’s closest colleagues decided to, as he later complained, “relegate him to the second line.” He remained the Chairman, but the day-to-day running of the government fell to the Liu Shao-qi and his pragmatic assistant, the tiny Deng Xiaoping. These two effectively downsized the communes, cut the state grain quotas, and reintroduced private plots, enabling China’s villagers to once again feed themselves. The Sino-Soviet split, which occurred at the same time, slowed down the insane shipment of vital foodstuffs out of the country. The mortality rate dropped to normal levels.

Mao, frustrated in his imperial ambitions, was furious about this turn of events. But rather than force a vote of the Central Committee—a vote that he was not sure he could win—he instead set out to destroy the Party elite itself. His chosen weapon was the young, energized by their personal allegiance to him and backed up by the armed might of the PLA.

Mao’s “personality cult” was already flourishing by April 1945, when the new Party constitution declared the “Thought of Mao Zedong” essential to “guide the entire work” of the Party. The chairman was praised as “not only the greatest revolutionary and statesman in Chinese history but also the greatest theoretician and scientist.” As always, much of this fulsome praise came from Mao’s own hand.[55]

The cult of the Party chairman was seen as a continuation of the cult of the emperor. The Party went to extraordinary lengths to prey upon the superstitions of the people in this regard. During the days of the civil war, Mao was endlessly exalted as a larger-than-life figure, a kind of living god who would rescue the people from oppression. As soon as the Communists captured a village, its buildings would blossom with slogans like “Mao Zedong is the great savior of the Chinese people.”

As always, foreign admirers of the regime were always ready to put the best face on Mao’s ugliness. Professor Michel Oksenberg, who was to become President Carter’s China advisor, advised that the Maoist personality cult was a necessary innovation: “While the new institutions [of state control] are taking root, resort to the unifying symbol of the ruler—in China’s case, Mao—may be an appropriate response.”[56]

Mao began his counterattack by stoking the fires of his personality cult. It was Maoist acolyte Lin Biao, then in the control of the People’s Liberation Army, who came up with the idea of a book of quotations from Chairman Mao. Called the “Little Red Book,” both for its red plastic cover and for the ‘redness” of the idea contained therein, it became mandatory reading for all members of the military, then for schoolchildren, and then for the public at large. Then he put military factories to work churning out hundreds of millions of badges featuring the head of Chairman Mao, which young people were encouraged to wear to demonstrate their loyalty to the Great Helmsman. Seizing control of the People’s Daily from Liu Shao-qi’s supporters in May 1966, he turned it into his personal mouthpiece.

Slogans exalting Mao were splashed in bold red type across the top of the first page: Chairman Mao is the Red Sun in Our Hearts! Establish Chairman Mao’s Absolute Authority! We will destroy whomever Opposes Chairman Mao! The rest of the page was covered with long editorials exhorting the masses to join with Chairman Mao in launching a Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and to “sweep away all ox devils and snake demons,” which is what Mao now called class enemies. Sometimes, instead of slogans, quotations, and editorials, Mao’s beaming portrait took up the entire front page.

Thus deified, the Chairman spoke. The flame of revolution must be rekindled. Soviet-style “revisionism” must be fought. A generation of revolutionary successors must be created. China stood in need of a thoroughgoing Cultural Revolution. Organize yourselves into Red Guard units, Chairman Mao signaled the youth on August 1, and root out “revisionists” within the Party. Protected by the military, young people throughout China went on a rampage. There was open warfare in city after city as Red Guard factions, having destroyed the local educational and government structures, went on to fight among themselves, first with sticks and clubs, then with pistols and rifles.

Under the cover of this mass movement, and using special “Red Guard” units that he personally controlled, Mao moved against his chief enemies within the Party. He saw to the arrest of Liu Shao-qi, Deng Xiaoping, Peng Dehuai and others. Liu and Peng were tortured to death. Deng Xiaoping only escaped because he was protected by a senior military commander. By the time Mao had finished his purge, over half of the Central Committee had been purged—and the Chairman was firmly back in command.

As for the Red Guards, Mao was finished with them too. After two years of bloodly factional clashes throughout China, he ordered an army crackdown. Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams were sent into the universities to take control, and ordered many of the students to be “sent down” to the countryside, there to languish on army farms and communes.

The American left, led by China-infatuated academics, was once again unable to recognize a power struggle when it stared them in the face. They rhapsodized about the Cultural Revolution, enthusing over the “new Socialist men and women” the Cultural Revolution had created, and much more.

Michel Oksenberg, President Carter’s China expert, complained that “America [is] doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values,” urging us to “borrow ideas and solutions” from China. Why? Because, as he wrote, China “appears to have regenerated itself and to be making economic and social progress. Moreover, the Chinese have undertaken bold experiments in a number of areas that are of direct concern to us, such as bureaucractic practice [the arrest of officials by young thugs?], education [closing the universities?], the patterns of urbanization [keeping peasants out of the cities?], penology [labor re-education camps?], public health [barefoot doctors?], factory management [worker committees?], and civil-military relations [armed occupation of the cities?]…. Beyond this, the Chinese Revolution is an optimistic statement about the capacity of man to solve his problems.[57]

Even Harvard Professor John K. Fairbank, by no means the worst of this lot, believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution: “Americans may find in China’s collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one’s neighbor that has a lesson for us all.” This, he added admiringly, was the result of “a far-reaching moral crusade to changed the very human Chinese personality in the direction of self-sacrifice and serving others.” Elsewhere, he wrote that “The people seem healthy, well fed and articulate about their role as citizens of Chairman Mao’s New China … the change in the countryside is miraculous…. The Maoist revolution is on the whole the best thing than happened to the Chinese people in centuries.”[58]

There were many hundreds of millions of Chinese—those who suffered the hands of the “Maoist revolution”—who would have disagreed with this analysis. But they weren’t talking, at least to visiting fellow travelers. The tens of millions of dead, of course, were beyond interlocution.

In Retrospect

Mao Zedong died on October xx 1976. On his own terms, he was a failure. Eager to restore China’s lost grandeur, recover its still-alienated territories, and once again dominate the vast marches of Asia, the founder of the People’s Republic of China cannot be said to have succeeded on any front. His failures were spectacular, to be sure, but they were failures nonetheless. The socialization of industry, the collectivization of agriculture, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, to name just a few of his incessant political campaigns, failed to lift China into the first rank of nations. More to the point, they failed to elevate him to the status of international Hegemon, although they did keep him in power in China.

Mao died without achieving his goal of reunifying all of Greater China. The same Marxist-Leninist ideology which propelled him to victory in the Chinese Civil War paradoxically denied him the economic clout and military means necessary to rebuild the Chinese imperium. He recovered Manchuria from the Japanese, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang from the Soviets, Tibet from the Tibetans, and half of Korea from the Americans, but beyond this his hegemonic ambitions were frustrated. Large parts of Greater China, including Taiwan, the South China Sea, Mongolia, the Russian Far East and Central Asia, remained outside of his control. As Mao complained to Henry Kissinger in 1973, “[I]n history the Soviet Union has carved out one and a half million square kilometers from China.”[59]

Unlike earlier emperors, Mao’s writ ended at his borders. The rest of Asia was dominated by two powers: the “socialist imperialist” Soviet Union, which held sway over the landmass to the north and west, and the “capitalist imperialist” United States and its allies, which ruled the oceans and territories to the east and south. At the time of Mao’s death, China had unresolved irredentist claims in every direction of the compass. To the north and west in the Soviet Union, to the south in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Sikkim, to the southeast in Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines, and to the east in Taiwan and Japan.

Yet Mao’s failure to act on these claims reflected a lack of means, not a lack of will. If China had possessed a blue water navy and a modern air force in the fifties, Mao would have tried to take Taiwan by force. If China had enjoyed the same advantage over the Soviet Union that, say, the U.S. enjoys over Canada, there is no doubt that Mao would have abrogated the 1860 Sino-Russian Treaty of Beijing, in which the Qing government ceded the territory that is now the Russian Far East.

Mao’s primal mistake, if it could be called that, was in choosing as the instrument of China’s national aggrandizement an economic policy totally inadequate to the task of rebuilding a Hegemon that could compete with twentieth-century capitalism. True, communism was the perfect vehicle for achieving half of the essential Legalist program of “strengthening the military and enriching the state.” But while it could “strengthen the military” up to a point, it could not “enrich the state.”

Communism enabled Mao to recruit and effectively deploy a huge standing army and police force, and to concentrate all existing economic resources in the hands of the state. Communism brought the Chinese heartland under his control. Communism enabled him to terrorize the Chinese population into subservience. But the strength of Maoism, like its imperial predecessors, lay in reducing the people to obedience rather than in producing an abundance of goods. Communism was simply incapable of generating new wealth and technology at the rate that capitalism did; this made it difficult for a Communist nation to equip its army, however vast, with weapons sophisticated enough to challenge its capitalist adversaries.

By the end of his life, Mao was increasingly frustrated by the economic setbacks of his years in power. He chose to blame them on what he called his “lack of training in economics.” But China’s economic difficulties were not such that enrolling Chairman Mao in a macroeconomics course (save one taught by Milton Friedman) would have helped. And Mao would certainly have had Milton Friedman shot for questioning Legalism’s primary presupposition: that power politics deserves primacy over private economic transactions.

As Mao lay dying, Chang and Halliday write, he was consumed by self-pity for having failed to become the “master of the earth,” giving no thought “for the mammoth human and material losses that his destructive quest had cost his people.” The death of his long-time rival, Chiang Kai-shek, led an aged Mao to spend an entire day in mourning for him. As if acknowledging that Chiang was the better man, he even wrote a bit of doggerel in memoriam: “Go, let go, my honoured friend, do not look back”[60] Certainly the country of Chiang’s redoubt—Taiwan--is better by any conceivable political, social, or economic measure than Mao’s China, even today 30 years after the death of the two leading figures of modern China.

The Chinese Communist Party elite, in the person of Deng Xiaoping, posthumously decreed that Mao had been “70 percent good and 30 percent bad.” Such an evaluation of the founder of the People’s Republic of China is hardly unexpected, given that it was Mao’s evil genius that made it possible for the Party to seize power in the first place. Yet in minimizing his crimes against the Chinese people the Communist Party condemns itself. For Mao is arguably the greatest mass murderer of the Twentieth Century, perhaps in history. He easily eclipses his fellow left-wing monsters Pol Pot, Hitler, and even Stalin in the sheer number of corpses he left in his wake.

Unlike the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler, the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin, and the Democratic Kampuchea of Pol Pot, the People’s Republic of China of Mao Zedong survives to the present day, its ruling party intact, its system of government largely unchanged. The myths and lies that continue to prop up Mao’s image also bolster the claims of the People’s Republic of China itself to political legitimacy. The current Communist leadership proudly declares itself to be Mao’s heirs, maintains his Leninist dictatorship, continues his military build-up, and cherishes his grand ambitions. The ghost of Monster Mao haunts us still