Contents: Preface and Acknowledgements. Section I: Prelude to the Storm: Bengal in the Fifties and Sixties: 1. From popular movements to rebellion: introducing the Naxalite decade. 2. The refugee movement as a founding moment of popular movements in post-independent West Bengal. 3. Anti-tram fare rise movement and teachers’ movement in Calcutta, 1953–54. 4. The defining moments of left popular politics in West Bengal: the food movements of 1959 and 1966. Section II: The Naxalite Decade: 5. The artisans of revolt: peasant activists of Naxalbari. 6. Repertoires and politics in the time of Naxalbari. 7. The prairie fire spreads I: Medinipur. 8. The prairie fire spreads II: Birbhum. 9. Occupy college street: notes from the sixties. 10. The culture battle. 11. Spring thunder and the dialectic of critique. 12. The Naxalite decade comes to a close, but land question persists. Section III: The Decade In Bihar: 13. Bihar in 1974: possibilities and limits of a popular movement. 14. Bihar in the sixties and seventies: the enigmatic figure of Karpoori Thakur. 15. Reports: rural poor and the armed rebels of Bihar, 1960–70s. Section IV: The Cultural Struggle: A Small Anthology: 16. Introducing the anthology. 17. The palpable reality of fiction. 18. Ani/Ani. 19. Midnight Knock/Kapatey Karaghat. 20. Corpse Worship/Shabasadhana. 21. Human gems/Manushratan. 22. Homecoming/Ghare Phera. 23. Release Them/Mukti Chai. 24. Reportage. Annexure 1: Report on the Peasant Movement in the Terai Region by Kanu Sanyal. Bibliography.
From Popular Movements to Rebellion: The Naxalite Decade argues that without an understanding of the popular sources of the rebellion of that time, the age of the Naxalite revolt will remain beyond our understanding. Many of the chapters of the book bring out for the first time unknown peasant heroes and heroines of that era, analyses the nature of the urban revolt, and shows how the urban revolt of that time anticipated street protests and occupy movements that were to shake the world forty-fifty years later.
This is a moving and poignant book. Some of the essays are deeply reflective about why the movement failed and was at the end alienated. Ranabir Samaddar says that, the Naxalite Movement has been denied a history.
The book also carries six powerful short stories written during the Naxalite Decade and which are palpably true to life of the times. The book has some rare photographs and ends with newspaper clippings from the period.
As a study of rebellious politics in post-Independent India, this volume with its focus on West Bengal and Bihar will stand out as an exceptional history of contemporary times.
From Popular Movements to Rebellion: The Naxalite Decade will be of enormous relevance to students and scholars of history, politics, sociology and culture and journalists and political and social activists at large.