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After four years, an important perspective from which to analyze Narendra Modi’s conquest of Delhi is couched precisely in one word: revelation.

Whatever his other achievements or lack thereof, one thing is clear as sunshine: Narendra Modi as Prime Minister has stripped naked the entire Congress-legacy political system across the national landscape. In this disrobing, he has chiefly used a combination of tough, nuke-like measures like demonetization, frontal attacks like the unrelenting sprees electoral victories, and stone-like, unapologetic silence in face of even the gravest of provocations.

Consider the situation in these last four years.

Think how, despite being in the throes of a paroxysmal death-spiral, the nakedness of the Congress-nurtured political and ideological system continues to manifest itself. It’s as if this Congress system can whip up violence and unrest at will. On any issue. In any city, town or village. At a time of its choosing. Whatever be the cost to the nation and the society.

Now think of the alternative scenario: of a UPA-3 recapturing power in 2014. Of the fate of a Narendra Modi who had lost the elections. Think of these two aspects for a brief moment…in fact, think of these two aspects every single time before uncritically swallowing the multi-pronged, multi-directional propaganda that masquerades as news and opinion.

At a very high level, the contours of this manifestation is this: while an out-of-power Congress can unleash frequent disruptions across the nation, a Congress in power can give us RTE, Communal Violence Bill, communal headcount in the armed forces and manufacture the balloon of Hindu terrorism among numerous such evils.

To put it bluntly, the Congress party today stands naked as a party of Urban Naxals with a network and toxicity that’s perhaps unparalleled anywhere in the world. The decades-long political power that it held in its thrall and which attained its full, venomous bloom during 2004-2014 was a beautiful dandelion that concealed its true nature as a party of Urban Naxals.

What is Urban Naxalism

One definition of Urban Naxalism is that it’s a phenomenon that is marked by one or more or all of the following characteristics:

  • An attempt to weaken the Indian state in any form: by hampering its economy (for example, by filing PILs against dam constructions, nuclear power projects, etc), tampering with its education (for example, RTE, Marxist propaganda in textbooks, etc), interfering in its legal and judicial process, meddling with its armed forces, demonizing the native Hindu culture (for example, attacking Hindu festivals, customs, etc).    
  • Manufacturing non-existent issues like Award Vapsi, intolerance, fake reports of cow slaughter, rapes, lynching etc.
  • Mobilizing caste and other groups against the Indian state: the recent example is the Maharashtra “farmers” agitation, which turned out to be populated by serving cadres of Communist and allied elements.
  • Using the combined might of a supplicant and supportive media, academia, intelligentsia, and the film industry to hype up these incidents aimed at weakening the Indian state.
  • Allying with hostile transnational forces in their war against the Indian state.

 

A recent news report claims that according to the Home Ministry, “Left wing extremism” (Naxalism, Maoism) has all but been uprooted in 44 districts. While this is certainly a reason to rejoice, we overlook the other important, dangerous fact: Left wing extremism, over the last fifteen years at least, has quietly invaded the drawing rooms of Urban India and captured the minds of our kids and has altered their sense of reality.   

Here’s a random question: would you believe anyone if they told you that Gurmehar Kaur, Swara Bhaskar, the Hardik-Alpesh-Jignesh (HAJ) trio, and allied worthies are all actually Naxals? No, you’d think that person is crazy but that’s precisely what they want you to think. It is subversion that has touched the upper reaches of perfection of an ideological art-form.

Even if you don’t “belong” to any ideological camp, consider your own vocabulary today: LGBT, patriarchy, misogyny, fat-shaming, upper caste privilege, rape culture...the list is infinite. There’s an entire generation that uses these words as settled truths. The question is: why wasn’t this vocabulary so widespread, so commonplace even a decade ago?

Urban Naxalism is Warfare, not Ideology

Nearly thirty years ago, William Lind, one of the finest minds in military and warfare strategy jointly authored a seminal paper titled The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation. Ever since, the phrase, “Fourth Generation War” gained wide currency. Here’s an excerpt:

[There]is a goal of collapsing the enemy internally rather than physically destroying him. Targets will include such things as the population's support for the war and the enemy's culture. Correct identification of enemy strategic centers of gravity will be highly important…. fourth generation warfare seems likely to be widely dispersed and largely undefined; the distinction between war and peace will be blurred to the vanishing point. It will be nonlinear, possibly to the point of having no definable battlefields or fronts. The distinction between "civilian" and "military" may disappear. Actions will occur concurrently throughout all participants' depth, including their society as a cultural, not just a physical, entity.

[…]

The growth of robotics…and artificial intelligence may offer a potential for radically altered tactics.

[…]

Psychological operations may become the dominant operational and strategic weapon in the form of media/information intervention… Fourth generation adversaries will be adept at manipulating the media to alter domestic and world opinion to the point where skillful use of psychological operations will sometimes preclude the commitment of combat forces… Television news may become a more powerful operational weapon than armored divisions.

[…]

Terrorists use a free society's freedom and openness, its greatest strengths, against it. They can move freely within our society while actively working to subvert it. They use our democratic rights not only to penetrate but also to defend themselves. If we treat them within our laws, they gain many protections; if we simply shoot them down, the television news can easily make them appear to be the victims. Terrorists can effectively wage their form of warfare while being protected by the society they are attacking. If we are forced to set aside our own system of legal protections to deal with terrorists, the terrorists win another sort of victory. [Emphasis added]

Consider the numerous instances of manufactured unrests, violence, etc since 2014 to now. And compare how precisely it tallies with Lind’s prognosis. For example, on his point about technology and artificial intelligence, one can cite the recent explosive revelations of the numerous skulduggeries by Cambridge Analytica hired by the Congress party to foment disruptions within the Indian political, societal and legal system. Indeed, Lind’s entire paper is a brilliant manual analysing Urban Naxalism in all its manifestations.

The infographic below gives only a partial list of all such instances of Urban Naxalism from 2014 to the present categorized by event, actors, and impact.  

The fact that the Congress party can incite sitting judges against an inconvenient Supreme Court Chief Justice shows another deadly face of Urban Naxalism. If this isn’t a war against the Indian state, we fail to find a suitable word to characterize it.

In fact, it’s in this light that we need to view both the magnitude and significance of Narendra Modi’s 2014 victory and his subsequent electoral blitzes. But for that fateful 2014 political summer, the Congress-legacy system would’ve noiselessly persisted with their wreckage of India till it reached a tipping point. And so, when we now notice all these incidents of Urban Naxalism unleashed by a Congress with just 48 seats, it’s clear that the subterranean, invisible government run by India’s oldest political party is functioning smoothly with the effectiveness of a Lucifer operating through countless Mephistopheleses.

Given all this, the entire nation owes an enormous, non-repayable debt of gratitude to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for combating this multi-headed menace for over eighty years often at great cost including the political murders of hundreds of its Swayamsevaks. Any other country faced with similar threat would’ve gone under in a matter of a few years. Indeed, a comprehensive history of this courageous combat given by the RSS is still waiting to be written.

From the Jungles to the Cities

Without going too deep into the history of Naxalism, we can examine a relatively recent quote:

Like forests provide safe hideouts to Naxalites in tribal areas, the cities also provide them cover. Taking advantage of this, they plan to target major installations in cities.

That was Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on the floor of the Lok Sabha on 5 December 2006. That was also the era when the first innings of the UPA government was supported by the Communists. That was also the era when Shivraj Patil did nothing even after repeated Jihadi attacks on Indian soil until 26/11 happened. The underlying message from his numerous silences on such occasions is simply this: the ministers in a Government remote-controlled by Sonia Gandhi had been thoroughly emasculated to the point of slavish cowardice.

Further, it was also the same era where, as Ajit Doval notes in his excellent paper,

the area under Naxal influence has nearly doubled extending to nearly 203 districts in fourteen states. The strength of armed guerrillas has swelled from less than 7,000 then to somewhere around 13,500 now. Left extremists, today, have many more and much sophisticated weapons; (estimated to be nearly 14000 as against 5500 in 2004) and have upgraded their tactics, field craft and skills in handling weapons and explosives manifold. They raise funds nearly to the tune of Rs. 1,200 Crore a year, which in an impoverished area of their dominance is a huge amount to create instability and enables them to pay regular monthly salaries to their armed cadres.

It would take a logical leap of the orders of several magnitude to think that this explosive growth of armed Naxal power was merely coincidental with the fact that the Communists politically supported the Congress-led UPA. It is also no coincidence that the world’s only Hindu state of Nepal turned Red in the same era.

But with the exit of the Communists from the UPA in 2008 and the reemergence of UPA 2 in 2009, something else happened. Influential sections of Naxals had directly occupied the corridors of power—both overtly and covertly thanks to Sonia Gandhi’s unconstitutional body named the National Advisory Council, an innocuous moniker for a vast cabal of anti-national NGOs. One only needs to read the two-part biography of the late Outlook editor Vinod Mehta who nonchalantly and in vivid detail mentions the nature of the activism by eminences like Aruna Roy, Arundhati Roy, Arvind Kejriwal and Harsh Mander.

Jungle Naxalism had systematically, but surely moved into the cities. One significant, official proof emerged in 2013 in the form of a report by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In Nov, 2013 MHA filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court acknowledging that ‘The ‘frontal’ organisations of CPI (Maoist), operating under the garb of human rights NGOs, have kept the Maoist movement alive and are more dangerous than armed cadres. These ‘mass organisations’ (‘frontal’) are generally manned by ideologues, who include academicians and activists, fully committed to the party line. Such organisations ostensibly pursue human rights related issues and are also adept at using the legal processes of the Indian state to undermine and emasculate enforcement action by the security forces . They also attempt to malign the state institutions through propaganda and disinformation to further the cause of their ‘revolution’. The state governments are required to initiate legal action against the Maoist front organisations in towns and cities….However, initiating legal proceedings against them has often resulted in negative publicity for the enforcement agencies due to the effective propaganda machinery of the CPI (Maoist).’

Another important weapon in the Communist arsenal is the so-called “surrender” of armed Naxal leaders. These worthies are given relatively light sentences and once they rejoin the mainstream society, they are rehabilitated by the party apparatus by creating jobs for them in the academia, media, think tanks, etc. The task remains the same: of spreading toxic propaganda against the Indian state and society.

It is this well-oiled apparatus that whips up violence, revives an old rape like in the case of Kathua, anoints posthumous sainthood upon a kindred non-entity like Gauri Lankesh, cashes a Fixed Deposit like Prakash Raj, etc. It’s worth recalling William Lind’s words again:

…fourth generation warfare seems likely to be widely dispersed and largely undefined; the distinction between war and peace will be blurred to the vanishing point.

How does one even fight this?

The next and concluding part of this series will examine more facets of Urban Naxalism and throw some light on possible responses on combating it.