Medha Chaturvedi on Left-Wing Extremism in India (Global Challenges Fellowship)

Medha Chaturvedi on Left-Wing Extremism in India (Global Challenges Fellowship)


At the Global Challenges Fellowship, my
research project is on political participation, democratic intervention, and counterinsurgency, and I’m
taking the case study of India’s left-wing extremism. Basically, I’m
trying to make a correlation between increased political participation and
stakeholder inclusion in decision making and policy-making processes, which could
actually help in combating the insurgency in India’s leftist
corridor. The study that I have taken is on left-wing extremism, and I feel it is
very relevant for the simple reason that it is the longest battle that India has had, the longest insurgency that we’ve had since 1947 and even before.
It has metamorphosed into an extremely violent conflict, which our
previous prime minister had even named as the worst conflict that India
has ever seen. Over the years, the ideology part of it has depleted; however,
localized issues have been taken up in a very, I would say, aggressive manner by
the insurgents in mobilizing troops and foot soldiers for their cause. These
localized issues are mostly to do with a governance deficit, lack of education,
lack of employment, lack of healthcare services, lack of drinking water. These are the kind of issues that they
normally take up, and these can only be settled if these grievances are met by
the Indian government. While meeting these grievances, the Indian government
has failed so far because the voice of the most marginalized people, the
tribals, the poor people living in these areas has not been included so far. Therefore I
took this study and this particular case study. The secondary reason for that was
this insurgency is concentrated in the eastern corridors of India, which basically sit on 85 percent of India’s natural resources. So
it has increasingly become a resource war as well wherein the control over
these resources has become the bone of contention. Therefore it is important to
make sure that somehow the root causes are addressed and this insurgency is put to rest in a way that it doesn’t come back again. It is about the most marginalized communities of India, some of the most primitive tribes
in the whole world, and it cannot be ignored anymore. Therefore, coming
from an academic researcher’s point of view, it needs to be dealt with in a way that
every part, every aspect of it is examined in the most comprehensive
manner and a solution can be arrived at after doing relevant research on that.

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