presents an unputdownable, deeply researched analysis of the Naxal movement in India
A Journey Into India’s Naxal Heartlands
In 2010, a Naxal platoon set out on a seven-night march across 250 kilometres through Bihar and Jharkhand. Among them was Alpa, an anthropology professor – the only woman, the only unarmed person, dressed as a man in an olive-green guerrilla uniform.
This is the story of her gritty and revelatory journey.
Praise for Nightmarch:
‘An exceptional undertaking…a considered, sympathetic and balanced analysis…one of the most nuanced, informed accounts yet of [the Naxal] conflict.’
– Julia Lovell, Guardian
‘It is hard to imagine a work of social science as a page-turner that you cannot put down. But this intrepid author has produced that rare find: a beautifully written and absorbing book that disturbs, moves and educates the reader all at once.’
– Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
‘One of the most gripping, engaging and accessible books I’ve encountered on the Naxalites.’
– Meena Kandasamy, author of When I Hit You and The Gypsy Goddess
‘An extraordinary work of rigorous, reflective and deeply engaged scholarship, full of unexpected insights. Haunting, lyrical, occasionally harrowing – more compelling than some of the best fiction writing.’
– Harsh Mander, human rights worker and author of Fatal Accidents of Birth, Looking Away and Ash in the Belly
‘Bold and courageous, humane and sensitive, Nightmarch is an extraordinary ethnographic account of social inequality.’
– Virginius Xaxa, Professor of Eminence and author of State, Society and Tribes: Issues in Post-colonial India
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In 2010, just as the Indian government was stepping up its counterinsurgency operations in the country’s Naxal-affected areas, Alpa Shah set out on a seven-night march with a guerrilla platoon across 250 kilometres of the same territory. An anthropology professor, she wanted to understand why, against the backdrop of a shiny new India, the country’s poor had shunned the world’s largest democracy and united with revolutionary ideologues.
Her gritty journey reveals how and why people from very different backgrounds come together to take up arms to change the world, but also what makes them fall apart. It tells the story of tribal youth who move in and out of the guerrilla armies; of highly educated men who leave the security of their families and move underground in the service of higher ideals; of women who come to the revolutionaries looking for egalitarian homes; and of the conflict between the Naxals and the security forces. Brought to life by Alpa’s years of research and immersion into the daily lives of the tribal communities in a Naxal stronghold, Nightmarch is a reflection on economic growth, rising inequality, dispossession and conflict at the heart of contemporary India.
A scholarly work that unfolds as an unputdownable, gripping thriller – equal parts moving, disturbing and educational – Nightmarch is also being published in the US and the UK to rave reviews.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alpa Shah is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has reported and presented on India for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. Her work is based on her insights from living as a social anthropologist for several years amongst the Adivasis of eastern India. She led the writing of Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class and Inequality in 21st Century India and is the author of In the Shadows of the State.
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Demy/HB / INR 699/ Non Fiction