Am I A Maoist?

By Gladson Dungdung

30 April, 2010

Adivasi children photo by Tehelka

I appeared in the public life through my human rights works, writings and speeches. However, I reached to the larger audience when I had got a chance to appear in CNN-IBN and NDTV-24×7 debates on the issue of Naxalism last year. After these debates, I got immense positive and negative responses from across the country. I was upset for sometime precisely because the most negative responses I got from those youth, who are running behind the market forces unknowingly. They ruthlessly questioned me whether I get money from Pakistan, Nepal or China for speaking against the Indian State. I responded few of them with the detail explanation but many believe on P Chidambaram’s theory of this side or that side therefore they are not ready to accept my rational arguments.

Meanwhile, I continued my work of raising the genuine issues of the marginalized people of India. Amidst, the so-called operation green hunt (OGH) was also launched in the state of Jharkhand in the name of cleansing the Maoists. I passionately attempted to bring out the truth of the OGH, intention of the state behind the OGH and sufferings of the villagers caused by the OGH. As a result, so-called educated people intensified more personal attacks against me. There are also some e-groups where they attempted to coin me as a Maoists sympathizer and supporter. Finally, they have portrayed me as a Maoist Ideologue. I just laugh, laugh and laugh. Precisely, because how can a person suddenly become the Maoist ideologue without having a depth study on Maoism? I have never read about the Maoism.

I deliberately do not read about any ideology because I know that Maoists teach the Adivasis about Maoism, Gandhians preach them about Gandhism and Marxists ask them to walk on Marxism but no one bothers about the Adivasism, which is the best ‘ism’ among these, which perhaps leads to a just and equitable society. I have been raising the questions about how the Indian State has deliberately destroyed the Adivasism. The Adivasi religion was not recognized by the Indian constitution, traditional self-governance was neglected, culture was destroyed, lands were grabbed and our resources were snatched in the name of development. But what do we get out of it? Should we still keep quiet? Are we not the citizens of this country who need to be treated equally? Do they care about our sufferings?

I’m one of those unfortunate persons, who have lost everything for the so-called development of the nation and struggling for survival even today. When I was just one year old, my family was displaced. Our 20 acres of fertile land was taken away from us in the name of development. Our ancestral land was submerged in a Dam, which came up at Chinda River near Simdega town in 1980. We lost our house, agricultural land and garden but we were paid merely Rs.11 thousand as compensation. When the whole villagers protested against it they were sent to Hazaribagh Jail. Can a family of 6 members ensure food, clothing, shelter, education and health facilities for whole life with Rs.11 thousand? 

After displacement, We had no choice rather than proceeding towards the dense forest for ensuring our livelihood. We settled down in the forest after buying a small patch of land. We used to collect flowers, fruits and firewood to sustain our family. We also had sufficient livestock, which supported our economy. Needless to say that the state suppression continued with us. When we were living in the forest, my father was booked under many cases filed by the forest department (the biggest landlord of the country) alleging him as an encroacher and woodcutter. There was no school building in our village therefore we used to study under the trees and when there was rain our school was closed. But my father taught us to always fight for justice. Though he was struggling to sustain our family but he never stopped his fight for the community.

Unfortunately, on 20 June 1990, my parents were brutally murdered while they were going to Simdega civil court to attend a case and 4 kids were orphaned. Can anyone imagine how we suffered afterwards? The worst thing is the culprits were not brought to justice. Can anyone tell us that why the India State did not deliver justice to us, who snatched our resource in the name of development? Why there is no electricity in my village even today? Why my people do not get water for their field whose lands were taken for the irrigation projects? Why there is no electricity in those houses, who have given their land for the power project? And why people are still living in small mud houses whose lands were taken for the steel plants? It seems that the Adivasis are only born to suffer and other to enjoy over our graves.

After a long struggle, we all got back to life but my pain and sufferings did not end here. When I was working as a state programme officer in a project funded by the European Commission, a senior government officer and an editor of a newspaper (both from the upper caste) questioned my credentials saying that being an Adivasi how did I get into such a prestigious position? Similarly, when my friend had taken me to meet a newly wedded couple of the upper caste in Ranchi, I was not allowed to meet them saying that being an Adivasi if I meet the couple, they might become unauspicious and their whole life would be in a stake. Was I a devil for them?

However, when I joined another farm, I was totally undermined and not given the position, which I highly deserved to. I was racially discriminated, economically exploited and mentally disturbed. Can anyone tell me that why I should not fight for justice? Can those so-called supporters of the unjust development process, who have not given even one inch of land for the so-called national interest, coin me as the Maoist ideologue, sympathizer and supporter respond me that why I should shut up my mouth and stop writing against injustice, inequality and discrimination?

I have lost everything in the name of development and now I have nothing to lose therefore I’m determined to fight for my own people because I do not want them to be trapped in the name of development. I have taken the democratic path of struggle, which the India Constitution guarantees through the Article 19. A pen, mouth and mind are my weapons. I’m neither a Maoist nor a Gandhian but I’m an Adivasi who is determined to fight for its own people, whom the Indian State has alienated, displaced and dispossessed from their resources and continually doing it in the name of development, national security and national interest even today.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at

23 thoughts on “Am I A Maoist?”

  1. You are not Maoist. I think you are in right path. Please don’t distrub yourself by hearing other people.


  2. Congratulations ! I wish you should continue your writing and try to reach the greater mass. This is in the interest of the country and its common mass. There are many Gladson who does not know the writing, does not know the language called english and you are lucky enough to have both. I am today also meeting many tribal orphans in the villages whose parents have been died due to lack of medical attention and other reasons like you mentioned. And I know they are not so fortunate enough to go to schools.
    So please keep writing and give the voice to the voiceless.


  3. your life, your struggle for justice for the adivasi people, the
    courage with which you are going ahead with whatever you are faced
    with are an eminent example and inspiration to many many activists who
    are also concerned about the rights of our adivasi people.
    I personally cherish the comradeship I find in you and will be with
    you in our common task of standing by our adivasi people in all their

  4. Dear friend Gladson, continue the noble work. Ignore the tirade against you.I will be there with you.

  5. Dear Gladson da……….. I tears rolled out from my eyes after reading your article……..I am also crest fallen after listening your story. I could not resist my self from calling you. I want to meet you personally at the earliest possible.

    Yours junior brother Jayadev kar, Sambalpur University

  6. Read your latest article. Found it to be emotionally packed yet practical enough to keep the readers glued.
    Keep writing.

  7. Great Gladson We are with you just carry on, you are the most practical person I find, well done and keep it up we are there to support you. It is not the government or the Maoists that matter it is the people and you are a true representative of the people, my God give you courage to continue your principled life.
    warm regards
    yours sincerely,

  8. Thank you Gladson for this moving piece. Please keep writing. Hope to meet you sometime soon.
    Chitrangada Choudhury

  9. Gladson, I can only say, your story brought tears in my eyes. I can understand the pain that you have gone through. The Indian state has exploited the Aadivasis. I salute you more because you have chosen a democratic path to oppose and expose the exploitation of the state. I know today any sensible person is being sandwiched between either this or that as you mentioned. You are either state agent or a Maoist, nothing between. I face same kind of charges since I condemn both kind of violence because at the end it is the Aadivasi who is being killed whether by the CRPF or other paramilitary or the Maoists and other self styled revolutionaries. �It is sickening situation dear, yet all the democratic forces will have to unite and fight. �I stand with you in your struggle for social justice.


    Vidya Bhushan Rawat

  10. Mr. Dungdung …..don’t bother about negative responses because those people have never gone through the struggle for survival like you did.They have never been displaced from their ancestral homes and have never faced dozens of false cases slapped against them .Being born and brought up in cities ,they will not understand you or any Adivasi.

  11. It shakes my mind and soul when I read write up like yours. Justice is our right as tribal on earth. Taking away the right to inhabitant of tribal is not anybody,s right so anyone questioning you should be hammer back with mighty pen.

    With as human rights activist working for the rights of tribal stands with you from North East region.

  12. I would just like to say that considering the injustice meted out to you
    since your childhood days, you could have easily (and perhaps justifiably)
    resorted to violence. I really appreciate that you have chosen the democratic
    path of resistance. My best wishes are with you.
    Please continue your srtruggle in the same way.

  13. Dear Friend Gladson

    Dont hear to such nuances from disguise peope. They try to distract you from your goal. Dont forget there are hundreds who do not bother to understand about adivasi but there are many you really feels and wants to join hands with your goals. Just discard the negative thoughts and be positive.
    You also understand well that in path of truth and justice there are throns but they will never harm you permanently to make you hadicapped. But when you listen to disguise people you will fall into the trap and become handicap.

    Cheers and continue with your good work.
    Jyoti Sonia Dhan

  14. Dear Gladson,

    Bravo! It is important to remove the veil… the veil which has been forced upon by the State. Your article has definitely lifted the veil.

    I wish and hope that Citizens of this country come together and voice the marginalized adivasis.


  15. Excellent blog with ground realities. A pen, mouth and mind. You have got EXCELLENT weapons, continue your protest for justice.
    thank you,


  16. Gladson is a Christian name. A person who becomes Christian means he never had any respect for his original culture. Now Christianity didn’t make Gladson any superior, so he claims to be adivasi and uses adjectives to whip up a sympathy for himself. Gladson should think once again, as a Christian, which he is, the congress government is Christian government, founded in 1885 by Christians, and has inherited and carried forward the Christian laws and regulations of Britishers. Christian led development is engulfing the Christian itself and the Christian is claiming to be adivasi supported by more Christians. There is a limit to Paganism. Christians the founders of racism, discrimination, genocide, murder, rape, lot and pillage to prosper and become wealthy are claiming to be victim of their own pillars. The green bucks of the white superior race from Europe/ States is not helping much eh! Remember these green bucks were looted from India only. The same Christian white race eliminated Red Indians, Aboriginals with the might of winchester rifle in US and other similar tools in Australia.

  17. Keep going, what other people think of you is their business, ignore them.

    If you allow me I will like to publish your articles at and direct them here to read… Let me know if I can.

  18. Dear Gladson,
    The negative responses that you have received are from the so called right wingers who are the subscribers of NDTV and do not care about them. There is really are a huge mass of people underneath these bloody fellows, who will support you in your great fight, who cannot post in Internet, who do not have an E-mail ID, who cannot come to any discussion forums and TV studios. But they will listen to you and will follow you. The present day middle and upper middle class youth are indoctrinated by the quick money of the liberalization and hence become callous to the suffering people and their pains. I greatly appreciate your courage of choosing a democratic fight. Please carry on the fight and many thousands will gather behind you. Best wishes

  19. Fight for justice is possibly a never ending process…
    I dont know…but people like you are the last hope for the people like me, who’ve lost all faith in this system…

    Thanks for being there…and I believe that nobody can hold you back from your mission…so keep it up…

  20. I am always with you. Dolamani Pradhan,General Secretary, All kosal Students’ Union,(AKSU), Balangir (KOSAL) 09861419690

  21. Your writings will surely usher an era of freedom. Bandana Kar, Department of English, Sambalpur University.

  22. Dear Gladson, salute to ur courage… If u can read this post, just accept my reqst on FB. I want to learn something fm u.. If someone calls u maoist let them call. It is the time when nobody can hear ur voice, neither admin nor Indian Constitution. Because const is a childs play of that bloody politicians. They can change it anytime as their own selfness. So in my view, the only solution is armed Kranti, Nothing else… God bless u…

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