In one of the world’s most intractable and under-reported rebellions, the Naxalites have been engaged in a decades-long battle with the Indian state. Presented in the media as a deadly terrorist group, the movement is made up of Marxist ideologues and lower-caste and tribal combatants who seek to overthrow a system that has abused them.
In 2010, anthropologist Alpa Shah embarked on a seven-night trek with some of these communist guerrillas, walking 250 kilometres through the dense, hilly forests of eastern India. Speaking to leaders and living for years with villagers in guerrilla strongholds, Shah seeks to understand why some of India’s poor have shunned the world’s largest democracy and taken up arms to fight for a fairer society—and asks whether they might be undermining their own aims.
Nightmarch is a compelling reflection on dispossession and conflict at the heart of contemporary India.