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Hello, Bastar - The Untold Story of India's Maoist Movement

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  72 reviews
With direct access to the top Maoist leadership, Rahul Pandita provides an authoritative account of how a handful of men and women, who believed in the idea of revolution, entered Bastar in Central India in 1980 and created a powerful movement that New Delhi now terms as India’s biggest internal security threat. It traces the circumstances due to which the Maoist movement...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published 2011 by Westland / Tranquebar
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Riku Sayuj

The Revolution That Was Not

"Hello, Bastar" is a scary book to read — it shows how organized, serious, wide spread and entrenched the Maoist movement really is.

This book is an authentic and detailed introduction to the Maoist movement, brought to you through some brave investigative journalism. It is also an excellent introduction to the Maoist viewpoint (yes, ideology) and operational strategies too. Trying to figure out first hand the issues and the conditions that gave rise to and sustains th...more
Kali Srikanth
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” ~Ernesto Che Guevara

I belong to that generation who grew up on social studies text books teaching us Naxalism is one of the major devils India is dealing with, social media yelling how Naxalism is major internal security threat & reason for fall of country's economy, Tubes showing the atrocities committed...more
Deepak Jacob
Rahul Pandita has done a commendable job in outlining the impact when development is being neglected by the state in this well researched book. Hello Bastar traces the very origin of naxalite movement in India and goes on in detail to elaborate upon how it became the biggest internal security issue of free India. It throws light on why the tribals and the oppressed started fighting for self respect along with struggles for their livelihood. The ultimate manifestations are now visible when a para...more
Palak Mathur
#Cross-posted from my blog:-

Few years back I was searching for information on Naxal Movement in India, when I encountered website of Hilary Pais. I found good amount of knowledge about Naxals or Maoists. It is one of the best-written documents about Naxalism. However, one thing that lacked was the views of Naxal Movement leaders and members. Rahul Pandita now fills this gap in his book “Hello, Bastar.” This book mentions anecdotes after anecdotes and keeps answering question...more
When you put excellent research into a book and when you narrate it so well, you know have more than succeeded in sensitising your reader to the issue. This is my second read on the Maoist situation in India, after Sudeep Chakravarty's Red Sun. Hello, Bastar goes specifically into the regions of Bastar and the influence the Maoists there derived from the origins of the movement in Andhra. Its hard not to shudder at the instances of deprivation faced by the people of those regions as pointed out...more
Rupali Rotti
I am an author and for my next book, I wanted to research Naxalism in India. This is the first book I read on the topic and I must admit, it has left me angry and fuming. It is difficult to imagine the hardships that our people have suffered, and are still suffering, in the name of caste and bias. Being from a higher caste and being born and brought up in a city, I used to think that nobody cares for what caste you belong to these days. I would help poor and old without asking what caste they be...more
Frankly, this is some eye opener for me on the Maoists movement in India. This is not the story that main stream media would cover in such details - the best is to portray them as an internal threat to the country. There are millions of people in our country who are harassed and exploited in one form or the other. What trickles through and fed into the bigger main stream media is what they want us to hear. Stories of exploitation, of tribal people and farmers being trashed out and squeezed - is...more
Anil Kumar
Aug 29, 2011 Anil Kumar rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: it gives a general view of life and problems facing by the tribals.
Recommended to Anil by: from libraray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Extremely biased book.

What I admire about Rahul Pandita are two things - one, that he takes incredible efforts to reach the grass root and conduct first-hand research. This is no arm-chair journalist. Two, he discusses real-world problems.

The problem with this book is that it provides a single narrative, and an oversimplification, of Naxalism in India. The problem is not so simple, and Naxalites are far from being the benevolent, if righteously vengeful activists that Mr. Pandita showcases them...more
Prabhat Singh
Certainly a prefect introduction to the people's Maoist Revolution in India.
First thing I liked about this book is its narrative. Which just makes it much more interesting to read.
Second thing is that the Author have given first person inputs into the book that makes it more believable and you will connect to the situation, people are facing in all those 10 states.
Why they chose a path of revolution where they can die any moment? Why armed struggle is important in a country that had a history of...more
Aditi lohchab
Although this is a bit whitewashed, one-sided account of Maoism in India, the plight of the peasants and adivasis described that cause them to turn into naxal-sympathisers and the appalling statistics are by no means exaggerated. Quite an insightful book. It was heartwarming to read about people like Kobad and Anuradha Ghandy and about the efforts of naxalites wrt literacy, women empowerment and secularism. Throughout, I kept wondering why the government won't prioritize the development of these...more
Who know whose claims are ligimit...but one thing that stands out most important is that in the later part of the book, in Postscript part, a court bench observed, "We can not allow the Republic to kill its own children". With us being engaged in internal squabbles,killing each other off, I don't think in future there will be any Bhagat Singh, RajGuru or Sukhdev left to stand up and fight for his motherlands freedom.
Jagrut Gadit
A brief, sympathetic, sensitive and historically conscious account of India's Maoist movement based on first-hand information. Points a clear finger to the dichotomy of India's so called development. A must read to understand the complexities and struggles of modern India.
Nishant Jha
This was one of those books which I was waiting for a very long time to read! and finally got hold of it last month and it was such a wonderful read....and this is such an informative read; provides a lot of perspectives and the history of Maoism in india right from where it originated and when! Rahul Pandita has researched a lot, travelled to the Red Zones and interviewed people associated with the movement too! and that shows throughout the book! it is very detailed yet not too verbose, boring...more
Harsh Gupta
A very factual account of the origin of the Naxalbari movement which evolved into the Maoist struggle as we know it today. The author, an investigate journalist Rahul Pandita, lacks in the ability to organise data and information in a highly discernible way. Hence, a topic which promises to unearth bundles of history and perspective finally ends up being presented in a haphazard and piecemeal manner. Overall, it's a very descriptive text without any real perspective. But it does take you into th...more
Karlo Mikhail
an impressive account of the Maoist revolution now marching forward in India. a must read.
Navjot Singh
There is always story of other side-:
This book shows you the picture of Maoist life, how the simple tribals became so dangerous that special force and operations are conducted on them considering most dangerous one. Author nowhere supports the violence but it covers the story why these people became so violent. there is always a story of other side which is neither visible nor shown by rulers or by their pillars or agencies, but, Rahul Pandita beautifully covers that story with his words and lea...more
Anshul Goel
The universe is infinite and we are none but infinitesimal.
As if I detoured another galaxy and stars did shine down.
The whole glittering 'great' Indian growth story now seems losing its sheen when I see the apathy of these excluded and discarded sections of our nation. Having at the receiving end for so long, they might not have left with any other option but to revolt (Maoism) to gain independence from the feudalistic society of ours. I don't think bloodshed is a solution to any problem but ye...more
Prasad Kulkarni
I came across this book “Hello Bastar” on flipkart website. Read a little bit of synopsis on the book and decided to buy it. The book got delivered the very next day and I started to eat the pages.

The book is written in very lucid manner. The typography is simple and well spaced so as to cause no trouble while reading. But what caught my attention was the detailed study of the author regarding the subject. Right from the page one, Rahul Pandita speaks with authority on the subject. And why it wo...more
Ved Prakash
This was the first book I read about Maoist movement in India and I am not expecting to find a better book than this. This book is based on ground reality of Maoist guerrillas and exhaustive interviews with senior leaders of the movement which brings out the reality of the movement and the circumstances under which this movement originated and is operated. You will come across the conditions in which normal citizens were forced to wage war against the government and the counter response of the g...more
This is about the Naxalite movement that has been declared one of the largest security threats in India. India has a lot economic weight but also significant problems - one of the worst statistics in quality of life. Class divisions that stretch into millenniums.
This book is sometimes hard to read and quotes material from Naxalites but it does help the reader understand the evolution of Naxalite movement and it's appeal to sections of india. Marxist/Maoist revolutionary 'cookbooks' provide a fr...more
Tariq Engineer
An excellent history of the Maoist movement. Anyone interested in how and why the movement took hold in India needs to read the book. It lays bare the complicity of the Indian state in protecting the powerful and the wealthy while simultaneously exploiting the poor and the point. Violence is never the answer but this book makes you wonder whether there is another choice for the marginalised and the displaced if they want to be heard.
Gives the history of Maoism in India. I hoped to get a better picture at the life of the tribals in the Maoist affected area but that is something lacking or is 1 sided. Certainly, a good start to read about the India's Maoist movement.
The drawback of 'Hello Bastar' is that while it more or less covers the key elements of the Maoist issue, it fails on account of its writing style. With Sudeep Chakravarti's highly readable 'The Red Sun' as a worthy work for comparison, Pandita's effort comes across a bit lame. Nevertheless, his tilt towards the cause of the Maoists and his daring effort at accessing the 'rear' camps of the Maoists in the thick jungles of Bastar is commendable. The book definitely offers numerous things to ponde...more
This book is not a story or a novel but is a factual analysis of problem of Naxalism in India. Definitely worth a read for those who are interested in understanding grass-root problems of the society. It throws the light on how Government of India has failed in providing inclusive growth to the masses.
Afterword by Kobad Ghandy is a definite eye-opener for every Indian.
Vaisakh Krishnan
Provided a new point of view into the life of the Maoists. If violence or bloodshed is the only thing you can associate with them, then this book will change that.
Rahul Birla
We have always thought the Maoist to be = Terrorists. But, this book did provide the reasons and the 'real' story as to who they are, why did they chose this path and the reason behind their actions.
On an after-thought we might be moving more and more towards such civil unrest. With more than 50% of India's population not having enough to eat, its hard to justify the 'India shining' image our government is trying to push.
Plus, even soaps like 'Satyamave Jayate' showcased the atrocities committed...more
Akshay Ratan
Amazing writing with lucid facts :)

I recommend this who wants to know both sides of the story of RED in India!
Harshit Gupta
Rahul Pandita's Hello Bastar is a well researched thing and he has done much of the work personally, right from the photo on the front page. The book gives you a good insight into the Maoist Movement in the country, but in my opinion, is not completely unbiased and goes a bit towards the rebels. But then, while the state always gives you only one side of the story, one doesn't really need to have that side here as well. Must read for those who want to know more about the Maoist Movement, especia...more
Rahul Pandita's ability to choose issues exceeds his ability to write about them. However, his reportage is characteristically dispassionate yet sympathetic, and that makes this book a good read. I would say that it's a serious work that doesn't take itself too seriously. The author attempts to just introduce the rest of us to Bastar, the Base of the Red Corridor, since many of us are not adequately acquainted with Maoist/Naxal problem.
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Rahul Pandita is an Indian author and journalist. Pandita has worked as a war correspondent, and is known for his ample news reporting from the war hit countries like Iraq and Sri Lanka. However, in the recent years, his focal point has been the Maoist movement in India's red corridor. He has also reported from North-Eastern India. He is also the "senior special correspondent" and associate editor...more
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