ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Undeniable Class Struggle

Feyzi Ismail and Alpa Shah correctly draw attention to the perils inherent in an overflux of identity politics, citing current experiences (“Class Struggle, the Maoists and the Indigenous Question in Nepal and India,” EPW, 29 August 2015).

However, their proposition of a “lack of clarity” in relation to the indigenous question in case of the Maoist movement in India is not of much help in advancing the discussion. While it is true that it has been late in paying due attention to the specificities of caste and ethnic discrimination, this has not been the case for at least the past two decades or so. Its programmatic position of autonomy (instead of the right to self-determination) in Adivasi regions in mainland India is a considered one—founded on the view that the tribal people inhabiting them are not yet citizens of the country, while accepting the need to address the speci­ficities of their socio-economic-cultural existence. This has its theoretical argument, open to contest as any other. But it certainly would not do to dismiss it as a “lack of clarity.”

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