Solidarity, Suffering and ‘Divine Violence’: Fictions of the Naxalite Insurgency

  • Pavan Kumar Malreddy


After the killing of the high-ranked police officer K.S. Vyas in Hyderabad in January 1993, the People’s War squad member Mohammed Nayeemuddin alias Nayeem was offered a deal by the Andhra Pradesh police department, allegedly under the orders of the then Home Minister A. Madhava Reddy: to buy his freedom he was to organize the murders of top Maoist leaders with the help of a criminal gang run by his brothers. Even before his release, Nayeem’s gang would mastermind a spate of killings under police protection, but the most shocking of them was the brutal murder of a Maoist sympathizer and a revolutionary singer called Belli Lalitha in 1999, whose body was cut into 17 pieces and thrown into wells and lakes around the Bhonagir district (Sridhar 2012). Buoyed by the ruthlessness of Nayeem’s gang, during the 1990s the state of Andhra Pradesh would go on to fund and sponsor a number of anti-Maoist groups with names like Fear Vikas, Green Tigers, Narsa Cobras and Nallamalla Nallatrachu, among others, which would inspire the Salwa Judum (‘Purification Hunt’)—a private army of anti-Maoists—in Chhattisgarh a decade later. When the Maoists finally captured the Salwa Judum’s founder, Mahendra Karma, a local legislator, in October 2013 in an ambush near the town of Dharba, they ‘fired 30 to 40 bullets’ into his body and ‘smashed his head with the butt of their guns after killing him’ (Singh 2013, para. 5; italics added).

“This publication is supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: MA 7119/1-1.”


Police Encounter Splinter Group Subjective Violence Home Minister Terrorist Violence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Ashok Kumbamu for discussing Belli Lalitha’s case and for verifying a number of historical facts related to the Naxalite movement.

Works Cited

  1. Burke, E., III. (1998). Orientalism and world history: Representing middle eastern nationalism and Islamism in the twentieth century. Theory and Society, 27(4), 489–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chakrabarty, B., & Kujur, R. K. (Eds.). (2012). Maoism in India: Reincarnation of ultra-left wing extremism in the twenty-first century. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Chakravarti, S. (2007). Red sun: Travels in the Naxalite country. New Delhi: Penguin.Google Scholar
  4. Fair, C. C. (2005). Urban battle fields of South Asia: Lessons learned from Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  5. Fanon, F. (2004). The wretched of the earth (R. Philcox, Trans.). New York: Grove Press. (Original work published 1961.)Google Scholar
  6. Lahiri, J. (2013). The lowland. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  7. Levinas, E. (1998). Entre Nous: Essays on thinking-of-the-other (M. B. Smith & B. Harshav, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Malreddy, P. K. (2014). Domesticating the ‘new terrorism’: The case of the Maoist insurgency in India. The European Legacy, 19(5), 590–605.Google Scholar
  9. Marquardt, J. A. (2014). Jhumpa Lahiri The lowlands [sic]. Transnational Literature, 6(2), 1–2.Google Scholar
  10. Martin, E., & Sachs, N. (2011). The poetics of silence and the limits of representation. Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  11. Martyris, N. (2014). The Naxal novel. Dissent, 61(4), 38–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mbembe, A. (2003). Necropolitics. Public Culture, 15(1), 11–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mukherjee, N. (2014). The lives of others. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  14. Myrdal, J. (2012). Red star over India. Kolkata: Imprinta.Google Scholar
  15. Navlakha, G. (2010, April 1). Days and nights in the heartland of rebellion. Sanhati [Online]. Available from Accessed 9 May 2013.
  16. Pandita, R. (2011). Hello, Bastar – The untold story of India’s Maoist movement. Chennai: Tranquebar Press.Google Scholar
  17. Paul, S. (Ed.). (2013). Maoist movement in India: Perspectives and counterperspectives. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Pugliese, J. (2013). State violence and the execution of law: Biopolitical caesurae of torture, black sites, drones. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Raychaudhuri, D. (2007). Seeing through the stones: A tale from the Maoist land. New Delhi: Vitasta Publishing.Google Scholar
  20. Roy, A. (2010, March 29). Walking with the comrades. Outlook [Online]. Available from Accessed 9 May 2012.
  21. Satnam. (2010). Jangalnama: Travels in a Maoist guerrilla zone (V. Bharti, Trans.). Delhi: Penguin.Google Scholar
  22. Schulze-Engler, F. (2015). Once were internationalists? Postcolonialism, disenchanted solidarity and the right to belong in a world of globalized modernity. In P. K. Malreddy, B. Heidemann, O. B. Laursen, & J. Wilson (Eds.), Reworking postcolonialism: Globalization, labour and rights (pp. 19–35). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Sen, D. (2012). Red skies and falling stars. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House.Google Scholar
  24. Singh, H. (2013, May 27). Indian politician suffered brutal treatment in Maoist attack. CNN Online [Online]. Available from Accessed 30 Oct 2014.
  25. Sridhar, A. (2012). Belli Lalitha. Reporter Sridhar [Online]. Available from Accessed 31 Oct 2014.
  26. Žižek, S. (2007, March 14). Divine violence and liberated territories. Soft Targets [Online]. Available from Accessed 20 Oct 2014.
  27. Žižek, S. (2008). Violence: Six sideways reflections. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  28. Žižek, S. (2009). In defense of lost causes. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  29. Žižek, S. (n.d.). Robespierre or the ‘divine violence’ of terror. [Online]. Available from Accessed 31 Oct 2014.

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pavan Kumar Malreddy
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of English and American StudiesGoethe-University Frankfurt am MainFrankfurtGermany

Personalised recommendations