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Urban Naxal is the new enemy & ‘Useful Idiot’ BJP needs for 2019

Shekhar Gupta
Illustration by Arindam Mukherjee

BJP needs to seek a vote against ‘somebody’. Adding Maoists to Muslims, the ‘tukde-tukde’ thread will tie in nicely for 2019.

Nobody knows who invented the description ‘useful idiots’, although Lenin is widely credited with having used it for liberal non-Communists who became his benign spokesmen. American author William Safire said he found no evidence of this Lenin link. It has endured pretty much as any convenient smart line attributed to Confucius, Kautilya or Sun Tzu. In India, for two decades, intellectual backers of the Hindutva campaign have used this for Left-leaning, liberal, urban intellectuals. The ongoing project to rename them ‘Urban Naxals’ has, however, met with limited success yet as the great war of rival hashtags rages.

It might confuse warriors on both sides when I say this, but evidence is now emerging that Urban Naxals or not, the BJP/RSS has probably been right in calling them useful idiots. But there is one important twist. They aren’t the useful idiots of the ‘Great Indian Revolution’, of which only tiny vestiges survive harmlessly in a couple of central universities, and somewhat more dangerously in tiny tribal patches such as Bastar. In them, the BJP has found its own useful idiots.

There is no such thing as an Urban or Rural Naxal. A Naxal is a Naxal and a Maoist too. To be either isn’t at all criminal. No law, not even UAPA, can put an Indian in jail for any beliefs, or stating those. You could even say in public you believe India is in illegal occupation of Kashmir or that our democracy is a sham and a savarna conspiracy. Can a government lock you in jail? No.

The BJP’s problem is different. Whatever its claims, it knows better than its delivery on its promised growth-and-glory agenda has at best been about B-plus, no more. It needs to seek a vote against “somebody”, somebody really dangerous, so people forget their failed expectations, and vote for national survival. A bit like Rajiv Gandhi’s 1984 slogan: Rajiv Gandhi ka ailan/nahin banega Khalistan.


Also read: Amit Shah & Modi are playing with a fire that doesn’t distinguish between Muslim & Hindu


The original formula of Muslim-as-enemy is frayed. It would have been possible only if the Muslim-means-Pakistani-means-Kashmiri separatist-means-terrorist-means-LeT/al Qaeda/ISIS equation was sustainable. It doesn’t seem so. Partly because India’s mainland Muslims have stayed calm. Second, because not all Hindus are so scared of Muslims as to overlook their other determinants of identity, especially caste. And third, to sustain that tension, you need constant fireworks on the LoC, with the grand finale of a “mega” surgical strike. The Chinese have now indicated clearly enough they won’t look the other way if their “iron” friend Pakistan is molested. And nobody can count on Trump’s America any more. Not even NATO or Japan or South Korea.

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You need to, therefore, invent another enemy to India’s existence. Maoism it could be. Better still if you could somehow link it to Islamism. All malevolent forces, global and internal, combining to plot the destruction of India and you are talking about jobs? Where’s your patriotism?

You call it whatever ‘ism’, but what’s playing out is pure politics. Since Rajiv Gandhi’s decline in the late 1980s, one question has determined who rules India: Can the BJP/RSS use religion to reunite what caste divided? Advani achieved it with Ayodhya. But in 2004, it had run out of oomph. Narendra Modi did better. Just his personal and track record was a magnet for the Hindu voter. Throw in the twin promise of strong government and growth, and there was a sweep. He isn’t about to risk going to the voter with his B-plus report card.

There is need to invent another enemy. If you can add Maoists to Muslims, the tukde-tukde thread will tie in nicely. You might even have a “nation in grave danger” story by the summer of 2019.

Just the word Maoist has limitations in scare-value. Too many of us have seen Maoists who sounded perfectly harmless in colleges. Naxals sound more threatening because they carry arms. But they are out of sight, out of mind. They are not on our TV screens, on Twitter. You can’t scare a voter in Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh in their name. There comes the Urban Naxal.

Rewind this movie back to when the tukde-tukde stuff first surfaced in JNU. There was to be an event to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The event was titled ‘The Country Without a Post Office’, inspired by a poem of Agha Shahid Ali, a wonderful Urdu poet, especially adored by the intellectual Left. First, leaflets emerged saying it was also a gathering to debate and support Kashmir azaadi. Then the video with “Bharat tere tukde honge, inshallah-inshallah” slogans emerged. Two Left students, one more radical than the other, and a Muslim too, were charged with fabricated cases of sedition.

More videos emerged. A professor justifying to her applauding students at a JNU square the Kashmiri demand in azaadi and asserting that “the entire world agrees that India is in illegal occupation of Kashmir”. A new script was being readied: Radical, intellectual Left in cahoots with anti-national Muslims in a plot to break up India. ‘Urban Naxals’ and separatist Muslims joining hands, to bring distant crises of Kashmir and Bastar to New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. With JNU as the ‘villain ka adda’.


Also read: The holier-than-cow Indian liberal elite is actually Modi’s best friend and ally


Radical intellectual Left, by jumping on the Kashmiri separatist bandwagon, has done half the job. Trust Narendra Modi and Amit Shah with friendly TV channels to do the rest. A new, nation-in-danger myth is emerging. India isn’t made of porcelain. It can’t be broken up by a slogans, graffiti, articles or poetry and a handful with guns in the tribal hinterland and Kashmir. But to voters not particularly committed to either side, it may be of interest. In a polarised environment, just a couple of per cent ultimately count in our winner-takes-all system.

It is one thing to defend the freedom of thought of a Left intellectual to back the armed Naxal cause and plebiscite in Kashmir—you can say what you want, as long as you don’t pick up the gun. Then it gets fuzzy. Because those you claim to speak for, use guns, kill and die. Then you accept hospitality from a known Pakistani-Kashmiri-ISI operative (Ghulam Nabi Fai), convicted and sentenced in the US as such and, instead, hail him as a Kashmiri patriot. It helps the state call every Kashmiri a traitor. Or if you think you can bring about the Revolution with 20 gelatine sticks and five fuses.


Also read: Lenin’s dead and desecrated. But rules on in Indian economic thought, from Rahul to Modi


There is a touching belief among global Left that radical Islam will now fight and defeat American imperialism and other such evils that the Soviet Union failed. Romantics are replicating it in India too. But those they claim to fight for, Kashmiris and Bastar tribals, are dying, unknown, unsung, unmourned and undefended, expendable gun-fodder. The moment you pick up arms, the state has the justification to kill you. It will win. Not just because it is much stronger, but because public opinion, overwhelmingly, will support it in this “virtuous” war. Very few of us Indians are so intellectually evolved we will look at the “root causes” of anybody going to war with India. You will meanwhile get your reprieve from courts, and rightly so. The Modi government will certainly lose this round, legally and morally. But they won’t bother. This isn’t what their overnight ‘Operation Red Hunt’ was about.

You figure out who benefits from your 15 minutes of fame with revolutionary romance. He, or rather they, should be sending you giant thank-you cards, sealed with kisses and tied with holy kalava thread. For them, you are useful idiots, for their cause, not the Left’s. If Lenin did indeed invent the phrase, he’d fret.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. This article is more of rethoric than facts. I would have appreciated if it had some data/facts to prove. Sir, please understand your responsibility as you are sharing views on key subject.
    I see you tilting your writing towards party where you owe your aligence.
    Few facts:
    It’s govt to govt deal
    It’s off the shelf delivery
    There was no formal signed contact under UPA for comparison. But with data available it’s 9% and 20% cheaper viz a viz baic and fully loaded versions
    Better terms agreed: inflation @ 1% vs 3.9%
    Maintenance and service clause
    France also have us there old fleet of jet flight’s recently which will help for spairs to keep our fleet flying
    Please enlighten where are you smelling the rat!!!

  2. You said one thing right and it is not a script but well supported issue as obvious in cintinous rantings by the howling hyenas.
    “Radical, intellectual Left in cahoots with anti-national Muslims in a plot to break up India.”
    Sadly porous and ambiguous legal system allows this trash to howl without responsibility or any sense of history.

  3. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala (Punjab)
    The title of column NATIONAL INTEREST is very thought-provoking and appealing.
    This is a platform not only offering you Shekhar Sahib, opportunities alone to express your views but to the viewers and thinkers belonging to all walks of life to air their views too on issues and themes of India’s Interest and Significance in all the four directions of the globe.

    The title inspires to think positively objectively,freely And nationally too. But this spirit has to scatter and spread further slowly and steadily paving way for a broad-minded and advanced outlook ! These impressions haunt me when I go through your articles and reactions in response !

    It takes a lot of time to shape mindsets and ideologies ! Hail Mr. Shekhar Gupta ! This journey of changing mindsets and psyches is arduous, uphill and challenging ! Those who tread this path must remember a celebrated English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson’s inspiring words,
    ” To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.! ”

    The topic in question,” Urban Naxal is the new enemy & ‘Useful Idiot’ BJP needs for 2019′ is indeed a microscopic study and analysis
    of the prevailing grim political scenario of the nation ! The article portrays a picture of the nation in its true colors !

    Ironically, for those at the helm of affairs of the nation nowadays the words -national and interest have no meaning and importance !
    Only and only priority and importance for them is winning elections and personal popularity, because neither nation nor its interests carry any value for them !

    Theatrics, dramas and melodramas now in the run up to the Assembly Polls in Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Mizoram
    and MARATHON-Lok Sabha Polls due in May,2019 will be the order of the day !

    The slipping of the power in Karnataka, debacle in Lok Sabha,Assembly Bypolls in the country, deserting of NDA by allies, utmost
    failure of demonetisation, weak- erratic foreign policy, insurgency-trans border terrorism in J&K, poverty, unemployment, farmers suicides,atrocities on minorities and dalits rendered all powerful duo of NaMo-Amit Shah very badly shaken and jolted.Ever mounting volley of these desperations and frustrations made them feel very strongly that political ground below them was slipping very swiftly.

    Left with no other option, they are now confused and hard pressed to search for issues for their political and in power survival ! In such trying circumstances how can they think of either nation or its interest !

    The duo got first success in coining “Ghuspaithiya” (infiltrators) term in Assam in a bid to harp on !

    The second find ” Urban Naxal ” though old one is fine, just an issue for the sake of issue to survive in the political arena and to divert attention of the masses from real issues !

    The fact cannot be denied that the duo is infact running short of worthwhile ideas and issues !

    May be, in due course of time, the duo may be constrained to seek shelter of the Margdarshak Mandal as a last resort ! It remains to be seen how Mr. Lal Krishan Advani and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi- two veteran BJP stalwarts in the Margdarshak Mandal respond to their call in case they are approached ?

    Again, a soul searching question pertaining to two words – NATIONAL, INTEREST ! Just ponder over these words !

    Kudos to Mr.Shekhar Gupta for offering meaning and value to these two words through
    his popular column National Interest !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab)

  4. Gupta is trying to creating a narrative that govt. Framed this episode. A story telling article without any validity or ground truth on their activites.
    Gupta doesn’t have the balls to tell the track record of these 5 naxals. Varavara rao is the most notoriuos naxal of AP. Dont forger CIA india report said in 2013 that maiosts are the biggest internal threat to india to break the country. Gupta writing cartoon stories instead of validating threat.

  5. The author himself is endorsing that these Overground Urban Naxals are more dangerous than the armed gangs. He again says that the former get relief from the convent educated judiciary and are supported by the same media. But the armed ones can be easily neutralised by the modern all powerfull state. Now if Modi invented this Urban Naxalites term just to win the next election, why they are indulging in such crimes to justify Modi? It is not Modi who chants Bharat Tere Tukade Honge in JNU or Azadi with Allah Who Akbar in South Kashmir. It is not Modi who orders Pakistani soldiers to fire at LoC, nor he who supports infiltration of Muslims into India. The fake media and so-called secular intellectuals are indeed helping Modi in this game. Moreover, what the English language fake media writes supporting the urban reactionaries and the discussions on news channells is not read and watched by those who lineup for voting, and those who read and watch such programs never dare to vote.

  6. Who doesn’t have its own set of “Useful Idiots”.. a voter is to a politician what a gullible reader is to a journalist, that too if the latter happens to be a hallowed one. Don’t we all need useful idiots some time or the other, ever willing to suck up… Remember, even the Four Judges had them in front on that fateful January afternoon?

  7. A Naxal is a Naxal and a Maoist too. To be either isn’t at all criminal.

    You say above ..are you out of your mind??
    The pple who kill and extort money from poor tribals.. who doesn’t want development to come in the red corridor are not criminals?
    The original idea of naxalism was good but it was hijacked by maoists and not it is noting but a crime syndicate. Period.

  8. the ‘Great Indian Revolution’, of which only tiny vestiges survive harmlessly in a couple of central universities, and somewhat more dangerously in tiny tribal patches such as Bastar

    Your so called great indian revolution wants to remove the democratically elected govt of India with arms struggle.. and you think most of them are harmless ..but you ignore the fact that how they are keeping the idea of naxalism alive!
    Do you want India to come under Naxal rule??

    • Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala (Punjab)
      Mr. Harsh,
      If not under Naxal rule, it has already been under chaotic, directionless ,visionless and authoritarian rule of a megalomaniac
      for almost more than four years !
      The nations are not run on the basis of ploys,rhetorics,theatrics, whims and lies, the masses want concrete results !
      Please mind it, megalomania of more than four years stands very badly and miserably exposed and it is certainly on its way out !

      Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
      Pom Anm Nest, Barnala(Punjab)

      • Sorry to say professor, I can agree with some of your views definitely, but it seems somebody else is more megalomaniac here. Thank you.

  9. The Chinese have now indicated clearly enough they won’t look the other way if their “iron” friend Pakistan is molested.

    Are you trying to scare the Indian Govt. that they should not conduct another surgical strike??

  10. Same kind of leeway thinking drifted aksai-chin away from India. Same thinking that they can’t do anything is responsible for Kashmir mess. Had previous governments taken these naxal and radical Islamic threats seriously, India would be a peaceful and prosperous place.

  11. Mindless Opposition with Endless Debate

    I do not believe that Rahul Gandhi is smart enough to conclude in his mind that endless opposition does not serve anybody’s purpose. Consider for example, opposition to the three years old Rafale deal, which will have planes delivered to India in a year. This G2G deal is not subject for examination as UPA had signed a secrecy deal a few years earlier with France to keep everything out of the public gaze. This latter part without any rhyme or reason is being opposed. Without French clearance, it cannot be made public, but as the elections loom, that secrecy issue is forgotten.

    Indian democracy has not promoted itself to serve the people and their needs of today. It is entangled in a hundred years old formula of British system where opposition is also supreme and counters the government with opposing views but are not disruptive views. In Indian democracy, the fragmented Opposition is known for disruption. Today, the British democratic opposition offers constructive criticism. It also campaigns on issues, and on a declared agenda. That is not true in Indian democracy and here I explain below……

    What Nehru (the father of Indian democracy) could not foresee that poorly qualified, slogan shouting political leaders could sabotage everything good in the transplanted Indian democratic system. Truly, they are not populists, but money grubbing sycophants who want political power and nothing else.

    Nehru’s successors further made this middle-some Democratic country worst by inviting all the local toughs to the political system. They came to grab power, created endless conflicts internally & externally and called themselves leaders. In the process, they sucked out the government and private money and not knowing what to do with it, deposited it in foreign banks. To the masses, they were messiahs as they wore white clothes and talked their language. These messiahs divided the nation into conflicting interest zones. Some of these leaders coined newer words like, Dalit to increase the divide between rich and poor. In this, they took full advantage of the prevailing democratic system and subverted it to gather for their own interests and to grab political power. So much so that the Dalit reservations have created incompetence and given them a badge of honor. Elsewhere, minorities who mostly Hindus are being subdivided into castes and regional power houses, all that for votes. The slogan of unchecked democratic rights has been used to create all these groupings. Today we have a multiplicity of political parties with only one interest, i.e. disruption to grab political power. People’s interest is not paramount to them. Money which grows out of political power is more important.

    I though that the democracy and democratic elections were to consult the ‘Will’ of the people to elect a leader and out vote him if he lacked competence. It was never meant to divide and mass produce conflicts. That is what is happening now. Elected people are the one dividing the nation.

    India likewise has an outmoded court system right from the village level to the highest court of law which has played a role in keeping the warring grouping perpetually fighting on one issue or the other. They either offer lenient judgments or contrary opinions, both of which are unwanted. Not to be forgotten, the Indian civil service, whose hold on Indian democracy has dramatically increased since Nehru imposed a socialistic pattern of society has slowed decision making to a crawl. It has numbed people’s initiative. Too much is in the hands of bureaucrats, which is counter to productivity and economic well being of the people.

    An honorable and well known former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kwan Yew advised India to regulate democracy a bit without stifling it so that a single member of Parliament is unable to withhold the change or reforms. He was right, it’s purpose is lost if people’s representatives cannot think together. Hence, what Lee is advising that disruptive politicians belong in the jail and not in the honored House of Parliament.

    An honest politician from Gujarat took to the helm of the affairs with a viewpoint of reforms and progress, a few years back. The defeated opposition wished him out as he is an outsider to power in Delhi, which should go on from father/mother to son. Mostly, he has done everything right, but has not jailed the corrupt and disruptive politicians. Hence, they are shouting around and concocting stories of corruption with Lutyen Delhi media in their tow. One such current noise is about Rafale deal with France. The opposition parties unable to discover an issue have coalesced together to manufacture a corruption charge here. On its surface the charge on an honest politician with 15 years of corruption free service in his home state should be dubbed as baseless. But this noise is getting louder and louder. His lone mistake was that he did not jail the corrupt early in his term but allowed them to prosper. An easier way to deal with corruption is to grab their money. That will render them impotent.

    Some other recent case is the plan of assassination on the PM, discovered with the arrest of urban Naxalites in Maharashtra. Letters for assassination plan were being exchanged between the conspirators, but the Lutyen Delhi and their masters in London were up in arms against their arrest. They were termed as rights fighters and everything else to prove them innocent. The power of Lutyen media was felt head on here. In spite of documented evidence, the highest court gave them house arrest instead of police custody. Hence, the full trail of the conspiracy will never be uncovered. The Lutyen Delhi wants the PM to be removed by any means, hence were lukewarm to the assassination plan.

    In the final stage, I would say that India runs a democracy which is running amuck, as distastefully copied by the first Prime Minister – Nehru. At that time, after independence, the country was ready to elect a leader but was not ready to run a democratic system of checks and balances, hence it has failed. Now it has created a highly corrupt political system and a distasteful bureaucracy. In Lee Kwan Yew words, no one person could fix the system. It needs all-round huge effort. If some people have to hit the jail, then so be it.

    It may be loathsome to the liberals that if you wish China type of economic progress, then China type strictness in the political system has to be implemented.

    • I totally agree with you.. The Indian democracy is actually a real true democracy, but a mobocracy, where a Mob of some unruly people hijack the voting. And the voters are carried away by false propaganda. Even the price of onions can defeat a good government. Here the government of the day facing elections is more worried by the prices of onions than the real issues, like finance and national security. Here anyone can abuse the Prime Minister and that too without any reason. And the courts, which themselves cannot tolerate any criticism, say that abusing government is a free speech. Something really is ailing the democracy, which was not foreseen by makers of constitution.

  12. Seems S Coupta had bit of extra weeds and went on a hallucination trip to puke out what at best can be described as a “useful idiots fantasy”. It is as if his lie and deceit has been publicly caught and so he decided ‘why not brazen it out ‘ openly and let people guess he is detached from the ongoing. Well, we all know Gupta is a key lynchpin of this most dangerous nexus of “break india forces ” that paraphrases all such behind the scenes instigators working 24×7 against india. He is the most successful and hidden urban naxalite. Writing few articles under “national interests” and pro market economy are just ploys, red herrrings. He never misses any opportunity where real game is, to be the primary mover/instigator/rabble rouser albeit under cover. Journalism, activism, writer, or intellectualism are all masks of this gang ,a camouflaged cover to operate seamlesslly, even cocking a snook at indian state at same time. Observe how blatantly he claims, “I can claim myself a Maoist or Naxalite or that india is an occupation force in kashmir but cannot be jailed fir that coz that is my FoE”. The crook is actually legitimising these outrageous illegal identity and claim that right under our nose ,smiling crookedly from some corner. Well mr Coupta, you almost bluffed through but you are caught. Being a Naxalite does not begin or end with holding a gun while being caught. If that be so any Naxalite who might have gone round the corner at the time of raid on his camp can claim innocent. There is a legal term called “accomplice” that can be invoked in each these cases. The entire ecosystem with overground workers can be booked and prosecuted if link is established. Ask any security professional who has worked in insurgency areas. In fact the overground operatives are the most dangerous lots coz they always claim being innocent, framed and being victimised, because am a journo or a writer or an activist even as they provide the oxygen to those who pull the trigger or press the plunger of land mines. It is clear that ‘bjp/modi seeking useful idiots as an alibi for 2019 as Bplus is not sufficient ‘ is just a carefully crafted silly diversion , ( knowing fully well it will be dismissed as juvenile), since your main messaging is to provide a moral cover and a sense of pseudo legitimacy to your thick friends amongst this deep, insidious grape vine called urban Naxalite, in a matter of factly way. An unsuspecting reader,as most are, will fall in your trap. But you are caught. Yes, every elements that you tried to trivialise, the islamic jihadi,missionaries for conversions, Naxalite /Maoist , the tukde tukde gang of universities and their moles in media /intelligentsia like you are indeed powerful components of break india forces. You claim that india cannot be broken but every hidden motive of yours through your cabal is precisely aimed at that end. Interestingly, the very FoE under whose cover you operate in your insidious game, you implicate your opponent ( modi, bjp) with for all ills, also grants others opportunity to implicate you for being an real urban Naxalite (not useful idiot but a dangerous one), with same ease and conviction. Remember, over smartness and being over crooked cuts both ways.

    • Your analysis on each points shekargupta made have been nicely rebutted exposing his DNA of journalism where does it stands and for whom he is craving.I appreciate your intelligent hold off the enemy within and outside deflecting the faggy tone and veiled writing against the one India .

  13. In a country of India’s size and complexity, B plus would be a pretty decent score for an incumbent to present. Whether for the economy – with preponderant weightage – or something like foreign policy, which is seldom an electoral issue, difficult for an average voter to award this grade. The incumbent has cause to worry. 2. Not sure if the narratives promoted by Republic TV or their ilk can create a national mood that would swing an election. Difficult to picture the gentle, erudite Smt Sudha Bhardwaj with an M 4 grenade launcher in her hands.

  14. Synchronized chorus by section of media and some self styled liberals of civil society aimed at putting pressure on govt/ courts to let off these criminal activists easily. They have partially succeeded but will fail in the long run as people who have access to more news/ information than these people think. Shekhar Gupta wants to have it both ways. He wants to be counted as left liberal and at the same time knows that these activists are in wrong and their cause is a hopeless one.

  15. Synchronized chorus by sections of media and so called left liberal sections of society aimed at putting pressure on govt/ courts to let off these criminal activist easily. They have succeeded partially, but in the end ,they will fail as people have now access to more information than these smart Alec’s think. Shekhar Gupta wants to have it both ways. He is against BJP no doubt, wants to be counted as left/ liberal and at the same time understand s that their cause is hopeless and injurious to nation.

  16. lol.. Guptaji thinks that indian govt is powerful then maoists and naxals, but indian govt is not able to stop them coz the judicial,media,academy,arts,movies is full of left radicals. I still believe left radicals are more powerful then the govt.

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