Book Name: Urban Naxals-The making of Buddha in the traffic jam.
Author: Vivek Agnihotri
Publisher: Garuda Prakashan, Gurugram
“The war still rages on, the attacker alone can’t be blamed, those who stood aloof in time they also will be shamed” This couplet of Ramdharisinh Dinkar is the soul of this book- ‘Urban Naxals’. The book is not only a documentation of the making of the film but it’s an important part of our great nation’s present realities.
The entire book is divided into four chapters or books namely:
- Buddha is born
- In search of Buddha
- The making of Buddha
- The Struggle of Buddha
The author narrates the experiences of his making of a dream project in a subtle way. It accounts not only his struggle for it but weaves social and political realities with it. The real face of Bollywood, its hollowness, ‘The Intellectual Mafioso of a creative and literary world of urban India’ etc.
The most important aspect of this book is the development of a filmmaker in the process of his dream of filmmaking. For research, the author gets authentic information about ‘naxals’ and their urban counterparts, which is quite shocking for a common man. How Naxalism has crossed the borders of Baster or Naxalbari and entered in our houses is the most interesting revelation by the author. In his chapter ‘Deep-Diving into Naxalism,’ the author shares the structure of the Naxal movement, their resources, and their social, political connections out of the jungle through flowcharts.
As he quotes his source of an IPS Officer about this system “If you go to understand the smartness of their strategy, just see how seamlessly individual converts from being a participant in a mass protest to a loyal party member. The most interesting part is that most participants don’t even know that they are part of the activist groups or party factions. The participants usually think that they are working for the betterment of democracy”. (P149)
Well, this book is not entirely on Naxalism but focuses on this burning issue. How it has spread wings from jungle to concrete jungle is an interesting story. In fact, realities of so-called Naxal movement, Salwa judum, politicos – police- contractors, unholy nexus to shun away real Adivasis from the benefits of developmental activities.
In this book, Vivek deals with his personal dilemmas, struggle for existence in spineless Bollywood and ultimate success of his new ‘distribution model’ of a film in educational institutes. He roamed across India to show his movie in premier educational institutes. Some welcomed him with garlands and some with brickbats. His direct interaction with the students and Q/A with them opened new pathways for him. There he got the idea of real and rural India, a big entity outside hollowness of Bollywood.
In a conversation with a student leader in the chapter “Two Indians: Allahabad and Banaras” He writes “…communists spread lots of unfounded theories which provoke students against the system. They exploit women on the pretext of women empowerment and propagate free sex… Most of them came from Orthodox backgrounds and, sex works as an incentive and a bond. That’s how they create a large intellectual ecosystem…” (P329)
In a nutshell, this long struggle of a filmmaker is a path-breaking venture in its own class. A must read book for those who love their great nation, those who want to understand why some people; some outdated ideologies are out there to make their lives miserable. As the author rightly ends the book with this words. “There may not be a place for the alternate narrative in Naxal infested jungles, campuses, media and minds but in the world of real, rational and some people, there is always a place for truth – the only narrative one needs to know…”
By Dr. Shirish Kashikar