Maoist movements
people’s movement

How to Cite

Sengupta, A. (2017). WHO IS THE PEOPLE? NOTES ON SUBJECTIVITY AND THE ADIVASI RESISTANCE IN LALGARH, WEST BENGAL, INDIA. Society Register, 1(1), 23–37. https://doi.org/10.14746/sr.2017.1.1.03


In the last decade, India has witnessed a resurgence of Maoist movements. At the same time, the country’s polity has been rocked by various protests against displacement by local population. These protests have commonly been referred to as people’s movement. In some cases, both, Maoists and people’s movements have overlapped and thus raising the question about people’s agency and Maoists’ role in it. This essay posits the question: who is this people? The assumption is only by exploring the answer, questions pertaining to autonomy or agency can be answered. The essay takes the case of Lalgarh movement, West Bengal, where adivasis rose up against the state, police atrocities. Subsequently Maoists came into the picture. In exploring the debate, mentioned above in the context of Lalgarh, the essay studies a set of letters written to civil society, issued by an organization on behalf of adivasis. The essay finds that the issues of agency must be reconceptualised as subjectivity. Instead of finding a pure voice of adivasis, it is subjectivity as process that helps us to grasp politics of the people. The paper finally argues that the process of becoming people is congealing of adivasis as a political collective.



Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

– – – – –. 2005. The State of Exception, translated by Kevin Attell. London, UK: The University of Chicago Press.

Althuuser, Louis (2005), “The ‘Piccolo Teatro’: Bertolazzi and Brecht”. Pp. 129-52 in For Marx. translated by Ben Brewster. New York, US: Verso.

– – – – –. 2006. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus (Notes Towards an Investigation)”. Pp. 85-126 in Lenin and Philosophy and other essays, Delhi, India: Aakar Books.

APDR and BMC, 2012. “Fact Finding Report on the Incidents of Violence at Nandigram during January, 2007” pp. 276-84. in Poschimbonge Rastriyo Santras: Kasipoor, Barahnagar theke Lalgarh via Singur-Nandigram, [State Terror in West Bengal: From Kasipoor, Barahnagar to Lalgarh, via Singur-Nandigram]. edited by Sukhdeb Chattopadhaya. Kolkata, India: Ubudash.

Badiou, Alain. 2005. “Althusser: Subjectivity without a Subject”. pp. 58-67 in Metapolitics, translated by Jason Barker. New York, US: Verso.

Bhattyacharya, Amit. 2010. “Is Lalgarh Showing the Way?”. Economic and Political Weekly 44 (26&27): 17-21.

D’Souza, Radha (2009). “Sandwich Theory and Operation Green Hunt”, Sanhati. December 15 (4097 words). Retrieved July 31, 2017 (http://sanhati.com/excerpted/2003/).

Gerth, H.H. and C. Wright Mills., ed. 1946. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New York, US: Oxford University Press.

Giri, Saroj. 2009. “Lalgarh and the Radicalisation of Resistance: From 'Ordinary Civilians' to Political Subjects?”. MRZine. July 09 (3465 words).

Retrieved July 31, 2017 (https://mronline.org/2009/07/09/lalgarh-and-the-radicalisation-of-resistance-from-ordinary-civilians-to-political-subjects/).

– – – – – 2009a. “Maoists and the Poor: Against Democracy?”. Economic and Political Weekly XLIV (49): 17-21.

Menon, Nivedita. 2009. “Radical Resistance and Political Violence Today”. Economic and Political Weekly. 44(15): 16-20.

Nandini, Sundar, 2006. “Bastar, Maoism and Salwa Judum”. Economic and Political Weekly 41(29): 3187-3192

Nigam, Aditya. 2009. “Democracy, State and Capital: The ‘Unthought’ of Twentieth Century Marxism, Economic and Political Weekly XLIV(51): 35-39.

– – – – – 2010. “The Rumour of Maoism”. Seminar 607: 75-81.

Sanhati 2013. Letters from Lalgarh. Kolkata, India: Setu Prakashani.

Sarkar, Sumit and Tanika Sarkar. 2009, “Notes on a Dying People”. Economic and Political Weekly XLIV(26-27): 10-14.

Shah, Alpa. 2009. “In search of certainty in revolutionary India”. Dialectical Anthropology 33(3/4): 271-86.

Taussig, Michael. 1992. “Terror as Usual: Walter Benjamin’s Theory of History as State of Siege”, Pp. 11-36 in The Nervous System, Newtork: Routledge.

White, Luise. 2000. Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa. Berkeley, US: University of California Press.

Manuscript authors are responsible for obtaining copyright permissions for any copyrighted materials included within manuscripts. The authors must provide permission letters, when appropriate, to the Society Register Editors.

In addition, all published papers in Society Register are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Unported License.

1.1 The Author hereby warrants that he/she is the owner of all the copyright and other intellectual property rights in the Work and that, within the scope of the present Agreement, the paper does not infringe the  legal rights of another person. The owner of the copyright work also warrants that he/she is the sole and original creator thereof and that is not bound by any legal constraints in regard to the use or sale of the work.

1.2. The Publisher warrants that is the owner of the PRESSto platform for open access journals, hereinafter referred to as the PRESSto Platform.

2. The Author grants the Publisher non-exclusive and free of charge license to unlimited use worldwide over an unspecified period of time in the following areas of exploitation:

2.1. production of multiple copies of the Work produced according to the specific application of a given technology, including  printing, reproduction of graphics through mechanical or electrical means (reprography) and digital technology;

2.2. marketing authorisation, loan or lease of the original or copies thereof;

2.3. public performance, public performance in the broadcast, video screening, media enhancements as well as broadcasting and rebroadcasting,  made available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access the Work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them;

2.4. inclusion of the Work into a collective work (i.e. with a number of contributions);

2.5. inclusion of the Work in the electronic version to be offered on an electronic platform, or any other conceivable introduction of the Work in its electronic version to the Internet;

2.6. dissemination of electronic versions of  the Work in its electronic version online, in a collective work or independently;

2.7. making the Work in the electronic version available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access the Work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them, in particular by making it accessible via the Internet, Intranet, Extranet;

2.8. making the Work available according to appropriate license pattern CC BY-NC 4.0 as well as another language version of this license or any later version published by Creative Commons.

3. The Author grants the Publisher permission to reproduce a single copy (print or download) and royalty-free use and disposal of rights to compilations of the Work and these compilations.

4. The  Author grants the Publisher permission to send metadata files related to the Work, including to commercial and non-commercial journal-indexing databases.

5. The Author represents that, on the basis of the license granted in the present Agreement, the Publisher is entitled and obliged to:

5.1.  allow third parties to obtain further licenses (sublicenses) to the Work and to other materials, including derivatives thereof or compilations made, based on or including the Work, whereas the provisions of such sub-licenses will be the same as with the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Creative Commons sub-license or another language version of this license, or any later version of this license published by Creative Commons;

5.2. make the Work available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access the Work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them, without any technological constraints;

5.3. appropriately inform members of the public to whom the Work is to be made available about sublicenses in such a way as to ensure that all parties are properly informed (appropriate informing messages).

6. Because of the royalty-free provision of services of the Author (resulting from the scope of obligations stipulated in the present Agreement), the Author shall not be entitled to any author’s fee due and payable on the part of the Publisher (no fee or royalty is payable by the Publisher to the Author).

7.1. In the case of third party claims or actions for indemnity against the Publisher owing to any infractions related to any form of infringement of intellectual property rights protection, including copyright infringements, the Author is obliged to take all possible measures necessary to protect against these claims and, when as a result of legal action, the Publisher, or any third party licensed by the Publisher to use the Work, will have to abandon using the Work in its entirety or in part or, following a court ruling in a legal challenge, to pay damages to a third party, whatever the legal basis

7.2. The Author will immediately inform the Publisher about any damage claims related to intellectual property infringements, including the author’s proprietary rights pertaining to a copyrighted work, filed against the Author. of liability, the Author is obliged to redress the damage resulting from claims made by third party, including costs and expenditures incurred in the process.

7.3. To all matters not settled herein provisions of the Polish Civil Code and the Polish Copyright and Related Rights Act shall apply. 


Download data is not yet available.