Reconsidering the Naxalite Movement in Kerala, India

These transcripts include interviews with former Naxalite members and leaders, as well as other leftist activists who did not formally join but supported the movement at a distance. Many of their stories touch on historically deep-rooted conflicts between the Jenmis (landed aristocracy) and lower-caste Adivasi (indigenous tribal) communities.


Transcripts

These transcripts were interviewed by Kunhi

Interview With Father Mani (1st)

In this interview, Father Mani discusses his life, his human rights activism in Attapadi and the failure of the mainstream communist parties in addressing the problems of Adivasis and other lower-caste communities in Kerala.

Interview With Anil Emage

Anil Emage discusses his interests in Russian literature and his inspiration for setting up a library of Russian books, detailing how most of the books in his collection were cheaply available in Kerala during the Cold War years, and how influential Russian literature was in Kerala’s literary culture.

Interview With Janardhanan

Janardhanan Vythiri discusses his personal life and political activities associated with CPI-M from 1977.

Interview With Karian

Karian discusses his life, socio-political views, struggles against Jenmi exploitation of Adivasi communities, and his encounter with the radical communist Naxalite movement, for which he was falsely imprisoned in the 1970s although he never joined the Naxalites.

Interview With Madhvi

Madhvi (pseudonym) discusses the problems faced by Adivasi women in the Attapadi region.

Interview With Rajiv

Rajiv discusses his personal life, social activism, and the problems faced by Adivasi communities in the region.

Interview With Father Mani (2nd)

In his second interview, Father Mani discusses the various mafias which were active in Attappadi, the legal measures he took to control the land and liquor mafias in the region, the cultural values of the Adivasi community and the factors which led to the brutal exploitation of Adivasi communities, including the sexual exploitation of Adivasi women.

Interview With Baburaj Kodungallur

Baburaj discusses his early struggles in life, his association with the Naxalite groups, and his activism for helping Adivasi communities.

Interview With Venu

Venu discusses his family background, the social issues that influenced him, and his ideological views and activities as a radical communist. While he argues that such radical efforts were necessary in the past, he notes that communism is fundamentally incompatible with democratic politics.

Interview WIth Vijayan and Divakaran

Former Naxalites Vijayan and Divakaran discuss the factors that caused the failure of the Naxalite movement in India

Interview With Vasu (1st)

Vasu discusses his activist career, from the mainstream communist parties in India, to the more radical Naxalite organization. In particular, he details the failure of the Thalassery Police Station attack in 1968, and explains how the various communist movements in India failed to bring about revolution due to overlooking caste in the Indian context.

Interview With K M Venu

KM Venu discusses his personal life, political and social activities, and the caste-related issues in his village.

Interview With Kunnel Krishnan (1st)

Kunnel Krishnan discusses his early days as a migrant settler in the Mananthavady region of Kerala, India, his experience with the Jenmis and Adivasi communities, his association with the communist parties, and his activities as a member of the Naxal organization.

Interview With Baburaj Thrikkaipatta

Baburaj Thrikkaipatta discusses his life and political activities associated with various radical left-wing environmental groups, as well as his estrangement from them. He also talks about his current efforts to promote sustainable development in his community in Kerala.

Interview With John Xavier

John Xavier discusses Adivasi culture, the Jenmi system in Kerala, and various other related issues.

Interview With Kelu Mooppan

Adivasi elder Kelu Moopan discusses his family’s traditional agricultural practices, their relationship with Jenmis, and how they benefited from the Congress and Communist governments’ wage and land reforms, respectively.

Interview With Mathew Joseph

Matthew Joseph (pseudonym) discusses his personal life, Jenmi exploitation, and the Naxalite presence in his village.

Interview With Shaji P

Shaji P discusses the Adivasis’ issues and the Kerala government’s approach towards them.

Interview With Kunnel Krishnan (2nd)

Kunnel Krishnan discusses the Jenmi system which was in practice in Wayanad, Kerlala, from the 1950s, the slave trade held during the Valliyoorkkav temple festival, the Jenmis’ relationship with agricultural migrants, and various early interventions of the communist parties in the region.

Interview With Sivadasan and Shylaja

Naxalite activist couple Sivadasan and Shylaja discuss their family life and their involvement with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Flag, stating that they both feel that their Party work brings meaning to their lives, despite their financial struggles.

Interview With Civic Chandran

Civic Chandran discusses the factors which shaped his interests in communist politics, his life as a teacher in Wayanad, his interventions as a writer, his involvement as a communist, his days in prison, and his major activities after leaving the Naxalite organization.

Interview With Civic Chandran

Civic Chandran discusses the factors which shaped his interests in communist politics, his life as a teacher in Wayanad, his interventions as a writer, his involvement as a communist, his days in prison, and his major activities after leaving the Naxalite organization.

Interview With Vasu (2nd)

In this second interview, Vasu discusses in greater depth the issue of caste in India, and how the communist parties did not address it adequately, from the 1960s.

Interview With Sivadasan and Shylaja

Naxalite activist couple Sivadasan and Shylaja discuss their family life and their involvement with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Flag, stating that they both feel that their Party work brings meaning to their lives, despite their financial struggles.

Interview With Ajitha

Ajitha Kunnikkal discusses her communist family background, her experience as a radical communist, and her activities as a feminist activist, explaining how she was motivated by personal, not ideological, reasons to join the Naxalite movement.

Interview With Haridas

Haridas discusses his political life and the ideological debates within the Naxalite organization from 1970.

Interview With K A Ramu

K A Ramu discusses the plight of Adivasi communities since the loss of their lands to settlers and the land mafia, leading to malnutrition amongst Adivasi children, his Adivasi welfare NGO’s efforts to combat such problems, the issue of intercaste marriages and his own experiences as an Adivasi agricultural laborer.

Interview With Kuruman

Kuruman discusses the Jenmi system that was in practice in his village and the Naxalite interventions he witnessed in his youth.

Interview With P A Muhammed

P A Muhammed discusses his political awakening at an early age, his participation in student activism affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI), his career as a party member from 1960, and the Party’s successes in addressing the exploitation of the native Adivasi communities by the landowning Jenmis.

Interview With Venugopal

Venugopal discusses various ecological challenges and his interventions as an environmental activist arguing for the creation of a green-red alliance to solve problems in contemporary Kerala society.

Interview With C K Janu

C K Janu discusses her early life in poverty, her experience under the Jenmi system, and her relationship with communist parties, as well as her social activism to champion the rights of Adivasi communities since the 1980s.

Interview With Raghavan

Former Naxalite activist Raghavan discusses his family background and the nature of Jenmi exploitations in his village, as well as his political activities in the Naxalite Movement.

Interview With K M Venu

KM Venu discusses his personal life, political and social activities, and the caste-related issues in his village.

Interview With Venu

Venu discusses his family background, the social issues that influenced him, and his ideological views and activities as a radical communist. While he argues that such radical efforts were necessary in the past, he notes that communism is fundamentally incompatible with democratic politics.

Interview With C K Janu

C K Janu discusses her early life in poverty, her experience under the Jenmi system, and her relationship with communist parties, as well as her social activism to champion the rights of Adivasi communities since the 1980s.

Interview With Baburaj Kodungallur

Baburaj discusses his early struggles in life, his association with the Naxalite groups, and his activism for helping Adivasi communities.