An incisive exploration of the Maoist insurgency in the heart of the country questions what India's 'growth story' really means today
An innocent adivasi cut down in his prime by the unholy nexus of ruthless Maoist rebels and corrupt bureaucrats; a highly educated Maoist ideologue who had to die because he sought an end to bloody conflict; a contractor bitter at having been left in the lurch by his corporate paymaster; and a young adivasi woman, recently in the news, who dared to challenge the status quo to emerge as an authentic voice of her people...
It is their compelling stories, among several others, that Rohit Prasad felt driven to explore while travelling in Chhattisgarh for over two years. The result is Blood Red River, an impassioned weaving together of narrated history and hard fact, first-person accounts of those who have witnessed terrible violence and encounters with keepers of the law, both in the Indian government as well as Maoist ranks. It offers, too, a startling glimpse of the so-far-unrevealed role that corporate rivalry has played in thwarting vital industrial projects in the name of insurgency.
Using Chhattisgarh as a microcosm, this multi-layered narrative is an immersive inquiry into the roles of different stakeholders in the no-holds-barred war over natural resources that has continued to ravage some of India's mineral-rich states for more than three decades. Bold and unafraid to take sides, it leads the reader deep into a world where corruption and greed underlie ideological posturing and reveals the false dichotomies of India's development paradigm.