The tribal areas of central and eastern India have been under the intractable shadow of left-wing extremism in recent years, fuelling a serious internal crisis in the country. While the clashes between the Maoists and the State have been highlighted by the media, academics and others, the situation of the people caught between the crossfire has often been overlooked.

Kindling of an Insurrection provides a gripping account of the lives of people in the conflict-affected district of Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal as experienced by a District Collector. By focusing on the plight of the people of Junglemahals — the term for the forested areas of the region — the author draws attention to the harsh living conditions, unstable occupations and almost non-existent education, highlighting the people’s lack of access to developmental schemes implemented by the government and non-governmental organisations. Based on extensive tour notes, the narrative attempts a subtle balance between a personal diary and official documentation, bringing to fore complexities, challenges and dynamics of the ground reality as also the administrative work carried out in the region.

Accompanied by photographs, this book offers a rare chronicle of life in rural West Bengal, exposing the roots of the alienation of marginalised tribal communities, and the circumstances leading to the rise of an insurrection within the nation’s heartland. Authoritative and lucid, the book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers in the areas of public administration, social work, development studies, social anthropology and politics. It will also prove useful to policy makers, journalists and the general reader interested in West Bengal and left-wing extremism.

chapter |11 pages


part I|72 pages

Charting Perilous Seas

chapter |4 pages

The First Weeks

chapter 1|5 pages

Where Extremes Meet

Binpur-II, 10 March 2004

chapter |4 pages

General Elections 2004

chapter 2|5 pages

In Pursuit of Kendu patta

Gopiballavpur-I, 3 April 2004

chapter 3|5 pages

Public Meeting in Bansberh: Small Expectations

Binpur-I, 14 April 2004

chapter 4|6 pages


Binpur-II, 10 June 2004

chapter 5|6 pages

Hungry in an Ashram

Nayagram, 30 June 2004

chapter 6|5 pages

Nuts and Bolts

Visit to Binpur-II, 29 July 2004

chapter 7|5 pages

Living with Diarrhoea

Binpur-I, 4 August 2004

chapter |4 pages

Supervision and Monitoring

chapter 8|5 pages

Pension for the ‘Queen of Roses’!

Keshiary, 5 August 2004

chapter 9|6 pages

Three Faces of Development

Binpur-I, 9 August 2004

chapter 10|7 pages

The Waterlogged Rice-bowl

Ghatal, 19 August 2004

chapter |3 pages

Food Entitlement: An Awareness Campaign

part II|64 pages

Setting Course

chapter 11|5 pages

Raising Hope on Hard Laterite

Sankrail, 13 September 2004

chapter 12|10 pages

Peeping in Nooks and Crannies

Binpur-I, 4 October 2004

chapter |3 pages

A Baseline Survey

chapter |1 pages

Another Explosion

chapter 13|5 pages

A Field Channel Runs through Eden

Jhargram, 29 October 2004

chapter 14|6 pages

A House for Pramila Sabar

Jhargram, 31 October 2004

chapter 15|6 pages

Of Chickens and Sech Bundhs

Jamboni, 4 November 2004

chapter |9 pages

A Crop Calendar

chapter 16|8 pages

Harsh Reminders

Binpur-I, 24 November 2004

chapter 17|5 pages

In the Name of Greed

Jhargram, 24 November 2004 Tour continued

chapter |4 pages

A Village Vulnerability Index

part III|148 pages

Full Steam Ahead

chapter 18|6 pages

No Roads Lead to Tamakbari

Midnapore Sadar, 17 December 2004

chapter 19|2 pages

Some Tourist Spots

Midnapore Sadar, 18 December 2004

chapter 20|6 pages

The Bleakest Village

Jhargram, 20 December 2004

chapter 21|6 pages

Urban is Rural

Ghatal Town, 27 December 2004

chapter 22|7 pages

Revisiting Fundamentals

Binpur-I & Salboni, 2 January 2005

chapter 23|8 pages

Pursuit & Persuasion

Nayagram, 8 January 2005

chapter 24|3 pages

At the Edge of the Forest

Midnapore Sadar, 12 January 2005

chapter 25|7 pages

A Fair in the Forest

Nayagram, 14 January 2005

chapter 26|6 pages

Unequal at the Margins

Nayagram, 14 January 2005 Tour Continued

chapter |4 pages

The Lodha Housing Project

chapter 27|3 pages

A Glow in the Darkness

Jhargram, 19 January 2005

chapter 28|6 pages

Two Villages

Midnapore Sadar, 25 January 2005

chapter 29|6 pages

Work in Progress

Binpur-I, 29 January 2005

chapter 30|5 pages

Of Houses and Homes

Jamboni, 17 February 2005

chapter 31|6 pages

Pukurs and Bundhs

Jamboni & Binpur-II, 17 February 2005 Tour Continued

chapter 32|4 pages

The Damned Dam

Jamboni & Binpur-II, 17 February 2005 Tour Continued

chapter 33|7 pages

A Beautiful Valley, Disturbed and Disturbing

Binpur-II, 17 February 2005 Tour Continued

chapter 34|7 pages

The Santal Families’ Robinson

Keshpur, 8 March 2005

chapter 35|8 pages

East of Eden

Kharagpur-II, 11 March 2005

chapter 36|12 pages

A Tale of Two Villages

Nayagram, 19 March 2005

chapter 37|4 pages

A Moonlit Visit

Midnapore Sadar, 21 March 2005

chapter 38|9 pages

Maharajpur … ‘What’s in a Name’?

Salboni, 27 March 2005

chapter 39|8 pages

Life at the Peripheries

Midnapore Sadar, 28 March 2005

chapter 40|6 pages

A Twice-Told Tale

Dantan-I & Narayangarh, 9 April 2005

chapter |8 pages

Epilogue: At the Heart of Darkness1