The Naxalites in India: Background information when reading The Lowland

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The Lowland

by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Lowland
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2013, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2014, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
The Naxalites in India

In The Lowland, Udayan Mitra, one of the two brothers in the story, gets pulled into India's nascent communist movement that kicked into high gear in the 60s, especially in the state of West Bengal where a fair portion of the novel is set.

Charu MajumdarThe world's largest democracy has had brushes with communism for decades now, the origins of which can be traced to two farmer-driven movements in the 1940s right around the time of India's independence. The Telangana movement in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh inspired a similar one, the Tebhaga, in West Bengal. While this movement was taking tentative hold and the concept of workers' rights and their awareness was beginning to grow roots, there were incidents of unrest in West Bengal's tea fields, specifically in a small town known as Naxalbari. It was here in May 1967 that a group of tea pickers decided to revolt against their masters' unfair arrests of workers suspected of undesirable activity. Up until this point, dissent had been ...

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