Millennium Post

KISS seeks to checkmate Naxalism with quality edu

New Delhi: India, the symbol of peace and tolerance, has suffered myriad strands of violence both before and after Independence. Most of the post-independence violence and extremism within the democratic fabric stems from inequalities and the struggle against poverty.

India's richest one per cent now holds a huge 58 per cent of the country's total wealth (OXFAM 2017). 30 per cent of India's population lives below the poverty line at 224 million, according to the World Bank report (2016), of which 70 per cent live in the rural and alienated pockets. The poverty trap, lack of modernisation, natural calamities, superstition, displacement and consequent lack of education further accentuates the conwtinuation of the extremist elements and violence that seek to fight unequal structures. One such critical element that India has been encountering is Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

These communist revolutions that started post-independence, with its first armed uprising in Naxalbari village in 1970's and renewed with liberalisation in 1990's have not faded totally despite government's proactive approach to eradicating it. It is less visible in the urban areas, but in many pockets of the country especially the remote areas in the heartland states of the country, the movement is still a force to reckon with. It is only kept in check by a large security presence.

The Maoist control called the "Red Corridor" — spreads across the states of Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Northern fringes of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh covering 106 districts across India. Bastar, Dantewada, Sukma, Koraput, Malkangiri, West Midnapore are the worst affected districts in terms of the fatalities. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed since 1980. The total of Maoist cadres across the country varies from 10,000 to 15,000, even as high as 25000 (Al Jazeera, 26 April 2017).

Central and State governments, administration and Security establishment needs to recognise that the movement cannot be approached from a purely law and order point of view. Education is the best way to attack poverty, which is the main cause of continued impetus to the moment. Such needs of comprehensive development of the youth are the way ahead as tested, practiced and verified in Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, (KISS), located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. It has led to the reduction of the levels of Maoist related violence systemically by spreading the message of aspiration through education.

KISS is home to 30,000 tribal children who get holistic education from Kindergarten to Post graduation absolutely free and strong alumni of about 20,000 students.

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