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July 23, 2010

The road ahead was full of potholes, the size of mini-craters and the ride was as bumpy as it could ever possibly get. The road looked a sober hue of red, due to all the slush that had formed thanks to the rain but to the uniformed men travelling in the armored truck, it was a harbinger; a grim reminder that they were in deep enemy territory. It was a color that they knew that they would see often now. They had been training for this very day all their life.

The climate, which was hot and oppressive, was hardly conducive to these men, dressed in heavy Kevlar vests. The sweat poured down their brows in torrents and they knew that they had to stay hydrated.

Development has hardly touched this part of our country. What the hell has our government been doing for so long”, Varghese was livid in anger and his visage betrayed his emotions.

But, he and his special ops team were not here to find an answer to that question. But they had been sent into the jungles of Chhattisgarh to weed out the naxalites. They had been travelling for the past 3 hours in their specially armored truck; to what would be their base camp, right in the heartland of the Maoist insurgency.

They were not taking things lightly with each and every one of them on high alert; always scanning the surroundings for suspicious activity, even though the scouts ahead had given this route a clean chit.

Be prepared!! These jungle rats are cunning and have a habit of showing up when least expected”, Varghese told himself.  


As part of their preparation for this mission, he had made every single member of this team read the book called “Guerilla Warfare” authored by the greatest revolutionary ever; Che Guevara. And he had made his team learn the maps of the area till they knew each and every small detail of the topography.

To fight an unknown enemy, you need to learn to think like them”, was one of his favorite maxims.

We have better equipments, we are better trained but still, the advantage lies with them”, he had stated in the briefing session, a couple of days back.

And why is that?” he was asked by the team.

We are bound by rules, by time and by results but they are not. And more importantly, we need to earn the respect and trust of the people of the land which is probably the hardest thing to do”, he had said.


As the truck kept on inching forward on its path, his thoughts went back to his past, a set of circumstances that had brought him to this place. He strongly believed that it was in his fate to be here!!!!

The truth, which he had not told his team was that, he knew more about guerilla warfare than they could ever hope to learn. His very own name was a testimonial to that fact!!!!

Varghese John as a kid had grown up hearing a single word: “Viplavam” (Revolution).

His own dad, a person who was hunted by the authorities, was a member of the armed conflict which had affected the northern parts of Kerala back in the 1970’s. His dad was a close associate and friend of “Naxal Varghese”. His dad admired the man so much, that he had named his only son after him.

In his childhood, Varghese remembered living in the jungle, always in fear. He saw first hand, the atrocities committed by his dad’s party all in the name of “Viplavam”. If this was glory, then he did not want to be a part of it.

In his youth, he found the whole concept of it, so repulsive that he soon ran away from them. His faith in democracy grew from that point onwards and it was his life long ambition to join the armed forces.

And fate soon placed him where he wanted: the special ops “COBRA” squad.

Why do we not learn from the mistakes of the past?” he had asked his boss just before leaving for this mission.

The rise and fall of Naxalism in Kerala has umpteen reasons and one of them was development. It never really became a people’s movement. Hence the state could crush it before it became a bigger force. This is what we should have done here as well.”

His boss had only nodded his head in response. They could rant, they could rave, but ultimately the decision was not in his hands.

As the truck kept wobbling about on the uneven road, he knew in his mind that the only “Viplavam” that would actually work in the real world was the “Viplavam” that we all need in our minds. A change to actually participate in a democratic framework for the common good!!! The revolution had to happen in the head and in no other place!!!!

Any other political “Viplavam” would never succeed, not as long as different people had different interests; not as long as people like him patrolled the area.

As much as he abhorred violence, he had to do this. It was his “Douthyam” and he was not going to back down.

He had to settle scores with the ghosts of his past.

Back with the flag or in it, so help me God”; he said loudly and then, ambled up to the machine gun mounted on top. It was time for his watch.

With every passing minute, the surrounding foliage grew thicker………………..


PS: The rise and fall of Naxalism in Kerala in the 1970’s has many reasons. This is my humble attempt to portray one such story with my views, connecting the past and the present. The lessons of the past should never be forgotten.

The title of the post (in Malayalam) means “The Assignment/Task/Mission”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2010 5:23 am

    WOW !!! OG, amazing posts are happening post blog-quit announcement. 😉
    OG: thanks!!!!! 😛
    Really, fantastic – liked the line where the changes need to happen in our mind – Exactly, thats when the world will be a better place to live. 🙂
    OG: 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛
    One teeny weeny question – how come no blog hopping after this blog-quit thing, but regular stream of posts ???? 😉 😉
    OG: yeah, have actually been reading all posts but just have not had the enthu to comment 😛 maybe it is becoz I quit bloggin 😉 hehehehehehehe

    • July 23, 2010 7:14 am

      Not a valid reason for not commenting….how will I know u are reading the posts…put an attendance comment OK ???? 😉 😉
      OG: 😛 will do!!!

      • July 23, 2010 10:13 am

        Uma, don’t be fooled for a bit by this devil of an EOG!!

        Read his farewell post *carefully* He says he has stopped “Blog-hopping”, but he will continue to post! (It’s in my profession to read between the lines, T&Cs etc..)

        He ain’t gonna put any sort of comments, attendance or otherwise 👿

        He very well knows that his writing is always gonna have an audience, darn the Ezhuthukaran!!! 😛 😛 😛 (resists any further praise)

        I suggest we from “OG” we must re-christen him as “LG” – Lazy Guy!!!!
        OG: nee podi!!!!!!!!!!! 😛 Will always be OG 😛


        Hugs to you, Uma.
        And the famous tongue smiley to EOG! 😛

        • July 23, 2010 10:34 am

          Crafty, how good to see you here…lots of hugs to you !!! 🙂

          Yeah, yeah, I know…he is never going to write any comment anywhere…unless, u mention him in the post…I did it once and he commented… 😉 😉

          Lazy Guy, u better start ur commenting…GGGrrr…..
          OG: ROFL!!!!!!!!! 😛 will start 😛

        • July 26, 2010 9:00 am

          Looks like my GGGrrrr really scared you into commenting…anyway, good to see u commenting on my posts. 🙂 🙂
          OG: hahah 😛 I was really scared you know 😛

  2. July 23, 2010 11:58 am

    If I had a say, I would propose sending people from Orissa, AP, MP, WB etc. to the Gulf…Better solution than war…
    OG: ROFL!!!!!! 😛 good one bones…………. 😛

  3. July 24, 2010 11:40 am

    Awesome, OG. REminded me of your Roudrabhavam post!! You have a flair for this. Contemporary History 😉 if I may call it that way 🙂
    OG: haha 😛 thanks!!!!

  4. July 25, 2010 4:44 am

    LOL! This is a throwback on your older ‘serious’ writes. Loved it!
    OG: hey thanks!

  5. Arvind Chandran permalink
    July 25, 2010 1:15 pm

    hehe…kollam! what were you high on when u wrote this? ‘Naxal Verghese’? ma, that fertile imagination should have been put to use in college too! damn – missed opportunities!
    OG: 😛 chumma aliya, verum show 😛 and I was high on life while writing this
    anyway, enjoyed reading this piece….(Poor RM – didnt know what to write in there!!)

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