他 们多数居住在横贯印度南部和东部多个邦的一片多山森林地带。部落之间往往语言不通，而且一般没有书面文字。其中，恰蒂斯加尔邦就是本月初一起流血事件的发 生地。在这起事件中，埋伏在偏远丛林里的毛派游击队枪杀了76名警察。毛派游击队在印度被称为“纳萨尔派武装”(Naxalites)，兴起于1967年 在西孟加拉邦纳扎尔巴里村的一场农民起义。
这是迄今为止印度游击战争中最严重的袭击事件。印度游击战常年不断，仅去年就夺去了1100多人 的生命。游击队和政府武装都犯下了暴行。说话温和、一般不太爱上纲上线的印度总理曼莫汉•辛格(Manmohan Singh)把纳萨尔派叛乱称为印度国家安全面临的最大内部威胁。
过去毛泽东爱说：“游击队是鱼，人民是水。”照这样说来，印度纳萨尔派就 是在原住民海洋游弋的鱼群。鉴于历史上原住民一贯遭到所谓联合政府的漠视，对于涉水其中的武装革命力量来说，这几乎不能说是非天然的水域。印度著名作家拉 玛昌德拉•古哈(Ramachandra Guha)在《原住民、纳萨尔派武装和印度民主》(Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy)一文中指出，部落居民的地位甚至还不如以前的“贱民”，他们被剥夺了更多权利，贱民起码还能渗透到政治程序之中，找机会诉苦。
对于部落居民，政府从来没有亲近到能够接触得到的地步，更不用说对其进行渗透了。自从独立后，原住民几乎没有得到过政府的一分恩惠。根据印度科学与 环境中心(the Centre for Science and the Environment)的数据，原住民居住的森林地带占印度大陆面积的五分之一。近四分之三原住民不识字，多达2000万人被驱赶出自己的土地，给建设 水坝、工业城镇和国家公园让出地方。现在，他们又得给矿业公司腾地儿了。
人们普遍把部落占据的林区称为“毛派走廊”（即红色走廊——译者 注）。对纳萨尔派武装满怀同情的作家阿兰达蒂•洛伊(Arundhati Roy)不同意这种叫法。她表示，这片地方应该被称作“谅解备忘录主义走廊”。这是取与矿商达成谅解备忘录之意。矿商们是受这一地带储量丰富的铁矿石、铝 土矿以及其它珍贵矿藏吸引而来的。她发表于《Outlook》杂志上的文章中写道：“每座山、每条河、每块林间空地，都有一份谅解备忘录。”洛伊在文中指 出，政府之所以攻打部落住地，与矿业利益有关。
还有些反对以武力解决纳萨尔派武装问题的人士注意到，现任内政部长齐丹巴兰(P Chidambaram)在2004年进入内阁前，曾是在英国上市的印度矿业公司万达塔(Vedanta)的非执行董事。这家公司曾遭到大赦国际 (Amnesty International)批评。据说该公司对其在奥里萨邦（该邦也有大量原住民和毛派分子）的铝厂和拟建铝土矿场附近的部落村民十分无情。这种说法遭 到了公司的否认。
许多国家早就解决了政府与原住民之间的分歧，根本不用麻烦到议会，也不必动用法规。他们选择的方法多半是大规模种族灭绝。 印度反其道而行之。它发展出了一套喧闹而强健的民主。这样过了许多年后，它又开始竭尽全力要发展工业，结果却导致挥舞着进步旗帜的政府与人民之间动辄发生 冲突。
在围绕“进步”与土地权利——无论是否涉及土著权益——的 斗争中，发展往往被放在第二位。两年前，塔塔(Tata)要在西孟加拉邦盖厂生产Nano汽车，但当地农民拒绝让地，塔塔只好放弃。前不久，安得拉邦某监 狱犯人控告附近一座造纸厂排放散发恶臭的污染物，获得胜诉。听到这事，环保人士没准会乐得笑出声来。这些都是印度民主的奇迹。
印度面临的问 题是如何解决合理发展的需要，既要让人们摆脱贫困境地，也要尊重边缘群体捍卫已有地位的合法权利。印度一些评论员（他们中不少人都已经很富有了）断定，这 是无法做到的。他们认为，当你试图把一种构思糟糕的发展模式强加到既不想要这种模式、也绝对不会从中受惠的人群头上时，就会得到纳萨尔派武装暴力叛乱这样 的结果。
他们说的有一定道理。洛伊从部落地区发生的暴力事件推断，印度如果不想成为极权国家，就不可能获得快速增长，也不可能获得铝土矿或 铁矿石。对于所有相信经济发展会对人们生活产生革命性影响的人士来说，这种说法让人不安。一个办法是干脆放弃发展。另一个办法是放弃民主。两种办法都让人 无法接受。正确的做法，是找到一条两者都不用放弃的途径。
Progress and democracy collide in India
The term adivasis is not one that travels much beyond India's borders. Used to describe the indigenous peoples who inhabited the Indus Valley thousands of years before waves of Aryan, Afghan and Mughal invaders swept in, 85m Indians are today classified as belonging to these "scheduled tribes".
Of those, the majority live in a hilly forest belt that traverses several states across southern and eastern India. Many speak mutually unintelligible languages of which there is often no written form. Chhattisgarh, one of those states, was the scene this week of a bloody ambush in which Maoist guerrillas - known in India as Naxalites after a 1967 peasant uprising in the West Bengali village of Naxalbari - gunned down 76 police officers in the fastness of the jungle.
The attack was the worst so far in a rumbling guerrilla war that last year alone robbed more than 1,100 people of their lives. Atrocities have been committed by guerrillas and government forces alike. Manmohan Singh, India's softly-spoken prime minister and a man not normally prone to unnecessary flights of rhetoric, has called the Naxalite uprising the most potent internal threat to India's national security.
If, as Mao Zedong was fond of saying, "the people are the water and the guerrillas are the fish", then India's Naxalites are swimming in a sea of adivasis . Given the adivasis ' history of neglect by a supposedly inclusive state, these are hardly unnatural waters for a revolutionary force to paddle in. As Ramachandra Guha, a prominent Indian author, argues in an essay "Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy", tribal inhabitants have been more deprived than even the former "untouchables" who at least have been able to infiltrate the political process to articulate their grievances.
For the tribal population, the state has never been close enough to engage, let alone infiltrate. Since independence, the adivasis , whose forested lands comprise a fifth of India's landmass, according to the Centre for Science and the Environment, have failed almost entirely to benefit from the government's blessings. Nearly three-quarters are illiterate and as many as 20m have been driven from their land to make way for dams, industrial townships and national parks. Now, they are having to make way for mining companies.
Arundhati Roy, author and a Naxalite sympathiser, takes issue with the widespread description of the tribal forest lands as a Maoist Corridor. They should instead be called a MoUist Corridor, she says, a play on the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that have been concluded with mining companies drawn by the belt's rich deposits of iron ore, bauxite and other precious minerals. "There's an MoU on every mountain, river and forest glade," she writes in an article in Outlook magazine, in which she links the government's assault on tribal lands with mining interests.
Other opponents of a military solution to the Naxalite problem have made much of the fact that P. Chidambaram, the interior minister, was, until he joined the cabinet in 2004, a non-executive director of Vedanta, a UK-listed Indian mining company. Vedanta has been criticised by Amnesty International for allegedly callous treatment of tribal villagers near its aluminium smelter and planned bauxite mine in Orissa, another state where both adivasis and Maoists are plentiful. It denies such accusations.
Many countries resolved their differences with aboriginal inhabitants long before they bothered with parliaments and the rule of law. Their chosen method was mostly mass annihilation. India has gone about things the other way round. It developed a rowdy, robust democracy years before it embarked on a concerted effort at industrial development. The result has often been to bring the state, waving the banner of progress, into headlong collision with its own people.
In the battle between "progress" and land rights - indigenous or otherwise - the cause of development has often come second. Two years ago, Tata lost out to farmers in West Bengal who refused to make way for a factory to churn out Nano cars. In a recent case that causes at least one environmentalist to chuckle, the inmates of a prison in Andhra Pradesh successfully sued the owners of a nearby paper mill for emitting foul-smelling pollutants. These are the wonders of Indian democracy.
The question for India is how to resolve the need for the type of development that can haul people out of poverty with the legitimate rights of others to defend an already marginal existence. Some Indian commentators, many of them already wealthy, have concluded that it cannot be done. The violent Naxalite rebellion, they contend, is what you get when you try to impose an ill-conceived growth model on people who do not want it and who will not benefit anyway.
There is some merit to what they say. Ms Roy concludes from the violence of the tribal belt that India cannot have fast growth, nor can it have bauxite or iron ore, if it is to avoid becoming a police state. That is uncomfortable for anyone who believes in the transformative effect economic development can have on people's lives. One option would indeed be to give up on growth. Another, equally unacceptable, would be to give up on democracy. The right path is to figure out a way to give up on neither.