The moral politics of violent death

Martyrdom and propaganda ontologies in Maoist India

In writings produced by the Naxalite Maoist movement in India, martyrdom features extensively. Whether it is in the form of martyrologies in maoist journals, commemorative martyrdom volumes or individual pamphlets, the violent death of its cadres and leadership has produced a particular genre of commemorative writing. This research project uses this body of work as the main source to provide insights into the moral politics of violent death within the Maoist movement. Of key concern is the way in which the martyrologies appear to bridge the gap between Maoist revolutionary law and its everyday praxis. Moreover, in considering the ontological status of these writings (as propaganda), larger questions about truth and representation in the making of revolution are posed.