Who is an Urban Naxal? Vivek Agnihotri Presents an Exhaustive Guide

Social Commentary

Who is an Urban Naxal? Vivek Agnihotri Presents an Exhaustive Guide

Illustration: Akshita Monga

T

he first sight to greet you at Vivek Agnihotri’s “dialogue” on Urban Naxalism – held at the Indian Merchants’ Chambers in Churchgate last evening – is neat rows of books on terrorism, the workings of the al-Qaeda, and, of course, Naxalism. In another corner, piling on samosas and chai are a group of middle-aged men and women, dressed formally and holding the pink papers. A number of young men in shirts are furiously typing on WhatsApp and an odd few journalists are preparing for another routine spot report.

Once Vivek Agnihotri enters the room, the excitement in the room is palpable. The speaker is greeted to a round of polite applause, along with the other guests on the panel. Questioning Agnihotri on his views on Urban Naxalism is Priti Gandhi, the national social media in-charge of the BJP Mahila Morcha, and a self-professed huge fan of the filmmaker. Perfect for an unbiased interview. Over the next two hours, the topic is discussed in great detail, several times conflated with actual Naxalism, some times simply a discussion on the views of the so-called “Right” vs the so-called “Left” on Twitter, but almost always accompanied by hurrahs.

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