Nightmarch: A Journey Into India’s Naxal Heartlands by Alpa Shah

In 2010, just as the Indian government was stepping up its counterinsurgency operations in the country’s Naxal-affected areas, Alpa Shah set out on a seven-night march with a guerrilla platoon across 250 kilometers of the same territory. An anthropology professor, she wanted to understand why, against the backdrop of a shiny new India, the country’s poor had shunned the world’s largest democracy and united with revolutionary ideologues.

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Her gritty journey reveals how and why people from very different backgrounds come together to take up arms to change the world, but also what makes them fall apart. It tells the story of tribal youth who move in and out of the guerrilla armies; of highly educated men who leave the security of their families and move underground in the service of higher ideals; of women who come to the revolutionaries looking for egalitarian homes; and of the conflict between the Naxals and the security forces. Brought to life by Alpa’s years of research and immersion into the daily lives of the tribal communities in a Naxal stronghold, Nightmarch is a reflection on economic growth, rising inequality, dispossession, and conflict at the heart of contemporary India.

A scholarly work that unfolds as an unputdownable, gripping thriller – equal parts moving, disturbing and educational – Nightmarch is also being published in the US and the UK to rave reviews.


Alpa Shah is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has reported and presented on India for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. Her work is based on her insights from living as a social anthropologist for several years amongst the Adivasis of eastern India. She led the writing of Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class and Inequality in 21st Century India and is the author of In the Shadows of the State.

Read the Press Release in the Storizen Magazine November 2018 Issue.