Among the Guerrillas of India's Revolutionary Movement

Alpa Shah

Bibliographic Details
Nightmarch Hardback
August 2018£20.00

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In 2010, Alpa Shah found herself dressed as a man in an olive-green uniform, on a seven-night trek with Communist guerrillas. The only woman and the only non-combatant in the column, she walked 250 kilometres from one part of India to another.

This book recounts Shah’s journey into the underbelly of the subcontinent, seeking to understand how and why, behind the mask of a shining ‘new India’, many of the country’s poor have shunned the world’s largest democracy, uniting with revolutionary ideologues to fight for a fairer society. She reveals one of the world’s most intractable and under-reported rebellions, from the perspectives of both the insurrection’s thinkers and the underprivileged rural communities who join them. These fighters, mostly from lower-caste and Tribal backgrounds, seasonally migrate for work, carrying bricks on their shoulders in faraway kilns and building the skyscrapers of a brand-new India. Yet, when they return home to the forested hills of the centre and west, they recite poetry, sing revolutionary songs, and take up arms against rising inequality.

Nightmarch is a compelling reflection on economic growth, dispossession and conflict at the heart of contemporary India.


Alpa Shah was raised in Nairobi, studied at Cambridge and completed her PhD at the LSE, where she now teaches anthropology. She is the author of In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism, and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India, and made the radio documentary ‘India’s Red Belt’ for BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents.

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