This event will present the just released Preface to the paperback edition and discuss Nightmarch, a book shortlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize and the New India Book Foundation Prize. Nightmarch is the story of how people from very different backgrounds have come together to take up arms to change the world in a Marx- Lenin- and Mao inspired Naxalite guerrilla insurgency that has been waging in India for more than half a century, and also asks how and why they fall apart. It explores the lives of high-caste educated Marxist ideologues and lower-caste and tribal combatants who Shah got to know well over several years of deep immersive fieldwork in one of the guerrilla strongholds. The book unfolds across a seven-night trek with a platoon of guerrillas, undertaken by Shah in 2010, walking 250 kilometres through dense, hilly forests of eastern India. The Preface to the paperback edition shows how the insurgency has gained a new salience as more and more academics, students, activists and lawyers are jailed as ‘Urban Naxals’ with the rise of authoritarianism in contemporary India.

Alpa Shah is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the LSE and leads the research theme on the Global Economies of Care at the LSE International Inequalities Institute. Her most recent book, ‘Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas’, was a finalist for the 2019 Orwell Prize and the New India Foundation Book Prize, on the longlist for the Tata Literature Live Nonfiction Book Award and featured on several 2018 Book of the Year lists from the New Statesman to the Hindu. Alpa is also the author of ‘In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India’ (2010) and  co-author of ‘Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class and Inequality in 21st Century India’ (2018). Alpa is committed to public engagement and has featured on many occasions on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service.

The seminar is co-organised by the Department of Anthropology and the Forum for Asian Studies.