Kobad Ghandy

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Kobad Ghandy
Born 1951[1]
Mumbai, India
Nationality Indian
Other names Kamal and Azad
Alma mater St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, University of Cambridge
Known for Prominent in the Maoist movement in India
Spouse(s) Anuradha Shanbag (m. 1983; died 2008)
Parents Nergis (Mother)
Adi (Father)

Kobad Ghandy (born 1951) is an Indian communist and Maoist leader. He is a member of the banned[2] Communist Party of India (Maoist). Maoists are also referred as "Naxalites" in the media. He was assigned the task of spreading Maoist influence in urban areas and running its propaganda wing.[3]

The 63-year-old was in charge of the South Western Regional Bureau (SWRB) coordinating the naxalite activity in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, where their activity remained stagnant despite herculean efforts made by the Maoist party. Taking into consideration his ability to analyse the national and international developments, he was also entrusted with the job of building up the naxal movement in urban areas.

Ghandy has admitted that despite the rapid spread of the naxalite movement in Central and North India, it failed to strike roots in other states. Even in Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, the party failed to win over people in plain areas and in towns, while the movement was getting strengthened in tribal belts. With the Maoist party realising that it was consistently failing in garnering support from the middle class and the intellectual sections of society, it had asked Ghandy to devise strategies and identify issues that could win over these two sections. For this purpose, Maoists had formed a Sub-Committee on Mass Organisations (SUCOMO) and Ghandy was heading it.

Though the violent naxalite movement began in Maharashtra in Gadchiroli division abutting Andhra Pradesh three decades ago, it had failed to spread to other areas. In Kerala also the naxalite party had failed to make much of an impact. Karnataka where the movement was relatively strong just a decade ago, had seen a split in the rank and file of Maoists after a section of leaders questioned the very principle of area wise seizure of power starting from forest areas. Ever since the split, the Maoist party failed to strike roots in this state.

In Tamil Nadu, the self-styled Maoist think tank had been trying to get a foothold in districts abutting Andhra Pradesh and Kerala but instant response from the police agencies had halted the spread of the Maoist movement. The exchange of fire near Theni river in Tamil Nadu two years ago forced the Maoist party to slow down on its plans.[4]

Early life[edit]

Kobad Ghandy was born to Nergis and Adi, a senior finance executive in Glaxo. He hails from a wealthy Parsi family in Mumbai.[5] Ghandy attended The Doon School and later St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.[6]

Political career[edit]

Kobad Ghandy was working in England and he got involved in Left-wing politics but was soon arrested and deported. By 1982, he had left Mumbai along with wife Anuradha, a sociology professor. They decided to move to Nagpur - to dedicate themselves entirely to the cause of tribal rights, women's issues and campaigns on behalf of lower caste people and women.[7]

He was the founding member of Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights. He was also in touch with global ultra-Left organisations.[citation needed]

He was arrested in South Delhi[8] on 20 September 2009 while undergoing treatment for cancer.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Kobad Ghandy married Anuradha Shanbag[10] in 1983, whose family was from Kodagu. She was a communist.[11][12] Anuradha Ghandy died of cerebral malaria in April 2008[13] in the jungles of Dandakaranya in Central India.

Popular culture[edit]

Om Puri role is said to be inspired from Kobad Ghandy in Bollywood film Chakravyuh.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nauzer Bharucha and Soumittra S Bose (23 September 2009). "This Naxal leader studied at Doon". Times of India. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  2. ^ List of banned organisations
  3. ^ "Maoist who went to school in Doon, London". Indian Express. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Reddy, K. Srinivas (22 September 2009). "Kobad Ghandy's arrest: Major blow to Maoist movement". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  5. ^ Vishwa Mohan, Rahul Tripathi (24 September 2009). "Cancer landed Kobad in police net". The Times of India. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  6. ^ "India's unlikely Maoist revolutionary". BBC News. 23 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "India's unlikely Maoist revolutionary". BBC News. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  8. ^ B Vijay Murty and Karan Choudhury (22 September 2009). "Top Maoist leader arrested in Delhi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  9. ^ Rahul Tripathi and Vishwa Mohan (24 September 2009). "Cancer landed Kobad in police net". Times of India. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  10. ^ Kobad Ghandy (8 May 2010). "Letter to the Editor". Open magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Nauzer Bharucha (24 September 2009). "Kobad's father backed cause: brother-in-law". Times of India. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  12. ^ Sheila Bhatt (23 September 2009). "Kobad Ghandy: The gentle revolutionary". Rediff. Retrieved 28 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Rahul Pandita (26 September 2009). "The Rebel". Open magazine. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  14. ^ "Om Puri plays Maoist Kobad Ghandy - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 

External links[edit]