The Atlantic carries a fascinating and encouraging story about one man's plan to bring news to tribal areas of India (Bringing News to India's Poorest People). His tool? Naturally, the cellphone: "The internet, cable television and newspapers reach only a fraction of the 80 million [tribal population] but about half the population now has access to mobile phones."
(Note that "half" is also about the fraction of India's population as a whole that has access to mobile phones).
It's an experiment that I hope will succeed. But here are a couple of observations in the article that might give you something to think about:
* "A principal cause of the [Maoist] unrest is that the tribal people remain largely outside the mainstream of India's rapidly developing media."
* "Among [such tribals] who can only speak a regional dialect and who are unable to participate in the country's broader political debates, the local Maoist influence is particularly strong."
* "The ubiquitous cell phone could bring news with incalculable benefit to people who … have barely left the fifteenth century in so many other ways."
The point: Whether we like it or not, Maoists have a lot of support across the middle of the country. And there are reasons for that support.