Excerpt: Nightmarch by Alpa Shah

A Journey into India's Naxal Heartlands
Book Excerpt 

The shadow of a soldier stirred. He bent down to awaken another. The hour was up and it was time to change sentry duty. There was some grumbling from under the blanket that he was shaking. ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ the soldier whispered. No response.

‘Come on,’ his voice grew louder and more agitated. The lump under the blanket finally moved and somebody staggered out, mumbling their annoyance at being awoken. Would he fall asleep again on sentry duty? Despite this noise, there was no movement at all from any of the other sleeping men.

I grew increasingly frustrated because I knew I desperately needed to rest to survive the next days of the march, for the end seemed nowhere in sight. Yet my mind just wouldn’t shut down, and my thoughts kept racing back to Seema and Somwari.

The contours of Gyanji’s face stood out dark against the moonlit . . .