When I first visited Bastar in 1990 as a PhD student researching colonialism and resistance, the newspapers occasionally reported ‘Naxalite incidents’ such as police–guerrilla encounters, along with accounts of murders and human sacrifices. But all these were ‘far away’, in places like Bijapur or Golapalli or Kistaram at the western and southern extremities of the state. In the Dhurwa belt where I lived, the Maoists were still exotic. There was little in the newspapers then about who the Naxalites were or what villagers thought about them. This kind of reporting that obliterates, even as it names, has remained constant over the decades.