A Personal Tribute by Harsh Thakor
He was like a red flower blooming who planted red roses everywhere and illuminated the red flame of Maoism. Com Krishna Singh sowed the seeds of the revolutionary peasant movement in Bihar.
This beloved comrade came from the ranks of the poor peasantry.
He failed to complete his school education and took up a job as a casual labourer in Calcutta in a jute mill.
On returning to Bihar he worked as a bus conductor in the State transport co-operation. At the call of Naxalbari he became actively involved in the peasant struggle in Aurangabad. He also organised the workers of Japla Cement factory when he was arrested.
On being released he began to organise the peasantry and became the secretary of the M.K.S.S on June 17th 1984 while conducting a meeting at Jharha in Palamau district he was attacked by a landlord. At first the peasants stood up but the landlord re-appeared with a bunch of goondas and forced the peasants to flee.
Showing great tenacity Krishna Singh continued to speak but tragically was gunned down.
This comrade was a flower that bloomed as later several peasant activists were to lay down their lives for the cause of emancipation. The commemoration meeting held for this comrade in 1994 was one of the most emotional ever seen in Bihar.
The movement of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Samiti will be written in red letters in the annals of the Communist movement permanently.
Revolutionary mass peasant resistance was developed instead of military annihilation.The most significant trend was using traditional armed weapons.
Athough armed guerrilla sqauds were formed they were deployed to protect the democratic struggles and not to substitute them.
I reccomend readers to read past issues of journal Mukti Marg.
The Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti was formed in 1978 The Jehanabad-Palamau region is one of the backward regions of Bihar. In addition to cultivation, the peasants have to rely on the collection of forest produce for their subsistence. In this area the writ of the landlord lay unchallenged. The situation began to change with the entry of the Unity Organisation. (later C.P.I.M.L-Party Unity) Learning from their previous left errors special attention was paid to build a mass base for the activities of their armed squads.
A peasant organisation was formed - The Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti (MKSS).
All old practices were questioned and landlords authority challenged. Struggles for wage increase, against the social oppression of women and scheduled castes, and the biggest struggles arose over the auction of forest produce.
The incipient movement saw three of its young activists martyred on 10th August 1982. The landlords of Bhagwanpur village in Gaya district kidnaped Lakhan Manjhi (20 years), Sudeshi Manjhi (19) and Balkishore Manjhi (15) and killed them. Lakhan was an important member of the Party's Red Squad.
In May 1984 the Palamau-Aurangabad Regional Committee of the MKSS had held its conference and plans were being made for fresh attacks on the landlords . In July 1983 It's 1st legal conference was thwarted by the state and it's agencies.
In June 1984 the movement faced a severe loss, when the popular secretary of the MKSS, Krishna Singh, was shot dead by landlords.
In May 1984 the Palamau-Aurangabad Regional Committee of the MKSS had held its conference and plans were being made for fresh attacks on the landlords.
On June 17, Krishna Singh was conducting a meeting of the MKSS at Jharna in Palamau district. The local landlord and goondas attacked the meeting, opening fire. A chase began, Com. Krishna Singh allowed his comrades to get away, and fell to the enemy's bullets.
Condemnation of this murder spread in a spate of protests throughout the area. The protests led to the arrest of 35 of the hoodlums involved. Meanwhile. As the movement grew the party too put forward the perspective of building up a guerilla zone.
Banned after the Arwal massacre in 1986 it was revived as the Mazdoor Kisan Mukti Manch in 1988 and the Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Parishad in 1994.Qualitatitively arguably the M.K.S.S or later M.K.S.P led by C.P.I.(M.L.)Party Unity led the most outstanding t revolutionary peasant movement by any Marxist -leninist group in Bihar from the 1980's.
In the view of researcher Bela Bhatia who worked with the Lok Sangram Morcha (front of the Party Unity group) from 1993-96, the C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity did the best work within the revolutionary camp in Bihar as it built mass movements and did not place one -sided emphasis on guerrilla armed squad actions carried out by defence squads .
It played a major role in combating and isolating the Ranvir Sena from 1996-98. In fact after 1998 when merging with the PWG the mass movement it led declined with sole emphasis on military actions.
The 1997 ,'30 years of Naxalbari commemoration' booklet gave great praise to the M.K.S.S.for spreading the peasant movement from Jehenabad to other districts in Bihar like wildfire and for exhibiting strong tendencies of massline.
It praised the Party Unity section for building genuine armed revolutionary striking power fluttering the red flag in vast areas of land and combating the menace of combating the senas of the landlords and Upper castes. Red Defense squads intervened to protect the peasant resistance struggles . I personally heard accounts from speakers of the Lok Sangram Morcha in an anti-repression campaign in 1990 and visited Patna in 2001.
The ban on the M.KS S was an abject lesson for those who believed that India had fully developed bourgeois democracy.
Significantly although the Party Unity group was not banned the M.K.S.S. faced a ban.
The movement to arrest the killers of Krishna Singh is an inspiration for revolutionaries today on the capabilty of a mass movement of resistance.
Today several democratic activists are languishing in jails under false charges.
The protest rally against his killing constituted over 40,00 people in Patna.
It is 25 years since the C.P.I. (M.L.) mass front, Lok Sangram Morcha-a joint front of 7 organizations was formed in Bihar ,which led a convention in Delhi in 1989.
It was attended by sections of a huge stream of revolutionary groups from Liberation, Communist League of India, Chandra Pulla Reddy Resistance group, New Democracy group etc.
The Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Parishad played a significant role in Bihar in the 1999 All India campaign by the erstwhile All India Peoples Resistance Forum against state repression in Andhra Pradesh,Dandkaranya and Bihar.
It also staged a state level rally in Patna in March 1999.It is remarkable as though it was officials banned as the M.K SS it revived to function under the most repressive conditions as the M.K.S.P.
Red salutes in memory of Krishna Singh on 30th death anniversary!
Social activist and rsearch worker Bela Bhatia interviewed activists of the Mazdoor Kisan angram Samiti (M.K S S.).Below I am quoting an excerpt from her interview.
Feudalism will have to be rooted out steadily, otherwise it will uproot you.
It lies like a shadow to every person and until it is rooted out revolution cannot be achieved.
Before the organization came we did not have knowledge. The organization gave us education regarding the present system and he need to overthrow it.
India is a semi-colonial and semi-feudal Country. There is foreign
capital also in our country. We have o en this foreign capital an utilize the capital of our own country.
The downtrodden people have to rise above the system.
Each individual should get education.
We got books to read about Marx,Lenin and Mao From these we learnt that Mao was a revolutionary and so were Lenin and Mao Tse Tung.
We read a little about all the 3.
We have not read a lot but understood that what Marx and Lenin wanted to say was that this rotten system should be destroyed, the exploitation of one human being by another should end, human kin should be liberated from this. This is what the leaders have to say.
Below I am publishing some testimonies of leading members of the M.K S.S on revolutionary violence.
Without arms we feel that we shall not be able to fight. With arms we feel confident ,we will have the power.
We fell that we will be able to settle he fight. If e do not have the armed power ,then how will we counter the Landlords anger.
Can his anger be countered by wagging our finger at him?
Without armed power it is impossible to ensure peoples protection. If we do not have arms then no one will take our committee seriously. Each will do according to his will. They will think ,What can they do to us. When this power is their, they will fear.They know that if thy do not obey us the we have the power to destroy them.
There will be lot of problems. We may even be killed During this period ,many have been matyred .Seeds are sown I he field in hope that they will grow. Similarly, with a dream of Socialism we are walking.
The possession of arms helped resolve some conflicts without actual resort to violence In Nyona village a wage issue was resolved peacefully because of the armed capacity of the organisation. A villager stated Because we have arms ,the zamindars have shrunk with fear. Also gangs of bandits and dacoits ,who used to lot peoles houses ,have been vanquished. Because of the atrocities ,the people used to feel very insecure. This has come to an end.
I am quoting another passage fro Bela Bhatias interview. A senior member of the M.K S S stated: In 1979 there was an atmosphere of terror in the villages due to the feudal forces and criminal gangs.
Even though he labourers had heard about us they we too scared to call us.
However we were able to establish contact with few members of he J.P Movement, and asked him to arrange a meeting with few labourers introducing us as individuals who belonged to a party of the poor.
On the agreed day we met at midnight In the fields. Instead of meeting a small group we met about 50 men.
They were armed with lathis ,bhals and gadasas.
The terrorized villagers explained that they would have taken the activists to the village but it was too risky.
The Maliks had warned them that they would be severely punished if they brought he Naxalites to the village..
We activists, emphasized the issues of ,wages, land and basic democratic rights, but explained that it could only be done by our own strength. The People understood this stating,
We have understood .
You are Naxalites,you talk about strength.
People now started coming in large numbers.
At first they were hesitant to speak out. Finally one of them spoke out,
We will now be coming to the meeting, expecting each time to get arms.
If you are demanding confrontation and armed revolution,should you not provide us with arms.
Thus ,I actual fact, they were demanding arms.
Such incidents show the mass approach of the M.K S.S
Red salutes in memory of Krishna Singh on 30th death anniversary!