A comrade has asked us to republish this document for our readers who are not familiar with the background to the `Maoist struggle in India - we are pleased to comply with comrades request - Democracy and Class Struggle
The Blazing trail of the Maoist revolution in India!
Forty years of resistance against imperialist reaction and revisionism!
The ray of hope in the eyes of the hungry
Has disappeared like a desert path
The tents of faith blown by the wind
Have been in ruins long since
Now the bones worn of patience
Must in unison root out this tree of darkness
With battle axes and spikes.
--CHERABANDARAJU, Let not this country be deceived again
Friends and comrades,
As a platform of the genuine world-wide anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles, it is an honour for me to talk in this august gathering, about one of the storm centres of revolution in the South Asian sub-continent, to be particular, the geographical entity that we call India. In the World Socialist Revolution, India indisputably occupies a prominent place. The victorious advance of revolution in India will have a spiralling impact on the world revolution and particularly, on the revolutions in South Asia.
As a country that house more than a 1000 million people (more than a sixth of the world population) and with a telling diversity that has continental proportions it is important to bring to the notice of this assembly of people’s struggles, the historic advances made by the toiling masses of the subcontinent, especially India. That too at a time, when Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India has gone on record calling the Maoists, the Maoist movement led by the CPI (Maoist), “the single largest threat to the internal security” of India. The learned prime minister—as often portrayed by an obliging media—has not minced his words when he asked the police, paramilitary and the Intelligence of the Indian state to cripple down the Maoists with whatever means at their disposal.
CPI (Maoist): the product of concrete class struggle
Today, the CPI (Maoist) is leading the single largest mass movement in India. The response of the Central and local state governments to the militant upsurge of the people is a sure fire indicator of the deepening growth of the movement. So much so that the Central Government has formed a Coordination Centre together with 14 state governments to unleash repression on the toiling masses who are up against the pro-market, pro-imperialist policies of the government. They are cooperating to mobilise security forces and a huge intelligence network with a view to physically wipe out the movement led by the Maoist revolutionaries. They have armed a huge military network, are calling monthly meetings of this Centre with a large number of military forces directly engaged against the Maoist movement. This also indicates the growing strength of the Maoist movement and the threat that it poses to this pro-imperialist, anti-people state.
Yet this upsurge of the masses and a visible political turn that it has taken under the CPI (Maoist) did not happen overnight. It is the arduous struggle, in a zigzag course, of more than three and a half decades of developing a political and organisational line through concrete class analysis of the Indian society and characterisation of the State as semi-feudal, semi-colonial, with the comprador ruling classes subservient to the imperialist interests. It is this uncompromising struggle against the revisionism and class collaboration of the CPI and the CPM and all forms and variants of modern revisionism that had crystallised in the line of Protracted People’s War, building the People’s Liberation Army, establishing organs of people’s revolutionary political power and establishment of Base Areas. The bitter class struggle also enabled the revolutionaries in India to put forward the weapon of Strategic United Front of the four classes based on worker-peasant alliance under the leadership of the working class. It is this battle hard experience at the level of concrete practice that enabled the revolutionary party in India to take correct Marxist Leninist positions on the ideological-political questions in the International Communist Movement.
The Naxalbari uprising in 1967 that beckoned the new revolutionary wave, demarcating the revolutionaries from the revisionists established a clear political-ideological line for Indian revolution. The clarion call of the great Naxalbari movement led by Charu Mazumdar proved to be a “Spring Thunder over India” as symbolically captured by the then Chinese Communist Party under Com. Mao. Naxalbari thus marked a qualitative rupture from the age old revisionism in the Indian communist movement firmly establishing the correctness of MLM Thought. Thus the Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries was formed at the All India level and finally the CPI (ML) was formed as the re-established Communist Party of India in 1969 under the leadership of Charu Mazumdar. It was this newly formed party that organised the 8th Congress of the communist party which for the first time in India upheld MLM Thought and hence came up with a revolutionary line of New Democratic Revolution through Protracted People’s War, by building the People’s Liberation Army and the Base Areas.
Despite unifying all the Communist Revolutionaries the 8th Congress could not unite a part of the revolutionary forces which had also fought against revisionism of the CPI and the CPM and put forth fundamentally the same line as the one taken by the 8th Congress. The most notable was the MCC which was formed on 20th October 1969; on the basis of a document called “Strategy & Tactics” after the relentless struggle waged by Com. Kanai Chatterjee since the 7th Congress of the revisionist CPI.
The two Maoist parties—the CPI (ML) and the MCCI—which stemmed from the turbulent period of the decade of the 60s, particularly from the Great Naxalbari Uprising, inherited all that was revolutionary in the long history of the Indian Communist Movement while continuing as two streams of Indian revolution over the past 35 years. This advance was not on the bed of roses. Both the parties had to weather bitter internal struggles against opportunist cliques, against non-proletarian ideological trends and deviations while striving to build the party among the oppressed masses based on the revolutionary line. These parties had to boldly confront the armed onslaught of the Indian State, the private armies supported by the State, and the feudal forces by adhering to the Maoist principles of guerrilla war based on the revolutionary mass line of arousing and relying on the broad peasant masses, especially the poor and landless, into armed resistance against the enemies. This concrete application of the revolutionary Maoist line creatively to the specific conditions of India enabled both the parties in developing several guerrilla zones, the guerrilla armies—the People’s Guerrilla Army and the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army—directed towards establishing full fledged PLA and Base Areas in the vast countryside of Andhra, Jharkhand, Bihar and Dandakaranya and the adjoining parts of these states. The Protracted People’s War would consummate in New Democratic Revolution through the strategy of encircling the cities from the countryside.
It is this protracted, time tested history of revolutionary practice of armed struggle based on the correct revolutionary line for the Indian revolution that had provided the ideological-political material basis for unity of the two parties in to a single Maoist Party. The two parties have a long fraternal and comradely relations dating back from 1980 barring a brief period of strained relations and clashes. Based on the method and guidelines provided by the ideological weapon of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, both the parties made a deep, thorough, frank and free self-criticism of their serious mistakes that had resulted in the clashes, identified their roots in petty-bourgeois and non-proletarian ideological deviations in February 2003 and resolved to proceed with the unity process basing on ideological-political unity. It may be recalled that two major parties–the CPI (ML) (Party Unity) and CPI (ML) (People’s War) who were waging armed struggle had united in 1998 to form the CPI (ML) (People’s War). Thus the merger of the CPI (ML) (PW) and the MCCI into the CPI (Maoist) effectively completed the process of merger of the major revolutionary forces in India, though it is not the end of the process of unification of the Communist Revolutionary forces in the country. The historic formation of the CPI (Maoist) have also polarised the Communist Revolutionary parties pursuing a Right Deviation. The CPI (Maoist) is already in the thick of sharp polemics with the Right Deviationists while undertaking joint activities with these parties.
The CPI (Maoist) is of the opinion that the set back in the socialist constructions in Russia and China was mainly due to the revisionist line that developed within the respective Communist Parties of those countries. The capitalist-roaders in Russia and China captured power back from the working class because those parties could not guard against the infiltration of the bourgeoisie under various guises into the proletarian parties and its practice. But it points out that the failure of the socialist projects have taught important lessons to the international proletariat in carrying forward the class struggle against the bourgeoisie in various countries and the imperialist bourgeoisie at the international level. Thus the history of class struggle has taught us, they say, that in any country in the world has class struggle succeeded without armed struggle.
The Maoists are creatively and in a genuine way implementing the Marxist principles to the concrete conditions of India. They don’t blindly copy from China or Russia. At the same time they are aware that the socialist projects in China and Russia were defeated by the capitalist roaders. They apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in a practical way for India. If one calls carrying armed struggle dogmatism, then one is moving away from class struggle in an impoverished country like India. Armed peasant struggle is the basic struggle, because 70 percent of the masses have been forced to remain with and depend on agriculture and backward relations of production. The vast majority of the landless agricultural labour belong to the most oppressed and deprived sections—dalits—of the caste ridden social hierarchy of Indian society. It was the revolutionary stream of the ML movement which took a categorical position on the caste question in India. It unambiguously made it very clear that without the vast majority of the oppressed dalits and tribals becoming the core of the revolutionary movement it was impossible for the New Democratic Revolution to succeed. Thus the slogan for “land to the tiller”, in the Indian context, while becomes the central slogan of the agrarian revolution also undercuts the stranglehold of the regressive caste system and Brahmanism on the Indian society.
In such a situation where a vast majority don’t have even an inch of democratic space, they will not be able to fight the fascist ruling classes without arms. But armed struggle is also being waged creatively and practically. Armed struggle doesn’t mean the annihilation of the class enemy. Armed struggle is a form of class struggle where the oppressed classes assert their power and organise themselves by taking away power from the feudal and pro-imperialist comprador capitalists. Armed struggle under the leadership of Maoists also means re-appropriation of the sources of livelihood by the wretched of the earth from the dominant and powerful classes. It also means building alternative institutions of people’s power. So in this way armed struggle is redefined and practiced with the Bolshevik spirit of all powers to the soviets. Without armed struggle building any form of resistance in countries like India becomes wishful thinking as such resistances for a protracted time cannot be retained. The armed actions against the state forces and feudal forces are carried out to protect the movement and in self-defence and self-assertion of the exploited classes.
Today, the Government of India’s official reports put the number of people’s army as 28,000. The areas of their influence look much wider than what the Government estimations indicate. Also there is a vast people’s militia working at the village level. The militia is basic and primary in relation to the People’s Liberation Army as per the strategy of the CPI (Maoist).
Contrary to the widely held perception, the Maoist movement in India is not confined to the backward areas. It’s a vast movement, which also encompasses the so-called developed areas. Maoists work both in the countryside and the cities. The government says that the Maoists are active in 15 out of 28 states. And these include the major states. The Union Home Ministry says that 167 districts out of the total 600 districts in the country are covered by Maoists. This is a little less than 1/3 of India.
At the same time the Maoists are also working towards developing a militant movement in the urban areas—among the intelligentsia, students, women and the middle classes. Maoist cadres and leaders who have been working in the urban areas also are arrested, hunted and killed. Besides, Maoists also work among the coal miners in a big way. There are vast coal mines in many regions in India. One can also notice the work of Maoists in many industrial areas all over the country, though their concentration of work proceeds from the rural areas.
The days that are unfolding open up innumerable revolutionary possibilities for the downtrodden in the Indian subcontinent. Especially with the increasing disparities between the rich and the poor, among various regions of the subcontinent, between the struggling nationalities and the expansionist Indian ruling classes as the comprador ruling classes of India are ever more eager to closely tie up with the moribund capital, especially US imperialism, economically and militarily.
The Present Phase of Revolutionary Movement –its Beginnings
During the Naxalbari uprising in 1967, it was the tribal people who first rose in revolt. And as the saying goes a single spark had set the entire prairie on fire. Based on the call of the Naxalbari, Communist revolutionaries from Andhra Pradesh went to the forests of Dandakaranya—double the size of the present Kerala state—and Gadchiroli in the early eighties. The idea to establish a guerrilla zone in Dandakaranya was first mooted by the leadership of the erstwhile CPI (ML) (People's War). Way back in 1979, a squad was sent to Dandakaranya to conduct recce. Another 5 squads were sent in the subsequent year. Together they numbered 25. All of them were from Andhra Pradesh and none of them knew the local language of the tribals. Today, those 25 multiplied into many squads and platoons.
What the Maoists term as the Dandakaranya Special Zone is the vast forest area situated between the borders of four states—Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Orissa. The Maoists have five organizational divisions—the south, west and north Bastar divisions, the Maad and Gadchiroli divisions—covering the entire area. Braving all hardships and making immense sacrifices they could successfully win over the confidence of the people of this region as they became part of their everyday life; their everyday struggles.
It was this bondage that brought a transformation in the lives of the adivasis. The exploitation of the contractors, traders, local leaders, industrialists and officials became things of the past. Successfully waged struggles for proper wages in tendu leaf collection, bamboo cutting etc. brought in a new hope to the people of this region. Women fought against state violence, patriarchy and oppression in the name of customs. And today they get equal wages at par with men.
The people of Dandakaranya had dared to dream. They refused to be easy prey in the hands of the contractor-politician- industrialist-bureaucrat chain. The revolutionary movement and the consciousness of the masses developed to a new stage. A New Democratic Society is unfolding in Dandakaranya.
This heightened consciousness of the people made them realize the need to organize. Thus they started forming Revolutionary People’s Committees (RPCs), also known as Janatana Sarkar, under the leadership of the CPI (Maoist). These alternative political power structures of the people were formed in many villages. The Revolutionary People’s Committees dealt with Land Distribution, Irrigation, Justice, Education, Health, Village Defence, Co-operatives etc, involving the masses.
It was the dawn of this new power even in its embryonic form that had sent shivers among the powers that be. The hapless adivasis of the region have started not only defying the diktats of the local babus, pimps and their henchmen, but also enforcing their own rule in their areas where they are strong. They were in no mood to entertain any form of mistreatment, discrimination, exploitation or domination. They had stood up and named their world. They were in control of their lives.
A state of undeclared emergency
Today there is a state of emergency in the entire Dandakaranya region—especially in the state of Chhattisgarh. The state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of the erstwhile state of Madhya Pradesh in the 90s of the last century. Predominantly of tribal population, it is one of the richest states in terms of the forest and mineral wealth. But the people of this state are the poorest in India like the neighbouring states of Orissa and Jharkhand. They have been easy prey in the hands of the politician-trader-contractor-forest official nexus that would see Chhattisgarh as a happy hunting ground for the profit hungry blood sucking Multi-National Corporations and the local money bags. It is the same nexus that have unleashed state terror in Chhattisgarh in the name of salwa judum to facilitate easy access to the rich mineral resources in the area for the multinationals and the local monopolies.
Today the State of Chhattisgarh has become a veritable battle ground with the state government, its machinery and the ruling class politicians belonging to the Congress and the BJP on one side and the people on the other. An undeclared emergency prevails in the state with the police and the paramilitary forces given a free hand to deal with any kind of dissent.
More than fifty thousand people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, their culture; they are forcefully confined in sub-human conditions in makeshift camps surrounded by the paramilitary and by the Special Police Officers (SPOs) of the Salwa Judum who are recruited from the lumpen tribal youth armed by the state and with each paid a paltry sum of Rs.1500/ per month. People who are forced to stay in the camp are facing starvation and malnutrition as there is no adequate food supply for them. Women and children are worst affected in these conditions. Most of the women are forced into sexual exploitation as a means of survival. Many of them who have been active organising the adivasis are kept in confinement and gang raped for days.
The Great Mineral Rush
Significantly, in all these regions of interest for the predatory capital, the Maoist movement is strong and forms a formidable threat to their exploitative designs. It has become inevitable for international capital and their local lackeys to drive out the tribals from Dandakaranya; to wipe out the Maoists from the region as it is the only direct and potent threat that can stop these murderous looters.
The Tatas have a massive plan of building up a 10,000 crore Steel plant with an output of 5 million tones for which it will acquire about 3000 acres of land, Essar a 7,000 crore Steel plant while the Jindal Steel plant is not lagging behind. Other major corporations who have made a beeline in Chhattisgarh are the Texas Power Generation (USA) and the Global One Incorporate (USA) Pharmaceuticals. So one can imagine the major interests that are on to gain by driving out the defiant tribals who are refusing to move out of their habitat—the greedy hucksters and their masters who are on to make a fast buck from the rivers, trees, minerals and other wealth of the region.
The South African Multi National Corporation (MNC) De Beers, which is into trading and mining of diamonds, has acquired rights to large tracts of land in Chhattisgarh (900000 hectare), Orissa (850000 hectare) and Andhra Pradesh (67900 hectare). ACC Rio Tinto has major diamond and gold interests in Madhya Pradesh (765000 hectare) and diamond mining rights in Chhattisgarh (600000 hectare). Yet the mineral rush is not over. The South Korean MNC the Pohang Steel Company that is otherwise known as the POSCO steel company as you may know has already set its eyes in Jagatsinghpur in Orissa. This would displace around 1 lakh people. The rest of the losses in terms of environmental degradation and loss of livelihood is beyond imagination. Apart from the 12 billion dollars that it invests in Orissa it plans to further pool in a whopping 27 billion dollars worth of investment towards erecting steel plants in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. And imagine the investment of POSCO alone is more than India's total FDI inflow since 1991!
Besides, the Uranium Corporation India Limited (UCIL) has started its uranium exploration in Chhattisgarh.
The extent of servitude of the Indian ruling classes to imperialism is evident from the fact that the steep hills of the Bailadilla iron ore mines which are getting depleted day by day for the past thirty years are pouring in enormous profits for the Japanese imperialists, as the entire ore is sold to the Japanese at very low prices. Adjacent to it construction works for the Nagarnar Steel Plant are going ahead at full steam. The central and state governments have been busily soliciting FDI for an electric plant at Bodhghat. As the Dalli mines which were supplying iron ore to the Bhillai Steel Plant are on the verge of extinction, the Bharat Mining Corporation has now set its sites on the Raoghat mines of North Bastar. The construction works for the Dalli-Jagadalpur- Raoghat railway line, which were on the back burner for a long time due to people’s opposition are about to start any time. The big industrial house Nicco is continuing mining operations in Lohar and Chahar area near Raoghat under police protection. The big concerns, Godavari Isphat and Raipur Allied are conducting mining operations at Pallemadi near Manpur. A delegation of officials of the Asian Development Bank visited Pakhanjur area in 04’ and the leader of that delegation announced that they are ready to spend millions of rupees for the utilization of the vast resources of that area. Similarly, efforts for the extraction of millions of tones of various minerals are continuing at a fast pace in Chamurshi, Ahiri and Soorjagarh area of Gadchiroli district. The works for the construction of infrastructural facilities for mining operations of various valuable minerals are going on all over the Dandakaranya area. The tempo of these works increased during the last decade in the background of policies of globalization.
The MoU signed with the POSCO steel company is another example. To start with, the state government of Orissa have sold the ore to POSCO at a discount of Rs. 2000 per tonne. The company has also been given the right to swap ore. This means that the company can export ore of high alumina content and in return for the domestic industry can import ore of low quality! The people of India are losing lakhs of crores of their wealth to all these multinationals and the local money bags in the name of development ably supported by the politicians cutting across all parliamentary parties.
Post-47 India--A replication of the imperialist model of loot and plunder
Post-47 India saw the perpetuation of the same old policy of British colonialists by a new comprador ruling class which was dependent on imperialism for their own survival. In the name of development--which was a but a euphemism for more effective exploitation of the people and their resources--more than 25 million adivasis have so far been displaced from their habitat as they made way for big dams, industries and mines. All these industries which were foisted on the graves of the hapless adivasis and the most downtrodden people of India were arrogantly called the "temples of modern India" by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of post-47 India. For the poorest of the poor—the adivasis being the worst hit—this development meant further misery and exploitation. They never became part of any grand strategy of nation building or the empty rhetoric of “catching up with the West” of the Indian State.
For the tribals, their struggle for existence meant that they had to survive for 3-5 months with poisonous tubers or mango kernels as their staple food. For them malnutrition, hunger deaths, deaths due to malaria of various kinds were nightmares that they had to deal with while waiting for miracles to happen for their survival. Significantly, the plight of the tribals of these regions is never a matter of discussion among the erudite scholars abounding our universities and various annual seminars and workshops.
I would like to take a single example of such a movement for my presentation here. I will here discuss the Dandakaranya revolutionary people’s movement in some detail.
Dandakaranya – the Region, and its History
Heaven is a forest of miles and miles of Mahua trees
And Hell is a forest of miles and miles of Mahua
with a forest guard in it.
--A popular saying of MURIA adivasi of Bastar
Dandakaranya is a vast forest expanse of central India. It is a home for a large number of tribes. They live in extreme backward conditions. Some of these tribes don’t even know how to use a plough recently. Millions of these indigenous Dravidian tribal people have been exploited and looted through feudal, pre-feudal, imperialist forms. The British could never conquer these tribes. It is only after the British left India, the Indian ruling classes started penetrating into the areas of this region as this vast region is highly rich with natural resources like metals, coal, several other minerals, and rich forest produce.
The people of Dandakaranya predominantly tribals have a history marked with numerous rebellions. From the Halba Rebellion of 1774-79 to the Bhumkal Rebellion of 1910, there were ten big tribal revolts in the region of Bastar.
During British rule, the present-day Chhattisgarh was primarily governed as semi-autonomous princely states. In the south, the princely state of Bastar, a tribal stronghold fought against the Marathas and British.
The British colonialists lust for the vast potential of profits that the deep interior hinterlands inhabited by the adivasis held in store, made them realize the immense possibilities of exploiting to its limits the rich mineral and forest resources of the region. They converted these regions into profitable sources of raw material inputs for their industries in the West. It meant unbridled loot and plunder of the rich forest wealth and minerals of the region. They made the forest barren by bringing down sal, teak and bamboo while not sparing any other source of forest wealth. Not to be satisfied, they further bled the veins of the sub-continent by digging up several mines to drain away the valuable resources of iron ore, manganese, coal, bauxite, gold, diamonds, dolomite, quartz, limestone, and lots of other mineral wealth.
This violent loot and plunder was met with stiff resistance from the masses. There were protests not to say rebellions against the colonial laws such as the Forest Act of 1876. The Great Santhal Rebellion of the mid-19th century led by Siddhu Kanu, Birsa Munda and others, the Halba Rebellion of 1774-79, the Paralkot Rebellion led by Gend Singh in 1825, the Muria Rebellion of 1876, the Gond Adivasi revolt (Bhumkal) of Abhujmad led by Gundadhur in 1910, the Rampa Rebellion of the 1920s led by Alluri Seetharama Raju in East Godavari, and Vishakapatnam in north Andhra Pradesh, the Gond Rebellion of Adilabad led by Komuram Bheemu and several such revolts reflected the seething anger against such violent unmitigated imperialist loot.
Among the various rebellions that witnessed the region, the Bhumkal Revolt in 1910 was historic. This was against the British rule and their local agents. For five years the British could not defeat this movement. It had rocked the citadels of colonial power which had incurred huge loss in terms of resources and man power. The British retaliated by torturing and killing hundreds of people. Women were raped. The leaders of the tribal revolt such as Gend Singh, Babu Rao, Sedmak and Yadav Rao were hanged.
The Dandakaranya is a vast area with a deep forest cover dotted by steep hills. The adivasi economy here consisted of mainly two parts, agriculture and collection of minor forest produce. The mode of adivasi agriculture in all these divisions was primitive, with little variations here and there. One need not say that it is entirely monsoon dependent. Though the annual rain fall is not uniform in all the areas, usually it will be above normal. This area has abundant perennial water resources like rivers and streams, with water flowing almost throughout the year. As no government, either the British colonialists or their comprador successors, ever conceived any water conservation projects, either major or minor, most of the rain water gets wasted. Irrigating the fields through wells and small ponds by even well-to-do peasants is a rare phenomenon in the entire region.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of the peasants do not even know about irrigation wells. They are still centuries away from the man who learned to draw water from wells through such implements as the water wheel and who constructed dams and canals to irrigate the fields thousands of years ago. Here too, their superstitious belief, that if a second crop is harvested, the gods will get angry and harm them makes the situation worse. However a gradual change in their attitudes is occurring due to the impact of the development programme being initiated under the Maoist leadership during the last two decades. Construction of tanks with canal systems has been going on, though on a small scale.
They hardly knew how to preserve anything edible that they collected or produced. In one word, the adivasi peasants here lacked the experiences of the human being, who fought against all odds for achieving a stable living and for a fundamental change in their life by growing from the stage of food collection to that of a producer of food, while introducing many innovative changes in the methods of agriculture.
True to what Marx observed, the Maoists embarked on a journey to prepare people for revolution, to do revolution, not in the best circumstances of their choice but with conditions given to them. The hard life in these most backward regions of the subcontinent where the dividing line between life and death is very thin or even non-existent is summed up succinctly by the revolutionaries who have left everything in their lives for ushering in a new society free from all forms of exploitation:
"In the luxurious life of a revolutionary, there is nothing you can't get, except your meals."
The revolutionary masses of Dandakaranya have set up their own Governments which are called Janatana Sarkars or People’s governments under the leadership of CPI (Maoist). After smashing the power of reactionaries at local level, the people have constructed these embryonic centres of power. The party leading the revolution in these areas understands these Janatana Sarkars as part of the people’s political power in New Democratic Revolution. The revolutionary people’s movement in Dandakaranya adopted a comprehensive policy programme of Janatana Sarkar which is being implemented in several hundreds of villages in the Dandakaranya region. These Janatana Sarkars are comparable to the Soviets in revolutionary Russia. The Janatana Sarkars are directly elected by the adult members of the village, not nominated. They have become the real symbols of people’s democracy as opposed to the Indian Parliamentary democracy which was imposed by the British imperialists and which never has any relation with the people at the grassroots. The Janatana Sarkars in Dandakaranya have been involved in production, cultural, educational and military sectors, aiming at all round development of people’s lives, livelihoods.
Revolutionary Co-operative Agriculture
The Cooperative sector is discussed a lot not only in the administrative circles but also in the academic circles. Occasionally articles are written with empirical data about the achievements of the government in the cooperative sector. But it is a known fact that the cooperative department of the government is the most corrupt. Whatever the facts and figures shown on paper may be, the reality is something else. Perhaps few would differ with this fact.
Here is an experience of a cooperative sector in production. It operates in a real collective sense and corruption does not have any say here. Cooperative societies are being formed by the janatana sarkar in the adivasi areas of the Dandakaranya (DK) Special Zone under the leadership of the CPI (Maoist) in the state of Chhattisgarh. The following information tries to give a glimpse of the janatana sarkar of one area in the Maad division of the DK Special Zone. In the official parlance of the Indian state administrative machinery this area falls under Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh.
A few words about the area of discussion: The area is on the bank of a river. The mode of production is relatively backward. There are rich, middle and poor peasants in the area. Tilling is done with bullocks and ploughs but all do not have implements. The crops are paddy, dal (Cereal) and a few varieties of millets.
The collective work in agricultural production in this area started with tilling collectively with ploughs. Gradually the need for the collective method spread to other works. Initially work teams were established. The work teams prepared plots, lay ponds, initiated fish culture, sowed seeds, tilled land and prepared small wells. The work of these teams appealed to the people. This was a learning experience for them as they gradually grasped the positive aspect of collective work. They started establishing wells, ponds. They sold a little crop and a little fish after keeping some for themselves. And they got good revenue.
Once the people attained a certain level of consciousness the Maoist party started forming the janatana sarkars. Janatana Sarkars are the revolutionary Governments at the village level. The Janatana Sarkars have been setting up People’s Co-operative Societies to improve the village level economy of the people. The Co-operatives centre around agriculture and the collection of minor forest produce. The Janatana Sarkars are aware of the needs and necessities of the local people as they too are based in the same village. Their self-conscious attempts are a reflection of their informed faculty of the mode of production prevalent in their region.
Thus the collective work became more systematic. Production increased. There was a great change in the mode of production. The collectiveness in agricultural activity created the opportunity to increase the usage of cattle and other agricultural implements.
Below are some of the data regarding the agricultural and developmental activity in this area. The janathana sarkar bought 260 cattle and distributed them to the poor peasants. They also distributed 540 quintals of seeds ranging from paddy, gingelly, dal, maize and millets. They built 70 houses and repaired another 350. When the area was affected with famine they distributed Rs. 25,000 to the people as relief.
In this particular area on the whole 1436 acres of land was seized from the people’s enemies, those who fled from the village and the landlords and rich peasants. Forest land too was seized. 1057 acre of this land was distributed to 482 families. The janatana sarkar kept in its control 310 acre and 65 acre was given to the militia.
The cooperative activity and the increasing revolutionary consciousness broke certain taboos regarding the participation of women in production. In the old society women were not allowed to do certain things in agricultural work like sowing seeds, going near the paddy crop after the harvest and later to the paddy store. So the Kranthikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghathan (KAMS) took up the task of breaking these taboos. The organization started dealing with the women’s problems much earlier to the launching of the collective and cooperative activities and the janatana sarkars. After the age old superstitions were removed, the women’s organization at present is mainly on the task of mobilizing women into the activities of the janatana sarkar.
The janatana sarkar helped the people in one more way. That is regarding the fixing of rates for the forest produce being sold in the weekly markets. It also helped the people who were the targets of salwa judum and state violence through the revenue and crop raised from the collective activity. Residential schools are also being financed by the revenue out of this activity.
Developing agriculture was a challenging task for them as the tribals have never used a plough before. Sixty years of the so-called independent India, never introduced any improved means of agriculture or livelihood to these adivasis. The Janatana Sarkars don’t want to import technology and methods used outside indiscriminately without the peoples’ understanding and involvement. They want to start and improve from where they are located in time and space.
The cooperative activity in the area gradually also developed a team of carpenters. This team went around the villages before the onset of the agricultural season and fulfilled the necessities of the agricultural implements of the masses. The janatana sarkar bought furnaces and the necessary metal for the purpose.
Regarding cattle, the janatana sarkar in this area took it up in a creative manner. It distributes cattle and takes back 20 kilos of paddy per year. It buys cattle with this money. The farmer could keep the new born with them. With a long-term view, the government bought cattle that could give birth to calves. In addition to cattle, the janatana sarkar also distributed goats and hens mainly to those who lost them in the salwa judum. It distributed 100 packets of fish to develop pisci-culture. It is also looking after the families of the martyrs who have laid down their lives fighting the enemy of the people. Planning is also on to look after the victims of salwa judum in the nearby areas.
The development committee of the janatana sarkar is procuring the forest produce like mahua and brooms from the people for sales. This would facilitate the necessities of the people’s market.
The forest protection committee, one of the sub-committees of the janatana sarkar, sees to it that the forests are secure. It initially took up a campaign not to cut trees indiscriminately. When the people were leading a nomadic existence, forest was cut on a very wide scale. Now since the villages are settled, protection of the forest has come up in a serious manner. One has to take permission from the forest protection committee to cut trees. The committee would make a study and see the trees that can be cut in case of necessities for building houses, certain agricultural implements, beds and other such things. Those who cut the trees without permission would be punished. The punishments are mainly in the form of paying money.
The janatana sarkar is also planning to set up a certain amount for defence purposes, to make weapons for the militia.
The experience of the janatana sarkar shows that scientifically run cooperative activity could achieve tremendous benefits for the people. It also exposes the fake cooperative spirit of the ruling class governments with all their money wasted and modern amenities with people just as objects to be controlled or played with. The success of the cooperative activity going on in these ‘backward’ forest areas of Dandakaranya is a trend setter for other areas.
Dandakaranya-Women in Transformation
The red flower, sister, is flowering
Let us follow the path of the red flower and struggle…..
--From a song written by the squad women in North Bastar
The remarkable transformation that is taking place among adivasi women of various tribes of Dandakaranya like Gond, Koya, Dorla, Madia, etc is an outcome of two and half decade of gradual but conscious efforts of the Maoist movement. All the tribal societies of Dandakaranya are patriarchal. With the growing influence of revolutionary activities in every sphere of life in this area, the movement against patriarchy started in 1986 when women organized themselves into Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan (KAMS) or Revolutionary Indigenous Women’s Organisation. Adivasi women rose against the patriarchal social and cultural practices of their traditional tribal societies, which controlled women for ages both in terms of their role in production relations and their capacity for reproduction.
In the adivasi society a woman’s plight starts as soon as she matures. She is forced to hide herself in a separate hut during her menstrual periods, as she must not be seen by any man during that period. She must marry the person chosen by her father, after receiving a bride price from the groom. In some areas, the person who wishes to marry a certain women abducts her and forcefully consummates the union irrespective of her wishes. Women are forced to go bare-chested throughout their life once they are married. Women have no rights even over their children whatsoever.
The adivasi women of these tribes have been made to live under elaborate patriarchal social structures that encompass every aspect of their lives. Women are not allowed to eat the head and legs of the meat preparations. Only the middle region of the meat was allowed for women to eat that too when the men folk obliges them. Despite doing all the agricultural work she should keep away from the crop when it is ripe for harvest. They are not allowed to take out the grain from the storage place; men enjoy the sole right over the grain. Only men can take out the grain from the store for the women to cook. In the traditional adivasi societies, women are not allowed to sit on the bed as they believe that if women do so the crops might fail. Women are not allowed to eat eggs, as it is held that if women eat eggs, they will not conceive. In case a woman couldn’t conceive, the man of the house beats her believing that she has secretly eaten eggs. The atrocious practices like bringing back a woman to torture her life long if she runs away from a family for her dislike for the man who she is forcefully married, all these patriarchal practices show that men control the means and relations of production as well as women’s reproductive capabilities. The women who have become aware of the social oppression on them and organized themselves into the Revolutionary Indigenous Women’s Organization started fighting against these patriarchal social practices.
As a result of a long drawn movement, these practices have come to an end. The real meaning of empowerment of women has been made possible through the active involvement and bitter struggle waged by these women themselves and it is not the kind of NGO preaching or through individual efforts like in radical/bourgeois feminist movements. It is neither philanthropy nor charity—of raising someone through the efforts of someone else.
The women who formed their organizations as part of the revolutionary movement had to face numerous hardships. The organization grew gradually overcoming the problems created by the exploitative tribal chiefs who felt their traditional hold on their tribe weakening. Soon the organized women started questioning the elders about their past crimes against women in particular and against people in general. These chiefs/elders tried different dubious schemes and plots to humiliate and undermine their unity and organization. But gradually and eventually, the women not only defeated all their evil designs but also punished the elders who resorted to several crimes.
When the revolutionaries of Dandakaranya started their struggle for land, the adivasi women stood in the forefront. The adivasis have been for generations cultivating lands inside the forests. The adivasis never had land tittles over their lands. The Indian Government after the British left started controlling the forests through establishing Forest Departments. The forest officials became the biggest oppressors of the adivasis. So, the adivasis had to wage severe battles against the forest officials/departments every time they cultivated their own lands. As adivasi women also started organising themselves into the revolutionary movement, they stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the land struggle to establish their natural right over the land. As soon as this land struggle started, the police entered the villages to arrest the men. But women appeared before police, and chased them away. Throughout the period of land struggles, the heroic women of Dandakaranya fought till they achieved great victories. As a result, women who stood firmly in the movement earned enormous respect. The participation of women in the revolutionary armed struggle slowly became natural. Today women constitute 40% of the guerrilla fighters in Dandakaranya. Even the bourgeois press point out the leading roles played by the women in the revolutionary movement. This would look like a fairy tale.
The women have their own structures and organisations within the CPI (Maoist). They have their own conferences and committees. They are part of the general conferences and have separate meetings in connection with these. The rule is that if a woman and a man are equally competent then a woman is given priority in leading any particular revolutionary committee. There is also special education for women so that they develop faster, special camps and special trainings are devised. In the Maoist Party most women that are party members do not have children on their own choice, but if particular women want to have, she can have a child and the party will help her. The period of her child-bearing will not be discriminated against. There are well developed policies about these questions in the Maoist Party of India.
At present in India, more and more concentration is paid on the patriarchal structures from the women cadres of the Maoist Party. One is the institution of reproduction itself, which is highly discriminating against women. Within the Maoist revolutionary practice this has become a major question along with other specific problems for women. While there are efforts to grasp these problems, the revolutionary movement has realised that enough mechanisms are yet to be found to check the discrimination of women within the revolutionary process. One major thing is that women continue to be under patriarchal structures and thinking just because they are women. So the new revolution must pay attention to the specificities of this special oppression. The second important point is that complete emancipation of women is not possible within the capitalist system. But we should also guard against the fact that if the proletariat takes over power the patriarchal structures would not automatically disappear. This is a major problem. One must pay specific attention to the institutions and structures that remain and reproduce themselves in the new society under construction. Women have to fight a revolution within the revolution. In India there will be many more revolutions within the revolution as we have a peculiar oppressive structure called caste.
We understand all such attempts of revolution within the revolution are complimentary and patriarchy and caste system or say, racism has to be looked at from this angle. A quick and simple solution is not possible. A revolutionary has to be patient. But this doesn’t mean these revolutions within revolutions should wait till the proletariat captures power. In India we think that the Cultural Revolution has to start right away even before the success of the New Democratic Revolution. But such an attempt taken unmindfully will degenerate into a Post-modernist ruse, like most liberal humanist projects relapse into Post-structuralist obscurantism. This task is possible only in the hands of a firm proletariat Party after it acquires confidence of the revolutionary masses in a country. Otherwise, such attempts will end up in mere anarchism.
Changes in culture
In a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country like India the overarching influence of imperialist culture coupled with feudal values of all hues including Hindu fundamentalism articulates itself in various shades in the world view of the people in general. All cultural expressions, values, ethics, outlook—everything reflects the convergence of interests of decadent capital with the angst of the local moneylender-landlord-bureaucrat capital for the maximisation of surplus, parasitism, subservience and dependence on the foreign technology and capital. What is the interface of the overarching world view of development when it reaches the everyday life of the adivasi in Dandakaranya?
The so-called industrialization that was ushered in ever since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru has destroyed the tribal homes, their livelihoods and endangered their very existence. Their culture and traditions got trampled upon. For the first time in the history of these adivasi masses, prostitution has become a big business, with innocent young women and even girls being pushed into the flesh trade either through allurements or by force. The adivasis, who never even had heard about sexually transmitted deceases, are now becoming easy victims to them. Even the most dreaded decease, AIDS too made its appearance. As a natural corollary, lumpenisation of the youth is going on in a big way. Bailadilla mines stands as a testimony for all the evils that this so-called industrialization has brought to the lives of the adivasi masses. An erstwhile district Collector of Bastar and a well wisher of the adivasi masses, Mr. Brahmadev Sharma was so moved by seeing these evil consequences that he gave vent to his sorrow about the ‘duped little sisters of Bastar’, through poetry.
The adivasis had a lot of unscientific, blind beliefs regarding production, health and human relations in their social life. Though the basic reason is their lack of scientific and articulated knowledge, these customs mainly benefited the hierarchies in terms of help in agriculture and gaining money. And the so-called development that was externally induced in the adivasi society as mentioned above only consolidated the regressive nature of these hierarchies with the hapless tribals getting more and more entrapped in their superstitions aggravated by a situation of heightened uncertainties in their lives. The hierarchy in this adivasi area was mainly constituted with the village head and the village priest. It was mostly hereditary. These families enjoyed all power over the village. Inter and intra family problems and contradictions were brought to the village head for a solution. With the given knowledge about the medicinal herbs and treatment of diseases the village priest was the native doctor and he too had a say in these matters. These heads intervened in matters of marriage, house construction and other such social and essential matters.
When the village head solved a problem, the concerned families were to give him a hen. When the village doctor performed a puja as part of treatment of a disease, he too had to be given a hen. During festivals they were given a large share of the meat distributed among the villagers. In agricultural work, the villagers were expected to work in the fields of these two heads without payment.
When the Maoist party entered the villages and formed mass organizations, the authority of these heads came to an end. As the organizations gained strength, they gained command over village matters. The authority was a collective one and no single person enjoyed it. The matters were discussed in a meeting and all the villagers had their say. A decision was reached through the method of consensus. Both the Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan (DAKMS) and the Kranthikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan (KAMS) took up several problems of the people and solved them. This was a part of educating the masses politically and scientifically. Nothing was possible without education as a campaign. This education was in the form of meetings and through the cultural organization of the party, the Chethana Natya Manch (CNM) which had a key role to play. It prepared many songs, dances and plays on superstitions and age old evil practices and propagated the unscientific nature of the same. This appealed to the people as they started reflecting on themselves and their lives.
After the janatana sarkars got formed, these matters are being taken up by the cultural committee, education committee and the judicial committee. The cultural committee looks after the cultural life of the people. The festivals are normally related to agricultural activity. The Vijja pandum (seed festival) is performed before the sowing of seeds. It performs the native dance, dhaka occasionally. It conducts marriages and also sees that there is no coercion involved and that there is agreement between both the woman and man. The cultural committee took up education against the practice of killing persons on the suspicion that they were doing witchery.
Another practice that was prevalent was bigamy. The women’s organization had been fighting against this practice. The activists say it has relatively come down. But there are still incidents where the wife is left and another wife is brought. Earlier the abandoned wife did not have any say in the property, though she had children. She had to look after herself or the parental family supported her. Now the janatana sarkar is solving it in a different manner. In one case where the man brought a second wife, the judicial committee ordered him to give a share of property to the abandoned wife. It specified the amount of land, the cattle and other such things.
In a big move the cultural committee brought a change in the participation of women in festivals and especially hunting. Till recently women were not allowed to participate in the festivals. The women’s organization broke the tradition to a large extent and now the janatana sarkar is advancing it to other such issues. Recently it succeeded in making women part of hunting animals. This was the first time in the history of this area. Tradition did not allow women even to eat meat until recently.
As a part of increasing the production activity, the cultural committee also takes up propaganda about production and the introduction of scientific methods of production.
There are some practices in this area regarding death. The family of the deceased must give meat to the villagers and the relatives in another village. Some of the elders make their sons and daughters promise to kill a cow in their name and leave the tail of it near their grave. This practice is called thoka thohathana. This practice was discussed a lot in the meetings. The youth were ready to stop this practice, as they understood the importance of cows in agriculture. They felt they could not go on killing cows for each and every death that would only amount to more financial burden. But the elders were not ready. The discussion is still going on in this issue. The party is educating them to give up this practice and other such things, but has decided to let the people take their own time to change it.
The education committee looks after the establishment of schools and hostels. It arranges teachers. Their salaries are either in the form of payment in kind or contribution to their agricultural production from the villagers. During the salwa judum campaign the education committee did a lot when the anti-people state government closed the schools. It held meetings with the teachers and students and promised them to start schools later. And it did..
Friends, herein lay the convergence of interests of US imperialism and the local comprador classes. They have to have a Salwa Judum. They have to kill and maim the people into submission. To impose a model of development; of servitude, of misery, of destitution and death.
Response of the State – Salwa Judum
The 14 point policy of the central government to tackle the problem of increasing influence of the Maoists unequivocally states that “…to promote local resistance groups that would be trained in self-defence and given adequate protection”. And yet it started in the most innocuous manner. Of course a careful implementation of the tactics of counter revolution that is euphemistically called as the Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) by US imperialism.
It was time now for the Central and the State governments to adopt the tactics of Low Intensity Warfare. Salwa Judum was one part of these tactics. LIC as a policy should be seen as the reactionary rulers' last ditch effort to defeat revolutions. US imperialism had devised this strategy after it was defeated by the heroic resistance of the revolutionary people of Vietnam. The main aspect of this strategy is to wage economic, political, psychological war along with military operations on the people so as to break their will into submission. Vicious propaganda against revolution and activists and sympathizers of the revolutionary movement so as to demonize them will be systematically undertaken through the mass media as part of the psychological warfare.
The Indian State—as has been made clear by the prime minister of India, the home minister and other top officials—has been adopting measures to smash the revolutionary movement led by CPI (Maoist). It had resorted to similar schemes in the past to defeat various nationality struggles in the sub-continent. Creating vigilante gangs was one such tactic which it had devised as a strategy in Punjab, Kashmir and Assam.
By now, in Andhra Pradesh, the anti-naxalite police squad called the Grey Hounds had created the terror of vigilante gangs in the name of Nallamala cobras, Kakatiya cobras, Green Tigers, Palnadu Tigers, Nallamala Tigers, Narsa Cobras, etc. It was these vigilante gangs that went on attacking and killing writers, artists, human rights and mass activists. The vigilante gang that was supposed to take on the Maoists in Jharkhand was called the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti or the Gram Suraksha Samiti. The counter revolutionary campaign was called Sendra. Sendra meant "mass hunting". In Bihar it was the Ranveer Sena. In West Bengal the state sponsored terror took the form of Gana Suraksha Samiti. In Orissa, it was called Shanti Sena.
And finally, in Chhattisgarh, counter revolution took the form of Salwa Judum. Literally it means “Peace Initiative”. And the police call it “Operation Green Hunt”, “Operation Rakshak”.
Salwa Judum: A War of Occupation
Salwa Judum was first launched in Dantewada in June 2005 in the name of ‘Jan Jagaran Abhiyan’. Later it was extended to Bastar, Kanker, Surguja and other districts. Initially the State police, Chattisgarh Special Armed Police, 8000 Para military (which comprised of the CRPF and Naga Battalion), 172 NSG commandos were brought to create terror and strife on the people. Besides, around 4,000 lumpen youth were recruited as Special Police Officers (SPOs) at Rs 1500 per month to act as informers, attackers and form Gram Suraksha Samitis in villages. In Dantewada, about 3,200 got recruited as SPOs.
The audiotape of Manhar, SP of Bijapur, is a striking testimonial to the criminal and fascist designs of the state behind this whole exercise euphemistically called the "Peace Initiative" which they often insist as a spontaneous uprising of the local tribal people against the Naxalites. This audiotape was produced before the journalists by Com. Bhupati, a Central Committee Member of the CPI (Maoist).
“Those Villages which participate in "Jagaran" will get 2 lakhs.... those who kill Naxalites will get the full reward ….
Any journalist who goes to cover the news of Naxalites, straightaway can be killed.....
villagers should be told .... come to Jagaran first time, or second time. If you do not come second time, we will burn your village."
After going through the above statement, one can imagine the state of lawlessness in that region with the mercenary forces of the ruling classes given a free hand to deal with the people. There is no accountability. No checks and balances. No norms or procedures. It is the trampling down of all democratic norms and laws that the Indian state itself has created.
The total convergence of interests of the ruling classes becomes amply clear when one realizes that the leader of the Salwa Judum is the local tribal MLA Mahendra Karma one of the most corrupt and pro-imperialist of the politicians of the region. He has been accorded unconditional support by the ruling party BJP and its Chief Minister. The police and the paramilitary has become the watch dogs of this campaign need not be said again and again. In Mahendra Karma's own words to finish off and isolate the Maoists their supplies have to be cut off and destroyed. And he does not mince his words as to who or what are these supplies. He squarely points at the people as the eyes and ears of the Maoists and the need to brutally break this resolve of the people. Salwa meetings were first held in those areas where there were no revolutionary activity to mobilise masses. This mobilization was then used to attack villages where revolutionary movement existed. Rumours were spread that Naxalites were attacking villages indiscriminately, so as to evacuate people from villages.
Like in a war of occupation, villages were divided into sectors and sub-sectors. Outposts and camps of CRPF and Naga police were set up in many villages for providing 'carpet security' to the marauding Salwa goons. This was soon followed by more ferocious mopping up operations. Burn, loot, rape, kill. Hit the economic lifelines of the people. Evacuate people from villages, put them in camps under vigilance. This has been the road map of terror in the villages of Chhattisgarh. The situation is somewhat similar to that of Vietnam where the US aggressors set up concentration camps which they called strategic hamlets. The Nagas are also not new to this kind of repression as they have faced similar experiences with the repressive machinery of the Indian army.
The State had a plan to re-locate 400 villages (1200 to 1500 hamlets) in the Bastar region. In the so-called peace intiative they have so far attacked more than 70 villages and burnt 13,000 houses between June 2005 -February 2006. The Salwa Judum goons-police combine came with diesel and sprayers. After spraying they burnt the houses. These mercenary elements looted, destroyed food grains, pulses and hundreds of pigs, goats, chicken. They took extra care to axe down all fruit trees. It is pertinent to point out that ever since the resistance movement had become stronger among the people and Revolutionary People's Committees (RPCs) were formed an alternative development path was ushered in with bio-friendly farming, optimum sharing of water resources, preservation of natural varieties of seeds through seed banks and cooperatives, and also grain sharing facilities through which the people became confident in facing the lean periods. Rearing of goats, chicken, pigs, growing of pulses, setting up water harvesting mechanisms, growing fish in ponds were all part of this new development model in its embryonic form. It had raised the confidence of the tribal masses by leaps and bounds. They had transformed themselves into new human beings. And they started defending this new model as theirs. Naturally, it was the target of the Salwa goons-police combine. As part of this planned assault on the adivasi people the state has banned all weekly markets held by the tribals which is their main source of lifeline with the outside world where they can sell their products and buy what ever little needs they have.
Majjimendri, Kotrapal, Manekal, Pullum, Alavur, Pedda Jojer, Chinna korma, Munder, Pottem, Tudem, Akwa…… are among the villages which are totally burnt.
Gagging the Press
Before the initiation of Salwa Judum itself the state had started preparing the ground for throttling any form of dissent in Chhattisgarh. As part of this strategy, the notorious “Chhattisgarh Special Peoples’ Security Bill”, was enacted in 2005. This was a law that was ostensibly framed to replace the POTA. In retrospect it has turned to be one of the worst anti-people draconian legislations. All mass organisations and mass activity in Chhattisgarh were banned with this legislation. Even the March 8th International Women's Day rally was not allowed to happen. Anyone who had the remotest of link or sympathy for the Maoists was arrested and kept without any charges being framed for days and months. These are all serious offences in the eyes of the Indian law itself.
Under “Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act”, journalists carrying reports of Maoists is a crime. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) have already voiced their concern and dissent over such high handed measures from the state.
Some of the journalists who still braved the repression and terror and reported objectively about the situation had to face the ire of the brutal state machinery. For instance, Kamlesh Paikra, Bijapur correspondent of a English daily, lost his job, received death threats and was forced to flee. His house was ransacked by the Police-Salwa Judum goons because he reported atrocities of the Salwa Judum campaign. Lakshman Singh Kusram, a Bijapur-based journalist, received threats from police, for reporting police atrocities. Baliram Kashyap, a BJP MP openly declared in a daily that journalists who "glorify Maoists" should be killed.
The genuine anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle forges ahead…
They claimed that the land, water, forest and the whole forest wealth belonged to them. They began to deny the deceptive government that was exploiting them. They say that the handing over the properties to foreigners was nothing but serving the imperialists. They say that this is not real independence. They raise their voice to say that the ‘democracy’ that they have experienced till now was fake and elections a farce. Now they boycott elections. Now they extend their solidarity to the people of all countries. And why?
Because they feel that all the oppressed, the victims should be united in their struggle for life.
The above facts clearly bring forth the fact that the adivasis have succeeded in laying down a path to change their lives. This change does not benefit merely a single person. It is concerned with the change in the lives of each and everyone and the society as a whole. Thus the people have taken control of their own lives. They are making great leaps forward in the economy and in the filed of the superstructure, putting parliamentary democracy to shame and throwing a challenge to the so called modern and developing world.
Parliamentary democracy in India is much hailed. India is said to be the biggest democracy in the world. It is supposedly ‘for, by and of the people’. The past, more than half a century proved this democracy to be a sham. People of India and all over the world are vexed with the ineffectiveness and misappropriation of the ‘democratic institutions’ like the court, police, prison and the administrative machinery by the ruling classes. Essential services like water and electricity are a point of agitation in many parts of the country almost on a day-to-day basis.
The poverty levels in India have increased. In 1947 there were no suicide deaths of farmers. From 1990s onwards the suicide deaths of farmers have started in a big way. Agriculture, which employs the largest section of the population has been largely neglected. The poor peasantry is not able survive in this sector as it is heavily dependent on the highly exploitative private money lender. About 150000 farmers committed suicide in the last ten years. There are hunger deaths in many areas. People are eating wild roots and leaves in vast stretches of underdeveloped areas. In fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that India has several regions today at the same level as the sub-Saharan African countries. All this is happening particularly after the aggressive pro-imperialist globalisation started on a large-scale
In this sham of the parliamentary democracy the employment rate has refused to grow. It is standing still. The real employment rate has declined very much, for several reasons. The economic surveys tell us that one million small industries were closed in the last few years, and this made a huge loss of jobs. Then land being acquired from the farmers is also responsible for unemployment. The small peasants and landless peasants have lost their jobs in a big way.
This democracy concerns mostly the urban and the plain areas. And it is inaccessible to the adivasi population who constitute one important section of the population of the country. The presence of the parliamentary democratic institutions and minimum medical services are not seen in most of the adivasi areas of the country. It is true that the people in these areas were at a loss, away from the ‘modern’ world.
But for the past few years, things took a different turn in some parts of the adivasi areas. While the North Eastern Region of the Indian subcontinent and the people of Jammu & Kashmir and other areas are fighting for the liberation of their nationalities from the domination of the Indian state, the adivasis of the central part of India and a few other eastern states sought a different alternative. They started forming a people’s government of their own.
‘People’s democracy’ found birth in the most ‘backward’, ‘uncivilized’ areas of the country. It continued to develop in divergent ways and levels. The achievements of this people’s democracy prove that this is a real kind of democracy, a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people in its actual sense. The main principles of this democracy are collective functioning and democratic centralism, the Maoist principles.
The salwa judum campaign of the Chathisgarh state government brought a lot of changes in the life of the villages. The repression unleashed in the campaign taught a lot in defence for the masses. The militia that was already set up in the villages became more active. Militia platoons were formed and most of the youth, both women and men became full time activists in the militia. They have become another big family in the village.
The people’s democracy named ‘janathana sarkar’ (people’s government) in the Dandakaranya Special Zone of the state of Chhattisgarh under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is the ‘embryonic stage’ of people’s power to be achieved countrywide in future, as put by the party. The activities in production, cultural, educational and military sectors of the present janatana sarkars, give an outline of the future socialist state. It also reveals that despite the severe repression campaign of the reactionary, parliamentary state, the janatana sarkars are going to succeed. The CPI (Maoist) party has succeeded in consolidating the people’s government to a certain stage and is heading towards forming higher levels of the same.
Immense revolutionary possibilities abound the future
There is an extremely favourable revolutionary situation in India and also in all the ‘third world’ countries. In each of these countries, the domestic crisis is sharpening along with the international crisis. Whether we like it or not, in the age of moribund capital steeped in crisis, its image all over the world only reflects the chilling conditions of war manifested in manifold ways. For example, the US is fighting a military war against the people of Iraq and an economic war on the people of India, and both forms of wars kill the people in the same magnitude. So the US need not declare war on India as the blood thirsty ruling classes of India are willing to facilitate everything for the imperialists. The growing contradictions among the imperialist forces can quickly change from collusion to conflicts. The background is already prepared and the revolutionary situation is already ripe. It is the subjective forces of the communist vanguard that have to strengthen themselves and seize the situation. The ruling class hegemony will be crushed in no time if the imperialists don’t come to their rescue in each of these countries when the revolutionary masses organise themselves. Similarly, a break in the imperialist chain anywhere will have a chain effect and the irreversible collapses of the imperialist/ monopoly bourgeois rule in the West will follow suit. The proletarian parties in Europe and other parts of the West should prepare the ground in advance for this impending and indispensable eventuality.
The ray of hope in the eyes of the hungry
Has disappeared like a desert path
The tents of faith blown by the wind
Have been in ruins long since
Now the bones worn of patience
Must in unison root out this tree of darkness
With battle axes and spikes.