Saturday, June 3, 2017
Celebrating 50 years since Naxalbari :Mass Struggles Representing the Nagi Reddy Line Part 8 by Harsh Thakor
MASS STRUGGLES REPRESENTING THE NAGI REDDY LINE
Here struggle reports are reproduced from the time of even the U.C.C.R.I.(M.L.) or the C.C.R.I.
It must be emphasised that these mass organizations discussed have an independent identity and do not belong to any party or not a front organization of any group like the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) etc.
All the mass Organization leaders in Punjab I have met have asserted that they do not belong to any revolutionary or Maoist faction,have a separate manifesto and independent functioning.
All these organizations very carefully distinguished the party and mass organizations and never mixed their platforms.
No mass organization written about claims to belong or support the C.P.R.C.I.etc.
However no doubt the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) and it’s earlier constituents played a major role in influencing the struggles and the leadership.
Mass movements oriented towards the line of T.Nagi Reddy.(compiled from journal “The Comrade”)
Khalistani period in Punjab
From the early 80's to the early part of the 90's the state of Punjab was ravaged by Khalistani terrorism. Communal fascists were a great threat to the people's democratic movement. The Akali Dal represented the Sikhc ommunalists while the Congress represented the Hindu communalism. Bothparties used the communal terrorists against each other.
Indira Gandhi created and patronized Bhindranwale, a Sikh ommunal fanatic,to electorally defeat the Akali Dal. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale belonged to a Sikh fundamentalist sect which opposed the electoral Akali Dal politics.
In the earlier phases the Akali Dal patronized the Sikh fundamentalist forces, harbouring several terrorists in religious temples. However when thecontradiction between the Khalistani liberation and Akali Dal ideologybecame acute, the Congress won Bhindranwale to their side to de-stabilise the Akali Dal, the ruling party.
The 'Front against repression and Communalsim'could not be a front comprising of the revolutionary democratic organizations belonging to respective organizations as the issue was beyond the scope of mass organizations. It could also not be a Front comprising of political organizations belonging to the Communist Revolutionary Camp, as the issue had a broader mass appeal for the involvement of such braoder sectionsof democratic,secular and non-communal forces,whose participation in the Front would not be possible ,if it comprised of the Communist Revolutionary forces based on Marxism-Leninsim Mao Tse Tung Thought..
The Front against Repression and Communalism, Punjab could not only maintain it's existence ,despite several ups and owns ut function successfully implementing it's common plan of action for years. It undertook highly successful propaganda campaigns in various parts of the state on a mass scale ,but could also mobilize the people at various places in great numbers in actual opposition and resistance to communal fascist terrorism and state terrorism, and was able to create ,during the trying times, several exempelary centres of revolutionary mass resistance against e dual reactionary monster of terrorism.The greatest achievement was organizing a state level function in the darkest days of Khalistani and state terrorism on July 10th 1987.It was backed by the C.C.R.I and the C.P.I.(M.L.)Central Team groups.
In contrast ,The Revolutionary Unity Centre formed by Comrade Gursharan Singh(famous revolutionary dramatist and supporter of the Communist Movement) was based on a declaration that professed Marxism –Leninism –Mao Tse Tung Thought as its guiding ideology,and the unity among Communist revolutionary forces as it's goal. It allotted no specific programme. It's pogramme was vague and non –specific .
Importance was not give to revolutionary mass resistance. Only mere propaganda campaigns could be taken up or seminar type activities ,where the speakers would declare their latest political positions ,and contradict each other.(Held a state-wide rally from March 23rd to April 8thin 1987 opposing State and Khalistani terrorism commemorating Shaheed Bhagat Singh) The Revolutinary UnityCentre in contracts could not unify any 2 of it's constituents .Being communist Revolutionary Centre it became an arena of conflicting trends interpreting Mao Tse Tung Thought differently.
Several groups did not consider each other revolutionary and openly accused each other of being revisionist. Some of it's constituents upheld he Socialist Revolution as their goal. Thus the formation of a revolutionary United front was contradictory because a centre forged with the specific goal of unity among different Communist Revolutinary Sections cannot be be the same as one created for a revolutionary democratic Front.. Secondly how could he upholders of the Socialist revolution as a goal agree with the upholders of the New democratic revolution.
There was also a tendency to allow or invite the 'Paigam' group in the revolutionary camp which upheld the Khalistani Movement.It was simply inviting those who the revolutionary forces labelled as 'traitors' or 'revisionists' to come into the front .Considering that there was such a severe debate on he polemical level amongst Communist Revolutionary groups it was virtually impossible for the Centre to be effective on the mass political plane.
It is interesting that the main advocate of this Centre the C.P.I(M.L)Resistance or Chandra Pulla Redy Group led by K.Ramchandran opposed the front claiming that mass organizations were needed for taking up partial and economic issues and the party should undertake political activities.It claimed that the formation of such affront was alien to Marxism Leninism.We held that this was a totally unmarxist formulation.Communists can never consider mass organisations stood be purely economic ones.This was a most eclectic formulation. Mass Organisations play a mass –political role I the revolutionary movement and in specific situation s mass –political platforms have top be built.
Village Sewewala is located on the Bathinda-Jaito-Faridkot road 2 km from Jaitu town to one side and Baghtuana to another.What was significant was that in a recent wage-hike struggle,the Sarpanch had tried to woo the Jat peasants and pit them against the Harijan sof the village,who were mainly agricultural labourers.The Sarpanch tried to use the rural caste-divide for mobilizing the Jat peasants against the new organization.The entire Harijan basto became staunch supporters of the front.This has class-significance .
On April 9th in 1991, a local assembly was organized in the village by the ‘front.’ In Sewewala village.State –level leaders of the front were invited to participate in the platform.500 people aseembled in the compound. A popular anti-communal play was staged and a volunteer
force team with pistols and fire-arms guarded the compound.
Khalistani terrorist forces camouflaged themselves and came through the village sarpanch’s house wearing green military uniforms carrying 3 assault rifles,2 sten guns atleast one 7.62 bore gun ,and H-E 36 grenades
They attacked the manning members and moved from checkpost to checkpost.They lobbed a grenade onto the roof and destroyed the wall of the compound.
They had discovered the minute details of the volunteer force like their positions,,weaponry and numbers.Mata Sada Kaur ,a woman activist from Bhatinda and Jagpal Singh ,a stae commite member of the front were the first to be killed.Mata Sada Kaur daringly challenged them to shoot her before they shot the young.,while Jagpal Singh was shot when moving out of range of fire.
The Khalistanis lobbed another grenade at the dais but it it failed to burst.Megh Raj who had not been hit ,snatched a 12 bore gun from a comrade and fired 2 shots.However by now his gun was empty and while re-loading his gun the terrorsis showered bullets on him.
Comrade Megh Raj could have saved his life had he not launched himself in hot pursuit of the Khalistanis.,challenging and firing upon them as they were retreating after the attack.
Mother Sadana could have saved her life,had she not stretched out her chest against the Khalistanis while unleashing her wrath,while Paapi invited his death by raising slogans against the Khalistani terrorists ,amidst the shower of bullets.
In this encounter ,the Khalistanis remained superior,in the military context of killing men,came out winners,but in the political context of causing demoralization ,they have failed.Infact the ‘Front ‘ became more popular after the attack.
The failure in thwarting the bloody attack has brought to light the serious weaknesses ,limitataions and defects of the ‘Front.’Howver this cannot deny that the Front launched a protracted fight against the Khalistanis.The Front should have conducted the fight with more seriousness,preparartion nad vigour.
This attack was not on the ‘Front’ alone.It was an attack on the rural labourers(the Harijans) and wa specifically mentioned in the handout of the Khalistanis.
Above all it was an assault on the entire democratic movement of Punjab.
On the day of the assault of the Khalistanis it looked like it was a victory for them and a loss to the Front but reflecting on the overall history of the period the Front had overlapped the enemies and gained many notable victories.The achievements of the front were fare greater than it’s defeats.The Khalistani forces felt that Megh Raj and his fellow-comrades would repent their doings and their families would be intimidated.But the Khalistani bombs and rifles could not fulfill their political plans,as the martyr comrades were not horrified by death,but mocked by it.
To combat the oppression of the communal –fascist forces activity was undertaken by party platforms and mass organs.Special issues of the ‘The ‘Inquilabi Jantak Leh’ and the ‘Surkh Rekha ‘ were printed as well as messages and statements of other Communist revolutionary groups.A printed statement of the Central Committee and the state committee of the C.C.R.I was brought out in a leaflet and a poster was also printed by the same organization.
Hundreds of people gathered at Baghtuana,Rampura,Selbrah and Dhilwan to bid farewell to the martyrs,marching to the cremation grounds,raising militant slogans.At Baghtuana,bodies of 4 martyrs were creamated in acommon pyre,encased in red flags.The slogans raised reflected the resolve f the people to combat the communal fascist forces.
Bog Samagams(conferences) of individual martyrs were held in Bhatuana ,Dhilwan,Selbrah and Rampura.Inspite of terrorist threats they were succesfuly held.In these meetings,speakesr from a huge range of mass organizations of agricultural workers,peasants,labourers employees etc displayed their resolve to combat the communal-fascist forces. Taking into consideration the earlier threats issued by the terrorists,great priority was given to security arrangements.
They planned to foil any terrorist onslaught on the activists and that to thwart tan attack the democratic forces would retaliate in a more comprehensive manner,literally giving back the enemy a tase of their ownmedicine.One major problem was that it was not possible to move all men and material to smagams in 4 different places –all within 10 days of the massacre.Thus volunteers and arms had to be arranged locally.Effective measures were deployed to provide security covernot only to the pandal and procession but also to the participants on their way coming from all over the state.
On May 18th,one of the most memorable conferences or samagams(in Hindi)was held in memory of the Sewewala martyrs.The main aim was to project the revolutionary mass –political message of offering revolutionary mass resistance to the twin onslaught of Khalistani and State terrorism.The objective was to pool in all the revolutionary democratic allies and excude forces like Paigam group that supported the Khalistani Movement.
The aim was to narrow down the differences between the different communist revolutionary forces. It was decided that no revolutionary group should use the conference to project it’s political image and that it was not a forum to project party politics.This trend was predominant in the K.N Ramchadran group which refused to differentiate between the party and mass-political platform and believed that mass organizations were only needed to propogate economic demands. This trend was predominant in the K.N Ramchadran group which refused to differentiate between the party and mass-political platform..
Some groups talked of mere class struggle,some gave less emphasis like the R.CC.on Khalistani terrorism while some like Ramchandran group insisted on participating only on the 'party' plane.The samagam organizers insisted that no party should participate in it's own name or it's own banner.
For the conference great preparations were made for adequate security arrangements.The firepower of all the Communist revolutionary groups was pooled together.Due care was taken to ensure that the communist revolutionary groups were not forced to expose their men nad material.Some groups did not wish to expose their armed preparedness/squads.
To satisfy these parameters,the participant groups were asked to specify only the number of volunteers and the quantity of arms and ammunition with them.C.C.R.I ,(Centre of Communist revolutionaries of India)C.T .(Central Team)and R.C.C.groups acted collectively in this.It was planned that a volunteer force equipped with about two-thirds legal and one-third illegal weapons would be deployed.However,the number of armed volunteers and weapons grew beyond expectations.No armed licences from the state would be procured.
A committee of prominent mass leaders,intellectuals,writers,editors and democratic rights leaders were formed to conduct this programme.The purpose was to achieve maximimum possible mobilization of communist revolutionary ,democratic and secular forces.It included Gursharan Singh (dramatist),Amolak Singh (editor,Surkh Rekha),Japal Jassi(editor,Inquilabi Jantak Leh),Sujan Singh (short story writer),Mohunder Singh Sandhu,Jagmohan Singh(Association for democratic Rights) etc. The people of Jaitu were greatly encouraged when they saw the security arrangements.Besides volunteers with firearms,hundreds of volunteers were armed with traditional weapons.
As it was routinely apprehended that the terrorists in the garb of police personnel may hit at the participants while the latter were on their way to Jaitu ,the police authorities were asked to inform the Samagam(conference) organizers about the deployment of their checkposts.The police refused permission for this.Mobile patrolling was undertaken by volunteerson jeeps and 2 –wheelers.
The function started at 9.a.m on May 18th.Militant slogans were raised and about 10,000 people assembled.At first only around 250 people assembled but like a spark turning into a prairie fire the number increaded to 10,000.The speech that touched the hearts of most of the participants was that of Amolkak Singh (State convenor of the Front.The stage secretary Jaspal Jassi spoke about the need for combating both types of terrorism and also exposed the tendency in the revolutionary camp with either state or Khalistani terrorism.He explained the correct approach of mass revolutionary resistance against both kinds of terrorism.
The masses responded warmly,,continuously raising militant slogans.After the function,Jaspal Jassi discharged the responsibility of the staege secretary.After the conclusion of the Samagam,a militant demonstration was held in the town escorted by volunteers.At the parking place adequate security arrangements were made to thwart attempts of Khalistanis gangs to plant bombs in the trucks.
What was important was that the revolutionary democratic message was so effectively conveyed and that the conference was not utilized as a forum for projecting the line of any communist revolutionary group.It promoted the unity of communist revolutionary and democratic force s and combated any trend to convert mass –political platforms into party platforms.The samagam and the demonstration increased the confidence among people that a successful protracted fight can be waged.One was reminded of the spirit of the Vietnamese people when combating the Americans and the confidence they gained from the Vietminh combat forces.Please consider for publication nad confirm receipt.
1993 Sewewala Martyrs Conference(report from Punjab Compiled from Comrade no 12 –December 1993)
On April 9th 1991 Megh Raj Jagpal Singh, Karam Singh, Pappy, Gurjant Singh and 9 other Front activists were massacred in Sewevala in Faridkot district. To commemorate their death a statewide protest took place which culminated in a 10,000 strong rally in Sewewala where people assembling from allover the state, armed with traditional weapons as well as raising anti-Khalistan and anti-State slogans were mobilised.
A self-defence barricade was made against the Khalistani terrorists and police protection was opposed. Echoes of the revolutionary spirit reverberated in the hearts of the people assembled like a light radiating over them. It appeared like a huge red flame had lit the Sewewala village. The martyrdom of the Sewewala Martyrs wrote a new chapter in the history of the Indian Communist Movement.
The decline of the Khalistani Movement was significant but as far as village Sewewal was concerned none of the local acomplies of the Khalistani gang,its harbourers, or known supporters were even arrested,interrogated or beaten.Infact the local accomplices of the Khalistani gangs were freely roaming all over the lace.An open and Known Khalisatni Group went on intimidating and terrorizing the villagers
2 years later a commemoration programme was launched which depicted a classic example of mass line.After a considerable study of the political situation it was decided to launch a commemoration programme for the Sewevala martyrs.The Harijan basti region was where the programme was launched .
The respective sate-levellaeding committee of the Front undertook a comprehensive and concrete analysys of the prevailing situation before deciding on the holding of he function in Sewewala.The Khalisatni terrorist movementwas on the wane ,but all the objective conditions necessary for it's resurgence existed, and it was far from bein totally crushed.In view of our organized persistent resistance ,we presumed the Khalistani forces would not attack Sewewala.Moreover,fearing retaliatory attacks,the local accomplices of the terrorists can hardly co-operate.
Elaborate and tight security arrangements would further dissuade the terrorists from undertaking such a venture.e The situation is very tough and challenging.It has a huge revolutionary potential for he advancement of he anti-communal,anti terroris democarti Struggle as wella s for agrarian revolutionary movement.The bold and daring activities of the revolutinay democratic movement can isolate the Khalistani elements and wi over the dalitand landless classes.A good section of the Jat middle peasntry can be won over.
After reaching a general consent of villagers and the residents of the Harijan Basti a secret meeting of 7-8 pro-party militants was held.The local mass militants were bitterly critical of the inadequate security arrangements at the time of the massacre ,2 years previously and felt humiliated but they shared their intense hatred for the Khalistani terrorists.The political activist of the revolutionary group made a self-critical appraisal of their earlier approach which reduced their anger and brought them closer to the revolutionary Group.
He pledged that now the masses would be organised to enable them to receive much stronger self -defence and Front leaders would be far more vigilant of enemies.A list of potential allies and enemies A list of potential allies and enemies was drawn out.A calculated action programme was chalked out to win over the maximum support of the Harijan Basti.
The survey of the village revealed that Khalistani terror broadly existed over both the landed and landless peasantry.Only a small section of the Landed peasantry sympathised with the Front and even these sections would not openly identify with the Front Programme.The rest of the peasant households remained neutral.The Harijans were unwilling to take the risk again.
However,as a result of their social class the Harijans were easy to win over.I t was now decided to deploy a plan of work whereby the advanced elements of the youth would be won over followed by the middle and backward layer.This plan proved most fruitful,as a great section of revolutionary youth were won over.
However the Harijan elders were reluctant to join .The Front organised family meetings to combat this obstacle as well as promised greater security plans for them at meetingsWeapons were displayed in the basti for this purpose..The Front giving concrete examples explained what revolutionary resistance to the 2 pronged Khalistani and State terror was about giving vivid examples of their experience.The class hatred of such families was strengthened by this method.
The Harijans were explained how they would be liberated from the tyranny of the rich Sikh Landowners and Pro Khalistani Sections.During these meetings each participant was allotted a particular duty after being assesssed.Male members were given duties involving preparations, while women and children were allotted the task of obtaining information about the enemies. In less than 2 weeks ,almost the entire Harijan Basti supported the Front. However a self-styled leader of the basti as well as Pro-Khalistani elements opposed the programme stating that they would lathi charge the programme.Enraged section of the Youth retaliated trying to give those reactionary elements a sound thrashing but the Front curbed them explaining them to adopt a correct approach.
Khalistani elements mainly belonging to the Jat peasantry continued to threaten this programme through terror methods over villagers.They carried out a campaign of deliberate lies against the Harijans inciting class hatred against the Dalits.The landed peasantry were told by these elements that the Harijans would snatch their lands.They also spread rumours that an attack similar to the one at Sewevala would take place and hundreds would be killed.
Now the Front organisers concentrated on winning over sections of the Jat peasantry.Unfortunately when a group of Harijan youth went on a propaganda campaign the communalised sections of the Jat Peasantry misbehaved and tore up their pamphlets and posters.However the youth kept calm and thus foiled the attempt of these reactionary forces in creating a clash between the Jat peasants and the Harijans.After this incident 2 contrasting events took place.One section of Harijans were depressed by the aggressive behaviour of the Jats.They wanted to postpone the programme.However another section were outraged and were impatient in holding the programme.This attitude was predominant in the youth who stated that there was no need to win over the Jat peasantry to hold the programme.
Now all efforts were concentrated on the mobilisation of the Harijan basti.A huge range of family meetings took place.There was now even a great response from women.
After this state-wide preparations were made for the programme-the State Committee of the revolutionary organisation issuing a leaflet explaining the history of the Punjabi masses in combating the communal terror and the State terror. On March 21st a mass meeting of activists was held to pay homage to the Sewewala Martyrs and chalk out plans for the conference on April 9th.A 10 member preparation committee was elected which facilitated this propaganda in labour colonies.A shaheedi conference was held on April4th on April 4th to pay homage to the heroes where 800 people participated.
The families of 2 martyrs of the Sewewala massacre were presented with momentoes.
A massive security programme was launched by the Front.The Harijan masses of the basti played a major role in gathering information about the role of the enemies. The women and children played a major role in this. They made a thorough study of the enemy's moves ,motives and movements. The deployment of adequate and proper weapons was given emphasis. However the emphasis was given on the broad masses asserting their right to self-defence.Trained volunteers were also to play an instrumental role.2 dozen youth of the basti associated themselves as guards ,couriers and vigilance keepers as well as spying on the enemy.
A day before the programme security was installed on the roofs of the exterior of the basti .Trained volunteers manned them. Barricades were installed in the lanes and by-lanes to prohibit the entry of suspicious elements. The Barricades were provided cover by armed volunteers positioned on rooftops. All security posts were covered with a special signal system A network of couriers was organised which raced from one spot to the other exchanging information. All posts had their own commanders and an operational zone operating under a unifying a higher command.
On the day of the programme, entry was entitled only by identity passes.
A Harijan Dharamshala staged the programme.Slogans such as "Down with Khalistani and State terrorism "and "Long Live the Sewewala Martyrs "were painted on the boundary walls of the building.The ground was decorated with red Flags and a bed of red sand. Amidst flower petals name plates of martyrs were placed. A community kitchen served cooked and sweet packed rice to the participants. From the home village of martyred comrade Megh Raj Baghtuana, a contingent of 70 men, women and children carrying red flags and escorted by girl volunteer reached Sewewala.The women participants numbered more than 150 in the conference. By 12 o'clock,3,000 people had arrived, more than2/3 from the agricultural labourers,industrial labourers,electricity workers and other working sections. Leaders Amolak Singh and Jaspal Jassi adressed the gathering. At 12.30 the Family members of the martyrs came on stage.Amolak explained people the anti-people nature of the Khalistani terrorists and the State. He explained how the Jat peasantry (Middle Sections of the peasantry)had fallen victim to the Khalistani poisonous propaganda.
2.05 was the exact time of the attack on the Sewewala Martyrs 2 years previously. At that time perhaps one of the most emotional scenes in the history of the Communist movement in India.
The winning over of the Harijan peasantry was a great achievement but the inability to influence the Jat Peasantry was a major setback. The front issued an ordinary appeal to the Jat Peasantry.The front projected it's pro-people policies and explained that the Khalistani elements were only trying to poison their minds with lies and false propaganda regarding the Front. It was explained that such elements were trying to wedge the gap between the Jat peasantry and the Harijan labourers.However as these programmes took place ,reports took place about the movements of suspected terrorists. This became a major threat and security was strengthened. The Front persuaded supporters to contribute a day's labour in donation.
While the harvesting was taking place a bunch of suspected elements were tracked. A red Alert was issued .At night such elements were observed near a Harijan basti.An attack was anticipated and the volunteers resorted to firing to thwart the suspected elements.Again there was a totally contrasting reaction between the Jats and the Harijans.The landed Jat peasantry took it as an attack on the Harijans against them as a provocation while the Harijan peasantry defended the firing of the volunteers .The latter were now more confident of repulsing attacks by class enemies.
The conference also set abase for the winning over of sectns of the middle peasants and thus create an alliance beween the Jat and the Dalit sections.A platform was also created to build the evolutionary mass organsiation of the landless labourers.
The great achievement of the martyrs conference was that a most favourable situation was turned into a favourable situation reminiscent of the Vietcong who heroically defeated the American forces in the Vietnam war.The campaign also effectively answered the question of the mass revolutionary line over the line of squad actions.A n earlier supporter of Squad actions stated"What we achieved here can not be achieved by a squad action."Another Student leader stated"Mass revolutionary line is invincible and armed squad action cannot substitute it".A volunteer Student Group stated"We have gained a valuable experience in the mass revolutionary line."The polemics the Communist Revolutionary Organisation applied in the building up and holding of the conference was comparable in correctness to the polemics of Comrade Mao before the Chinese revolution.The policy of learning from the masses and then educating them and learning correct ideas from the masses was meticulously applied.
In the phase when hey were combating he Khalistani militant in the late 1980' s the organization built a superb struggle network that spread rom village to village. The fact that it created bastions of mass military resistance is a complement as a result of dedicated planning, preparing the masses and the correct method of working within a mass organization.Party Politics was never imposed on the Front.It could also reach other sections like trading Communist and teachers-so integral to the mass line.With great precision it evaluated the strengths fo the ememy and the masses co-relation with them.(studied the level of political consciousness of the masses) It's theoretical explanation of polemical issues is brilliant in the light of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Tse ung thought.Simlar situations took lace during the Chinese Revolution in the light of assessing the strengths of the enemy in co-relation with that with the masses and the kind of mass –political platform needed to be built.
Rajjeana Conference on November 12th 1994.(Compiled from The Comrade no 5-
organ of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.)
IN Punjab the ‘Naxalbari martyrs commemoration committee’ staged a martyrs' commemoration conference on November 12th, 1994. In Rajeana,in Punjab the Naxalbari martyrs commemoration committee staged a martyrs' commemoration conference on November 12th, 1994 commemorating Comrade Bent Singh Rajeana,a martyr of the Naxalite Movement in 1972. A committee was formed for this purpose.This was called the committee for commemorating the martyrs of Naxalbari.The committee took 2 things into consideration.The first was that the content of the platform should be easily understood by the common people. The second was that no controversial point should be raised in the platform.No mutual criticisms should be launched from this platform.It should not be a forum for debating mutual polemics.The maximum revolutionary forces should be launched around it. It was not in the agenda to pass judgement on a particular organization. It was decided that all the martyrs would be treated at an equal level and no discrimination would be launched as regards to a particular group.They would all be treated as Naxalbari martyrs.There were groups in Punjab which took correct positions on certain questions of the line while took a right opportunist position on other questions.The C.P.I.M.L.Janashakti was an example of this.It was decided that even if a revolutionary group was affected by the chief opportunist trends of the day they and their group would not be discriminated against.Tributes would be paid to all as martyrs to the revolutionary movement.
Only 2 groups seriously adhered to the programme,namely the C.C.RI and C.T.C.P.I(M.L).(later merged into the C.P,.R.C.I-M.L)Credit for the eventual success of he conference went to such organizations
Problems were caused by the R.C.C.I.M.L and the C.P.I.M.L.Party Unity.The former raised the controversial topic of the 3 world theory,formation of C.P.I.M.L.and land to the tiller.The Party Unity group decided that C.P.I.M.L.Janashakti should be treated as a genuine communist revolutionary organisation. And it's Punjab unit should be invited to form the committee.The Janashakti group had lost several of their leaders to the Khalistani terrorists.However their line was affected by right opportunist positions.Thus these 2 groups left the platform.
A strong mobilisation campaign was undertaken for the conference.Small group meetings of revolutionary activists were held for those who were prepared to carry out the campaign.The comrade decided that the method of propoganda must be understood by the people.The language used must be easily understood by the workers and peasants.There was strong mobilization campaign in Rajeana area in the form of group meetings,big public meetings,rallies and streetcorner plays.Rs.30000 was contributed by the people as donations.A campaign was alos carried out in the village of Rode.This was the native village of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale,chief of the Khalistan movement .60 persons were assassinated by Khalistanif orces and the police here.The masses remembered the martyrs against the Khalistani Movement with great depth of feeling terming them, “Our boys.”
Differentiated propoganda was done for different sections.The politics of Naxalbari was to be connected to the basic interests of different sections.The workers and employees were told that the message of Naxalbari was to fight against narrow,sectional interests and to integrate workers and employees mass movements with the revolutionary movement and that the workers should help the peasantry get organised to build an agrarian revolution.Different propoganda was done with the peasantry. To the landless labourers it was propogated that Naxalbari was the name for the confiscation of the land,property and implements of the landlords and their distribution amongst the landless labourers.It is also the name for bringing bonded labour to the end as well as feudal exploitation.To the landed peasantry it was propagated that they were bent on bringing to an end the present social and economic system which supports the monopoly of land by the landlordsand exploitation of peasants in the form of land rent and usury.
They would also confiscate the capital and property in India of all the Indian imperialists and compradors.The Akali leaders attempting to trick the common people instilled fear amongst the masses that the common people would be arrested if they supported the Communist revolutionaries. For 2 weeks an intensive combat took place between the ranks of the Communist Revolutionaries and the leaders and Ruling Class supporters. The campaigning team explained their politics with great patience and persuasion,reminescent of comrades of Mao's Red Army in explaining people the relationship between their day to day lives and politics. In a village called Rhode the masses redressed their grievances to the campaigning team whereby during the period of Khalistani terrorism,60 people were either executed by the terrorists and the police. They explained how they were threatened by the terrorists blaming the relatives of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who extorted lakhs of Rupees as Ransom money and funded Khalistani leaders living in bungalows.
In the Rajjeana area small group meetings were heldas well as big public meetings and rallies.The masses participated most enthusiastically contributing Rs 30,000.
The Commemorating committee decided that if the State declared a ban on the conference they would not cancel their preparations towards it. In fact they would resist the police parties and assert their democratic Right to assemble. Sit-Ins and roadblock-traffic could also be struggle forms. Protest demonstrations may be organised near the police blockades. To some extent, the committee felt such demonstrations would serve the purpose of the Conference.
The final conference was the biggest ever gathering that took place in Punjab for 25 years among the revolutionary forces.10, 000 people were mobilised.In this conference the real meaning of Naxalbari was explained. Earlier it was understood that Naxalbari meant armed actions of squads.Many people came to understand for the 1st time that it was a mass-based political movement. A separate programme was made for landless peasants and a separate programme was made for the landed peasantry. The need for a correct agrarian revolutionary programme was explained. The people's attitude to the revolutionary movement was greatly changed by this. Here are some examples.
A resolution highlighting the sacrifice ,heritage and path of the martyrs was passed. This included
1. To draw a clear-cut demarcation from the parliamentary path and to expose the hypocritical nature of those who propogated it as well as the bankruptcy of that ideology towards the liberation path.
2. To give a call to People's liberation.
3. To highlight the importance of building the Agrarian revolutionary movement as well as the revolutionary United Front.
4. To highlight the democratic right of the people to build revolutionary mass resistance
5. To explain the Indian people the connection between their struggles and those of Imperialist and third -world countries as well as building solidarity movements to revolutionary struggles all over the world particularly the revolutionary armed Struggle in Peru.
6. The significance of organizational and political self preparedness for self -defence against counter revolutionary violence .based on the recent experience they faced in Punjab.
7. Commemorating the Martyrs and explaining the necessity of building a single Communist revolutionary organisation.
There were families of revolutionary activists who opposed participatin in the revolutionary movement ,considering the risks and consequences they would fcae4.However after attending the conference their attitudes were totally revrsed.They now had second thoughtys about heir husbans or son spaticipating.
"We had been mistaking Naxalbari people as a terror. Now we know they are very much for their welfare. Such comments were made by landless labourers and peasants. A leader of a group of 8to 10 migrant labourers said "We had been observing for a full 9 years whether anybody exists in Punjab or not. Now we know that they are very much here. Had we known of their presence earlier we would have created doomsday in the factories."
A family member commented “This is good work,here everyone is with them,we had been anxious for along time meaninglessly.’
MALKANGIRI ZILLA ADVIVASI SANGH
Here the tribal organization in the Malkangari region exhibited great political and organizational potential.
The glories of the past do not build up an organization It is built by a correct political leadership, capable of providing clear political vison to the people.It is also necessary to connect the struggles of he tribals to the working class and other section s of the peasantry. In the overall frame of the peoles democratic revolution, the tribals have to become conscious of their place in the overall social and political context,and relation to the othr exploited revolutionary classes.
The proletariat being the most revolutionary class has to be won over to establish a common cause with the tribals and a revolutionary programme has to be chalked out in which the leadership of he [proletariat is established.The fact that the proletariat and tribals are allies to revolutionary change of the society has to be shown and practiced
It has been an example of an organisation with mass character and practicing democratic functioning. It has fought for immediate ,partial demands as well as political demands.It has instilled in the tribals that through their struggles and through the medium of their mass organizations, they can become the alternative centers of power and authority. The Sangh has also shown the importance of assistance from the class allies ,particularly the working class. The Sangh has shown that people when organized can govern their own affairs and collectively assert their authority. The tribals were thought to place faith only in their own organized strength.
An important activity to achieve this end has been the steadfast exposure of although ruling class institutions and propoganda.The Sangh has also been an effective answer to the Left Sectarian line of Armed Squads of a major revolutionary Group. Who though function with the utmost sincerity and best intentions ,do not take the path of involving the people and forming genuine organizations with a genuine mass character. The revolutionary forces working within the Sangh have done their utmost to maintain the balance between de-centralization of Committee Activities( to promote democracy and give the lower mass sections more opportunity to assert their authority),and maintaining proletarian revolutionary leadership (so that the mass organization is prevented from ultra-democratic.
What is significant is that armed militant struggles of the Adivasis have taken place to defend their rights. They have confronted Imperialist sponsored projects like H.A.M.C.O and a pipeline company ,which is of great significance-in connecting to the anti-imperialist Struggle. Land grab seizures have taken place thus setting up a spark for agrarian revolutionary struggle. Unique forms of struggle have been devised applying the politics of the Chinese Revolution or Mao Tse Tong Thought .A mass armed agrarian peasant revolutionary struggle has yet to be created and the Adivasi Organisation is at a preparatory stage. It is one of the greatest movements of its kind in revolutionary struggle world over. No tribal movement has been as close to the mass line for half a century or exhibited such democratic functioning.The leadership of the Communist revolutionary organization is exemplary even if it has not given call for armed struggle.Most innovative methods of work were innovated and Mao Tse Tung Thought was brilliantly applied.
Quoting a reader of journal “the Comrade’ in 1997
"The Sangh is inventing new form s of struggle with every passing day.They are utilizing Social boycott as weapon which was previous used by exploiters. Their heroic struggle in Padmagiri-Pandrapeni is amorale –booster to the rest of the country. I believe heart and soul if mass movements flourish all over India,t hen Malkangiri will be the fist to establish Red rule in the country in the years to come.So,all of us should support it and expand mass movements all over he country.”
In the 13th Parliamentary Elections the organization gave a classical l attempt at carrying out the mass line. The Executive committee of the organization planned to concentrate it's election propaganda in the selected belts of the mass organization rather than carrying out an extensive campaign throughout the mass organisation's influence and work. The organization was divided into propaganda teams which would be sent through different pockets to organize mass meetings and suitable gatherings. The mass organisation's leaflet was prepared by the main leadership of the Sangh.However it was first thoroughly discussed in the steering committee and the draft was later improved after taking into consideration suggestions.An extended meeting of mass activists were organized on the election Issue.12 teams were appointed comprising 2 to 7 activist. Most of the teams concentrated in the Central Zone and the H.A.M.C.O.Zone2 Teams campaigned in the ChitraKonda Tapu area while one team went to the Tendki-Challanguda area for campaigning.
The meetings were well attended, at places in hundreds. The TRIBAL PEOPLE PARTICIPATED IN DISCUSSIONS,RAISED QUESTIONSIN RELATIONSHIP TO THEIR DAY TO DAY ISSUES. The people invited the organization to form bodies in their respective areas. The most discussed topic was that of lad and forest. The gains achieved under the leadership of the Sangh were explained in contrast to the promises of the leaders. The tribals expressed their disillusionment with the leaders and on their own thinking promised to not participate in the elections.Sangh leaders displayed creativeness in their organizational skills. With regards to an issue in Moupadar Panchayat the Sangh team opted for a gathering to resolve the issue. The Sangh leaders argued that the tribal was not a political thief and fined him only Rs 100 and got an apology from him, the people retorted that the police wouldn't let him go without fining a minimum of Rs 5000 Through this Incident the Sangh leaders explained the distinction between contradictions among the people and the contradiction between the enemy and the people.-the exploitation and oppression of the tribals at the hands of the police, authorities and exploiting classes. Highly impressed the tribal people gage at least 17 concrete examples of such police exactions.
At One place an all Woman Sangh team posed as a Congressman who wanted to buy the people's votes. The Tribals, identifying with the Sangh demanded land and ordered them to get out. Only when the team disclosed their identity did the people warmly receive them. Using the occasion ,the Sangh explained the significance of land and the way to acquire It.-as a method of solving various other problems of people. In another village where forest Committees were grabbing people's lands, the Sangh team offered Rs.2,000 Per acre for land and demanded offers for sale of land. One person agreed to sell hislandThe people in the gathering argued with this person, asking how he could think of selling his landing the course of the discussion, the Sangh team revealed their identity and laid bare the govt tricks to create disunity amongst tribal people and garb their lands
In some villages the people combated the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. The leaders were questioned and the tribals stated that they would alternatively vote for their own axes, the handle of the plough, or land Etc.In an isolated mountainous village which the Sangh had never visited before, the people warmly received them and explained how they had heard of the Sangh's struggles. They narrated that they were searching for the Sangh for a considerable period of time. They narrated the futility of elections. Their houses had been totally drenched in the monsoon due to poor roofing. One tribal told the team "Do you no why my loincloth is so dirty? Because I do not have a second one."
The teams explained the real political alternative ,the need of organization and Struggle and the importance of land and forest Issue The people were involved in lively discussions and related the politics to their day to day issues. The Sangh team was not able to convince the people that they should boycott the polls. However they assertively put their stand that they were for organization and Struggle, and that it was upto the people to decide whether to participate or not to participate in the election. In one area the organization emerged as a parallel Institution. A clear polarization took place between the pro Sangh and anti Sangh forces .Like a torrent overflowing a spontaneous poll boycott took place in the tribal villages where the people swept the villages.
Overall the Election campaign was a great success. New Units of the Sangh were created. Existing Units were consolidated and the organizational and political Consciousness of tribal was raised.5 points were worth noting.
1.Discussion meetings were much more effective than rallies. They help more in understanding the people and their problems and in communicating the Sangh politics.
2.Struggles and campaigns of local issues would be of great assistance in consolidating the organization.
3.Need of regular Interaction of organization Units
4.The Tribal people everywhere displayed their strong urge for organization and Struggle. The Enemies offensive has stepped up. An Effective mechanism for struggle and self –defence is the immediate need.
5.The Activists need to develop a propaganda method redressing the people's grievances. In the course of political campaigns, they would only listen to the campaigners when their grievances were adhered to. Stereotyped methods of propaganda need to be replaced by a more creative variety compatible with the understanding of the Adivasis which would spiritually elevate them.
Another Remarkable aspect of the organisation’s s functioning was it's methods employed for selecting areas of consolidation. Certain Small Pockets were chosen and cadre were deployed in those places. The leadership ensured that the selected areas were accessible transportwise.I n this way the cadres could conveniently relate their experiences and communicate to each other. In this way 3 small pockets within a stone throw of each other were selected.
The Forest Corporation, Forest Department and timber Mafia were cutting reserve forest trees. Their excuse was that it's purpose was to provide housing material for the Cyclone affected. The people protested only when the mafia began cutting in large quantities, with mechanized Saws. Instead of cutting 19 trees which the forest department had given permission ,the Corporation cut off 600 trees. The Sangh exposed this to the people. All the Adivasis were mobilized and the Sangh opened up a camp at the site of the cutting. Day and Night guarding was deployed. This movement enabled the guilty forest officials, guilty conservators, and Corporation officials to be prosecuted hey were suspended or transferred. I n the Panchayat where the people had lost land to the Balimela dam the Forest department began grabbing land for plantation. The Sangh uprooted the plantation.
The Sangh felt it was the need of the hour to consolidate. The Sangh's view was that local activist's local activists should be given the role of running the Sangh and conducting protests. That are had witnessed bamboo and timber Struggles in recent times.
Education of cadres
The Sangh adopted most innovative methods of Imparting Marxism Leninist education amongst the triblal.It must be remembered that Comrade Mao always emphasized the need of revolutionaries to explain revolutionary politics through the people's idioms in most accessible terms. Comrade Mao stressed on the need to write simply and overcome a stereotyped party style of writing. One of the major factors in the Chinese Communist Party's revolutionary success was it's ability to reach the people through their idioms and lively style of writing.The Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh used storytelling,songs and dances ,hunting and dramas for education. Once theAdivasis get the conception,one has to reduce the conception to rote,for easy recall.The aim was to build a long,steady,repetitiveand interesting learning scheme.The organizer has also to emphasise on taking notes .Even rote,after being properly formulated ,must be abbreviated to failitate easier memorizing.T he organizers must silmuntaneously involve them in struggles and connect their instinct to fight to this.
After every struggle the organizer must review the experiences bit by bit,so that the activists can analyse their mistakes,weaknesses or defects in orientation for themselves compared to the correct orientation,and thus feel the necessity to rectify their errors .Illiteracy is the major obstacle to educating the Adivasis.The Adivasis know letters but are unable to use written language.Tribal culture s mainly oral,so participants are often reluctant to take notes.The Organiser has to train in taking notes after explaining them the positive qualities of the written method as an instrument of knowledge and action.The participants have to be convinced that oral methods,however good is insufficient because they have to withstand and combat the ruling classes who are most adequately equipped with the resources of the best knowledge stored in computers and the cleverest intellectuals who are their paid servants. However the organizer has to innovate different techniques and methods by which the learning becomes more related to the day to day lives of the tribals.This learning should relate to their struggles and must incorporate a picturesque,lively style giving buoyancy to the Adivasis in Struggle.The Organiser must always refrain from criticizing the people from labouring classes.Instead the hypocrisy and the vanity of the oppressor classes should be condemned.The Sangh has deployed the use of folk tales of Indian Culture depicting class significance. Fraudulent land transfers,cases of exploitation and their modus operandi and the role of moneylenders ,bureaucrats,c ontractors and politicians were explained through this way. With regards to cadres neglecting taking notes the following story was told.
There were 2 brothers in a village. One was cultivating land,the other was as School teacher.The wives of the 2 brothers did not get along.The younger brothers wife did not perform housework on the pretext that her husband earned ready cash.T he Elder brother's wife was annoyed by this and demande that her husband take up a job.The elder brother left the house to got o a faraway village where he organized a Catshali.S ince he was semi-illiterate he took the assistance of an older boy asking him to take the classes. When an officer came to inspect the school the elder brother left the school premises giving a reason of suffering from diarrhoea. Somehow the younger brother got his address and came down to see his brother. The elder brother repeated the trick by going to the jungle with a container full of water. However later he found his brother and embraced him .The younger one aslked, "Despite being illiterate, how are you managing the school?". The older brother explained his standard tricks. The younger brother asked him how long he continued like this. The older brother said, "As long as I can push."
The organiser explained, "Whatever tricks one may follow, can one rise by this to a higher level? Can one by such tricks be able to deal with and develop militants? So should not one try to sincerely practice and know the use of written language? The effect of the narration was spontaneous.10 to 12 Comrades now sat together reading political literature and taking notes!
Another Story was narrated to explain the political resolution among selected comrades. This story was from the Panchantatnatra ,a compilation of folk tales.Birds ,while flying over a hunter's net saw the rice strewn beneath. One old bird argued with the younger one that since this was uncommon in a jungle,,they must avoid pecking at the rice .The young and smart birds argued that the older bird could have been correct but since they were hungry and a hungry stomach defied logic they would go down and eat the rice first. They explained that they would face the danger collectively. All the birds went down to catch the rice and got trapped in the net. he old bird advised the younger trapped one's to assemble all their strength and fly towards the sky.T hey flew headlong to the sky along with the net. The hunter came out of the bush and flung his stick at them; but it failed to reach them. The old bird then instructed the younger birds to go to a mouse, who was his old friend .All the birds assembled there. The old bird requested his friend to cut the net with his teeth. He obliged the old bird, and all the old birds were released.
United States of America and all of imperialism are hunters. Their aid and loans are but strewn rice.The conditionalities of the loans are the net. Our party is the old bird.The smart birds are eager in pecking the rice.The more they peck it,the more they are trapped by the net. The mouse represents. the proletariat.The younger birds listening to the older bird to fly towards the sky and with the help of the mouse cut the net, represents the peasants with the help of the proletariat bringing about the people's democratic revolution. Another story was narrated to explain the differnce between form and content.
A king was very fond of his pundits and organized discourses in his court. His minister thought of a trick to discourage the king from the practice of emptying the treasury for this purpose, and proposed to allow him to test them. The king agreed. he minister arranged their accommodation in a King's inn,and gave them some money to purchase materials to cook for their meals. The grammarian went to the milkman. When the milkman was milking the cow,he uttered some words which, according to the pundit, were grammatically wrong. He objected to this. Hearing this interference the cow kicked the milk bucket. The milkman enraged, slapped the grammarian, who therefore came back empty handed. The musician was boiling the rice .When the rice started bubbling,he started to beat the vessel to the tune of bubbling. But when it doubled his singing got disturbed. In rage the musician broke his earthen pot in which the rice was being cooked.
The Ayurved specialist went to purchase vegetables,and found fault with each vegetable EG.would create gas,affect skin Etc.He came back empty handed. The astrologer went to get fuel wood, and climbed a tree The Lizard then shrieked. Taking it as an ill omen, he climbed down Another lizard shrieked below. The astrologer remained in the same position throughout the night till the king's men came in the morning and rescued him.T he 5th pundit ,a logician went to procure ghee. Coming back he asked himself, "Is the container the form and ghee the content or vice versa?"To test this he turned the container down ward,a nd 6the ghee spilled out. The logician danced at the result.(Ghee is the Content and container is the form)Thus all of them remained hungry, and he king realized how worthless are the pundits!
Such stories explain the difference between form and content. The last story was used to explain a resolution from the basic documents of the Revolutionary Group.
Another significant story this time with regard to attending classes was told. Adivasi Comrades repeatedly nodded their heads without having understood what was explained in the meetings.
A Pundit was explaining the Bhagbatas to some villagers.The night was advancing and all the devotees left the place,bar an old womanThe woman was observing the scanty beard of the old pundit and tears were falling from her eyes.She explained she was weeping for her goat whose beard resembled the Pundit's one.
The Organiser explained that the intent looks being misleading,like that of the old woman showed the importance of getting the points explained.3 months later in the same class an organiser asked the participants if they followed.A woman comrade replied "I am really looking at your chin."Thus the organizer re-explained the same point.Such narrations stress the importance of organizers trying to understand facial expressions or physical participation of the participants to understand the extent t owhich they have understood them.
In the formative days of wok classes used to take palce on the
2.Sangh's charter of demands
3.history of Adivasi Struggles
5.Weaknesses of the peasantry.
Thus through effective cultural modes term slike democratic Centralism,communism,cadres,the Revolutionary group's name,names of different Marxist heroes,names of Isms,historic events like Paris Commune or October Revolution,names of Countries Etc.
The Tribal organisation’s (or Sangh) Struggle has become a textbook for a comrade on how to implement mass agrarian revolutionary struggle. The Sangh has not only recaptured land for the Adivasis but has also organized heroic self-defence. The Sangh always made a sound tactical assessment of the Enemy's strength. The greatest struggle waged by the Sangh was the Padmagiri-Pandrapani Struggle against the onslaught of the contractors, politicians and adminstration. The Adivasis waged death-defying resistance against the criminal looting of forest assets. The forest contractors, politicians and administration formed a joint team in denying the Adivasis their forest assets. The struggle involved the Adivasis right to security of land and right to control their forest assets. A contractor Subhash Chandra Bose with the collaboration of the local politicians and the adminstration was carrying out mass felling of trees.The Sangh had to devise adequate methods of winning the confidence of the people. The Sangh team walked for days raising revolutionary slogans. At first the masses failed to respond out of fear, but after protracted campaigning they were eventually won over. One youth who was won over by the Sangh played an instrumental role in mobilizing the tribal villagers. Villagers now came ontothe stage with traditional weapons and volunteers were sent to other surrounding villages. Heroically the villager's detachment resisted the might of the contractors army, assembled in a truck. The Aduvasi team blocked the road. What was significant here was the winning over of Adivasi labourers who were a part of the contractors' Army. It was explained to these sections that they were oppressed Adivasis and were fighting on the wrong side. This heroic struggle instilled a sense of confidence which spread to other districts of the State who took up extensive propaganda and mobilization work. The story of the peoples' heroic deeds had spread far and wide. The struggle gave the Sangh activists renewed courage and gave realization to cadres and militants that their numerical organized strength can not only contain the enemy forces but defeat them.
Later in Padmagiri 6 to 8 self-sufficient Sangh cadre emerged capable of leading struggles. In Tulengudu-Kanjoli pocket, the Adivasis of all villages opposed fresh felling and on their own initiative set up 2 or 3 defence checkposts. In Rangamatiguda-Podarappali pocket the people's development was even greater. Collectively, they discussed with 6 Koya tenants from whom the contractor purchased trees and launched an agreement with them. A series of all-round repression and attacks were launched by the Enemy forces. These met with heroic resistance from the Adivasis. Art Rangamatiguda on January 16th, at the time of spot verification, the contractor's men broke all limits. The masses clustered in large numbers, armed with traditional weapons, resisting the attempts to negotiate a settlement with the contractor. The people beat up a Congress politician Burda, an Agent of the contractor. The womenfolk gheraed the collector. The fury of the people was like a fire burning and the officials were
forced to flee.Burda retaliated with the armed might of the police. The police went to the extent of taking the Sangh leaders into custody. All the democratic mass revolutionary leaders of the Sangh were arrested. To protest the arrests, on
17th January the Sangh members armed with traditional weapons encircled a police Camp at Padmagiri Panchayat blowing their horns. The people took hold of 12 policeman and locked them in a room of the Panchayat's Office in retaliation. On the 20th and 21st, 500 people encircled the contractor's trucks with traditional arms, pooled dry wood around the tyres of trucks and warned the contractor that unless the trucks were unloaded, the villagers would burn them up. (Earlieir on the 19th the contractor gave the Tulenguda peasants respective passbooks, stating that he had deposited Rs 2.60 Lakhs in their name, which was the price of the earler felled trees. On January 20th-21st he brought 7 trucks and loaded them with timber at the
discussing with the available Sangh cadre, made a route march in batches of 50's covering the entire 50 to 60 Km., in a determined bid to fight back. Everday scores of Adivasis were visting the arrested leaders at the Malkangiri Jail. They even proposed to break the jail but the arrested leaders persuaded the militants not to resort to any such actions. However on January 28th-29th the Adivasis wrote an epic. The contractor deployed his full forces to overthrow the Adivasis. He arrested 3 Sangh cadre and captured 10 truckloads of timber. When the word reached the villagers, 2500 people protested with traditional weapons. The Sangh cadre demanded the release of the captured people. Ultimately the Sangh cadre were forced to resort to bows and arrows. The contractor's forces escaped in jeeps. The people caught hold of 5 of the contractors men and took them into hostage.During the entire period of the enemy's all round attack, the democratic revolutionary mass leaders were in jail while the main Sangh cadre went underground. However the people's mass revolutionary resistance held the enemy forces at bay. The Sangh cadre's vigilance a preparedness was instrumental in this. Eventually on February 2nd the democratic revolutionary mass leaders were released. The correct tactical and democratic approach of the Sangh had great relevance. Against such a mighty oppressor, through upholding a democratic approach of relying on the mood and direct action of the people at various places. Significantly the Sangh did not raise the issue of the criminal felling of forest trees at first. At first it had to deal with the fear psychosis instilled in the people. The Sangh was thus left with the task of explaining different aspects of the fraud created by the enemy so that people would begin to understand the issues at hand and express their discrepancies and desires in respect to them. The Sangh negotiated these problems by taking up the forest issue from the perspective of the Adivasi's immediate grievances and on the other hand leading from the Front the people's blockade of the transport of timber by the contractor.
ELECTION CAMPAIGN S OF 1998 AND 99
The first election campaign was carried out in 1998 January and called the 'Inquilab Zindabad'campaign.Here the Lok Morcha jointly with the P.K.M.U,the C.P.R.C.I(M.L),upheld the politics of 'active political campaign' in contrast to 'participation' in election or calling for 'Active Boycott'of parliamentary elections.This was in contrast to organizations like the C.P.I.-M.L(Party Unity),Jamhoori Morcha ,Punjab and Lok Sangram Manch who called for 'Boycott of election,' and to forces like the C.P.I-M.L(Janashakti) and the C.P.I-M.L(Liberation ) who staged candidates.The Lok Morha campaign projected the revolutionary alternative and exposed the pseudo democracy.
The organizers of the campaign significantly attacked the present parliamentary system its various institutions, the ruling class vote parties,etc.The state Committee of the Lok Morcha ,Punjab ,held a series of meetings of all it's lower units and activists. Emphasis was placed on projecting the revolutionary alternative programme. Through this the lower units were given greater initiative to launch the campaign.T his decentralization had a subtle effect on the revolutionary consciousness of the broad masses and led to propaganda reaching a wider range of sections.
. It dealt with issues of all kinds like imperialism and Globalisation, Democratic Rights, Communalism, Kashmir Issue Etc. Demands included repealing of black Laws, Withdrawal of troops from Kashmir, Cancellation of all foreign debt, remunerative prices for farmers and scrapping of loan repayments for the peasantry, re-distribution of land to the landless and poor peasantry, release of all political prisoners in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and lifting of the ban on the People's War Group and democratic mass organizations, opposing the I.M.F and demanding permanency of all workers, opposing illegal closure of factories Etc.The Morcha demanded a revolutionary alternative and enhanced the masses to build their revolutionary Struggles. They explained the masses that for 50 years the various political parties that seized the chair failed to satisfy the democratic aspiration of the working people. From the Congress to the Janata Party and Janata Dal to the Bharatiya Janata party all the vote -seeking parties had been stooges of imperialism and instrumental in suppressing or diverting the the mass democratic Struggles of the masses. With the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (Agricultural Workers Union) the Morcha launched an "Inquilab Zindabad Campaign"(Long Live the Revolution Campaign)
Through this campaign the organizers attacked the parliamentary system and the organs that virtually represented the upper classes. The Imperialist exploitation of cheap Indian labour, unprecedented corruption, great number of families living below the poverty line, the retrenchment of labour and the rise of unemployment as a result of globalisation, rising prices of essential commodities was all connected to the imperialist onslaught on the nation. The Ruling class policies fattened imperialist Capital, comprador capital and the powers of the landlords and the Industrialists.
Activists of the Morcha explained that only by confiscating the land of the landlords without any compensation and distributing it among the landless and poor peasants, by total confiscation of foreign capital, taking over all comprador capital, and by canceelling all foreign debt can a democratic society exist. The organizers explained the need for a broad agrarian revolutionary movement to achieve a democratic society and stressed the different districtsimportance of the masses organizing themselves in revolutionary democratic Struggles. T he concept of the Peoples Democratic state was projected. The organizers called for a broad agrarian revolutionary movement, to get organized,take he path to struggle,unite with other struggling sections of people in general and wi th the peasantry in particular.
A prominent feature of he campaign was the is initiative enjoyed by the lower units.The State Committee of the Lok Morcha brought out a general poster and leaflet .De-centralisation of he Campaign encouraged the masses to participate .New speakers arose in places. The specific form and duration of the campaign, areas and section to be covered, location of main gatherings, preparation of publication material wee planned and discussed by lower units.
The Campaign was hugely successful culminating in various areas .Conferences were held in Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana,Khanna,Bhutal Kalan, Jaitu, Bhatinda,Malout, Jalandhar,Fategarh Churian, Etc.45 thousands of peole o 05 hundresd of peole participated in these onferences.Ovrall 18-20000 people participated in such conferences.
In Malout the masses brilliantly thwarted the efforts of the Punjab chief minister's son to sabotage their campaign,who tried to stage manage his own version to disrupt the Morcha programme.A succeful conference was held here.
In Khudian the landlords attacked the village labourers.An Akali leader even slapped an agricultural worker.In Bhatinda and Bhutal Kalan ruling class elements were succesfuly rebuffed.A successful conference was held in Bhutal Kalan where a corrupt leader tried to disrupt the work.
The campaign led to making further inroads into sections like the industrial city workers and rural poor,.It had a strong effect on the Bhatinda city.Youth and college students prominently participated in many places.In Lehra Gaga Sunam,peasants and labourers were strirred in 30 vilages.
In areas where agricultural labour organisations existed,casteist trends were combated to help build agricultural labourers organization.
1999 election Campaign by the Lok Morcha
A separate poster and leaflet was brought out by the party Organisation(C.P.R.C.I-M.L) to educate it's ranks and a separate poster and leaflet was printed by The Lok Morcha and the P.K.M.U.The campaign was a great success..It was important that people would easily understand the contents of the leaflet.In the campaign the burning issues of the people were raised .The issue of confiscation of land from landlords,canceling of foreign debt, confiscating imperialist capital,projecting a alternative programme were rasied.A special issue on elections was brought out by Surkh Rekha.
More than 150 villages were covered in the election propoganda.The leaflets were jointly issued by the Lok Morcha and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.The revolutionary democratic front of electricity workers joined the campaign at some places.The Moulder and steel workers union ,too carried out a campaign but they did not join the Lok Morcha.This was because the workers of the union did not have enough political consciousness.There level of political content did not match that of the Lok Morcha. This was an important decision as otherwise the campaign would have had a superficial effect.This was a good example of correct revolutionary practice.
The groups who tried to impose boycott of elections on the people as well as those who paricipated in them made a very superficialimpact.The boycott slogan was meaningless as people hadn't reached that level of political consciousness.However the response to the campaign of the and the Lok Morcha was tremendous.The content of the leaflet encouraged the party ranks and followers to distribute it wide for mass consumption. The wide ranges of issues were explained in simple language. The immediate practical alternative was projected in the leaflet so that people could easily grasp it's contents.
The focus of the state committeesposter was on building the revolutionary movement ,with the agrarian movement as it's axis, as an alternative to parliamentary path. Below are some examples of the people's response.
In one mass gathering after the leader of the Morcha spoke some persons came to the stage. They said to the Morcha leader "Brother, all your points are worth lakhs of rupees, they are worth safeguarding by encasing in a box. But show us the door to which we have to bow our heads."
In Ropar district the villagers gheraoed the Morcha activists mistaking them for politicians.But when the people heard the politics of the Morcha they said "What you have written tells the truth.It is 100%correct.
In Bhatinda the contingent of agricultural workers and peasants confronted the parliamentary candidate of the Akali Dal under the leadership of the Morcha
In some places people asked activists of the Morcha to stand for elections.However this reflected the low consciousness of the people.
In Muktsar district there was an incident where a poor women peasant showed her bravery by confidently sitting near the Akali women leader,a relative of the Badal family;who was sitting on the cot of a landless labour family..She refused to move when she was asked too by the police replying "If we people cannot sit besides you, then how are we equal to you as you claim and are you entitled to our votes?"
Similarly, in Ludhiana a women Akali candidate embraced a landless woman labourer.The labourer resisted the politician saying "How are we equal to each other?"
The reason for the success of the programme was the methods adopted by the Lok Morcha.Various conferences were held to educate the people. Effective planning was done and discussions were held among the people.The people were shown the relation of their problems with the campaign. Education was given to activists how to carry out the campaign.A single state level gathering was not called out Instead campaigns took place in various districts and villages of the state. Special attention was given to consciousness based mobilisation.The propoganda among masses and the propoganda amongst advanced layers of mass organisations was differentiated..
The Lok Morcha also organized solidarity pogrammes after the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre of Dalits in Bihar in December 1997..Various town and village level programmes were staged in solidarity against repression.In Ludhiana a programme was organized with the Mould and Steel Workers Union..A rally and balckflag demonstration was led at Bachitar Nagar and a meeting was held in Guru Nanak Nagar.
Similar programmes were held in Khanna-Gobindgarh,Banga-Nawanshahar,Faridkot,(gate meeting,along with P.K.MU at the spinning mill at Sedhwa attended by 1500 migrant labourers and a cultural progarmme held at Bhana village)Jaito Bhagta,Ugi,Malsian(jointly with the help of P.K.M.U),Malri, Phagwara and Fategarh Chudianh.A rally was also held in Khanna town and in Diwala villagea large cultural programe was launched.
Quoting the views of a reader of the journal “The Comrade”
"As regards Lok Morcha of Punjab,the activities of Lok Morcha have drawn our attention ,unlike all parliamentary organizations. Lok Morcha is performing a herculean task in shaping the people's mind in respect of India's so-called democracy and the character of Parliament. I think ,the lesson of Lok Morcha should be followed. A wind of change, I hope, must be turned into a gust of wind which will wipe out he revisionist and reactionary class root and branch."
Quoting a revolutionary worker activist from Mumbai Comrdae Dubey,who attended the 1998 election campaign:
"The most revolutionary democratic functioning I have ever seen having observed revolutionary organizations for a decade.”
STRUGGLE FOR CORRECT TREND IN THE BHARATIYA KISAN UINION (EKTA)
This trend focused on building he struggle-activities on basic and burning peasant demands, and introducing political consciousness in the union I accordance with the level of the peasants actual activity and experience. While al the political forces were free from their independent platform to influence peasmnts politically,the experiences acquired by the peasntmasses ion struggle would be crucial to their being able to absorb any such political propaganda.In Contracts the wrong trend made the union unction as apropoganda baed organization.Through joint actions with other political platforms, they attempted to politicize the peasant masses .
The correct trend was reflected I the Jethuke struggle(A historic turning point) in January 200where the correct trend was applied to combat repression, resulting in pole firing. It also withstood and defeated the repression, and won certain repression-related demands,t o achieve the original aim s of the struggle. Thus the correct trend strived to build an alternative practice. Similarly in he mass gherao of land mortgage bank in Rampura,no arrests were made of defaulting peasants. Burning issues of the peasantry wee highlighted. Following this the struggle for paddy procurement reflected several similar features.The followers of he correct trend worked in selected pockets,where hey had asignificant base ,to set up types of struggle which wopuld influence abroader section of peasants.
The major line of demarcation between the correct and wrong trend was felt by the peasantry on the handling of the issue of peasant indebtedness to usurious commission agents.The 2001 agitation against the Sandoha suicide where asustained strugl;e was launched is an appropriate example.
The participants in the correct trend linked the political struggle with the conctre class Struggle.They implemented the militant mass struggle alternative in practice like in Jethuke, the paddy procurement struggle,the Maiserkhana struggle Etc.The burning problem of peasnt indebtedness was handled impeccably by he correct trend.A do-or-die spirit was inculcated and the ranks understood the correctness of the line.
The organizers of the correct trend were able to mobilize the maximum ranks in the inner-organisational struggle.They also did not inculcate discipline mechanically and took the consciousness of the majority of thec ranks into account.
The turning point in defeating the wrong trend was in Himmatpuraon April 28th..It comprised of 250 leading activists from 10 districts.In the first session all the deeds and propaganda of the ruling clases was exposed.I the 2nd session, a teacher described the role and record pf the leadership of the correct trend. This teacher concluded that the work of the Union inspired him to leave the job full –time and work for the Union.In the 3rd session, anyone could speak from the flooor.Several activist volunteered to become full time participants.
The followers of the correct trend called or a Kisan council.1950 peasant activists were invited for he Kisan council, including 2 each from 720 village units,7 each from the Unions 58 block committees,7 each fro the Union's 12 districts and 9 office bearers of the State Committee. In preparation for he council; district committee meetings ere held in all districts. In these meetings the contents of the Himmatpura meeting was explained.
There was major struggle between the State leadership and the activists of the correct trend.Earlier the Sangrur Committee had opposed the correct trend activists.The State leadership had also refused the holding of the Kisan council.The activist held the council meeting opposing the state leadership.Sukhdev Kokri was removed by the leadership. Finally after a meeting held on May 18 th by the activists of the correct trend Sukhdev Kokri was re-instated.
The Kisan Council was held on May 21st at Talwandi Sabo.Of the 1950 qualified to participate,I the Council 1359 participated. Peasant activists participated from 36 blocks,in which the correct trend prevailed.
After the Kisan Council a state conference was held at Jethuke on June 8th.Here the 2 trends were differentiated and the real issues prevailing demarcated. It was revealed how the leaders of he wrong trend were not prepared for struggles on burning issues. Infact they boycotted the struggle against Usury. The wrong trend worked overtime o block the correct trend and if elections were democratically conducted would be swept away and the correct trend would triumph.
JThe conference elected a new state committee.A call was given for statewide demonstrations ,on various demands.
The wrong trend projected an action committee including ruling class parliamentary opposition parties.
Analysis of the B.K.U(Ekta)
It is significant that within the correct trend opinion is divided.
The struggle of the B.KU(Ekta)is a classical example of the struggle for democratic functioning within a mass organization.Today ,when there is aprominent tren withing the Communist Revolutonary camp of imposing party politics on mass organizations the correct approach of this sruggkle has enormous significance. The peasant struggles of Pumjab are also a fitting answer to he trend that claims that armed struggle cannot be deferred. Punjab is a classic example of a state where peasants have not reached the level of political consciousness to enable armed struggle to be carried out. The agrarian revolutionary movement is still in the stage of being built.The Kisan Council and he subsequent conference is of great significance. I n the author's view this reflects the mass revolutionary approach to creating abase for launching protracted peasant struggles amongst the middle and landed peasantry and avenues to sharpen and enhance the class movements of the landless peasantry.The anti-repression struggle,the successful protests and jail bharo agitation,struggle within jails,participation of women and organized mass resistance against the arrests were important features which illustrate the ground for launching a democratic revolutionary struggle.Before launching armed struggles or during them as in China,there have been mass movements for democratic rights.
In the Authors view heroic struggles have been launched by the peasantry.
The B.K.U (Ekta-represnting correct trend ) has taken historically correct steps to build a peasant movement of the landed peasantry combating wrong trends and has given a classic example of carrying out mass revolutionary work within a single large body,They have led state-wide agitations and are creating a base for district-level and State wide movements of the landed peasntry.It has been one of the most revolutionary democratic approaches ever displayed where no party politics has been imposed on the mass organization.However still it is only a base for building a revolutionary peasant Movement.and is not a class organisation of the landless peasantry revolutionary peasant classes. It has yet to lead or encourage the lower sections of the peasantry. Today a mass agrarian revolutionary peasant armed struggle has yet to be built to lay the seeds for guerilla warfare.There have been historic statewide agitations which is significant .
.PUNJAB KHET MAZDOOR UNION(AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS)
Similarly the Punjab landless and Agricultural labourers organization launched anti-feudal struggles of the landless peasants and agricultural workers. Since it's foundation in 1993 it launched a series of heroic struggles. An agricultural labourer lives the life of a wretched beast. He is denied his weekly or any holiday throughout the year. When he takes leave for any death in the family or a marriage he is charged much more than the average wage being paid to him. At work he virtually works round the clock. In Agricultural Operations, he has to do all sorts of household chores, for the master. In Peak work seasons, he has to forget rest and sleep for days together due to rush of work. This forced sleeplessness results in accidents leading to amputation of limbs and serious injuries. The landowner is not required to pay for their treatment or missed days. No compensation is paid during disability or death. His average wage is much below the stipulated minimum wage. The rising prices of day to day items forced the agricultural labourer community to slash their consumption.
3 types of issues were predominantly taken up.
The first one was opposing casteist arrogance and misbehavior with women. The 2nd one was for increase in and proper distribution for social welfare and other advances like grants, community centers. The third relates to propaganda and agitational issues like distribution of land, residential plots and improvement in working conditions. The 4th and last related to political
mobilization on issues.
Balahar Vinju land struggle
The most significant struggle led by the Agricultural labour Union was at Village Balahar Vinju.The village backward class elements had been cultivating the fields containing 18 acres for a considerable period. The Village head, in connivance with a Congress minister stage a conspiracy to usurp this land at throw-away prices through governmental auctioning of this land. Through a continuous protracted struggle the villagers resisted evictions. The peasants heroically resisted the police repression in addition to that of goondas. Although the authorities succeeded in auctioning the land in a closed-door auction under the vigilance of heavy police escort, they failed to evict the villagers and seize the disputed land.
This struggle had important phases At first when the government had decided to auction the land the peasants held a series of meetings, rallies and demonstrations. The Harijan community as well as large sections of the middle peasants signed an appeal persuading the authorities for leasing the concerned land, only to the agricultural labourers. A deputation of 250-300 men, women and children under the leadership of the Union met several authorities with regards to their cause. The mood of the village peasants was so militant that the village head when coming for the auction had to call of the auction to declare that the land would be sold to the Agricultural labour. This irritated the Congress leaders who retaliated by calling an auction and calling for a seizure of the agricultural labourers land. The peasants under the Union fought a do or die battle. They went to the field sand staged their Red flag. Now religious ruling class parties used the issue to win votes. These included the Bahujan Samaj Party. The Union activists effectively refuted religious forces. The Union explained how through reciting religious scriptures opportunist political forces can divert the struggle.
With great determination the Union activists resisted the police forces they surrounded jeeps250 people surrounded the police station demanding the release of an arrested worker. The protest was so militant that the police had to release the arrested worker.
The Police counter retaliated raiding houses of many activists. On August 4th a public conference was to be held which the police tried to prevent the Peasant's Union from Staging a conference. They arrested electricity workers Etc.However after a determined protest of 225 people in Bhatinda district the arrested workers were released.
August 13th was the day of the next auction. The Congress leaders tried to trick the peasants by stating that the auction would be cancelled and land distributed among the labourers.The leaders of the peasant Union explained the workers what the Congress leaders were upto.The Congress leaders spread the word that Gullzar Singh ,a Congress Minister would cancel the auction and distribute the land. The Union told the peasants to cancel the rally if they were awarded the land. The Congress leaders in an embarrassing position had to cancel the land.
After that Tarsem, a prominent Union leader was arrested. The peasants through militant demonstrations attempted to secure his release. A deputation of Agricultural Workers and employees met the district authorities and asked the S.H.O to r3elease all men arrested from the village and stop repression on Tarsem.The Police were prepared to release Tarsem on the condition that no legal or mass action would be taken against the Police. On August 28th, it was known that the concerned district Inspector had come to the police Station. Women of Balahar Vinju rushed to the Police Station and within an hour assembled and started a demonstration which stopped only after the Inspector promised that Tarsem would be released on 29th August. In Bhatinda on September 2nd the Union decided to organize a militant protest however later cancelled it.
The Police were not prepared to release Tarsem.They implicated him in a false case and sent him to Bhatinda jail, and also prepared a false certificate that he was arrested in an injured State. The Union now decided to hold their protest rally on September 11th on the day a convention was taking place on the joint merging of the Dehati Mazdoor Union and the Pendu Mazdoor Union into a single organization. The Police refused to grant permission for the Unity Convention with the state of turbulence in the area. The Union now decided to hold the convention secretly. On September 11th 500 Union Activists assembled at the teacher's home in Bhatinda, holding a demonstration despite heavy rain and water knee deep on the roads. All this was done in a secret manner so that the police would be unaware of it, until the demonstration reached the district Courts, where a memorandum against Police Repression was given to the district officer.
The first joint meeting of the D.M.U(Dehati Mazdoor Union-meaning village workers Union") and the P.M.U(Pendu Mazdoor Union meaning Agricultural Workers Union) was held later in the evening150 delegates participated.The agricultural workers from a totally unorganized force now were a militant surging contingent. From a submissive and hopeless position there force was like a spear piercing through the ruling class forces. A militant spirit reverberated in their hearts. A statement of a villager, "So small a village has kept the police of the whole district on the toes for a month, that is not a small achievement," testified this. "We may or may not get the land but we will never leave the organisation." The significant note to me made of the Balahar Vinju Struggle was the peasant's collectively fighting for their rights over land .
Having failed in their attempts to divide or suppress the Agricultural labourers during the latter half of 1993,the Congress I Leaders of the area and the district authorities teamed up with the local chieftain of the village for launching a united mass repression on the Agricultural labourer's movement. They sold the said land through an open auction to the brother of the Sarpanch and 3 others of the clique. At very cheap rates. They did this on 29th January with the help of a huge deployment of the police force and despite the protests of the Harijan community of the village. The Agricultural labourers however maintained their determination and resolve Even as they went to redress the Punjab and Haryana Court they relied on the mass mobilization of Agricultural labourers.They brought clear instruction from the Court that it should not dispossess the agricultural labourers from there land until the matter was decided.
The Court decision was a thorn in the flesh of the ruling clique.
The Teasing question for the Agricultural labourers was the method of seizing the land. They decided in the community meeting of the village that they would take possession by irrigating the land on the due date. The Sarpanchclique threatened them with dire consequences .Showing valiant courage, a team of 70 to 80 men and women of the Harijan Community, along with 8 to 10 men from the Jaat Peasantry, armed with traditional weapons, trudged on to the fields in a procession. The Sarpanch clique counter retaliated by bringing the Sub divisional magistrate and the Deputy Superintendent of police, who ordered the peasants to disperse. The Sarpanch began to abuse them but displaying great valiance and courage the peasants stood their ground withstanding all the threats. The Sub divisional magistrate went to the extent of announcing that the labourers will not be permitted to claim their land.
He made a false plea that the order did not mention the specific land referred ..4 0r 5 labourers were called to the police Station. However the whole team of Agricultural labourers reached the Police Station they raised slogans expressing the injustice meted out to them. They decided to launch a case against the Sarpanch for using abusive language and for issuing threats. In the next few days, the representatives of the labourers met the district6 authorities. They were reluctant to implement the Court order. The High court had stated that no one could take possession of the land until the high court passed an order. To play a trick the Sarpanch clique now stated that the land was government provincial land which could be sold through open auction. This was a major lie because the auction order of the same authorities had itself referred to it as Nazool land.The anti-labour class character of the authorities was fully exposed.The Agricultural labourers now decided to launch a two-pronged strategy .One was to gain a clearer verdict in the high court and compel the authorities to implement it, the other was to mobilize people of the area by exposing g the anti-people character and role of the district authorities and thus add greater pressure.
The Punjab Agricultural Workers Union held a state level conference on 1st July in Balahar Vinju Itself. The district authorities banned the holding of the peaceful conference there, imposed section 144 of Cr.P.C.,and rushed 300 to 400 security men to seal of all the entry points in the village. The labourers were denied there democratic right to struggle. Heroically the labourers were undeterred. A team of 150 labourers and employees supporting their cause demonstrated at the district headquarters raising slogans condemning the authorities. The Venue of the state conference was shifted to Sewewala where 1000 Labourers with other revolutionary mass organizations participated.The Road traffic was blocked for half an hour. Effigies of the Sarpanch district authorities and Punjab Government were burnt and resolutions were passed supporting the Balahr Vinjhu labourers Struggle and condemning the district authorities. About 125 people held a protest rally in Balahr Vinju village itself.
Two further incidents had outstanding impact. All Entry points to the village had been sealed off on the day of the meeting with a huge deployment of police force. Later an angry batch of men and women from the Harijan Community went to a check post and scolded the police force present in that area for blocking their way to the fields. The force was forced to flee1In the subsequent incident one of the labourers was detained by the police on the pretext that he was calling for a rally in the village. Within minutes 150-200 men and women from the community rushed to the spot and gheraoed the jeep in which the boy was detained. The boy was freed. What was of great relevance was the words of a policeman stating, "What is the use of Imposing section 144 in such situations, the Govt just earned a bad name for doing so for nothing!
For the next 15 days, the people continued to exhibit their determined resolve. Incidents of getting boys freed from police custody by mass pressure and thrashing elements from the Sarpanch clique were such examples. On 15th July 200 men and women of the Harijan Community held a militant demonstration in the district courts of Bhatinda For 4 hours they raised militancy slogans and raging speeches. The nefarious policies of the Sarpanch,the district authorities and the Punjab Government were explained and condemned like a spear piercing flesh.
The correct revolutionary leadership continuously educated the peasants about the politics of the land issue and how it was connected to the need of building an agrarian revolutionary Movement. No Armed Squads replaced the collective revolutionary Actions of the masses and the people from their own revolutionary Experience gained an experience in mass revolutionary Struggle. Through Experience the Peasants understood the anti-people Nature of the Ruling Class Parties and the police force. In Mass revolutionary Struggle through their own experience the masses understand the enemy and the appropriate methods to combat them. The effort of the Union in holding their Unity Convention Secretly after the authorities denied formal permission and hold the protest rally showed the tactical experience gained through struggle.
The peasants were now further drawn towards revolutionary Class Struggle and the need for a cohesive peasant organization. Only militant organised resistance would liberate them. The protracted struggle of the peasantry against the onslaught of the Sarpanch clique and the authorities was a great education to them about the nexus between the landlord classes and authorities. The fact that the court order could not be implemented and that only their organized struggle could win them justice was a great lesson. Through the Struggles of the Punjab Agricultural Labour Union the Agricultural labourers learnt the importance and the gains of their collective, organized Struggles for land and their own self –defence.No political armed Squads could substitute this. They also understood the futility of court orders and authorities implementing Justice and gained further confidence in building their own organizations. The landless and poor peasants gaining political Consciousness through their own struggle and experience is a major task in building a mass agrarian revolutionary line. This can create a strong revolutionary peasant movement and prepare the ground for setting up armed revolutionary base areas and armed agrarian Revolutionary Struggle.
In Doaba region of Punjab the P.A.L.U.after a determined struggle succeeded in getting residential plots .In Muktsar district, the repeated attempts of an influential wealthy family in evicting a number of labouring families from a piece of land was foiled. A similar occurrence took place in Jalandhar district where an Akali leader's attempt to grab villagers land was foiled.
An example of heroic anti –feudal resistance led by the P.A.L.U was in Ferozepur district where 2 agricultural labourers were tortured to death by a cruel landlord. The landlord spent lakhs of rupees in bribing the police and the media. The Union carried out massive processions, blockading of police stations, holding up traffics, surrounding district courts Etc.At every stage the Union had to battle it out with the police and civil authorities.
The last significant form of struggle the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union waged was against medieval service conditions of farm labour. Peasants in Punjab often die of pesticide poisoning. The Landlords refuse to pay for the peasant's illnesses .In one example of the death of a contract labourer in Bhagtuana village the landlord not only refused to pay the treatment expenses, but also pressurized the labourer's family in paying the dues. He even threatened to confiscate the labourer's cattle. The Union challenged this. Through militant struggle the peasants prevented the landlord from gaining a single penny.
In Various districts in Punjab the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union has carried out alternative flood relief. The so-called social welfare schemes were exposed. Numerous cases concerning yellow cards, house grants and flood relief were settled. Corruption of authorities was exposed.
Lastly the Union played a great role in the election campaigns in exposing the nefarious ruling class politics. The Union explained the anti people policies of the state and how the people were enslaved through Imperialist policies like globalization. Rural labouring sections rose up like a tornado in the "Long Live the Revolution Rally!" The Union played a great role in enhancing their political consciousness.
Through the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union a huge platform is being set for a major peasant revolt. One is reminded of the saying that a single Spark can create a Prairie fire. Under the leadership
Struggle for residential plots in Lambi region of Muktsar
In Muktsar district in Lambi sub-division in the assembly constituency of Prakash Singh Badal,president of the ruling class Akali Dal party, owns hundreds of acres of land.The contradiction between feudal landlords and the masses are acute.
To gain votes in the election the joint Akali-B.J/P govt announced some so-called welfare schemes for the scheduled castes of the rural areas. These schemes included a free plot from the village common land and a house building grant for the Scheduled caste families who either had no house of their own or had house to accommodate their families.
The State Committee of the .landless and agricultural Workers Organization decided to initiate an exposure campaign o exposing how the govt.was hardly serious in implementing such schemes.
The landless and Agricultural labourers organization called a meeting.It was decided that actually the basic demands of he landless labourers should be projected, particularly the demand of land to the tiller., linking them with partial demands and other current pressing problems to make people aware of their complete rights. It was also discussed as to which points of political understanding of the P.K.M.U. can be explained linking them with specific demands of the campaign. It was also decided that the activits and the mass leaders would have to go through a thorough study of the conditions of the masses to know how many families in the village were genuine claimants of the govt.welfare measures.
The investigation revealed that there were 61 families in 6 investigated villages who had no house and did not get the plots announced by the govt.,there were 48 women who were denied the Shagun of Rs 5000 each and 99 cases of genuine claimants to govt.pensions who received no pension.
A propoganda campaign was launched in the area of Lambi.Thousand wall posters were put up and 5000 leaflets distributed. Mass meetings were organized in 15 villages in which 885 landless labourers participated. Charters of demands of every active village Unit of P.M.K.U. were presented by mass deputations to the concerned govt Officials. A mass deputation used to begin it's march fro the village and travel to the place where it would present the charter of demands. It would then conduct mass meetings, rallies and flag marches in each village. Over 3000 landless labourers wee reached.
The Ruling class Akali leaders connived and tried to win over the foremost leader of the Lambi Committee, a resident of the Singhewala-Fatuhiwala villages. They announced a list of 144 families of these villages that were promised residential plots. A programme was launched where the letters of the title were to be distributed to the 144 persons.500 persons gathered in the public function called the Sangat Dashing.(Sikh religious ritual gathering).A deputation of the P.M.K.U went to the venue of the programme to present their grievances.
About the implementation of the declared govt Schemes and to present charter of demands. Gurdas Badal ,brother of the then chief minister who was then present, ignored the deputation .The P.M.K.U.leader angrily caught hold of Badal and condemned him openly for not redressing the gathering.Gurda Badal terminated the programme and the P.M.K.U leader tore up the official letter.The Union leaders using great tact converted this function into a rally of the Union. And explained to the masses that tearing up the letter did not mean that they did not want the people from demanding anything from the govt. Threatened by the offensive Akali leaders offered 40 more plots to the landless labourers. Of he twin villages along with an offer to the Union leadership that the distribution of the plots would be made with the Union's consent.
The P.M.KU.correctly anticipated how the Akali leaders were trying to trick them. On the day of the next sangat Darshan by the chief minister in the village, there was heavy deployment of police forces not only around the venue of function, but in the streets of the labourers.The P.M.K.U boycotted the function.Tht day a heroic act was performed by an ordinary villager who was a landless labourer.A policeman rushed into his house when on duty deploying himself on top of the roof as part of security duty. The labourer ,who was the owner of the house was furious and ordered him out. The policeman left. This revealed the animosity in the oppressed classes and the political effect of the P.M.K.U's activities.
The P.M.K.U in Lambu area wished to implement the road of self –reliance by the are-level team of mass leaders.They decided that the people of twin villages should be fully mobilized and a demonstration against the sarpanches should be organized as a first move. After consultation with the masses the demonstration was held
the demonstration was held with about 150 men and women against the panchayats of Singhewala village and Fatuhivalla village. They came to know that the Sarpanch was out of town. A demonstration was taken into the house of the Sarpanch in Singhewala.When the Sarpanch saw the demonstrators he was infuriated and insulted the villagers, condemning their march. In anger the villagers tried to retaliate ,but were cooled down by the P.M.K.U leaders.
After this incident the sarpanch instigated the 67 landless families who had received plots against the P.M.K.U.leadership stating that the P.M.K.U desired to cancel their ownership of plots. They explained that only if he was supported their plots would be protected.
This affected the plot –owners thinking and their support to the P.M.K.U were neutralized. However the P.M.K.U re-explained them the situation and persuaded the plot owners to not oppose the allotment of land to the landless labourers whether the family qualifies for it within the govt.criteria or not. The P.M.K.U turned the situation in their favor but again winning the support of the overwhelming majority of landless labourers.Under the leadership of the P.M.K.U ,the people of Singhewala succeeded in getting 67 plots.
In July 2002 the 2nd phase of the campaign was started. Now the Congress had won the elections. The new party promised the same welfare measures, in it's election manifesto.
In Lambi area the P.M.K.U staged an indefinite sit-in before the office of the B.D.O on September 16th 2002,inspite of many hurdles, the indefinite sit-in started on the bare ground before the office of the B.D.O in Lambi.Various hurdles ,such as acute shortage of funds as well as transport difficulties had to be overcome. On the start of the programme the B.D.O.officer disappeared. The masses resented his and throughout the day unleashed a barrage of slogan shouting,songs,speeches Etc.Sowing daring courage, the women stayed ,inspite of being persuaded by the men to return at night. In the evening, with 70-75 people left behind, the rest went to various villages to mobiles support. This resulted in the number of participant villages rising to 6 from 4, and the number of people from 125 to 150.
The area committee called a meeting of activists of the area ensuring the continued participation of the masses, and the continuous supply of food. It was decided that for mobilizing all types of support for struggle, the P.M.K.U leaders and activists should visit new village's everyday. A group of 8-10 people met people from all walks of life in Lambi and explained and projected the demands of the struggle.They asked the people for support, from direct participation to contribution of bread,milk,vegetables sugar, tea ,firewood Etc.
In a most convincing style the issues of the struggle were explained. The people responded with great sensitivity and donated 3 overhead covers for a gathering, and promised daily supply of food, milk Etc.Some families contributed wheat flouyr.People donated Rs 900 infunds.Landless labourers of a nearby village Khudian donated a bag of wheat flour.
Even after a week of the sit-in the B.D.O was untouched and ignored the P.M.K.U leadership. After 4 days of sit-in the area committee reviewed the situation and it was decided to burn the effigies of the Congress rulers in a new village .Effigies were now built in 11 villages and between 100 to 250 people participated in every village.2000 people participated in the programme of effigy burning. A poster was put up on the walls of 26 villages. On the 7th day ,atlas one member of the authorities came to address the gathering of the P.M.K.U .However the B.D.O.never explained his attitude and the revenue officer had to criticize the B.D.O.The B.D.O now had to beg pardon for his ignorant and negligent attitude.
After 6-7 rounds of negotiations ,an agreement was reached. This stated that the organization .would be recognized. On September 25th 2002 the B.D.O addressed a gathering, explaining the agreement. The landless labourers were brimming in joy with confidence. The revenue officer however expressed his helplessness to fulfill the demands of the plots because ,he explained, it was out of his jurisdiction.So,he sent a letter to the district authorities with his positive recommendation giving the same justification of demands as was given to him by the peasnt organization leadership.
Though the sit-in was conducted successfully, some important demands were not fulfilled and thus it was essential to change the venue of the struggle to Muktsar city, to target the district adminstration.On the last evening of the sit-in ,more than 125 men and women, along with their maker-shift kitchen, traveled to Muktsar.The Deputy Commissioner at first blew up in a fit of temper and commanded the eviction of the camped men and women. However the peasnt organiastion leadership stood firm and ,the DC.was virtually forced to negotiate. Substantial demands were agreed to like involving disbursal of funds for housing and latrines,provison of land for collecting dung, preventing police intervention on behalf of absentee landowner, and provision of food-for-work employment. Some of the P.M.K.U's demands wee not conceded .The details of the agreement were noted, copies made, and it was decided that the P.M.K.U leaders could check the implementation procedure after 10 days. Only after the gathering outside had approved it, the Union leaders decided to withdraw the struggle.
This sit-in struggle started by 125 persons from 4 villages ,but was extended to 600 people from 17 villages with a positive balance of funds, even after spending Rs.10,000 on the Struggle. The conclusion-the successful performance of the mass deputation at the district headquarter-gave an enthralling finale to the highly successful struggle. Above all it instilled a spirit of self –confidence and self –reliance in struggle and boosted revolutionary class consciousness. The painstaking mass revolutionary approach of the Agricultural labourers organisation was depicted.
Analysis of the landless labourers organization.
The Agricultural and landless peasants organization) has made painstaking efforts to give a mass revolutionary approach by educating the peasantry,similar to the Red Army during the Chinese revolution.However still the resistance is still at the level of pockets in Punjab and a stage has to be reached when agrarian revolutionary struggles are launched at village,district and state level.Stlll,the movement has not reached one where land seizures or direct struggles for land are taking place.The method the struggles have been conducted on all fronts display the efforts to painstakingly educate the peasants in the need for self-organisation to assert their rights and the relationship of their struggles with the agrarian revolution.Peasants in Balahr Vinju district led by the P.M.K.U gave a classical display of mass line approach when hoisting the Red Flag and thwarting the police efforts of preventing them from holding their conference.Historic democratic protests were held.The way the peasant organisation functioned helped spread peasant struggles to other areas quickly.(pocket level)State level agitations have yet to be launched and this being a class peasant mass organization it will have to play amajor role.The graetset achievement of the organization is it's ability to organize the Dalit or backward caste labourers.Toady in the Maxist -Leninist Movement it is a major challenge to organize the Dalit caste agricultural labourers.on class lines.(Appraisal from Correspondent in Frontline)The organization has alos given solidarity to the struggles of the landed peasantry had participated in revolutionary Election Campaigns.What is significant is that the agricultural labour organisatin has built amovement in various districts Punjab ranging from Bhatinda to Jalandhar,to Ludhiana to Amritsar.
August 2008 report from Muktsar
On August 21st 2008,a clash of agricultural workers occurred with the police at a place 2km from Badal,the native village of chief minister ,Prakash Singh Badal.The villagers had started to sit in front of the residence of the chief minister’s family, in order to get an agreement implemented. The police armed with lathis,tear gas,rubber bullets and a water cannon ,were adamant that police barricade would not be broken by the landless peasants holding class-hatred of the feudal landlords and the government.
Infact the clash made the agricultural workers more rebellious and they blocked the grand trunk road.The news spread like wildfire and contingents from other villages came in to join the struggle.200 peasants from the BKU(Ekta-Ugrahan)from Bhatinda and Lambi.
The police forces were so demoralized that they began to beg the leaders for a compromise,without carrying out any retaliatory campaign.There were 6 rounds of negotiations before arriving at a written agreement.The most difficult demand to fulfil was the public apology by police officersDuring the lathi-charge,2 police officers had used legally prohibited caste-based derogatory words and were now made to pledae for pardon publicly.Earlier the adminstartion insisted that the concerned officers would beg pardon in a closed door meeting nad not in public.Finally they had to beg befoe around 50 people.
Apart from fulfilling the demands related to building of latrines in a village and providing plots for dung-hills in 2 villages ,compensation of 3.8 lakhs was provided to 32 people for the August 21st clash. An annual pension of Rs.3600 was given to a woman of the village Singhewla and 75,00 to family whose breadwinner was killed by the Khalistani terrorists.An agricultural labourer was awarded Rs 25,000 as compensation for an injury received in a lathi-charge on March26th,2008.
The accomplishment of these demands were not the principal task achieved.What was created was a great morale in the landless peasants who now made the authorities beg to them about concessions.One worker stated: “See the might and prowess of our unity!The whole range of officers ,from the DCP to the SSP were looking like goats before us!” Awoman celebrated distributing sweets and remarked “ Sons,why should I not sweeten your mouths,when you have emerged victorious from a clashwith the police.,wheras earlier I had seen many beaten back by the police.”There was widespread praise amongst the camp of agricultural labourers.The consciousness of the agricultural labourers was greatly enhanced and the PMKU broadened it’s hegemony in areas while the administration felt humiliated.
In district Muktsar, the present chief minister of Punjab,Prakash Singh Badal resides.The chief minister himself is one of the biggets landlords.There are feudal landlords in many of the villages,each owning hundreds of acres of land.A surplus of 3.16 lakh acres are owned by just 7200 families.In a survey conducted by peasnt prganizations it was revealed that in March,2008,101 agricultural labourers from 26 villages of the district have commited suicide .
In 2005 the PMKU entered the village of Lambi where there was no peasant organization redressing the problems of agricultural labourers. In its propoganada it redressed burning partial demands, including the oppression of landlords-police combine linking them with basic demands particularly with the demand of land distribution and real democracy. As the anger against the tyranny and expoitation was burning among the agricultural labourers,the propaganda and agitation of the union got a tremendous response from a section of the labourers.Many successful struggles were waged against the oppression of the landlord-police combine.Usually an act of oppression by an individual landlord against an individual or a few individual landless labourers were becoming the issues of the struggles. In these militant struggles only relatively advanced upper layer of labourers participated ,thus limiting the extension of mass base.It was very difficult to fight successful struggles on economic demands against the landlords because they were able to portray such struggles waged against all landowners and upper-caste population.Thus,raising economic demands was not preferable.
So the leadership decided to agitate for welfare schemes like old-age pensions;shagun scheme,grants for renovating house and for building pucca;free allotments of plot for houses; and distribution of wheat and pulses on subsidized rates.
Feudal forces usually control the distribution of grants in a village who deploy grants to strengthen their dominance over the agricultural labourers and other poor of the village. The PMKU made a preparation for this demand in their charter. In preparing the demand charter the union narrated : “A significant aspect of the method of revolutionary mass work is connected with delineation of the demands of the related section sof the people.This method demands that the selection of the demands should be based on the investigation of the concrete living condition sof that section of the people .Further, a demarcation between propaganda demands and struggle demands should be made. This does not depend upon subjective thinking of a leadership but in accordance to the interest and current fighting mood expressed by the people, in relation to various demands.”
“Accordingly the union leadership had done investigation in more than 30 villages of the district to prepare a charter of demands .Those demands were included into a list of struggle demands about which the workers were most concerned and ready to struggle for. In the next phase of the explanation about the struggle demands ,particular attention was given to propagating how these demands are ultimately linked to those basic economic demands which are essential to radically change their present conditions. Thanks to the time and energy invested in the selection of demands, during the meetings with unio leaders,government officers were forced to admit that demands were justified.”
Most of the union leaders and activists in this district are illiterate. When asked to address a gathering or initiate negotiations with government officials they are usually reluctant and diffident, feeling only literate people can do this job. But the process of concrete investigation to project the demand charter and explaining these demands to ranks relating to the revolutionary context inspired confidence in the illiterate sections in justifying and projecting their demands.
According to a report of the P.K.M.U.: “though it is necessary for every section of the people to project their justification of their demands among the masses of other section s of people to win them over and to obtain support for the struggle on such demands ,it is necessary in the case of agricultural labourers.”
After the concrete investigations about the implementation of welfare schemes ,many write ups went to the press detailing the number of deserving persons /families who were denied the benefits of those schemes. Some newspapers regularly published such write ups making these attempts of the PMKU a sort of campaign exposing the deceptive nature of these populist policies. The CM was informed through a letter about the administration’s ignoring the implementation of the agreement.Finally,a written notice was sent about the sit0in at Badal village,15 days in advance. A letter was addressed to the people of the village to participate in the sit-in.
According to a report of the Union:
“In order to advance any struggle in a revolutionary direction, apart from other factors, the factor of making a concrete assessment of negative and positive assessment of ourselves as well as for our adversary becomes extremely important. The prestige of the adversary should be eroded by projecting their negative aspects and weaknesses. Our weak points shoud be pin-pointed and appropriate steps should be taken to strengthen those aspects.Assesment should be made of the resultant situation of the possible enemy attack and our forces should be duly prepared to counter the possible attack.’
When it became clear that the bureaucracy was not all serious to implement their agreements, even after 2 months, I t was felt that the situation demanded that the struggle be given a higher momentum. An educative meeting of about 125 activists and leaders from about 20 villages was called.
The 1t point discussed was the achievements of the struggle reached till that time. The administration had been forced to issue blue cards and thus 150 people in 2 villages had got the subsidy of about Rs 5.85 lakh per annum .It was pointed out that the political implications of this victory were far more important than economic relief. The feudal landlords of these villages were determined on denying the deserving familiestheir blue cards,until they bowed down to them and left the PMKU.
In village Khunde Halal the demand of giving plots for dung heaps had been accepted.The value of those plots comes to about 2.7 lakh.Again there was strong opposition by the feudal forces of the village.
The administration was forced to withdraw false cases registered against 47 male and female activists.They were released unconditionally, which was an important victory against police repression.
Next, the positive and negative aspects of the PMKU were discussed .It was mentioned that the Union had it’s mass influence in 24 villages ,and was capable of mobilizing 1000 people.
Emphasis was placed on the fact that though the issues of struggle were small, the remaining demands were related to few persons and villages. The state was delaying it’s implantation of agreements on expenses for building latrines and giving plots because they envisaged bigger political implications of such small victories of this force of agricultural labourers organized on the basis of revolutionary politics. The small victories would generate bigger victories Thus the struggle of small demands would build a strong revolutionary struggle like a spark lighting a prairie fire.
According to a report of the PMKU:
“It is necessary for the leadership of any organization to adopt the forms of struggle in accordance in accordance to the level of the mobilization,organized force,consciousness and capacity of the related sections of the people. The leadership should go on increasing the level of consciousness and capacity of the organization to make it adopt higher forms of struggle. Wheras forms of struggle higher than the level and capacity of the people create the atmosphere of fear in them, the forms of struggle lower than this level became the source of disappointment.”
In August 2006,the struggle was initiated by presenting a memorandum of demands to the deputy commissioner the fighting strength of the union was limited.It was stressed to adopt the form of struggle which required boldness for facing police repression.
The 2 year long struggle commenced with a sit-in in the district headquarters. A demonstration was launched of about 800 people.The focus of mobilization was the villages of the area and the people were urged through meetings,rallies and demonstrations to participate in the sit-in and register their complaints. This mobilization aroused 1700 people from 35-40 villages who participated in a demonstration to the district headquarters just 4 days after the start of the sit-in.The DC ,witnessing the great upsurge ,invited the union leaders for negotiations.
The struggle led to agreements whereby fair-price shops were formed in villages ,scheduled –caste certificates were issued to a lage number of persons, free electricity supply was provided and some families got Shagun scheme money.
In 2007 the new Badal government implemented a scheme to distribute wheat and pulse at subsidized rates to the poor familes.Blue cards were issued to deserving families .In 3 villages cards were blocked by the local Akali MLA.to get these families to leave the PMKU.
After strong preparations a 13 day long sit-in was held at the district headquarters.In this sit-in about a dozen new union leaders were trained as public speakers.Economic self-reliance was also initiated For the first time the PMKU did not depend on external financial help and arised funds of about 1.5 lakh from their own resources, which was collected from agricultural labourers.
It was also the 1st time that the major part of the affairs was handled by the district leaders themselves..
In view of the district administration’s negligence, a demonstration was held of about 1000 people.Roadblocks were combined with sit-in. In one of the roadblocks a military convoy was blocked and the convoy had to retreat.
The authorities invited the union leaders for negotiations, but they failed.In spite of the 13 day sit-in no demands were fulfilled. On March 26th,2008 a flag match was planned. Now consciousness had increased and the organization enlarged. Thus the sit-in was concluded with this flag march. The negotiations had failed with the administration but the morale of the PMKU members was sky-high, even above the assessment of the leadership. On the same day of the flag march the chief minister was going to tour the very same area .The union leader was quite apprehensive that the authorities might take the decision of the flag march as a plan to sabotage the visit of the chief minister. Thus an emergency meeting pof activists was held to instruct them not to disrupt the CM’s tour and not confront the police.
On March 26th,2008 a group of flag marchers were lathi-charged in the area of Lambi block.About 80 men,women nad childen were detained.150 Agricultural labourers immediately protested angrily in neighbouring Singhewala village and 400 persons from Malout,Muktsarand Gidderbaha blocks penetrated into lambi blocks by dodging the police check-posts. In about 18 villages black flags were hoisted on rooftops and black flag demonstrations were staged mobilizing around 2000 people.Two young activists were arrested and detained while protesting still 250 agricultural labourers not only demonstrated in the streets of the village but even blocked a road manned by those very fortified police forces. It looked like a storm raging and the chief minister preferred not to enter the village for a scheduled public meeting. A deflation of fraternal organizations namely the Lok Morcha,Technical Sevices Union nad B.K.U(Ekta-Ugrahan) met the CM in the evening who ordered the release of 33 men nad 44 women.
In Lambi the PMKU held a rally of about 1000 people against the March 26th lathi-charge.A call was given to flaunt black flags at MLA’s ,ministers and govt.officers visiting the villages.
The impact of the great protest made the CM on his own initiative hold a meeting with a delegation of the PMKU and he agreed to fulfill al the demands of the struggle within one month. Though the blue cards blocked by an MLA were released in two villages and plots for dung –heaps were allotted in one village within the specified time, fulfillment of the rest of the demands took another round of struggle for 4 months.
The Agricultural and landless peasants organization(P.K.M.U) has made painstaking efforts to give a mass revolutionary approach by educating the peasantry, similar to the Red Army during the Chinese revolution. However still the resistance is still at the level of pockets in Punjab and a stage has to be reached when agrarian revolutionary struggles are launched at village,district and state level. Stlll, the movement has not reached one where land seizures or direct struggles for land are taking place.
The method the struggles have been conducted on all fronts display the efforts to painstakingly educate the peasants in the need for self-organisation to assert their rights and the relationship of their struggles with the agrarian revolution. Peasants in Balahr Vinju district led earlier by the by the P.M..U gave a classical display of mass line approach when hoisting the Red Flag and thwarting the police efforts of preventing them from holding their conference. Historic democratic protests were held.In Lambi in Muktsar district in 2008 the struggle was built like an architect building a masterpiece with the creativity of a musician and a skill of medical surgeon. Every staed was articulately analyzed with implementation of appropriate actions.
The way the peasant organisation functioned helped spread peasant struggles to other areas quickly.(pocket level)State level agitations have yet to be launched and this being a class peasant mass organization it will have to play a major role. The greatest achievement of the organization is it's ability to organize the Dalit or backward caste labourers.Today in the Marxist -Leninist Movement it is a major challenge to organize the Dalit caste agricultural labourerson class lines.(Appraisal from Correspondent in Frontline)The struggle in Lambi displays how the union can counter the most turbulent of seas and turn a single spark into a prairie fire.
The organization has also given solidarity to the struggles and demands of the landed peasantry ,on numerous occasions uniting with the BKU(Ekta-Ugrahan)and participated in revolutionary Election Campaignswith democratic mass organizations like Technical services Union,Lok Morcha etc.. What is significant is that the agricultural labour organization has built a movement in various districts Punjab ranging from Bhatinda ,Sangrur ,Muktsar Faridkot, and Ludhiana .In the author’s view no other peasant organization of landless agricultural workers in Punjab or maybe even India has displayed such democratic functioning, such non –mechanical and original and methodical approach to practice or implemented mass line closer to Marxism-Leninsm-Maoism (or Mao Thought) as the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.-It strived to adopt a language through which the revolutionary ideology would reach the landless Dalit class and made a concrete study of the subjective conditions prevalent and the required practice and forms of agitation ..
The morale of the landless Dalit class has been superbly lifted as well as their class consciousness. It superbly countered repression and although did not build an armed red village self –defense corpses on the practical plane built struggles of agricultural worker’s revolutionary resistance of equal effect to red defense corpses. It combines the qualities of an architect, with a technician and artist. It is an ideal example of methodology in building mass struggle and class-mass organization and not mechanically applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. The author has personally attended meetings in the 2012 January state election campaign and observed the receptivity of the agricultural labourers to the ground work of the leadership and activists of the Union. The struggle in one area has an immense impact on neighbouring areas and a great network is created like a thread meticulously sown. The lesson that the smallest of issues could be converted into major struggles has been like streams flowing into a river is superbly illustrated by the union. The methods of painstaking education and mass- political work mobilization could be written in a textbook for any revolutionary cadre.
According to a report of the PMKU:
“It is necessary for the leadership of any organization to adopt the forms of struggle in accordance in accordance to the level of the mobilization,organized force,consciousness and capacity of the related sections of the people. The leadership should go on increasing the level of consciousness and capacity of the organization to make it adopt higher forms of struggle. Wheras forms of struggle higher than the level and capacity of the people create the atmosphere of fear in them, the forms of struggle lower than this level became the source of disappointment.”
In August 2006,the struggle was initiated by presenting a memorandum of demands to the deputy commissioner the fighting strength of the union was limited.It was stressed to adopt the form of struggle which required boldness for facing police repression.
EXPERIENCES OF MY VISIT AND INTERVIEWS IN RECENT YEARS IN PUNJAB
On my visits to Punjab I met several representatives of the peasant organizations led by the Communist revolutionary camp and democrats in Punjab. I was privileged to attend the election conferences of Pagdi Sambhal in 2012 and Raj Badlo Samaj Badlo in 2016 where it played a major role and represented revolutionary democracy in elections in open work more than any communist revolutionary force.
I later interviewed leaders of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and met the editor of Surkh Leeh,(formally Surkh Rekha)Jaspal JassI and it's former editor Amolak Singh.
They refuted that the movement was veering towards economism and defended it's positive aspects.They all felt that great progress had been made and the mass-political orientation and practice was generally correct.Jassi explained me that the first people to voice the need of the creation of separate organizations for the landed and landless peasantry were the Ugrhan and P.K.M.U forces.The organized struggles of landless peasntry for plots could take place only because of the support of the B.K.U.(Ugrahan)The succesful boycott of ruling class agents of landless peasants occurred because of the support of the B.K.U.Jassi explained how the Surkh Leeh(formally Surkh Rekha) was not mass paper of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L. )any communist revolutionary group specifically nor were mass organizations like Punjab Khet Mazdur union or B.K.U (Ugrahan ) front organizations of any naxalite group.
He praised the unity of the mass democratic forces led by the genuine communist revolutionary camp like when holding commemoration programmes for the late cultural revolutionary playwright Gursharan Singh and for upholding the playwright Ajmer Singh Aulkah.Jassi felt there could be a time when all the communist revolutionary groups had a joint paper like Surkh Leeh.
Amolak explained the subjective situation that existed in Punjab with the peasantry still not ready for land seizures .
He praised the May day programme held annually in Ludhiana of Industrial workers which went towards building unity.Zora Singh Nazrali explained how semi-feudal relations were stil prevalent and how only bu unity of the landed and landless peasantry could demands be won.
He also stated that all the leaders of the B.K.U(Ugrahan) came from poor peasnt and not rich peasant families.Laxman Singh Sewewala explained how class perspective had to be applied and everything could not be organized around caste demands.
He stated that casteism existed and had to be redressed but the general demands of landed peasantry had to be fought for.Sewewala stated that fighting for the demand of plots and a panchayat was absolutely essential to build a movement at grassroots.
He elaborated the successful struggles for plots and panchayat and refuted the criticism of tailism and economism of P.M.K.U.
He explained how demands of landed and landless peasantry were of such variance with eack other and how hard it was to bridge that gap.In some issues there would be severe contradictions.Pavel Kussa of Naujwan Bhart Sabha felt the issue was complex but also felt that the peasant movement was building on progressive lines with question of caste organization a complex issue.He felt that a pro-struggle Naujwan Bharat Sabha should be built and not just a youth organization for mere political propaganda.He elaborated the recent struggles of Naujwan Bharat Sabha on issues of Communalism on a district basis particularly in Malwa which had a great response.
He also stated how much moral support the N.B.S gave to the struggles of the peasant organizations and how many youth joined the P.M.K.U or the B.K.U.Sikh communal ideology was refuted by N.B.S.The leaders of P.M.K.U,,B.K.U(Ugrahan) and N.B.S vociferously criticised Nazar Singh Boparai's attack on the original line of Surkh Rekha and tooth and nail defended it's contribution.
Other strong supporters of the work in term s of massline are Parminder Singh of Association for Democratic wrires,Yashpal,writer and editor of Vasrg Sangharsh,Cultural writer Ajmer Singh Aulakh and Lok Sabhyacharak manch cultural activist Kasturi.Comrdae Kasturi admire the meticulous pallning done and showed great admiration for the resistance of the BKU Ugrahan in Bathinda for 50 days.He also felt that the line of T.Nagi Reddy had a great role and impact in developing the mass line in the organizations from te 1970’s.
Overall it is a very complex issue but I still feel that the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union -B.K.U.(Ugrahan) is the most progressive one in Punjab an one of the most progressive in the country.I still salute their grass root work and disagree that they are veering towards economism.Arguably nowhere have such progressive open struggles occurred in the entire country.I am particularly impressed with the militancy of the BKU Ugrahan and how sporadically it intervenes on burning issues of the day.Even in the mass programmes of the Jhaloor Jabbar Virodhi action comitee which is affront opposing the repression on the dalit labours in Sangrur it plaued a major role on mobilizing people.Even in major protest of lanmdless dalits it is the Ugrhan that mobilises the highest forces.
The rally in Rai ke kalan village in Bhatinda in Januray 2016 is a testimony to this.They oppose 'boycott of elections ' in the present scenario and participation in elections.
I suggest readers read the last 2 Hindi reports of Surkh Leeh which throw light on the achievement of peasant organization sand movement in Punjab ,particularly the unity of the landless and landed peasantry.
I must say that organizations like B.K.U(Ugrahan) or P.M.K.U are not front organizations or belonging to C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.) or any Naxalite group and maintain their independent identity.
Nor is Surkh Leeh a journal of any Naxalite group..However I still applaud the role of the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India(Marxist-Leninist) or C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) for creating the backbone of massline in grassroots work. September
RECENT STRUGGLES OF BHARATIYA KISAN UNION (UGRAHAN) AND PUNJAB KHET MAZDOOR UNION AND ELECTION CAMPAIN REPORTS aandmonth the landless and landed peasantry in Punjab literally created a tornado in Punjab.
For 7 days from February 12t to 19th the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Bharatiya Kisan
on landless and landed peasantry in Punjab literally created a tornado in Punjab.
For 7 days from February 12t to 19th the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Bharatiya Kisan Ugrahan) besieged the DC'collector's office in Punjab like a swarm of bees.
They displayed remarkable courage in thwarting repression from the police launching protracted resistance with a series of demonstrations.
It was reminiscent of a spark turning into a Priarie fire.
It will be written forever in the annals of the revolutionary democratic movement in Punjab and arguably nowhere in India have we witnessed such a mass upsurge of the peasantry.
What was remarkable was that inspite of facing an official ban their protracted relentlessness forced the administration to allow their protest for demands.
It speaks volumes of the leadership and cadre of these organizations who put painstaking work in redressing the basic issues of the broad peasantry.
Since the dharna finished in Bhatinda on February 19th the struggle has continued in pockets of Punjab, district-wise.
The struggle received support from huge sections of the people.The activists made their own kitchen and even prepared food for the entire team on the
FEBRUARY 2014 IN BATHINDA
Indebtedness,land attachments,and acquisition of lands were major problem sfaced by the peasntryIt demanded 2 lakhs of compensation to agreived families,in the case of suicides,along with a govt.job to one member of such families.In February 2014 the BKU (Ugrahan) and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor union with full mobilization,organized a sit in for six long days and on the 7th morning thesecretraiat’s office of Bathinda was blocked.The administration conceded to demands of indebtedness,promising to distribute 96 crore rupees in cash within 2 days to 4800 aggreived families and distribute 150 plots to agricultural labourers. In Punjab in the last month the landless and landed peasantry in Punjab literally created a tornado in Punjab.
For 7 days from February 12t to 19th the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan) besieged the DC'collector's office in Punjab like a swarm of bees.
They displayed remarkable courage in thwarting repression from the police launching protracted resistance with a series of demonstrations.
It was reminiscent of a spark turning into a Priarie fire.
It will be written forever in the annals of the revolutionary democratic movement in Punjab and arguably nowhere in India have we witnessed such a mass upsurge of the peasantry.
What was remarkable was that inspite of facing an official ban their protracted relentlessness forced the administration to allow their protest for demands.
It speaks volumes of the leadership and cadre of these organizations who put painstaking work in redressing the basic issues of the broad peasantry.
Since the dharna finished in Bhatinda on February 19th the struggle has continued in pockets of Punjab, district-wise.
The struggle received support from huge sections of the people.The activists made their own kitchen and even prepared food for the entire team on the streets , without the assistance of women.
This struggle proved the importance of mass revolutionary combat and struggle in a people's movement .
On February 20th government conceded the demand for plots for the landless peasantry but has yet not implemented the demand.
This shows the socio-economic system prevalent in Punjab.
At local and district levels the agitation continues like a red lamp continuously burning.
The author feels this struggle requires support of people world over .
He just returned from Bhatinda attending a rally on March 20th. The police clamped down on activists in the Mansa region and blocked the activists from going further in Lambi village of Muktsar district.
Below I am posting some news reports.
I wish the struggle was given greater coverage all over India and the world.
The important demands were
1. Demanding compensation for 200 familes in Gobindpura region
2. Giving compensation to families where peasants commited suicide amount of 5 lakhs instead of 2 lakhs given.4,800 familes have not received compensation,yet.
3. immediately release money for compensation
4. Oppose auctioning of land
5. oppose debiting system and law where merchants extract debit.
5. implementation of land reforms and awarding plots of 100 sq ft.to landless peasants.
The 2 significant results of this agitation were that the demands of paddy crops,land reforms and struggle against money-lender exploitation were launched and the bridge between the landless(basically scheduled caste and landed peasantry was reduced who have different demands.Instead of partial demands now basic demands were highlighted.
Quoting newspaper reports below:
BATHINDA: The Punjab government has agreed to pay Rs 64 crore to compensate the families of farmers and farm labourers, who committed suicide due to rising debt, in just three days as against the previous announcement of disbursing the money in two instalments over four months.
This follows the protesting peasant groups, who have laid siege to Bathinda district administrative complex for the past one week, threatening to disrupt the rally of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, scheduled to be held on February 23.
The protesting farmers lifted the blockade on Tuesday evening following an assurance from the government.
Rejecting the state government stand on payment of compensation to families of suicide victims, the protesting farmers had surrounded the Bathinda mini secretariat and completely blocked entry to offices of deputy commissioner (DC), senior superintendent of police (SSP) and deputy inspector general (DIG) of police.
Following this, the government consented to hand over the compensation amount in three days and also pay Rs 6 crore to residents of Gobindpura village in Mansa, who were uprooted for setting up a thermal power plant. Bathinda DC K K Yadav and SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar gave a written assurance to agitating farmers that their demands have been accepted and urged them to end their protest.
However, the farmers have decided to wait till February 21 for fulfilment of their demands, before dispersing from Bathinda. "We will wait till February 21 and remain at the children's park.
If government failed to implement the agreed proposal, we will revive our agitation," said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union secretary Lachman Singh Sewewala.
BATHINDA: After six days of intense protest, the Punjab government on Monday finally agreed to provide compensation to the tune of Rs 64 crore in two tranches to the farmers who have laid siege outside the mini-secretariat since Wednesday.
The protesters, who have been demanding Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of farmers who committed suicide, on Monday held lengthy parleys with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's principal secretary S K Sandhu in Chandigarh where the government concede to their demand.
Earlier, the government had identified 4800 families of suicide-hit farmers between 2000 and 2011 after surveys were carried out by Punjab Agricultural University, Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University. At Rs 2 lakh compensation per family, the total amount sums up to Rs 96 crore.
"The state government has agreed to pay Rs 32 crore by February 28 and the rest Rs 32 crore by June 2014", Sandhu told TOI over phone adding that the has government already paid Rs 32 crore to the 4800 identified families earlier.
The farmers' organizations, however, have not given their consent as yet to the government proposal. Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union general secretary Lachhman Singh Sewewala, who attended the meeting said, "We want to discuss the offer at our state committees. We will respond only after discussing it thoroughly."
Quoting a report in the Tribune "A long wait of more than four decades seems to be ending for homeless farm labourers of Punjab with the state government, bowing to the persistent struggle and protests from farmer outfits, started giving possession of 5-marla (125 sq yards) plots to them in Kili Nihal Singh village of Bathinda district on Monday. The plots given to homeless were allotted in 1972, 1976 and 1997, but possession of these was not given to beneficiaries.
Bathinda deputy commissioner K K Yadav said, “Possession is being given to the homeless who were allotted plots in the past. The process has been started and it may take a few days more.” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union had been waging a struggle to get the plots handed over to homeless farm labourers for the past many years, and last month, the state government had conceded to their long-pending demand following intense agitation in Bathinda where hundreds of farmers and farm labourers had laid siege to district administrative complex. Both these organizations have a list of about 5,000 persons, who were allotted plots many years ago, but were awaiting possession.
Meanwhile, farm labourers have started protests at DC offices in Faridkot, Moga and Muktsar and at sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) office in Moonak town of Sangrur to get possession of plots that were allotted to them."
2012 ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN PUNJAB
Amidst the intensified political atmosphere in the Punjab state assembly elections, a “Pagri Sambhal Campaign Committee Punjab” has been organized by different prominent and struggling personalities. The committee will hold a State level “Pagri Sambhal Conference” on January 27th at Grain Market Barnala to strip bare the deceitful game of elections and to proclaim the actual pro-people path of struggle.
In Punjab the mass revolutionary Movement is making history by staging the huge Pagri Sammelan conference. The purpose of the conference was to create political consciousness to the broad revolutionary masses on the coming parliamentary elections in Punjab on January 30th, be it the students, youth, working class or peasantry. A huge series of meetings have been held by the Lok Morcha Punjab, the Bharatiya Kisan Union-Ekta(Ugrahan), the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Naujavan Bharat Sabha propogating that all the political parties are simply hoodwinking the people and fighting to the last to mobilize the struggling sections to attend the meeting in Barnala.
All these organizations have played a prominent role in the democratic revolutionary movement of Punjab. They do not support candidates or participate in parliamentary elections nor do they call for boycotting parliamentary elections.
They believe that the people’s day to day class struggles and political consciousness have to be built up by assimilating politics of agrarian revolution and also by building their own democratic institutions of political power. Today the peasantry is subjected to the burden of merciless exploitation, becoming victims of money lenders and are forced into debt resulting in a series of suicides. The landless labourers, mainly dalits are denied their minimum wages or the right to own a plot. The working class is subordinated to unprecedented repression in terms of retrenchments, denial of living wages and improper working or living conditions.
The youth are victims of unemployment because of the tentacles of globalization and privatization and similarly the student community hardly has access to proper facilities nor can afford the exorbitant fee hikes.The problem with the working class is that 90% of its composition is of migrant labour from other states like Bihar ,Uttar Pradesh etc. All these workers are virtually forced to earn a living working in factories as they lost their lands in their native villages or were unable to earn a living from it.. This sharply contradicts any thesis that India is a fully developed capitalist society. The chief problem of the peasantry is the non acceptance of the landed sections to accept the landless Dalit class peasantry into the struggles.This is why separate organizations were created for the landed and landless peasantry. A model organization has to be created for the uniting of both the classes especially considering the organization of the Dalit peasantry.
While addressing the press conference, committee members declared that all the opportunist political parties, along with the ruling Akali-BJP combine, Congress and so called third alternative of Manpreet-Left brand Front, are in agreement with those anti-national policies which are responsible for the crises of farm-laborers, farmers, industrial and electricity workers, employees, unemployed, youth, and women in Punjab as well as in country. In Punjab too, people have lived through and experienced the rule of different political parties but to no avail.
The toiling people, therefore, in order to get rid of their crises, should organize and march forward on the path of intense, united struggles. They further said that though the government will be changed as a result of the present elections, but, they warn, no one should hope that the policies, serving the interest of feudal lords and national-multinational capitalists; and exploiting and oppressing the people, will ever change through elections. Neither the repressive black laws, framed only to impose these policies on peoples, will be changed; nor the police, the jails and the bureaucrats, who punish people for demanding their rights, are going to change. Through elections, these parties only resolve the issue of political power and the division of the plunder among themselves.
The Lok Morcha ,Punjab held a meeting for activists on Bhatinda at Teachers Home on January 15th on the democratic alternative. Here the people were meticulously explained the need to propagate to the common people to form their alternative forms of political power. Gurdial Singh Bhangal gave a historical preview explaing how since 1947 the peasants and workers were denied their basic rights and how from the 1990’s the globalization has worsened their plight. N.K.Jeet explained the same with economic figures and examples. Finally Amolak Singh theoretically projected what the democratic state would resemble. The author was deeply impressed with the readiness and preparation of the activists who attended the meeting. They listened to everything intensely assimilating the politics projected.
Later I attended a spate of meetings where the revolutionary mass organizations propagated the message of the Pagadi Sammelan committee.The most significant meetings were that staged at Lambai, first by the Punjab Khet Mazdur Union and the Technical Services Union. In the P.M.K.U.meeting, the author witnessed the strong preparation of the landless peasants and their readiness to welcome a change from their present plight. Laxman Singh Sewewala, secretary of the P.K.M.U, explained the peasants how the parliamentary political parties were fooling them with all their promises and contrasted the lifestyles of the politicians who literally grabbed the land of the common people. He spoke about the false promises of chana and ata and the very government policies that denied the common people these very necessities. He described the very steps the landless peasants had to adopt in order to win their right for minimum wages and land. He elaborated that for the acquiring of any rights, intense class struggle had to be launched. He also refuted the casteist policies of the rulers. It is significant that the P.K.M.U. led a long protracted struggle for the peasantry to acquire plots and for them to have electricity.
What was significant in Lambi area was the way chief minister Badal was challenged and the extent to which he was shaken. His daughter in law had to virtually bow down to the masses trying to appease them. However they all shook their heads in disbelief that their demands would be addressed.
In the meeting of the Technical Services Union, 1000 activists attended from all over the state and I was impressed with the preparation of the meetings.The workers displayed great enthusiasm in receiving the revolutionary politics.The speakers described the policies of retrenchment of the industrialists and government and the deployment of the contract system.It was explained how so many crores of money was stolen by the corporate firms of the workers and the need for them to not only organize but give solidarity to other struggling sections of workers and the peasantry.The speakers gave a clear-cut stand demarcating the ruling class politics from the democratic stand .The intense onslaught of the ruling classes and institutions was explained.
The B.K.U.(Ekta Ugrahan) staged rallies in Nathpur, Malouka and Selbrah on 23rd January, where I was present..The speakers stressed the need for the landed peasants to wage a protracted struggle against usury, cancellation of debts, opposing corporate seizure of lands etc.They also stressed the need on uniting with the landless peasants.They also described the historic struggles in Gobindpura against land seizure and how the stealing of several crores from the peasantry was prevented. Janda Singh Jethuke stated that with a contingent of only 500 people several crores stolen was recovered and that a sensational impact would have been made if thousands of peasants had participated.Significant plays and cultural programmes were staged at Kotha Gura village. Jagseer Seedda a famous cultural singer, performed and his song reverberated through the hearts of the masses.2 plays were held explaining how the ruling parties made promises to the people but ultimately betrayed them giving agony to the masses who aspired for change.Amolak Singh made a gripping speech which captured the hearts to of the participants.
Flag marches were held in Gaggar, Mithri, Singhewala, Killian Wali, Waring Kera and Mehna. In Nathpura, Ganga, Giddar, Neor, Malooka, Kothaguru, Dyalpura Mirza, Gumti, Bhai Rupa, Burj Gill, Selbrah, Sidhana, Phul and Mehraj both the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Punjab Khet Mazdur union participated.
Finally, the Naujawan Bharat Sabha staged some significant protests and meetings in Bhatinda and Moga. This organization was re-organised last year by the members of the Piunjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa group). They held meetings propagating the anti-feudal, anti-imperialist politics of Bhagat Singh and their relevance to the youth. They explained how corrupt the rulers were, who denied employment and made the youth victims of the imperialist culture. Propaganda was made against drugs. The Naujavan Bharat Sabha has 3 area committees in Punjab and had to literally start work from scratch. However in spite of small numbers, they have made significant impact if you consider the time. Meticulous work was done to explain the need for the youth to combat the political oppression of the day. A convention was held in August.In October with Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhwa) – it led a procession protesting against corruption.On December 30th it lead a rally in Bhatinda propagating that the parliamentary political parties were simply creating illusions amongst the people. On January 23rd, in a prominent educational centre of Punjab, called Rajendra college, a meeting of about 400 youths took place.The students received it well. Pavel Kussa, secretary of the Naujawan Bhrat Sabha explained how in today’s situation the youth of Punjab cannot assimilate politics beyond a certain level and the trend of other youth organizations in the revolutionary camp to either impose the political content through slogans or by mere rhetoric propaganda.
The B.K.U-Ekta Ugrahan propagated in 400 villages of Malwa region of Punjab, with support from the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. The Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union propagated in 120 villages and in 30 villages where no B.K.U.unit existed.The Naujavan Bharat Sabha carried out campaigns in 40 villages.In some of the areas the Naujavan Bhrat Sabha started from scratch.
In the conference at Barnala on January 27th it appeared like a tornado emerging. People thronged from all parts of Punjab like several streams flowing into a river or bees swarming in. I estimated about 17,000 people attended the conference.The venue was literally lit with red lamps and the venue resembled a huge red flame burning.The three main speakers were Gurdial Bhangal, Laxman Singh Sewewala and Jhanda Singh Jethuke. Gurdial Bhangal elaborated the oppressive policies of the government and the impact of globalization which had their roots from 1947. He explained how landlordism still existed and how the working class was still a great victim of the government policies. He stated that the contract system virtually enslaved the workers who were denied a living wage. Laxman Singh Sewewala explained the peoples alternative politics in detail and prescribed the model of an actual revolutionary democratic state where land belonged to the tiller, usury was abolished, there was employment for everyone, housing and literacy for everybody and where prices and inflation were regulated to make all essential commodities affordable, etc. He stressed on how in the actual democratic form of government, the toiling people would own the resources be it the peasantry or the working class. He explained the need for the masses to build up their class organizations. Jhanda Singh Jethuke stressed on the problems of building the peasant movement which was afflicted with strong trends of castiesm and communalism. He said it was encouraging that movements like the uprisings in Tunisia and the Arab world took place and that the Indian masses should be inspired by them. He said that at least 7000 acres of land was illegally held by landlords. He explained how till today landless peasants who were Dalits were not accepted by the landed Jat peasantry and the painstaking work done by the organization to bridge the gap and bring them together. He explained the need of the unity of the landed peasantry with the landless peasantry and felt that the trend to project the movement on caste lines or struggles without analyzing class should be combated. He also stressed that in today’s context it was wrong to give the call of seizure of lands as the peasants had not reached that level of consciousness. Finally he gave the example of the victory of peasants with just a 7000 strong force in defeating the corporate Trident in Gobindpura stating that imagine what results would take place if the forces were larger. Two independent factions of the KIsan Sangharsh Samiti from Amritsar also participated.The most significant aspect was that peasants, agricultural workers, industrial workers as well as the students and youth participated.
The Barnala conference was the biggest gathering of revolutionary forces in election programmes amongst all trends not only in Punjab, but the whole of India. Other trends advocated boycott or participation, unlike the Pagri Sammelan campaign which stressed on the people creating their own forms of organization and class struggle. It is a lesson to revolutionary and democratic forces all over the country.The forces discussed revealed greater revolutionary democratic functioning than nay force in an election period.
2017 ELECTION CAMPAIGN
SALUTE THE HISTORIC ELECTION CONFERENCE ON 31ST JANUARY OF RAJ BADLO SAMAJ BADLO FRONT IN PUNJAB..EVENT WILL WIN A PERMANENT PLACE IN THE ANNALS OF REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT OF PUNJAB.
LESSON AND EXAMPLE TO THE WHOLE NATION IN WORKING TOWARDS GENUINE REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY.SUPPORT THE CALL FOR A GENUINE REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE'S ALTERNATIVE AS OPPOSED TO THE FASCISTIC SOCIAL ORDER THAT ONLY SERVES THE EXPLOITER CLASSES.
On January 31st,2017 I was privileged to witness the Raj-Badlo Samaj-badlo conference in Puda colony stadium in Civil line area of bathinda town of Punjab .Around 11000 people were mobilized in a conference to expose how undemocratically the parliamentary democratic system worked in Punjab and what tasks they should undertake to win their rights.#
Peasants,landless labourers,industrial workers and youth illuminated the venue with the torch of resistance like a candle light turning into a bonfire.
The Ruling class parties be it the Akali Dal,Congress or Aam Aadmi party played a game to capture the votes of the people and though different in form in essence were all the same.
Here the politics of active political campaign was propagated and not of 'boycott' or participation in elections through putting up candidates.The participation of constituents from 3 major sections in the Communist Revolutionary camp was heartening.
The representatives belonged to the BKU-Dakaunda,krantikari and Ugrahan sections as well as the Inquilabi Kendra,Naujwan Bharat Sabha and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.Thew C.P.I.(M.L.) New Democracy abstained from participating as they put up candidates while Lok Sangram Manch supported 'active boycott.'
A section split from the Maoist ranks within the BKU Krantikari to join the lok Kaffla group led by Darshan Pal.
Thus 3 trends of groups namely the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.),the C.P.I(Maoist) and the Communist League of India united.
It spoke volumes of the painstaking work done by revolutionary mass organizations who explained the people how the nefarious ruling class parties had no programme to solve their burning issues.
Particularly hard work was done in the Malwa belt through flag rallies and cultural programmes. Major preparation work was done in districts, like Moga,Faridkot, Muktsar,, Bathinda, Barnala, Mansa,Sangrur and Ludhiana with flag or kafilla marches and cultural programmes.
Thousands of posters were put up and leaflets distributed explaining the purpose of the conference.In Ludhiana a separate leaflet was printed for industrial workers.The planning of how the event was to be organized played a major role in it's success.
The work of the revolutionary organizations was in total contrast to that of the Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi and Congress parties who literally fought a see saw battle vying for votes.
Although in power for over a decade the ruling Sikh-fundamentalist Akal Dal has been a total stooge of the big landlords and corporates and in it's era the unemployment,peasant suicides,drugs have phenomenally increased. etc
In spite of their great attempts to project Sikh communal politics they often had to bare the wrath of the masses.
Significantly on January 8th,in Sukhbir Singh Badal's assembly constituency in Jalalabad a 25 strong group of villagers emerged from no man's land and pelted stones.Bhagwant Man of Aam Aadmi party who wa spitted in the same constituency stated "people would gret Akail leaders with clay pellets."
In Fategarh Sahib district a once thriving steel mills and furnaces in Mandi Gobindhgarh, was closed which caused the losses of thousands of jobs.It had been one of the country's largest steel markets and production centres.The govt.had given an excuse of a global showdown in the steel sector.Kamajit Singh,63,a former policeman turned farmer stated ,"What difference can a new international airport make in a poor man's life when the lot of the poor and midle class has deteriorated in the last 10 years.69% of voters hold the politicians are responsible for the drug problem in the state.
Leaders like Amarinder Singh of Congress and of the Aam Admi party have tried to capitalize on the weaknesses of the ruling Akali Dal party on issues of jobs for punjab's youth.AAP adopted strategy of introducing smartcards and smartphones while Congress introduced the 'Har Ghar Captain' to connect with youth some moths ago influencing over 6 milion voters.Quotingh 22 year old Pawandep Singh who runs a minor auto accessories kiosk after he failed to find a job stated,"Unemplyment is the biggest problem with dig abuse and demonetization.52% of the 19.7 million registered voters were young people
.'Whatever their promises in essence the Congress and AAP comprise parts of the same metal as the ruling Akali Dal and equaly subservient to the dictates of the big landlords and corporates.None have an agenda for implementing genuine land reforms,creating jobs through building aground-intensive industries,awarding dalits 1/3 land rights in panchayat and plots.compensating families of farmers commiting suicide,proper roads or electricity etc. Ruling parties never kept their promises for over 70 years.None of those parties have any genuine agenda to replace the semi-feudal,semi colonial order.
Very significant that so many activists were present in the Bathinda rally and the atmosphere was reminiscent of many streams flowing to form an ocean.Speakers represented the youth,workers ,landed and landed peasantry.6 speakers adressed the conference. Pavel Kussa, Jhanda Singh Jethuke,Buta Singh Burgil,Shider singh Nathuwal,Lal Singh Bulewal adressed the conference..
Jagmohan Singh and Laxman Singh Sewewala chaired the meeting.They explained how the ruling class parties be it the Akali Dal.Congress or AAP worked tooth and nail to break the unity of their struggles on any issue be it land reforms,unemployment,price rise,plots to agricultural labourers,electricity,compensation for suicides etc.6 speakers adressed the rally.All propagated that the ruling parties never kept their promises for over 70 years.
They gave examples of how the govt.used the shagun scheme to win votes or on dal and dough or old age pension schemes They also elaborated how people must have to convert their struggle on day to day issues into political demands which was the only way a genuine movement could be built.The concept of technology developmental model creating self-reliance and not dependence on imperialist country was contrasted with the current model in Punjab which increases dependence.The loot of the corporates and the impact of multinationals was exposed,particularly on the agricultural sector..
Jhanda Singh Jethuke of BKU-Ekta (Ugrahan)gave examples of some of the instances where peoples struggles triumphed like in Gobindpura,Faridkot,Mehelkela,Channa Pind and stated that the peasantry displayed it's enormous potential in fighting for genuine revolutionary democracy He also gave an example of a victory of a suicide compensation in Bathinda.In Mansa 152 acres of land was awarded to the peasantry.
He related how totally in Punjab 94 crores compensation at 2 lakhs per head was won by the peasant families whose members commited suicide and how 140 acres of land was won which had been seized by the corporates and politicians.He called on all sections of people to consolidate the unity prevalent amongst all democratic section sof the people..Kanwaljeet Khana covered the issue of the repression and discrimination or marginalisation of the dalit labourers and community as whole.
He gave an example of how the AAP tried to hoodwink the people by propagating that they would appoint a dalit as the deputy chief minister if they came to power.Pavel Kussa of Naujwan Bharat Sabhaspoke about how the state neglected building proper hospitals or schools and implemented a model of development totally favouring the rich and corporates.
He elaborated on how the ruling party promised all basic facilities for the youth ,be it solving unemployment,creating better educational facilities etc within the very development model prevalent today.He covered how this model of development enslaved every section of the toiling masses and how within this very system no basic demands of the youth could be fulfilled.
He expressed the need for agro- intensive industries to be created which mutually served agriculture and how through mutual c-operation pro-people industrial and agricultural facilities would be created.Buta Singh Burgill of BKU (Dakaunda)made the point that from 53 % of national income earlier derived from agriculture the figure is now reduced to 13%.Shinder Natthurwala of BKU(Krantikari) even covered the question of right of nationality and secession in Kashmir and Assam and how the state was supressing those movements.
The conference ended with a most artistically done and significant cultural programme done by the Punjab Loksabhyachark manch which used the peoples idioms to describe the nefarious policies of ruling class parties.In Ludhiana a seperate programme based on the same theme was carried out by the Moulder and Steel workers union in Ludhiana which is major industrial belt.I was deeply stirred by the wath and enthusiasm expressed on the faces of the people after each speaker had delivered his talk.,reminding one of a simmering boiling pot.
I spoke to Lok Morcha Adviser N.K.Jeet who felt the rally was a most commendable achievement in light of the current situation when the ruling class parties were sharpening the tentacles of opression.A representative of the Inquilabi Kedra,Narain Dutt shared this view and added that it defied the attempts of ruling class parties like Akali Dal who literally tried to pull people to their rallies.Infact on the same day the Congress could not mobilize more than a quarter of the number of people present in the raj badlo samaj badlo event.
Above all he felt it was great experience and lesson for the revolutionary activists of not only to work at grassroot level but successfully unite inspite of having ideological differences.
Such an event is a lesson for the broad masses of the entire nation to not only organize on the basis of day to day class struggles but connect them to broader political demands.By merely calling for 'Boycott' when genuine peoples consciousness has not been instilled or alternative organ's of people's power built, ,a revolutionary campaign would be ineffective
Similarly participating in the parliamentary process without the sufficient development of the proletarian party or required liaison would lead to capitulation.
Such an event is a genuine thorn in the flesh for the pro-landlord,pro-corporate ruling class parties and played a great role in instilling revolutionary political consciousness.In no part of India do we see such an open political event during state elections which portray revolutionary democracy with such depth.It will sow the seeds for sharpening the genuine class movements and further the unity of landed and landless peasantry.
It was also great that it was represented by speakers form so many different trends within the revolutionary camp.Infact for the 1st time in the history of the revolutionary movement in Punjab did forces from 3 different trends within the revolutionary camp unite together on a common platform
.Above all it will lay the ground for combating the fascistic economic policies of the rulers.A marginal weakness was that there was not strong participation of students,youth,women and industrial workers.
I thank the corporation particularly of comrades like Narain Dutt who explained it's significance in great detail as well as Pavel Kussa.Farmer leaders blame govt for failure to improve conditions
Tribune News Service Bathinda, January 31
A large number of farmers attended a rally, ‘Samaj Badlo-Raj Badlo’, organised by leaders of various farmer unions here today.
While addressing the rally, leaders flayed the policies of the government and said it failed to uplift the condition of farmers. They said for the past many years, a number of political parties and leaders have changed but policies of the government remained the same.
Farmer leader Jhanda Singh Jethuke said, “Only being honest is not enough. Farmers should think from which party they want to get the sticks. We have to fight for the rights on our own. There is a need for complete change in government policies, including the working of the police and bureaucracy. Heavy taxes should be imposed on big corporate houses and big rural and urban proprietors. Employment in the field of agriculture should be promoted.”
“One the one hand, governments have been making people befool from the past 70 years while on the other, unemployment, inflation and poverty have overpowered the common man,” he added.
"I had seven acres of land, of which three acres were sold following the debt and due to the loss of cotton crop in whitefly attack. My name was not included in the list of farmers whose crop was damaged," said farmer Bawa Ram, who came to attend the rally.
Like Bawa Ram, there are many other farmers some of whom did not get any compensation despite their name being on the list.
Posted by nickglais on 6/03/2017 04:20:00 AM