Saturday, May 5, 2012

In Memory of Comrade Gundahar Murmu

Democracy and Class Struggle is pleased to publish this article from an Indian Comrade in memory of Gundahar Murmu, to often many comrades are forgotten - Gundahar Murmu should not forgotten has his struggle has lessons for today.

Three years ago on April 12th 2009, a veteran revolutionary comrade Gunadhar Murmu, expired who till his last breadth served the cause of the Indian revolution. The most significant aspect of his struggle was striving for the practice of mass line.

Revolutionaries never forget his contribution in Debra in West Bengal.

He was born in June 1927in Bela village of Debra and studied till the Higher Secondary certificate stage. After independence he became a member of the Communist Party of India and became the secretary of the Krishak Samitiin Debra area. In 1962 he built up the movement of workers, peasants, students and youth .However it could not develop into a revolutionary movement. He stood by China in the 1962 war and was arrested during the Indo-Pak war when he was upholding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Murmu organized peasants against Jotedars zamindars. Thousands of peasants thronged with tangi (axes) and bows and arrows. Raids were organized on black marketers. Under Murmu’s leadership peasants fought jotedars armed with 45 guns at the police station in Bauleseri village.

In 1969 he organized the Kshet Mazdoor Krishak Sabha and edited the revolutionary “Lal Tara ‘magazine.Several peasant struggle committees were formed. On 5th March 1970 Murmu was arrested During this era he launched a strong battle against the line of ‘Individual annihilation.’ I recommend readers to read his notes in the 2nd volume of History and Polemics of the Communist Movement of India, published by the Tarimela Nagi Reddy Memorial Trust.

Comrade Murmu was the architect of the mass line combating the ‘line of annihilation of class enemies’ and abandoning of mass organizations.’ During the emergency he was arrested and after his release in 1977 joined the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries led by T.Nagi Reddy.

In the 1980’s he strived for the mass line within the Jharkhand movement, demarcating from reformist trends and Bengali Chauvinism.

He played a major role in the re-organising of the Peasant Association. In June 1987 he had to face the wrath of C.P.M.goons who took every measure to suppress the work of Murmu in Belar village. It was Mumu’s leadership that isolated the revisionist C.P.M.,So they beat him with sticks. However Murmu came back even more courageously and re-developed work. In 1988 Murmu joined the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India(C.C.R.I.) and during the period of the Khalistani movement launched a series of programmes in Debra district in solidarity with the ‘Front against Repression and Communalism’ which was a mass resistance front combating both state and Khalistani terrorism in Punjab.

From 1992-2002 Murmu went to the Malkangiri region of Orissa to organize the tribals on the issues of Jangal,jamin and pani. He played a major part in the movement in Tapu area and in the Padmagiri Panchayat. Today’s Gunadhar Murmu’s work is a lesson for comrades striving for the mass line.

In fact today even the C.P.I.(Maoist) could use his teachings in the context of building agrarian revolutionary mass line. Long live the memory of Com Gunadhar Murmu! Here are some politically led struggles of mass line in West Bengal led by Murmu. On the peasant front there was a strong movement to re-organise the peasant association to build an agrarian revolutionary movement and fifth against the left Adventurist Charu Mazumdar line.

Debra,a center of the militant food movement in 1965-1966 along with Gopiballabhpur was a strong base of the peasant movement under the influence of the Naxalbari movement.

However due to large scale repression of Communist revolutionaries the movement got disorganised.Due to repeated political organisational weaknesses the attempt to re-organise a peasant association was not successful. The peasant association had to continuously bear the wrath of the C.P.M gangs. The C.P.M, after coming to power in 1977, progressively aligned themselves with major sections of landlords and the peeasants.They also abused their political power to suppress the democratic struggles of the peasantry.

Attempts to re-organize the peasant movement cannot be made without politically isolating the C.P.M.Below are some examples.

In Abdalipur Mouza in Debra Thana, with a population of 400, of which more than 50% were adivasis, had some vested lands. However some peasants backed by the C.P.M, forcibly felled the costly trees on these lands and constructed huts for themselves. Under, the peasant Association's guidance the people held a meeting assembling all the villagers, discussing the problem of the said lands and commonly decide the distribution of the land. The Anchal Pradhan, a local leader of the C.P.M, attempted to misguide the peasants by stating that the land belonged to a trust. However the peasant's investigated that the he lied.

Subsequently the peasants forcibly occupied the lands and the C.P.M.people were made to retreat. It was decided that the land would be distributed equally among all needy peasants. The C.P.M.leaders were furious at this and cut of the water supply to some of the lands of the peasants. The peasants protested against this and demanded a restoration of water supply. The collective struggle of the peasants enabled them to win back their water supply.

The C.P.M activists continued to harass peasants individually imposing a fine of Rs 501 on a Jharkhand supporter.accussing him of abusing someone during the elections, preventing another peasant from harvesting the mustard crop, removing another peasant from his jobetc.By strengthening unity amongst themselves and through united struggles and through mutual help they retaliated these unjust, opressive acts. At Itai village a landlord amassing more than 200 acres of land was harassing the peasants.

With the help of the class collaborationist C.P.M the landlord had evicted the rightful tenants from the land There was a 7 and a half acre tank, known as Gardan Mari tank, in these lands The landlord collaborating with the C.P.M attempted to transfer the Gardan Mari tank in the name of one of the C.P.M.supporters at some price. The C.P.M.people claiming that the tank land was transferred to somebody, threatened the peasants with dire consequences if they did not keep of these lands.

The peasants made preparations for an organised offensive to combat this injustice by holding secret meetings in the village carefully planning to occupy the tank, making plans for self-defence.400 people got mobilised and occupied the tank. They accordingly divided the work. Some peasants cleaned the tank and sowed paddy, others stood guards to major points to protect them from any attacks from the C.P.M.gangs.

After being instigated by the C.P.M.the police force came on the scene. They tried to stop the peasants from cleaning the tank and sowing the paddy. The peasants bravely stood their ground. The next day the peasants marched to the police Station and demanded a negotiation with the landlord for taking ownership of the tank. Ultimately the landlord was compelled to agree. An agreement was made to transfer the tank for a certain agreed amount. Through the collective, organised strength of the majority of the people, 35 needy peasants won the ownership of the land. The C.P.M.could not tolerate this and attacked the peasants who were celebrating their victory near the tank.

Armed gangs of C.P.M.supporters advanced but the peasants again re-organized and thwarted off the C.P.M attacks.

The gang members were faced to flee. A huge contingent of peasants gheraoed the C.P.M.mob from allsides.The C.P.M mob had to simply run for their lives.

 In similar fashion in Maratala the poor peasants defended their rights.The poor peasant's dwellings were not recorded. The peasant Association held a meeting and an agitational programme was launched.A demonstration of the poor peasants to Maratala was attacked by a C.P.M gang.The peasants retaliated this.The next day a protest rally was again attacked by a C.P.M gang and again the poor peasants counter-attacked.Finally the C.P.M.gangs fled.

The above struggles are ideal examples of revolutionary mass line struggles similar to the struggles of the Chinese Peasant Association before armed struggle was formally launched in 1929.

These struggles trained the peasantry to organise self-defence against the C.P.M-Landlord combine building a strong Agrarian Revolutionary Movement by strengthening the peasant's Association on the basis of a broad Agrarian Revolutionary Programme.This would combat both deviations of the left and the right. association on the basis of a broad agrarian revolutionary programme.

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