A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 13, No. 41, 05 – 11 OCTOBER 2010
The Ayodhya Verdict: A Blow to the Spirit of Modern India
On the eve of the Allahabad High Court verdict on Ayodhya, we had said the verdict would be a "test case for India's secularism, democracy and justice." Now, following a close look at the shocking verdict, we must say it has failed this test on every count. 30 September, 2010 will now be bracketed with 6 December, 1992. Eighteen years after the dastardly physical demolition of the Babri Masjid, we have now seen its judicial demolition, a verdict that flies in the face of the basic principles of justice and rule of law, and challenges the fundamental spirit of a secular, democratic modern India.
The High Court was supposed to decide on the title suit regarding the disputed site. It is well known that the BJP and its Sangh siblings were all along wary of the court deciding on this case on the plea that the whole issue concerned "faith" and there could be no adjudication over "faith". It was clear to them that they had no legal basis for their claim and hence they chose the way of cheating the country. They assured everybody that the law of the land would be honoured, and then betrayed their own words to demolish the mosque through a communal-fascistic mobilisation in broad daylight.
Today, the Sangh is jubilant that the High Court has turned "faith" into law. All the three judges have accepted the fact that the idols of Ram, Sita and Bharat were smuggled in from outside on the intervening night of 22-23 December, 1949. Yet the judges have ruled by 2-1 majority that the "disputed structure" was not a mosque because it was apparently constructed by demolishing a Hindu religious structure and hence according to the tenets of Islam, it could not have the sanctity of a mosque! The other judge has of course differed on both counts – but the majority view prevailed.
The verdict is based heavily on two factors – the so-called 'archaeological evidence' marshalled by the ASI in its 2003 report that there was a Hindu temple on the site before the mosque was built, and the 'faith' held by many Hindus that the disputed area is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The ASI report has been widely questioned and rejected by a whole range of historians and archaeologists, and can at best be treated as a piece of speculative conjecture based on dubious evidence and questionable interpretation. The other aspect, 'faith', is just that – faith, which can by no means be treated as an evidence to decide a title suit.
By treating Ram as a juristic entity (albeit a minor) represented by his self-appointed 'guardian' in a title suit, the Allahabad High Court has set up a dangerous precedent of mixing blind faith and prejudice, masquerading as religion, with jurisprudence. It should be noted that the youngest litigant in this case, Ram Lalla Virajman, which has been awarded one-third of the disputed site including the all important central dome, claimed by the Sangh brigade as the exact birthplace of Lord Ram, was set up in 1989 by none other than a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, Shri Deoki Nandan Agarwal, who played a key role in making a 'legal' case out of the Mandir campaign of the Sangh brigade.
Having conceded the Ramjanambhoomi claim on thoroughly questionable grounds, the judges sought to give the whole thing the appearance of a reconciliatory measure whereby the disputed land would be apportioned into three equal parts with one part going to the waqf board. Reconciliation can only be attempted and achieved on the basis of truth and justice. In this case, both truth (at least recorded historical truth) and justice have been sacrificed at the altar of this phoney reconciliation formula and hence it is a compound travesty of all three. Can there ever be a dignified compromise by compromising truth and justice?
After Gujarat genocide, the BJP had been steadily losing ground in most parts of the country. Ever since its debacle in the 2009 Lok Sabha election – its second successive defeat in five years, the party seemed virtually clueless as to how to arrest its continuing state of demoralisation and desperation. Now the Allahabad High Court verdict has breathed some fresh life into the demoralised and desperate saffron camp. Advani has already described the verdict as heralding a new chapter in the country's history of national integration. In all likelihood, an emboldened BJP will now try and reopen the whole gamut of its 'suspended agenda' and refuel its Hindutva campaign.
The judicial trajectory of the case will now reach the Supreme Court. It remains to be seen if and how far the Supreme Court can salvage the spirit of law and justice and heal the post-Ayodhya wound on the body polity and the composite culture of the country that has only been rendered deeper and more acute by the Allahabad High Court verdict. Every effort must be made to make sure that the glorious tradition of India's composite culture and the secular democratic vision of modern India prevail over the Sangh brigade's conspiracy to redefine India on retrograde majoritarian lines. If the possibility of an out-of-court settlement has to be explored even at this stage, it must not be at the cost of the basic principle of reason and justice.
India must and shall move on, and precisely for this purpose the forces of unreason and obscurantism need to be pushed back. There can be no compromise with the crude champions of the 'might is right' argument who are desperate to silence the voices of reason and progress by all means.
Joint Convention of the All India Left Coordiantion at Kolkata
After the launching of the All India Left Coordination at New Delhi in August this year, its first joint convention was held at Kolkata on 5th October at the Moulali Yuba Kendra. The theme was- "Decline of the opportunist Left–Rise of the fighting Left". The auditorium was packed beyond its capacity and the convention generated quite a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm among the struggling left masses and the broader democratic circle of the State. Some notable among them were renowned poet and litterateur Nabarun Bhattacharya, Samir Putatunda of PDS and Aloke Nandy of Democratic Communist Party (Marxist). Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPI(ML), Comrade Kumaran Kutty of Left Coordination Committee (LCC), Kerala, Comrade Bhimrao Bansod, Secretary of Lal Nishan Party (Leninist), Maharastra and Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla, General Secretary of CPM (Punjab) were the main speakers at the Convention. The convention was presided over by Comrade Abhijit Majumder, Central Committee Member of CPI(ML), Liberation.
In his address Com. Dipankar explained the background of the formation of the All India Left Coordination and the purpose of holding the convention at Kolkata in the backdrop of decline of the ruling Left in West Bengal. He narrated the situation arising out of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case and how the verdict recognized the disputed site as the birth place of Lord Rama simply on the basis of so called popular 'faith' and thereby gave its stamp of approval to the ghastly act of demolition of Babri Masjid in December, 1992. He said, while poor of the country are starving, 60 million tonnes of food grains are perishing in the go-downs of the FCI. He pointed out that even the Supreme Court also had to direct the central government to give away those food grains to the poor free of cost, but unfortunately, the Prime Minister on the plea that it was a policy related matter of the government challenged the said verdict. He stated that the government does not have any concern for the poor, but could afford to spend Rs.70,000 crore for organizing the pompous Commonwealth Games, which is nothing but a remnant of the country's colonial legacy. He emphasized that, the parliamentary Left of the country has abdicated its responsibility to organize the toiling masses on these issues. On the contrary, it has been advocating the very same liberal and globalization policies of the ruling classes. So much so, that it has unleashed severe repression on the peasants, workers and other toiling masses in the interest of the corporate business, as has happened in Singur, Nandigram and Jangalmahal. Since the opportunist Left has fully succumbed to the interests of the ruling classes, he stressed on the need for unity of genuine and struggling Left forces so as to resurrect the fighting tradition of the Left in the country. He described All India Left Coordination as a move in that direction. He recognized the existence of a large number of struggling and thoughtful left forces within the traditional left parties and called upon them to join hands with this initiative for rejuvenation of the left movement in the country.
Speaking at the occasion, Kumaran Kutty of LCC, Kerala, described the title of the convention as quite apt and underlined its importance. He said the vacuum created by the ruling Left in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura because of their anti-people policies and role, is being captured by the extreme reactionary forces. He described how the ruling CPM in Kerala is adopting itself to the policies of globalization and getting extremely corrupt and degenerated in the process. He said, there is no scope for inner party struggle within CPM and whoever differs with the leadership are sidelined or expelled. He narrated the deplorable condition of public health and mass education in Kerala under the Left rule and rampant privatization and commercialization in these fields under Government patronage. Land reforms have failed in Kerala and land mafias are ruling supreme. He asserted that disaffected left forces within and without CPM are getting united to forge coordinated struggle against the corrupt CPM leadership, which will have some positive impact on the ensuing Panchayat elections.
Strongly welcoming the formation of the All India Left Coordination, Bhimrao Bansod of LNPL described the history of their party and their long association with left movement in Maharastra. He stressed that opportunist Left have to give way to fighting Left and to realize the same, all the fighting left forces have to come together. He stated that the present initiative of the four left organizations in forming the coordination may look small, but it has the potential of developing into a big tide in the days to come. He also emphasized the need to wage unrelenting struggle against the opportunist Left to develop a huge and fighting Left.
Samir Putatunda of PDS started with the question of democracy in socialism and urged the constituents of the coordination to be flexible in order to make the unity as broad based as possible and to embrace as much genuine left forces as possible. Poet Nabarun Bhattacharya acknowledged the high importance of this convention and termed the ruling left parties as corporate parties. He remembered the rich tradition of literary personalities joining the left movement, which, he felt, is not the case now. Pointing to the intellectuals who have aligned themselves with the right reaction today, he called them purchasable commodities. He asserted his unflinching commitment to the left movement at any cost and underlined the need for the present coordination. Aloke Nandy of DCPM, which is operative in Danton of West Midnapore, expressed his full support to the initiatives and joint declaration finalized by the coordination. He narrated how they with their small organization have been fighting against the tyrannies of the CPM. He stated that they lost at least 3 of their comrades in CPM sponsored terror attack and hundreds have been arrested. There has been attack on his life also. Defying CPM terror, they have been growing and mobilizing thousands of people. In the process, CPM is getting weakened and DCPM is emerging stronger.
Due to disruption in train services, Com. Mangat Ram Pasla could not make it to the convention despite best efforts. By the time he reached the venue, the convention was over. Summing up the discussions, Dipankar said that a wave of change is coming in West Bengal, but that change is being perceived by many in a distorted manner. He said, the real vehicle of this change is the peasants and the rural poor. That was amply demonstrated in Singur, Nandigram and Jangalmahal. According to him, fall of CPM from power in West Bengal is now a foregone conclusion and no effort will be needed to remove it. Contradicting those who say that, let the CPM go first, then we would think of reviving the Left again, he asserted that the task of reviving and rejuvenating the fighting Left has to be started now itself, so that its fruit can be reaped in future. He said that the orientation on which the unity and coordination of the fighting Left is to be developed should be to hasten the decline of the opportunist Left and work for the rise of the fighting Left.
Bihar Assembly Elections 2010:
CPI(ML)'s Appeal and Commitment to the Bihar Electorate
New Road to New Bihar
(Excerpts from CPI(ML)'s Bihar Election Manifesto)
Before you cast your valuable vote in the coming elections for Bihar Assembly, the CPI(ML) appeals to you to spare a thought on the following points. We know you are encircled by any number of issues in your everyday battle for existence. Yet another year of drought and crop-failure, yet another breach in yet another river, rising prices, elusive jobs, growing assault on food security and livelihood – life is certainly quite hard. What makes it even harder is the utter lack of basic facilities – whether electricity or irrigation, education or healthcare, transportation or housing. There is no paucity of high-sounding schemes – but in all probability your name is missing from the BPL list and hence the schemes do not have any meaning for you. Most probably you have to run around and bribe your way to secure any small benefit that should be yours as a matter of right.
All these problems you have to face are only a reflection of the kind of governments we have and the kind of policies that are in force. And this is where your vote counts. With your vote you can say NO to the government and its policies that ruin your lives, and you can also say YES to the changes you would like to see. Make your vote talk for you, make your vote pave the way for changes that have sometimes been promised but never delivered and often deliberately stopped by the rulers. The CPI(ML) seeks your votes only to intensify the battle for your rights, only to ensure and expedite the changes that you need.
Bihar has so far been ruled primarily by three political forces – the Congress has ruled Bihar for the first 40 years, the JD/RJD for the next 15 years (with the Congress as a partner during the latter half) and the JD(U)-BJP for the last five years. All these forces are making a claim on your votes without taking any responsibility for creating this mess in your lives. We therefore appeal to you to ask them a few uncomfortable questions and demand answers before you decide on your vote.
The CPI(ML): New Road for New Bihar
Over the last sixty years, Bihar has seen forty years of Congress rule and twenty years of rule by forces tracing their roots in the 1974 movement and swearing by the slogan of social justice. The social equation of political power in Bihar has certainly changed from the Congress era to the post-Congress phase of RJD or JDU rule. But there has hardly been any change either in the priorities and policies of the rulers or in the economic conditions in which the overwhelming majority of people are compelled to live. Beyond tinkering with the surface appearance, the rulers have refused to risk any change in the basic underlying reality. Both inside Bihar and on the national level, there has been a consensus among the rulers over treating and exploiting Bihar as the source of cheap labour permanently deprived of social dignity and development opportunity.
Today all these three camps of erstwhile and current rulers of Bihar are trying to strengthen themselves by engineering mutual defections, and the ease with which leaders are overnight changing sides also points to the essential commonness of the three camps. Corruption has certainly emerged as a major leveller for the three sets of rulers, but what stands out as the most decisive common thread of all three despite obvious differences in caste composition is the continued feudal domination, the refusal of all these governments to implement even a modest agenda of land reforms. Once again we can see feudal forces cutting across political divisions desperately trying to kill the agenda of land reforms and tenancy rights and the three camps forging a conspiratorial consensus to appease the feudal forces.
The CPI(ML) has always stood in opposition to these ruling camps and their politics of suppressing the people and denying them their democratic due in terms of dignity and development. For the last twenty years, CPI(ML) legislators have worked consistently inside the Bihar Assembly as the most fearless, consistent and committed voice of democracy, justice, dignity and people-oriented development. During the last Assembly session of Nitish Kumar's term, four of our MLAs along with many other Opposition MLAs were manhandled and suspended from the Assembly for demanding the Chief Minister's resignation and CBI probe into the treasury fraud. It is a matter of pride and satisfaction for us that our MLAs have upheld the trust reposed by the electorate to resist every instance of corruption and autocracy, loot and deceit on the part of the powers that be.
Bihar knows it very well that if the oppressed poor have succeeded in achieving a degree of recognition and rights by pushing back the forces of feudal-kulak violence, it is primarily because of the fighting unity of the toiling masses and CPI(ML) represents the most glorious and credible banner of that popular assertion. From basic social dignity to fundamental right to vote – nothing has been achieved without heroic struggle and supreme sacrifices and the CPI(ML) has its firm roots in this history and tradition of revolutionary awakening of the most oppressed people. Today, whatever relief the rural poor have secured despite the state-sponsored muddle in BPL, PDS and MNREGA, is attributable not to any magnanimity of our rulers or generosity of the system, but primarily to the people's own awareness and activism, and the CPI(ML) has always championed this awareness and activism defying heavy repression and a wrathful administration.
Indeed, but for the CPI(ML)'s sustained intervention in the Assembly and outside, the recommendations of the Land reform Commission would never have been made public. The issue of land reforms and tenancy rights is central to any real agenda of development in Bihar which remains predominantly rural and agrarian. One cannot think of a growth trajectory for Bihar bypassing the agrarian base. And agriculture in Bihar cannot develop without recognizing the rights of the people who are most intimately involved in the work of cultivation.
There can be absolutely no ground for depriving Bihar's millions of oral tenants from the benefits of agricultural credit, crop insurance, and diesel and seed subsidies simply because they do not happen to own the land they cultivate. In fact but for the involvement of the tenants/sharecroppers much of Bihar's cultivable land would remain fallow. To develop agriculture, the state must therefore take urgent measures to empower and assist the tenants/sharecroppers along with landowning peasants and landless agricultural labourers.
Four-lane roads and luxury cars, high-rise apartments and glittery malls cannot be the metaphor or index of Bihar's development – more than any other Indian state, the story of development in Bihar has to begin in the villages and with the predominantly agrarian rural poor. And the agenda of land reforms and tenancy rights constitutes the crucial key-link in this context.
Today, the political forces in Bihar are divided essentially into two camps – the feudal and pro-feudal camp that is making a desperate and conspiratorial attempt to stop land reforms, and the CPI(ML)-led camp of Left and progressive forces waging a determined battle for land reforms and agricultural development, for employment-generating growth and dignity of labour, for people's rights and social progress. The CPI(ML) appeals to you to vote for CPI(ML) candidates and for other Left candidates where there are no CPI(ML) candidates and support and advance the agenda of land reforms and social transformation with all your might.
It is a welcome sign that Left forces in Bihar are now showing an increasing inclination for united struggles. Rejecting the ruinous course of alliances with the rulers, Left ranks are getting united to reclaim the fighting legacy of the Left. To strengthen the politics of change and justice, Bihar needs a powerful unity of Left and democratic forces. The communist movement apart, Bihar has also had a long tradition of socialist trends nurtured by stalwarts like JP and Karpoori Thakur. In their own ways, all of them had supported the cause of land reforms. But today those claiming to inherit their legacy are shying away from any notion of social change and justice for the working people.
We appeal to all sincere socialists and democratic activists of diverse trends to come together and join hands with the CPI(ML) and the Left as a whole to take Bihar forward towards land reforms and genuine welfare of the people and defeat the forces of corruption, nepotism, communalism, feudal reaction and autocracy. Let us reject the beaten track of conservative caste politics and move along the bold course of change. Let us take the New Road to a New Bihar.
Martyrdom Anniversary of Shankar Guha Niyogi
All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and the Chhatisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) observed the 20th martyrdom anniversary of Shankar Guha Niyogi as Sankalp Diwas on 28 September (taking pledge) in Bhilai. Garlanding of Niyogi's Statue, cultural performances, rallies and public meetings were held in Bhilai on this day. A memorandum sent to the Railway Minister demanded renaming the Bhilai Power House Railway Station as Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi Nagar and building memorial column for the seventeen martyred workers. The mass meeting was addressed by AICCTU's national GS Comrade Swapan Mukherjee, CPI(ML)'s CCM Comrade Rajaram, CMM's President and AICCTU's national VP Comrade Bhimrao Bagde among many others. AICCTU General Secretary said that the current governments lend their ears to domestic and foreign contractors while the working class leaders are murdered to check the workers' struggles. The speakers also iterated demand for reinvestigation of the Niyogi murder case as the real plotters and killers are still at large. A delegation of AICCTU met the senior management officials of BSP on 29 September to demand 20 percent bonus for the workers before the Dussehra.
Students and Youth March to Singur for Peasants' Rights on the Martyrdom day of Rajkumar Bhul
In solidarity with the struggling masses of Singur, members of the All India Students' Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth' Association (RYA) marched to Singur on the 4th martyrdom anniversary of Rajkumar Bhul. Starting from Kamarkundu railway station, a spirited procession of over a hundred students reached Ujjwal Sangha Club. A Shahid Bedi (martyrs' memorial) was erected in front of the club with the participation of the local youth. Apurba Ghosh hoisted the RYA flag and those present paid floral tributes to the martyrs. Reiterating the yet unfulfilled demands of their organisations for (1) restoration of the right to life and livelihood of affected farmers, agricultural labourers and sharecroppers, (2) withdrawal of fabricated cases against the Singur movement activists and (3) exemplary punishment to the killers of Rajkumar Bhul and Tapasi Malik; the students and youth campaigned extensively in the region, appealing to people to join the CPI(ML) Liberation-led protest demonstration to be held at the Chinsura "Ghorir Mor"on 8th October on the very same demands.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org