A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18 | No. 50 | 8 - 14 DEC 2015
Signs of Revival of the Sangh's Communal Ram Mandir Agenda
Twenty-three years after the vandals of the Sangh Parivar had demolished the Babri Masjid in brazen defiance of India's history of composite culture and every tenet of the rule of law, the Sangh brigade seems desperate to rake up the Ram Mandir issue all over again. On the eve of the twenty-third anniversary of the demolition, Mohan Bhagwat renewed the Mandir call first at the funeral of Ashok Singhal in Delhi and then again in another meeting in Kolkata. The VHP wants the Modi government to legislate in favour of the temple. The Shiv Sena, the closest ideological ally of the BJP, is of the same opinion. Even Nitish Kumar, the estranged BJP ally who has retained power for the third successive term in Bihar riding on a powerful anti-Modi vote, misses no opportunity to teasingly ask the BJP to fix a time-frame for the construction of the temple.
Is the Sangh contemplating a return to the Ayodhya agenda after the humiliating electoral debacles of Delhi and Bihar and to prepare for the crucial UP elections of 2017? The aggressive and hugely emotive mobilisation around the Ram Mandir issue had yielded massive electoral dividends for the BJP in the late 1980s and early 1990s, catapulting it to power for the first time in UP. The rise of 'Hindutva' helped the BJP broaden its base beyond its traditional 'forward' caste core and contend with the empowerment appeal of the Mandal Commission among the backward caste population. Since then the BJP has tried hard to expand and consolidate its 'Hindutva' constituency through its sustained campaign of aggressive communalism and Islamophobia, punctuated periodically by riots, massacres and other forms of targeted violence. Recent reverses however indicate diminishing returns for this strategy of 'low-intensity warfare', prompting perhaps a rethink and a possible return to the 'proven blessings' of Ram.
For the ideologues and political managers of the Sangh parivar, the 'Ram Mandir' campaign was a multi-dimensional exercise aimed simultaneously at reinventing Hinduism, reinterpreting Indian nationalism and redesigning governance on a majoritarian plank. Defying Brahminical regimentation, Hinduism has evolved as a non-regimented religion with an amazing diversity of beliefs and practices. By projecting Ram as the ultimate warrior and the foremost Hindu symbol, the Ram Mandir campaign sought to impart a decisive military muscle to the otherwise diverse and rather amorphous Hindu religious persona. The territorial and historical evolution of Indian nationalism as a modern cementing force against British colonial rule was sought to be redefined as something traditional and even eternal, revolving primarily around this aggressive Hindu identity and invoking the pride and glory of a mythical past and the injured sense of a perceived Hindu victimhood through the medieval period.
The mob vandalism that demolished the mosque in broad daylight was no 'uncontrollable momentary excess' but very much part of the script and the celebratory smiles on the faces of the leaders present on the spot revealed it all. Had the demolition been carried out on an unscheduled date and in the absence of these leaders, the BJP could have even tried to pass it off as an 'accident' on the lines of the recent incident of Dadri mob lynching. Apart from achieving the immediate and direct objective of demolishing the mosque, the Ayodhya expedition of the Sangh brigade was also intended to challenge and test the institutional fabric of the constitutional Indian republic. While the BJP had to pay an immediate price in the form of dismissal of its governments in UP and three other states and a temporary ban on the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal, it gained enormous confidence in terms of impunity for the criminal act of demolition and a clear shift in the post-demolition legal-juridical discourse and framework that privileged Ayodhya as a special case and exempted it from the ambit of the subsequent legislation that guarantees the character of places of worship as on 15 August 1947. The BJP used these 'gains' from Ayodhya to the hilt in Gujarat to consolidate its rule through a genocide followed by serial staged encounter killings and a corporate-cheered quasi-privatised mode of governance driven by the NaMo-bhakti cult. By 2014, the BJP had managed to create a veritable mythology of a 'Gujarat model' and win its first ever majority at the Centre with the promise of replicating the 'Gujarat model' on a countrywide scale!
The renewed Sanghi call for 'Ram Mandir' must be seen in this larger perspective and not just as another twist or turn in the protracted Ayodhya dispute. The Ram Janambhoomi campaign has always been a pivotal rallying point for the Sangh's vision of Hindu Rashtra and from the vantage position of central power, the Sangh brigade has now launched an all-out assault on India's pluralistic heritage and ethos and the constitutional values, ideas and institutions of modern India. But the developments of 2015 - powered by the resistance of India's peasants to land acquisition and agrarian crisis, the opposition of trade unions and the working class to the attack on labour rights, the spirited protests of students against the ongoing sale of higher education to the dictates of global capital, the unprecedented collective assertion of the democratic conscience of India's writers, artists and scientists, and most tellingly, by the verdicts of Delhi and Bihar Assembly elections and now the Gujarat local polls - have made it quite clear that the Indian people have begun to see through this Sanghi game-plan and are determined to foil it with all their might.
Convention on 'People's Verdict 2015: The Role Of The Left'
The CPI(ML) Bihar State committee organized a people's convention in Patna on 3 December to discuss the implications of the recent Bihar election results and the role of the Left parties in terms of the challenges and responsibilities that lie ahead. Other Left parties as well as progressive individuals were also invited to the convention.
Dhirendra Jha on behalf of the Presidium invited leaders to the dais which included Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya, Swadesh Bhattacharya, BB Pandey, Pradeep Jha, Sandeep Saurav, Arun Kumar Mishra, and Akhilesh Kumar Singh. The convention started with a commemorative song by Hirawal as a tribute to Com. Bindeshwari Singh and well-known journalist Arun Kumar.
RYA President, Com. Raju Yadav and AISA State Secretary Ajit Kushwaha spoke of the need for a pervasive agitation on student issues such as the dismal condition of education, scarcity of jobs, lack of campus democracy, and exorbitant fees due to privatization of education. AICCTU leader Com. Ranvijay Kumar said that the Nitish government has always suppressed the legitimate demands of workers, such as ending of contractual labour, equal pay for equal work, and regularization of service; these issues remain unresolved and we must unite and agitate to force the Mahagathbandhan government to address them. KHEGAMAS President Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that those fighting for dalit rights are being slapped with false cases and thrown into jail, which is why Com. Satyadev Ram, Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha, and Com. Manoj Manzil had to fight the elections from inside jail. He stressed that KHEGRAMAS would continue the struggle for vaas-awaas, labour and land issues.
AIPWA State secretary Com. Shashi Yadav and National Vice President Com. Bharati Kumar said that women workers on contractual and honorarium basis would be further organized and their struggle carried forward. Tarari and Balrampur MLAs comrades Sudama Prasad and Mahboob Alam said that the Party has won in three Assembly constituencies in spite of extreme polarization; they vowed to raise the issues of irrigation, sharecroppers' rights, agrarian reforms, false cases on activists, and other important issues inside the Assembly as well as outside on the streets.
CPM and CPI leaders Arun Kumar Mishra and Akhilesh Kumar said that the Bihar elections have brought the Left as a viable third force in India. Nitish and Lalu cannot be relied upon to stop fascist forces; this can be accomplished only by a concerted effort of the united Left. Well-known doctor and public health activist Dr P. N. P. Pal and retd. Lt. Gen USP Sinha appealed for a united struggle for the rights of the poor, dalits, farmers, and minorities and reforms in labour, agriculture, education and health.
Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Com. Rajaram Singh said that the people of Bihar have shown a high level of consciousness and have thrown out the fascist BJP; the poor and marginalized have put their trust in the Left. The basic questions of justice are still unresolved and we cannot pin our hopes on this new government. It is for the united Left to fight and get justice for the poor, dalits, and minorities.
CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya saluted the people of Bihar for shattering the BJP's dream of furthering their agenda of destroying the country's democratic and multicultural fabric. He pointed out that this result is not the outcome of one single day. Over the last 10 years Nitish has been instrumental in encouraging the growth of the BJP in Bihar. The poor, dalit, working class, students, women, and minorities in Bihar were not happy with this and had always protested, creating the climate for the present mandate. There was anger against the undeclared emergency in the country, earlier expressed by intellectuals returning awards, and now expressed by the people of Bihar. He said that the 'Mandal-2' and 'development' promises of the Mahagathbandhan government are false promises. Culprits in carnages have been acquitted in spite of overwhelming evidence, activists have been jailed with false cases slapped on them, education and land reforms have been put in cold storage, industries are shutting down, and privatization is rampant in education, health and other sectors. The Left must unite and fight strongly on all these issues. The convention concluded with the Party State committee passing a 5-point resolution and political proposal.
Left Campaign against Communalism
Six Left parties- CPI (ML), CPI, CPI (M), SUCI (C), MSS and RSP organized a Sadbhavna march and a protest meeting in Ranchi on 2 December 2015 under the campaign against communalism undertaken from 1 December to 6 December to protest against rising intolerance and communal frenzy.
The march which started from Sainik Bazar in Ranchi under the leadership of Com. Shubendu Sen from CPI (ML), Com. Gopikant Bakshi from CPI (M), Com. K D Singh from CPI, human rights activist Fr. Stane Swami, Com. Siddheshwar Singh from SUCI (C), Com. Sushant Mukherjee from MSS, Com. Eti Tirkey from AIPWA, Com. Xavier Kujur from JASAM, and Com. Nadeem from AIPF, culminated in a protest meeting at Albert Ekka chowk.
Addressing the meeting, Com. Shubhendu Sen said that one chief reason for the increasingly vitiated atmosphere in the country is the conspiracy by the Modi government to implement the Sangh parivar's communal agenda by inflicting Hindu nationalism on the country. That is why their Ministers, MPs, Chief Ministers, and even Governors are making communal statements on the one hand, while on the other hand the saffron brigade is running riot. It is the Left which must take up the responsibility to stop this. CPI (M) Secretary alleged that the Jharkhand government is responsible for the recent communal tensions in Jamshedpur and Ranchi as troublemakers were not reined in on time. The CPI leader said that the Left will not allow any conspiracy to destroy or weaken the Ganga-Jamuni culture of the country. Com. Siddheshwar Singh said that this fanning of communal tensions is an attempt to divert attention from the failure of the Modi government to bring "achche din". Fr. Stane Swami said that the country is today faced with grave dangers which can be combated only by the united struggles of people's organizations.
Conducting the programme, Com. Anil Anshuman of JASAM said that the ideology which contributed nothing to the country's independence and nation-building is today setting itself up as the watchdog of patriotism. Other people's organizations as well as hundreds of workers from construction workers' unions also participated actively in the campaign.
Convention against Communalism in Nagaon, Assam
In the lead up to the programme of 6 December 2015, a convention was organized by four left parties- CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML) and SUCI (C) at Nogoan in Assam. The convention was against communalism and increasing intolerance in the country. The convention was presided by 4 member presidium comprising of Com. Mridupaban Bora of CPI (ML), Com. Amarendra Sharma of CPI (M), Com. Sunaram Bora of (CPI)and Com. Lakhan Mirdha of SUCI (C).Speakers in the convention included Com. Ifakur Rahman from CPI (M), Jutirmoy Jana, teacher and writer, Com. Rubul Sarma of CPI (ML)l, Com. Achute Aceryya from SUCI (C), Abdul Aalam, an ex teacher. After convention an impressive procession also took place in the Nagaon town.
Protest by Left Parties against Communalism & Demolition drives in Chandigarh
On 6 December 2015, a joint march was called by CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML) and CPI (Punjab) against growing communal intolerance and also against the continued demolition drives in Chandigarh even in this cold winter season. Hundreds of people on foot, bikes and auto rickshaws participated in the joint march. Besides protesting against the growing communalism and intolerance, the march jointly called by the left also demanded that the Chandigarh administration immediately stop its demolition drive in this cold winter. Only recently, On 3rd and 4th December, the administration had demolished 500 shanties of poor people secretly. The announcement regarding demolition was made in the night and the demolition carried out in the morning, denying any chance to the poor people to organize resistance. Comrades visited two such demolition sites during the 6th December march and expressed solidarity with people who had been rendered homeless. Comrades from CPI (ML) also independently visit another site in the form of caravan, where the administration is likely to start demolition a few days later. More than five hundred houses are in this area and the people living here have expressed willingness to start a struggle under the leadership of CPI (ML). The CPI (ML) leaders will meet the advisor to the Union territory of Chandigarh to pursue the matter of ending demolition.
40th Martyrdom Anniversary of Comrade Jauhar Observed in Puducherry
On 29th November 2015 Puducherry state committee organised meetings to observe the 40th Martyrdom anniversary of Com. Jauhar former General Secretary, Com Nirmal and Com. Ratan at Puducherry. Com. S.Balasubramanian, State Secretary, recollected Com. Jauhar's heroic role in the revolutionary peasant upsurge in the battle of Babubandh. He also gave a speech about brief history of our party's evolution to the new comers.
CPI(ML) Statement on Pricol Case Judgement
Eight AICCTU activists who are employees of a private company Pricol were sentenced to double life imprisonment on this Thursday in a shocking judgement of the sessions court case that began following the militant agitation by workers in September, 2009. CPI (ML) and AICCTU extend their wholehearted support to the Pricol workers who have decided to file an appeal against the double life imprisonment meted out to 8 of their co-workers by the sessions judge of the bomb blast cases court. Making use of the tragic death of Mr. Roy George, Pricol's HR Vice President, the police foisted a criminal case against 27 persons including Com. S. Kumarasami, National President of AICCTU and Polit-bureau member of CPI(ML). This was done to crush the majority trade unions which were fighting for recognition. The workers of Pricol Limited have decided to seek justice not only in the courts of law but also in the people's court pointing out the facts that the judgment is completely against the evidence on record and that it is only based on assumptions and conjectures. The said judgment does not deal with many of the arguments submitted by the defence. This judgment only sends a message that struggling workers and trade unions will be penalized. The hasty and hurried manner in which this judgment has been announced it is quite clear that the verdict is a product of the inherent class prejudice and bias of the capitalist system against the workers.
The CPI (ML) and AICCTU have launched a campaign to "Save People; Save Democracy". The CPI (ML) and AICCTU call upon the workers, trade unions, left, democratic and progressive forces to extend solidarity to the Pricol workers in their struggle for justice. Massive demonstrations in the district headquarters were held by AICCTU in support of the jailed Pricol workers. Also in rain-battered and power- starving Chennai, our comrades held a huge demonstration.
In this hour of massive distress, Pricol workers not only took resolve to fight for justice for their fellow comrades, but also have decided to extend a helping hand to the rain and flood affected people in Tamil Nadu.
Red Salute to the indomitable fighting spirit of Pricol Workers!
Protest to Demand Relief for Flood Affected in Puducherry
The State Unit of CPI(ML) organised a massive demonstration on 27th November in front of the Deputy Collector's Office, Villianur, Puducherry condemning the total inaction and criminal negligence on the part of ruling AINR Congress government of Puducherry UT led by Rangasamy. The government had completely failed in alleviating people's pain and loss of properties and crops due to the continuing heavy rains and floods in Puducherry and Karaikal districts. The protestors demanded immediate relief to all who were affected by the rains and floods. The demonstration was led by Com. P. Murugan, State Committee member CPI(ML).
The major demands made by the protestors from the government:
i. Rs.30,000/- compensation per acre to the farmers for the loss of standing crops.
ii. Rs.10,000/- compensation to each unorganised worker who lost his livelihood due to the continuing rains and floods.
iii. Constitution of State level Disaster rehabilitation and relief fund.
iv. Rs.5 lakhs compensation to the victim families who lost their lives in the rains and floods.
v. Immediate removal of encroachments of water bodies and water ways which caused the floods
vi. Declare Puducherry and Karaikal Districts as flood hit and extend relief accordingly.
A large numbers of Urban and rural poor and farmers took part in the demonstrations and an eighteen points charter was submitted to the Chief Minister through the Collector for immediate redressal.
Comrade Bindheswari Singh, a veteran communist leader and the District Committee member of CPI (ML) Bhojpur unit, passed away on the morning of 3 December 2015. He was suffering from cancer. Com. Bindheswari hailed from Tarari and had played great role in the Bhojpur movement.
The Party along with thousands of masses pay homage to the departed leader !
Red salute to comrade Bindeshwari Singh !
Dr. B. D. Sharma
Dr. Brahm Dev Sharma, a committed defender of the rights of Adivasis and the 5th schedule areas, passed away on 6 December 2015. He was 86. An IAS officer, he committed his life fighting the oppression and exploitation of the poor, particularly the adivasis. His contribution to democratic movements and official policies aimed at strengthening democracy at the grassroots and defending the rights and livelihood of those in the forest areas was remarkable and will always be remembered. He played an instrumental role in framing of several key policies affecting the lives of poor living in rural and forest areas, such as the Forest Rights Act and the Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) which enables the Gram Sabhas to govern their own resources in scheduled areas. He also served as the Vice Chancellor of the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong in Meghalaya and as the commissioner of the National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribe Commission, after resigning from the government.
In times of increased assaults on lives and livelihoods of people by way of policies like land acquisition and open invitation to the corporate to loot the natural resources especially in the forest regions, a real tribute to Dr. B. D. Sharma's legacy would be by strengthening the movements against anti-people policies of the government and for defending people's rights and livelihood.
CPI (ML) salutes the legacy of Dr. B.D. Sharma.
Red Salute to People's Poet Vidrohi !
Inimitable revolutionary poet Vidrohi passed away on 8 October. Ever since his days as a JNU student several decades ago, he dedicated himself and his poetry to students' and people's movements. He was a constant presence in JNU, and no struggle or protest in Delhi was complete without Vidrohi ji's sharp and honest poetic voice. Fittingly, he spent his last days and hours among his beloved students, with the Occupy UGC movement, and he came to the UGC to join AISA in the all India March to Jantar Mantar. All students at the anti-WTO Convention today observed two minutes silence in Vidrohi ji's memory.
Vidrohi ji was also active with the Jan Sanskriti Manch, and an award winning documentary film had been made by young filmmaker Nitin on him, titled 'Main tumhara kavi hun' (I am your poet).
Vidrohi never wrote his poems, only recited them. But his poems will never be forgotten, his voice, challenging every power boldly, from rulers to gods, will inspire movements always!