A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 19 | No. 14 | 29 MAR - 4 APR 2016
Reject Sangh-BJP Lessons on Nationalism, Defeat Modi's Attempt to Appropriate Ambedkar
Close to two years in power, the BJP now realises it pretty well that it cannot fight another election on the pretentious plank of development or repatriation of black money. Last November we saw them fight the elections to Bihar Assembly on the issue of beef ban. The decisive defeat in Bihar of course means the BJP now needs a new item on its poll menu other than beef. So with elections scheduled in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few weeks, we find the BJP designing a new test of nationalism – those who chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai are super nationalists and those who don't are liable to be branded anti-national and perhaps also charged with sedition. A Muslim MLA in Maharashtra Assembly has already been suspended for failing this test, with the Congress and NCP both colluding with the BJP and Shiv Sena in enforcing the suspension. We now also know that Urdu writers have been asked by the MHRD to give a prior undertaking that their writings do not have anything against the government or the nation.
So the government has effectively declared itself equivalent to the nation. Opposition to the government has virtually been dubbed seditious. And as the Congress President had equated Indira Gandhi to India during the infamous Emergency, former BJP President and senior minister in Modi cabinet, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has described Modi as God's gift to India. Another minister, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs in Modi cabinet, believes that the rise of Modi as India's Prime Minister was predicted by the French seer Nostradamus in 1555 and Modi will continue to rule till 2026, with the people's initial 'hatred' for him turning into great admiration and love! Whatever the people may think of the Modi government's performance in the first two years, the government believes it is here to stay, and if the people do not want it, a government which believes it has been mandated by God and fate will no doubt go to the extent of 'electing the people' – the immortal imagery penned by Brecht in his poem to describe every Hitler in our history.
The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula early this year in Hyderabad had come as a rude jolt to the whole country, exposing the sordid reality of social discrimination and saffron regimentation in India's universities and other institutions of higher education. The subsequent police crackdown and witch-hunt in JNU has made it very clear that the government is out to stifle dissent and subvert and destroy every institution that has a record of promoting critical thinking. The students and teachers arrested on sedition charges are now out on bail, and the united protests of JNU students and teachers and the massive solidarity expressed by informed citizens across the country and also internationally have thwarted the government's design to discredit and shut down JNU. Yet the government sticks to its script, MHRD minister Smriti Irani dished out malicious lies from the floor of Parliament, BJP leaders are constantly spewing venom against students, intellectuals and JNU and goons of the Sangh brigade are physically attacking public display of solidarity with JNU and even lectures by noted exponents on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar.
In a stunning mockery of history, the Sangh Parivar now seeks to present itself as the biggest champion of Indian nationalism, all its assaults on the Indian people and their democratic rights are now accompanied by loud chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. BJP leaders would now like us to believe that this is the slogan Bhagat Singh had on his lips while embracing the gallows. The whole world knows that 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Down With Imperialism' were Bhagat Singh's last message to India and the world, but facts have little meaning in the Sangh's scheme of things where myths and lies constitute the whole narrative. It must be pointed out that while Bharat Mata Ki Jai was a popular slogan during the freedom movement, the images of Mother India evoked by most of our poets and writers and freedom fighters were not the image of a militant goddess with a saffron flag in her hands that the RSS would like to impose on us. People do have a special attachment to the language and land of their birth – the terms 'mother tongue' and 'motherland' being used widely across the world – the Sangh's notion of a Bharat Mata baying for blood and bullets stands in glaring contrast to the common Indian's notion of a mother who cares and nurtures and showers equal love on all her children.
History also tells us that when there were talks of making Bankim Chandra's 'Vande Mataram' the anthem for the Congress and India, Rabindranath Tagore had explicitly advised the then Congress President Subhas Chandra Bose against this idea. Vande Mataram is appropriate for literature, but with its explicit invocation of Durga, a Hindu goddess, it is inappropriate for Indian Parliament where people from different religions will assemble – this was the clear opinion of Tagore, and accordingly only the first part of the poem praising the natural beauty of India is today known and sung as 'Vande Mataram'. The freedom movement has given rise to many slogans and invocations about India, and people in different parts of the country use different expressions for their motherland in their own mother tongues, and the Sangh-BJP establishment has no business imposing the RSS images and slogans of Bharat Mata on the Indian people. An organisation which had no role in India's freedom movement except praising and helping the British colonial rulers and invoking Mussolini and Hitler as their ideals, which worships Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Gandhi, as their hero, and which today in power is busy bartering away the country's resources and helping the likes of Vijay Mallya to flee from the country after looting the banks, has no right to give lessons on nationalism.
It is also instructive to note that Ambedkar, another icon Modi and his men are desperate to appropriate, had held caste as the biggest obstacle to nation-building, calling for annihilation of castes, and held the constitution with its secular democratic proclamations as the foundation of the Indian republic. The RSS wanted Manusmriti to be the basis for India's constitution and Ambedkar consigned this charter of human slavery to fire, but today Modi describes Ambedkar as India's modern Manu and seeks to perpetuate the oppressive caste order in his name. Ambedkar was a staunch champion of the liberties and rights of citizens and was a sworn enemy of the notion of a police state and repressive rule, but today Modi is bent upon reducing India precisely to a police state riding roughshod on the democratic rights promised and protected by the Constitution. Ambedkar had joined hands with communists to reject so-called labour laws that denied freedom to workers and sought to treat them as slaves, but today Modi invokes Ambedkar to justify his 'Make in India' labour code that seeks to sacrifice the rights of Indian workers at the altar of global capital and its Indian affiliates.
The people of India will never allow Modi to appropriate Ambedkar and make a mockery of the secular democratic constitutional foundation of the Indian republic laid down by Ambedkar on the strength of the Indian freedom movement and various allied streams of social awakening and struggles for emancipation. We will continue to draw inspiration from Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and use their legacies as weapons of struggle to stop the corporate plunder promoted by the Modi government and defeat the divisive agenda, disinformation campaign and communal-fascist aggression of the Sangh brigade. And the forthcoming Assembly elections will give yet another roaring rebuff to the dangerous design and fascist offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment.
Condemn the Heinous Lahore Terror Attack
The CPI(ML) condemns the suicide bomb blast in a crowded Lahore park claimed the lives of some 72 people, mostly women and children, and injured more than a 100. The attack was carried out by Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, to target Christian minorities on the occasion of Easter. The park was full of families celebrating the Easter holiday. Those killed include both Christians and Muslims.
The attack, deliberately targeting little children, is a heinous crime against humanity.
The attack has underlined the vulnerability of Pakistan's religious minorities. The attack coincides with protests against the execution of Mumtaz Qadri and in support of the blasphemy law that criminalises religious minorities in Pakistan. Qadri had assassinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for defending a Christian woman against the blasphemy law.
Significantly, Pakistan's Christian community is largely Dalit, facing an unspoken caste discrimination as well as religious discrimination. Pakistan's religious minorities are vulnerable just as the religious and ethnic minorities of most South Asian countries including India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are vulnerable.
It is source of hope that Pakistani people have risen up in revulsion and outrage against the Lahore attack, and are flooding hospitals to donate blood and offer all kinds of help.
Cameron-Modi Bhai Bhai
British PM David Cameron has taken a leaf from Indian PM Modi's book, by indulging in Islamophobic and racial profiling for votes.
In the London Mayoral polls, Cameron has distributed a letter to Hindus, especially Gujarati Hindus, and Punjabi Sikhs, asking them to vote for the Tory candidate, suggesting that voting the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan would be wrong at a time when "we need to be keeping our streets safe from terrorist attacks".
In the letter captioned "The Gujarati community makes London great", Cameron writes: "Closer ties between the UK and India have been a priority for me as prime minister. I was pleased to join Zac (Zac Goldsmith, the Tory Mayoral candidate) and thousands of British Gujaratis in welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the UK last year."
Remember, the bonhomie between the Sanghis and Tories in the UK in their shared attempt to deny caste discrimination and propagate Islamophobia, goes back a long way. In the Parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party candidate in Harrow East, a constituency with a large Indian community, campaigned specifically on a promise to 'work with the Dharmic community' (sic) to overturn legislation outlawing caste discrimination which was recently passed in Britain after a campaign by Dalit organisations. Leaflets issued by a Sangh Parivar group urged their supporters to vote Conservative to overturn the anti-caste legislation!
But some voters have exposed and snubbed Cameron's latest attempt. Retired biochemist Barbara Patel wrote back to Cameron, calling him out for his "facile and inaccurate attempt at racial profiling". She wrote: "You have made a number of assumptions based on my surname (Patel = Gujarat and Gujarat = Hindu) and have attempted to use these ethnically based assumptions to 'scare' me into voting for your candidate, Zac Goldsmith....I am not from Gujarat. I am not a Hindu, my husband's family are lapsed Muslims. Above all, I have never been, nor ever would be, a Tory voter." She added that "the most distasteful aspect" of Cameron's letter was his "attempting to cause division between the London Hindu Indian community and its Muslim community, shame on you".
Farmers' Convention for Loan Waiver in Punjab
All India Kisan Mahasabha and its Punjab affiliate Punjab Kisan Union organised a 'Loan Waiver Convention' in which thousands of peasants participated. Peasants came all Malwa region districts of Punjab including Mansa, Bathinda, Barnala, Sangrur, Faridkot to the convention which was held in Mansa.
The convention expressed deep concern over the escalating incidents of suicides of farmers due to anti-farmer policies of Akali Dal led NDA govt. of Punjab and demanded appropriate measures to stop farmers' suicides. Thousands of farmers unanimously raised their voices in favour of immediate waiver of all loans, including governmental as well as those acquired from private usurers. They felt urgent need for amending legislations related to loans which are highly biased in favour of money lenders and resolved to struggle for the enactment of a new Loan Waiver Act that can protect crisis ridden peasants.
The Farmers' Convention also passed resolutions demanding an Employment Guarantee Act for unemployed youth and for reversal of the neoliberal agrarian policy regime in order to make agriculture profitable. They also shared their concern regarding growing crop losses due to increasing number of stray abandoned cattle and asked from the Punjab administration to stop this menace.
The convention was addressed by the popular peasant leader of Punjab and National President of AIKM Ruldu Singh, AIKM Gen. Sec. and ex-MLA of Bihar Rajaram Singh, Vice President Prem Singh Gahalawat, Mazdoor Mukti Morcha leader Bhagwant Singh Samaon, AIPWA's Jasbir Kaur and many others. The proceedings were conducted by Punjab Kisan Union's Secretary Gurnam Singh. This convention was a culmination of an intensive campaign which was carried out in hundreds of villages. Many thousands of loan waiver applications were filled in by farmers of this region during this campaign. The filled in application forms were handed over to the state government through a Tehsildar sent by the authorities for this purpose. He took away a couple of very big cartons containing loan waiver applications and promised to hand them over to the state government.
Comrade Rajaram Singh, General Secretary of AIKM, said that the lives and livelihood of farmers have been further devastated after the Modi Govt. came to power which is quite evident by the increased number of suicides in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bundelkhand of UP. But the government is unwilling to take any pro-farmer measures. On the contrary the Modi government continues to pursue anti-peasant policies in order to satiate the unending corporate hunger for farmers' profits as well as their lands. The Modi Government cannot succeed in deviating nation's attention from deteriorating plight of farmers by its communal divisive politics. The irony is the government is waiving loans and taxes for corporate sector but not for farmers. Comrade Rajaram Singh strongly condemned the recent attacks on students in JNU and HCU and terming it as an attempt to strangle democracy. He said that united movements of farmers, workers and student-youth to counter the growing attacks on democracy are the need of the day.
Imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand Murder of Democracy
CPI(ML) Calls for Dissolution of Assembly and Fresh Elections
The CPI(ML) Uttarakhand State Committee has termed the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand when there was still one day remaining for the Harish Rawat government to prove its majority on the floor of the House, a murder of democracy and called for the immediate dissolution of the Assembly and holding of fresh elections.
The Assembly should be dissolved without delay and fresh elections held, since the failure to do so is itself an encouragement to horse trading. The Modi government had tried a similar ploy in Arunachal Pradesh. The CPI(ML) has appealed to the people of the state to strongly oppose the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand.
On 28 March Party workers led by Lalit Matiyali and Vimla Rauthan burnt the effigy of the Modi government and held a protest meeting in Bindukhatta (Nainital district) against the murder of democracy in the State.
CPI(ML) district units in Uttarakhand have sent memoranda to the President on 29 March demanding end of President's rule in Uttarakhand, dissolution of the Assembly in order to stop horse trading of State legislators, and fresh elections without delay.
Third CPI(ML) Puducherry State Conference
The Third Puducherry UT Conference of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was held on 20th and 21st Mar 2016. The conference/venue Villianur, a semi urban town was named in memory of Com. T.K.S. Janarthanan, former vice president of AIARLA. The Conference hall was named in memory of Com. Ammaiappan, former District Secretary of CPI(ML) Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu state.
The conference began with an impressive and colourful "Save India, Save democracy and Save working people of Puducherry" rally on 20th. Puducherry town committee secretary Com. S. Purushothaman inaugurated the rally. Hundreds of activists marched through the main thoroughfare of the Villianur. The rally preceded by the flag hoisting and floral tributes to the martyrs. The flag was hoisted by Com. Maliga, Puducherry district committee member. The public meeting was addressed by Com. Balasundaram, central committee member and central observer for the conference, and Com S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary CPI(ML) .
On 21st Mar, the delegates session was inaugurated by Com. Balasundaram. Com. S. Mothilal gave the welcome address. Com. Balasundaram stressed the importance of the Central Committee's 18th December 2015 call and called for the all out initiatives towards the forthcoming Assembly 2016 elections.
S. Balasubramanian, the outgoing State secretary placed the draft report on behalf of the outgoing state committee. Delegates present gave their opinions and suggestions over the draft which was adopted by the conference. The conference elected unanimously a 9-member state committee with S. Balasubramanian as its Secretary. The other members of the State Committee are G.Palani, P.Murugan, S.Mothilal, AS Singaravelu, A. Saroja, S. Purushothaman, R. Azagappan and M.Maliga. M. Venkatesan and G. Danavel, party's District Secretaries in Villupuram and Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu also attended the conference as guests and took part in the rally.
CPI(ML) is contesting independently four seats in the Assembly elections in Puducherry. The Conference passed an 11-points resolution for action as well as chalked out a plan for the "Rise My Country - Save India, Save Democracy" campaign from Mar 23rd – Bhagat Singh' martyrdom day to Apr 14th Baba Saheb Ambedkar's 125th birth Anniversary.
AISA RYA Launches National Campaign- Utho Mere Desh- Naye Bharat Ke Wastey, Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Ke Rastey
From 23rd March to 14th April
The All India Students' Association (AISA) and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) have launched a campaign Utho Mere Desh: Naye Bharat Ke Waastey, Bhagat Singh Ke Raaste from March 23rd (Bhagat Singh's Martyrdom Anniversary) to April 14th (Dr. Ambedkar's Birth Anniversary). The inaugural program of the campaign was held at the Press Club at Delhi. The panel discussion cum press conference was addressed by Gen. Secy. CPI(ML) Dipankar Bhattacharya, scientist and poet Gauhar Raza, President Dalit Lekhak Sangh, Karamsheel Bharti, journalist at Hardnews Amit Sengupta, social activist Vidyabhushan Rawat, Ram Karan Nirmal (Ex-Student of BBAU Lucknow, who protested against Modi during their convocation), Ashutosh, Ex-JNUSU President and Anant Ex-JNUSU Vice-President. Om Prasad, Gen. Sec. RYA, moderated the discussion.
On 23rd March programs were held across the country to commemorate the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and start of National Campaign. Comrades in Patna, Bhojpur, Giridih, Guntur, Ahmedabad and other centres organized programs. In Punjab, left student and youth organizations from across the state gathered at Hussainiwala, where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated. Anant former JNUSU Vice President from AISA also participated in the program. In Bhubaneswar, a convention was organized on 23rd March by AISA-RYA launching the campaign, Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU and Om Prasad, Gen. Secretary RYA were the main speakers at the convention.
In Bihar as part of the National Campaign a joint AISA RYA 'Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar Sangharsh Yatra' has been launched. The yatra will reach out to the people of Bihar, especially young people and expose the Modi Govt's attempts to dismantle the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and crush all voices of dissent. On 31st March on the martyrdom day of Com. Chandrasekhar a Student Youth Assembly will be held in Patna, where comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, and Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President JNUSU will be the main speakers.
On 25th March a seminar was organized in Madurai to mark the launch of the campaign. In the seminar Shehla Rashid and Sucheta De, President, AISA were speakers. A booklet on the JNU issue was also released and pamphlets on Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar were also distributed. On 27th March AISA RYA organized a seminar in Chandigarh titled 'Relevance of Bhagat Singh's ideology. The speakers in the program were Rama Naga, Vishwadeepak, Journalist, who resigned from Zee News over its coverage on the JNU issue and Om Prasad, Gen. Sec. RYA. The seminar was preceded by a painting, essay writing and debate competition on Bhagat Singh and his ideas. In Koderma convention was held on 27th March which was addressed by AISA and RYA leaders.
Against The Crackdown in Hyderabad Central University
On 22 March, Appa Rao Podile resumed charge as the Vice Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (HCU) after being forced to proceed on "long leave" in January for his role in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. It is condemnable that Appa Rao Podile has been reinstated in spite of the fact that he is currently facing a judicial enquiry as well as serious charges under the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act.
The reinstatement of Appa Rao Podile justifiably led to massive protests in HCU at the VC lodge in the campus. As has now become the pattern, the ABVP-RSS along with the University administration and the Police together launched a brutal and well-planned crackdown on the protestors. Hundreds of students and even teachers were brutally lathi charged, abused, dragged, and detained by the police. The police threatened the students with fake encounters, threatened women students with rape, and branded Muslim students as 'terrorists'.
27 students and 2 faculty members were arrested and sent to jail. The campus was turned into a prison, hostel messes as well as the supply of drinking water, power supply and internet facilities were shut down for two whole days. Two students were cooking food in a community kitchen when the police suddenly swamped upon them and brutally beat up one student, Uday Bhanu, who was critically injured and had be hospitalised in ICU.
The CPIML extends all support and solidarity to the ongoing movement demanding dropping of all charges against students and faculty of HCU, immediate removal and arrest of HCU VC Appa Rao Podile and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatraya under Prevention Of Atrocities against SC/ST act, withdrawal of police from the campus, action against police for the targeted violence, detentions, misinformation about the detained people and physical assault of women students and faculty, enacting of the Rohith Act against caste discrimination on campuses and resignation of HRD Minister.
Comrade Mahendra Sahni
Comrade Mahendra Sahni passed away on 23 March 2016 in Purnea. He was only 58. An ex-army man, he joined the communist movement during peasant struggles for land and livelihood led by CPI(M) leader comrade Ajit Sarkar who was later murdered in Purnea. He joined CPI(M) in 1990s, and later became a member of CPI(ML) in 2002 and began his life as a full time political activist. He will be remembered by his fellow comrades for his indomitable spirit, courage, dynamism and for taking timely political initiatives.
He could not recover completely after a heart surgery in January which ultimately led to his demise after a cardiac arrest.
He actively distributed party organs Liberation and Samkaleen Lokyuddh and himself was an avid reader of party literature. He is survived by his wife, who is an activist in Nurses' association, and a son and daughter.
We pay our tributes to the departed comrade and reiterate our pledge to carry forward the movement for which he remained devoted till his last breadth.
Red Salute to comrade Mahendra Sahni !