Monday, October 3, 2016

ML Update | No. 40 | 2016

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.19 | No. 40 | 27 September - 3 October 2016


Reject Jingoism and Communal Hate-Mongering 

In his speech at Kozhikode, Modi dialed back some of the war-mongering rhetoric of his party colleagues on Uri, but nevertheless intensified the theme of crude anti-Pakistan jingoism. BJP leader Ram Madhav had recently demanded that India 'avenge Uri' by taking 'the whole jaw in exchange for a tooth.' BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy declared that India should be prepared for a nuclear war to wipe out Pakistan even if 10 crore Indians died as a result. Modi avoided the immediate announcement of a war on Pakistan, instead boasting about India's victory over Pakistan in the war on poverty and underdevelopment. Subsequently he declared that "blood and water cannot flow together", and announced his Government's plans to restrict river waters to Pakistan.

The announcement on river-water sharing is a clear indication that "strategic restraint' is the last thing on the Government's agenda. Restricting water to a neighbouring state in retaliation for a militant attack is a war by non-military means, one that targets the civilian population of the neighbouring country rather than just its military. Moreover, such restrictions would require expensive dam construction that would result in massive displacement and increase the dangers of flooding in Kashmir.

Modi taunted the people of Pakistan on the fact that Pakistan supposedly lags behind India on economic and social indicators. The fact is that there is very little to choose between India and Pakistan: both countries perform badly when it comes to the social and economic rights of citizens or the respect for human rights and civil liberties.

Meanwhile, the main Opposition party, the Congress, has only indulged in competitive jingoism, calling for a joint session of Parliament to "declare Pakistan a terror state." Such competitive jingoism can only further vitiate the political climate in the country.  

The war-mongering and shrill anti-Pakistan rhetoric are served up by the BJP for domestic political consumption, but in terms of diplomatic impact, such rhetoric is ineffective. At the UN General Assembly, hardly any other country shared or endorsed the Indian rhetoric against Pakistan. The countries courted so desperately by India have all preferred to keep aloof from endorsing, let alone echoing India's position on Pakistan. Not long ago, Modi became the first Indian PM to avoid a NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) Summit that had been postponed for his own convenience – a move that underlines India's own growing isolation from most other developing countries and much of global opinion. There is no substitute for effective bilateral diplomacy between India and Pakistan – war-mongering and jingoism or attempts to get the US or Western powers to intervene can never be effective.  

In his concluding remarks at the BJP's National Council meeting at Kozhikode, Modi made another speech in which he revealed his own and his party's attitude towards Muslims. Quoting Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay, he said Muslims should not be rewarded or rebuffed, they should be "refined/purified." Instead of treating Muslims as "vote banks," he urged that they be treated as "our own."

Modi's defenders have tried to claim that he meant that the Muslims should be 'empowered.' But a reading of Deen Dayal Upadhyay's own writings can leave us in no doubt that by invoking Upadhyay, Modi was in fact consistent in his communal hate-speech towards Muslims and his commitment not only to making India a 'Hindu Nation' but achieving 'Akhand Bharat' (Undivided India) by annihilating Pakistan.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay, in the Panchjanya dated 24 August 1953 wrote a piece on 'Undivided India.' There, he declared that the "separatist and anti-national attitude of the Muslim community is the greatest obstruction to Akhand Bharat. The creation of Pakistan is the triumph of this attitude. Those who have doubts about Akhand Bharat feel that the Muslim will not change his policy. If this is so, then the continuance of six crore Muslims in India would be highly detrimental to the interest of India. Would any Congressman say that Muslims should be driven out of India? If not, then they will have to be assimilated into the national life of this country. If this assimilation is possible (of Muslims) within geographically divided India then it won't take long for the rest of the geographical territory to assimilate with India." But, argued Upadhyay, this assimilation required a rejection of the hitherto prevalent policy of 'Hindu Muslim unity.' Instead, he declared, "If we want unity, we must display Indian nationalism which is Hindu nationalism, and Indian culture which is Hindu culture. We must adopt it as our guidin6g principle."

It is clear from the above quotation that when Deen Dayal Upadhyay called to 'refine' Muslims, he was calling upon Hindus to take up the challenge of changing the "anti-national" attitude of Muslims in India and in Pakistan too, and "assimilate them" into Indian nationalism which is Hindu nationalism! Assimilating Muslims with Hinduism and assimilating Pakistan with a (Hindu) India are central to the RSS ideological and political project.     

In his theses on 'Integral Humanism' also, Upadhyay displayed the communal mindset of the RSS when he approvingly quoted RSS founder Golwalkar as saying that "It is observed that Hindus even if they are rascals [in] individual life, when they come together in a group, they always think of good things…. [But] when two Muslims come together, they propose and approve of things which they themselves in their individual capacity would not even think of."

In an article in a November 2015 special edition of the Rashtra Dharma magazine founded by Upadhyay, Modi's Culture Minister Mahesh Chand Sharma wrote an article on 'The Muslim Problem In Deen Dayal's Eyes." In this piece he claimed that Upadhyay advocated the "political defeat of the Muslims" and the "political defeat of Pakistan" as a "solution" for the "Muslim problem": "Political defeat will end his [the Muslim's] aggressive attitude and he will return to his original Hindu nature." Can this leave us in any doubt that when the RSS, PM Modi and his Culture Minister call for 'refining' or 'purifying' Muslims, they are calling for "ghar wapsi" – for a return of errant Muslims to their "original Hindu nature"? When they call for the political defeat of Muslims, do they not mean a defeat of Muslims' aspirations to enjoy equality and dignity as Indian citizens?  

Today, the BJP and RSS are, in the name of anti-Pakistan jingoism, stoking hatred and violence against minorities and Dalits inside India. This jingoism and hate-mongering must be decisively rejected and defeated, and India must pursue effective diplomatic efforts to resolve pending issues with Pakistan.     

Memorial Meeting For Comrade Swapan Mukherjee in Delhi

A memorial meeting for Comrade Swapan Mukherjee, the founding General Secretary of AICCTU, was held in Delhi on 23rd September 2016 at GPF auditorium. The meeting was called by All India Central Council of Trade Unions of which he was Vice-President at the time of his demise and also the editor of Shramik Solidarity (central organ of AICCTU in Hindi) since 2005.

The meeting was conducted by Santosh Roy, Delhi state secretary of AICCTU. A tribute to Comrade Swapan Mukherjee was presented by Rajiv Dimri, general secretary of AICCTU. Leaders from various central trade unions attended the meeting and shared their memories of Comrade Swapan and his importance to trade union and left movement and in forging unities in the present juncture when Sangh Parivar's corporate-communal offensive on democracy and workers' rights is increasing.

Comrades Swadesh Devroy from CITU, Harbhajan Singh Sidhu from HMS, DL Sachdev from AITUC, RK Sharma from AIUTUC, Animesh Das from IFTU, Birju Nayak from Mazdoor Ekta Committee and Raju from INTUC were the leaders of central and other trade unions who paid tributes to com. Swapan.

Many worker comrades of Delhi who felt a close relationship and had rich long experience of working with him shared their memories of Comrade Swapan. Comrade Swapan's role had been instrumental in the initial years of making of many AICCTU affiliated trade unions in Delhi where he was also involved in educating many young activists who are now senior leaders in their Unions. The former general secretaries of DTC Workers' Unity Centre (the union in whose formation com. Swapan played leading role in mid 80s) Vidya Singh Shukla, NM Thomas and Rajesh (the present GS); Jagnarain Singh from IPSS Mazdoor union (one of the oldest unions among security guards in Delhi in whose functioning com. Swapan was involved quite actively) and Com. Rooplal, senior party member who worked with com. Swapan since 80s paid their tributes.

The cultural team Sangwari sang revolutionary songs in the meeting which ended with the singing of 'International'.

Saamaajik Parivartan Yatra in Bihar

From Bihar to Gujarat, the struggle for the liberation of Dalits and poor continues!

The Bihar state unit of CPI (ML) gave a call for a 'samaajik parivartan yatra' (journey for social change) from 5 to 15 September in the entire state to strengthen the movement for people's dignity and rights. The yatra culminated in the form of People's Convention organized during the 10th state conference of the party in Sasaram.

Several leaders of CPI(ML) and RYA from Bihar had participated in the Dalit Asmita yatra from Ahmedabad to Una from 5 August to 15 August. The voices for liberation of Dalits and poor are in unison from Bihar to Gujarat. On 5 September, the yatra started in all districts of Bihar.

In Patna, CPI (ML) PB member Com. Amar flagged off a rally on 5 September.  the yatra started from Bhagat Singh Chowk which was led by the state secretary of AIARLA, Com. Gopal Ravidas, Peasant leader Kripanarayan Singh and others. Addressing a meeting at Bhagat Singh Chowk prior to the yatra, youth leader Com. Abhyuday said that today in continuation to the increasing assaults on minorities, brutal assaults are also being increasingly unleashed on the Dalits. There is a concerted and a frenzied attempt to impose the Manusmriti and establish a Hindu Rashtra. In the name of 'Make in India', an open invitation has been extended to imperialistic foreign companies to loot. A large section of the people today is rising against this attack. In Jehanabad, Com. Ramjatan Sharma, Com. Ramadhar Singh and other leaders led the yatra and also addressed various public meetings during the course of the yatra.

In Shahabad, the yatra received tremendous support from the people. During the yatra numerous nukkad sabhas and rural sabhas were organized in the villages where the party is leading various struggles and also other villages and a dialogue established with the people. During these meetings, the party leaders said that this yatra is being taken out to organize people for the struggle for the dignity and rights of people and against the communal frenzy. In Bhojpur, during the yatra the leaders gave the call to strengthen the struggle for social change for an equitable society of the dreams of Bhagat Singh, Dr. Ambedkar and Com. Ram Naresh Ram. During the yatra several young CPI(ML) leaders and actvists like Raju Yadav, Manoj Manzil, Ajit Kushwaha, and others held numerous sabhas which were enthusiastically joined by students-youth, workers and farmers and women and a dialogue established between all. On 15 September this yatra reached the historic Lasadi Shaheed Mela where peasants and workers had fought a heroic struggle against the British rule and hundreds of people were martyred. Addressing the sabha in Lasadi, the party leaders said that different state and central governments formed after independence have betrayed the dreams of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the independence struggle as even after nearly 70 years of independence, social discrimination and inequality continue.

During the yatras, the activists brought to the attention of people increasing assaults on Dalits and minorities and the recent incidents in Begusarai, Muzaffarpur, Nawada and others. An uprising against this slavery had begun in 1967 in Naxalbari. Later the Bhojpur movement organized the most oppressed and deprived sections of the society into a formidable political force. This is the reason why Dalits and poor had to face brutal oppression at the hands of feudal criminals, however the Bhojpur movement refused to bow down. Today, on similar lines, struggle of Rohith Vemula is in front of us and the Dalit movement in Gujarat is demanding land for Dalits. Today we can see the same movement building in Gujarat which is being fought in Bihar since several decades and finding an echo in both states.

Samajik Parivartan Jan Sammelan

On the occasion of the inauguration of 10th state conference of the Bihar unit of CPI(ML), a 'Samajik Parivartan Jan Sammelan' (people's convention for social change) was organized on 19 September in Sasaram. The convention was addressed by CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha, Rajaram Singh, General Secretary of AIPWA, Meena Tiwari and other leaders.

Addressing the convention, Com. Dipankar said that prior to the coming for the conference the 'Samaajik Parivartan Yatra' taken out in entire Bihar has worked to carry this message to the villages that the echo of the revolutionary struggles being fought in Bihar are also being heard in Gujarat. The entire country needs liberation from forces like BJP and in Bihar where the government was formed in the name of opposing BJP, the same Nitish government is also consistently oppressing Dalits and the poor. No good of Dalits and poor can come from even a government like the one in Bihar today. The BJP and the sangh brigade are pushing the entire country towards the path of slavery. In economic and international fronts, this government is tailing the USA. It is forming laws like GST and entering military deals by trading the country's sovereignty. On the other hand, within the country, it is trying to impose a new series of social slavery on Dalits and minorities. Brutal atrocities are being unleashed on them and we must strengthen the struggle for change against this. He also said that where on one hand those like RJD leaders Shahabuddin who is considered a synonym for terror and crime, are being released on jail, on the other hand, leaders of people's struggles like the MLA from our party Com. Satyadev Ram and the RYA national president Com. Amarjeet Kushwaha are still being kept in jail on false charges. The release of Shahabuddin is only a continuation in the series of acquittals by Patna High Courts of the killers in Bathe-Bathani-Mianpur. Shahabuddin is openly claiming today that it was only with an aim to end forces like the CPI(ML) that he took the side of the feudal forces. Bail of such people must be immediately revoked.

Com. Dipankar said that the oppression is continuing in Kashmir and pellet guns are being used to kill innocent Kashmiris. This conference demands that instead of military action on the people of Kashmir, the government must take steps towards a political resolution and take forward the process of serious deliberations on the same. On one hand the government claims military strength and yet it is unable to provide security to the army jawans. He said that this was the 50th year of the Naxalbari movement. It is only by walking on the path of Dalit liberation that Naxalbari had shown that a complete social transformation is possible.

Meena Tiwari in her speech said that at a time when the Nitish government is harping on the liquor ban implemented in the state, we must recall that it is here, on the land of Sasaram that our party leader Com. Bhaiyaram Yadav gave his life while taking on the liquor mafia. Which liquor ban is Nitish Kumar talking about given that liquor factories are still operating in Bihar. Dr. P.N.P. Pal said that the stream of Dalit movement that has been going on in Bihar is today illuminating the entire country. The unity between the left and Ambedkarites is an extremely welcome step.

Rajaram Singh said that from the murders of Dalit CPI(ML) leaders Com. Mahesh Ram, Com. Rampravesh Ram and Com. Garo Paswan by BJP supporting feudal forces in Begusarai to the incidents like urinating in the mouth of Dalit youths in Paru in Muzaffarpur, these show the surrender of Nitish government in front of lumpen feudal forces. Com. Rameshwar Prasad said that the Nitish government's claims of social justice stand exposed in the light of brutal oppression unleashed on students demanding scholarships for Dalit and poor students and the steps like stay on reservation in promotions in government jobs. He emphasized on the urgent need to strengthen the struggle against feudal-communal BJP-Sangh forces and also against the anti-social justice of Nitish-Lalu government that has insulted the mandate it received in 2015 elections.

Lucknow Police Prevents Dharna to Protest Against Misbehaviour Against AISA Leader by ABVP

On 2 September, during the All India General Strike, ABVP goons had misbehaved with AISA leader from lucknow University, Com. Pooja Shukla who was participating in a dharna in the university premises. Though an FIR was lodged in the case against the accused, there has been no action initiated either by the university administration or the district administration. On 18 September a protest was called by AISA against this inaction. However, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's police stopped AISA and other mass organisations to organise a dharna in the GPO park. There were clashes between the activists and the police. As the police prevented the dharna, the activists raised loud slogans against the sangh brigade and also the Akhilesh Yadav government for refusing to act against the misdeeds of sangh's mass organisations. Prevented from holding the dharna, the activists continued to raise slogans and took out a march to expose the inactions of Akhilesh Yadav government against sangh's lumpenism.

Jan Daavedaari Rally

A 'Jan Daavedaari' (people's assertion) rally against increasing assaults on the Dalits and minorities in the country and in solidarity with the Dalit movement in Gujarat, was held by the Koderma district unit of CPI(ML) in Jhumri Talaiya. The rally that started in Jhumri Talaiya bus stand and culminated in the form of a public meeting at the Jhanda Chowk. The rally was led by district secretary Mohan Dutta and former MLA from CPI(ML) Vinod Singh. Hundreds of people from Jainagar, Domchanch, Markachho, Chandwara and Koderma blocks participated in the rally. Among the participants, a large number comprised of women construction workers. The protestors raised loud slogans against cow-protection vigilante groups and the BJP governments at the state and centre under whom the assaults on Dalits and minorities have increased. Addressing the public, Com. Vinod Singh said that the Modi and Raghuvar governments were working to destroy agriculture in order to protect the interests of the corporate companies. At a time when struggles are building against revisions in CNT and SPT acts, the government is resorting to newer ways of displacing people such as in the name of wrongful settlement. Recently in Ramgarh two innocent workers were shot dead. He urged people to strengthen the struggles against the oppression unleashed by the government and to take forward the ideology of the party among the Dalits and poor.

Left Parties Protest in Delhi against Spread of Chickengunia, Dengue and Malaria Epidemic

The seven left parties in Delhi CPI, CPI (M), AIFB, CPI(ML), RSP, SUCI(C) and CGPI organised a demonstration outside the Lieutenant Governor's office to protest against the spread of Chickengunia, Dengue and Malaria in epidemic proportions due to administrative negligence. While the epidemic is spreading rapidly, the response of the local bodies, state government and the government at the centre has been of lack of concern and blame game. The health facilities in nation capital are highly inadequate and unaffordable. A delegation comprising representatives from left parties also met the Delhi LG to apprise him of the situation and urge him to ask the MCDs led by BJP, the Delhi government and other authorities to focus on addressing the challenge at hand and fight against the spread of these diseases.

Hunger Strike For Flood Affected People's Relief

In the Maner block in Patna district, dozens of villages along with the Mahavir Tola Primary School were washed away in the floods in Ganga river and the villagers had to found shelter in the schools in Maner. AIARLA national president Rameshwar Prasad, member of the district committee Com. Poonam Devi along with other leaders visited the flood relief camps and found that the government has not made necessary provisions for the flood victims. There was no milk available for the children and no provisions for fodder for animals. The leaders asked the BDO of Maner to make immediate arrangements for the same. Observing no improvement in the district administration's response, peasant leaders Ramkumar Singh and Rameshwar Singh sat for an indefinite hunger strike beginning on 29 August. The support of the flood victims and the zeal of the agitators forced the Maner BDO to visit the site of the strike on the 4th day of the indefinite fast and announce from the podium that the victims will be speedily rehabilitated and the compensation for the lost crops and relief amounts will soon be paid. The hunger strikers broke the strike only after a public announcement of these assurances. The struggle ensured relief for these villages and has also generated an enthusiasm among the masses.

Construction Workers Conference in Uttar Pradesh

The first state conference of Construction Workers in Uttar Pradesh was held in Darulshafa Hall in Lucknow on 18 September. The conference was attended by construction workers from nearly 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh. The key demands raised during the conference included-  fixing a minimum daily wage of Rs. 600/- for construction workers; providing them housing; provisions of tin sheds, drinking water and toilets at the labour sites; and an employment guarantee Act like MNREGA for ensuring employment for urban workers. The conference was chaired by state AICCTU president Com. Hari Singh and the chief speaker was state AICCTU Secretary Anil Verma. The conference was also addressed by AICCTU national councillor Premlata Pandey. The construction workers delegates presented their views in the conference and elected a 33-member state council and an 18-member state executive. Com. Surendra Prasad (Lucknow) was elected as the president and Com. Kamal was elected as the secretary. Three vice presidents and three joint secretaries were also elected.

Construction Workers' Demo in Puducherry

On the 26th September, the Puducherry state unit of AICWF conducted a massive demonstration in front of Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. AICWF demanded Rs 7000/- as Bonus to all workers enrolled in the welfare board.

The demonstration was led by S. Balasubramanian, All India President of AICWF, P. Murugan, State Secretary, Urushothaman, State Secretary AICCTU, S. Mothilal, Vice-President AICCTU, CPI(ML) leader G. Palani and M.A. Akbar, State Vice-President of AICWF. These leaders addressed the demonstrators and put up many important demands of construction workers including Rs 9000/- pension to all, compensation of Rs 5 lakhs to the wards of construction worker who met with fatal accidents and Rs. 3 lakhs in case of natural death of a worker, Rs 5 lakhs as housing grant and 26 weeks maternity leave to women construction workers.

Hundreds of construction workers took part in the militant demonstration. A memorandum was sent to the labour Minister of Puducherry.

District Conference of Kisan Mahasabha in Mathura

The first district conference of Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha was held on 4 September in Baajna in Mathura in which nearly hundred representatives from Baajna, Baldev, Nandgaon and Farah regions participated. The conference began by paying floral tributes to the martyrs. In the inaugural address, Com. Nashir Shah informed about the anti-farmers policies of the government and also the prevailing national and international situation. State committee member of RYA, Com. Saurabh gave a call for defeating casteist and communal forces and keeping ahead the interests of farmers and the poor through people's struggles. Com. Rakesh Verma presented the conference report. A 15-member district executive was elected.


Com. Narayan Ji Shukla

Com. Narayan ji, a member of the CPI(ML)' s Gonda district unit passed away after a prolonged illness on 19 September 2016 in Lucknow's PGI hospital. Born on 10 May 1937, Com. Narayan completed his Master's degree in Philosophy and also obtained a degree in law. He soon started practising law in Gonda. He became associated with CPI(ML) during the 80's and continued to remain associated to the party till his last. Besides fighting cases for the poor at nominal cost, he also stayed together with workers, farmers and oppressed sections in their struggles and provided leadership in several struggles.

He was a leading activist of the erstwhile Indian People's Front (IPF). He also served as the president of the Gonda Bar Association. A multilingual and an ever smiling comrade, his home remained a shelter for party activists. He remained active on several fronts of struggles, be it the workers struggle in Gonda or a struggle being fought on other people's issues.  He also served as a state committee member of PUCL. Com. Narayan was also a poet and a thinker. He played an active role in 'Pahchaan', a literary-cultural forum founded in 1982 and in 2002 a collection of his songs, poems and gazals, titled 'Kaal ke vaksh par' (On the chest of time) was published.

On 24 September, a memorial meeting was organised for Com. Narayan by left organisations which was addressed by CPI State Council member Deenanath, CPI(M) District Sec. Rajiv Singh, AIPWA leader Sita Singh, Aanganwadi workers' leader Deepa Tiwary, and others. CPI(ML)'s veteran comrade Awadhesh Kumar Singh shared his memories and works of comrade Narayan Shukla. All those present resolved to strengthen and carry forward the left movement.

Red Salute to Com. Narayan ji Shukla!

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