On August 19th the Indian Communist revolutionary camp commemorates the 20th death anniversary of legendary Comrade Darshan Singh Dusang who was one of the greatest torchbearers of the Indian Communist Movement. Few comrades shimmered the spark of Naxalbari with as much unflinching determination as Comrade Darshan Dusang. In the gravest circumstances, he never looked dead and buried and resurrected Mao’s thought like an inextinguishable flame. It is the duty of revolutionaries to resurrect the spirit of Comrade Dusang to enable new roses to bloom to wipe out the weeds created by Saffron fascist poison.

His life was a living example of the ideology where he traversed the stormiest of seas or the steepest of paths. At every juncture of his political life, he displayed mastery of Leninist dialectics.

This veteran joined the communist movement in the ’50s. In the second half of the 60’s he was christened in the communist revolutionary ranks who were holding high the banner of Marxism -Leninism-Mao-Tse-Tung thought. He originally belonged to a Bengal family who abandoned him as an orphan. The twists and turns or the vagaries of a journey of a man’s life shaped Darshan Dusangh’s destiny. He was picked up by a lorry driver on his way to Punjab who brought him up. He came back to Calcutta as a bad street vendor where he was unsuccessful. He returned to Amritsar Punjab where he was adopted by a family of communist ideology. Here he received his baptism within the communist ideology becoming a member of the Communist Party of India. He worked with the electricity board and became a communist part-timer. When the CPM was formed he joined it and was so popular that he was made to stand up as a candidate. However, soon he rejected his stature as candidate showing disdain for parliamentary politics and continued to do mass work amongst the workers and peasants. He refused the temptation of marriage within a rich family who would easily have adopted him as he was so handsome.

He abhorred the revisionist politics of the C.P.I. and C.P.M He launched a sustained political resistance against the revisionist politics of both these parties. He meticulously initiated mass work amongst rural poor and created a base to consolidate their struggles. His work inspired the Electricity, Transport and Bhatta workers. Soon he invited the wrath of the state who wished to eliminate him by framing him in ten murder cases.

During the Naxalbari, he played a great role, especially in the Doab region. He played a major part in shaping the practice of the C.P.I.(M.L.) He was falsely convicted in 10 murder cases

One day he was travelling on bicycle with fellow comrade Joginder Singh when the police launched a brutal attack Joginder Singh was martyred and Darshan Singh survived but only by the skin of his teeth. It is said that divine intervention saved Dusang with his body splattered by so many bullets. His leg was so filtered by bullets that it had to be amputated while 2 bullet marks remained on his shoulder till the very end. Dusang was dumped behind prison bars for a while before coming out on bail.

During the emergency he was arrested and faced severe torture in jail, with other political detenues foisted under MISA. On coming out of jail he launched a major ideological war in the communist movement against the rightist trend by the Satya-Narayan Singh and Chandra-Pulla Reddy group which adopted the parliamentary path . He played a pioneering role in the formation of the Central Team of the C.P.I.M.L.With the precision of a surgeon he knitted a team of comrades to form a new party on December,1977. This group was one of the major torch-bearers of the practice of Leninist massline in ideologically combating the rightist and leftist deviationist trends. Tooth and nail Dusang defended strategy of ‘Boycott’ of parliamentary elections.

It stressed on the re-organisation of the 8th central committee of the C.P.I.M.L.Comrade Dusang defended Charu Mazumdar’s contribution with great firmness. However the errors of left adventurism of the 1969.C.P.I.(M.L.) were critically analyzed and he stressed that mass organizations and movements were indispensable. Comrade Dosang defended all the correct aspects of the theoretical line. With deep authenticity, he defended and practised the Leninist principles in relation to the functioning of mass organizations and the party. With hardness of steel he maintained the concept of party secrecy and displaying the skill of an architect guided correct practice of mass organizations . Dusang played a major role in shaping the practice of the Central Team C.P.I.(M.L.) defending the cutting edge of the Leninist party. No group originating from the original C.P.I.(M.L) made such a correct theoretical self-criticism as the Central Team organization. Even if it’s central organ ‘Liberation’ was relatively irregular compared to other ML groups, none so analytically or methodically defended the mass line. No organization made such an accurate analysis of the line and practice of other revolutionary groups. One most enlightening document was based on exposing the most un -revolutionary essence of the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in 1984. It’s central organ Liberation never published mass struggles or names of mass organizations in order not to mix the politics of the mass organizations with the party. The party weaved a set of mass organizations, particularly in the peasant and agricultural labour sector in Punjab.

Dusang had established a very close relationship with Mahendra Singh who was member of the central committee of the 1969 C.P.I. (M.L.) and later was one of the founding members of the Central Team group.

He fought against trends of soft-pedalling with Khalistani terrorism at the highest depth and inspired his party to launch some of the most daring retaliatory actions punishing Khalistani forces. His tutelage was an important factor in Journal Surkh Rekha being the most regular Communist revolutionary journal in India which was coming out as a weekly and the only Naxalite journal to be sold on the stands.

Dusang was a staunch supporter of the armed struggle being launched in Andhra Pradesh and Dandkaranya by the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.)Peoples War Group but strongly differed on the question of upholding nationality struggle and urban work with the PW group.

When several groups changed the stand towards principal contradiction and mode of production he tooth and nail asserted that the principal contradiction was still between Feudalism and the broad masses.

He supported reservations for scheduled castes much more critically than other Maoist leaders.

He insisted in re-establishing the 8th central Committee of the C.P.I. (M.L.) and did not recognize the 1998 C.P.I. (M.L.) Peoples War Party as the re-organized C.P.I.(M.L.)In the view of the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India(Marxist-Leninist)he lived his life as an outstanding personality of the Communist revolutionary camp. In spite of failing health he defended Marxist-Leninist-Maoist polemics with an iron sword as well as defended Comrade Stalin like a rock.

Theoretically he launched a tirade on groups like Central Re-Organization Commitee in the 1980’s which rejected the role of the Leninist party as the vanguard and claimed India was an ensemble of nationalities. In the 1990’s he differed with the stand of the erstwhile Party Unity and Peoples War groups on upholding nationality struggles of JKLF in Kashmir and ULFA in Assam.Dusang supported self determination of Kashmiri people but felt that forces like JKLF and not adopted proletarian revolutionary politics and not completely demarcated from imperialist forces.

Dusang differed with his organization Central Team merging into the Communist Party-Re-Organization Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist)on grounds of accepting “stages theory’ of T.Nagi Reddy and in this regard his view  was in conformity with veteran comrade Sunder Navalkar and thus deferred armed struggle. Arguably it was a travesty that he could never do true ideological justice to or recognize the contribution of T.Nagi Reddy or Harbhajan Sohi to massline.Ironical today with 40th anniversary of Punjabi magazine Surkh Rekha next month, it’s editor Nazar Singh Boparai adopts the same view on Nagi Reddy-HBS line terming it’s practice as ‘reformism.’

Dusang was always open to self-criticism as few comrades ever in making association with revisionist or defective trends within the revolutionary camp. He never hastened to point out his errors and with utmost relentlessness combated all negative trends within his organization.

The evergreen comrade was not directly assassinated by the State’s forces but morally was executed by them through the methods they tried to destroy his very backbone. The physical torture and suffering he endured over the years had taken the toll out of him and virtually dissipated his great reservoirs of energy. The manner he died was more painful or tortuous than the fast execution of a class enemy.

A massive martyr’s memorial meeting was held in his memory in his native village Khatkar Kalan in Phagwara district and a memorial commitee was founded in his name. Significantly it was attended by Comrade Sunder Navalkar of Mumbai, the founder of the Naxalite movement in Maharashtra and editor of Journal Jasood. The youth in his village vowed to tread comrade Dusang’s path.

In recent years regularly memorial functions have taken place in Village Dusang Kalan resurrecting the spirit of this valiant comrade. All the Communist revolutionary streams upheld his great contribution. A significant happening in recent times was the death of Mohinder Kaur on July 16th in 2019, who was Darshan Singh’s sister and partner in the Communist movement .Till her last breath she rekindled his spirit through her work and deployed every ounce of energy in preparing for memorial functions . Last year representatives from many sections of the revolutionary camp attended the annual commemoration gathering where the issue of fascism was touched upon.

Today such a figure is greatly missed in the Communist revolutionary camp with Neo-fascism of the Hindu saffron variety reaching a crescendo and threatening the very existence of bourgeois democratic institutions or the Constitution. Under the pernicious influence of post-modernism the Communist revolutionary movement is too being infected by anti -Leninist deviations which Dusang would have confronted like a boulder withstanding a gale. No doubt he would have been a great admirer of the C.P.I.(Maoist) and the movement in Dandkaranya but arguably opposed evaluation of Brahmanical fascism .Dusang would have countered anti-Leninist tendencies at their very core. I have no doubt that Dusang would have countered at the very core anti-Leninist tendencies which give a new meaning to ‘Maoism’ from what the Communist Party of China prescribed in 1969 under Chairman Mao. I also have no doubt in my mind that at its strongest point he would have confronted Sikh nationality politics in Punjab. This trend is predominantly gaining voice in the Communist revolutionary contingent in Punjab today with pro-Maoist sections joining hands and Akali Dal and other Sikh forces.Dusang could have played the role of an architect in steering a consolidated anti-fascist movement of a proletarian revolutionary path demarcating from identity politics which is so predominant in the revolutionary camp in India today. Above all his relentless spirit could have played the role of a fulcrum in the re-organization of the Communist party today, with it’s forces fragmented.

Harsh Thakor is an independent writer Email-thakor.harsh5@gmail.com


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