Today the state of Punjab is hit with an agricultural crisis with the Green Revolution making superficial or cosmetic   reforms. No way was the essence or base of feudalism hit with money lenders and commission agents still in the fray and dalit labourers still denied their rightful share of 1,3rd panchayat land. Remunerative prices promised have not been paid to farmers who were forced to borrow loans who incurred unbearable debts. A great section of the landed peasantry has turned landless. The Dalit agricultural labour is still denied plots, 100 days employment in a year. The 1970 land ceilings act has been violated which restricts any farmer from owning more than 30 acres of land. Only the rich peasantry has been a beneficiary of the Green revolution with the agricultural labour and poor peasantry pauperised. Peasant suicides are simply an everyday affair. Unemployment and price rise has reached a height never attained before. No doubt Imperialism has most extensively permeated the agricultural sector and capitalism but fundamentally semi-feudalism is the predominate phenomena.

Since 2012 I have visited Punjab on an average 3 times year and witnessed the outstanding mass revolutionary movement of various streams and have met most of the mass revolutionary leaders of the peasant, agricultural labour and student organizations. I particularly thank leaders like Narinder Kumar Jeet(Lok Morcha,Punjab) Sukhdev Singh Khokri(secretary-BKU-Ugrahan), Laxman Singh Sewewala and Zora Singh Nasrali(Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union office-bearers ) Pavel Kussa(Surkh Leeh) and Nazar Singh Boparai(Surkh Rekha) to make this work possible. I have solely covered the trend backed by the T .Nagi Reddy line or group.

The Communist revolutionary influence has played major role in shaping the masss democratic movement which is divided into various streams. Of these the most predominant is the one toeing the line of T.Nagi Reddy which is the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India (Marxist Leninist).In 2nd place quantitatively is the C.P.I. (M.L) New Democracy followed by the C.P.I. (Maoist) trend which is marginalized. The C.P.I. (M.L.) Liberation has now capitulated to the camp of revisionism even if has a mass influence. The trend of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) defends the cutting edge of a party but strives for mass organizations to maintain their distinct identity from party organization ,opposing imposition of party politics. It upholds that the party should only work as fractions within the mass organizations and not prematurely attach mass organizations to them through joint programmes. It is a staunch opponent of open party functioning under the party banner. Even if it gives guidance or influences practice of a strong mass movement, the mass organizations mantain that they are in not attached to any revolutionary party and mantain an independent structure. Still no doubt the Nagi Redy line has played a major role in shaping the struggles inclined to the mass line .No revolutionary group has displayed such dialectical theoretical clarity or in balance so correctly practiced relationship of a party with a mass organization.

A remarkable phenomena in recent times in Punjab is the manner the mass movement led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta  (Ugrahan) which has been able to galvanize the optimum potential in the farmers movement .Its formation itself was a culmination of a series of political struggles to thwart the Sikh Communal trend and confront the ruling class parties with the day to day demands of the peasantry. The organization had its genesis in the BKU (Ekta) which earlier defined new chapter in the struggle of the landed peasantry to build a sustained secular, struggle-based movement. This year on January 20th we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the police firing in Jethuke which also was of historical significance.

The organized secular struggle of what was originally the BKU(Ekta ) sowed the seeds of the birth of the BKU(Ugrahan) in 2002.The historic Jethuke protest was a major turning point. after a police firing martyring many comrades. No stone was left unturned in combating Sikh fundamentalist ideology, trends of Maoist forces who wished to impose party politics. and parties which wished to convert it into an election front. The political body of the organization was carved out with after a consistent and protracted struggle at level of ideology and grassroot work against the Sikh or Khalistani ideology of BKU(Lakhowal)and all other ruling class political trends

On my over 20 visits to Punjab I have been a witness to the deep democratic depth of functioning and the manner in which activists on their own initiative wage struggles. Today the B.K.U.(Ekta-Ugrahan) is the strongest peasant organization In Punjab which normally constitutes about 75% of the participants in the major revolutionary force’s gatherings or rallies. It has built units in Faridkot,Moga, Bhatinda,  Faridkot, Sangrur, Mansa and Barnala..Mainly it is based in the Malwa region.

No organization of the landed peasantry in India has hit the ruling classes and their allies with so much intensity or embarassed them as much as the BKU(Ugarahan)It will exhaust the entire energy from me just narrating the countless occasions it has struck the rulers. It has adopted meticulous planning like an army. The massive upsurge it is leading against the agricultural laws established by the BJP is a perfect illustration or testimony of its determination and skill.

It tooth and nail opposed being converted into affront or mouthpiece of any political trend including the Maoist one and defended it’s entity as an independent body.

The organization is of the firm view that semi-feudalism persists in Punjab and capitalist relation shave not been fully developed. It launches most of its struggles challenging dictates of MNC’s or Corporates but mantains that the base of opression is feudalism.

Most of the rallies or conferences it stages are in joint fronts as a competent but it has been the most dominating or influencing force in channelizing the spirit of resistance.

Important victories have been won in winning compensation for families of farmers who have committed suicide. and in confronting Corporates like Trident from capturing land.

With intensity at a crescendo struggles were launched against commission agents for cancellation of re-payment of debts .On an average for partial or economic demands it mobilizes around 10-15000 peasants and for political issues around 4000.

At peak in rallies commemorating centenary of Bhagat Singh or protesting suicides and fighting for loan waivers it has mobilized upto 50000 persons. Remarkably in protests condemning repression in Kashmir it mobilized around 10000 persons and also in protests against NRC-NPR.I was most impressed with the numbers of woman who comprised the contingents and the youth.

It was also a revelation witnessing its painstaking methods to leave no stone unturned in creating required political education and relating the slogan sand posters in articulate consonance with the day to day burning issues. With the organization of an architect they select areas to mobillize through preparatory conferences. Patient persuasion is much more predominant than coercion.

Great efforts are made to give solidarity to the struggles and demands of the agricultural labour community which mainly comprises Dalits.In all the rallies and programmes of the Punjab Agricultural workers Union it sends cadre team to protect them.

On a regular basis local Commitee conferences are staged inducting new members and consolidating. In great depth it has strived to build united front concept with other oppressed sections be it agricultural workers students, industrial workers or govt.employees.

At the very core it condemns the Sikh separatist ideology of the Akali Dal and has not truck with any communal Sikh Organization. It also adheres firmly to democratic functioning of mass organization by initiating no joint programme with any political party .It refrains from organizationally participating in progarmmes which are not coherent with the level of political consciousness of the peasantry.Neverthless it conducted significant qualitative participation in rallies opposing Operation Greenhunt like no other group .

During anti-NRC -NPR protest it mobilized over 5000 persons in Delhi was was remarkable. In the protests opposing Black laws or arrest of Urban Intellectual sit mobilized around 10-15000 people .

One of it’s most memorable programmes are the commemoration meetings it stages for martyred Vice president Sadhu Singh Takhtupura in his native village where at peak 17000 people attended.Coincidentally in March it was the10th martyrdom anniversary of Takhtupura,who played one of the most defining roles in the building of the organization.

In the moral sense it won the greatest victory achieved by BKU (Ugrahan) in Gobindpura where it overpowered and ousted the notorious Trident group displaying the spirit of an army defying all odds. I must also mention here the historic protest it launched confronting the police in Jethuke after a police firing which carved a permanent niche in history of political movements.

Today the B.K.U.(Ekta-Ugrahan) is the strongest peasant organization In Punjab which normally constitutes about 75% of the participants in the major revolutionary force’s gatherings or rallies. It has built units in Faridkot,  Malwa,Moga, Bhatinda,  Faridkot, Sangrur, Mansa and Barnala.

The biggest force amongst the landless labourers organization is the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union about 1/4th the size of the B.K.U.which has secured important victories for the landless labourers in terms of plots and rehabilitation schemes. It is active in Muktsar,Bhatinda,Faridkot,Moga Jalandhar.

One of the most impressive features in recent times have been peasants preventing political of ruling class parties from speaking like in Raikakalan and Badiala in January 2016.Also displaying the courage of any army battalion it has been able to confront police barricades with intensity at a crescendo .Even when the administration has enforced prohibitory orders for assembly heroically the Ugrahan group has defied the authorities .Chandigarh in April 2018 is one of the best examples where inspite of a huge police contingent 20000 peasants marched in like paratroopers.Over the years it has conducted a series of rallies and conferences statewide and districtwide,the latter near the District collectorate office and carried on for prolonged periods .

During election campaigns from 2004 itself it has been a major contingent in the portrayal of the revolutionary democratic path and the massline in contrast to organizations that participated through setting up candidates or gave slogan of ‘Boycott.’Painstaking preparations were launched for the election rallies in Barnala in 2012 ,Bathinda in 2017 and Bathinda in 2019.I myself was a witness to a total of 17000 mobilised in 2012 ,12000 in 2017 and 10000 in 2019 with around 75 % consisting the activists of the BKU(Ugrahan).Nowhere in India has there been such a democratic revolutionary projection during elections or practice of mass line. It narrated politics in total consonance to the burning day to day issues of the people and in level with their political consciousness.I just cant forget the trucks leaving Bathinda in 2019 in May raising slogs defying the rulers,as though a new spirit was infused into them. Such gatherings elevated political consciousness of people to its zenith and confirmed the superficial nature of the campaigns of Communist revolutionary streams who deployed tactics of ‘Active boycott’ or ‘participation in parliament’ which blunted the people’s consciousness. They also helped bridge the gap between the landed peasantry and dalit agricultural labour.

The B.K.U.(Ekta Ugrahan) staged rallies in Nathpur, Malouka and Selbrah on 23rd January for Pagdi Sambhal election  conference in Barnala in 2012, where I was present..The speakers stressed the need for the landed peasants to wage a protracted struggle against usury, cancellation of debts, opposing corporate seizure of lands etc.They also stressed the need on uniting with the landless peasants. They also described the historic struggles in Gobindpura against land seizure and how the stealing of several crores from the peasantry was prevented. Janda Singh Jethuke stated that with a contingent of only 500 people several crores stolen was recovered and that a sensational impact would have been made if thousands of peasants had participated.

Some significant struggles in recent times have been launching a 50 day siege of Bathinda city From May 2016-July, a joint protest with Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union in 2014 in February where the administration was hit in it’s very power .An impactful struggle was lodged against a bank commiting a fraud through issuing blank cheques. Significant solidarity was also initiated to the repression faced by the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Commitee in 2016 against the killing of Gurdev Kaur and arrest of important leaders.

In joint fronts it made a major impact in a new chapter or shape given to the peasant movement in Punjab from October  23rd 2015 in 40-50 places with a series of rail rokos creating impact of a tornado on issues like waivers, cancellation of debts, compensation to families of suicides, destruction of cotton crop, heavy dues for growing sugarcane etc To communalize the situation various books of the Guru Grant Sahib were paced in Gurudwaras in a discriminatory manner to divide people on religious lines .The peasants combated this tendency projecting secular alternative .A protest took place in Kotakapure city against the sacrilege.

Jhanda Singh Jethuke of BKU-Ekta (Ugrahan)gave examples in 2017 Raj Badlo Samaj Badlo rally of some of the instances where peoples struggles triumphed like in Gobindpura,Faridkot,Mehelkela,Channa Pind and stated that the peasantry displayed it’s enormous potential in fighting for genuine revolutionary democracy He also gave an example of a victory of a suicide compensation in Bathinda.In Mansa 152 acres of land was awarded to the peasantry.
He related how totally in Punjab 94 crores compensation at 2 lakhs per head was won by the peasant families whose members commited suicide and how 140 acres of land was won which had been seized by the corporates and politicians. He called on all sections of people to consolidate the unity prevalent amongst all democratic section sof the people..Kanwaljeet Khana covered the issue of the repression and discrimination or marginalisation of the dalit labourers and community as whole.

An event of notable significance was it’s involvement in the joint protest against the arrest of BKU(Dakaunda) leader Manjit Dhaner and securing release. In the conference in Barnala almost 5000 persons participated Its functioning is an abject lesson for the movement nationwide in galvanising mass combat forces .It has confronted trends of sections like Kirti Kisan Union or BKU(Dakaunda) or BKU)Krantikari) soft-pedalling with ruling class factions or opportunist groups in national rallies like in 2018 .Although offering moral support Ugrahan refused to formally join the farmers front of the All India Kisan Sangharsh commitee .

During the lockdown period the BKU(Ugrahan) jointly with the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union  conducted a sustained proganda and relief campaign. A front of 16 organizations representing every strata of society be it peasants, agricultural worker,govt employees ,doctors, students or industrial workers was formed. Over lakhs of quintals of grain were distributed as well as medicines and kit bags. The activists at the very backbone exposed the negligence of the Central and state govts in providing relief promised and for so ruthlessly enforcing the lockdown. Examples were narrated of how people were victimised through losing means of earning livelihood and numerous instances when they faced police harassment. In depth speakers summed up the connection between the anti-people socio-economic system perpetrated by semi-feudalism and such epidemics.

At 80 hospitals protests were lodged against neglect of relief. From 23rd to 30th May in a cluster of villages the effigies of the state govt were burnt with participation of over ten thousand people in 300 places.

In June supporting a platform of Industrial workers in 56 places in 16 villages held demonstrations exposing the anti worker policies of the Modi Govt.with 6000 people participating. The protest was prompted by the suspension of labour laws by some states–especially, the U.P. government, which brought a draconian ordinance – making 38 labour laws defunct with one stroke. Sixteen mass-organisations decided to support the demands of the nation-wide protest by organising mass-protests throughout the state, co-ordinating these actions with those of the Joint platform of Central Trade Unions and even holding joint demonstrations wherever the trade union leaders agreed to two conditions of sixteen organisations — one, that no leader of any political party will speak from the stage, only trade union leaders will; two, sixteen mass-organisations would air their differing views from the stage, albeit, in a positive form.

On 12th of May, P.M Modi declared a so- called relief-package of 20 lakh crores– that was more of a loan package than a relief package, as it offered some facilities to some sections of getting loan from the banks and did not give them anything as a relief. The 16 organizations expressed strong conviction in countering the propaganda of Modi  and initiated a plan to counter it.From 3rd June to 4th June sit-in demonstrations were lodged at 11 district headquarters, 18 tehsil headquarters, and 8 offices of the electricity board with participation of 4000-5000 people per day. During these sit-in demonstrations the speakers strongly condemned the anti-people policies and the decisions of the Modi government. They explained that the slogan of one country, one market did not “free the peasants from slavery” as P.M. Modi explained it; rather it amounts to giving full freedom to the big private players to enter the rural market and loot the peasant crops at will.

At this point of time BKU(Ugrahan) is igniting the spark of resistance confronting economic neo-fascism which is literally strangulating the peasantry and oppressed classes ,like very few organizations on the entire globe. In the time of the bandh it played a most predominant role in affront of 31 organization sin galvanizing ever possible force to embarrass the ruling classes and their allies in their very backyards. Rarely in history of India has a rail roko depicted so much intensity in hitting imperialist dictated policies at the very core. With the heroism of an army it defied the prohibitory orders of the rulers gheraoing warehouses of Adani and malls owned by Reliance group. It is also in the very belly creating tremors in the camp of the Hindutva fascist BJP party by gheraoing offices of their leaders.Thus to this day it is waving the banner of extinguishing imperialism at a crescendo, i igniting a spark at the hardest points.

However in my view still certain flaws are inherent in the movement. There is insufficient integration with the movement of the Dalit agricultural labour and analysis of the caste factor. No doubt the mobilization of poor landed peasantry is praiseworthy but still a united front has not been forged with the landless labour to create grounds of agrarian revolution. There is also a tendency to place too much emphasis on feudalism and underestimate the influence of Imperialism and capitalism on the feudalism prevalent. Activists of the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Commitee feel that it has not received the required assistance in their struggle from the BKU(Ugrahan) .In certain revolutionary quarters like the C.P.I(M.L.) New Democracy and the Maoists a view prevails that Ugrahan is displaying economist or rightist tendency. However I do not adhere to this as I feel the organization is doing whatever is most apt in accordance to the situation prevailing. I defend Ugrahan’s mass revolutionary and creative approach but still feel there is excessive planning and centralisation.

A very important phenomena has been the integration of the BKU(Ugrahan) with the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union which organized landless agricultural labour. The programmes they have jointly undertaken have played an important role in sharpening the mass political movement through wedging the gap between the Landed peasantry and the landless agricultural labour. Thus it has consolidated the anti-feudal struggle on the practical plane.

Although not as strong as the BKU(Ugrahan) the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union has undertaken some of the most painstaking and qualitative work. In recent decades .Through methodical struggle it has waged many a battle for agricultural labourers being awarded plots. It has confronted upper caste or ruling class politicians at the very base in preventing land being auctioned at exorbitant rates or seizures.

In Doaba region of Punjab the P.A.L.U.after a determined struggle succeeded in getting residential plots .In Muktsar district, the repeated attempts of an influential wealthy family in evicting a number of labouring families from a piece of land was foiled. A similar occurrence took place in Jalandhar district where an Akali leader’s attempt to grab villagers land was foiled.

An example of heroic anti –feudal resistance led by the P.A.L.U was in Ferozepur district where 2 agricultural labourers were tortured to death by a cruel landlord. The landlord spent lakhs of rupees in bribing the police and the media. The Union carried out massive processions, blockading of police stations, holding up traffics, surrounding district courts Etc.At every stage the Union had to battle it out with the police and civil authorities.

The last significant form of struggle the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union waged was against medieval service conditions of farm labour. Peasants in Punjab often die of pesticide poisoning. The Landlords refuse to pay for the peasant’s illnesses .In one example of the death of a contract labourer in Bhagtuana village the landlord not only refused to pay the treatment expenses, but also pressurized the labourer’s family in paying the dues. He even threatened to confiscate the labourer’s cattle. The Union challenged this. Through militant struggle the peasants prevented the landlord from gaining a single penny.

In Various districts in Punjab the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union has carried out alternative flood relief. The so-called social welfare schemes were exposed. Numerous cases concerning yellow cards, house grants and flood relief were settled. Corruption of authorities was exposed.

Lastly the Union played a great role in the election campaigns in exposing the nefarious ruling class politics. The Union explained the anti people policies of the state and how the people were enslaved through Imperialist policies like globalization. Rural labouring sections rose up like a tornado in the “Long Live the Revolution Rally!” The Union played a great role in enhancing their political consciousness.

No agricultural labour class organization can mobilize around 5000 agricultural workers like the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union in rallies. I was most impressed with the mobilisation of over 5000 participants in a rally of Organizations of a front defending dalit rights in Bathinda in April 2018 and in a debt cancellation conference in Bathinda in January 2018.

Most consistently it has undertaken grassroots work in Mukstar,Lambi and Malout areas and very regularly at district headquarters all over Punjab staged 3 or 5 day protest dharna son the burning issues. Recently in 2020 it also held its state delegates conference reviewing its work and re-electing district committees.

During election state level programmes it has mobilised around 5000 people in 2012.2017 and 2019.Earlier it played a very predominant role in the success of the election campaign sof 1998 and 1999.

In the recent months it organized an important protests against the Micro-finance corporations who were grabbing the land of agricultural labour through a 3 day district level dharna,which significantly mobilised many women .A sustained campaign was also launched  against the rape of a dalit girl Khiwali in Mitri village in Sewewala.It resulted in the raid of the hose of PMKU Secretary Laxman Singh Sewewala.An organized protest secured his release but 2 culprits have still not been brought to the book.

Without doubt the PMKU has strived to create a base for agrarian revolution by methodically working but in my view has not placed sufficient importance on studying the caste factor or its impact in class struggle as other revolutionary organizations. The main problem the P.M.K.U faces is shortage of leaders as their activists are burdened by economic problems. and their cadre do not possess sufficient political consciousness. It has not sharpened the polarisation for land captures to sharpen agrarian movement through initiating land captures from upper castes like the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh committee or the Karntikari Pendu Mazdoor Union.

The Naujawan Bharat Sabha and the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Prithipal Singh Randhawa) are also sizably weak but in recent times are attempting to re-organize.

Mainly it is active in Bathinda,Sangrur and pockets of Malwa region.Agitation shave been launched in colleges in Bathinda and Sangrur on issues of opposing repealing of scholarships for dalits and fee rises.

In a very subtle manner in adherence to the current situation it is knitting a organization resurrecting the practice of late martyr Prithipal Singh Randhawa.,who was the embodiment of the mass line of the movement in the 1970’s.

They have brought out a printed booklet on the history of Punjab Students Union, narrating how his line and practice was distinct from other trends. At district level in Moga,Sangrur and Bathinda it held memorial meetings for the late Student leader. In Alisher, Butala Kalanand Khudala Kalan village in Sangrur and Teachers home in Bathinda in 2019 it initiated a campaign summing the life and contribution of  Randhawa.A march was held in Sangrur .Speakers summarized Prithipal’s organizational methods towards mobilising broad masses and stressed on the need of students to integrate with the struggle of the peasantry and workers and how the semi-feudal economy was increasing  disparity.

Even if numerically the membership is small in the student and youth fronts it is poignant that a high proportion of participants in mass democratic programmes comprise the youth. The forces of PSU (Shaheed Randhawa) and NBS have also played a big role in solidarity to the movements of peasants and agricultural labours as well as the organized protests for self –determination of Kashmiri people, NRC-NPR and against agricultural ordinances recently. Qualitative protests were also launched against framing or ‘Urban Naxalites.’

On the democratic rights front the democratic Front against Operation Greenhunt has played a vanguard role in steering forces against the fascist onslaught on the tribal people and other oppressed sections. A series of conventions were staged in Moga and Barnala addressed by prominent intellectuals like Ajmer Singh Aulkah, Arundhati Roy and even Vara Vara Rao in recent times.

What was most impressive was the mass democratic approach revealed .attacking the state repression at the very base and connecting it to the oppression and class struggles of the day to day lives of the common people. Around 4000 persons attended such gatherings compressing all sections.

The most impressive showpieces of joint front protests staged were against blacklaws and arrest of ‘Urban Naxalites”which mobilised over 50000 persons in protests .Qualitatively thhe best achievement in this respect was the Chandigarh protest mobilising 12000 persons staged in September 2019 which was a perfect manifestation of the revolutionary democratic spirit and depth of organizational consistency prevailing in Punjab. In terms of magnitude the state wide protest against NRC-NPR in Malerkotla in February 2020 was truly phenomenal with almost 1 lakh persons attending the gathering. During the lockdown with heroic spirit a joint front protest was staged condemning the capture of Vara Vara Rao,Anand Telbtumde,Sudha Bharadwaj and other urban intellectuals  in July.

A historical event in shaping the Movement in Punjab was the formation of the Lok Morcha in March 1996, as a revolutionary mass political platform to sharpen the revolutionary movements.It played a major role as a fulcrum to the large mass political movement.Howver it has been relatively inactive in the last decade.

The Lok Morcha has also been revived to an extent which when initially formed in 1996 was a pivot or rallying force of the mass revolutionary struggles. Major qualitative assemblies have been staged in Bathinda,Mansa,Faridkot and Barnala on issues of State Repression in Kashmir ,Opposition to NRC-NPR laws,and agricultural bills.

Historically in earlier phases’ the Lok Morcha had mobilised 12000 people for its inaugural conference in March 1996 and mobilised the largest political forces for the election rallies of 1998 and 1999.jointly with the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. A significant role was also played in 2012 Pagdi Sammelan election campaign. In the whole nation no mass political platform sharpened revolutionary political alternative or projected it with such intensity and quality as the Lok Morcha Punjab. In May 2019 it conducted a joint programme on the national elections projecting the revolutionary alternative in Barnala which had great qualitative impact even if only attended by around 2000 persons.

On the mass political level I cannot leave out a mention of the Commemoration at Rajjeana in November 1994 of Bant Singh Rajeana to commemorate the Naxalbari martyrs of Punjab.12000 people were mobilised for the gathering who virtually understood how naxalbari politics related to the oppression of their day to day lives for the 1st time. A separate leaflet was printed for the landless labourers and the landed peasantry.

The main criticism of the revolutionary camp on the practice of mass organizations inclined towards the Nagi Reddy line is that they practice reformism and economism and refuse to take up the political cudgels .In view of Lok Sangram Morcha,Inquilabi Kendra  or C.P.I.(M.L.) New Democracy they boycott mass political forums on political issues and only advocate such fronts to be  a forum of intellectuals. Such groups fail to understand that today mass organizations have not reached the level of consciousness of Communist revolutionarily politics and by becoming members of such fronts their is political imposition. In commemorating Naxalbari 50th year or Russian revolution centenary the Nagi Reddy trend asserted that platforms should be made of intellectuals and not involvement of mass organizations, who would give token participation.

I would adhere that there is a weakness in agrarian revolutionary movement with not enough galvanisation of the dalit agricultural labour or integration with the jat peasantry. Arguably a single peasant organization should be formed comprising the landed peasantry and agricultural workers. There are also insufficient platforms through which the politics of the revolutionary party is projected. Some posters have been printed by the C.P.RC.I. (M.L.) with dialectical projection of mass line, particularly in time of Elections. However now they have become scarce. Statements have not also come out for long in mass paper ‘Surkh Leeh’which were frequent before.

Still I have no doubt that any Marxist or revolutionary democrat would recognize that the Tarimela Nagi Reddy trend represented by the C.P.RC.I. (M.L.) in Punjab has made a crystallization in mass revolutionary line which will remain a permanent chapter in the annals of the Communist movement. Arguably in no region in India is such a mass revolutionary practice taking place as the movement in Punjab under it’s influence.  I have no doubt that the merger of the Central Team of the C.P.I. (M.L) with the Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India into forming the C.P.R.C.I (M.L) 25 years ago was a historic turning point.

STRUGGLE FOR CORRECT TREND IN THE BHARATIYA KISAN UINION (EKTA)

This trend focused on building the struggle-activities on basic and burning peasant demands, and introducing political consciousness in the union I accordance with the level of the peasants actual activity and experience. While al the political forces were free from their independent platform to influence peasants politically, the experiences acquired by the peasant masses ion struggle would be crucial to their being able to absorb any such political propaganda. In Contracts the wrong trend made the union unction as a propoganda based organization. Through joint actions with other political platforms, they attempted to politicize the peasant masses.

The correct trend was reflected in the Jethuke struggle (A historic turning point) in January 2000 where the correct trend was applied to combat repression, resulting in pole firing. It also withstood and defeated the repression, and won certain repression-related demands o achieve the original aim s of the struggle. Thus the correct trend strived to build an alternative practice. Similarly in he mass gherao of land mortgage bank in Rampura,no arrests were made of defaulting peasants. Burning issues of the peasantry wee highlighted. Following this the struggle for paddy procurement reflected several similar features. The followers of he correct trend worked in selected pockets, where they had significant base, to set up types of struggle which would influence a broader section of peasants.

The major line of demarcation between the correct and wrong trend was felt by the peasantry on the handling of the issue of peasant indebtedness to usurious commission agents. The 2001 agitation against the Sandoha suicide where a sustained struggle was launched is an appropriate example.

The participants in the correct trend linked the political struggle with the concrete class Struggle. They implemented the militant mass struggle alternative in practice like in Jethuke, the paddy procurement struggle,the Maiserkhana struggle Etc.The burning problem of peasant indebtedness was handled impeccably by he correct trend. A do-or-die spirit was inculcated and the ranks understood the correctness of the line.

The organizers of the correct trend were able to mobilize the maximum ranks in the inner-organisational struggle. They also did not inculcate discipline mechanically and took the consciousness of the majority of the ranks into account.

Himmatpura Struggle

The turning point in defeating the wrong trend was in Himmatpuraon April 28th..It comprised of 250 leading activists from 10 districts. In the first session all the deeds and propaganda of the ruling classes was exposed.I the 2nd session, a teacher described the role and record of the leadership of the correct trend. This teacher concluded that the work of the Union inspired him to leave the job full –time and work for the Union. In the 3rd session, anyone could speak from the flooor.Several activist volunteered to become full time participants.

The followers of the correct trend called or a Kisan council.1950 peasant activists were invited for he Kisan council, including 2 each from 720 village units,7 each from the Unions 58 block committees,7 each fro the Union’s 12 districts and 9 office bearers of the State Committee. In preparation for he council; district committee meetings ere held in all districts. In these meetings the contents of the Himmatpura meeting was explained.

There was major struggle between the State leadership and the activists of the correct trend. Earlier the Sangrur Committee had opposed the correct trend activists. The State leadership had also refused the holding of the Kisan council. The activist held the council meeting opposing the state leadership.Sukhdev Kokri was removed by the leadership. Finally after a meeting held on May 18 th by the activists of the correct trend Sukhdev Kokri was re-instated.

The Kisan Council was held on May 21st at Talwandi Sabo.Of the 1950 qualified to participate,I the Council 1359 participated. Peasant activists participated from 36 blocks,in which the correct trend prevailed.

After the Kisan Council a state conference was held at Jethuke on June 8th.Here the 2 trends were differentiated and the real issues prevailing demarcated. It was revealed how the leaders of he wrong trend were not prepared for struggles on burning issues. Infact they boycotted the struggle against Usury. The wrong trend worked overtime o block the correct trend and if elections were democratically conducted would be swept away and the correct trend would triumph.

The conference elected a new state committee. A call was given for statewide demonstrations, on various demands.

The wrong trend projected an action committee including ruling class parliamentary opposition parties.

IMPORTANT MASS STRUGGLES

Here I am compiling my reports and notes on some of the most notable struggles or events representing massline .I must assert that the leaders or activists of the mass organizations covered stress that in no way are they a front organization or attached to any Communist revolutionary group.

BKU(EKTA) PROTEST IN JETHUKE AGAINST POLICE FIRING

In recent years at Jethuke village in Bhatinda district the Union launched one of the most daring protests in the history of Punjab. Jethuke had been a strong center of the peasant movement, being a center of agitation against the Princely States as well as the movement of surrendering crop shares to the landlords. In the 2nd World war the Jethuke villagers opposed conscription in the Army.

In 1999 there was a major protest against bus fares of private bus operators and their illegal action.4 villages joined the agitation. The Villagers first surrounded the private buses. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate ( S.D.M.) now conceded to the villagers. The operators were now forced to deposit Rs.1000, per day to the S.D.M.The bus operators were now compelled to show the people the basic rates. However the operators didn’t implement this getting the district transport officer transferred.

The authorities had always resented the B.K.U agitations. Previously the Union had agitated to get electricity transformers replaced. Secondly they agitated forcing the authorities to purchase the peasant’s paddy. The 3rd agitation was surrounding a land mortgage bank. The peasants had been unable to repay the loans as a result of Crop Failure.

As a form of protest the villagers boycotted the buses and decided to start a trolley service After this was carried out the police arrested the trolley and took the occupants to the police station. In Protest the villagers surrounded the police station but later demonstrated in the town blocking the buses, and later occupied the railway tracks. However the authorities disagreed to show the basic rates and calculate the fares accordingly. The Union activists started blocking the roads. The police resorted to lathi charge. Showing great intensity and death defying courage the people resisted the might of the police. Groups of people formed self-defence barricades.

Contingents of people were formed consisting of 10 to 50 people. During that time giving no due respect to the law. The police assassinated 2 landless peasants in cold blood Gurmeet Singh and Daspal Singh were picked up on their way home and shot dead in their houses. The police arrested the father of Daspal Singh and beat him They forced him to put his thumbprint on black pages. A Communist Party of India M.P. had found live cartridges in the house of the victims which was proof that the firing had not taken place during the blockade.

The police prevented villagers from attending the cremation ceremony. A religious commemoration ceremony was to be held for the 2 martyred peasants. The revolutionary activists of the Lok Morcha and the Punjab Agricultural workers Union organized secret meetings persuading villagers to attend the commemoration .On the day of the commemoration conference the police blockaded the place heavily. At various checkposts they deployed their forces.

The people valiantly resisted like a flame burning in their hearts. They raised slogans like “Martyrs, We will defend your thought, Bombs, Guns cannot defend ordinary people, Don’t look to the government, Organise your own self –defence. Speakers demanded judicial Inquiry into the killing of the peasants, Payment of Rs 5 Lakhs to the victim’s families. Thousands of people thronged in protest like a streams branching into a river. Showing indomitable courage the peasants had reached the venue of the Commemoration ceremony. The peasants simply rose up like a tornado against the iron forces of oppression.

During the mobilization campaign to defeat the authorities it was propogated bythe correct trend within the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta to

1.Make the biggest possible Groups of men and women in each village to lead the mobilization campaign.

2.To Continuously analyse the problems affecting the mass participation in the Campaign.

3. Expose that the police have their weaknesses although they seem menacing and to encourage masses to capitalize in the Chinks in the armour of the Police.It was explained that the Police also had defensive tendencies which was a feather in the cap for the revolutionary masses to display revolutionary Agression.

4. Project Every Advance in the Movement in other villages of the areas in other areas of B.K.U.Ekta influence.

5 Propogate the ironic determination of the leaders of the B.K.U. especially the jailed leaders.

6. To explain the need to organize and Struggle and the relationship of the State with the people.It was explained that the masses had to combat the armed might of the stage’s armed Forces with most militant confrontation.

7.To link this struggle with imminent peasant Struggle against the debt trap area.
Demonstrations were carried in many places around the State apart from Bhatinda District where the firing Occurred.In Bhatinda Jail the arrested B.K.U. leaders in the jail premises condemned the firing addressing 80 prisoners.

FEBRUARY 2014 PROTEST IN BATHINDA

For 7 days from February 12t to 19th the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan)on landless and landed peasantry in Punjab literally created a tornado in Punjab. It was reminiscent of a spark turning into a Prairie fire.

It will be written forever in the annals of the revolutionary democratic movement in Punjab and arguably nowhere in India have we witnessed such a mass upsurge of the peasantry.

What was remarkable was that inspite of facing an official ban their protracted relentlessness forced the administration to allow their protest for demands. It speaks volumes of the leadership and cadre of these organizations who put painstaking work in redressing the basic issues of the broad peasantry. Since the dharna finished in Bhatinda on February 19th the struggle has continued in pockets of Punjab, district-wise.
The struggle received support from huge sections of the people. The activists made their own kitchen and even prepared food for the entire team on the venue.

Indebtedness and acquisition of lands were major problems faced by the peasantry It demanded 2 lakhs of compensation to agreived families, in the case of suicides,along with a govt.job to one member of such families. In February 2014 the BKU (Ugrahan) and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor union with full mobilization, organized a sit in for six long days and on the 7th morning the secretariat’s office of Bathinda was blocked. The administration conceded to demands of indebtedness, promising to distribute 96 crore rupees in cash within 2 days to 4800 aggrieved families and distribute 150 plots to agricultural labourers. In Punjab in the last month the landless and landed peasantry in Punjab literally created a tornado in Punjab.

On February 20th government conceded the demand for plots for the landless peasantry but has yet not implemented the demand. At local and district levels the agitation continues like a red lamp continuously burning.

The important demands were
1. Demanding compensation for 200 familes in Gobindpura region
2. Giving compensation to families where peasants commited suicide amount of 5 lakhs instead of 2 lakhs given.4,800 familes have not received compensation,yet.
3. immediately release money for compensation
4. Oppose auctioning of land
5. oppose debiting system and law where merchants extract debit.
5. implementation of land reforms and awarding plots of 100 sq ft.to landless peasants.
The 2 significant results of this agitation were that the demands of paddy crops, land reforms and struggle against money-lender exploitation were launched and the bridge between the landless(basically scheduled caste and landed peasantry was reduced who have different demands.Instead of partial demands now basic demands were highlighted.

JOINT BKU(UGRAHAN) AND PMKU CONFERENCE IN MOGA IN 2014 SEPTEMBER

On September 17th, 2014 one of the biggest ever gatherings ever took in the revolutionary peasant movement, in the Moga district in Punjab. It was jointly held by the Bharatiya Kisan Union-Ekta(Ugrahan) and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. About 18,000 peasants mainly of the B.K.U.assembled at the venue swarming in like a shoal of fish. This gathering has important significance to the revolutionary peasant movement in Punjab which is facing the wrath of repression.

The main demands voiced were:

  1. Opposing of all drugs and drug promotion policies encouraged by the Punjab state govt. Thousands. Thousands of youth have become victims of drug addiction which has received the patronage of the ruling class Akali govt.
  2. Opposing water pollution. Today the lakes and rivers are infested with the pollution from factories of imperialist and ruling class creations which protect the vested interests.
  3. Implementation of the land ceiling reforms act and distribution of surplus land. Today 16 lakh acres of land remain surplus.
  4. Opposing goondaism.Today several instances of politicians inciting gangs to intimidate common people is a frequent occurence.The politicians deploy goondaism as a tactic to succeed.
  5. compensation of 5 lakhs each to familes with peasant suicides. Today the govt has only given one lakh.

6.awarding plots to dalits or agricultural labourers which were promised.

HEROIC 50 DAY AGITATION OF FARMERS IN BATHINDA FROM MAY-JULY IN 2016

For an unprecedented 50 days the BKU(Ugrahan) besiegeD the headquarters in Bathinda voicing the democratic aspirations of the peasantry. Basically it highlighted waiver of debt of farmers and compensation to suicide of victims. It literally caused tremors in the camp of the administration confronting them at the very core. Below I am reproducing a report from the tribune news in July 2018.

From May 24 to July 11 at the park in Bathinda in front of the district administrative office over demands, including compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to suicide victim families; survey of suicides from 1990 onwards; release of motor connections to farmers on government expenses; and full compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to farmers who faced damage to the cotton crop following the whitefly attack around 12000 peasants launched a protracted resistance.

Other demands included making laws in favour of farmers instead of corporate houses or arhtiyas; Rs 40,000 as compensation for the damaged wheat crop due to fire caused by short-circuit of wires as a few farmers whose crop was burnt had reportedly committed suicide; round the clock electricity supply ahead of the paddy season; quashing of false cases against the protesting farmers; compensation to those injured or dead during farmers’ agitation; and implementation of the Swaminathan report as farming is becoming a non-profitable profession.

“Farmers, countering police efforts to foil their plan of agitation, today crossed barricades and entered into the park in front of the District Administrative Complex to launch their three-day protest. The farmers raised slogans against the government.

The police had cordoned off the area on GT Road to stop the farmers from entering into the park where they had earlier staged a protest for more than a month over their long-pending demands.The farmers started the three-day protest at all district headquarters from today.

However, the police failed to prevent the farmers, who stopped the traffic on the other side of the GT Road.On July 12, more than 200 farmers in the district were rounded up and later released by the police when they were on their way to enter the city and join the ongoing agitation on the 50th day.On the 50th day of their agitation, the farmers had proposed to stop their agitation for a while but they could not protest then.

Again, they have started their protest over their demands, including waiver of debt of farmers and compensation to families of suicide victims.

The farmers will sit on round the clock protest till July 28 at the district headquarters.
Shingara Singh Mann, BKU Ugraha Bathinda president said, “Earlier, we announced that we would stage a protest on July 26, 27, and 28 at the district level but the police, in an undemocratic way, stopped us from staging peaceful protest this. However, their attempt was foiled. Our Constitution gives us the right to assemble peacefully and protest.”

The farmer leaders claimed that due to continuing debt rise among the farmers, about 15 to 18 per cent of them had become landless, either doing labour or farming on contract.

“It’s an official data that in the last many years, more than 4 lakh farmers have turned landless. But we had earlier conducted the survey in a few villages of Bathinda, including Poohla and Kotda, where we counted that about 15 to 18 per cent farmers had turned landless. They are either forced to do labour or other work or they do contract-based farming. Due to failure of crops, many committed suicide,” the leaders said.

“The land for farmer is everything, but the increasing debt has taken away the land of farmers. Farming is no longer a profitable occupation, rather farmers have to face losses and debt burden,” the leaders added.Yesterday, the police cordoned off the area on GT Road to prevent the farmers from entering into the park where they had earlier staged a protest for nearly 49 days. However, the police failed to prevent the farmers, who crossed the barricades and entered into the park to launch their protest.

The farmers will sit on protest till tomorrow.

Shingara Singh Mann, BKU Ugrahan Bathinda president said, “We will give a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner tomorrow, on the last day of our protest. We earlier announced that we would stage protest on July 26, 27 and 28 at the district level but the police, in an undemocratic way, prevented us from doing so.”

“Earlier, we had protested from May 24 to July 11 at this park over our long-pending demands that include waiving of the debt of farmers and farm labourers, who are unable to pay their loans; paying of compensation of Rs 5 lakh each immediately to suicide victim families; survey of suicides from 1990 onwards; release of motor connections to farmers on government expenses; full compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to farmers who faced damage to the cotton crop following the whitefly attack; making laws in favour of farmers instead of corporate houses or arhtiyas; Rs 40,000 per acre as compensation for the damaged wheat crop due to fire followed caused due to short circuit of wires as a few farmers whose crop was burnt had reportedly committed suicide; quashing of false cases against the protesting farmers; compensation to those injured or dead during farmer agitation; and implementation of the Swaminathan report.” Tribune News Service

WOMENS DAY PROGRAMME IN BARNALA ON MARCH 8TH BY BKU(UGRAHAN)

One of the greatest events in the history of revolutionary movement of Punjab took place at Grain market in Barnala district commemorating International Women’s day on 8th March in 2018 which I was privileged to witness..25000 peasants shimmered the torch of liberation today in Barnala fruit market to extinguish the forces of darkness in Bku ugrahan karza mukti rally like a huge army.

Half of the 25000 participants comprised of women which also speaks volumes of the work of the peasant organization. With intense concentration the participants heard the speeches and vociferously shouted slogan son the conclusion on each of them like lightning and thunder burning in their hearts.I was most impressed with how the speeches dealt with all the peasant and women problems at their very root and dialectically related the problems faced by women with that of the broader peasant movement

CONFERENCE IN BARNALA ON SEPTEMBER 27TH COMMEMORATING SHAHEED BHAGAT SINGH

On 27th September  in 2016 the Barnala grain market was literally illuminated with the light of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.The participants thronged in swarming like beas reminiscent of a small band of soldiers turning into a huge army. or a stream turning into an ocean. One of the greatest gatherings ever in the history of Punjab commemorating Shaheed Bhagat Singh took place at the grain market in Barnala on Tuesday September 27th.The venue was literally illuminated with the torch of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.The People thronged reminiscent of a stream turning into an ocean. The success of the conference was a tribute to the painstaking grassroots work of the youth in spreading the message of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in contrast to what the ruling class parties propagate.
Significantly 7000 of a total of 11000 participants comprised of the youth and about 4000 participants comprised women. The speakers were Naujvan Bhrat Sabha convenor Pavel Kussa,Punjab Khet Mazdur union secretary Laxman singh Sewewala,B.KU.(Ugrahan ) secretary Joginger Singh Ugrahan and the daughter of late comrade Gursharan Singh ,whose contribution to the revolutionary cultural movement was immortal. The speakers emphasized that only with the involvement and struggle of the youth can the landed and landless peasantry emerge victorious in the struggle for emancipation. They elaborated with day to day examples of how the ruling class parties like Akali Dal and Congress wee villifying the great comrade’s name by distorting his ideology
They linked the political ideology of Bhagat Singh with the day to day class struggles and issue like suicides, payment of debts, gaining of plots for dalit labourers,minumum wages etc

Although not present the author spoke to comrades Pavel Kussa,Sukdev Singh Khokri and Laxman Singh Sewewla.The main theme of all the speakers was on the false model of economic development projected by the ruling government of Narendra Modi ,which was morally anti-people and practicing exactly opposite of what Bhagat Singh preached. The questions of unemployment, caste-repression and land distribution in their view must take Bhagat Singh’s perspectives into consideration.

Today the youth, peasants and workers all have many partial demands but only by converting them into the fight for basic political demands could liberation be attained. It is these very basic demands that Bhagat Singh fought for till his death. The political parties have all questions on their agenda be it unemploymernt or land distribution but simply make false promises to the masses.

The youth should expose the anti-people agenda of the govt in light of Bhagat Singh’s teachings. and formulate a pro-peole development model.
They all felt that the even was great succes and played an important role in instilling the political message of Bhagat Singh.What is important is that even the leaders like Nehru,Gandhi and Sardar Vallalbahi Patel betrayed Bhagat Singh in 1947.

Such a gathering will play a major role in inspiring the class struggles of the future .

What is significant is that the state elections were coming soon and parties like B.J.P,Congress or Akali Dal are doing everything possible to divert people from their real issues and making false promises.

Significantly Comrade Sewewal stated that only by the imbibing the lessons of Bhagat Singh and the political involvement of the youth can the dalit labourers be emancipated.

2004 JOINT PEASANT PLATFORM STRUGGLE.

In Punjab there was another famous peasant struggle of the landed section in May 2004during the election time. This was launched by the Joint Peasant platform( J.P.P..),in Punjab The J.P.P. came about by a period of joint activities between the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta –Ugrahan),which had its roots in the B.K.U(Ekta),through a process of re-alignment against the opportunist dominant leadership of the organisation.The second constituent of the J.P.P the Kisan Sang harsh Committee ,was a militant organization based mainly in the border district of Amritsar.The J.P.P rejected the stand taken by opportunist peasant organizations trailing ruling-class parliamentary politics. The leaders of such organizations project themselves as champions of the peasantry and hoodwink the peasntry.The J.P.P differentiated from peasant organizations that claimed that the election period was the wrong time to mobilize peasant struggle .as it is the fever of election period. and the peoples attention is focused on the elections.

The J.P.P made an analytical assessment of the political situation and concluded that the Congress govt.of Amrinder Singh aims to champion the New Economic policy to be blessed by the World Bank. Although repressive on the common people’s struggles the Akali opposition wishes to catch every weakness of the ruling Congress and expose them.

Patiala was the struggle center of the J.P.P campaign. This city housed the Punjab State Electricity board. In the first round campaign the road was occupied for 8 days by 3000 peasants This road, the mall, links the railway station, the bus stand, the state head office of the P.S E Bathe civil courts, the district and divisional offices of almost all the departments as well as a medical college and hospital. The mall looked like a battle camp of peasant fighters with scenes of numerous make-shift kitchens and dozens of vehicles decorated with flags and banners parked here and there. and a big conference tent.

From February 23rd thee was a militant demonstration everyday. The head office of the P.S.E.B was surrounded and blocked, the bus stand blockaded, the railway station blockaded for four hours on one day, and eight hours on the other. On February 26th solidarity was shown by the Electricity technical workers.The electricity workers had just had a huge state-wide protest against privatization of the P.S E.B.The Punjab Students Union(Shaheed Randhawa Group) also gave token solidarity as well as the Punjab Khet Mazdur Union and the Milkmen’s Union. A huge rally in solidarity comprising all these sections took place in front of the head office of the P.S.E.B.They all expressed their struggling unity with the peasants.

Seeing the rage within the people the government had to address the grievances and praised the masses that they would negotiate. When the head office was surrounded on 23rd February the secretary of the P.S.E.B met the peasant leadership and proposed an immediate meeting with the chairman of the P.S.E.B.

on Feb. 26thafter the long march of solidarity up to he P.S E.B head office the govt again agreed to negotiate. However, the peasant leaders, did not go to meet the ministers until the conclusion of the March. At the end of the March, the peasant leaders declared that they expected no positive outcome from the negotiations. They were proved correct. On February 29th a railroko was staged,for 4 hours on one day and eight hours on the other. The Chief Minister was so hard –pressed that he promised the following within 10 days.

a. Attachment and arrests of properties of debt defaulter peasants would be banned.

b.Payment of Sugarcane arrears to the peasants by the sugar mills would be made time bound.

C.Withdraw all court cases registered against a large number of peasant leaders and activists during various past struggles.

d.The Arrears of bills of electric tube wells would be settled once for all.

To expand and intensify the struggle a campaign was called to block the traffic at many places for 4 hours on March 24th.A leaflet was distributed and posters pasted in which all important demands were projected. A new series of mass meetings, rallies, and marches stepped up the campaign in widespread areas of the state. The Struggle action was major success and the ruling ministers were hard-pressed. An Irrigation minister said “We wanted to give free electricity to the peasants but the World Bank does not allow us to do so. ‘Rail Traffic had been blocked for 4 hours. And the event was reported on the front page of the newspaper.

On March 29th a call was given to block rail traffic in Amritsar district The Wheat crop I this district was late in ripening for harvesting.Thus,the peasants of this region, would not be engaged in harvesting and marketing their crops in the first half of April. About 3500 peasants(including women) started a sit-in in the rail tracks on a small station Manawala,a little away from Amritsar.The Chief minister deployed a police contingent to clear the rail line. The deputy Commissioner of police started talking with the peasant leadership, but simultaneously deploying greater police force against the peasant barricade. The administration had just pretended to negotiate to divert the vigilant peasants on guard.

Now Hundreds of policeman attacked the gathering from 2 sides. The peasant fighters ,quickly organized themselves in defence columns ,threw stones on the railway track and seized the lathis from the police. A war of Attrition too place and ultimately the police were forced to flee Several policemen were injured. A young peasant Angrej Singh was martyred. The following day, after concluding the 24 hour blockade ,the gathering marched to the village the martyr Angrej Singh in Bakipur.Thousands of people attended the cremation and a fire was virtually lit in all their hearts.

The Chief minister justified the police attack and accused the peasant leadership of backing out of the agreement made in Patiala. However he was shaken by the militancy. On the other hand the parliamentary opposition utilized this to win the affection of the masses and presented Rs one lakh to the family of the martyred peasant Angrej Singh. The present chief minter now offered 2 lakhs compensation to the family of the peasant martyr to rival the opposition and began to negotiate with the B.K.U(E) and the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti separately,so he could wedge a gap between the 2 organisations. He also stated that he would withdraw cases against activists .The mother of martyr Angrej Singh and the K.S.C rejected the offer of a separate negotiation.

Now the peasant organization gave a call for burning the effigies of the govt.on April4th,5th and 6th.They planned to commemorate the martyrs on7t April.
More than 5000 people participated in the ceremony. The administration attempted to thwart the big gathering by creating an atmosphere of terror in Gurdaspur and Amritsar.The peasants were commanded by the leadership to thwart the police checkposts which were set up on all routes to the ceremony.

In the conference the ruling class opposition parties who addressed the gathering were disallowed from using the platform to promote their vested political interests. The J.P.P was very particular that this platform should not be utilized for the projection of the politics and identity of any political party.

On April 29th a march was planned from the railway station of Manawala carrying the last remains of the peasant martyr.
On April 24th a Congress leader of Moga district sent a group of henchmen with a police party to a village, Macchike.They began to move the black flag from the peasant’s houses. The peasants resisted this and the henchmen and the police officer had to retreat. On the same day peasants of this area 50 or 60 musclemen of the Congress attacked a delegation of peasants who had planned a march of about 150 peasants riding 5 or 6 tractor trolleys. and intended to confront the Congress Candidate.

From the constituency with questions.The arms of the district president of the B.K.U(E) were fractured and 11 others injured.
The peasants were infuriated and next day blocked road traffic for 2 hours in 5 districts. Huge demonstrations were organized in Amritsar and Mansa Districts.
After a sustained campaign the govt agreed to

a. withdraw all false cases against registered peasants.

b.constitute a committee to clinch the issues of the arrears of electricity bills.

c.Payment of Rs.14 crore the same month as installment of arrears of Sugarcane payment to the concerned peasants.

d.Rs.50,000 to each of the 6 peasants injure seriously in the Manawala episode and Rs.25,00 to each of the 13 peasants injured in the attack.

E.Compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the family of martyr Angrej Singh

f.An extra amount of Rs 2.45 lakh to clear the debts of the family of Angrej Singh.

G.A permanent job in the office of Tehsildar to the widow of the martyr.
The 10 week campaign showed not only the fighting capacity, but the correctness of the struggle line and stand of the peasant leadership. They were successful to a considerable extent in convincing the peasants of the need for waging protracted sruggles.The force made such a prominent impact that all kinds of political forces had to take note of it and to respond to it in some form or the other.

A little after that after having been badly exposed Chief Minister Mariner Singh created a major political stunt to pose as a champion of the peasantry. He called a special session of the state assembly scrapping all agreements of sharing river waters with neighbouring states, and created a diversionary feeling towards other states ,blaming them for the water crisis. The J.P.P exposed this by calling a Lalkaar rally on September 13th in Chandigarh to expose Amarinder Singh’s diversionary tactics. The rally was preceded by an intense fortnight of mobilization campaign, including state-level and area-level meetings.

The Chandigarh rally was the biggest ever since 1990.A 14 point charter of demands was placed. The B.K.U(E) later led a great statewide peasant movement against the auctioning of peasant’s land in Chathewala village,Bathinda district. Despite mobilizing police from 7 districts, the govt was not able to block 5000 peasants from entering Chatewala.The peasants sealed the village from the police.From October 28th the State govt began a massive state-wide raid and arrested dozens of peasant activists, in the false pretext of maintaining law and order. Hundreds were arrested and 3major police attacks launched. The peasants wrote a glorious chapter in revolutionary history by organizing anti-repression struggle and mass resistance to arrests. What was significant was that thee was unprecedented participation of women.

Quoting a revolutionary Journal, the Comrade,” This 10 week campaign demonstrated not only there fighting capacity ,but the correctness of line and stand of the peasant leadership regarding countering the political offensive of the ruling class Election campaign and struggle of the peasants on vital isues.The peasant leadership explained the broad masses the futility of having expectations from the government and the need to defend their own interests and rights. By making the struggle component a major part of the campaign, they set up a road for the peasants to defend their rights. Due to integration of the struggle component with the political campaign, the peasant leadership had been successful in sending the message not only directly to the peasants but also to widespread sections of the people.’

“The campaign was to a considerable extent able to to explain a major section of the peasantry the fact that a militant and protracted struggle was required for fulfillment of important demands. Therefore any advance in the organized fighting strength and democratic consciousness of the peasants as a result of a particular struggle is more significant than the fulfillment of this or that political demand in that struggle. This experience has shown, that the development of the democratic mass movement reflecting the revolutionary orientation is the most vital factor for creating a base for unity among the broad masses of the people and among the advanced layers of he struggling masses.”

SAVE LANDS AGITATION AGAINST TRIDENT GROUP

In May 2005 the Punjab govt. acquired 376 acres of land belonging to 125 familie sofr 3 villages(Sanghera,Dhoula and Channa) Of Sangrur district. The land was given to the Trident Group of industries. A Sugar factory, a paper mill and a distillery was proposed., involving a total investment of Rs 2000 crore.The Trident group had usurped he land to earn super profits.It already had 2 plots of land adjacent .These plots occupied more than enough land required for he proposed industrial expansion. The Trident had set up a spinning mill in Bhatinda on cheaply acquired land, after some time they declared the mill sick and swallowed a large amount of govt funds for the rehabilitation of sick industry.

Finally the wound up the mill and earned a super profit by selling the land. The workers waged a protracted struggle against his action .No official notification was given to the official bodies and no N.O C was taken from the related deputy commissioner and land acquisition collector, nor shown to the affected peasants. Infact, the documents were secretly prepared in the office of the related land revenue officer. They attempted to safeguard any information of their policy to the peasantry even a day before he finalization of he legal procedure.In the end the licensed fire-arms of the villagers were seized by he police and pol ice forces were deployed in 5 districts, to forcibly seize the land. Peasants trying to resist this were arrested on false charges. No parliamentary party defended the peasantry. Infact the Trident House had bought over many a powerful politician.

The B.K.U(Ekta) headed by Joginder Sinh came into the picture.A “Zamin Bachao march was organised I the affected villages and the surrounding area.On February 7th 2006,peasants swarmed like bees upon the affected villages. A caravan of 150 ,4 wheeler vehicles carrying thousands of agitators assembled. A common Struggle committee of affected peasantry was formed to discuss their problems and take independent decisions. The committee was given the sole responsibility of dealing with the authorities. It was decided that the B.KU(Ekta)leadership would not intervene in such negotiations.

From March 19th a historic sit-in was launched before the court complex of Barnala.Thousands of men and women assembled in tractor trollies(along with a make-shift kitchen and stores of ratins)The masses had to bear he onslaught of police forces who wee heavilty deployed.Thus at 3 entry –points of the town,indefinite sit-ins were launched ,with he demands of the agitators projected. Several agitators were detained I local police stations, the tractors, make-shift kitchens, stored rations and sound system being confiscated. The next morning 600 selected Union activists and leaders were charged in false cases. The remaining ordinary agitators were released.

In protest gains the arrests, effigies we burnt in 60 places on March 20th.On March 22 nd effigies were burnt in 96 places., 56 places on March 23rd,and 86 places on March 24th.500men and women of he affected villages participated.The peasants of 2 of the villages risked oppression by going to burn the effigies on a highway road several kilometers away from their villages.

This was followed by a3day hunger strikeby the jailed peasants and by the affected families of he 3 vilages.Torchlight processions were carried out.3000 people assembled on the last day Another campaign was launched of harvesting the crops of the jailed peasants. Tht action greatly lifted the morale of the jailed peasants. The police repulsed this action supporting The might of the Trident group.

O March 30th Sarmukh Sinh Jethuke became a martyr in jail.He fell ill and became a victim of criminal negligence. Pro-peole mass organizations organized a protest meeting .The authorities were now placed on he defensive. The related subdivisonal officer attended the funeral rites and offerd a Cheque of 5 lakHs on behalf of the sate to the bereaved family. All the jailed peasants were released unconditionally..

STRUGGLE OF THE PUNJAB KHET MAZDOOR UNION

 

  1. In Doaba region of Punjab the P.A.L.U.after a determined struggle succeeded in getting residential plots .In Muktsar district, the repeated attempts of an influential wealthy family in evicting a number of labouring families from a piece of land was foiled. A similar occurrence took place in Jalandhar district where an Akali leader’s attempt to grab villagers land was foiled.

    An example of heroic anti –feudal resistance led by the P.A.L.U was in Ferozepur district where 2 agricultural labourers were tortured to death by a cruel landlord. The landlord spent lakhs of rupees in bribing the police and the media. The Union carried out massive processions, blockading of police stations, holding up traffics, surrounding district courts Etc.At every stage the Union had to battle it out with the police and civil authorities.

    The last significant form of struggle the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union waged was against medieval service conditions of farm labour. Peasants in Punjab often die of pesticide poisoning. The Landlords refuse to pay for the peasant’s illnesses .In one example of the death of a contract labourer in Bhagtuana village the landlord not only refused to pay the treatment expenses, but also pressurized the labourer’s family in paying the dues. He even threatened to confiscate the labourer’s cattle. The Union challenged this. Through militant struggle the peasants prevented the landlord from gaining a single penny.

    In Various districts in Punjab the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union has carried out alternative flood relief. The so-called social welfare schemes were exposed. Numerous cases concerning yellow cards, house grants and flood relief were settled. Corruption of authorities was exposed.

    Lastly the Union played a great role in the election campaigns in exposing the nefarious ruling class politics. The Union explained the anti people policies of the state and how the people were enslaved through Imperialist policies like globalization. Rural labouring sections rose up like a tornado in the “Long Live the Revolution Rally!” The Union played a great role in enhancing their political consciousness.

    Through the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Punjab Agricultural Workers Union a huge platform is being set for a major peasant revolt. One is reminded of the saying that a single Spark can create a Prairie fire. Under the leadership

    Struggle for residential plots in Lambi region of Muktsar

    In Muktsar district in Lambi sub-division in the assembly constituency of Prakash Singh Badal,president of the ruling class Akali Dal party, owns hundreds of acres of land.The contradiction between feudal landlords and the masses are acute.
    To gain votes in the election the joint Akali-B.J/P govt announced some so-called welfare schemes for the scheduled castes of the rural areas. These schemes included a free plot from the village common land and a house building grant for the Scheduled caste families who either had no house of their own or had house to accommodate their families.

    The State Committee of the .P.K.M.U(landless and agricultural Workers Organization) decided to initiate an exposure campaign o exposing how the govt.was hardly serious in implementing such schemes.

    The P.M.K.U called a meeting. It was decided that actually the basic demands of he landless labourers should be projected, particularly the demand of land to the tiller., linking them with partial demands and other current pressing problems to make people aware of their complete rights. It was also discussed as to which points of political understanding of the P.K.M.U. can be explained linking them with specific demands of the campaign. It was also decided that the activists and the mass leaders would have to go through a thorough study of the conditions of the masses to know how many families in the village were genuine claimants of the govt.welfare measures.

    The investigation revealed that there were 61 families in 6 investigated villages who had no house and did not get the plots announced by the govt.,there were 48 women who were denied the Shagun of Rs 5000 each and 99 cases of genuine claimants to govt.pensions who received no pension.

    A propoganda campaign was launched in the area of Lambi.Thousand wall posters were put up and 5000 leaflets distributed. Mass meetings were organized in 15 villages in which 885 landless labourers participated. Charters of demands of every active village Unit of P.M.K.U. were presented by mass deputations to the concerned govt Officials. A mass deputation used to begin it’s march from the village and travel to the place where it would present the charter of demands. It would then conduct mass meetings, rallies and flag marches in each village. Over 3000 landless labourers were reached.

    The Ruling class Akali leaders connived and tried to win over the foremost leader of the Lambi Committee, a resident of the Singhewala-Fatuhiwala villages. They announced a list of 144 families of these villages that were promised residential plots. A programme was launched where the letters of the title were to be distributed to the 144 persons.500 persons gathered in the public function called the Sangat Dashing.(Sikh religious ritual gathering).

    A deputation of the P.M.K.U went to the venue of the programme to present their grievances. About the implementation of the declared govt Schemes and to present charter of demands. Gurdas Badal ,brother of the then chief minister who was then present, ignored the deputation .The P.M.K.U.leader angrily caught hold of Badal and condemned him openly for not redressing the gathering.Gurda Badal terminated the programme and the P.M.K.U leader tore up the official letter.

    The Union leaders using great tact converted this function into a rally of the Union. And explained to the masses that tearing up the letter did not mean that they did not want the people from demanding anything from the govt. Threatened by the offensive Akali leaders offered 40 more plots to the landless labourers. Of he twin villages along with an offer to the Union leadership that the distribution of the plots would be made with the Union’s consent.

    The P.M.KU.correctly anticipated how the Akali leaders were trying to trick them. On the day of the next sangat Darshan by the chief minister in the village, there was heavy deployment of police forces not only around the venue of function, but in the streets of the labourers. The P.M.K.U boycotted the function.Tht day a heroic act was performed by an ordinary villager who was a landless labourer.A policeman rushed into his house when on duty deploying himself on top of the roof as part of security duty. The labourer ,who was the owner of the house was furious and ordered him out. The policeman left. This revealed the animosity in the oppressed classes and the political effect of the P.M.K.U’s activities.

    The P.M.K.U in Lambu area wished to implement the road of self –reliance by the are-level team of mass leaders. They decided that the people of twin villages should be fully mobilized and a demonstration against the sarpanches should be organized as a first move. After consultation with the masses the demonstration was held
    the demonstration was held with about 150 men and women against the panchayats of Singhewala village and Fatuhivalla village.

    They came to know that the Sarpanch was out of town. A demonstration was taken into the house of the Sarpanch in Singhewala.When the Sarpanch saw the demonstrators he was infuriated and insulted the villagers, condemning their march. In anger the villagers tried to retaliate ,but were cooled down by the P.M.K.U leaders.
    After this incident the sarpanch instigated the 67 landless families who had received plots against the P.M.K.U.leadership stating that the P.M.K.U desired to cancel their ownership of plots. They explained that only if he was supported their plots would be protected.

    This affected the plot –owners thinking and their support to the P.M.K.U were neutralized. However the P.M.K.U re-explained them the situation and persuaded the plot owners to not oppose the allotment of land to the landless labourers whether the family qualifies for it within the govt.criteria or not. The P.M.K.U turned the situation in their favor but again winning the support of the overwhelming majority of landless labourers. Under the leadership of the P.M.K.U, the people of Singhewala succeeded in getting 67 plots.

    In July 2002 the 2nd phase of the campaign was started. Now the Congress had won the elections. The new party promised the same welfare measures, in it’s election manifesto.

    In Lambi area the P.M.K.U staged an indefinite sit-in before the office of the B.D.O on September 16th 2002,inspite of many hurdles, the indefinite sit-in started on the bare ground before the office of the B.D.O in Lambi.Various hurdles ,such as acute shortage of funds as well as transport difficulties had to be overcome. On the start of the programme the B.D.O.officer disappeared.

    The masses resented his and throughout the day unleashed a barrage of slogan shouting,songs,speeches Etc.Sowing daring courage, the women stayed ,inspite of being persuaded by the men to return at night. In the evening, with 70-75 people left behind, the rest went to various villages to mobiles support. This resulted in the number of participant villages rising to 6 from 4, and the number of people from 125 to 150.

    The area committee called a meeting of activists of the area ensuring the continued participation of the masses, and the continuous supply of food. It was decided that for mobilizing all types of support for struggle, the P.M.K.U leaders and activists should visit new village’s everyday. A group of 8-10 people met people from all walks of life in Lambi and explained and projected the demands of the struggle. They asked the people for support, from direct participation to contribution of bread,milk,vegetables sugar, tea ,firewood Etc.

    In a most convincing style the issues of the struggle were explained. The people responded with great sensitivity and donated 3 overhead covers for a gathering, and promised daily supply of food, milk Etc.Some families contributed wheat flour. People donated Rs 900 infunds.Landless labourers of a nearby village Khudian donated a bag of wheat flour.

    Even after a week of the sit-in the B.D.O was untouched and ignored the P.M.K.U leadership. After 4 days of sit-in the area committee reviewed the situation and it was decided to burn the effigies of the Congress rulers in a new village .Effigies were now built in 11 villages and between 100 to 250 people participated in every village.2000 people participated in the programme of effigy burning. A poster was put up on the walls of 26 villages. On the 7th day ,atlas one member of the authorities came to address the gathering of the P.M.K.U .However the B.D.O.never explained his attitude and the revenue officer had to criticize the B.D.O.The B.D.O now had to beg pardon for his ignorant and negligent attitude.

    After 6-7 rounds of negotiations, an agreement was reached. This stated that the P.M.K.U.would be recognized. On September 25th 2002 the B.D.O addressed a gathering, explaining the agreement. The landless labourers were brimming in joy with confidence. The revenue officer however expressed his helplessness to fulfill the demands of the plots because ,he explained, it was out of his jurisdiction.So,he sent a letter to the district authorities with his positive recommendation giving the same justification of demands as was given to him by the P.M.K.U leadership.

    Though the sit-in was conducted successfully, some important demands were not fulfilled and thus it was essential to change the venue of the struggle to Muktsar city, to target the district adminstration.On the last evening of the sit-in ,more than 125 men and women, along with their maker-shift kitchen, traveled to Muktsar.The Deputy Commissioner at first blew up in a fit of temper and commanded the eviction of the camped men and women. However the P.M.K.U leadership stood firm and ,the DC.was virtually forced to negotiate. Substantial demands were agreed to like involving disbursal of funds for housing and latrines,provison of land for collecting dung, preventing police intervention on behalf of absentee landowner, and provision of food-for-work employment.

    Some of the P.M.K.U’s demands wee not conceded .The details of the agreement were noted, copies made, and it was decided that the P.M.K.U leaders could check the implementation procedure after 10 days. Only after the gathering outside had approved it, the Union leaders decided to withdraw the struggle.

    This sit-in struggle started by 125 persons from 4 villages, but was extended to 600 people from 17 villages with a positive balance of funds, even after spending Rs.10,000 on the Struggle. The conclusion-the successful performance of the mass deputation at the district headquarter-gave an enthralling finale to the highly successful struggle. Above all it instilled a spirit of self –confidence and self –reliance in struggle and boosted revolutionary class consciousness. The painstaking mass revolutionary approach of the P/M.K.U was depicted.

1998 ELECTION CAMPAIGN OF LOK MORCHA

The first election campaign was carried out in 1998 January and called the ‘Inquilab Zindabad’campaign.Here the Lok Morcha jointly with the P.K.M.U,the C.P.R.C.I(M.L),upheld the politics of ‘active political campaign’ in contrast to ‘participation’ in election or calling for ‘Active Boycott’of parliamentary elections.This was in contrast to organizations like the C.P.I.-M.L(Party Unity),Jamhoori Morcha ,Punjab and Lok Sangram Manch who called for ‘Boycott of election,’ and to forces like the C.P.I-M.L(Janashakti) and the C.P.I-M.L(Liberation ) who staged candidates.

The organizers of the campaign significantly attacked the present parliamentary system its various institutions, the ruling class vote parties,etc.The state Committee of the Lok Morcha ,Punjab ,held a series of meetings of all it’s lower units and activists. Emphasis was placed on projecting the revolutionary alternative programme. Through this the lower units were given greater initiative to launch the campaign.T his decentralization had a subtle effect on the revolutionary consciousness of the broad masses and led to propaganda reaching a wider range of sections.

Prominent feature of the campaign was the is initiative enjoyed by the lower units. The State Committee of the Lok Morcha brought out a general poster and leaflet .De-centralisation of the Campaign encouraged the masses to participate .New speakers arose in places. The specific form and duration of the campaign, areas and section to be covered, location of main gatherings, preparation of publication material wee planned and discussed by lower units.

The Campaign was hugely successful culminating in various areas .Conferences were held in Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana,Khanna,Bhutal Kalan, Jaitu, Bhatinda,Malout, Jalandhar,Fategarh Churian, conferences. Overall 18-20000 people participated in such conferences.

In Malout the masses brilliantly thwarted the efforts of the Punjab chief minister’s son to sabotage their campaign,who tried to stage manage his own version to disrupt the Morcha programme.A successful conference was held here.

In Khudian the landlords attacked the village labourers. An Akali leader even slapped an agricultural worker.In Bhatinda and Bhutal Kalan ruling class elements were succesfuly rebuffed.A successful conference was held in Bhutal Kalan where a corrupt leader tried to disrupt the work.

The campaign led to making further inroads into sections like the industrial city workers and rural poor. It had a strong effect on the Bhatinda city.Youth and college students prominently participated in many places. In Lehra Gaga Sunam,peasa nts and labourers were strirred in 30 villages.

1999 ELECTION CAMPAIGN OF LOK MORCHA AND PMKU

More than 150 villages were covered in the election propoganda.The leaflets were jointly issued by the Lok Morcha and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. The revolutionary democratic front of electricity workers joined the campaign at some places. The Moulder and steel workers union, too carried out a campaign but they did not join the Lok Morcha.This was because the workers of the union did not have enough political consciousness. There level of political content did not match that of the Lok Morcha. This was an important decision as otherwise the campaign would have had a superficial effect. This was a good example of correct revolutionary practice.

The Punjab state Commmitee of the CPRCI (ML) issued a wall poster and unit that was distributed in 11 districts in its areas of influence. Meticulou ly  it attempted to adopt the simple language of the people to explain them  a wide range of important issues. On basis of concrete experience it projected the revolutionary alternative so that people could relate to the issue with ease. The long term programmatic aspect of people’s war was too dealt with. The content and style of leaflet not only encourage party ranks  and followers to distribute it widely  for direct mass consumption, but also carve a skeleton to the mass campaigners.

The groups who tried to impose boycott of elections on the people as well as those who participated in them made a very superficial impact. The boycott slogan was meaningless as people hadn’t reached that level of political consciousness. However the response to the campaign of the Lok Morcha was tremendous. The content of the leaflet encouraged the party ranks and followers to distribute it wide for mass consumption. The wide ranges of issues were explained in simple language. The immediate practical alternative was projected in the leaflet so that people could easily grasp it’s contents.

The focus of the state committeesposter was on building the revolutionary movement, with the agrarian movement as it’s axis, as an alternative to parliamentary path. Below are some examples of the people’s response.

Below I am quoting some reactions of the masses of Punjab to the Lok Morcha election programme of 1999.Jointly with the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union it projected the revolutionary alternative projecting every sphere of society.

In one mass gathering after the leader of the Morcha spoke some persons came to the stage. They said to the Morcha leader “Brother, all your points are worth lakhs of rupees, they are worth safeguarding by encasing in a box. But show us the door to which we have to bow our heads.”

In Ropar district the villagers gheraoed the Morcha activists mistaking them for politicians. But when the people heard the politics of the Morcha they said “What you have written tells the truth. It is 100%correct.

In Bhatinda the contingent of agricultural workers and peasants confronted the parliamentary candidate of the Akali Dal under the leadership of the Morcha
In some places people asked activists of the Morcha to stand for elections. However this reflected the low consciousness of the people.

In Muktsar district there was an incident where a poor women peasant showed her bravery by confidently sitting near the Akali women leader, a relative of the Badal family; who was sitting on the cot of a landless labour family..She refused to move when she was asked too by the police replying “If we people cannot sit besides you, then how are we equal to you as you claim and are you entitled to our votes?”
Similarly, in Ludhiana a women Akali candidate embraced a landless woman labourer. The labourer resisted the politician saying “How are we equal to each other?”

NAXALBARI COMMEMORATION PROGRAMME IN NOVEMBER 1994 IN RAJJEANA

The ‘Naxalbari martyrs commemoration committee’ staged a martyrs’ commemoration conference on November 12th, 1994. In Rajeana,in Punjab the Naxalbari martyrs commemoration committee staged a martyrs’ commemoration conference on November 12th, 1994 commemorating Comrade Bent Singh Rajeana,a martyr of the Naxalite Movement in 1972. A committee was formed for this purpose. This was called the committee for commemorating the martyrs of Naxalbari.The committee took 2 things into consideration. The first was that the content of the platform should be easily understood by the common people. The second was that no controversial point should be raised in the platform. No mutual criticisms should be launched from this platform. It should not be a forum for debating mutual polemics. The maximum revolutionary forces should be launched around it. It was not in the agenda to pass judgement on a particular organization. It was decided that all the martyrs would be treated at an equal level and no discrimination would be launched as regards to a particular group. They would all be treated as Naxalbari martyrs. There were groups in Punjab which took correct positions on certain questions of the line while took a right opportunist position on other questions.

Differentiated propoganda was done for different sections. The politics of Naxalbari was to be connected to the basic interests of different sections. The workers and employees were told that the message of Naxalbari was to fight against narrow, sectional interests and to integrate workers and employee’s mass movements with the revolutionary movement and that the workers should help the peasantry get organised to build an agrarian revolution. Different propaganda was done with the peasantry. To the landless labourers it was propogated that Naxalbari was the name for the confiscation of the land, property and implements of the landlords and their distribution amongst the landless labourers. It is also the name for bringing bonded labour to the end as well as feudal exploitation. To the landed peasantry it was propagated that they were bent on bringing to an end the present social and economic system which supports the monopoly of land by the landlords and exploitation of peasants in the form of land rent and usury.

The Conference to commemorate martyrs of naxallbari  in memory of martyr Bant Singh Rajeana was the biggest ever mass –poiltical gathering that took place in Punjab for 25 years among the revolutionary forces.10, 000 people were mobilised. In this conference the real meaning of Naxalbari was explained. Earlier it was understood that Naxalbari meant armed actions of squads. Many people came to understand for the 1st time that it was a mass-based political movement. A separate programme was made for landless peasants and a separate programme was made for the landed peasantry. The need for a correct agrarian revolutionary programme was explained. The people’s attitude to the revolutionary movement was greatly changed by this. Here are some examples.
A resolution highlighting the sacrifice, heritage and path of the martyrs was passed. This included

1. To draw a clear-cut demarcation from the parliamentary path and to expose the hypocritical nature of those who propogated it as well as the bankruptcy of that ideology towards the liberation path.
2. To give a call to People’s liberation.
3. To highlight the importance of building the Agrarian revolutionary movement as well as the revolutionary United Front.
4. To highlight the democratic right of the people to build revolutionary mass resistance
5. To explain the Indian people the connection between their struggles and those of Imperialist and third -world countries as well as building solidarity movements to revolutionary struggles all over the world particularly the revolutionary armed Struggle in Peru.
6. The significance of organizational and political self preparedness for self -defence against counter revolutionary violence .based on the recent experience they faced in Punjab.
7. Commemorating the Martyrs and explaining the necessity of building a single Communist revolutionary organisation.

There were families of revolutionary activists who opposed participating in the revolutionary movement, considering the risks and consequences they would face. However after attending the conference their attitudes were totally reversed. They now had second thoughts about their husbands or sons participating.

“We had been mistaking Naxalbari people as a terror. Now we know they are very much for their welfare. Such comments were made by landless labourers and peasants. A leader of a group of 8to 10 migrant labourers said “We had been observing for a full 9 years whether anybody exists in Punjab or not. Now we know that they are very much here. Had we known of their presence earlier we would have created doomsday in the factories.”

A family member commented “This is good work, here everyone is with them, we had been anxious for along time meaninglessly.’

An Excellent Example of the Democratic Character of Punjab’s People’s Movement-Demonstration in Chandigarh-September 2018(pavel kussa)

The demonstration of people’s power in Chandigarh for the release of the democratic rights activist and to demand for keeping the rulers’ hands off others has proved to be a demonstration of the healthy characteristics of the people’s movement of the state.

The most distinctly visible characteristic of the people’s movement in the state is the manifestation of its democratic hue in a most vivid manner. The people’s movement in Punjab has fought big mass struggles on innumerable democratic issues.

This movement has traversed a long distance from the struggle for the safeguard of the honor and dignity of the daughters to keeping high the flag of the rights of the dalits.

It has also held aloft the flag of class unity by pushing back the divisive and communal moves of the ruling class at very sensitive moments and complex situations.

While on this journey the democratic character of the people’s movement has developed and brightened up. After that, these activities continued at different levels and in different forms till 13 th September and is still continuing. That dozens of organizations came together with one programme in such a short time span is not in itself a small achievement. The warning given to the rulers to keep their hands off the democratic activists by the working people after having reached the capital from their arenas of class struggle does demarcate the developed democratic character of the people’s movement. In this respect Punjab holds a special place as there still is no information of such a big mass demonstration from any part of the country.

The most important aspect of this demonstration is that it has been held from a clear and demarcatingly distinct position. Along with being democratic, this position is saturated with class concerns also. It is not simply a partial position of looking at the cases being true or false by assessing them within the bounds of only civil liberties, but it pertains to a position taken after relating it with the class concerns.

The mass organizations in Punjab have comprehended this onslaught as a part of the steps comprising this strategic offensive being undertaken under the policies of economic liberalization. It has been clearly understood that any section of society comes within the range of this offensive which is critical of the economic liberalization, oppose it, resists it, stands or speaks against it.

Harsh Thakor is a political commentator

Email- thakor.harsh5@gmail.com


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