Without doubt Bhagat Singh was one of the greatest ever revolutionaries who chalked out a genuine revolutionary anti-colonial programme and not the Indian National Congress. He pioneered the formation of an organisation charting out a programme opposing landlordism, capitalism and imperialism.
Today with Hindutva fascism at ascendancy .Bhagat Singh has also been utilised as a symbol by RSS forces just like the Khalistani leaders did earlier. A most positive development is how the Ambedkaraites recognise Bhagat Singh as a great revolutionary and wish to reconcile Dalit liberation ideology with Bhagat Singh’s writings. Mass organisations led by Communist revolutionary forces with utmost consistency re-publish Bhagat Singh’s writings and conduct rallies or meetings projecting his ideals. In state of Punjab it is a routine occurrence with conferences stages on his birthday and martyrdom anniversary mobilising over a lakh of people. Significant that the Marxist Leninist formations revived the Naujwan Bharat Sabha in the early 1970’s in Punjab.
BKU Ekta(Ugrahan) Conferences report on March 23rd
In commemoration of the 91st martyrdom day of Shahid Bhagat singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev Bharti Kisan Union (EKTA UGRAHAN) held conferences at 23 places in 18 districts of Punjab, as a manifestation of the aspirations of the martyrs, with supreme commitment. The strategy of such a decentralised campaign was most praiseworthy in igniting the spark of Bhagat Singh and his comrades to its highest intensity. Instead of a central programme the organisation felt it was more appropriate to undertake it in a decentralised form. It virtually carried on where it left off at the Delhi Singur border when it held a commemoration programme on the martyrs last year. The most impactful gatherings were in districts of Malwa region, with highest participation in Sangrur,Moga and Bathinda.The wrath of the farming community towards the ruling classes resembled a water pot simmering at it’s boiling point .In total over a lakh and a half farmers participated giving echoes of a prairie fire lit. Positive that the contingents included workers, youth, students, contract workers and progressive intellectuals. Very notable participation of women. From a democratic revolutionary perspective it was most impressive the manner the gatherings linked the politics of Bhagat Singh and his martyrs with the burning day to day issues of the farming community and the neo-fascist scenario as a whole. With deep clarity the speakers summarised how till this day the Indian people were entrapped by the yoke of feudalism and imperialism. Arguably not sufficient emphasis was given to the aspect of fascism emerging or the caste factor and integration of dalit agricultural labour.
Divulging this information BKU(Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev singh Kokri kalan, said that at all the conferences tens of thousands of farmers and labour along with their families, besides many struggling workers viz contract workers, students, youth and democracy loving persons thronged at all the venues. At various stages in addition to the general secretary, president of the Union Joginder Singh Ugrahan, jhanda singh jethuke, Shingara singh maan, Hardeep singh Tallewal, Jaswinder singh Longowal, Janak Singh Bhutal, Jagtar Singh Kalajhaar, Harinder kaur Bindu, Kamaljit Kaur Barnala, Kuldeep kaur Kussa, and Gurpreet kaur Brass along with Presidents and Secretaries of the Districts, addressed the gatherings.
When the speakers raised slogans of ‘Inquilab zindabaad ‘and ‘Down with Imperialism’ raised by the martyrs at the gallows, as a token of appreciation of the exemplary sacrifice, the pandas raised their voice at it’s highest pitch with fists raised. They said even presently Dozens of Mammoth Imperialist Corporation akin to East India Company are enslaving the labour of farmers land other toiling masses. The rulers of our nation patronise such plunder. Therefore imbibing inspiration from the martyrs, it is the need of the hour to take the life and death, United struggles to scale its optimum capacity confronting the World Trade Organisation and the imperialist policies as a whole.. In a similar manner a sustained struggle was won after 15 months of challenging anti -people agriculture black Farm Laws. The need for defending revolutionary perspective, to expose the divisive designs on Caste creed and religion of these pro imperialist plunderers is the very need of the hour. Keeping these needs in mind in present times, due to backing out of the promises handed to struggling farmers, like the central government seizing control of Bhakra Beas management board , a clarion call was extended for a death defying struggle farmers against the BJP central government. On similar lines call for unity of other struggles of toiling masses against Imperialism has been stressed.
Another qualitative programme was staged in Gulati at Husainwala in Moga by the Lok Sangram Morcha Punjab and the Bhartiya Kisan Union(Krantikari) . With deep intensity and conviction the speakers summarised how the rulers practice today was the very anti-thesis of Bhagat Singh and his comrades and how imperialist slavery has been taken to anew height. They pledged that the people adhere to the path of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.Lok Sangram Morcha president Tara Singh was the main speaker in addition to Gyan Singh,Resham Singh,Sukhminder Singh, Paramjeet Singh,Dilbaag Singh Jira,Sandep Singh Pandori etc.The rally consisted of farmers, labourers ,industrial workers and progressive intellectuals .
The Punjab Students Union(Shaheed Randhawa) too staged small meetings in rural areas and towns in college campuses in Bathinda. Sangrur, Jaitu in Faridkot..Qualtiative meetings were also conducted by Punjab Students Union and Naujwan Bharat Sabha in districts of Jalandhar, Amritsar and Kapurthala in campus areas. Speakers highlighted how the educational system was poisoned with communal and casteist content, how privatisation literally sold out education and fleeced the student community how dalit students were discriminated by being denied scholarships, how the current globalisation bred unemployment and how Hindutva fascism was penetrating every sphere of life.
Bhagat Singh and Marxism-Leninism
I recommend everyone to read an English translation of an article by Jaspal Jassi in Surkh Leeh issue of August, 2016.on why Bhagat Singh was morally a Marxist-Leninist. Most illustratively he elaborates how Bhagat Singh evolved from a very embryonic stage to grasp Marxism and reject path of Individual terrorism. It also summarises how in practice the Indian National Congress was in striking contrast to the virtues or ideal of Bhagat Singh. The article also projects Bhagat Singh’s profound grasp of nature of revolution in colonies and imperialism on a global scale and upholding of historical materialism. I am impressed to the very core of Bhagat Singh transcending conventional barriers with such open mindedness and being the slave of no dogma. More than anything Bhagat Singh illustrated how no revolutionary experience could be copied mechanically, unlike the Indian Communists who gave mere lip service to Soviet Russia or later Communist revolutionaries in Naxalbari movement who described Chinese path as the Indian path. Bhagat Singh’s approach was not mechanical in any aspect, unlike the Communist Party of India.
It would be progressive if Bhagat Singh’s writings in every sphere are resurrected in context of liberation from the Hindutva fascism of the Bhartiya Janata Party.His essa y’Why I am an Atheist’ would be a perfect thorn in the flesh for those who want to extinguish scientific thinking and replace it with mythological ideas.. All Marxist, progressive forces must seriously study the experiences of Bhagat Singh .Most important lessons could be imbibed on how to form genuine democratic people’s organisations. His teachings must be applied in context of globalisation, mechanisation and digital age, with the world facing the worst ever capitalist crisis.
Inspite of not being a member of the Communist party Bhagat Singh recognised that India had a comprador capitalist bourgeoisie as well as national bourgeoisie, unlike the Communist party and that the peasantry would be the main force of the anti colonial struggle. In all spheres be it on caste system, religion, capitalism or science Bhagat Singh’s writings had Marxist Leninist connotations. With great insight and analysis he exposed how the agenda of the Indian national Congress paved no genuine path for the liberation of peasants from bondage of landlordism or of the Workers from capitalist slavery. In the very language of the people he summed up the reactionary nature of religious ideas and why not only was it an opiate of the masses but an instrument to divide and rule the people by the British.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist from Mumbai who has toured and reported democratic events and struggles in Punjab and other parts of India.