Lok Morcha Punjab launched a sustained and most qualitative campaign engulfing 14 districts of Punjab, exposing the true nature of the 1947 independence. In simple folk language they narrated how the Congress digressed the path of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru,by diluting the cutting edge of class struggles of the working class and peasantry. The leaders summarised the various junctures be it the Quit India Movement .non-cooperation movement or civil disobedience movement where the Congress nullified the militant resistance of the broad masses. In depth they explained how the Congress or the Muslim League never waged a secular resistance to combat partition and instead danced to the tune of the notorious divide and rule policy of the British. Very methodically they highlighted the dichtomy of the paths of Gandhi and Congress leaders with that of Bhagat Singh or that o the Ghadr party.
In the post-1947 period The speakers touched upon how the base of feudalism, imperialism and capitalism was not erased and how foreign capital continued to penetrate India. Numerous examples were given of how slavish policies continued in the factories, field, educational institutions, transport and health centres They covered how land reforms were superficial and how the right to strike of industrial workers was cosmetic. The crushing of the Telengana armed struggle and Naxalbari was touched upon and the suppression of strikes in every department. The diversionary tactics of the rulers in subduing the revolutionary democratic student and youth movement of the 1970’s was highlighted and that of JP movement. The supression of rights during emergency was also spoken about as well as how the Congress fostered Hindu communalism. They condemned the diversionary nature of Akali Dal politics and Sikh fundamentalism. In their view the laws introduced ressurected the repression of the colonial era, in supressing democratic movements and activists.
In detail the campaign elaborated how liberalization and globalization from 1991 broke the backbone of the organized movement of the working class leading to big scale retrenchment , entrapped the peasantry with debts leading to mass suicides., and destroyed the livelihood of the tribal community with MNC’s seizing their land. It elaborated how now the exploiter classes monopoly reached an unprecedented level. Agro-friendly or local industries were liquidated. Farmers were unable to procure seeds at affordable prices. They summed up how India literally turned into an egg of imperialism.
Finally it dealt with the tide of Hindutva fascsim and the Narendra Modi era from 2014.It projected how Hindutva ideology penetrated every sphere of society at a magnitude unscaled and democratic dissent was supressed as never before. The manner democratic activists were framed with false charges and Muslim minorities were stripped of rights was illustrated. The dark days of emergency were ressurected in a more pernicious form and the economic disparity scaled heights never reached before. The speakers portrayed how the industrialists and coporates profiteered and strangulated the broad masses as never before. Price rise in recent years caused havoc to the asses.,with no control over inflation. They also portrayed how black laws like UAPA manifested fascism.
The leaders asserted that real independence could be won only with a genuine revolutionary movement where the class struggles of the people were sharpened. and no stones should be unturned to challenge the exploitative base of the social order.
Gatherings took place in districts of Barnala, Bhatinda, Faridkot, Patiala, Moga, Sangrur, Muktsar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, with an average of around 400 persons assembling for the meetings. Token participation was done by Punjab Students Union(Shaheed Randhawa) and Naujwan Bharat Sabha .Cadre of Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union also participated.Jagmel Singh and Shireen Kussa were prominent speakers.
The programmes made a significant impact in sharpening political consciousness of the masses of Punjab and understand how the social order was betraying their day to day grievances. It can be debated whether 1947 independence was genuine one or a transfer of power or whether leaders like Gandhi made a positive contribution ,However none can deny the glorious contribution of Comrades like Bhagat Singh ,Sukhdev and Rajguru,Ghadr party or Kakori martyrs and how Gandhi and other leaders gave scant respect to people’s revolutionary uprisings. The Lok Morcha Punjab campaign was a model for the other states of India in undertaking exposure of the bankruptcy of the social order. The de-centralized method of undertaking campaign was impressive.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has covered mass movements all over India, especially Punjab.