On the morning of October 12, 2022 veteran communist revolutionary leader from Punjab, Tara Singh Chalaki passed away at his home in Mohali. For a considerable period he was ailing, suffering from bad health. His death is a grave loss to the communist revolutionary camp of India to which he from his early days he played a monumental role in shaping, till he fell seriously ill. Belonging to a poor family, throughout his life he relentlessly served the revolutionary cause of the people.
Born in 1946 in village Chalaki in Ropar district of Punjab,. Tara Singh gained his baptism within communist revolutionary movement during his student days. The Naxalbari peasant armed struggle was a turning point in his life which demarcated revolutionary Marxism from revisionism and neo-revisionism.
Tara Singh with death defying courage played a role the attack on Chamkaur Sahib Police Station in 1969. Subsequently for a prolonged period of underground life he relentlessly withstood hardships and privation Still he lost none of his resolve to persist his battle, traversing the most turbulent waters. He invested every ounce of his energy to the cause of New Democratic Revolution in India. He firmly; adhered to path of New Democratic Revolution and path of Protracted People’s War and with great resilience supported Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.
Tara Singh played a leading role in shaping the movement from early days itself. He was chosen for leading positions in the revolutionary movement being as a member of Punjab Himachal State Committee of CPI (ML) in a conference held in 1969 as its youngest member. He played a major role in the leadership of revolutionary movement especially in Punjab and in the demarcation from the left adventurist line of “annihilation.’ He was among the PC members who inducted the Punjab Himachal PC into all India CPI (ML). He was entrusted with the responsibility of Secretary of Punjab PC of then PCC, CPI (ML) led by Com. S.N. Singh in 1980 and remained in that position till 1996. He was also a member of Provisional Central Committee (PCC) from 1980 to 1985. He remained a member of Punjab PC till he wished to be relieved of his responsibility as PCM due to ill health in 2013. His health progressively deteriorated over last few years. He participated in the all India Party Congresses held in 1992, 1996 and 2004 and always stood firm with the revolutionary of the Party- CPI (ML)-New Democracy, which has played an important role in shaping the Communist Revolutionary ass movement of Punjab.Tara Singh with great determination fount trend of left adventurism, which gained prominence in the original C.P.I. (ML)., being instrumental in crystallising mass movements and mass organisations.
A trademark of Tara Singh’s revolutionary life was his simplicity, honesty and devotion to the revolutionary cause which marked his life at all levels from the lowest to highest committee. With grace and composure he confronted hazards of underground life evading arrest and tackling challenges of the revolutionary movement. His dedication to the revolutionary cause and his discipline are a role model for all comrades working in the communist revolutionary movement.
Tara Singh’s life made his greatest impact in the underground which was also the most productive part of the long period he spent in the communist revolutionary movement. He did not work in any mass organization, first as that was incoherent with the line of that time, and later due to his other responsibilities in the Party.
Tara Singh stood firm in the dark days of Khalistani extremist militancy and remained firm in opposition to that while also opposing attacks of the security forces against the people.
During the darkest days of the Khalistani movement he relentlessly combated Sikh fundamentalism and equally condemned state terrorism. Unflinchingly, he combated all trends soft-pedalling with Khalistani fundamentalism. He made a memorable speech in the 1987 state wide rally of Inquilabi Kendra, challenging Khalisitani and State terrorism.
It is inconsequentional whether he belonged to the Maoist, Nagi Reddy or CP Reddy –SN Singh trend. The aspect of correct line is afterall a debatable issue. What we have to assert is how withstanding all obstacles, with unflinching consistency Comrade Tara Singh lit the spark of the path of New Democratic Revolution and Mao thought, leaving no stones unturned in confronting the revisionist and ruling classes.Such comrades have been architects in shaping the anti-imperialist and anti –feudal movement of Punjab, especially that of the rural dalit labour in Punjab. At a national level he gave leverage to programmes exposing Brahmanical fascism, Operation Grenhunt, violation of rights in Kashmir and against NRC/NPR.. Even if not succeeded they have strived to extricate the Punjab Communist revolutionary movement from the quagmire of economism.We must pledge that people carry on the mantle of such leaders.
Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who has covered mass movement around India and researched on the Communist Revolutionary Movement.