Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Naxalbari Lives and Thrives in Dandakaranya

by Varavara Rao*

“In India, the Naxalbari Peasant Revolutionary Armed Uprising, which will complete its 50th anniversary – was influenced and inspired by the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution of China. Naxalbari was a path breaking event under the leadership of Com. Charu Majumdar – one of the two great leaders, teachers and founders of the CPI (Maoist, Com. Charu Majumdar and Kanhai Chatterjee – which marked a new beginning in the history of the country’s democratic revolution.”

It is the observation made by the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) while giving a call to celebrate the four great events in the history to achieve socialism in the world, including the fiftieth anniversary of Naxalbari.

It’s obvious that the Maoists – more so in the CPI (Maoist) – are the real inheritors of Naxalbari Movement in India, besides certain revolutionary groups and individuals all over the country. Unless a Bolshevik party is built with Bolshevik spirit to achieve the Indian revolution uniting all such revolutionary forces, New Democratic Revolution in India, a precursor to socialism cannot be achieved.
Naxalbari stands as a dividing line in all aspects of the semi-feudal, semi-colonial Indian polity, society and culture between the exploiting and the exploited classes, the rulers and the ruled, the comprador bourgeoisie and the broad masses of peasantry and working class, the parliamentary politics and the alternative people’s path. In one word, the class struggle under the leadership of working class as vanguard to seize the state power by people, the productive forces to change the relations of production.
Naxalbari movement for the first time had defined the character of state as semi-feudal and semi- colonial, comprador bourgeoisie dictatorship. It had taken Maoism, Marxism-Leninism of this epoch as its world outlook. It had rejected the parliamentary politics. It had chosen the path of New Democratic Revolution and waged a protracted war against the state, with armed struggle as a main form of struggle. Its economic programme of land struggle was started in Naxalbari on 23rd May 1967 with the Santals of Naxalbari and Kheribari villages occupying land and declaring their right over the land till 25th May and laying down their lives to protect it against state armed forces intervention.
Its military programme is guerilla war till it liberated villages and ultimately entered face to face war in capturing the Centre. Today it has reached its mobile warfare stage in Dandakaranya, Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra put together.
Its political programme is ‘all power to the people’ like that of Soviets in Soviet Russia, Communes in People’s Republic of China. This political programme was in effect in its embryonic form in Naxalbari, Srikakulam, Wynad and other Adivasi peasant struggle areas, for that matter even during Telangana Peasant Armed struggle (1946-51).
The programme has taken a firm, vivid and crystal clear form in adopting the resolution to form the Grama Rajya Committees in 1995 Special Plenum of CPI (ML) Peoples War. Though it was crushed in hundreds of villages in North Telangana during 1995-2003, with encounter killings and such other extra constitutional forms in bloodshed to implement the imperialist globalisation policies, it could sustain in Dandakaranya and for the last twelve years it has risen to the stage of Janatana Sarkar, where a self-reliant, self-sufficient, united front rule under the landless, the small peasantry, the middle peasantry and the rich peasantry. Adivasi, Dalit and oppressed classes are ruling themselves under the leadership of the Party, with People’s Liberation Guerilla Army protecting the alternative people’s power. And that is why we see today the war on the people particularly in Eastern and Central India, in the Adivasi areas of Jangalmahal in Bengal, Saranda in Jharkhand, Dandakaranya, Andhra-Orissa Border and the Western Ghats.
The Naxalbari spirit of broad upsurge is in fact continued by the CPI (ML) of Andhra Pradesh taking the experience of Telangana Peasant Armed Struggle in implementing mass line and forming mass organisations, particularly after the set back of Srikakulam movement. After the set back and the martyrdom of Charu Mazumdar in 1972, a Self Critical Report was written and efforts were made to form Central Organising Committee which finally resulted during the Emergency to lay down ‘Road to Revolution’ in the meeting of Telangana Regional Committee in 1976. Because of the inheritance of Telangana Armed Struggle Virasam – Revolutionary Writers’ Association was formed in 1970, Jana Natya Mandali a great upsurge in the people’s cultural movement has come in 1972, Pilupu – a magazine for oppressed masses was started in 1973 and by 1974 Radical Students Union – RSU- was also formed.
During the Emergency the radical students had to go underground and conducted studies on the land relations in the villages which can be compared to Hunan Studies under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung, resulting in the great mass upsurge for occupation of land by the landless and poor agricultural labourers particularly Dalits and oppressed classes. The Second conference of RSU in Warangal had given a call to students and youth to ‘go to villages’ to propagate the politics of New Democratic Revolution and to help landless people occupy land and wage struggle to protect it.
A meeting organised in Jagityal, which later known as ‘Jagityal Jaitra Yatra’ in September 1978 by occupying land in 150 villages and declaring the right of the people over it. From then onwards it is a continuous history of class struggle with mass line. The CPI (ML) People’s War was formed in 1980 and with Dandakaranya Perspective had sent squads into Sironcha of Maharashtra and Bastar of Madhya Pradesh.
Dandakaranya Perspective envisaged that unlike a liberated base area in Yenan of China, Indian Revolution may need more base areas to usher in New Democratic Revolution, since it also will be a path- breaking revolution to achieve socialism in world.
In 1999 CPI (ML) Party unity which is active in Bengal, Bihar, Delhi and Punjab merge wit Peoples War taking the name of CPI (ML) Peoples War.
On 21st September 2004 CPI (ML) Peoples War and Maoist Communist Centre with the long history of class struggle in Bihar and Bengal under the leadership of Dakshinadesh came together and united as CPI (Maoist).
The united congress of CPI (Maoist) has taken place in 2007 after the first congress of CPI (ML) in 1970. For the last ten years the peoples war in this country in continuing under this leadership of CPI (Maoist). Its again a water mark between the various CPI (ML) parties participating in parliamentary elections also while talking about the armed struggle and CPI (Maoist) adhering to boycotting elections and armed struggle as main form of class struggle.
In spite of ups and downs, advances and setbacks, once mass line is adopted in 1976, there has been a consistent journey. Today we see the movement in more than one state, even according to the Central government in 16 states there is CPI (Maoist) organisation and in many states particularly in DK, AOB, Jharkhand and Bihar, Western Ghats there are armed struggles supported by mass organisations. And in DK there is Bhoomkal Militia that is People’s Guerilla Army safeguarding the people’s power.
Though it looks like a struggle for land whether in Naxalbari, Srikakulam or Telangana in 1970s, it is a genuine anti-feudal, anti-imperialist struggle with a slogan of ‘land to the tiller’, but aiming at seizure of state power by the people. That is why the comprador rulers at the Centre and states look at it with fear and brand it as the “greatest internal threat” to the system and the state.
The imperialist globalisation policy adopted by the Indian government in 1991 as new economic policy proved the vision of Naxalbari in characterising the state as a collusion of comprador, feudal and imperialist forces.
Naxalbari path being implemented in Dandakaranya, Bihar and Jharkhand, AOB, Western Ghats and Jangalmahal is adopting an alternative people’s development programme to protect the natural wealth and human labour which are plundered by the multinational companies and the big companies in Eastern and Central India.
Whatever may be the political party in power in parliamentary politics – whether an all India party or a regional party – it is adopting the globalisation policy and hence the patriots, the democrats, environmentalists and all those who genuinely feel to uphold the sovereignty of people have to stand in solidarity with the struggles of the broad masses of this country, particularly Adivasis, Dalits, peasants, workers, women, muslims, students and unemployed youth in different unorganised sectors under the leadership of CPI (Maoist) and other revolutionary forces for alternative politics – self-reliant and self-sufficient, self rule which will usher in New Democratic Revolution. That is the dream of thousands of martyrs who have laid down their lives in fighting against this exploitative system and the state.
One need not go into the details of the degeneration of the parliamentary politics, particularly in the light of 72 votes to Irom Sharmila in Manipur and the UP elections where the BJP could get absolute majority without giving a single seat to Muslims.
So only hope left to the democratic forces in this country is New Democratic Revolution, the unfulfilled democratic task given to us 50 years ago by Naxalbari movement.

*Varavara Rao is a poet. He is the President of the Revolutionary Democratic Front and of the Revolutionary Writer's Association (Virasam).  He has occasionally been persecuted and imprisoned for his ideas. The article was published on April 24 in the Indian magazine Outlook, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Naxalbari uprising and the massacre on May 25 1967, for which a number of events are organized in India.

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