Significantly, only a couple of days earlier, the state power minister, while answering questions raised by opposition MLAs in the Assembly, had claimed that the power-grid project had been stalled not due to any resistance by the villagers but because of the intervention of a handful of outsiders with malafide intentions. Opposition MLAs like Sujan Chakroborty of the CPM and Abdul Mannan of the Congress had, however, protested against the absurdity of this statement by pointing out that it was villagers who had been martyred in the course of the movement, villagers who had been arrested and villagers who were still facing numerous criminal charges. So it was obvious that the anti power-grid movement is a mass movement of the affected people and not a trumped-up show put up by a handful of outsiders.
Two days later, the thousands of villagers thronging the programme, participating in it with full vigour and repeatedly raising the demand for the withdrawal of the power-grid project from the densely populated, fertile multi-crop lands of Bhangor, proved to be a slap on the face of the power minister who had claimed that the villagers did not oppose the power-grid project.
The three-day programme was inaugurated by a recorded message by Comrade Pradip Singh Thakur, Polit Bureau member of CPI(ML) Red Star, who is barred from entering Bhangar as part of his bail condition. Over the three days, speakers included Abhash Munshi of MKP, CPI(ML) Liberation Central Committee member Kartik Pal, CPM leader and former MP Shamik Lahiri, RSP leader and former MP Manoj Bhattacharya, PDS leaders Anuradha Deb and Samir Putatunda, CPI(ML) Red Star West Bengal state committee leaders Gautam Chaudhuri and Murari Chatterjee; Dhiraj Sengupta from Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, Arunava Ganguly from Akranto Amra, Dipali Bhattacharya from Save Democracy, scientist Dr. Nisha Biswas, senior advocate and former mayor of Kolkata Bikashranjan Bhattacharya, advocate and former state women’s commission member Bharati Mutsuddi, poet Mandakranta Sen and many others.
Speakers on behalf of the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee included spokesperson Alik Chakraborty, Kalu Sheikh, Shukur Ali, Sk Ajim, Kismat Ali and others. The speeches were interspersed with vibrant musical performances by a host of cultural groups. A documentary on the Bhangor movement, directed by Mitali Biswas, was also screened.
With this demonstration, the villagers of Bhangor have proved once again that police camps and state terror notwithstanding, Trinamool threats and coercion notwithstanding, malicious propaganda by the state govt. notwithstanding, the people will not allow the illegal Power Grid Project to come up on their land.
PLUNDER of nature which is inseparable from the mainstream development paradigm has reached the level of a global environmental catastrophe today. Industrial revolution and the colonization process in the mad pursuit of installing factories, plantations, mines and other constructions without any concern for vulnerable and sensitive environment had already done irreparable damages to global environment. It got a further momentum in the postwar neocolonial period when rapid technological advances provided new avenues to corporate capital for intensified exploitation of world people and nature leading to the contradiction between capital and nature as one of the major trends under neo-liberal corporatization. Its outcome has been an unprecedented pressure on the ecology of the earth. Internationalization of production and global market expansion led by monopoly finance capital leading to change in the life styles and growth in the conspicuous consumption and wastage of energy by the superrich financial elite have directly contributed to ecological damages everywhere. Today, this damage is exemplified through unpredictable climate change, loss of biodiversity, desertification, melting of the glaciers, ocean acidification, fresh drinking water scarcity, global warming, chemical pollution, deforestation, conversion of food agriculture to bio-fuels, alarming extinction of species, and above all the threat of radioactive contamination from nuclear industry. The repercussions of these transformations on climatic patterns have resulted in loss of livelihood, food shortages, massive displacement and migration of people, all leading to the worsening of already existing poverty, unemployment, hunger, oppression and inequalities. Meanwhile, in response to people’s ever-growing ecological consciousness and consequent worldwide environmental struggles and emergence of worldwide movements against environmental destruction, ecology has come to the centre-stage of policy decisions today.
It is common knowledge that the hindrance to a harmonious co-evolution of nature and human society is the insatiable and uncontrollable profit motive of corporate barons who control the reins of political power in one way or another. The development orientation based on the so called GDP as a yardstick for economic progress led by bureaucratic and technocratic decision-making apparatus in gross disregard of the concrete realities of societies is the stumbling block that stands in the way of building up an egalitarian social order. The so called development which today is inseparably linked up with capital’s plunder of nature is not only posited as universal but also used as an ideological weapon against progressive and democratic forces who struggle for an alternative pro-people, pro-nature and pro-women paradigm of development. To expose and defeat this depoliticizing offensive on the part of all vested interests is also one of the major tasks of those who are committed to traverse the tortuous path of evolving a people oriented perspective of social progress that is both democratic and in harmony with nature.
Mere talk of ‘sustainable development’ while keeping silence on the unsustainable resource appropriation and its use by a few connected with the higher echelons of power both at national and international levels is nothing but populism. For instance, the same imperialist centres which are ardent proponents of neoliberal accumulation and free market ideology that work behind ecological devastation today also seem to have no qualms to be protagonists of ‘sustainable development.’ As a result, the various international agreements and protocols signed by them have become meaningless. The consistent US violation of even “legally binding” international environmental regulations and mandated reductions in green house gas emissions is just an example. In this context, mere lamenting at the consequences of environmental catastrophe without going in to the root cause of it is irrelevant. Concerned people cannot be silent on the way in which scientific and technological gains are utilized for the interests of MNCs and corporate houses and other elite classes at the expense of the vast majority of working and oppressed people. Therefore, the struggle for a sustainable development free from environmental degradation is the integral component of the struggle for building up an egalitarian, democratic and humane social order.
With this orientation, ecopolitiks.org itself envisages as a platform for pooling, mutual exchange and dissemination of all relevant information and knowledge pertaining to ecology and development in sharp focus. Let it be an inspiring source for all those concerned with and striving for a genuine people’s development paradigm.
COM. RAMACHANDRA SINGH, OUR CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER, PASSES AWAY
IT is very sad news for our whole party and friends, our Central Committee member comrade Ramachandra Singh who was active in party activities till 1st February night, passed away by 6 am on 2nd morning due to heart attack at his son’s house at Lucknow. His body was taken to his village, Bangarmau, Unnao, where it was cremated in the presence of leading party comrades from UP, party friends and relatives.
Com. Ramachandra Singh joined the communist revolutionary movement, inspired by the Naxalbari Uprising during his college days and consistently continued as a part of it. As an active cadre of the revolutionary movement, he participated in many struggles and was imprisoned for 13 years. After release from jail, he continued his activities in the peasant movement and joined the CPI(ML) Red Star in 2009. He was elected to the CC in 2011 Bhubaneswar Congress and re-elected in the 2015 Tenth Congress at Lucknow. In spite of a serious accident which seriously disabling his free movements, he was active still his last day in party activities. He has written a book explaining the history of the Naxalbari movement in UP.
The Party CC expresses its deep sorrow at his demise, which is a very big loss to the communist movement. The CC extends its heartfelt condolences to his family and his large number of friends. Red salute to our beloved comrade Ramachandra Singh.
The UP state committee of the party is organizing a memorial meeting at Lucknow on 7th March evening to remember comrades’ contributions to the revolutionary movement for the last five decades.
It is in this situation, to protest against the oppressive acts of the TMC government and to declare solidarity with the struggling villagers a march was organized from Mandi House metro station to the Banga Bhavan for handing over the following memorandum to the chief minister of West Bengal through its Resident Commissioner at Delhi. Comrades from different organizations declaring solidarity with Bhangar movement addressed it. The memorandum was handed over to the Resident Commissioner by comrades KNR, Vimal Trivedi and Malik (Mandoli Kisan Andolan, Gaziabad).
After adoption of the agenda, in the inaugural session, com. KN Ramachandran ( GS , CPIML red star ) extended good wishes to all present student comrades and reminded the importance of the Special Conference in the present situation when the society is going through a critical condition. He urged that in future AIRSO should strive to emerge as a mass based student organization challenging the neoliberal policies including commercialization of education on the one hand and communalization of the education on the other. After this comrade Tuhin (All India Convener of RCF) and com . Samar ((member of RCF All India Council) shared their student life experiences and comrade Samar sang revolutionary song.
After the inauguration session, the Organizational Report was presented by com. Akshay, the GS. After a long and fruitful discussion in the direction of rectifying present organizational weaknesses and moving forward towards organizational and agitation-wise development, the Report was adopted by the Conference. Following this, the amendments to the Program and Constitution were presented, and after discussion and reply by the presidium they were accepted.
On the second day the proposed Central Resolution was presented and accepted after discussion. Following this, the new five-member Central Committee was elected comprising comrades Vinay (Chhattisgarh), Akshay and Satwik (Maharashtra), Hanimesh (Karnataka) and Sain (Delhi) with provisions to co-opt more members from other states. The CC re-elected comrades Vinay as President and Akshay as General Secretary.
Following Resolutions were adopted:
1) Struggles against corporatization and commercialization of education, and oppose New Education Policy.
2) Struggle against seat- cuts, decreasing budgetary expenditure on education and shut down of large number of government education institution in various sectors.
3) Fight against all anti environment policies and against imperialist led so called development paradigm.
4) Fight against centralization of education syllabus.
5) Struggle in Support of Bhangar movement and all other people’s movements. .
6) Struggle for caste annihilation.
The two day Special Conference concluded with the determination to build AIRSO in to a powerful revolutionary student organization mobilizing lager number of students in coming days at all India level.
All India Revolutionary Student Organisation
The Conference started with the inaugural session which focussed on “Present Communal and Brahmanical attack and Significance of the Caste Annihilation Movement”. It was followed by the delegate session till pm on 14th. The National Conference was presided by Sanjeev, of All India Coordination Committee of Caste Annihilation Movement. The list of special guests who addressed the inaugural session included Com. KN Ramchandran, General Secretary, CPI (ML), Red Star, Dr. Sushila Tankbhore, renowned writer of Maharashtra and the state representatives of Caste Annihilation Movement, such as Dr. Brijbihari (Uttar Pradesh), Narbhindar (Panjab), U. Shambshivrao (Telangana), Jinda Bhagat (Nagpur), RP Singh (RCF), Akshay (AIRSO), Sunila (AIRWO), Labh Singh (Punjab), Ravi (TUCI), Ravi Paloor (Kerala) Ramesh Chandra Dutt (Karnataka), Bhimrao Yedke, Devrao Ailwar, Pravin Nadkar (Maharashtra), Rekha Gondane (Chhattisgarh). It was conducted by Tuhin, all India Convener of Revolutionary Cultural Forum & CAM Member, and vote of thanks was delivered by Bandu Meshram. At the end of the inaugural session, the latest issues of Jati Unmoolan, the Hindi organ of the CAM and Vikalp, the Hindi organ of RCF were released. Com. Rambali & Saraiyyah presented revolutionary mass songs.
A press conference was held on 12th January2018 explaining the significance of the CAM in the present context. The Conference concluded with a procession shouting slogans like ‘ Demolish the caste system” through the streets of Nagpur in the afternoon of 14th January, which concluded at the Namantar Chowk with a brief public meeting. In the cultural evening o 13th , inspiring songs were sung and documentary films were displayed on Caste Annihilation. The conference was well attended by large number of students, intellectuals, cultural activists and delegates from all the corners of the country like Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, UP,A.P. ,Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala ,M.P. and Chhattisgarh.
Com. Sanjeev, in his presidential address, said that both class and caste identities have kept the Indian society divided. Both are unpleasant realities. These have made hell of the lives of Indian people. The national movement of Caste Annihilation has begun with the agenda of creating a casteless and classless society. Caste system is like leprosy in Indian society. Since thousands of years, this cruel system has been resisting the change of time and still alive in its present heinous forms. The powerful ruling class is helping its survival for its vested interests. Not a single day passes without hearing the news of oppression of Dalits and other down-trodden caste people, along with that of tribals, minorities and women by the upper-caste and the rich. The toiling mass are the victim of double oppression,— one in agro fields or factories, the other by the upper caste. Some people pretend to be progressive or liberal, yet argue in favour of keeping the caste system in tact in the garb of preserving tradition etc. These hypocrites ought to be unmasked. He appealed to all progressive forces to join in the struggle for building a casteless, classless society based on equality and justice.
While delivering the keynote address, Ramachandran stressed on the significance of the oppressed people in Maharashtra manifested in the 3rd January state level bandh challenging the disturbances created by the RSS forces during the historic Bhima Koregaon mobilization, and said: We have a long tradition of resisting caste system that began with Gautam Buddha. This glorious tradition was carried over by Kabir, Rabidas, Mahatma Phule and Dr. Ambedkar and others inspiring the renaissance movement. We are holding this Conference at such a time when people are being repressed brutally in the name of caste and religion to satisfy nefarious narrow political ends of Sangh Parivar. People are being divided and their basic democratic rights are usurped – all in the name of religion and caste. At present, communal forces have been trying to consolidate their hegemony in all spheres of life. Attacks on oppressed class and caste are on the increase throughout the country. Presently, number of incidents of horrible attacks by the casteist force on Dalits in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa etc are reported. Imperialists and their henchmen are trying to consolidate their hold through intensification of the neo-liberal policies as well as the agenda of Hindu Rashtra as two aspects of their strategy. Religious dogmatism, vulgarization of history and dividing the country in terms of religion and caste are pushing us back to the dark days. We must unite to face this challenge and transform the resistance movement into a revolution. All progressive persons must come forward and bear the responsibility of transforming our society towards one without caste system and communalism, one where social justice flourishes in all fields.
Dr. Sushila Tankbhore affirmed that the situation in Maharashtra is no different from the rest of the country. Rather the situation in our country has worsened in the past few years. Inter-caste and inter-community marriages are opposed and the couples are killed. Imperialism has been providing stimulants to caste system. We are to rise against the prevalent inequality and wipe out the unjust system. We have to raise voice for women’s liberation & against oppression of caste-gender based violence.
Dr. Brijbihari pointed out that Babasaheb Ambedkar asserted that Caste system was like leprosy in Indian society. Still most of the sections he targeted was illiterate and the literate sections were busy in carrying the dead and oppressive customs of Brahmanism. He called for mobilizing the oppressed people and their organizations for rallying round the Caste Annihilation Movement to fight out the present unjust system. Dalit and minorities are fearful and anxious of their safety on account of the perpetual incidents of atrocities and heinous crimes against them. Recent horrific incidents in UP, Haryana etc are cases in point. Complaints pertaining to such violence are either not entertained in the police stations or the perpetrators usually go scot free easily.
Com. U. Shambshiv Rao (Chairperson OPDR, Telangana) opined that the politics of pseudo-identity politics had been creating division among the Dalits. On the basis of scientific consciousness, they should have to fight for a society without caste, class and religious creed. The Dalits in rural area hardly could make their both ends meet and living in penury. None of the leading political parties did anything towards their betterment. It is time to struggle for wiping out the caste identities.
Com. Pravin Nadkar (Lok Shahir Anna Bhau Sathe Manch & TU leader) stressed that caste system was not only for the benefit of Brahminical forces but also a tool for the divide and rule policy of the ruling class. Eradication of Caste system is a must for establishing equal rights for all.
While sharing the recent upheaval in Gujarat, Com. Narbhindar said that it was an effort to divide the community and encourage caste war. In the process, many of the democratic rights, outcome of long arduous struggles of past decades, are being taken back. He emphasized the revolutionary secular progressive legacy of historic “Gaddar Movement” and martyr Bhagat Singh’s anti religion, atheist thinking.
Com. Bhimrao Yedke (Nanded) averred that Humanism and World Unity should be the basis of Caste Annihilation Program. We must remain aware of the shrewd divide and rule moves of the ruling class.
Com. Jinda Bhagat (Convener CAM Nagpur) emphasized the need of providing specific direction to Caste Annihilation Movement. He focused on the role of deep introspection and study of our past weaknesses.He earmarked the question of land as the basis of fierce caste based violence in Rajasthan, U. P and in other states. Most of the Dalits do not possess any land. The agenda of present government is to abolish caste based reservation and rule by creating division among the toilers. He called for giving emphasis to inter caste marriages.
The inaugural session prepared the ground for the delegate session to take up the tasks of evaluating hitherto experiences and to prepare for intensifying the activities of the Movement.
The Conference starting on 13th afternoon firstly discussed and passed the amendments to the draft Program and Constitution of the CAM. Then the All India Report was presented. During the discussion many suggestions to overcome past weaknesses and to intensify the movement were pointed out by the delegates. After reply, the Report was adopted. The Conference elected an 18 member All India Coordination Council and an 8 member Central Executive Group (CCG). Dr. Brijbihari was elected as the Main Coordinator and Com. Sanjeev and Com. U. Shambhashiv Rao as Coordinators.
The Conference passed many resolutions on condemning the nefarious attacks on Dalits, Adivasis & Minorities; on suppression of freedom of expression; on perpetual deterioration of the status of the toiling & common masses; on vulgarization, communalization and saffronization of history and culture. It also expressed anxiety over the pauperization of peasants, increasing penury, price rise and atrocities on women. The central resolution moved by com. R.P. Singh focused on implementation of the main class in the Program, including struggle against caste based, feudal customs, traditions and superstitionsl against creamy layer concept and reservation based on economic positions; for campaigning for inter caste marriages; for removing case based surnames; for supporting the movement for land and housing for the landless etc.
The two day Conference which concluded with the rally and the public meeting, the participation of large number of delegates fro more states and its decision have given a new impetus to the CAM to carry forward its tasks with more enthusiasm.
“The university authorities, the Centre and the state government might have thought the Rohith episode was a closed chapter. So long as the issues for which he attained martyrdom remain, his memories will continue to haunt the university and government,” said Dontha Prashant, a leader of the Ambedkar Students Union, at the university.
He and Vemula were among five research scholars the university suspended and expelled from their hostel in August 2015 on a complaint by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which accused them of assaulting some of its leaders. The expulsion is believed to have driven Vemula to die by suicide in his hostel room in January 2016. Under pressusre from the students this time the authorities allowed seven scholars from outside including Kancha Eliah to participate in the Convention. Many programs were organized on 17th January in memory of Rohit Vemula and pledging to continue the struggle for academic freedom and for casteist oppression.
One week after the Fourth All India Conference of CAM, the convener of its Nagpur Committee, comrade Zinda Bhagat, held the inter caste marriage of his daughter, Roshini, with Alish from Pune, breaking all traditional customs, inviting the two families, relatives, friends and large number of progressive people from all walks of life on 21st January. The place where the marriage was held was decorated with placards with slogans of caste annihilation and opposing all superstitions and Brahminical values. It was a progressive marriage in the line of the marriages encouraged by Dr. Ambedkar.