Bhagat Singh was an outstanding revolutionary activist and thinker who sacrificed his life in the Independence movement at only 23 years of age. Having taken birth in a revolutionary family from Punjab, Bhagat Singh devoted his life from his early teens for the struggle to build a free, egalitarian and secular India. During his honest endeavour to achieve that aim he embraced the scientific thought of revolution. It was bound to attract enmity not only from the British Raj, but also from the comprador section of the Indian population.
Lenin once said, “During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly bounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extend for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it”. The life of Bhagat Singh was no exception.
Today all ruling class parties including BJP are claiming Bhagat Singh’s legacy whereas little effort has been put to propagate his actual ideas and concepts. Bhagat Singh made bitter criticism of communalism and untouchability. He was greatly influenced by the works of Marx of several questions including religion and became an atheist. This was a very important phenomenon at that time when nearly all the young revolutionaries outside the Communist Party used to draw their inspiration to fight against the colonial rule from religion. As a young journalist, in several papers like Kirti, Arjun and Pratap, Bhagat Singh observed the ugly face of communalism and riots in 1920s and expressed his anguish in some articles. Therefore, it is amusing that, the shameless leaders of the shameless riots & massacres, and others like them claim Bhagat Singh’s legacy.
Bhagat Singh was born in a Sikh family in Punjab on 28th September, 1907. He was born in a revolutionary family. His grandfather, Arjun Singh, was a follower of Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s Hindu reformist movement, Arya Samaj, which had considerable influence on the young Bhagat. His father Kishan Singh and uncles were members of the Ghadar party, led by Kartar Singh Sarabha and Hardayal. Ajit Singh, one of his uncles was forced to flee to Persia due to pending court cases against him, while Swaran Singh, his another uncle, died at home in 1910 following his release from Borstal Jail in Lahore.
In 1919, at the age of 12, Singh visited the site of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, hours after thousands of unarmed people gathered at a public meeting had been killed. At the age of 14, he was among those in his village who welcomed protestors against the killing of a large number unarmed people at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on 20 February 1921. Bhagat became disillusioned with Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence after Gandhi called off the non-cooperation movement. Gandhi’s decision followed the violent killing of policemen by villagers who were reacting to the police killing three villagers in the 1922 Chauri Chaura incident. Bhagat joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began to advocate for the violent overthrow of the British from India.
Seeking revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai at the hands of the police, Singh was involved in the murder of British police officer John Saunders. He eluded efforts by the police to capture him. Together with Batukeshwar Dutt, he undertook a successful effort to throw two bombs and leaflets inside the Central Legislative Assembly while shouting slogans of revolution. Subsequently they volunteered to surrender and be arrested. Held on this charge, he gained widespread national support demanding equal rights for British and Indian political prisoners. During this time, evidence was brought against him for a conviction in the Saunders case, after trial by a Special Tribunal and appeal at the Privy Council in England. He was convicted and subsequently hanged at the age of 23. His legacy prompted youth in India to begin the fighting for Indian independence and he continues to be a youth idol in modern India.
Apart from his revolutionary activities, Bhagat Singh put hard labour to develop the revolutionary guideline in Indian context. Within a very short life span of only 22, he wrote a number of articles, letters and documents which display his deep insight. He studied the experiences of different revolutions in the world, including the Bolshevik revolution (1917) in Russia led by great revolutionary V.I. Lenin and consequently embraced atheism and Marxism-Leninism.
With the martyrdom of Comrade Bhagat Singh, India lost promising revolutionary and communist leader. However, his sacrifice has given birth to uncountable number of revolutionaries. Moreover he has kept the revolutionary legacy astir which is still cherished, he has kept the hope of forming an egalitarian and secular India alive.
Though young, Bhagat Singh was not mere an emotion packed freedom fighter. He gave serious thought to understand the scientific rules of social battles. In this process, he developed serious differences with Gandhi in so many matters. He questioned the philosophy of non-violence of Gandhi when he withdrew the non-cooperation movement following the violent upsurge of the masses in response to the brutal suppressions and killings by the British government. However, it does not mean that he was trigger-happy revolutionary.
Bhagat Singh tried to understand the form and content of revolution from the experience of different world revolutions and embraced Marxism as the guiding ideology. He became involved in several revolutionary organizations and become one of the important leaders of Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and later played a role to change its name to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
Eighty eight years have passed after the martyrdom of comrade Bhagat Singh: still India has not achieved true independence. Although the power has been transferred to the hands of the Indian rulers, the colonial rule in different form still prevails. The ruling classes still use the evils like untouchability or communalism for their purposes. The exploitation over human by human still exists as the order of the day. The India which Bhagat Singh dreamt of is still unfulfilled which has kept him still alive as an eternal flame of revolution. Long live Com. Bhagat Singh. Long live revolution. n
The birth centenary of renowned Marxist philosopher Com. Debiprasad Chattapadhayya was observed in last year. The communist movement in India will be indebted to him forever for his remarkable contribution in studies of Indian philosophy and Indian history. Unfortunately, till this date the communist movement could not realize proper importance of his works. A handful of articles on this path-breaking philosopher which have already appeared on the occasion of his birth centenary are mostly ordinary in nature. One can find nothing there except only ritualistic approach. One of the reasons behind this unfortunate fact is the communist movement of our country has divorced philosophy as a whole. Philosophy is mostly considered as an academic subject in the Marxist political circle in India except citing some abrupt quotations from the writings of Lenin and Mao. Therefore, the realization that, starting from all major political questions to every detail in practical politics are actually directed and controlled by philosophy does not gain much currency in Indian communist movement. Thus, in this type of political environment it was quite obvious that the works of Comrade Debiprasad Chattapadhayya would fail to attract sufficient attention.
The volume of works of Debiprasad is absolutely huge. He was a master in all the branches of Indian philosophy. However, his paradigm-setting contribution was made in rediscovering Indian materialism. There was a time when the philosophy-circle of the West including Hegel and the academic faculties in India earnestly believed that India must be a country of idealism only, a land of Vedanta. Debiprasad proved that India is not only a land of spirituality but at the same time it is a land of oldest materialisms in the world by employing undisputable facts. It was not an easy task at his time. Even the Marxists were not ready to accept this notion. One of the biggest reasons for this mistake was the influence of Western philosophical environment on the thinking brains of India. In Europe it was a popular concept that India was a land of unhindered spirituality where life and society remained in an unmoved situation until the Europeans came for settling colony. India had a society where there was no struggle of the masses or classes. Therefore, Hegel said the following: “The Chinese has significance only when he is dead, the Indian kills himself, plunges into Brahma and dies while living, in complete unconsciousness, or is god by virtue of his birth, here there is no change, no progress, for advance is possible only through the fulfillment of the independence of the spirit.” (Philosophie der Geschichte/ 270-271/quoted by G. Plekhanov/Selected Philosophical Works/vol.-I/page 466). It is absolutely clear that Hegel understood or read about only Vedanta when he spoke about India.
It is quite meaningless to deny the fact that Marx and Engels, too, were heavily influenced by such thought for a long time as Marxism was developed from the inner-struggle of European philosophy-circle which was an important component of Marxism. However, to understand that in any great world-outlook there is always particularities along with its universal side it is not required to be a scholar. It is only a common sense. But the astonishing fact that the Indian communists could not understand this simple fact and copied the whole paradigm from West could not be explained by the theory of ‘colonial mindset’ only. There is also some material basis behind this.
Since the eighth century AD the materialist and dialectical thoughts in India started to be evaporated from Indian political scenario. The manuscripts of those great thoughts started to gradually vanish under this attack. It obviously happened not without reason. From different sources it is clear that a long-drawn suppression was responsible for that. As the Vedanta-following Nobility had been powerful, in other words, as the ‘double-helix’ of Brahmins and the Kshatriyas started to gain absolute power, the followers of the notions of the people as Lokayata or Buddhism started facing physical attacks. Under the leadership of Acharya Shankara, the Vedantists regrouped themselves and indulged in physical attacks on the Lokayatikas, Jainas and the Buddhists. Later on, the Turkish invasion in India added much fuel in this course of destruction of the Buddhist and Lokayata groups. A number of Buddhist universities including Nalanda and Vikramshila came under massive attacks, killings and destructions by the Turks. As a result of these attacks by the Brahmin-Kshatriya rulers and later by the Turks for several centuries, nearly all the manuscripts of the heretic ideologies in India were lost. Then, a systematic distortion of those ideologies was started mainly by the Vedantists which continued till the time of Debiprasad. For an example we can mention the well known Lokayata or Carvaka sutra which states as: “Eat, drink and make merry even on debts as long as you live”, (Jabat jibet sukham jibet/ rinam kritwa ghitam pibet). Since there was no original manuscript of Lokayata found, this type of distortion has been gradually established as truth and the ideology of Lokayata appears as an ideology of mere merry-making. However, modern researchers of Indian materialism have shown that the original sutra probably was a different one which stated: “Live in happiness because there is nothing which can avoid death/once burnt where from the human body come back?” (Jabat jibet sukham jibennasti mrityuragachara/ Bhassibhutassa dehassya punaragamanam kutoh?). The sole target of this materialist sutra was the practice of austerity based on idealist ideology which was preached by the Brahmanical forces.
As a result of these developments the heretical ideas and speculations in Indian philosophical scenario were forcefully suppressed and they started disappearing.
However, the British rule in India became an unconscious tool to rediscover the revolutionary thoughts of this great land. As the British needed to establish a vast network of railways, they had to take up a thorough excavation programme in hand. As a result of that the heretic India started to come out from beneath the ground. A number of Buddhist stupas, monasteries, manuscripts were discovered. A group of English Civil Servants initially posted in Sri Lanka devoted to translate Pali literatures in different European languages. They established Pali Text Society in 1881. However, no original Carvaka manuscript was found. Eminent Marxist-Buddhist philosopher of the Communist Party comrade Rahul Sankrityaya discovered a manuscript from a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka called Tatwapaplavasingha written by one Jayarashi Vatta in 1940, which, according to some scholars, could be treated as only Carvaka text. It was published from Oriental Studies of Varoda under the editorship of Rahul in the same year. However, Debiprasad did not agree with them and he did not accept Jayarashi as a Carvaka.
Prior to Debiprasad, a number of researchers and philosophers studied the Carvaka or Lokayata ideology as the sole Indian edition of materialism. As a continuation of these studies Debiprasad also took the job in hand. However, he started to appear taller than them as soon as he employed a complete revolutionary approach for this study. He never let himself to be a prisoner in the custody of the conventional formulas and wisdom. Engels showed in the Introduction of the second volume of Capital wrote by Marx that prior to Marx a number of economists worked to discover the source of surplus value in the history of economics. They reached so nearer to their goal that Althusser, the prominent French Marxist made a comment that the source of surplus value was looking up to them from their works, but they could not see it. The simple reason was that those economists allowed themselves to be limited within the boundary of conventional formulas. The revolutionary audacity of Marx led him to invent new tools to understand the complexity of the reality. As a result the struggles of the working class and the world socialist movement became able to reach in a more matured stage leaving behind the phases of their infancy. The theory of socialism achieved a scientific basis. The works of Debiprasad in some places can be compared with that of Marx in the arena of philosophical struggle against idealism in India. The magnum opus of Debiprasad, Lokayata : A study in Ancient Indian Materialism published in 1959 from the publication house of the Communist Party is not less effective weapon than Marx’s Capital in Indian perspective.
All sincere communists in our country once faced a question — In which path the Indian revolution will take place, the Russian path or the Chinese path? Subsequently, nearly all the communists were divided in these two camps. The supporters of both the camps were present in undivided Communist Party. Later, all the adherents of the Chinese path finally assembled in CPI(ML) and other radical groups, and the supporters of the Russian path stayed back in the parties like CPI or CPI(M). Nobody could think it was quite obvious that the Indian revolution to take a different route and that must have to be Indian in nature. A country which supposed to have drowned in spiritual haze for centuries, a country which supposed to have been inert, unchanged, and remained in a state of no struggle for progress for centuries how could it supply vital materials to formulate the path of revolution of its own? How could the poor communists of this poor country bank on the wisdom which emerged from the history of its own? Which struggles were there which could not but to lead inevitably in the direction of a communist revolution?
Therefore, it was a fait accompli for the Indian communists not only to learn from the experiences of the revolutions of other countries, but to chalk out its own path in a copy-paste manner of those revolutions. Though, unconsciously perhaps, Debiprasad destroyed the edifice of that fait accompli. It was utter failure of the Indian communists to understand the importance of his works which could help them to draw a new line of thinking in the subject of path of revolution. Today some communists are speaking about Indian path quite correctly but still they are saying it negatively, i.e., from the experiences of the failures of the earlier attempts. Today we can assert that if the works of social scientists like Debiprasad (along with others like Romila Thapar, Kosamby, Rahul etc) can be understood and synthesized properly we can speak about an Indian path positively. Here lies the significance and importance of Com. Debiprasad Chattapadhayya.
(To be concluded, Next Part: First Chapter: Lokayata: The Indian Materialism) n
The 2019 General Election for the 17thLok Sabha is taking place at hitherto most critical juncture in the post-1947 history of our country. In the past, a serious challenge to Indian polity was faced when Indira regime had declared internal emergency and suppressed dissent autocratically. But she was compelled to declare elections in 1977 following growing people’s resistance to her emergency rule. In spite of favourable intelligence and media reports, Congress was routed out by the silent suffering majority of the deprived people.
Present situation is much more dangerous. The RSS parivar is making all out efforts to retain power at any cost as they are in a hurry to impose its Hindurashtra concept over the country. If it gets another term, it will reverse whatever democratic rights and institutions we could achieve and the danger of fascism shall become a reality. So defeating BJP and reversing whatever damage Modi rule has done to Indian polity and people have become the primary tasks before the people.
Though Modi and other BJP leaders sound very optimistic about getting another term the concrete facts speak otherwise. In fact they are alarmed and panicky at the growing people’s alienation following total failure of Modi government in implementing his numerous promises. Not only it failed to implement its promises, but the demonetisation and GST policies have ruined the people’s economy. Unemployment has become rampant, all welfare measures are cut, suicides by peasants have increased, and there is all round pauperisation of the masses, while a tiny section of the elite classes and corporates becoming fabulously rich. The divisive policies of RSS implemented at alarming speed have led to numerous communal riots, mob lynching of Muslims and dalits, and alienation of all these sections including the people of Kashmir and Northeast.
In order to cover up these failures, the communal and caste divisions are sharpened, an atmosphere of hatred is created. Anti-terror jingoism and Pakistan-hatred are cunningly whipped up by the saffron forces on the eve of the elections. War hysteria is spread through corporate media. Pseudo patriotic passions are whipped up. Any one questioning the failures of Modi rule in all fields are targeted and attacked as traitors as he is projected as the chowkidar, the real guardian of India’s security and welfare by the Sanghis.
But country-wide peasant upsurges, working class struggles, youth and students movements, protests by oppressed castes against subversion of caste-based reservation, adivasis’ movement against intensifying suppression and depriving of their rights to land and livelihood, women’s fury against patriarchal oppression and gender inequality, struggles for protecting the environment and habitat, etc. are gathering momentum against the corporate-saffron fascistic Modi rule.
Though the corporate media is working hard to sell the Modi brand once again, though the state machinery is utilised to sell BJP’s virtues and though the social media and money power is lavishly utilized, like in 1977, it is becoming almost clearer day by day that the silent majority, the suffering sections of the people are going to throw out BJP from power. But we cannot be complacent as the RSS parivar nay go to ant extent to retain power. Taking this in to consideration more vigorous mobilization of the masses is needed to throw out the Sanghi raj.
But, however hard the RSS parivar may try, during the last one year or so almost all the results of the assembly elections to Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh etc and the by elections have shown that Modi’s influence is waning. They reflect the anti-BJP mood among the people. Besides, there is a polarisation of most of the opposition parties including Congress and other ruling class parties along with a number of regional parties against Modi regime. The social democratic Left Front parties led by the CPI(M) are also part of this mobilization. Besides, all struggling forces all over the country, the oppressed classes and sections of the people are also determined to throw out the Modi regime from power. In this situation, in spite of all its vile campaign and communalization the trend is against BJP and its allies.
Even then, one weakness of the opposition to BJP from the ruling class parties is that all of them including even the Left Front parties are not behind BJP in going ahead with the implementation of the neoliberal/corporate policies. Similarly, though all of them are against the nakedly divisive communal fascist policies of Modi rule, they also indulge in communal and caste appeasement as part of vote bank politics. So, even while there are good possibilities for unseating the BJP in this election, the RSS and the communal, casteist forces shall continue to wield their influence. The corporate forces and the bureaucracy helping them shall continue to dominate. In such a situation the administration and the ruling system as a whole shall remain anti-people. The divide between the rich and the poor shall further widen. Like the 2014 situation which helped Modi to come to power attacking the weaknesses of the UPA rule, a similar or worse situation may be created again.
So, while we have to strive hard to throw out the BJP from power, the question of building up a people’s alternative against the ruling system should be addressed by the revolutionary forces. It will not weaken in any manner the struggle to defeat BJP in this election, on the contrary shall only make these efforts more meaningful. It is in this context, the CPI (ML) Red Star is intervening in the elections with the call to defeat BJP, build up people’s alternative based on a people-oriented development program rejecting neoliberal/corporate economic policies, and democratisation at all levels.
That is, while raising the central slogan of throwing out Modi rule, we look beyond to the socio-economic policies which were/are pursued by Congress and other regional parties also during last many decades, intensifying pauperization of the masses and enriching the elite classes. So, in order to build a real people’s alternative government, basic reorientation of all hitherto policies towards just, sustainable and equitable development and all round democratization of the society and polity including the judiciary is essential. The program of the people’s government proposed by the Red Star is explained in detail in the Election Manifesto published by the Party.
It is in this situation, the CPI (ML) Red Star is fielding 42 candidates in 17 states and supporting like-minded candidates as an alternative force facilitating the throwing out of the corporate-saffron fascist regime of BJP.
The party appeals to the people, the oppressed classes including women, working class including the vast majority of informal and unorganized among them, the peasantry, the agricultural workers, slum dwellers, youth, students and all democratic forces to cast their votes to strengthen the struggle for building of a people’s alternative government wherever such candidates are contesting. In all other seats they should vote judiciously to defeat the BJP and its allies.
Greta Thunberg, a fifteen year old girl from Sweden, addressing the leaders of the World Economic Forum at Davos, told them “you are stealing our future”. She said “you say you love your children. But for the luxurious life for few you are destroying our future”. She asked: “Why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more” She asserted: we children have no other way out but to come out in the streets for demanding our future, demanding climate justice to prevent the ecological crisis, a catastrophe.
From last August, not going to school, every Friday she was sitting in front of Swedish parliament with a placard demanding Climate Justice. Her dedication and the truth behind her started attracting attention. Her slogan for Climate Justice started spreading in Sweden, then Europe and soon internationally. Yes, thousands of scientists, environmentalists and concerned activists across the world were warning the UN and all heads of states that if the ecological destruction continues at this rate the human species cannot survive beyond seven or eight decades. But nobody is bothered. Business as usual is continuing unabated, the ruling system calculating development in terms of GDP! So, now the children are coming out on the streets with the call “you have no right to steal our future to satisfy your greed”. The movement Greta ignited is now spreading as “Friday for Future”.
In India, students in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Udaipur joined the movement, they skipped class on Friday, the 15th March, to take to the streets, holding placards and shouting slogans along with millions of schoolchildren from more than hundred countries across the world who walked out of their schools to fight for a greater cause – to expose the inaction of the ruling forces to take steps to reverse the ever intensifying climate change. Students in more than 100 countries, in more than 1500 cities took to the streets, demanding action against global warming. The School Strike 4 Climate was part of #Friday’s For Future movement inspired by Greta Thunberg
The ruling exploitative system is trying to pacify this movement by nominating Greta for a Nobel Prize as usual. It is not Nobel prizes they want, but their future. The ruling system is so barbarous that when a parliament election is taking place in India, the so-called main stream parties and their leaders have no time to discuss the ecological catastrophe and climate change. Against this neoliberal trend, the CPI(ML) Red Star, in its Election manifesto declares: "Replace the present development model driven by corporate capital accumulation, ruthless plunder of nature and curtailment of democratic rights with a people’s development paradigm from the perspective of working and broad masses of toiling people, and expand the realm of democracy in a sustainable manner. Strive for a development perspective which is pro-people, pro-nature and pro-women." The whole orientation is for a new world where the present antagonistic approach to nature, the growing contradiction between capital and nature is replaced by humanly relation between the nature and the humans. (See, the Election manifesto of CPI(ML) Red Star at www.cpiml.in). Let us learn from the children and rally to fight the rule of capital to create a future for them. n
It was two years ago we observed the 50th anniversary of Naxalbari Uprising with all India programs culminating with a march to Naxalbari on 25th May, 1967. This Uprising was in effect a clarion call for advancing along the path of People’s Democratic Revolution defeating the revisionists of all hues who were leading the movement and for sharpening the struggle for overthrowing the reactionary ruling system. The formation of the CPI(ML) two years later was a historic step towards reorganizing the communist movement with revolutionary orientation.
Though the left adventurist mistakes in the initial phase led to severe setbacks to the party and to its disintegration in to different groups, today we can confidently say that struggling against the right opportunist and anarchist deviations, the communist revolutionary movement, in the main, has overcome the shortcomings at theoretical-political level to a great extent by making concrete analysis of the momentous changes that have happened at international and national level. This has helped us in developing our Marxist-Leninist understanding according to this present situation during the post Second World War period, and to develop the Program and Path of revolution. As a result, as upheld by the recently concluded 11th Congress of the Party, important organizational advances are achieved as an all India organization capable of leading all forms of struggle to intensify the class struggle as substantiated by the Bhangar like people’s movements. But, considering the problems of developing a party capable of leading revolution in a vast country like India, what we could achieve so far is very little, and we have to strive hard to make great strides forward.
All party committees are called upon to observe the 50th anniversary of CPI(ML) formation at as many places as possible, with the resolve to advance towards the victory of democratic revolution and socialist transformation. n
While every general election is important, compared to all previous elections, including the 1977 elections when people threw out Indira regime which had imposed internal emergency in the country, this general election is more crucial. It is so, primarily because during the last five years Modi rule has brutally struck at whatever secular democratic values Indian polity so long had, for replacing them with the Hindu Rashtra and Manuvadi concepts of RSS. Even when the 1947 transfer of power did not bring a basic transformation of Indian society and the state, the Constitution and the institutions which were built based on it including the welfare measures and public enterprises had provided a limited opportunity to advance at least to modernity in the line of the capitalist democratic revolutions.
Though the previous governments have diluted secularism to Sarva dharma samabhava and to communal appeasement and protection of the caste system, though imperialist dictated economic policies were obediently pursued, they had not tried to turn the wheel towards obscurantist Hindutva fundamentalist positions and towards striking at the federal, democratic, inclusive values so nakedly as has happened under Modi rule. What happened during these five years is an attempt to intensify state terror and to pursue neo-fascistic policies, terrorising the masses, especially the dalits, women and minorities.
Besides, while intensifying the implementation of the neoliberal/corporate policies at maddening speed, its demonetisation and GST have ruined the economy. It totally failed to implement any of its promises given before the 2014 elections, during it or later. As a result, every section of the masses is severely affected. As a reaction, the people’s movements have taken place all over the country. The peasantry, the working class, women, youth, students and all oppressed sections has come out on the streets against the Modi rule. So, the task before us is to throw out this ultra right, neo-fascistic BJP rule in this election.
It is important that all the opposition parties have joined hands on the question of unseating the BJP from power. As the 11th Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star has categorically called for, our party committees should strive hard to fulfil this task.
At the same time, communists participate in the electoral struggle to advance the class struggle. While all the opposition parties have joined for ousting BJP, in spite of whatever they say when they are in opposition, once in power all of them faithfully implement the neoliberal/corporate policies. All of them utilize communal, caste appeasement for vote banks, and make the system increasingly corrupt.
Internationally and in India it is the degeneration of the ruling system and ruling class parties which has led to ascendance to power of neo-fascist forces with populist slogans. So communists, while striving to oust BJP from power, should look beyond to building up a people’s alternative which shall throw out the neoliberal policies and not only oust BJP from power, but root out RSS offensive with the vision of a people’s democratic India as explained in our Election Manifesto.
We appeal to the people to vote for candidates fielded by the party and supported by it to build up the people’s alternative. In all other seats judiciously vote for defeating BJP and its allies.
It was in the course of bitter struggle against the reformist and opportunist positions of CPI and later the CPI (M) the great Naxalbari Uprising, putting forward agrarian revolution with the slogan land to the tiller and upholding national liberation and democratic revolution, took place in 1967, followed by the formation of CPI(ML) in 1969. It is by consistently taking positions against right opportunism and left adventurism that the CPI (ML) Red Star could evolve as a struggling revolutionary organization over decades. Meanwhile, Party’s efforts to apply Marxist-Leninist theory and practice according to concrete conditions enabled it to have more clarity and understanding on the post-war neocolonial international and Indian situation in the proper perspective.
In continuation to numerous struggles and movements led by the Party including great sacrifices inspiring the toiling and oppressed, the Bhangar people’s movement has become a breakthrough. It has opened immense possibilities for developing people’s movements at different levels according to the concrete situation.
CPI (ML) Red Star has been consistently fighting against neoliberal policies since their very inception. While resolutely fighting against the anti-people, pro-corporate, reactionary policies of successive Congress-led and BJP-led governments, the party took initiative for forming the Caste Annihilation Movement envisaging basic democratization of the Indian society together with agrarian struggles with the land to the tiller slogan. It has been in the forefront in resisting Modi’s ultra-rightist economic policies like demonetization and Goods and Service Taxes (GST). Together with all progressive-democratic forces and the oppressed, It is now campaigning against the Economic Reservation of Modi that undermined the caste-based reservation in India and against the threat of throwing out millions of adivasi families from their habitats.
The CPI (ML) Red Star is contesting the Lok Sabha elections fielding candidates in most of the states based on this Election Manifesto. It calls for building People’s Alternative against all ruling class alternatives. At a time when the corporate-saffron stranglehold in its diverse reactionary manifestations are intensifying day by day, building-up the people’s alternative based on this Manifesto uniting all genuine left, patriotic, democratic, secular forces assumes great significance.
The CPI (ML) Red Star appeals to the working class, the landless-poor peasants and agricultural workers, to all other toiling masses and the patriotic democratic secular forces to rally for building this People’s Alternative.
Defeat Corporate-Saffron Fascist Forces!
Build up People’ Alternative based on Independent Left Assertion!
As Modi’s rule has reached its fag end, we are witnessing now is the latest malicious move to withhold the release of official data prepared by government’s own statistical machineries. The most conspicuous has been the ban imposed on publishing the NSSO’s 2017-18 data on employment. Modi came to power in 2014 with a promise of creating additional two crore jobs per year. But according to the NSSO survey, the details of which are leaked out on March 20, 2019, instead of the creation of two crore new jobs per annum, the country has been losing one crore jobs per year. Since this reversal on employment generation has obviously taken place due to Modi’s corporatisation policies, using the NITI Aayog, which devoid of any statistical expertise and that is working as a public relations department of the saffron regime, the govt. has released a series of doctored data which were completely at divergence with the NSSO figures.
Earlier, two members of the National Statistical Commission led by its chairman PC Mohanan had resigned protesting against the government’s manipulation of data. They had also questioned the manner in which the Modi government resorted to the new series of GDP data that can depict a relatively higher growth rate under Modi by artificially lowering India’s growth rates during the UPA regime. Contrary to Modi’s claims, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, India’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in February this year from 5.9 percent in February 2018 which is the biggest job loss that India is experiencing in five decades!
While 60 percent of the toilets built under the Swachh Bharat are lacking water and in Chhattisgarh (which declared its rural areas ODF-open defecation free), for instance, in all the 18769 villages surveyed, they are used as storehouses instead of using for the expected purposes. During the first year of his ascendancy to the throne, budget allocation to healthcare was reduced by 15 percent. At a time when 2.4 million Indian people are dying per annum due to lack of primary medical aid, and renowned international journals like Lancet exposed this deplorable situation in India, in 2018 Modi started Ayushmann Bharat with much fanfare. It also proved another publicity stunt since only Rs. 2000 crore was earmarked for this project whereas the initial minimum requirement was Rs. 30000 crore for including at least 10 crore people under this scheme. Even if it is spent, it would have been less than Rs. 20 per person. While Modi has already spent Rs. 3643 crore on Shivaji statue and more for that of Patel, in the neighbouring BJP-ruled state of Maharashtra alone 4000 peasants had to commit suicide on account of a debt of Rs. 150 crore to banks from which leading corporates Amabani, Adani, Essar, etc. have looted Rs. 15 lakh crore in the guise of non-performing assets (NPAs). Like MNREGS, both Swachh Bharat and Ayushmann Bharat have turned out as mere hoax.
On the one hand, Modi government without sending lawyers to the court cunningly created the situation for the SC passing an order on February 13 evicting more than a million hapless tribal people from their habitat, and on the other expedited wildlife clearances for facilitating corporate mining and environmentally harmful projects in ecologically fragile and sensitive regions to the detriment of forest dwellers in particular. To speed up corporate plunder of nature, after coming to power, Modi actively intervened to dilute the 2013 Land Acquisition Act that under the UPA regime had brought about some regulations in corporate land acquisition and certain procedures for eviction of peasants and adivasis from their land.
While curtailing federal powers of the state government through such neoliberal offensives as GST, regarding execution of corporate projects, Modi regime extended a free hand to them to act in violation of even central laws and against the rights of forest dwellers and marginalized sections. In brief, regarding land acquisition and natural resource appropriation for projects whether private or PPP route, the Modi regime is openly siding with the corporates against the sustenance and livelihood of the oppressed.
While these lines are being written, the UN had released its latest World Happiness Report ranking India at 140 among 156 countries for which study was conducted. India which is among countries at the bottom of the index that experienced the highest decline in welfare and happiness in recent years has gone down seven spots compared with the last edition of the Report which analysed economic, political and social stresses that people suffer. People’s lives with respect to per capita income, healthy life expectancy, freedom and liberty, absence of corruption, social support, etc. are taken as the criteria for the study. Thus while Modi was shoring up India’s ranking in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index by liberalising all laws pertaining to environment, labour, tax and even democratic rights, unleashing all kinds of financial parasitism, unknown levels of corruption leading to predatory plunder by corporate MNCs and crony capitalists, India with its 140th rank has been going down in terms of UN’s World Happiness Report, even much below that of neighbouring Pakistan (67), Bhutan (95), Bangladesh (125) and Sri Lanka (130). As a manifestation of this, while Modi-bhakts and corporate-saffron media are working overtime to fool people in to believing that India is fast developing, all the basic economic, social, democratic foundations of the country are collapsing.
Modi came to power on an anti-corruption plank taking advantage of people’s fury against the corrupt UPA government. But what India witnessed since then has been the unravelling of Modi himself as the agent of most corrupt crony capitalists. In the notorious Rs. 59000croreRafale deal with a reported underhand dealing of Rs. 30000 crore, Modi himself is exposed as the agent/middleman of Ambani. No prime minister in India has degenerated to such a level. Probably, Modi’s unveiling of himself as the chosen representative of the most corrupt corporate class is with regard to his approach to corruption itself. The BJP itself later admitted Modi’s promise of putting Rs. 15 lakh in the account of each Indians after repatriating unaccounted money from abroad as a mere election stunt. The alteration that he has brought about in election funding through the Electoral Bond Scheme based on inputs from neoliberal centres is an ingenious move to cement the corporate-saffron unholy nexus. This scheme that channels unaccounted black money from foreign tax havens and corporate sources is already exposed as a corollary of the financial parasitism and corporatisation underlying behind the so called Modinomics. Till date, the BJP has reportedly cornered around 95 percent of the tens of millions of worth black money donations mobilised through Electoral Bonds.
And to facilitate the legitimisation of funding from foreign tax havens, Modi has gone even for amending the Foreign Currency Regulation Act of 1976. In 2017 itself, in the third year of his rule, as underlined by Transparency International, Modi has earned the distinction for his regime as the most corrupt in Asia relegating Pakistan and Thailand in to the background. All investigative and enforcement agencies were manipulated to cover-up corruption by the ruling regime even as they are systematically directed against political opponents. According to the latest information, the income tax department that has been in possession of a diary by Yedyurappa, former Karnataka CM that contains huge pay-offs of over Rs. 1800 crore to central BJP team along with extortions worth Rs. 2690 crore, did nothing to investigate them.
Under Modi regime, corruption has assumed a new dimension of being ingrained in to the very process of formulation and implementation of policies through the unholy nexus among corporates, politicians and bureaucrats. Demonetisation itself was a classic corrupt move for wholesale whitening of the unaccounted black money hoardings of the most parasitic corporate class and politicians associated with BJP. While sucking out the meagre cash holdings of the vast majority of toiling people, demonetisation enabled the corrupt super-rich to consolidate the country’s wealth in their hands. By damaging the circulation channels and supply chains of the economy it paved the way for further corporatisation by destroying the informal and agricultural sectors that provided employment for 95 percent of the Indian workforce, and ultimately led to a 2 percent decline in India’s national product or loss of around Rs. 3-4 lakh crores during the financial year that proceeded demonetisation. One of the declared objectives of demonetisation was a transformation to digitization and cashless transactions. But as per the latest RBI Report on currency circulation, demonetisation resulted in around 20 percent growth in currency circulation, rising to 21.41 lakh crore as on 15 March, 2019 from Rs.17.97 lakh crore as on 4 November, 2016, on the eve of demonetisation. According to BJP’s own statements including the affidavit it submitted to Supreme Court, demonetisation might have been whitened a minimum of Rs 5 lakh crore worth black money.
Along with it, the GST that is being superimposed over states destroying the federal structure, depriving the states of their constitutional right to resource mobilisation and transferring the reins of the unified Indian market to corporate monopoly forces has broken the backs of retail, informal, traditional and self-employment sectors where vast majority Indians depend for their sustenance.
Under the ultra-rightist, corporate-saffron regime, India witnessed a systematic destruction of almost all PSUs in strategic and key sectors including even the defence sector. While the budgetary targets pertaining to social welfare expenditures remain unfulfilled throughout, the disinvestment target for the fiscal year 2019 is already met. As announced by the finance minister on March 22, 2019, disinvestment receipts for the financial year have touched Rs. 85000 crore as against the budgetary target of Rs. 80000 crore. Along with this, calculated steps were initiated to privatise or destroy public sector/departmental undertakings relating to railways, oil and gas, national highways, ports, airports, telecom and so on. As a result, for instance, BSNL and ONGC are on the brink of collapse while Reliance Jio and Reliance Petroleum have already taken over their positions. On account of Modi’s ultra-rightist policies, while the entire employment oriented productive spheres including agriculture and industry are facing reverses, the wealth of the top 9 Indian billionaires including Ambani and Adani are galloping at the rate of Rs. 2200 crore a day or Rs. 803000 crore an year! This occurs when earnings and living conditions of the common people go on declining such that in the Global Hunger Index India’s ranking under Modi rule has deteriorated by 37 percent reaching 100 among 119 countries, much below that of neighbouring countries.
Unlike the UPA rule, the period since 2014 when Modi has been in power experienced sharp decline in international crude oil prices. Countries like Iran and Venezuela which are facing unilateral Yankee embargo are even ready to part with their huge stocks of oil and gas even at a reduced price than the prevailing international prices. But Modi as US bootlicker and chosen agent of the most corrupt financial corporate class used this occasion for plundering people and fattening private oil giants like Ambani and Essar. Compared with the period of the UPA regime, when international crude oil prices plunged from $ 140 a barrel to around $ 50a barrel during the entire period of Modi rule, instead of reducing domestic oil prices, Modi went on raising taxes on petrol and diesel without any let up. Thus he raised taxes on petrol and diesel by 200 percent and 400 percent respectively, and a doubling of LPG prices such that both the central and state governments could gobble up around Rs. 15 lakh crores from this account alone.
Instead of spending this amount on people-oriented programs Modi in his budgets provided corporate tax exemptions worth Rs. 6 lakh crore on an average. Together with the highest GST rates in the world coupled with corporate control over price-fixing, the fuel price hike which also is the highest in the world has led to a sky-rocketing of the prices of all items of mass consumption and essential services even as peasants are denied minimum prices for their sustenance.
Closer examination will reveal that under the cover of saffronisation and all round campaign for Hindu Rashtra, Modi has been working overtime to serve his corporate chieftains. The ultimate beneficiaries of war- mongering and war hysteria built-up by Modi regime are the corporate class. Unity among the working class and oppressed people against the corporate-saffron regime is diverted by creating mutual hatred among the general public and feelings of insecurity among dalits, adivasis and minorities. Patriarchal and obscurantist religious and caste-based values are directed against women for cooling down their fury against the system. Institutions related to education, research and culture are manipulated and brought under corporate-saffron diktats.
Under Modi regime, since policy decisions are often conceived in the corporate- saffron-bureaucratic nexus, parliament, various parliamentary committees and related institutions have lost their significance and elected representatives of the people are kept in the dark regarding strategic decisions. Together with parliament, judiciary, administration, enforcement and investigative agencies and police are subjected to saffronisation. Even military is utilized for serving the saffron agenda. Corporate-saffron think-tanks are hand-picked to serve crony capitalism where corruption forms an integral part. While constitutional offices like CAG and autonomous bodies like RBI and CBI are denigrated, non-constitutional posts like the National Security Advisor and those who have access to PMO’s office wield extra-constitutional powers. Those who oppose the regime are charged with colonial sedition laws and black laws such as UAPA while saffron intellectuals and activists behind terrorist attacks and cow vigilantes are let scot-free by official investigative agencies. Even judges who refuse to toe the official line are dealt with accordingly. UP has become the “fake-encounter capital” of India where a reign of terror is unleashed on political opponents and oppressed sections.
At this critical juncture, all the democratic forces in the country are duty-bound to come forward for overthrowing this regime based a concrete evaluation of the horrific situation that we are facing.