ml_update_taxonomy: Vol. 20, No. 19

Remembering Com. Srilata Swaminathan

Com. Srilata Swaminathan, the ever-inspiring leader of AIPWA and CPI (ML) passed away on February 5 this year. On 29 April, her birth anniversary, AIPWA organised a memorial meeting in Indian Social Institute Auditorium (Lodi Institutional Area), Delhi to celebrate her life and work. Several of her friends who remember her for her inimitable comradeship, friendship and for her leadership of so many struggles, gathered on this occasion to share their memories of her day. Among those who shared their memories were Com. Srilata’s aunt, her college friends, her friends from NSD including the renowned theatre person M.K. Raina, PUCL activist Kavita Srivastava, NTUI leader Gautam Mody, journalist Bhasha Singh, and several of her comrades from AIPWA and CPI (ML) including AIPWA national Secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan, CPI (ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya and her comrade and husband, Com. Mahendra Chadhary, also the Rajasthan State Secretary of CPI (ML). A message from her close friends Lalita Ramdas and Admiral Ramdas was read out. A 20-minute excerpt of an interview with her about her experi- ences of being jailed during the Emergency, filmed by Uma Chakravarty, was also screened. The interview captured the Com. Srilata’s indomitable spirit and her political...

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AISA-RYA’s ‘School on Streets’ Campaign in Bhojpur

Even as the central and state governments refuse to improve access and quality of government schooling and thereby ensuring in equal educational opportunities as well as right to free ‘quality’ education for all, they seldom miss an opportunity to demolish the educational infrastructure. It is the teachers of the government schools who are burdened with regular non-academic, non-school related works, and it is again the government schools that become ‘dispensable’ when the state considers them unimportant enough to be converted into police and military camps. It may be noted that it is only the government schools that provide education to the children of the poor and oppressed that are used for uch purposes. In Bihar, the state of government schools and hostels, especially for the marginalised has continued deteriorate. Protesting against this blatant violation of children’s right to free education by converting schools into camps and to protest against the continued state of apathy towards providing better educational infrastructure and facilities in the government schools, AISA-RYA brought the school to streets and thereby reclaimed the streets for education and dignity for children of the poor and oppressed. The main slogan of this campaign has been – “Jab Nahin rahenge haalaat anukool, to sadkon par hi challenge school” (Till the conditions are not favourable, the schools will be run on the streets). The protestors declared that as long as schools...

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Land Rights Satyagraha in Arariya

The CPI (ML) Sikti Block unit organized a one-day Satyagraha in front of the Sikti (Arariya district) Zonal Officer on 24 April 2017 on the issues of land rights, food security for the poor, arrest of corrupt dealers, punishment for the guilty in the Rahariya killings and other issues. 300 men, women and children walked for about 3 km in the blazing sun holding aloft red flags in the march which culminated in a meeting at the Zonal HQ. People from the Sikti bazaar and other neighbouring places also came and expressed a wish to join the organization. This was the Party’s first organized progamme in Sikti. The Party submitted a charter of demands and individual application forms of 222 people. Most of the forms contained demands for parchas to settled lands and for ‘baas’ land. On the morning of 24 April Mira Devi went to Muraripur dealer Narayan Paswan’s house to collect her quota of rice but he gave her 5 kilos short in weight. When Mira protested against this she was beaten up by Narayan Paswan and his goons. This incident has been recorded on the mobile phone. The Satyagraha protested against this incident and an application was submitted to the Sikti BDO demanding Narayan Paswan’s...

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Two-Day Hunger Strike in Motihari

The CPI (ML) Eastern Champaran district committee organized a 2-day hunger strike on 18-19 April 2017 for a 11-point charter of demands including the issue of sugar mill workers’ suicides and police firing at the mill gates, and land rights. 31 Party leaders including 10 women led the...

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Convention Against Communalism

During Ramanavami the RSS outfits aimed to create a communal climate in Bengal, marching with open swords and choppers. In this context a Convention was held in Mahabodhi Society Hall, Kolkata on 12th April 2017. Though the convention was organized by Pashchim Banga Gana Sanskriti Parishad, the cultural outfit related to CPI (ML), many student organizations, magazines and individuals were the co organizers. Eminent poet Sabyasachi Deb, Social worker Afroza Khatun and Eminent writer Suranjan Pramanik were on the dais. The convention started with the opening song from Babuni Majumder. Com. Mitali Biswas read out the primary “proposal”. It has been proposed that this communal aggression cannot be resisted individually, we need to organise and go to the people and talk to them and convince them about the real threat of communalism. The personalities who gave suggestions regarding his situation were Eminent writer Kinnar Roy, Krishna Bandopadhyay, Prof Subhendu Dasgupta, Maidul Islam, Sitangshusekhar, APDR activist Ranjit Sur, Khairul Anam. Eminent cultural personalities like Mandakranta Sen, Rajat Bandopadhyay, Bipul Chakraborty , Debesh Chattopadhyay, Ratan Basu Majumder of IPCA and Nalinakhha Chowdhury of IPCA were also the speakers in this convention. A small committee was also formed in this convention named ‘AGAINST COMMUNALISM’ which is planning to organise regular programmes in different sectors and different strata of the society, and is also planning a May Day March from Park...

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AISA Protest in Front of Bihar CM

AISA held a protest in front of the Bihar Chief Minister to demand that B.Ed students of the 2016-18 batch should be allowed to sit for the Teachers Eligibility Test 2017 and the TET should be held every 6 months. Thousands of students from B.Ed colleges in Patna, Bhojpur, Buxar, Sasaram, Gaya, Jehanabad, Arwal, Masaurhi, Darbhanga, Madhubani, samastipur, Bhagalpur and Saharsa took part in the protest. It should be noted that students of B.Ed 2016-18 are not being allowed to sit for the Bihar government B.Ed exam this year (2017) although this exam is being held after a gap of 6 years. According to the Right to Education Act this exam should be held every 6 months. Earlier there was a very narrow age limit for this exam and B.Com students were not allowed to appear for it. However, in view of this proposed protest the government was forced to extend the age limit and also allow B.Com students to appear for the exam. The protest march proceeded through Kargil Chowk and sat in a meeting at the JP Golambar Chowk to demand talks with competent authorities. Addressing the meeting, CPI (ML) MLA Com. Mahboob Alam said that the government is playing with the future of students by not conducting these exams on time, and warned the government that the agitation would be sharpened if students of B.Ed 2016-18...

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Dharna Against Modi Government in Hyderabad

The CPI (ML) staged a dharna in Hyderabad against the anti-people policies of the Modi government. These policies have wreaked havoc on the lives of the common people, especially the poor and marginalized sections. The dharna protest was addressed by local Party activists and leaders who pointed out that even four months after the announcement of the note ban, the people’s troubles continue. They raised their voice against the communal mob lynchings that are becoming common all over...

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Land Rights Satyagraha in Bettiah

The CPI(ML) organized a land rights Satyagraha and hunger strike in front of the Betiya District Collectorate on 21-22 April 2017 to observe the Champaran Satyagraha centenary as the year for Land Rights Struggle. Among the landless poor who joined the Satyagraha were those from several villages in Mainatand who have been cultivating fazil, gairmajrua and benami ceiling lands for over 30 years; but instead of giving them legal recognition the Nitish government is slapping false cases on them and repressing them in various ways to evict them from the land. Similarly, landless poor from Gaunaha Block joined the hunger strike to demand dakhal-possession of the lands of the Ramnagar Raja in Dhamaura Panchayat for which they hold parchas. Many poor people settled in Lands of the Betiya Raja in Eastern Kargadiyan Panchayat also joined the hunger strike to demand legal recognition of their right to the land. Thus, landless poor in large numbers joined the Satyagraha with various kinds of issues relating to their lands. On 21 April the Satyagraha was addressed by Comrades Rameshwar Prasad, Saroj Choube, Sudama Prasad and other leaders. On 22 April Party General Secretary Com Dipankar Bhattacharya and other leaders addressed the...

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Workers Assert Against Communal-Corporate Fascism On May Day

May Day 2017 was observed by India’s working class at a time when the BJP Governments at the Centre and states are trying to claim that May Day is un-Indian and that the festival of Vishwakarma Puja is the only Labour Day India needs! The Prime Minister used the occasion to tweet the RSS slogan ‘Shrameva Jayate’ (which in Sanskrit means ‘Work Will Be Victorious’); he speaks of work being victorious while working for the defeat of workers and the victory of capital and capitalists! Labour laws are being attacked, dismantled and diluted by the Modi Government. Trade Union activists of Maruti and Pricol are in jail, framed and convicted on murder charges just as the Haymarket martyrs were 131 years ago! While waiving taxes and loans for corporations, the Government is punishing workers who form and lead trade unions. It is keeping minimum wages low and making contract work and violation of the equal-pay-for-equal-work principle the norm. Patriarchal norms are invoked to justify discrimination against and sexist restrictions and abuses for women workers. Dalit workers continue to be subjected to inhuman caste atrocities such as manual scavenging in the name of ‘labour.’ Unions affiliated to AICCTU observed May Day all over India, expressing solidarity with the Maruti and Pricol workers and resolving to resist communal-corporate fascism, including attacks on workers’ rights, and attacks on Muslim minorities on various...

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Champaran100, Naxalbari50 and Today’s Struggle over History

2017 is a year of great historical landmarks. Even as Donald Trump inflicts his Hitlerite Presidency on the American people and itches to plunge the world into yet another disastrous war, progressive forces the world over are remembering the world’s first socialist revolution on its first centenary. For us in India, 2017 also marks the centenary of the great Champaran Satyagrah, a key turning point in India’s freedom movement and in the political career of Gandhi. And for those working for the goal of revolutionary social transformation, 2017 is also the 50th anniversary of the ever inspiring Naxalbari peasant uprising. But remembering history is also an act of struggle in the present – a struggle of memory against oblivion, a struggle against misinterpretation and misappropriation by the rulers, a struggle to learn from history and use it to serve the present needs of the people. The RSS and the ideological-political precursors of the BJP have had only antagonistic relations with the great mass movement for India’s freedom. Generally speaking, they stood against the flow of the freedom movement, often finding common cause with the British colonial rulers, and even going to the extent of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi soon after the dawn of Independence. But now in power, the BJP is desperately trying to misrepresent and grab every iconic individual or event from Indian history to camouflage its vicious agenda....

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LIBERATION NOVEMBER 2017 COVER