25 May: Historic peasant uprising begins at Naxalbari in Darjeeling district of West Bengal under the leadership of revolutionary communists belonging to the CPI(M). The uprising is brutally suppressed by the CPI(M)-led United Front government of West Bengal at the behest of the Congress government at the Centre. In reaction, communist revolutionary ranks rebel against the reformist-bureaucratic leadership of the party. The rebellion soon assumes an all India dimension. Entire state units of CPI(M) in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and considerable sections in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh join this rebellion.
July-November: Magazines that would later become CPI(ML)’s organs such as Deshabrati, the Bengali weekly, Liberation, the English monthly and Lokyudh, the Hindi weekly started appearing.
11 November: For the first time after the uprising, Comrade Charu Mazumdar, the architect of Naxalbari, addresses the Shahid Minar rally organised by Naxalbari Krishak Sangram Sahayak Samiti.
12-13 November: Comrades from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal meet and form All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries in the CPI(M).
14 May: The Coordination Committee is renamed as All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) with Comrade Sushital Roy Chowdhury as its convener. However, Maoist Communist Centre chooses to stay away from AICCCR. Within the AICCCR, certain fundamental differences lead to the exclusion of a section of Andhra comrades led by Comrade T.Nagi Reddy.
February: AICCCR unanimously decides to launch a new communist party.
22 April: Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) launched on the birth centenary day of Comrade Lenin. Comrade Charu Mazumdar elected as the Secretary of the Central Organising Committee.
1 May: Declaration of Party formation by Comrade Kanu Sanyal at a massive meeting held on the Shahid Minar ground in Calcutta. CPI(M) tries to disrupt the meeting and it results in armed clashes. This marks the beginning of a whole series of CPI(M)-inspired attacks on CPI(ML) ranks taking an eventual toll of more than a thousand of our comrades.
By this time primary guerrilla zones had appeared at Debra-Gopiballavpur in West Bengal, Musahari in Bihar, Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh and above all at Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. Severe state repression is let loose on Srikakulam struggle. Comrade Panchadri Krishnamurty and six others are murdered on the night of 26-27 May. The period between November and early December witnesses the killing of Comrades Subbarao Panigrahi, Nirmala Krishnamurty and several other frontranking leaders. An unprecedented student-youth upsurge rocks Calcutta and almost all other cities and towns of West Bengal.
27 April: Deshabrati office in Calcutta which virtually functioned as the open Party centre is raided by the police. All out police repression ensues, forcing the party to go underground.
11 May: The First Party Congress is held in Calcutta under strict underground conditions. Comrade Charu Mazumdar is elected the Party General Secretary.
10-11 July: Comrades Vempatapu Satyanarayana and Adibatla Kailasam, legendary leaders of the Srikakulam uprising, are captured and murdered by the police in cold blood. Srikakulam guerrilla zone begins to suffer reversals.
Comrade Appu, founder of the Party in Tamil Nadu and a member of the polit bureau dies a martyr some time in September or October. The news reaches after a lapse of time and the exact date of his martyrdom is never known.
Exploiting the Bangladesh war, Indian rulers deploy the army to crush the movement in West Bengal. Uprising in Birbhum marks the high point of this period. Several guerrilla zones begin to suffer reversals. Thousands embrace martyrdom. Over 50,000 put behind bars in various Indian jails. Comrade Saroj Dutta, polit bureau member and renowned revolutionary cultural leader, is secretly eliminated by the police in the early hours of August 5. In a calculated demonstration of fascist violence, more than 150 comrades are massacred at Kashipore-Baranagar near Calcutta on 12-13 August.
Inner-party struggles had started surfacing immediately after the First Congress. Amidst severe setbacks such struggles intensify and the Party begins to split.
28 July: After 12 days of torture in Lallbazar police lock-up, Comrade Charu Mazumdar succumbs to death. With his martyrdom, the last vestige of the Party’s central authority collapses.
Amidst sharpening polemics, attempts to rebuild the movement go on by surviving local Party organisations. New stirrings of guerrilla struggle backed by mass activism emerge in parts of central Bihar and Telengana. A red star arises over Bhojpur giving a fresh fillip to the Party’s reorganisation efforts.
28 July: Party Central Committee reorganised at a meeting at Durgapur, West Bengal. Comrade Jauhar (Subrata Dutt) is elected the General Secretary. A popular student-youth movement erupts in Gujarat and Bihar. Railway employees all over the country go on a prolonged historic strike.
Internal emergency clamped down on the country on June 25. Noted opposition leaders and thousands of political activists put behind prison bars. Armed struggle reaches new heights in Bhojpur and rural areas of Patna district of Bihar, Naxalbari of West Bengal and some parts of eastern UP.
Intensified police repression claims the lives of a good number of comrades and finally on 29 November Comrade Jauhar himself gets killed in a police encounter in Bhojpur.
The Second Congress of the Party held on 26-27 February in the countryside of Gaya Bihar, resolves to continue with armed guerrilla struggles and work for an anti-Congress united front. Delegates at the Second Party Congress, seen in the middle is Com.Vinod Mishra, who took over as General Secretary after Com.Jauhar’s martyrdom.
Emergency lifted. Major changes take place in national political scene with the ouster of the Indira Gandhi government. Amidst an upsurge in armed actions as well as mass activism, Party decides to launch a rectification campaign. Party organisation spreads to Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Rectification Movement combats the pure military viewpoint and emphasis is placed on organising mass peasant movements and kisan sabhas. A good section of youth active in the JP movement begins joining the Party.
April 26-May 2: A special all-India Party conference held at Bhojpur formalises the outcome of the rectification movement.
25 February: Comrades Govinda Teli, Kshitipati Das and five leading peasant comrades are killed in cold blood by the police in CPI(M)-ruled Tripura at Hurua near Dharmanagar.
A militant mass peasant upsurge breaks out in rural areas of Patna and Party’s influence begins to spread over broader areas of central Bihar. After the collapse of the Janata Party government and Indira Gandhi’s return to power, Party puts forward the idea of a broad democratic front as the national alternative.
30 January-2 February: Unity meet of 13 ML factions sponsored by the Party in a bid to form a single formation to act as the leading core of the proposed democratic front. After a promising start, the move however cannot be sustained. From this point onwards whereas the PCC group goes on to become irrelevant and splits up into various factions, the M-L movement begins to polarise between the Marxist-Leninist line of CPI(ML)(Liberation) and the anarchist line of CPI(ML)(People’s War).
23 February: First state level rally held in Patna under the banner of Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha declares the beginning of a new phase of mass political activism.
24-26 April: Indian People’s Front launched in Delhi at a national conference. Progressive democratic forces engaged in the popular anti-liquor movement in Uttarakhand and various nationality and civil liberty movements unite with communist revolutionary forces under the revolutionary democratic banner of IPF. In course of time, IPF begins to act as the Party’s open political platform actively intervening in national politics. At the end of the year the Third Party Congress takes place at Giridih, Bihar where the issue of participation in election is clinched.
Assam movement shows signs of revival after the farcical Assembly election imposed at gunpoint on the people. While firmly demarcating itself from the CPI(M)’s pro-state anti-movement stance, our Party successfully champions the democratic national aspirations of the Assamese people and emphasises the movement’s integration with the tribal communities of Assam. IPF begins to acquire a new and distinct identity in the ongoing democratic movement. Primary links are established with a whole spectrum of mass organisations and mass movements. An all-India dalit conference is held at Amravati, Maharashtra to facilitate interaction with Ambedkarite groups.
Operation Bluestar in June brutally hurts the sentiments of Sikhs all over the country. Thousands of Sikhs perish in the anti-Sikh pogrom perpetrated in the capital in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. IPF Second Conference held in Calcutta as scheduled on November 4-6 defying all disturbances.
Under Party’s guidance, People’s Democratic Front launched in Karbi Anglong district of Assam to provide a revolutionary democratic orientation to the tribal people’s aspirations for autonomy. PDF wins a seat in the Assembly election in Assam, bringing about the first entry of a Party cadre in the legislative arena. In two separate incidents, Party loses three outstanding peasant fighters and Party activists in Bihar. Comrades Kesho, Sahato and Jiut had played a great role in rejuvenating and consolidating the fighting backbone of militant agrarian struggles in the late 70s and early 80s. Jan Sanskriti Manch takes shape at a conference in Delhi of cultural activists drawn primarily from the Hindi-speaking region.
IPF President Com. Nagbhushan Patnaik accompanied by Comrades Akhilendra Pratap Singh and Sangeeta (from right to left), leading a gherao of Bihar Assembly in protest against Arwal massacre.
More than a dozen landless labourers gunned down on April 19 by the police at Arwal in Jehanabad district of Bihar rekindling memories of the infamous Jalianwallah Bagh massacre. A militant gherao of the Bihar Assembly is organised in protest by IPF in August. This marks the beginning of a new phase of assertion and ascendance of revolutionary democratic forces. A national women’s convention is held in Calcutta on 5-7 April to promote cooperation and critical interaction between communist women’s organisations and upcoming feminist and autonomous women’s groups.
May 7: PDF gets transformed into the Autonomous State Demand Committee. After a powerful and sustained mass movement against the Congress-led District Council, ASDC goes on to sweep the district council elections in 1989. An all-India workers’ convention is held under IPF banner at Ambernath near Bombay in November. Datta Samant, the leader of the historic Maharashtra textile strike addresses the convention as the main speaker.
Fourth Party Congress held at Hazaribagh, Bihar from January 1 to 5. While rectifying old errors of judgement in the Party’s assessment of Soviet Union, the Congress also joins issue with Gorbachev’s euphoric discourse on ‘peaceful’ imperialism. Party reiterates the basic principles of revolutionary communism – defence of Marxism, absolute political independence of the Communist Party and primacy of revolutionary peasant struggles in democratic revolution – in the face of a global offensive of bourgeois ideological trends. The whole Party rallies unitedly and whole-heartedly in a vigorous ideological campaign to thwart the threat of liquidationist renegacy.
The founding conference of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) held in Madras in May.
In the Lok Sabha election held in November, more than a dozen Party supporters are shot dead on the polling day evening in Danwar-Bihta village under the Ara Lok Sabha constituency of Bhojpur district by the local landlords angered by our campaign against booth-capturing. The massacre however fails to prevent the Party from recording its first electoral victory under IPF banner. Ara sends the first Naxalite member to Indian Parliament.
In the Assembly election held in February, IPF wins seven seats and finishes second in another fourteen. In Assam too, a four-member ASDC legislators’ group enters the Assembly. Special all-India Conference held in Delhi on 22-24 July to initiate the process of Party’s restructuring and opening up.
All India Students’ Association (AISA) launched at Allahabad on August 9-11. The VP Singh government had just announced its decision to implement the decade-old recommendations of the Mandal Commission. AISA focuses on the demand for students’ inalienable right to education and employment to counter the Mandal-inspired caste polarisation within the student community.
First all-India IPF rally held in Delhi on 8 October 1990. This first ever massive mobilisation of rural poor in the national capital with the basic slogan of “Dam Bandho, Kaam Do” (Check Prices, Give Us Jobs) in the midst of fast escalating Mandal-Mandir frenzy demonstrates the growing potential of our movement before the democratic intelligentsia and political circles.
In the May ’91 Lok Sabha election, IPF loses the Ara seat but the Party continues to retain its presence in Parliament through the ASDC MP. The launching of the pro-imperialist new economic policy in July leads to large-scale protests from trade unions all over the country. AICCTU unites with other Left-led central trade unions to form the Sponsoring Committee of Trade Unions.
Party reorganises the erstwhile Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Samiti in South Bihar as Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (Jhamkis) to play a more direct and active role in the Jharkhand movement. The Sponsoring Committee of TUs organises a mammoth rally of workers in Delhi on 25 November. On 6 December, kar sevaks demolish the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya plunging the nation into the worst ever anti-Muslim riots since the Partition days. The Fifth Party Congress, the first ever open Congress of our Party, takes place in Calcutta from 20 to 26 December followed by a massive rally at the Brigade Parade Ground on December 28. The Congress brings the Party out into the open and calls for a Left confederation.
Defying the ideological offensive unleashed by the saffron brigade and other forces of right reaction, AISA notches up a chain of impressive victories in UP campuses like Allhabad, Varanasi and Nainital culminating in its series of Presidential victories in the prestigious Jawharlal Nehru University in the capital.
Fed up with the growing pro-rich tilt of the CPI(M)’s peasant wing in west Bengal, sections of the party’s rural poor base begin to cross over to our fold right in its stronghold of Bardhaman district. In a bid to nip this growing dissension in the bud, local CPI(M) bosses hack five agrarian labourer comrades to death at Karanda village near Bardhaman town on 31 May right on the day of panchayat poll.
To provide a new Left orientation to the growing Muslim disillusionment with the Indian political establishment, Party initiates a new forum called Inquilabi Muslim Conference in Bihar.
Party organisation spreads to Rajasthan and work expanded in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Punjab. With the coming into being of the broad-based Platform of Mass Organisations, joint activities expand with Left-led mass organisations on diverse fronts. All our mass organisations play a key role in the Bharat bandhs and other protest actions waged by this mass platform against the new economic policy.
February: All India Progressive Women’s Association launched at a national women’s conference in Delhi.
IPF is formally dissolved and fresh attempts begin for forging a united front with some sections of Leftists, Socialists and grassroots activists centring around an anti-imperialist agenda.
Interaction also grows with Communist and Left parties in other parts of the world attempting to revive the movement and draw lessons from the Soviet collapse.
Six-member CPI(ML) group formed in Bihar Assembly. Two of these MLAs come from Siwan illustrating the Party’s expansion in the northern region of Bihar.
All India Organisational Plenum held at Diphu in July to streamline the Party’s organisational network and functioning. Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) launched as an all-India organisation of the radical youth.
On 14 December, Party organises a successful Jharkhand bandh to press for the demand for dissolution of the undemocratic Jharkhand council and formation of a full-fledged Jharkhand state.
Following a month-long intense political campaign against the ruling class politics of crime, scams and subservience to imperialist dictates, Party organises a massive Adhikar Rally (Rally for Rights) on the historic Red Fort ground in Delhi on 11 March.
Five-member ASDC group formed in Assam Assembly. ASDC MP reelected to Parliament. Another ASDC member elected to the Rajya Sabha. ASDC retains its majority in Karbi Anglong District Council and also unseats the Congress in the neighbouring North Cachhar Hills district. To harness the growing assertion of various tribal communities of Assam in the cause of revolutionary democracy, Party takes the initiative to form, first, a Tribal People’s Front and then a broader Assam People’s Front.
With Jharkhandi political forces getting widely defeated and discredited in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Party joins hands with the CPI and Marxist Coordination Committee led by Comrade AK Roy to strengthen the Left’s united role in the movement.
To facilitate organised interaction among various streams of Marxist and progressive intellectuals, Party initiates the Indian Institute of Marxist Studies. The IIMS has since published a popular booklet on basic communist principles and held a series of DD Kosambi memorial seminars on caste and class, economic nationalism, panchayati raj, women’s question, land reforms and Jharkhand question in Hyderabad, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Patna and Ranchi.
Armed clashes with feudal private armies escalate in Bihar countryside particularly in the districts of Bhojpur and Siwan. Over 150 common people including women and children have been killed so far by these reactionary private armies. The barbaric massacre of more than a dozen women and children, mostly Muslim, at Bathani Tola of Bhojpur by the armed goons of Ranvir Sena which enjoys the patronage of the state as well as parties like BJP and JD, attracts nationwide democratic protests. Party continues to expand in Bihar, Eastern UP, Madras industrial region, East Godavari district of Andhra and the Malda-Dinajpur belt of West Bengal.
March 5: Party organises the historic Halla Bol rally in Patna with mass representation from 53 of Bihar’s 55 districts. A successful Bihar bandh ensues on April 2: Party plays the leading role in uniting Left and democratic forces in the state in a powerful “Oust Laloo campaign” in the wake of the Rs.950 crore fodder scam.
March 31: Comrades Chandra Shekhar and Shyam Narain assassinated in Siwan while addressing a street corner meeting. This gives rise to powerful nationwide protests, marked by an active participation of the intelligentsia.
April 29: AISA-RYA organise a militant student-youth march to Parliament demanding punishment to Chandrashekhar’s killers. More than 100 students get injured.