Skip to main content

Gunned down by Khalistani terrorists, Baldev Singh Mann also fought state repression

By Harsh Thakor*

September 26 was the 35th martyrdom anniversary of Baldev Singh Mann, who succumbed after waging a valiant battle against the Khalistani terrorism. On the night of that day, he fell to the bullets of the Khalistani Commando force. He was the Amritsar district secretary of the CPI(ML) Chandra Pulla Reddy group and editor of party magazine 'Hirawal Dasta’.
Till this very day his memories shimmer in the revolutionary camp like an extinguishable flame, being amongst the most popular youth leader of Punjab. He was simply the epitome of the all-round skill of a revolutionary.
Mann was part of the trend in the Communist revolutionary camp that uncompromisingly challenged Khalistani terrorism and state terrorism. Later those belonging to the same group were also martyred, like Jaimal Singh Padda and Sarabjit Singh.
From his very inception into the movement in his youth, he deployed every ounce of energy towards serving the people's revolutionary cause. He made an immense impact on shaping the minds of youth in his time and after his martyrdom. His powerful voice struck a chord in the broad masses, in the most challenging times.
Baldev Mann was born on July 9, 1952. He was the son of Inder Singh. He lived in the village Bagga Kalan Tehsil Ajnala, Amritsar. He completed his primary education at the village school. He matriculated from government high school at Raja Sansi. He then went to Khalsa College, Amritsar, when, during the Emergency, he had to face detention. He graduated in 1983.
While at Day College, he came in contact with the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) of Chandra Pulla Reddy-SN Singh. He organized young people in his village reviving the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, a left-wing Indian association that sought to instigate revolution against the British Raj by organising workers and peasant youths.
While at Amritsar he was held and tortured at Amritsar's interrogation centre, but released in 1975. Approximately two years before his death, Mann married Paramjit Kaur, with whom he had a daughter. She was one week old when he was murdered while on his way to his village, Chinna Bagga, in Amritsar.
During the Emergency, Mann was arrested, for his writing was considered seditious and conflicting with that of the government. Due to torture his eyesight suffered very badly. Following his interrogation in Amritsar he was released in 1975 and was cleared of all accusations. But he plunged into the struggle for justice led by CPI(ML) with great passion.
In 1980, Mann contested for the Punjab State Assembly, in which he won with a margin of 10,000 votes. During the communally vitiated atmosphere of 1985 he proved to be a strong contender for the Raja Saansi Assembly constituency. Again, in 1985, he contested for the MLA’s election. He won many a heart and was labelled a 'people’s man'.
From 1982 Mann joined the Kirti Kisan Union, a farmers’ organization. In 1983 Mann helped Punjabi farmers oppose increases in electricity tariffs, and led a large rally as the kisan union leader of Punjab from CPI(ML). Further rallies were organised on March 19, 1983 in Chandigarh and on April 9 a second big rally was held in Jalandhar which forced the government into action.
Mann played a vital role in the struggle of Punjab peasants against intolerable tariff raise for electricity in 1983, furthering his belief in his cause. In 1979, he helped the Punjab Police to further the process of amending the extant policies for the better functioning of the Police forces.
Sonia Mann
In 1983 when farmers of Punjab had been financially squeezed between excessive rates of power for their largely mechanized farms, a huge campaign was organized led by him as the Kisan Union leader of Punjab. He led a kisan rally in Chandigarh.
During the dark days of the Khalistan movement Mann led many a public rally and addressed many meetings, pledging for communal harmony. At many points he openly confronted or challenged Khalistani forces and played an instrumental role in building bastions of secular resistance in villages.
His powerful voice touched the very core of the soul of the Punjab farmers, taking secular spirit to a crescendo. Mann’s voice revealed the intensity of a thunderstorm, delivering a striking blow to the enemy at it’s hardest point. He was gunned down by Khalistani terrorists on September 26, 1986 in his native village Channa Bagha near Pakistan border.
A meeting staged in his commemoration had an attendance of around 20,000 people in October 1986 village Channa Bagga in Amritsar district, which remains even today an unforgettable event. A similar meeting in his memory was held in the same village in October 1989. These had representatives from all sections of the Communist and revolutionary democratic camp.
Mann was part of a contingent of Communist leaders who challenged Khalistani forces in their very hotbed as well as exposed state terrorism, fluttering the red flag of secular democracy. There was also a well attended meeting staged by Navnirmana Sanskritik Manch in Bombay in 1986. In the 1990 Anand Patwardhan and late Ashgar Ali Engineer under the banner of Ekta committee held a meeting in Mumbai to pay homage to him. The movie ‘In Memory of Friends' by Anand Patwardhan projected Mann’s martyrdom, as a part of its theme.
A letter he wrote to his daughter is one of the most inspiring ever in the Communist movement. It is heart touching that today his very daughter Sonia Mann, an actress, is resurrecting the very teachings or values of her slain father.
His letter expressed the duty he felt he had to perform in following his political and social beliefs. '"I am struggling for the birth of a social order in which the shackles that enslave human beings are broken to bits, where the oppressed can heave a sigh of relief", he wrote.
He ended his letter as follows: "My darling daughter, these few words are my message to you in this moment of your birth. I hope you will accept them and try to act according to them. These few words are the foundation of your life, to build your dreams on."
In spite of being an actress, she is devoting her utmost energy working in the Kirti Kisan Union to support the farmers’ movement. There could not have been as ripe a time for Sonia Mann intervening in the movement than today, with Hindutva fascism penetrating unparalleled proportions. Today, the need is felt for persons like like Baldev Singh Mann who could sharpen the sword to cut the growing tumour of saffron fascism.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They