Skip to main content

Industrial workers' struggle didn't get support from farmer leaders, Punjab meet told

By Harsh Thakor* 

A conference on the issue of the implementation of the land ceilings Act on the occasion of the birthday of Guru Ravidas at Bhawanigarh in Punjab, comprising mainly agricultural Dalit labourers, has taken strong exception to the connivance of all political parties with the State's pro-landlord elements.
Organised by the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC), the participants included industrial workers, intellectuals and doctors with an impressive presence of women. Held following a preparation campaign in the neighbouring villages, notably, the speakers sought integrated class and caste oppression and the importance of teachings of Dr BR Ambedkar.
The message of the conference was loud and clear: that in spite of inducting welfare laws and making promises, lakhs of acres of land remain with higher caste absentee landlords or politicians. A worker from the Pespi Cola factory expressed how the Dalits were being deprived of any meaningful employment in surrounding areas. He summarised, in his own words, the link between the issues of farmers, agricultural workers and industrial workers and how they should collectively fight for their rights.
He narrated how the situation becomes grave for the industrial workers, who face retrenchment threats, and how many farmers and Dalit workers become helpless after losing land or work. He said, thousands of acres of land remained in the hands of absentee landlords or remained fallow.
He regretted, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which led the year-long farmers’ movement, gave no support to industrial workers, insisting, worker-peasant unity was imperative. He added, this happened even though many a factory worker originated from the farming community.
A gynaecologist, belonging to the Dalit community, spoke about how none of Dr Ambedkar's visions were fulfilled, pointing out, the implementation of one-third panchayat land rights was of central importance, yet many a Dalit being illiterate was not aware of it. She touched upon the ruthlessness of the Brahminical culture and how it perpetrated the exploitation of Dalit women.
Organised by the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Committee, the participants included industrial workers, intellectuals and doctors
In her view, technical institution should have been built to educate the Dalit community as Ambedkar had suggested, insisting on the need for drastic transformation in the entire thought process, because the Manuwadi philosophy depriving the Dalits of any cultural progress. Stating that the elections gave no space to Dalits in the programme of any party, she said, Hindutva forces through their demand for Ram Mandir had giving a crushing blow to any progress.
ZPSC leader Meghnad Singh illustrated how since 1947 the Dalit community was entrapped into slavery and how Dalits' resistance struggle got intensified to a very high volume during the last nine months. Although five activists of ZPSC were jailed, media virtually boycotted the news of Dalit struggle and conspired to alienate them.
ZPSC secretaries Paramjit Kaur and Bikar Singh Hathua spoke about why Guru Ravidas' birthday was failing to be aspirational. Activists Mukesh Mulaudh and Tarsem Peter explained how the reformist laws promising Dalit rights existed only on paper. They explained the reasons behind Dalits remaining landless all over the nation, emphasising on the need to unite on a common platform.
Dharamvir Harigadh and Dharampal Nurkhedi hoped that the Bhawanigarh conference would pave the path for the unity of the landless labourers and poor peasantry, and fresh struggles would be launched for distributing the promised land. The Pagri Kala Manch from Phillar staged a drama ‘Aise Chahu Raj’ at the conference.
*Freelance journalist



'Enough evidence' in Indian tradition to support legal basis for same-sex marriage

By Iyce Malhotra, Joseph Mathai, Sandeep Chachra*  The ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage provides space for much-needed conversations on issues that have hitherto remained “invisible” or engaged with patriarchal locker room humour. We must recognize that people with diverse sexualities and complex gender identities have faced discrimination, stigma and decades of oppression. Their issues have mainly remained buried in dominant social discourse, and many view them with deep insecurities.

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".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Victim of communal violence, Christians in Manipur want Church leadership to speak up

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  The first eleven days of May 2023 have, in many ways, been a defining period of Indian history! Plenty has happened in a rapid-fire stream of events. Ironically, each one of them are indicators of how crimes and the criminalisation of society has become the ‘new norm’; these include, the May Day rallies with a focus on the four labour codes which are patently against the rights of workers; the U S Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its Annual Report on 1 May stating that conditions for religious freedom in India “continued to worsen in 2022”; the continued protest by the Indian women wrestlers at Jantar Mantar for the expulsion of the chief of the Indian Wrestlers Federation on very serious allegations; the Elections in Karnataka on 10 May (with communalism and corruption as the mainstay); the release of the fake, derogative and insensitive film ‘The Kerala Story’; the release of World Free Press Index on 3 May which places India

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.

Delhi HC rules in favour of retired Air Force officer 'overcharged' for Covid treatment

By Rosamma Thomas*  In a decision of May 22, 2023, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of petitioner Group Captain Suresh Khanna who was under treatment at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, between April 28 and May 5, 2021, for a period of eight days, for Covid-19 pneumonia. The petitioner had to pay Rs 3,55,286 as treatment costs, but the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) only reimbursed him for Rs 1,83,748, on the basis of government-approved rates. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

India joining US sponsored trade pillar to hurt Indian farmers, 'promote' GM seeds, food

Counterview Desk  As many as 32 civil society organisations (CSOs), in a letter to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and India joining the trade pillar, have said that its provisions will allow the US to ensure a more favourable regulatory regime “for enhancing its exports of genetically modified (GM) seeds and GM food”, underlining, it will “significantly hurt the livelihoods of Indian farmers.”

Modi govt 'wholly untrustworthy' on Covid data, censored criticism on pandemic: Lancet

By Rajiv Shah*   One of the world’s most prestigious health journals, brought out from England, has sharply criticised the Narendra Modi government for being “wholly untrustworthy on Covid-19 health data”, stating, the “official government figures place deaths at more than 530 000, while WHO excess death estimates for 2020 and 2021 are near 4·7 million.”