Skip to main content

Punjab civil rights group campaigns to 'expose' 75th anniversary of Independence

By Harsh Thakor* 
Punjab's civil rights organisation, Lok Morcha, launching a campaign engulfing 14 districts of the state, has taken the stand that there is a need to "expose" the true nature of the 1947 Independence in the light of its 75th anniversary. The organisers particularly targeted the Congress, pointing out how the party digressed the path of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru by "diluting the cutting edge of class struggles of the working class and peasantry." 
The civil rights leaders sought to analyse the various junctures of the freedom movement -- be it the Quit India Movement, the Non-Cooperation Movement or the Civil Disobedience Movement -- where they said the Congress "nullified the militant resistance of the broad masses."
According to them, the Congress and the Muslim League "never waged a secular resistance" to combat partition, but instead danced to the tune of the "notorious divide and rule policy of the British". They added, there was clear dichotomy of the paths of Gandhiji and the Congress leaders vis-a-vis that of Bhagat Singh and the Ghadar Party.
The speakers touched upon how the base of feudalism, imperialism and capitalism was "not erased" and how foreign capital was allowed to penetrate in India. Examples were offered to point out how the "slavish policies" continued in factories, fields, educational institutions, transport and health centres. They said, land reforms initiated by the Congress were "superficial", even as noting that the right to strike to industrial workers was cosmetic.
Giving the examples of how the Telengana armed struggle and the Naxalbari movement were crushed, they claimed, the Congress rulers adopted diversionary tactics in order to subdue the revolutionary democratic student and youth movements of the 1970s as also the JP movement.
Pointing towards suppression of the rights during the Indira Gandhi-imposed Emergency, they insisted, the Congress "fostered Hindu communalism." At the same time, they condemned the "diversionary nature of the Akali Dal  and Sikh fundamentalism. In fact, they said, laws were introduced of the type that existed during the colonial era to "repress" democratic movements and activists.
They believed, liberalization and globalization from 1991 broke the backbone of the organized movement of the working class, leading to large scale retrenchment, entrapping of the peasantry with debts, leading to mass suicides, and destroying the livelihood of the tribal community, with the MNCs seizing their land. 
It was elaborated how the exploiter classes' monopoly reached an unprecedented level during the Congress rule, pointing out, agro-friendly or local industries were liquidated and farmers were unable to procure seeds at affordable prices.
Coming to what they termed Hindutva fascism, they said, the Narendra Modi era from 2014 was riddled with the fundamentalist ideology penetrating every sphere of society at a magnitude unscaled, reinforced with suppression of the democratic dissent. 
The manner in which democratic activists were being framed with false charges and Muslim minorities were stripped of their rights, they said, reminded one of the dark days of the Emergency in a more pernicious form. They particularly gave the example of the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), currently being used to suppress dissent. 
Liberalization and globalization which began in 1991 broke the backbone of the organized movement of the working class
Economic disparitied have scaled new heights, they said, adding, industrialists and corporates were allowed to profiteer without any restrictions, strangulating the broad masses as never before. Price rise in recent years has caused havoc with the masses with no control over inflation.
The leaders asserted that real Independence could be won only with a genuine revolutionary movement where the class struggle of the people was sharpened and no stone should be unturned to challenge the exploitative base of the social order.
Gatherings took place in several districts, including Barnala, Bhatinda, Faridkot, Patiala, Moga, Sangrur, Muktsar, Ludhiana and Amritsar, with an average of around 400 persons assembling in each of the meetings. 
There was a token participation of the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) and Naujwan Bharat Sabha at these meetings. Cadres of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union also participated. Jagmel Singh and Shireen Kussa were prominent speakers.
Many of the leaders said, it can be debated whether the 1947 Independence was genuine or it was merely a transfer of power or whether leaders like Gandhiji made a positive contributions. However, none can deny the glorious contribution of comrades like Bhagat Singh ,Sukhdev and Rajguru, the Ghadar Party or the Kakori martyrs, and how Gandhiji and other leaders gave scant respect to people's revolutionary uprisings. 
There was a view wondering whether the Lok Morcha Punjab campaign can serve as a model for the other states of India in exposing the alleged bankruptcy of the current social order. It was, however, felt that the de-centralized method of undertaking the campaign was "impressive."
---
*Freelance journalist who has covered mass movements all over India, especially Punjab

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).