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Still not dead and buried: A rural Punjab move to keep alive the spirit of Naxalbari

By Harsh Thakor 

There was a well attended and most lively meeting in memory of Thana Singh of around 2000 persons in Thana Singh’s village of Bhallai Ana in community hall in Muktsar on September 17th, with most encouraging participation of youth. It was a testimony that the spirit of Naxalbari is still not dead and buried with the audience literally reverberating the message of Naxalbari. In spite of every effort of the state to crush the naxalbari movement, it is not dead and buried, as we witnessed here. I was privileged to participate in the event.
The meeting began with the singing of the Communist International.
Speakers represented diverse sections of the Communist revolutionary camp. The clarity and focus of the speakers was impressive.They included Jaspal Jassi of Surkh Leeh, Mukhtiar Phular of Lal Parcham , Lakhwinder of Pratibadh and Professor Parminder Singh. They all underlined how Thana Singh had planted the roots of the massline and how today’s peasant movement or mass political movement flourishing had it’s base in Comrade Thana Singh’s efforts. Strong reference was made on Thana Singh’s role in establishing the Punjab coordination Committee, to defeat left adventurist line and in combating the rightist line of JP movement.
Leaders of BKU (Ugrahan) like Jhanda Singh Jethuke,  Zora Singh Nasrali of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Jagmel Singh of Lok Morcha and Ashwini Guddhaof Naujwan Bharat Sabha, Advocate N.K. Jeet of AFDR and Harjinder Singh of Moulder and Steel Workers Union,were also present. Zora Singh Nasrali, gave the introductory speech.Surkh Leek editor,Pavel Kussa,chaired the speeches.
Messages we read out from the Central Commitee of the CPRCI(ML), CPI(ML) New Democracy and Lal Pracham.
Professor Parminder Singh narrated the manner which as a schoolboy Thana Singh revolted against casteist discrimination. He recounted how he set a personal example by respecting and engaging in manual labour and never discriminating between mental and manual labour.
Muktiar Phullar spoke about how in day to day practical or ground work Thana Singh’s contribution, even surpassed that of late Harbhajan Sohi. From different angles, he viewed his work, highlighting how he struck a chord in important and diverse aspects.
Convenor Jaspal Jassi narrated from a historical perspective, how Thana Singh shaped the revolutionary movement, in every juncture. He asserted how till his last breath he defended the revolutionary massline and liberation.
Thana Singh’s daughter, Navraj, came on stage to narrate the unique aspects of her father’s life.
Resident of village, Gurbhagat Singh, thanked all the participants.
The main achievement of the conference was the unifying aspect towards New Democratic Revolution.Inspite of political differences; all speakers projected the essence of Thana Singh’s contribution.
Most impressive to witness participation of basic masses in programme of such a political nature likes poor farmers, landless labour ,women and village youth. Overall one of the most impressive Communist revolutionary gatherings, showing potential of many new roses to bloom.
What was possibly missing was representatives or messages from the Maoist trend in Punjab, which is of course divided, and activists from other parts of the Communist Revolutionary camp. Also hardly any presence of activists from other states of India.
Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist



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