We are reposting a booklet entitled "30 years of Naxalbari" Published by Revolutionary publications, Kolkotta, for archive of our blog
— An Epic of Heroic Struggle and Sacrifice
15th August 1947..... The Union Jack is lowered, the tri-colours unfurled. A hope is awakened. Independence, freedom and a better life is expected and promised by the new rulers. A great enthusiasm envelops the country. Time passes and so does Nehru, the first Prime minister of the country. Slogans of socialism, non-alignment of the Nehru era give way to Shastri's Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan and then Indira Gandhi's Garibi hatao. Now, twenty years have passed, a full two decades. The situation remains the same. The hopes are dashed, the expectations turn to frustration. The British are gone, but their capital remained, their laws remained, their colonial structures remained.... merely added was the parliamentary edifice. To British capital, was added American capital. While people continued to live in grinding poverty, the Tatas, Birlas of the country filled their coffers with enormous wealth. People's cries for justice were as ruthlessly suppressed, as in the British Raj. The slogans of the rulers remained as mere slogans, the reality seemed different. The people were now searching, seeking something genuine, seeking real answers. The people's frustrations was reflected in the results of the February 1967 general elections; when, for the first time, non-Congress governments were formed in eight states. And then in the spring of 1967, a new ray of hope, shattered the darkness engulfing the country. A fresh breeze from the East began to displace the stagnant, putrid air of the past twenty years. The veil of lies and deceit behind which our rulers took protection, was torn asunder. A clap of thunder struck the remote village of Naxalbari in North Bengal, and its reverberations shook the conscience of the entire country.
18th March, 1967.... The red flag is hoisted. The peasant convention of the Siliguri sub-division is in session, at Naxalbari. Five hundred delegates, some armed with bows and arrows, chalk out a new path for their future. Revolutionary leaders explain the bankruptcy of the CPI (M) and the peaceful path to change. The Chinese revolution is given as an example of how the poor can seize political power in a backward semi-feudal country. The convention ends with a call for the immediate seizure of land and the setting up of liberated base areas. The peasants prepare for launching their offensive against the landlords of the area..
The First Spark Towards a New Party Naxalbari-type Upsurge (1) Srikakulam
(5) Lakhimpur-Kheri Profile of a Leader
PART-2 : THE SETBACK The Government Onslaught Martyrdom of CM Movement Recedes Three Trends Emerge
PART-3 : INTROSPECTION A Self Critical Review The Importance of Mao Ze Dong Thought
PART-4 : REVOLUTION TAKES ROOT Bihar : (1) Maoist Communist Centre (2) CPI (ML) Party Unity Andhra Pradesh : (1) The Initial Regrouping
(2) Telangana Regional Conference
(3) A Cultural Resurgence
(4) The Student Movement
(5) Go To Village Campaign
(6) Resurgence of the Peasant Movement
(7) Civil Liberties Movement
(8) Formation of CPI (ML) (PW)
PART-5 : 1980-84 — FIRST STEP TOWARDS GUERILLA ZONE
Guerilla Zone Perspective
(2) North Telangana
PART-6 : 1985-89 — FIRST ROUND OF SUPPRESSION War of Self Defence
Efforts to Maintain Mass Links
Party Consolidates and Retaliates
Peoples' Movement Regains Initiative
PART-7 : 1990-A BRIEF REPRIEVE
PART-8 : 1991 TO 95..... SECOND ROUND OF SUPPRESSION Tasks in the New Conditions of Repression Struggles Continues Growing Armed Resistance PART-9 : POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS PART-10 : A GUERILLA ZONE IS BORN
Political Authority of Peasant Committees
PART-11 : PARTY — THE LEADING FACTOR Continuing the Legacy of Naxalbari PART-12 : INDIA'S BRIGHT FUTURE
The First Spark
Throughout 1966 itself the groundwork had been laid. In 1965/66 the 'Siliguri Group' [(of the newly formed CPI (M)] brought out as many as six cyclostyled leaflets calling for the immediate commencement of armed revolution. One of these leaflets gave a call to initiate partisan warfare in the Terai region within six months. Throughout 1966 revolutionaries organised peasant cells in every part of Siliguri sub-division; bow and arrows, and even a few rifles were gathered and liaison established with the Nepalese Maoists active just a few miles away. In late 1966 a Revolutionary Kisan meeting was organised in Siliguri. On March 3, 1967 the seeds of struggle began to sprout.......... A group of peasants surrounded a plot of land in Naxalbari region; marking the boundaries with red flags, they began harvesting the crop.
Then..... the March 18 Convention was the signal for the peasant upsurge, which engulfed the entire area for four months. The U.F. government in West Bengal sought to diffuse the movement by announcing token land reforms. The revolutionary peasants replied to the revisionist rulers by setting up peasant committees to take over the land of the jotedars. Huge processions and demonstrations were organised by Kisan committee members, many of whom were armed with lathis, spears, bows and arrows. A sea of red flags struck terror into the hearts of the landlords and the countryside reverberated with the slogan "March forward along the path of armed peasant revolution."
The first clash was ignited when a share-cropper, Bigul Kisan, was beaten by armed agents of a local jotedar. This was followed by violent clashes and the forcible seizure of land and confiscation of food grains, by armed units of the Kisan committee. Any resistance by the landlords and their gangs was smashed and a few killed. By end May the situation reached the level of an armed peasant uprising. The CPI (M) leaders, who were now in power, first tried to pacify the leaders of the movement......having failed, Jyoti Basu, the then home minister of West Bengal, ordered in the police. On 23rd May the peasantry retaliated killing an inspector at Jharugaon village. On May 25, in Naxalbari, the police went berserk killing nine women and children. In June the struggle intensified further, particularly in the areas of Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansidewa. Firearms and ammunition were snatched from the jotedars by raiding their houses. People's courts were established and judgments passed. The upheaval in the villages continued till July. The tea garden workers struck work a number of times in support of the peasants. Then on July 19, a large number of para-military forces were deployed in the region. In ruthless cordon and search operations, hundreds were beaten and over one thousand arrested. Some leaders like Jangal Santal were arrested, others like Charu Mazumdar went underground, yet others like Tribheni Kanu, Sobhan, Ali Gorkha Majhi and Tilka Majhi became martyrs. A few weeks later, Charu Mazumdar wrote "Hundreds of Naxalbaris are smoldering in India....... Naxalbari has not died and will never die."
Naxalbari gets recognition
The Communist Party of China, then the centre for world revolution, hailed the uprising. On June 28, 1967 Radio Peking broadcast : "A phase of peasants' armed struggle led by the revolutionaries of the Indian Communist Party has been set up in the countryside in Darjeeling district of West Bengal state of India. This is the front paw of the revolutionary armed struggle launched by the Indian people......". Within a week, the July 5th edition of People's Daily carried an article entitled 'Spring Thunder over India' which said : "A peal of spring thunder has crashed over the land of India. Revolutionary peasants in Darjeeling area have risen in rebellion. Under the leadership of a revolutionary group of the Indian Communist Party, a red area of rural revolutionary armed struggle has been established in India..... The Chinese people joyfully applaud this revolutionary storm of the Indian peasants in the Darjeeling area as do all the Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary people of the world."
Meanwhile, revolutionaries in Calcutta, who had also been running a campaign against revisionism, took up a massive campaign in support of the Naxalbari uprising. The walls of college streets were plastered with posters saying : "Murderer Ajoy Mukherjee (the Chief minister) must resign." The revolutionaries [still within the CPI (M)] held a meeting in Ram Mohan Library Hall in Calcutta and formed the 'Naxalbari Peasants Struggle Aid Committee', which was to become the nucleus of the Party of the future.
Simultaneous to the police action, the CPI (M) expelled a large number of their members. Sushital Roy Chowdhary, a member of the West Bengal state committee and editor of their Bengali party organ was expelled. So were other leading members like Ashim Chatterjee, Parimal Das Gupta, Asit Sen, Suniti Kumar Ghosh, Saroj Datta and Mahadev Mukherjee. The Darjeeling district committee and Siliguri sub-divisional committee were dissolved.
The spark of Naxalbari set aflame the fires of revolution in Srikakulam, Birbhum, Debra-Gopiballavpur, Mushahari and Lakhimpur-Kheri. The states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, U.P and Tamil Nadu saw a big spurt in Naxalbari-inspired struggles and Maoist formations sprouted in nearly every state of India.
The Naxalbari Path
Naxalbari put armed struggle onto the agenda of Indian revolution..... and since then, the Indian political scene has never remained the same. Naxalbari took place at a time when not only the Indian masses were getting disillusioned by the twenty years of fake independence, but, at a time when the entire world was in turmoil. Small countries like Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea were striking major blows at the might of the U.S. Army; national liberation movements were surging forward in a number of underdeveloped countries; in Europe and America massive anti-imperialist demonstrations against US involvement in Vietnam merged with a violent outburst of the Black and women's movement; the student-worker revolt in France shook the DeGaulle establishment; and, most important of all, in China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (in the backdrop of the Great Debate) attacked the revisionist ossification and distortions of Marxism. In the Communist arena all Parties throughout the world were compelled to take positions in the Great Debate, between the CPC (Communist Party of China) and the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) which had been going on since Krushchev restored capitalism in the USSR in the late 1950s. Naxalbari was a product and a part of this ideological-political ferment taking place throughout the globe.
Most important, Naxalbari restored the revolutionary essence of Marxism on the Indian soil which had been distorted, corrupted and destroyed by the revisionist semantics of the CPI and the then nascent CPI (M). Naxalbari provided the answers both ideologically and practically.
ON THE QUESTION OF PROGRAMME it attacked the revisionist concepts of the CPI and CPM which saw India as basically a capitalist country with 'feudal remnants'.......and clearly analysed India as a semi-feudal country. It also attacked the revisionist theory that the ruling bourgeoisie in India is basically national in character and that India achieved genuine independence in 1947........ and clearly stated that the ruling bourgeoisie is comprador, Indian independence fake, and that India is a semi-colony. It outlined the stage of revolution as New Democratic, the enemies of revolution as imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucrat capitalism, while the friends of revolution being the workers, peasants, middle-classes and national bourgeoisie - with peasants as the main force and working class as the leading force.
ON THE QUESTION OF STRATEGY it opposed the path of 'peaceful transition' put forward by the CPI and CPM, and upheld the path of protracted people's war. It clearly stated that the path to liberation lay in guerilla warfare, building a people's army, creating liberated base areas in the countryside and gradually encircling and capturing the cities. It stated that the immediate goal was the establishment of a people's democratic dictatorship (of the four classes) as the first step towards transition to socialism. The final goal was communism.
IN THE REALM OF TACTICS it rejected parliamentarism and called for the boycott of elections. It fought against economism, legalism and reformism in methods of work and organisation.
ON POLITICAL QUESTIONS it pin-pointed the two superpowers, US imperialism and Soviet Social imperialism, as the main enemies of the world people; it exposed the modern revisionists of the Soviet Union; it declared India as a multi-national country and supported the right of nationalities to self-determination including secession.
AND MOST IMPORTANT, IN THE REALM OF IDEOLOGY, it uncompromisingly fought against revisionism and all forms of bourgeois ideology within the working class movement and strongly upheld Marxism-Leninism-Mao ZeDong Thought as Marxism of the present day. Particularly, it established Mao's thought as a development of Marxism-Leninism and undertook a big campaign to popularise it. This had a lasting impact, particularly on the student and youth of the country. Specifically, inspired by the on-going Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, it responded enthusiastically to Mao's clarion call "It is right to rebel against reaction." It thoroughly imbued the spirit of the GPCR call to "Fight self-interest and repudiate revisionism", by displaying a death-defying spirit of self-sacrifice, total devotion to the oppressed masses and a burning class hatred against the perpetrators of exploitation in the country. Thereby, it struck at the class-collaborationist approach of the revisionists and the pseudo-liberal approach of the intellectual Marxists and gained enormous affection from the poorest in our country.
Though later, come tactical errors and a massive offensive by the enemy led to a temporary setback, Naxalbari made an indelible impact on the revolutionary movement in the country.
Towards a New Party
While the Naxalbari movement was crushed, the politics and ideology behind the Naxalbari uprising spread throughout the country. The 'Naxalbari Peasants Aid Committee' (or 'Naxalbari Krishak Sangram Sahayak Samiti') held a conference which decided to form the 'All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries of the CPI (M)'. On November 12, 13, 1967 communist revolutionaries from all over the country met and established the 'All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries of the CPI (M)' A provisional committee was formed to consolidate all revolutionaries and gradually form a revolutionary party.
The coordination committee undertook the task of propagating Marxism-Leninism-Mao ZeDong Thought; uniting all communist revolutionaries on this basis; waging an uncompromising struggle against revisionism; developing and coordinating the revolutionary struggles, specially peasant struggles of the Naxalbari type; and preparing a revolutionary programme and tactical line. In May 1968, at its second meeting held on the eve of the first anniversary of the Naxalbari uprising, the coordination committee was re-named as the 'All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries' (AICCCR) with Sushital Ray Chowdhary as its convenor.
Earlier, the communist revolutionaries decided to bring out a political paper to propagate the revolutionary line. The first issue of 'Liberation' was brought out on November 11, 1967 with Suniti Kumar Ghosh as its editor. 'Deshabrati' was brought out in Bengali. At its peak the circulation of 'Liberation' touched 2,500 and that of 'Deshabrati' 40, 000.
Meanwhile Naxalbari-type struggles spread like wild-fire throughout 1968, and the struggle in Srikakulam was growing into a major uprising. Under these conditions the AICCCR in its February 8, 1969 meeting adopted the resolution to form a Party. At the plenary session meeting of the AICCCR held between April 19 to 22, 1969 the final decision was taken and on the hundredth birth anniversary of Lenin the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) was founded. A coordination committee was formed to draft the Party constitution and prepare for the Party Congress. The Party's formation was announced by Kanu Sanyal at a mammoth May Day rally held at the Calcutta maidan.
In the process of formation of the Party the Dakshin Desh group and the APCCCR (Andhra Pradesh Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries) did not join. The Dakshin Desh group felt that it was hasty to form the Party at that juncture and it also had differences with the method of formation of the Party, while the APCCCR had differences with the political line of CPI (ML). The Dakshin Desh Group went on to form the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) which is today, along with CPI (ML) Party Unity, spearheading the armed struggle in Bihar. The APCCCR continued with its right deviations, later splitting into two factions - the T.Nagireddy-D.V.Rao faction of the UCCCRI (ML), and, the C.P.Reddy faction which later merged with the revisionist Satyanarayan Singh faction of the CPI (ML) in 1975 only to split again into a number of factions.
By mid-1969 the government had moved in the para-military forces into all the struggle areas and a man-hunt was launched for the leaders of the CPI (ML). The movement went fully underground. In April 1970 the government raided the office and printing press of 'Liberation' and 'Deshabrati' which too continued from the underground. The government began its campaign of liquidating the communist revolutionaries.
On May 15, 16 1970 the Eighth Congress [in continuation of the 7th Congress held by the CPI (M)] of the CPI (ML) was held under conditions of utmost secrecy. The Congress was held on the first floor of a building in the railway colony in Garden Reach, Calcutta. On the ground floor were over fifty volunteers who had gathered to celebrate a mock wedding. Some, were family members of the delegates. The blaring loudspeaker helped drown the noise of the heated debates taking place above.
The Congress was attended by about 35 delegates from all over the country and elected a 21 member central committee representing comrades from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, U.P, Tamilnadu, Orissa, Kashmir and Kerala with Com. Charu Mazumdar as general secretary. The nine-member politburo comprised Charu Mazumdar, Sushital Roy Chowdhary, Saroj Datta, Souren Bose (all West Bengal), Satyanarayan Singh (Bihar), Shiv Kumar Mishra (UP), Shroff (Kashmir), Appu (Tamilnadu) and the two seats allocated for A.P. were never filled.
The Prairie Fire
The cream of India's youth and students joined, what came to be known as the Naxalbari movement. While the parliamentary politicians were busy playing the politics of power and amassing personal wealth, young revolutionaries were sacrificing everything-studies, wealth, families - to serve the oppressed masses of our country. Displaying a death-defying courage, withstanding enemy bullets and inhuman tortures, facing the their hardships of rural life, thousands of youth integrated with the landless and poor peasants and aroused them for revolution.
In Calcutta the university campuses were turning into hotbeds of revolutionary politics. During the 1967-70 period, the prestigious Presidency College and Hindu Hostel had become the nerve centre for Maoist politics. The Presidency College Students' Consolidation emerged as an important force following their overwhelming victory in the student union elections in 1967/68. Throughout 1968 and 1969 the Maoist students wing - the Progressive Students Coordination Committee (PSCC) - captured almost all the student unions of the different institutions in and around Calcutta. The Post-Graduate students federation of Calcutta University under Maoist influence discovered the militant form of 'Gherao' by launching numerous such struggles against the university authorities in 1969. Later, at the call of the Party it was from these colleges that hundreds of students gave up their studies and integrated with the peasant masses. Many became martyrs in the brutal massacres of youth in 1970/71 in which thousands were killed in Calcutta.
In Andhra Pradesh it was the students of Guntur Medical College who were the first to come out in support of Naxalbari and form the Naxalbari Solidarity Committee. M. Venkataratnam and Premchand were the pioneers, translating articles from 'Liberation' into Telugu and distributing them amongst the communist rank and file. Chaganti Bhaskar Rao and Devineni Mallikarjunudu were the brilliant medical students who subsequently went to Srikakulam as guerilla fighters. Earlier Bhasker Rao, a gold medalist, had brought out a handwritten magazine, 'Ranabheri', to disseminate Peking Radio news and articles and propagate Naxalbari politics among students.
In Punjab, Bihar, UP, Tamilnadu, Kerala and even amongst the Campuses of Delhi and Bombay thousands of youth were attracted to Maoism and the politics of Naxalbari. Youth, with ideals, at last found a meaning to their lives after total disgust with the deceit, corruption, greed and unprincipled opportunism that pervaded parliamentary politics. Naxalbari symbolised to this youth a new future of justice, truth, equality, humanity and a self-respect for the downtrodden which the present society could never give . Fired with this missionary-like zeal they set out to exterminate the perpetrators of injustice, inhumanity , to eradicate the demons and ghosts who run this oppressive system, to remove the sting of the scorpions, snakes and other vile creatures who roam the corridors of power....... to execute the executioners. They sought to create a paradise on earth. They shared the on dreams of their leader, affectionately known as CM, to create a bright future where no person shall go hungry; where no one shall oppress another, where there shall be no discrimination based on caste, religion or sex; where a new socialist human being will be born in whom greed, selfishness, ego, competitiveness will be replaced by selflessness, modesty and cooperation, and where a concern for others will take precedence over concern for oneself. And it is these youth who, together with the more experienced leaders, marched forth to turn their dreams into reality, by building Naxalbari-type struggles in many parts of the country.
The period 1968 to 1967 saw the outbreak of struggles of landless and poor peasants that stormed the feudal bastions of the ruling classes.
(1) Srikakulam :
Charu Mazumdar once said that "Srikakulam is the Yenan of India." Though that may have been an exaggeration, it was a landmark in the history of armed struggle in our country. This hilly, forested tribal belt in the North East of Andhra Pradesh was the beacon-light that blazed the revolutionary path for communists of Andhra Pradesh.
Two school teachers had built up a mass base amongst the tribals since the late 1950s. Vempatapu Sathyanarayana (popularly known as Sathyam) the legend of Srikakulam, together with Adibhatla Kailasam were finding the militancy of their struggle coming into direct conflict with the revisionist state leadership. Forcible harvest of crops, land occupations, growing clashes with the landlords were developing into armed clashes with the police. These two teachers were soon joined by the youth leader Panchadi Krishnamurthy. Added to this, the verse and song of Subbarao Panigrahi became the vehicle of revolutionary politics. With the growing repression, the people were disarmed and panic-stricken as the state leadership was unwilling to resist.
Then came the news of Naxalbari. Sathyam and others immediately embraced the politics of Naxalbari as in it they found the answers for which they were groping, and which the state leadership [of the then CPI (M) and later APCCCR] was unwilling to provide. The tribals were now welded into an irresistible force.
The spark was triggered on 31st October 1967 when two comrades - Koranna and Manganna-were shot dead by landlords at Levidi village while way to the Girijan Sangam Conference. In reaction the girijans rose in a big way against the landlords; seizure of landlords land, property and foodgrains spread from village to village with tribals moving in groups armed with traditional weapons. This continued for six months paralysing the local police forces. But in March 1968 the government sent in a massive posse of police. The people fought back, but were faced with defeat as they were not adequately trained in guerilla methods of warfare.
It was only after coming into contact with the AICCCR that a decision was taken for squad formation and a more systematic resistance. The guerilla squads now assisted the people in the seizure of landlords' property and annihilation of class enemies. On 25th November 1968 the agenda of armed struggle was set, when 250 tribals raided a landlord's house, took out a procession of the hoarded foodgrains and property worth Rs. 20, 000 and burnt hundreds of documents. On 20th December 1968 at Balleruguda village 200 police were surprised in a guerilla attack by 500 villagers using stones, bows and arrows and one country-made gun. The police fled; the villagers pursued, killing two constables and one circle inspector.
In 1969 the number of functioning squads increased and so did the actions. But, in October 1969 the government sent in 12, 000 CRPF and the battle raged on for nearly six months. Major guerilla actions took place in the upper Aviri area, on the Bothili hills and near Sanjuvai, Vegulavada and Ithamanugadda. By January 1970, 120 police had been killed. But, one by one, the leaders became martyrs. Sathyam, Adibhatla Kailasam, Panchadi Krishnamurthy, Panchadi Nirmala, Bhasker Rao and Subbarao Panigrahi became part of the folk-lore of the area.
(2) Birbhum :
'Deshabrati' drew a number of students and youth towards Naxalbari politics from the towns of Suri, Rampurhat, and Bolpur. Organisers from Calcutta and Siliguri went to Birbhum in 1968 to develop the revolutionary movement. After doing some rural surveys they began to organise the villagers on issues of wages and tenancy rights. Many youth joined the movement. The next year the landlords retaliated and evicted the peasants. A militant struggle was launched against the eviction. The struggle spread like wildfire and soon engulfed the whole area.
The party's work had spread from Bolpur and Suri to Santhal Paraganas in the west. The first attack on a class enemy was made in Dubrajpur thana in 1969 and the annihilation campaign started from the beginning of 1970. Guerilla squads came into being and about 70 class enemies covering 20 thanas were eliminated. In some cases jotedars were punished following the people's verdicts in people's courts. The struggles also spread to the small and medium towns of the district, like Bolpur, Hetampur, Suri, Rampurhat and Nalhati, drawing in the youth and students. The squads also formed into larger units (then called the people's army), eliminated many tyrants, destroyed documents, confiscated their property and distributed it amongst the people. They seized guns in the villages in nine thanas of Birbhum, three thanas of Murshidabad and three thanas of Santhal Paraganas. In all over 200 guns were snatched from the landlords and police. In some areas secret Revolutionary Peasant Committees were also established. But by mid 1971, besides big contingents of the police, the government moved in the CRPF and army. With the 'Left' line then prevailing, the movement could not face this combined onslaught and suffered a setback.
(3) Debra-Gopiballavpur :
Many revolutionary intellectuals from Calcutta settled in Gopi-ballavpur of Midnapur district in 1968. In September 1969 a guerilla squad attacked and annihilated an oppressive landlord which had an electrifying effect in the area. Landlords fled to the towns and in November 1969 a big peasant movement began which took up the forcible harvesting of landlords' crops. In the midst of this movement a large number of guerilla squads were formed and in early 1971 launched an attack on a police camp of the Bihar Military Police - one policeman was killed and nine rifles seized.
In neighbouring Debra a strong movement had been built in 1967 by the local CPI (M) cadres. But as the movement became militant warrants were sent for the arrest of their own party men and Jyoti Basu clamped prohibitory orders in the area. Meanwhile, two popular leaders who had joined the Maoists, influenced by the Gopiballavpur struggles set up a central guerilla unit and a number of local guerilla units. In October 1969 thousands of armed peasants, supported by the guerilla squads attacked the house of a notorious jotedar, seized the hoarded grains, the mortgaged articles and brunt the documents. This was followed by ten more actions in quick succession......
(4) Mushahari :
Naxalbari attracted the bulk of the CPI (M) cadres of Muzaffarpur district towards the CPI (ML). By mid-1968 land struggles began...... peasants with arms in their hands openly harvested the landlord's' crops. By August the 'seizure of crops' campaign intensified with increased clashes with the landlords and police. The government sent in big police forces which resorted to assaulting and arresting villagers, burning their huts and plundering their property. The movement spread to seven thanas of the district with attacks continuing on class enemies. Towards the end of 1968 guerilla units were set up to face the police. The masses and guerilla units successfully repulsed the police in many places and continued their attacks on landlords........
(5) Lakhimpur-Kheri :
The movement started in 11 villages in this Terai region of UP close to the Nepal border. Here landlords owned anything from 500 acres to 2000 acres with large goonda gangs. The peasants began their struggle for land in early 1968 and witnessed a big upheaval by June. Clashes between the peasants and goondas ensued with the peasants thrashing the goondas, confiscating landlord's property and seizing arms. Police camps were established, the movement went underground and continued in the form of guerilla strikes. Many landlords fled the area...........
The spark of Naxalbari spread to most corners of the country. The epi-centre was West Bengal, with strong movements in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Tamilnadu and there were flashes of Maoist resistance in nearly all the states of India stretching from Kerala in the South to Kashmir in the North, from Maharashtra in the West to Assam in the East. The movement threw up brilliant leaders like Sushital Roy Chowdhury, Saroj Datta etc but the chief ideologue and visionary was Charu Mazumdar.
Profile of a Leader
Charu Mazumdar, or more popularly known as CM, was born in a Zamindari family of Siliguri in 1918. As a school student he was influenced by the petty-bourgeois national revolutionaries and became a member of the All Bengal Students Association, affiliated to the Anusilan group. His father, a lawyer, was an active Congress freedom fighter and his mother was progressive for her times. In 1937-38 he dropped out of college and became a Congress worker organising bidi workers and others. After a few years he quit the Congress and joined the CPI, working in the peasant front. Primarily he worked amongst the Jalpaiguri peasantry and became a popular leader amongst them. When a warrant was issued for his arrest he went underground. At the outbreak of World War II the party was banned and he did secret organisational work amongst the peasantry and became a member of the CPI Jalpaiguri district committee in 1942. During the great famine of 1943, he organised the seizure of Crops in Jalpaiguri. In 1946 he participated in the Tebhaga movement and organised militant struggles of the peasants in North Bengal. This movement had a profound impact on him and shaped his vision on armed peasantry developing a revolutionary movement. Later he worked amongst the tea garden workers of Darjeeling district.
In 1948 the CPI was banned and he spent the next three years in jail. In January 1954 he married Lila Mazumdar Sengupta, a CPI cardholder from Jalpaiguri. They shifted to Siliguri, which remained the centre of his activity. His ailing father and unmarried sister lived there under severe financial constraints having lost their ancestral property. As the peasant movement receded he spent his efforts organising tea garden workers, rickshaw pullers, etc. After the Palghat Congress in 1956 his ideological differences with the party widened. Severe financial constraints added to his depressing conditions. But, the Great Debate, in the international communist movement lifted his spirits. During the Indo-China war he was again put in jail. Though he joined the CPI (M) in the split, he found the leadership dodging the key ideological questions. In 1964-65 he was sick and devoted time to studying and writing about communism and Mao's thought. It was here that he developed his ideas which were recorded in his writings and speeches of 1965-67 - subsequently known as the 'Historic Eight Documents' — which formed the political-ideological basis for the emergence of the Naxalbari movement.
Dark Clouds gather..........
The Government Onslaught
Martyrdom of CM
Three Trends Emerge
Revolutions never proceed in a straight line. The history of all successful revolutions show this. The path is zig zag, there are ups and downs, there is victory and defeat repeated a number of times.....before final victory. Of course, there is no final victory until the stage of communism is reached. Even the gigantic success of the Russian and Chinese revolutions were followed by reverses three to four decades later.....no doubt these defeats will be followed by victories in the future.
Revolutions trace a tortuous course, there are no short-cuts, no easy paths. Setbacks are inevitable as they face a rapacious monster, but with greater experience of class struggle, a deeper understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Ze Dong Thought and a better grasp of the ground realities, the losses can be minimised.
Though the immediate cause for the setback was the ruthless repression unleashed by the government, the large losses came from certain short-comings on all the above three counts.
The Government Onslaught
It was during this period that the police introduced the method of 'encounter' killings. It is a method which sets aside even their own bourgeois norms. But then, their 'democracy' is only for those who accept their system while for those who question it, or challenge it, it is a cold, brutal fascist madness. During the Telangana uprising in 1950 the Nehru government murdered thousands of tribals and hung communists along the trees leading to the villages. The same Nehru treated the same 'communists' as his closest associates once they entered parliament just two years later. During those days, Nasser, while on a visit to India, exclaimed in shocked surprise at the freedom communists had, and chidingly told Nehru "we put all communists into prison." Nehru smilingly replied "it is much the same, you keep them in prison, we in parliament - in both, they become harmless."
Staged encounters became the norm in the 1970-71 period. Besides, revolutionaries were subjected to inhuman tortures. In all the struggle areas the police would pick up young men and women in the age-group 17 to 25, suspected to have links with the Maoist movement.... and subject them to brutal torture. The purpose of torture was not just to extract information, but to break their will, destroy their self-respect, so that they do not challenge the system and the established status quo. The roller treatment, hanging from the roof and being beaten, inserting hot iron rods into the rectum, electric shocks, burning with cigarette butts and many more savage methods were used against Maoist suspects. Of course, this never frightened the revolutionaries, but made their hatred against the system more intense. So, the 'encounter' killings.
In 1969-70 the government had pressed into service not only the reserve police forces, but also the para-military and even the army. By 1971 most of the Naxalbari-type uprisings had been cruelly crushed. Then the government turned its fury on the revolutionary youth of Calcutta. By 1970 urban guerilla struggles had reached unprecedented dimensions in the city, effecting students, workers, employees etc. The tremendous support they received frightened the ruling classes, and the large sections of the CPI (M) cadres, that switched alliance to the Maoists, created panic in the CPI (M) leadership.
In the 1971-72 period hundreds of youth of Calcutta were systematically shot dead by Congress-led vigilante squads. These killer squads were led by Congress leaders like Priya Ranjandas Munshi, and put into action according to a plan hatched by the Chief minister Siddarth Shankar Ray and police chief Ranjit Guha. For example, in August 1971 Congress hoodlums joined hands with CPI (M) cadre to massacre hundreds of Maoists in the Baranagar and Howrah areas of Calcutta. The most infamous was the Cassipore-Baranagar massacre. Armed goons of the Congress together with CPI (M) activists conducted house to house searches, raping women, burning houses and beating up youth with any known sympathy for the Maoists. Then, the Congress went on a killing spree, while the CPI (M) men formed a human chain around the area, to prevent anyone from escaping. Young boys were murdered, elderly people were doused with kerosene and burnt to death. Two important Maoist leaders of the area, Panchu Gopal Dey and Karuna Sarkar were killed in the most gory fashion. Dey's limbs were cut off, one by one, and then stoned to death. Karuna Sarkar was caught by the goondas and CPI (ML) was carved on her chest. Other places where similar massacres took place were Ratan Babu Ghat, Kashiwar Chatterjee Lane, Baral Para Lane, Kutighat Road, Atul Krishna-Bose Lane, Maharaja Navalakumar Road, Lal Maidan, Bholanath stree, Jainarayan Banerjee Lane, Kashinath Datta Road and Vidyatan Sarani.
In this period over 10, 000 Maoists and their sympathisers were killed, most of the leadership had been decimated and thousands more were languishing in jails. And while this savage extermination was going on not a single parliamentary party even raised a voice.
Martyrdom of CM
Earlier, two central committee members, Saroj Datta and Appu just 'disappeared'. Till today is is not known what happened, but it is quite clear that they have been arrested, tortured, then killed and their bodies disposed off by the police. Sushital Roy Choudhary died of a heart attack. In AP and Punjab the bulk of the leadership were killed. Charu Mazumdar, the ailing leader of the movement still evaded arrest. By 1972 he was the most wanted man by the Indian government.
But, on July 16, 1972 after the brutal torture of a courier, Charu Mazumdar was arrested from a shelter in Calcutta. At the time of his arrest he was seriously sick with cardiac asthama. During his ten days in police custody no one was allowed to see him - not even his lawyer, family members nor a doctor. The Lal bazar lock-up had achieved a reputation throughout the country of the most horrifying and cruel tortures. At 4.00 A.M. on July 28, 1972 Charu Mazumdar died in the police lock-up. Even the dead body was not given to the family. A police convoy, with the immediate family members carried the body to the crematorium.... The whole area was cordoned off and not even the nearest relatives was allowed in. Charu Mazumdar's body was consigned to the flames. And with his martyrdom the first glorious chapter of the incipient revolutionary movement in India came to a close.
With the martyrdom of CM the young Maoist movement was thrown into disarray. With much of the leadership, at all levels, killed or in jail, and with a fascist terror reigning, the links between the revolutionaries broke. It was left to local organisers to recoup the forces. Most of these lacked experience, were being hounded by the police and, in many places, the mass base was shattered by police attacks. Yet pockets of resistance continued particularly in West Bengal, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.
But the government could not contain the peoples' anger and a wave of protests shook the country. In Bihar and Gujarat there were massive student movements against corruption and government unaccountability; in Maharashtra severe drought sparked off unrest and the Dalits (scheduled castes) rose in revolt with the Dalit Panther movement; the nationalities were beginning to stir with movements for the development of local languages, more equitable centre-state relations and for separate states; the all India strike of railway workers in 1974 brought the economy to a virtual standstill; and, to top it all, even sections of the police launched unprecedented revolts against the government.
The ruling classes too were in disarray. They found themselves unable to contain the peoples' anger. Each new day brought fresh reports of more attacks on the system. Yet, in the absence of a conscious intervention by a well-organised revolutionary party, the spontaneous challenge of the people was sought to be diverted into parliamentary channels. Jaya Prakash Narayan who became the symbolic leader of the movement against corruption gave a call for 'Total Revolution'. In many places the movement spontaneously took a violent turn, but JP's 'total revolution' was directionless. But, the mass movement threatened the ruling Congress government which finally clamped an internal Emergency on June 26, 1975. On 25th night the entire opposition parties and even some dissident Congressmen, mass leaders, civil rights workers and revolutionaries and their sympathisers were thrown behind bars.
The pockets of Maoist resistance that continued in this period were particularly in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh led by the AP State Committee of the CPI (ML), later to become the CPI (ML) (People's war), in West Bengal it was the Second CC with a strong base in Nadia and 24 Parganas districts and the MCC in the Sunderbans; and in Bihar three groups continued their resistance - in Bhojpur it was led by the CPI (ML) faction of Jawahar (later to become the Liberation group), in Jehanabad by what came to be later known as CPI (ML) Party Unity and in South Bihar's Hazaribagh and Giridh areas by the MCC.
Three Trends Emerge
In this period of setback three distinct trends developed within the CPI (ML). The first was a continuation of the left line of 'annihilation of class enemies' which was represented by some pro-Lin Piao groups like the Second CC and the Mahadev Mukherjee group, also the CPI (ML) led by Jowahar in Bihar and CPI (ML) led by Kannamani in Tamilnadu. The second trend comprised of those who swung to the right, by criticising the entire tactical line of the CPI (ML) and once again sought participation in elections. This was particularly led by the CPI (ML) faction led by Satyanarayan Singh. Others like Kanu Sanyal, Ashim Chatterjee, Souren Bose swung even further to the right finally veering towards the CPI (M). The third trend was particularly represented by the COC (Central Organising Committee) which upheld the essence of the CPI (ML) line but sought to rectify the left errors. The COC comprised the CPI (ML) state units from Punjab, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar - the Punjab unit later merged the Unity Organisation to form the CPI (ML) Party Unity and the Andhra Pradesh unit developed into CPI (ML) (People's war).
The revolutionaries belonging to the first trend were unable to withstand the police pressure for long. They fought heroically, but were suppressed. This was particularly so in Bhojpur. Annihilations rocked the district from 1971. Notorious landlords, upper caste gentry who had raped dalit women, goondas of the landlords .... all fell victim to the blazing guns of the revolutionaries. The movement threw up dedicated revolutionaries like Jagdish Mahto and Butan Mushahar....both school teachers and lovingly referred to as 'Master'; and there was Rameshwar Ahir, the landless peasant-turned criminal, turned revolutionary. Then there was Dr. Nirmal the medical graduate who had experienced casteism even amongst the educated students and realised that genuine equality can only be achieved through revolution. And then there was the legendary leader of the CPI (ML) group Subroto Dutta, popularly known an 'Jawahar'. The battles raged in the plains of Bhojpur right into the Emergency. But four days after the declaration of Emergency the battle turned in favour of the enemy.
It was June 29, Bahuara village with 143 families. The CRP and the Jat Regiment aided by 300 heavily armed Bumihars surrounded the village. The attackers set the whole Dalit tola on fire. The Ahirs, led by the CPI (ML) cadres fought back. The battle raged for three whole days. Finally after 96 hours of heavy fighting, four men made an attempt to break out of the heavy encirclement. Two, including Dr. Nirmal escaped. But a wounded Butan, 'Master', could not. He was arrested in the next village and shot dead. It is said that in these plains the revolutionaries linked up huts with underground tunnels, for their security. A few months later, a police party raided the house of Sakaldip Chamar in Babubandh village. The people inside put up a valiant resistance. After the smoke cleared, many lay dead. Among them was Dr. Nirmal. He was just 27 years. Among those who escaped was Jawahar; but he was severely wounded and died a few hours later. The Mushahars did not allow the police to capture the body; with tears in their eyes, they carried it away secretly through the fields. Resistance continued to smoulder throughout the period of the Emergency. Rameshwar Ahir and Jagdish Mahto too became martyrs. After the Emergency the new secretary of the party Vinod Mishra, while negating the left errors, step by step led the party to the extreme right. By the end of the 1980s this party revised all its earlier positions ending in the camp of the CPI and CPM. Of the groups in the first trend the Kannamani group was totally liquidated, and the second CC after some divisions, a few reviewed their past and tried to come out of the ultra-left line.
Most of the groups in the second trend, with varying degrees of right deviations, finally became part of the revisionist camp, like the SNS group, Kanu Sanyal, Ashim Chatterjee etc. A few, though still within the revolutionary camp, are getting more and more bogged down in parliamentary politics, or keep on postponing the question of armed struggle. Some of these have been going through a series of unifications and splits.
The third trend was the trend of the future......and it is this trend that has been growing in many parts of the country. They are basically represented by three organisations : CPI (ML) Party Unity, CPI (ML) (People's war) and the MCC. Though the MCC never joined the CPI (ML) and has an independent history of its own it is today the strongest revolutionary force in Bihar. These three trends, in order to coordinate the struggles, formed a broad common platform called the All India People's Resistance Forum or AIPRF in 1992 with its organ 'People's Resistance' in English and Hindi.
INTROSPECTION New rays of hope............. A Self Critical Review The Importance of Mao Ze Dong Thought
The major reason for the setback were some errors in the movement, specifically in the realm of tactics. Repression, brutality, inhuman torture, etc are second nature to the capitalists. These 'gentlemen' are fine and courteous as long as their interests are not threatened; but touch one paisa of their ill-begotten wealth and they turn into poisonous vipers, ruthless executioners, inhuman demons, spouting death and destruction on their path to glory. It is the class struggle that brings forth their real nature and any revolutionary or revolutionary movement must be equipped to face it. The tragedy of the liberals is that they are unaware of this reality, while the revisionists seek to hide it. The bourgeoisie is not threatened by the liberals or the revisionists, who strain every nerve to look 'respectable' (to the bourgeoisie), and so the rulers can afford to be 'civil', 'decent', 'rational' in their dealings with the liberals, revisionists and their like. Some confuse this 'decency' for the gory reality. The politics of Naxalbari threatened them, and they came out in their true colours, discarding all refinement, shedding all democratic pretensions, discarding all 'decency', with a ruthlessness that would make even Hitler ecstatic.
After the setback in 1972 there has been much introspection. Specifically the COC units tried to grapple with the problems of revolution in India in the light of this latest experience. In doing so various assessments came forward one of which was the self-critical review put forward by the Andhra comrades led then by Kondapalli Seetharamaiah.
A self-critical review
Success or defeat in revolution is, first and foremost, governed by the political line of the party that is leading the revolution. If the line is in conformity with the laws of development of society and revolution, then the movement will go towards victory. But if the line is not in conformity with these laws it will be defeated. The CPI (ML), unlike the CPI and CPM, correctly understood the laws of development of India society, when they characterised it as semi-feudal, semi-colonial and the stage of revolution as New Democratic. The CPI (ML) also grasped the fundamental law of revolution i.e., the need for revolutionary violence to change the system. Marx and Engels had shown that all hitherto existing social systems had not passed away peacefully but through violent class struggles. The very bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries had come to power through a violent overthrow of the feudal order. Marx's famous quote that "Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with the new" was thrown to the winds by the CPI and CPM. The CPI (ML) not only restored this Marxist law of revolution, they went about implementing it. And in doing so, certain errors arose in the methods adopted.
Being equipped with the general laws of revolution is not sufficient; there must also be a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, a class understanding of friends and enemies, an assessment of the changing class alignment of forces at any given moment and the methods required to build the revolutionary forces to face the enemy. Errors in any of these spheres can also lead to reverses. And it is here that some errors were made.
These errors were best summed up in the CPI (ML) (People's war) document entitled "Summing up the past let us advance victoriously along the path of armed struggle." This document listed first the positive aspects of the CPI (ML), then the shortcomings and finally drew lessons on the basis on which to advance. This contrasted sharply with numerous other critiques from erstwhile leaders of the CPI (ML) like SNS, Kanu Sanyal, Ashim Chatterjee, etc who merely sought to throw blame on CM and escape into the revisionist camp. Of course, genuine criticism was raised earlier, particularly by Sushital Roy Chowdhary in late 1970, but he was the lone voice in the leadership then. Unfortunately, a few months later, he died of a heart attack. Though belatedly, Com. CM himself initiated the process of rectifying the errors as could be seen in his article "People's interest is party's interest" written in May 1972, two months prior to his martyrdom.
While clearly stating that the positive aspects were primary the CPI (ML) PW document outlined the main shortcomings as :
(i) An incorrect understanding of the era : The document stated that the party wrongly estimated that the character of the era had changed and on that basis had called for continuous attacks, without a thought to the relative strength of the revolutionary forces and that of the enemy. The document added that : "what should have been done instead, is to base (tactics) on a concrete assessment of the relative strength and weaknesses of the opposing sides of the contradiction, in a revolution."
(ii) A wrong estimation of the International and National Situation: The document stated that the Eighth Party Congress report had looked upon US intervention in Kampuchea as the beginning of World War III. It also said that the party had wrongly estimated the situation in the country and therefore called on the people to start armed struggle everywhere. The document added that in India there is uneven economic development, and the levels of political consciousness and social and cultural development vary, this, it added, has to be borne in mind, while formulating the tactics of struggle.
(iii) A disregard for the subjective factor : There was no proper estimate of the strength of the revolutionary forces vis-a-vis that of the enemy. There was a tendency to get carried away by the immediate success of the struggles.
(iv) Giving immature slogans : The over assessment of the objective factors of revolution led to many immature slogans and calls.
(v) The Line of Annihilation : The document succinctly analysed this point saying : "All forms of struggle are subordinate to, and are guided by the concrete political line. If the concrete political line deviates from the mass line, the forms of struggle cannot but be otherwise..... So in order to negate the line of annihilation, we have to negate the wrong ideology which is alien to Marxism and its consequential political and organisational manifestations..... The problem is not whether the class enemy will be annihilated or not ..... Rather the problem is, whether the party should adopt the mass line or not .... Every Marxist-Leninist Party must propagate revolutionary violence which may express itself in various forms of struggle; one of which may be annihilation of class enemies." The party had earlier asserted that the annihilation of landlords was the only means of arousing the landless and poor peasants. This document put the question in correct perspective.
(vi) The rejection of other forms of struggle and organisation : Until then the party negated all mass organisations and all other forms of struggle, thereby isolating the party from the masses which made comrades easier targets for the enemy. As the document pointed out "In order to combat the long-standing revisionist practice of conducting mass struggles on the lines of economism and adopting legal and open forms of organisation as the only form of organisation, our party arrived at a one-sided and wrong formulation that the armed form of struggle is the only form of struggle and armed form of organisation the only form of organisation."
(vii) A wrong approach to the United Front : The document in its assessment of the earlier position said, "The United Front will be formed in the course of struggle only.... to work for it right from the inception of the struggle is the bounden duty of the working class. To say instead, that it will not be possible to form a United Front until one or a few liberated base areas are established....amounts to rejecting in practice the truth, that a United Front is essential for the victory of revolution."
(viii) Guerilla struggles in the cities : The document said that it was wrong to have started urban guerilla warfare in Calcutta... leading to enormous losses.
(ix) Wrong bureaucratic tendencies in Organisation : The document explained that - bureaucratic methods, a lack of self-criticism, a lack of committee functioning, sectarian methods of solving differences, and finally the assertion of Com. CM's individual authority above the Party.... did much to damage the movement. The document also added that this was a major reason why the party could not correct errors in time.
These then were the major errors of the movement and it is on the basis of a rectification done with this analysis, that the CPI (ML) (PW) has carried forward the heritage of Naxalbari, the basic line of the Eighth Congress and created the primary forms of the guerilla zone.
The importance of Mao Ze Dong Thought
Remoulding of the existing petti-bourgeois outlook to a proletarian outlook is a continuous struggle. The pace of the incipient revolutionary movement outstripped the pace of development of proletarian ideology. Besides, non-proletarian traits acquired through long association with the revisionists added to the havoc and splintering of the movement. The lack of a self-critical approach allowed some 'leaders' to swing from one view to exactly an opposite view without so much as a attempting to analyse why the earlier view was wrong. Such political and ideological semantics abounded in the post-1972 period. Together with this individualism, personality-based groupism, a small circle mentality etc., added to the proliferation of groups-each one, ofcourse, claiming they alone were right. Mao no doubt has written against all this, but it is one thing to accept Mao theoretically, quite another to imbibe his teaching in practice.
Mao had once said "A communist must never be opiniated or domineering, thinking that he is good in everything while others are good in nothing; he must never shut himself up in his little room, or brag and boast and lord it over others." Sectarianism was deep-rooted at that time, highly opiniated views existed, intolerance of another view-point, an unwillingness to learn from others, not even from practice and reality......all this added to the fissures and divisions, and also retarded, or atleast, delayed, the ability to learn from one's own experience.
In 1972 itself the AP State Committee had presented a short self-critical assessment, though this was accepted by Com. CM shortly before his arrest and martyrdom, it was not able to gain acceptance. These views, presented in a well elaborated form to the then COC in 1975 was not even able to rally the other units, even though the COC contained many of the best elements from amongst the CPI (ML). Even if this was not accepted no other view could find a common agreement. With the result, the first COC literally withered away in 1977.
Mao Ze Dong Thought is the development of Marxism-Leninism and an essential weapon for the proletarian movement. It gives the ideological basis for fighting all forms of deviations and the most powerful weapon in combating revisionism particularly modern revisionism. Today, when the international communist movement has faced a setback and even the mighty CPC has turned revisionist, the danger of revisionism lurking in the background is ever-present. The struggle against imperialism and feudalism is impossible without a struggle against revisionism.....and for that, Maoist ideology, politics and military science are absolutely fundamental.
Where there is oppression there is resistance. Revolution is not a conspiracy, it is a festival of the masses. Secret methods of organisation and guerilla forms of warfare are necessary for a smaller force to defeat a larger force. The Indian state is relatively big and powerful. Besides, they get continuous training from the Americans, British, Russians and the Israeli intelligence, Mossad. After the defeat of the reactionary forces in Vietnam, counter-insurgency training internationally has reached a higher level of perfection. Today, the strength of India's armed forces is 15 lakh, plus there is a 8 lakh central para-military force and 12 lakh police force (3 lakh of whom are the armed-police). The total expenditure on the army and para-military forces was Rs. 37, 000 crores in 1996-97 and that on the police was Rs. 7, 200 crores. Together with this, large secret funds are allocated for covert operations of the IB, RAW etc. This entire force of three and a half million, incurring a massive expenditure of over Rs. 45, 000 crores yearly is used for the suppression of the Indian people-i.e., the government is spending Rs. 500 per family per year for their suppression. It needs a powerful force, with deep roots in the masses, and well-versed in guerilla warfare to take on the enemy forces of the state. The amatuerish methods of the 1969-72 period were easily defeated.
Taking lessons from this experience, the movement began taking roots on a more solid foundation. The seeds of this movement were sown in the early 1970s itself, they began to sprout in the post-emergency period, a strong erect structure developed in the decade of the 80s, and in the 90s they began to bloom in the bright sunshine blazing over the forests and plains of Andhra Pradesh, Dandakaranya and Bihar. Through massive repression and most bestial brutality the Indian government tried to snuff out the seeds, it failed; it tried to trample over the young saplings, it failed again; it tried to axe the strong structure that began to take shape, yet again it failed; and now it is trying to drown the sweet fragrance by emitting a vile odour - it will also fail.
First, a brief introduction to the movement in Bihar led by the MCC and CPI (ML) Party Unity. Later we shall go into a detailed description of the movement led by CPI (ML) (PW) in AP and Dandakaranya.
After the suppression of the Bhojpur movement, the CPI (ML) Liberation made a swing towards the Right and slowly went into the morass of revisionist politics. The enormous mass base so systematically built by the martyrs of Bhojpur was step by step disarmed and pushed into parliamentarism. In short, the revolutionary movement was liquidated. What is worse, this group was utilised to launch attacks on the genuine revolutionaries. The most notorious incident being the murder of two leading members of the CPI (ML) 2nd CC - Ramachandra Thakur and Jassiya Ray. Thakur was member of the Central Committee. Also, they had aggressively attacked and killed cadres from the MCC and CPI (ML) Party Unity. It was only when these organisations retaliated that the Liberation group's aggressiveness reduced.
Soon, the focus of the movement shifted from Bhojpur to the districts of Gaya, Aurangabad and Jehanabad where two organisations with dedicated cadre were quietly building their revolutionary base. These two organisations were the Maoist Communist Centre and, the other was, what later came to be known as the CPI (ML) Party Unity.
(1) Maoist Communist Centre
The MCC, while supporting the Naxalbari struggle, did not join the CPI (ML) because of some tactical differences and on the question of the method of Party formation. Its history can be traced to three phases.
The first phase can be stretched from 1964 to 1968 and began when the revisionist line was established at the first Congress of the CPI (M). Functioning as the 'Dakshin Desh' group (after the Bengali Magazine brought out by it) it led a revolt against the revisionist line and established a secret revolutionary centre to develop a revolutionary line. The two main founders of this group were Amulya Sen and Kanai Chatterjee. It was a period primarily of ideological struggles. While doing so, the major comrades were already playing a leading role in the trade union front, student front and youth front. The leading comrades too were linked to the workers and peasants movement. The theoretical issues raised in this period were :(i) drawing a clear line of demarcation with the revisionists in the political and organisational fields, (ii) linking the daily revolutionary practice of Indian revolution to the theory (iii) developing a political and tactical line not merely as a formality, but giving it a concrete structure in various spheres of activity and (iv) based on these revolutionary policies, style and method, and in the course of revolutionary struggles and guided by a revolutionary theory, to build a revolutionary party.
The second phase, which stretched from 1969 to 1978, was a period of implementation of the party's line, policies and plans. It was a period of gaining practical experience towards the path of establishing the 'Red Agrarian Revolutionary Resistance War.' It was initiated by two articles printed in Dakshin Desh (Lal Pataka in Hindi) entitled 'The Perspective of Indian Revolution' and 'The Tactical Line of Indian Revolution-perspective', and, the formation of MCC on October 20, 1969. Work was begun on this basis in the Sundarbans, 24 Parganas, Hoogli, Midnapur, Kanksa, Gaya and Hazaribagh. Of these experiences the most encouraging was that of Kanksa and Hazaribagh. Here, a wide movement was built on issues like wage hike, seizure of crops, fertiliser problem, confiscation of grains from landlords and against various forms of political and social oppression. Also, a wide mass movement was built, some notorious landlords punished and steps were taken towards disarming of the enemy and arming the people. Some guerilla squads and self-defence squads were also built and through the Kanksa struggles the concept of the Revolutionary Peasant Committees first developed. In the 1972-77 period the movement faced enormous repression.
The third phase, which stretched from 1979 to 1988, was a period of taking the lessons, both positive and negative, of the second phase and enriching both the theory and practice. In this phase the MCC focused on Bihar; and with the perspective of building a people's army and base area, the Bihar-Bengal Special Area Committee was established, the 'Preparatory Committee for Revolutionary Peasant Struggles' was formed and soon Revolutionary Peasant Councils emerged. In this phase militant struggles developed and the landlords' authority smashed, thousands of acres of land seized and distributed to the landless, and property of the landlords seized and distributed. But it was in this period that the two founding members of the organisation passed away - Amulya Sen in March 1981 and Kannai Chatterjee in July 1982.
Now the movement has grown to a number of districts of Bihar including Hazaribagh, Giridh, Gaya, Aurangabad and others. Today, the MCC is a force to reckon with, in Bihar.
(2) CPI (ML) Party Unity
Cadres of the CPI (ML) from Jehanabad-Palamau region fought against the disruptionist and revisionist line put forward by Satyanarayan Singh in 1971. Also while struggling against the left line of the Bhojpur comrades, they built some roots in the area. After the release of many comrades from jail in 1977, the movement picked up momentum and was re-organised. They organised themselves into the CPI (ML) (Unity Organisation) in 1978.
The Jehanabad-Palamau region is one of the backward regions of Bihar. In addition to cultivation, the peasants have to rely on the collection of forest produce for their subsistence. In this area the writ of the landlord lay unchallenged. The situation began to change with the entry of the Unity Organisation. Learning from their previous 'left' errors special attention was paid to build a mass base for the activities of their armed squads. A peasant organisation was formed - The Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti (MKSS). All old practices were questioned and landlords' authority challenged. Struggles for wage increase, against the social oppression of women and scheduled castes, and the biggest struggles arose over the auction of forest produce.
The incipient movement saw three of its young activists martyred on 10th August 1982. The landlords of Bhagwanpur village in Gaya district kidnaped Lakhan Manjhi (20 years), Sudeshi Manjhi (19) and Balkishore Manjhi (15) and killed them. Lakhan was an important member of the Party's Red Squad. In June 1984 the movement faced a severe loss, when the popular secretary of the MKSS, Krishna Singh, was shot dead by landlords. In May 1984 the Palamau-Aurangabad Regional Committee of the MKSS had held its conference and plans were being made for fresh attacks on the landlords. On June 17, Krishna Singh was conducting a meeting of the MKSS at Jharna in Palamau district. The local landlord and goondas attacked the meeting, opening fire. A chase began, Com. Krishna Singh allowed his comrades to get away, and fell to the enemy's bullets. Condemnation of this murder spread in a spate of protests throughout the area. The protests led to the arrest of 35 of the hoodlums involved.
Meanwhile in 1983 the Unity Organisation merged with a section of the COC, CPI (ML) to form the COC, CPI (ML) Party Unity. As the movement grew the party too put forward the perspective of building up a guerilla zone. At the Party Congress held in 1987 the COC, CPI (ML) Party Unity outlined the following tasks : "We are tackling the steadily increasing armed onslaughts of the state, through mass resistance. But gradually the squads too will have to come forward to participate in this resistance. At the phase of confiscating all lands of the landlords and on the eve of building up the guerilla zone, the activities of the squads will be the main aspect of the people's resistance against the armed attacks of the state."
In Gaya-Aurangabad a call was issued for all landlords to deposit their weapons with the Kisan Samitis. Those who refused found their houses attacked and their weapons seized. The movement grew, and today the COC CPI (ML) Party Unity is also a force in a number of districts of Bihar.
While in the late 1960s the nerve centre of the Maoist movement in India was West Bengal, by the late 1970s it had shifted to Andhra Pradesh. ... Ofcourse, Andhra Pradesh has a glorious history of revolutionary struggles. It had seen the historic Telangana struggle where, by July 1948, 2500 villages had been organised into'communes'. It was the famous 'Andhra Thesis', that for the first time demanded that Indian revolution follow the Chinese path of protracted people's war. As early as June 1948 the 'Andhra Letter' submitted to the Central Executive Committee of the Party, laid down in unambiguous terms a revolutionary strategy based on Mao's New Democracy. It was the first time anywhere in the world (outside China) that 'Mao's Line' had been asserted. In fact, the 'Chinese Path' for the backward countries was first asserted by the CPC only in November 1949 at a meeting of the World Federation of Trade Unions being held in Peking. But this line was vehemently opposed by the Ranadive leadership of the CPI. It was only in May 1950, after the Cominform came out with its approval of the Chinese revolutionary strategy as a model for the backward countries, that the 'Andhra Thesis' was accepted and became the official line of the Party. But this line lasted for just one year, as, with the withdrawal of the Telangana struggle and a decision to participate in the forthcoming elections, the Andhra Thesis was withdrawn. In May 1951 Ajoy Ghosh was elected as secretary in place of Rajeshwar Rao and a new leadership introduced the revisionist line.
Then came the Srikakulam uprising, and now, by 1972 the shift was once again back to the Telangana region.
(1) The initial regrouping
By November 72, of the 12 member AP State Committee only one remained to regroup the forces, the rest had been either killed or arrested. Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, together with some leading members of the state, reorganised much of the fractured units. Earlier, in March 1972, the existing three members of the state committee (two of whom were arrested in November) sought to correct the errors of the Naxalbari period by maintaining its revolutionary essence. This committee decided to build mass organisations, take up the partial struggles of the masses and spread to new areas by building legal mass organisations, where possible. It also decided that the annihilation of class enemies should be conducted only as part of the class struggle. With these decisions a two member delegation went to meet CM. CM spoke to the delegation just ten days before his arrest and approved all the decisions. At this meeting CM also disclosed the fraternal suggestions of the CPC regarding rectification of certain methods of work.
In August 1972 the Party launched its political magazine 'Pilupu' (The Call) to rally the revolutionary forces. This magazine, besides dissemination of the stand of the Party on national and international issues, conducted an ideological battle to repulse the attacks of the dissidents within the CPI (ML) (example - SNS, Kanu Sanyal, some of the jailed leaders in AP) and from those outside (erstwhile APCCCR), in defense of the CM-line and the new organisational methods to be adopted. 'Pilupu' played an important role in repulsing the right and 'left' deviations rampant in the movement at that time.....steering the movement onto a correct path. Together with this, in order to knit the cadres on a strong ideological basis, a large number of political classes were held.
Besides reorganising the Party in AP, KS made attempts to contact central committee members from West Bengal and other states. Of the four central committee members from AP elected at the 1970 Congress two were killed and two in jail. In January 1974 KS attended a meeting of a reconstituted Central Organising Committee comprising Sharma (elected secretary of the COC) of Punjab, Suniti Ghosh of Bengal and Ramnath of Bihar, of which the first two were original CC members elected at the 1970 Congress.
Meanwhile as there was no state committee in existence in AP, in August 1974 it was decided to reconstitute a three-member committee comprising KS (representing Telangana region), Appalasuri who had just escaped from jail (representing coastal Andhra) and Mahadevan, who had just come out on bail (representing Rayalaseema).
The COC which had to prepare a common self-critical review was unable to come to any agreement on the three separate reviews presented. At the two month September 75 meeting it was decided to withdraw these reviews and instead produce a tactical line. It was hoped that this tactical line would strengthen unity through practice and act as the basis for a common tactical line, entitled 'Road to Revolution', though prepared after intense discussion, did not help unity. While the May 1977 meeting the Bihar and West Bengal representatives resigned, and the AP representative did not attend due to the arrest of KS. With the collapse of this first attempt to reorganise the Centre, the AP comrades turned their focus back to the movement in the state.
(2) Telangana Regional Conference
At the time the Telangana Regional Conference was held in February 1977 all the preparations had been completed for the launching of a powerful mass movement. In the previous five years, the scattered revolutionary forces had been regrouped, the political line had been effectively defended from attacks from both the right and 'left', a powerful revolutionary student movement had developed which were to provide a large number of cadres for the Party, fraction work had effectively laid the seeds of organisation amongst a section of the workers, particularly the coal mine workers, and the seeds of a peasant movement had been sown in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts. All the conditions were ready for the take-off and the Telangana Regional Conference was to ignite the fuse.
The Conference was held basically to review the growing Telangana movements and to elect a leadership. In this conference three major decisions were taken - (i) to broaden the party's base amongst the masses (ii) to hold a series of political classes to train the big influx of new cadre and (iii) to send squads into the forest for launching armed struggle. Finally, the eight districts of Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, were divided into two regions and two regional committees were elected.
(3) A Cultural Resurgence
AP had a rich tradition of revolutionary culture. After Naxalbari, the big names of Telugu literature like Sri Sri, R.V. Shastri, Kutumba Rao etc turned towards the revolutionary trend. With the CPI taking to the parliamentary path, the Progressive Writers Association stagnated. It was the Digambara (naked) poets of 1965 which broke the dullness that had engulfed Telugu literature. Poets like K.V.Ramana Reddy, Cherabanda Raju, Varavara Rao, C. Vijayalaxmi, CV Krishna Rao, exposed social evils, corruption, exploitation, political bankruptcy, meaningless middle-class existence, commercialisation of literature, etc. The anthology of 15 poets, Rathiri (night) was like a flash of light in the darkness. The incisive poems of Cherabanda Raju and Varavara Rao have been translated in nearly all languages.
By 1965 there were three important groups of poets who were to rock the Telugu literary world : the Hyderabad based Digambara poets, the Warangal based Thirugubatu (revolt) poets and the Guntur based Pygambara poets. After the Naxalbari uprising these poets, together with the leading lights of the literary world ( i.e. Sri Sri and others) merged to form VIRASAM in 1970 - i.e., the Viplava Rachayithala Sangam or the Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA). Even in the period of setback it was the inspiring poems, short-stories, novels which continued to attract thousands of the youth towards the politics of Naxalbari. Not only were the writers politically uncompromising, they were artistically brilliant. Further, RWA initiated the formation of an all-India revolutionary cultural forum in 1983. Revolutionary cultural organisations came together and formed the All India League for Revolutionary Culture (AILRC). The AILRC brings out a regular quarterly cultural magazine in Hindi entitled 'Amukh'.
Besides these writers, a number of artists from Hyderabad, inspired by the the Srikakulam struggle and the songs of Subbarao Panigrahi formed a group in 1970 called the Art Lovers. They comprised the famous film producer Narasinga Rao and the now legendary, Gaddar. In late 1971 this group became directly affiliated to the Party and changed its name to Jana Natya Mandali (JNM). Through its cultural programmes of song, dance and plays the JNM propagated revolutionary ideas and drew the masses towards revolutionary politics. In 1977, district level troupes of JNM were formed in Telangana. An eight-member troupe was first formed in Adilabad which gave a record 300 programmes in 1978-79. District teams were formed in Warangal and Karimnagar in 1978 and could function legally till 1984. Central training schools were held for the JNM troupes between 1980 and 1982.
(4) The Student Movement
Once the left line was rectified, students who had been inspired by Naxalbari and Srikakulam and the RWA and JNM, surged forward in their thousands. Initially the students of the CP Reddy group and those with the AP State Committee worked under one banner - the Progressive Democratic Students Union or PDSU. But, as the differences grew sharper and working within one organisation became difficult (with continuous contradictions) the revolutionary students left and formed the Radical Students Union or RSU. This organisation grew with such speed and gained such support that even today activists are popularly known as Radicals.
The Radical Students Union was formed on October 12, 1974 and the first State Conference was held in February 1975. This first conference released a manifesto exposing the various revisionist tendencies and holding aloft the banner of a revolutionary student movement. Hundreds of students inspired and Mao Ze Dong Thought attended the conference. The biggest contingents were from Telangana, specifically form Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam and Nalgonda. Large numbers also came from Ananthapur, Tirupathi and Vishakhapatnam.
After the conference and before the next academic year, the Emergency was declared and the RSU had to face the full brunt of the repressive machinery. More than 500 students were subjected to inhuman torture, and 70 were thrown into prison. Four young students, Janardhan, Murali Mohan, Anand Rao and Sudhakar were taken to the Giraipally forests and shot dead by the police. Student activist, Nagaraju, was also arrested and shot. Yet RSU re-organised secretly and continued agitations specifically in their two strongholds - the Regional Engineering College of Warangal and the Osmania University in Hyderabad. They also started a magazine 'Radical' which was widely distributed amongst students.
After the lifting of the Emergency student agitations swept the state around a number of issues : In Hyderabad it was around the Rameejabi rape (in police custody) case, in Kakatiya University it was against the Hindu fundamentalists, in Bellampally in support of the workers strike, in Mahaboobnagar in support of the hotel workers - also there were state-wide agitations on ITI and Polytechnic students' issues and a state wide strike for students demands for better social welfare benefits.
The second conference was held in Warangal in February 1978. In preparation to this conference a big debate took place as certain units said that mass organisations should confine themselves to partial demands and not propagate revolutionary politics. The two views were debated in all units, and finally the second conference rejected the proposed changes. Lenin's writings on the nature of a revolutionary student movement were widely circulated to educate students and activists on this issue.
The mass upsurge of students throughout 1978 and the active 'boycott election campaign' to the state Assembly culminated with the third state conference of the RSU held in Anantapur with 2000 delegates. This was preceded by district conferences in 13 districts. With the sweep of the revolutionary student movements RSU (jointly with PDSU) began winning all the student union elections. The 1981 RSU state conference at Guntur was preceded by 16 district conferences. Prior to this conference RSU had organised a meeting of 10,000 to condemn Soviet Aggression of Afghanistan.
From 1981 the ABVP (student wing of the Hindu fundamentalist BJP) organised systematic assaults on RSU activists and even killed some leaders. The police stood by and watched. The RSU replied - first with a systematic exposure of the ABVP; and then they also resisted the physical assaults and wherever necessary retaliated. With this resistance campaign the movement spread to the High Schools. In the 1982 student elections the RSU achieved unprecedented victories in Osmania University (Hyderabad) and in the towns of Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Mahaboobnagar, Adilabad, Guntur, Chittoor, Kurnool, Cuddapah and Khammam districts. The student union election victories further facilitated the spread of revolutionary politics in the educational institutions. The inaugural functions, cultural events ..... all became centres of revolutionary enthusiasm spreading the movement to every corner of the state. By the time of the 5th
State conference, RSU had spread to 18 out of the 21 districts of AP. In 1984, 25000 polytechnic students from 47 colleges went on a 104 day strike and achieved their demands. Even high school students went on an indefinite strike to get their syllabus reduced. In February 1985, at the initiative of the RSU the All India Revolutionary Students Federation (AIRSF) was established at a conference held in Hyderabad. But by mid-1985 the police launched its massive attack on the party and a chief target was the RSU. Police raided schools, colleges and hostels, arresting students and brutally torturing them.
Since then, the RSU has been pushed underground and had to change its style of functioning from large open meetings to small secret meetings, class room meetings, etc. In 1985/86 a number of students leading the RSU were killed in cold blood - Nageshwar Rao, Shyam Prasad, Sreenivas, Yakaiah, Ramakanth, Muralidhar Raju and Satish fell to enemy bullets. Nageswar Rao was the state vice-president of RSU. Since then all conferences of the RSU have been held secretly.
(5) 'Go to the Village' Campaigns
The 'Go to the village campaign' was an ingenious method discovered by the AP Party to effectively integrate the students with the ongoing peasant movement. It was also a brilliant method to push ahead the organisation amongst the peasantry with enormous speed. In the summer holidays students scheduled to go on a campaign would first go through an intense one weak political school. In this school the method of conducting the campaign would also be informed. Also in this school they would be informed about the subject to be taken for intense political propaganda amongst the peasants. After this they would be broken up into batches of about seven each and proceed to the villages covering an area as per the party plans. In the village campaign they were also to set up youth organisations wherever possible and keep a note of the names of all potential activists. These names would then be handed over to the local party organiser who would follow up and deepen the organisation.
The first such campaign began in the summer of 1978. In the first campaign 200 students participated. The aim of this campaign was the propagation of the politics of agrarian revolution and the building of RYL (Radical Youth League) units in the villages. The campaign went on for one month and culminated in the holding of the first RYL Conference. The significance of this campaign was that it helped trigger off the historic peasant struggles of Karimnagar and Adilabad.
In the next year, the 'village campaign' of April to June 1979 was for the first time jointly conducted by RSU and RYL. This time preparatory classes were held in 15 centres in which 500 students and youth participated. Besides propagating the politics of agrarian revolution the campaigners strived to expose the "Soviet-backed Vietnamese aggression against Kampuchea" - they sold Pol Pot badges in the villages. The campaign focused on "Soviet Aggression against Afghanistan" and also expressed solidarity with the nationality movement of Assam. The 1981 campaign exposed police brutality in the wake of of the massacre of tribals in Indervelli in Adilabad district. The campaign mobilised support for the tribal movement being led by the CPI (ML) (PW) in the Dandakaranya forests. In 1982, the theme of the campaign was the unconditional release of KS and other political prisoners and demanding a judicial enquiry into 'encounter' killings in the state. The teams also helped mobilise workers for the first State Conference of the Coal miners union SIKASA (Singareni Karmika Samakhya). The 1983 campaign exposed the repression being unleashed by the Telugu Desam government and explained that political leaders like NTR cannot usher in all-round development of the Telugu nationality. The 1984 campaign, the last that was possible before the all-out onslaught unleashed in 1985, focused on government repression and demanded the withdrawal of the CRPF from Telangana.
With each campaign the number of student and youth participants increased, inspite of the fact that in each successive year the police attacks were getting more and more vicious. In 1983/84 it was a virtual hide-and-seek between the police and the campaigners. In the 1984 village campaign about 1100 student and youth participated, organised into 150 propaganda teams. That year alone they carried the message of agrarian revolution to 2419 villages.
(6) Resurgence of the Peasant Movement
In the latter part of 1977 huge peasant rallies and demonstrations were held all over the district, not only on local issues but also for the release of political prisoners, against 'encounters', tortures in police lock-up and for removal of police camps. Slowly, peasant and agricultural labour unions began taking shape. The three thousand strong public rally at Gollapally on September 27 was an indication of the growing force. Also, in the same month, the workers of the Singareni Colleries at Bellampalli of Adilabad district rejected the revisionist leadership, took a militant agitation under the leadership of revolutionary politics and wrested bonus and other demands from the management. Seeing the growth of the people's movement the landlords began their attack. In November 1977 the landlords attacked and killed Lakshmi Rajam of Sircilla taluq and Potta Poshetty of Jagityal taluq. In the next summer the RSU village campaign gave a big impetus to the peasant movement and from June 1978 the struggles began to pick up tempo. The major issues around which they rallied were : the enhancement of daily wages for agricultural labourers, increase of the monthly and annual wage rates for permanent farm labour, abolition of customary free labour and customary payments in cash and kind to the landlords, refund of bribes, taking possession of government land under landlord's occupation, occupation of waste land, confiscation of firewood and timber grown by landlords in government forest lands, etc. Specifically, the struggles for the abolition of unpaid labour and enhancement of agricultural wages spread like wild fire throughout Jagityal taluq. The peasantry of Jagityal alone collected refunds amounting to lakhs.
Strikes of agricultural labourers spread from village to village. Landlords were physically brought to public gatherings and asked to confess their crimes and apologise for their oppressive behavior and pay back the illegal extortions. The peasants moved in big rallies, with red flags and occupied waste lands and government lands under landlord occupation. Also the strike movement, of labourers at beedi leaf collection centres in many taluqs of Karimnagar and Adilabad, gained momentum.
One of the most powerful and popular forms of struggle that developed during this period was the 'social boycott' of the landlords and their anti people agents. When it was decided to socially boycott a landlord, the entire village decided to stop any interaction and service to him - he was deprived of his servants in the house, cattle feeders, agricultural labour, washermen, barbers etc. Later, this form of struggle was also used against police officials camping in the village.
Another remarkable phenomenon in this period, was the usurping and revolutionising of the institution of 'Panchayat' by the peasantry. 'Panchayat' is a traditional institution of the villages of the Telangana region, where any petty dispute is publicly adjudicated - with the landlord presiding, and, of course, passing judgment. Now, the landlords' authority was displaced and the revolutionary peasants took over the running of panchayats, and, in many cases, put the landlords on trial.
Inspite of police repression, the movement grew and culminated in the historic march in Jagityal town. On September 7, 1978 over 35,000 people marched to Jagityal town. Of the 152 villages of Jagityal taluq, peasants and agricultural labourers from 150 villages attended the rally and meeting. Shaken by the strength of the movement, while some landlords fled to the cities, the other landlords and police began an offensive. Destroying and looting peasant houses, attacking, beating and even resorting to firing on peasants, became a daily occurrence. The peasants retaliated. A war-like situation grew. Heavy police re-enforcements reached the area and the rampage began. Within just two weeks all the 150 villages were frequently raided, mass beatings and arrests, and torture in police camps of hundreds of activists took place. In Jagityal taluq alone, in just four months, 3000 peasants form 75 villages had been implicated in false cases. Besides, 800 were jailed and hundreds more tortured in police camps and let off. On October 20, 1978 the AP government declared Sircilla and Jagityal as 'Disturbed Areas' giving the police draconian powers.
While the peasant upsurge lasted from June to September 1978 the police onslaught continued from September to December 1978. Though the upsurge receded in the face of police action, the resistance grew, and, in some taluqs of neighbouring Adilabad, took on a mass character.
By the beginning of 1979, the peasants regained their initiative, after recouping from the first shocks of the white terror. Now, organisational consolidation took place, political consciousness was raised on the nature of the state and the need to smash it, and the necessity of secret functioning was better understood and underground methods became better developed. The political and organisational basis was laid, to raise the struggle to a higher plane. Also during this period the anti-feudal struggle spread to Peddapalli, Manthani and Huzurabad taluks of Karimnagar district and to Laxettipet, Asifabad and Khanapur taluqs of Adilabad district.
In 1979 the struggle intensified with a number of landlords being annihilated. Now the villagers, specially the women, found new methods of resisting and fighting back police terror. By early 1980 the anti-liquor movement (initially for the reduction in price of liquor) had brought the liquor barons to their knees. The authority of the peasant association was growing in all matters of village life.
In addition to this peasant movement, activity amongst coal miners had been stepped up by RSU and RYL units and the influence over the one lakh-odd miners grew substantially. In Warangal city, the student, youth and literary movement had revived and strengthened. The student movement extended to almost all the urban centres of Warangal district. In this district the urban movement was stronger than the peasant movement.
On the eve of the reorganisation of the party centre the movement was poised to go to the next stage. But before proceeding to that a short mention must be made of the growth of the civil liberties movement which has and is playing a truly commendable role.
(7) Civil Liberties Movement
As AP has had a history of a strong communist movement which has faced continuous repression, there has also been a history of a strong civil liberties movement, involving lawyers, doctors, journalists, writers, etc. Many selfless civil liberties workers have also faced the wrath of the state and been killed, like Dr. Ramanadham of Warangal. In 1965 the first civil liberties organisation was formed with Sri Sri as president in the wake of the mass arrests of communists during the Indo-China war..... but this died out due to the absence of serious class struggles. Another body came into being in Hyderabad in the wake of the mass arrests and killings in Srikakulam and in March 1974 the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) was formed, again with Sri Sri as president. Conducting fact findings, carrying out legal battles, fighting TADA cases, exposing police brutality and the fake 'encounters', APCLC has been a vibrant organisation. It has also built a network of units, going down to the district level.
(8) Formation of CPI (ML) (PW)
The CPI (ML)(People's war) was formed on Lenin's birth anniversary on April 22, 1980. The formation was part of a process to reorganise a centre for the all-India revolution after it went out of existence in 1972. As mentioned earlier, a similar attempt was made in 1974 when the COC (Central Organising Committee) was formed. This could not really get off the ground, though strenuous efforts were put in. This was dissolved in May 1977. So in fact the AP State Committee had to function without a central Committee from July 72 to January 1974 and again from May 1977 to April 1980.
The 1980 centre was formed on the basis of two basic documents; the first was the self-critical review and the second was the tactical line. The self-critical review was basically the same as that presented to the COC in 1975 with a few changes. The tactical line basically upheld the legacy of Naxalbari while rectifying the 'left' errors of that period. Both had been enriched by the practice of the preceding eight years.
After the COC became defunct in 1977 the AP PC (State Committee) did not again make attempts to unite with other revolutionary groups. Instead, it concentrated upon building extensive mass movements in AP based on the self-critical review. As a result, it was able to not only build powerful statewide movements among students, youth, and in the literary and cultural fronts, but also developed the peasant movements in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of the Telangana region. This got recognition as powerful anti-feudal struggles not only in AP, but throughout the country. This success added to the credibility of the self-critical review. Hence, by the late 1970s other M-L groups like the Unity Organisation (UO) and the Tamil Nadu state committee of CPI (ML) came forward to unite with the AP PC. Unfortunately, due to differences on the question of formation of a CC, at that juncture the UO group did not join and the new CC was formed by the unification of the AP and Tamilnadu State Committees of the CPI (ML). The small Maharashtra group, then functioning in Bombay, also joined, having accepted the basic documents.
1980-84 FIRST STEP TOWARDS GUERILLA ZONE
By the end of 1979 itself it became apparent that the government and landlords would resort to much more brutal repression for snuffing out the peasant struggles of Karimnagar and Adilabad. In order to face this situation it was imperative that, apart from extending the area of operation, the peasant movement be raised to a higher level.
In the course of any revolutionary movement critical moments are reached, when hard decisions have to be taken to advance the movement to a higher stage, or, get pushed back by the enemy forces. At such critical
moments any faltering, any hesitation to advance, leads to the loss of initiative on the part of the revolutionaries and can lead to confusion and disarray in the ranks. The movement in AP by 1979 had reached such a critical stage. To advance, now meant, making necessary preparations to take on, not only the landlord classes, but also the police and para-military forces. Preparation for such an eventuality, meant not only adoption of new forms of struggle, not only new methods of organisation, but also the military preparation of the party. Military preparations not only implies acquisition of weapons, but the political, organisational and military consciousness which enhances the Party's striking capacity. Above all, it meant, that the people had to be mentally prepared to take on such a struggle.
To take a correct decision at such a crucial moment was a key factor to determine whether the movement would advance or retreat. It was, infact, at such crucial moments that the Indian Communist movement has faltered. On a number of occasions the anti-feudal, struggles had reached a high pitch, but when the Indian state machinery intervened with all its might the movements were either crushed, or, the leadership beat a hasty retreat. During the earlier Telangana movement (1948 to 1951) the leadership betrayed the movements, while the numerous anti-feudal struggles in the wake of the Naxalbari uprising were brutally crushed. It is in this context that the Party's document 'Perspective for a Guerilla Zone' has a historical significance. The general line of taking the movement towards a guerilla zone and liberated base areas already existed in the tactical line. What was more relevant was to work out the concrete political, organisational and military details to take it in that direction. The guerilla zone document fulfilled this task. That too, at the right moment.
Guerilla Zone Perspective
Though the movement in Warangal and Khammam districts was at a lower level than that in Karimnagar and Adilabad the document combined all four districts in the proposed Guerilla Zone. The districts were closely interlinked and had a contiguous forest area. In order to take the movement towards a guerilla zone the document first and foremost, focussed on building the party deep amongst the masses. It outlined that not only all the mass organisations should be built at the village level and made functional, but also the village-level party cells should be built with part-timers. It also focussed on the chief party organisers, now called Central Organisers or COs, who were to move as a sort of mini-squad 1CO+2 Squad members) all of whom would be armed. Each CO group was to be allocated a fixed number of villages (15 to 20) to develop.
The document foresaw the fact that, when the government repression intensifies in the four districts it would become necessary to build a rear in the forests on the other side of the Godavari river - i.e. in the Dandakaranya forests. Given this reality, the document pointed out, that it was necessary to immediately make proper arrangements for such an eventuality.
Having said this, the document right away went on to outline the tasks of the squads that were to enter the Dandakaranya forests. It said, that these squads should take on the following tasks :
1) To provide protection to squads that temporarily retreat from the four districts of the guerilla zone and to help them to counter-attack the enemy.
2) To organise tribals in the forest areas and to extend the struggle, building the Party and revolutionary army from among them.
It also added, that as the prominance of point (2) increases, the task of the Dandakaranya movement would move in the direction of taking it to a higher plane.
Finally the document concretely suggested, that one-third of all organisers and committee members from North Telangana should be organised into squads and sent to the forests.
In accordance with this document, which had been thoroughly discussed throughout the Party in 1979 itself, in June 1980 seven squads (of about five to seven members each) entered the forests. Initially they faced immense problems in getting roots amongst the tribals, specifically in the light of the police repression and combing operations, that started immediately. Yet, before the enemy's first suppression campaign began in 1985, the movement spread like wildfire, even beyond the Party's expectations.
In North Telangana, the movement extended to all the talukas of Karimnagar and Adilabad district, except one taluka in each. In Warangal district the focus developed from an urban to a rural movement. The movement in Khammam during this period faced some losses but that of Nizamabad saw big gains. The working class movement saw big gains amongst the one lakh and ten thousand coal miners in the Singareni coal belt.
In the Dandakaranya forests, the movement spread to the Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Bhandara districts of Maharashtra; Bastar, Rajnandgaon and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, and to Koraput district in Orissa. In Andhra Pradesh the movement spread to the East Godavari and Vishakhapatnam forest areas.
In Dandakaranya the movement was initiated by fighting against the arbitrary authority of government officials of the forest, revenue and excise department who had been ruthlessly plundering the tribals. Also, struggles broke out against the management of the paper mill and contractors exploiting the forest produce. Big movements were built for enhancing the wage rates for tendu leaf collection. Also, peasants were mobilised for raising the support price of cotton. From the very beginning land struggles was a major issue. Within the very first year the tribal peasantry stopped paying a variety of taxes to the forest department and began occupying forest land for cultivation. Within one year two lakh acres was occupied. Some land, forcefully occupied by traders and moneylenders was taken back. Also lands occupied by middle and rich peasants from the plains (non-tribals) was divided equally (50:50) amongst them and the problem settled. Anti-famine struggles took two forms - first, through the collection of paddy from donations; also paddy banks were started, where the peasants pool some amount of paddy in these banks at the time of the harvest and then draw on the stocks in times of need. Second, through famine raids on the houses of landlords, moneylenders and traders who hoarded grain. Thousands took part in the famine raids. Apart from these struggles, struggles were also taken up to stop the building of roads and cutting of forests and also for the recovery of losses suffered due to bauxite mining in Bailadilla (MP).
In the Dandakaranya region two big mass organisations were built - the Dandakaranya Adivasi Mazdoor Kisan Sangh (DAKMS) and the tribal women's organisation KAMS (Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan). The Sangams grew in stature to become symbols of struggle to the tribals. Slowly all disputes began to be settled by the sangam, whether a village dispute, a family dispute, a marriage dispute, a caste dispute or something related to tribal customs or community affairs. Also a relentless struggle was waged against backward tribal customs and traditions like human sacrifice, witchcraft, superstitions resulting in ill-health and disease and against practices which do not allow women to fully cover their bodies.
In 1980, six party members, organised as a squad, crossed the Godavari and entered Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Squad members recount how the tribals just on seeing them would flee into the hills. When they entered villages there would not be a person left, except may be a few very old and some children. Chatting with the old, playing with the children, sometimes physically catching hold of tribals and forcing them to listen, was how the 'Annas' ( i.e. big brother as they are known) found their way into the hearts of the tribals.... and came to be loved by them. But, within six months of entering the area the 18 year old Peddi Shankar was shot in the back and became the first martyr on Maharashtrian soil. But, the movement grew, and with it Shankar became a legend........a part of tribal folklore. By the time the Kamalapur Conference was called in 1984 the movement had grown like a tornado. The government banned the conference, sealed all roads leading to the village, arrested the speakers, journalists, students, folk artists-infact anyone who was moving in the direction of Kamalapur. From three days before the conference, police reinforcements combed the forests attacking and dispersing the tribal processions which flowed like streams, from all directions, towards Kamalapur. They encircled Kamalapur. Yet, on the day of the conference, playing hide-and-seek with the police, 10,000 tribals reached Kamalapur
and hoisted the DAKMS flag. The police lathi-charged.....the flag fluttered and then fell......but the conference was held.....not in Kamalapur but in Nagpur jail.
Specifically notable about the Dandakaranya movement was the awakening of women. The Sangam stood against forced marriages, against child marriages, and against all the age-old customs that degraded women. The KAMS became a powerful force with its own organisers, its own structures and its own revolutionary programme linking women's liberation to the new democratic revolution. When the suppression began in 1985 the KAMS was as brutally attacked as was the DAKMS.
(2) North Telangana
While in this five year period the movement took roots in Dandakaranya, in North Telangana (NT) the movement spread and also grew more intense. In NT thousands of acres of government land (occupied by landlords) were distributed to the landless and in some areas even landlord's land was seized. When the landlords began fleeing the villagesand tried to sell their land, the party imposed a ban on the purchase or sale of all
PART — 7
1990 — A BRIEF REPRIEVE
In 1990, due to the contradictions within the ruling classes, and because of the growing pressure of the peoples' movement, the new Congress government in AP eased the repression for a while. So, during this brief period, which did not extend even to a full year, some open mass activity and mass meetings were allowed.
Whatever, in this brief period the party acted quickly to consolidate its mass base and also use the opportunity for a massive mobilisation of the people. The party concentrated on building the party leadership at the village level, by imparting training (political and military) to the village defense squads and village militants.
This time the big sweep in the land occupation movements was for the occupation of landlords (patta) land. Thousands of acres of land were occupied in AP and Dandakaranya. Also lakhs of people were mobilised on peasant issues like power cuts, writing off loans, remunerative prices for agricultural produce, reduction in rates of water cess, etc. The struggle against arrack contractors now became a struggle for the imposition of a total ban on the sale of liquor. The strike activity of the Singareni coal miners also reached a feverish pitch culminating in the September 1990 strike on workers' varied demands. The strike involved 80, 000 workers and continued for 42 days until the major demands were won.
On the other hand, mobilisation of the masses in rallies, conferences, public meetings had reached a crescendo, disproving the lie that the People's War Party was a terrorist group, with no mass base. This propaganda was widely disseminated not only by the government, but also by some revolutionary groups, and some who had deserted the party. In times of acute repression the legal mobilisation of masses in meetings etc., is not always possible. Without a mass base and a mass line no guerilla war can survive for long. Yet, when the repression was partially lifted by the new Chenna Reddy government, the masses rallied as never before in a display of affection for the party and as a symbol of condemnation against the inhuman attacks of the past five years.
The first meeting held was that of the RWA in January 1990 at Hyderabad which drew one lakh people; 2 lakh people attended the 18th anniversary celebration of the JNM on February 20 at Hyderabad; the April 20 Indravelli memorial meeting was attended by over one lakh people; the 22nd April meeting at Bellampalli was also attended by one lakh people; the meeting at Mandamarri by 50, 000. All these meetings finally culminated with the 3rd Conference of the Rytu Coolie Sangam on May 5/6 at Warangal with a rally the size of which has never been seen in the history of AP. The Conference was attended by 700 delegates and the public meeting and rally by over 10 lakhs ( i.e. one million) people.
Seeing the massive upsurge in the revolutionary movement the government was shaken, besides it had no need to continue with its demagogy as it had already come to power. By May 1990 itself the repression was stepped up; and in the May-December period alone ten thousand people had been arrested and six thousand implicated in false cases. Villages were again being raided and people being indiscriminately beaten and tortured. To terrorise the masses, they began shooting down sangam leaders in front of the people. By December 1990 all open activity throughout the state was being ruthlessly suppressed and once again, repression on an even higher scale than 1985, was unleashed.
PART — 8
1991 TO THE PRESENT — SECOND ROUND OF SUPPRESSION
Tasks in the New Conditions of Repression
Growing Armed Resistance
Till 1991, police operations were run separately by the respective state governments. But now the Central government set up a 'Nodal Cell' directly under the Home ministry, and a Joint Command of Operations came into being for the ongoing war of suppression. In December 1991 it rushed battalions of the BSF (Border Security Force) and ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) to Telangana to reinforce the already existing large force of CRPF, CISF and APSP. In May 1992 the AP government imposed a ban on the CPI(ML) (PW) and seven other revolutionary mass organisations (including RSU, RYL, RCS, JNM, SIKASA). Thus, what was earlier an undeclared war, was now turned into full scale counter-insurgency operations. Mass scale horrors, 'encounter' killings and forced 'surrenders' became the dominant feature for the suppression campaign. Within ten months about 160 encounters were staged killing over 200 persons. Thousands of people were arrested and tortured, houses were ransacked and crops and properties worth millions destroyed.
The method adopted was to encircle villages and then attack. The BSF, CRPF and the local police would gather forces ranging from 200 to 600 men and would suddenly swoop down and encircle a village or a group of villages, ransack all houses, destroy property and molest the women. Then, some suspect youth would be tortured and humiliated in front of all. All villagers, and especially the relatives of activists, would be served ultimatums to surrender the wanted persons. Some youth would be whisked away. In some villages this would be repeated a number of times in a single month.
Together with this suppression they combined vile propaganda, 'reforms', and set up their own rival 'mass' organisations. (eg. Janjagran Abhiyan in MP, and Shanti Sena in Maharashtra). The police officers themselves brought out handbills in the name of 'praja vani' (people's voice), printed books, did propaganda through video films and through cultural troupes. The 'reforms' undertaken by a host of bodies (govt and semi-govt), involved giving grants varying from Rs. 20000 to Rs. 3 lakhs in the name rehabilitation, allotting house sites, granting land to chosen peasant youth - all with the aim of building a network of police informers in the villages. All these 'reform' schemes were run under direct supervision of the police. The police began setting up various organisations in the villages to try and isolate the revolutionaries, or, at least, build some support for their anti-people campaigns - the 'village protection committees' to gather information on squad movement, liquor prohibition committees, to create a network of informants amongst women, the so-called 'Citizens forum' to rival the village committees utilising the Sarpanchs and village elders and the Rajiv youth brigades to sponsor sport, drama, etc to wean away the youth.
The bulk of these organisations withered away with time, for lack of cooperation in the villages. But, during this period, through their informer network, they were able to apprehend and kill a number of leading party members. In January 1993 Com. Balanna, Warangal party district committee secretary and regional committee member, along with squad member Padmakka were murdered; on January 26, 1993, Com. Sankar, district committee secretary of Nizamabad and regional committee member was killed; Com. Vishwanath, of the Hyderabad city committee was murdered; also squad member Yerra Prasad and squad commander Naganna. But now, with each killing the funeral processions were turning into big political events. Breaking prohibitory orders, thousands and thousands would join the funeral procession, where hundreds would pledge to continue the work started by their heroic martyr. Between June 91 and end of 92 over 300 comrades had been killed.
This time the masses did not become frightened as in 1985....they were being steeled in armed struggle and slowly being drawn into the armed struggle against the state. But, with this new round of suppression, new tasks had to be formulated.
Tasks in the new conditions of Repression
The party had already declared that the Dandakaranya and North Telangana movements had reached the primary level of a guerilla zone. A guerilla zone is an area where both the revolutionaries and the ruling classes contend for power. In order to consolidate the primary level of guerilla zone reached by the movement in NT and DK, face the increasing state repression, and move to a higher level of guerilla zone, the party outlined the following tasks :
(i) To build two to three local guerilla squads under the central guerilla squad functioning at present, to gradually develop them into platoons
(ii) To separate political and military tasks in the squad area committee and to develop political and military leadership
(iii) To develop a military command from bottom to top
(iv) To consolidate the party organisation at the village level
(v) To establish the united front of revolutionary classes at the village level with the aim of establishing their political power through building the Gram Rajya Committees and to destroy the state power of the comprador bourgeoisie and landlord classes.
(vi) To establish peoples' power by building village development committees, village defence squads, panchayat committees etc., under the leadership of the Gram Rajya Committee.
But once again during this period of severe repression the party was plunged into another internal crisis, this time led by the secretary of the CC KS and Company. While fighting KS's opportunism and disruption within the party, it successfully faced the enemy onslaught by implementing the above guidelines. Though the movement faced problems, it was not as severe as in 1985. Though the peoples movement receded temporarily, this time there were no problems of food or providing protection to the squads.
In the initial phase of the repression a lot of the land occupied lay fallow. But slowly, due to the efforts of the local organisation, cultivation of these lands once again began. By end of 1994 land occupation struggles also picked up. Many landlords also began surrendering before the peasant associations. During this period the party worked out a policy on how land distribution should be done and the political and ideological criteria for this was set.
On peasant issues, a big movement developed for the reduction of fertiliser prices. With the government bowing to World Bank pressure the subsidy on fertilisers had been reduced and prices shot up. As the government did not restore the subsidies, merchants began selling fertilisers at exorbitant black market prices. Thousands rallied under the leadership of the sangams, raided fertiliser and pesticide shops and seized large stocks of fertilisers and pesticides. The peasants resisted the police lathi charge. Due to these movements blackmarketeering was reduced. In some areas peasants also refused to pay back bank loans and the hiked electricity charges. Besides, there had been big movements for the regular supply of electricity which was essential for running the water pumps.
On the workers front, besides the coal miners, RTC (bus transport) workers and bidi workers were organised in a big way during this period. Between 1990 and 1995 SIKASA had organised 1, 825 strikes which reached a new peak on April 14, 1995 when one lakh workers went on a twenty day strike demanding settlement of the 5th wage board agreement. Though the strike was opposed by the official trade unions over 90% of the workers struck work. This strike forced the wage board agreement on April 28 in Calcutta. But as the agreement was a sell-out, the strike was revived from October 16 to November 14, 1995. Big successes have been achieved through these struggles. The RTC drivers and conductors have been facing humiliating conditions of work under the establishment unions. Slowly, the workers have been shifting towards revolutionary politics and in some districts, like Nizamabad underground unions like AKASA (APSRTC Karmika Samakhya) have been established. In 1996 this union formed a front which led a series of agitations around a 60-point character of demands of which many have been granted. Bidi workers, mostly women, have also been organised around their demands.
Another unique struggle that took place during this period was the struggle of the prisoners. On the eve of the TDP's electoral victory in 1994, the revolutionaries in jail sent an open letter to NTR, placing a charter of 54 demands, of which eleven were political, while the rest related to jail conditions. On December 26, 1994 revolutionaries lodged in the central jails of Secunderabad, Chanchalguda, Vishakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Warangal and district jails of Cuddapah, Nellore and Karimnagar jointly launched an indefinite hunger strike. The hunger strike received immense support from the other prisoners particularly the Muslim TADA detainees. Outside the jail, democrats swung into action in support of the prisoners movement. On January 4, 1995 the Home minister accepted 42 demands. Later the government back-tracked. On January 12, 1995 12 life-convicts in Hyderabad jail went on a fast-unto-death. The revolutionaries organised the prisoners for relay hunger strikes. From February 1, the prisoners went on an indefinite hunger strike, supported by relay hunger strikes outside prison. The movement gathered momentum outside the jail. The government reacted arresting intellectuals, writers, artists and other democrats. On February 9, prisoners resorted to a 'Jail Bandh' boycotting all daily duties. On February 15 a statewide bandh was called by the CPI (ML) (PW) in support of the struggle. On February 21 a 'Chalo Secretariat' rally and public meeting was organised. Finally, the government bowed down accepting, in writing, 40 of the demands.
Till today the masses continue their struggles. They have their ups and downs, depending on the intensity of repression....but already they have won large benefits to the oppressed masses.
Growing Armed Resistance
It is September 1993. Village Padkal in the Sirnapalli area of Nizamabad district. Meetings and discussions are just over. It was getting dark and just as the squad was preparing to leave the shelter on the outskirts of the village, all of a sudden hundreds of police surround the house and begin a barrage of fire on the house. Two of the women comrades are caught, mercilessly beaten and kept hostage by the police. The squad returns the fire but a burst of fire from the window of neighbouring house kills Sanjeev, the Deputy Commander. Now the police are also on the terrace, lobbying into their room tear-gas shells. It becomes unbearable and the bullets are running out. In spite of the heavy firing by the police, the squad stops the return of fire. It is 4.00 a.m. The police hearing nothing from the house decide to enter. As they rush up the stairs one policeman is shot dead. Others retreat, and as an act of vengeance they brutally kill the two women comrades.
The non-stop firing, tear-gas continues. It is 8.00 the next morning. Three comrades are left. But Com. Gopi gets hit by a bullet and is seriously injured. Squad commander Swamy and Com. Kranti continue the battle. It is now 1.00 p.m. in the afternoon. The DIG arrives and calls out the Swamy and Kranti to surrender, promising safe passage. Kranti decides to surrender, Swamy tries to persuade him of the futility. He hesitates, but after half an hours discussion (under continuous fire) he surrenders. Meanwhile, as Swamy is fighting the enemy single handed he finds Gopi trying to shoot himself. He prevents him. Gopi says that anyway he will fall into the enemy's hands, so it is better to die. Swamy, consoles him and pervades him to fight to the end. Some time later, Gopi pulls the trigger with his foot and dies.
It is now 7.00 p.m. on the second day. The police set fire to a part of the house. He walks towards the staircase and finds the dead policeman's A.K-47. He picks it up. Suddenly, sending a burst of fire, Swamy jumps over the broken walls of the house, and makes a drive for the bye lanes of the village. The police, stunned fire in his direction. But swamy has escaped into the lanes. The village is surrounded. No chance of getting out. He hides in a haystock. But soon thirst is killing him. Over 24 hours and not a drop of water. He comes out towards the nearest house. They give him water, but, terrified, ask him to go. He finds a garbage dump, covers himself with cowdung, and hides there the whole night. Meanwhile the police are searching every corner of the village, particularly the haystacks.
It is morning of the third day. The mother of the house comes to wash the vessels. As she throws the waste water on the garbage heap, it moves. She yells with fright. Swamy come out, explains that he is 'anna'. He tell the frightened mother, he will go. She runs after him, saying, wait, they will kill you. After much hesitation, fear, she keeps him in a safe place. During the whole day she gives him food. She gives him the information that they have killed Kranti and cremated all five comrades. She asks him to leave at night. He does not, as he would be caught in the uniform. The next day the mother brings him a dress, she plans a disguise and leads him through a safe path into the forests. A few days later, militants come and take away the A.K-47 hidden in the village.
And so the Padkal encounter has become a landmark in heroism and courage. But Swamy is not alone. Last year the SIKASA DCM, Com. Sammi Reddy (alias Ramakant, Ashok) was similarly surrounded by over 500 police while he was taking shelter in the heart of the coal mining colony in Mancherial. In broad-day light, in front of thousands a nine hour gun battle ensued. In it, Ramakanth killed CI and a constable. Finally, the police burnt the house down, killing him and the lady sympathiser.
And so, the squads are learning to fight back. The government has been getting more and more ruthless. In the 1985-89 period 250 comrades were killed; in the 1990-94 period 500; and in the two years upto mid '96 another 210, in the last eight months about 100. These include leading comrades like Puli Anjanna, AP State Committee Secretary, Comrades Venkataswamy, Reddappa and Sudarshan - AP State Committee members; Regional Committee member Com. Shankar, District Committee members Comrades Sammi Reddy and Allam Manohar, a number of leading lady squad members like Swarupa, Rukma bai, Lalita .....
With such a brutal offensive of the government, the Party has also been giving experience to hit back. In just the nine months between March 1996 and November 1996 the guerilla squads have conducted four raids on police camps - on Potkapally PS in Karimnagar district, on Yellavaram PS in East Godavari district, on Manpur PS in Rajanandgaon district of MP, and on Sirpur PS of Adilabad district - seizing 97 weapons of which 26 were semi-automatic SLRs. This was followed by the Karakagudem raid in Khammam district in January 97 giving a further cache of weapons. Besides these major raids, several Sparrow actions were conducted in North Telangana resulting in a further 20 weapons in 1996 and killing of 25 policemen in October/November '96.
In any guerilla war, it is the enemy that is the main source of weapons. In the unequal war between the poorly-trained, ill-equipped guerillas with an inferior numerical strength on the one hand, and the well-equipped, highly-trained, overwhelmingly superior enemy force on the other, it is only by means of innumerable guerilla attacks, that the people's armed forces can gradually accumulate strength.
PART — 9
Besides these movements on partial demands the party has mobilised the masses on various political issues. Dharnas, rasta rokos, public meetings have been held on - implementation of the Mandal Commission report, on support of the nationality struggles, on support of the minorities and against the destruction of the Babri Maszid, in support of Dalits and against the Dalit killings at Karamchedu and Chundur, and against womens' oppression. Big agitations were taken against the New Economic Policies, against the GATT accord and the IMF and World Bank. Every year April 15 (the day the Dunkel accord was signed) is observed as anti-imperialist day. On that day, meetings, dharnas, processions are held in village after village and in many places effigies of Dunkel and PV Narasimha Rao have been burnt. Also, as a rule, in every area, every year: January 26 and August 15 are observed by hoisting black flags, wearing black badges and holding protest meeting against this fake independence; May 21st is observed as anti-repression day and December 6th as Black Day-against communalism. Also on every May Day the Red Flag is hoisted and celebrations are held and March 8 is celebrated as International Women's Day.
One of the most important political struggles, right from the inception of the Party, has been the 'boycott election' campaign. During the surcharged atmosphere of the elections it has been the most effective time to carry the political programme of the Party and educate the masses on the need to negate this farcical democracy and take to the path of armed agrarian revolution for a truely New Democratic society. India, not having gone through a bourgeois democratic revolution, has a parliamentary scaffolding built around an autocratic semi-feudal, semi-colonial state structure. Parliament is used as an important weapon to pacify the masses, divert their attention from struggle and lead them astray. In India, participation in elections has no practical value whatsoever........ and this has now been proved by the electoral semantics of many a revolutionary group. They continue to flounder as marginal entities, while those boycotting and leading the armed struggle are a growing force.
The CPI (ML) originally, and then the CPI (ML) (PW), has continuously taken up wide 'boycott election' campaign during each election. Handbills, posters, street plays, song and dance programmes etc. , have been conducted on a huge scale, to educate the masses during each election......whether it is to the Lok Sabha, or the state assemblies or even the local gram panchayats. This campaign, so frightens the government, that during each successive election, it has been bringing in larger and larger police and para-military forces and resorting to intense repressive measures.
This particularly climaxed in the 1994 AP assembly elections when the government moved in 70, 000 para-military forces. During this brief period thousands of youth were rounded up and villagers were informed that if they did not vote, the arrested youth of their village would be killed. Suspected militants were publicly tortured and many were taken as human shields as the police rampage continued. Their message was simple - VOTE, or else....... Vote for any party, they would say, but vote you must !! Finally, during the election week itself, between November 27 and December 3, 1994, 36 comrades were killed in so-called 'encounters'. But inspite of this terror the boycott campaign continued.
Today in many of the guerilla zone areas, elections to many Gram Panchayats have not taken place. There is no Sarpanch and much of the work of the erstwhile gram panchayats is being conducted by Village Development Committees under Party leadership.
PART — 10
A GUERILLA ZONE IS BORN
Political Authority of Peasant Committees
A mere glance at the lives of the people in the Guerilla Zones of Dandakaranya and North Telangana would be sufficient for the people of the country to welcome the new society being born in central India. In it, we can discern in an embryonic form the birth of the New Democratic India of the future. The changes in the guerilla zones are not just partial, not just material they are all-encompassing. With the economic, political and social changes taking place in DK and NT a new man is being born.... the socialist man. The dreams of Charu Mazumdar are turning to a reality. Naxalbari, that had blazed a new path for the people of our country, has taken a leap forward in the direction towards its final goal. The goal, is still, no doubt distant, there are yet hundreds of hurdles and obstacles to cross, but, the direction set by Naxalbari has proved correct. What is more, the last two and a half decades of experience, has cleared the hazy vision that was there at the start, has removed many of the cobwebs, has swept aside the years of muck accumulated by the revisionists, and has created a new hope for the bright future of our country.
But, what do we see as we walk through the villages, plains and forests of Dandakaranya and North Telangana ?
The economic benefits gained through the movement have been quite substantial. First, the gigantic loot of the masses by the officials, specifically of the forest department, revenue department and of officials at various levels of the bureaucracy, has come to an end. Today, even the Gram Panchayats and Sarpanchs (whenever they continue to exist) are under complete scrutiny of the villagers led by the party and all government schemes are strictly implemented according to the decisions of the village bodies and all accounts are thoroughly checked. All this, in itself is a big gain, but it was only the beginning.
The major issue for the welfare of the masses has been the land question. With the landless and poor peasants comprising a large majority of the population, land distribution has been a key aspect of the movement. Lakhs and lakhs of acres of government land, waste land and forest land have been occupied by the landless. Thousands of acres of landlords land has been confiscated, some lie fallow, the rest has been redistributed to the landless and poor peasants. Besides, in making full use of the government schemes a large number of peasants have been able to dig wells, borewells etc and irrigate their land. So, what 15 years back was a large mass of people eking out a subsistence existence, are today peasants with at least three acres of land taking out one or two crops. This has made a big change in the economic conditions of the poorest. Also, in many villages, orchards of the landlords have been taken over by the peasants and now the fruits are distributed to all the villagers.
In labour rates there has been quite an increase all around. On the question of agricultural labour, the daily wage rates have increased three fold in the course of these years. Also, earlier the hours of work were indefinite and much unpaid labour went to the landlord. Now there is - now a strict eight hour working day and of course, the question of unpaid labour no longer exists. For yearly employed labour, the rates have more than doubled from Rs. 5000 yearly to Rs. 9000 to Rs. 12000 yearly. The biggest gains have been in the tendu leaf collection struggles and the bamboo cutting struggles (against the paper mills). In 1982 the contractors gave a mere three paise per bundle (of 75 leaves)....with yearly struggles, strikes, attacks on contractors' godowns....the rates have steadily increased to 17 paise by 1984 and 80 paise by 1993. Today they get over a rupee per bundle. The difference can be estimated from the fact that where as earlier a family barely earned Rs. 200 in the leaf plucking season (of roughly one month) now they earn anything from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000. In parts of NT where the government refuses to give decent rates (having taken over the task from the contractor) the villagers sell their leaves privately. In bamboo cutting, the contractors, under the paper mills, gave a mere 30 paise per bundle (of 20 pieces of 2 meters length) in 1982. In 1996 the rate was Rs. 5.35 paise per bundle. Today bidi workers get roughly Rs. 30 to Rs. 32 for rolling 1000 bidis with a large number of other benefits. This can be compared to their counterparts in neighbouring Maharashtra who get barely Rs. 15 for 1000 bidis with no benefits. Then there have been struggles for an improvement in wages of tractor and lorry drivers, a big improvement in conditions of work of RTC bus workers and most important of all has been the struggles of the one lakh ten thousand workers of Singareni coal mines. They have achieved gains in wages linked with local issues, in better housing conditions, better schooling for their children, better hospital and sports facilities and on hundreds of small issues linked to exploitation and oppression by the management.
The peasantry too have made gains. They are now more easily able to utilise government schemes, bank loans, etc which were earlier cornered by the various rungs of the bureaucracy. Then there have been major struggles for the reduction in price of agricultural inputs-like seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, electricity charges, water cess, etc. Added to this there have been movements for getting a remunerative price for their produce.....they have successfully raised the price of cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, haldi and some other crops. Also in the forest areas they have successfully struggled against the traders and raised the price of various forest produce like Mahua, brooms, Pauvuru leaf and bark, ginjala nuts, baskets etc.
Then, general conditions have improved by putting an end to usury. The party has instructed that a maximum of 2% per month can be charged as interests on loans - earlier it was a minimum of 10% per month. Also, all traders and merchants have been strictly instructed to sell, their merchandise at not more than a 10% margin. Earlier these traders charged extortionist rates from villagers.
These are some of the economic gains, others are linked to overall village development.
Political Authority of the peasant committees
The peasant upsurge in DK and NT has smashed the authority of the landlords and established the power of the peasant committees. The more notorious landlords have been eliminated, others have fled to the cities, and many of the smaller ones have surrendered before the peasant committees. Initially it was the various mass organisations under the leadership of the party that dominated the village. The peasants were organised into the various peasant associations (RCS, DAKMS, etc), the youth into the RYL (those not involved in agriculture) the students into RSU and the women into the womens' organisations ( i.e. KAMS in DK and Mahila Vimukti Sangham in NT). These organisations, led by the party, virtually guided all-spheres of village life including the arbitration of inter personal problems.
But with the decision to establish DK and NT as primary-level guerilla zones, and, the call 'All Power to the Peasant Committees' taking shape, the organs of political power began to grow in these areas. The chief organ of political power is the revolutionary peasant committees or Gram Rajya Committee (GRC) as they are known. Also, an important organisation, first to harass the enemy and later also to establish the authority of the peasant committees, is the village defence squads - or Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD).
These organs of power are slowly taking shape throughout the guerilla zone. The GRC is being formed only where there is at least one party member to lead it. It is a united front of the various classes in the village - i.e. landless and poor peasant, middle peasant and in some places also the rich peasant. Under the GRC are three committees with five members each (two of whom are from the GRC). These are the (i) Co-operative Society (ii) the Village Development Committee (VDC) and (iii) the Panchayat Committee.
Co-operative Societies are being set up in many villages to help the peasants with loans etc- in times of need, specifically inputs during the monsoon. The society is set up with a corpus made with (i) a fixed contribution from each family (ii) donation from the party and (iii) money misappropriated and recovered from, say Sarpanch's, some local Temple trusts etc. An interest of 1.5% per month is charged on the loans.
The Village Development Committee has two major tasks - first to utilise government schemes for the benefit of the village, and second to plan and organise development projects for the village. All over the guerilla zone it can be seen that the VDCs are functioning, undertaking : repairs and building roads, (in NT) schools, drainage schemes, water facilities and in some places even irrigation projects like tanks, bunds and small dams have been built. All the projects are built through voluntary labour (Shramdan) of the villagers and funds donated through collections. For larger projects like Dams the party assists by acquiring the use of tractors and lorries (free) owned by rich peasants, with diesel bought by the party. A few projects are of the size that can irrigate upto 1000 hectares. The VDC has also organised teachers for running schools which are not functioning.
The Panchayat Committee is basically to arbitrate disputes within the village - a 'peoples' court' to settle problems and contradiction arising in the village. It can also meet out punishments if the crime is serious or recurring.
All committees are democratically elected and have yearly general body meetings to review the work of the committees.
The two major social evils of our society - caste oppression and women's oppression - are much reduced in the guerilla zones - by conscious intervention and education by the party.
Earlier, even eight to ten years back, in village hotels SCs were made to drink out of separate glasses and were victims of extra-economic forms of coercion by the landlord (eg. Vetti-chakiri or unpaid labour, utilisation of their women etc). With the smashing of the landlord authority, these extra-economic forms of coercion have, of course, ended. Also, oppression of scheduled castes is now minimum with close interaction between all castes within the sanghams and committees. As SCs come from the poorer sections they will be found on most village-level committees. Also, inter-caste marriages, which were unheard of before, are now taking place with full support of the party (even if opposed by the families or village elders).
A lot of emphasis has been put on ending women's oppression by consistent education of the villagers and supporting women in many cases of oppression. Wife beating, discarding women if unable to beget children, etc are all being fought. Dowry taking has been banned, and, if at all it takes place, has to be done secretly. Women are being encouraged to come out of the four walls of their house and participate in the social and political life of the village. The women's organisations are playing an important role. Also irrational traditions like removal of bindi and bangles with the death of the husband, are being fought. Normally, all committees at the village level are encouraged to have at least one woman member.
Added to these, superstitious beliefs are being countered and a scientific temper encouraged. Specifically in the realm of health care this is being emphasised. Many of the irrational and traditional customs amongst tribals are slowly changing. Education is being encouraged and anyone who enters the party or even mass organisation activists, are first made literate.
Now, in the entire guerilla zone areas drinking of liquor has been banned. Through patient education over the years and with the mobilisation of women, long before the AP government brought in prohibition, drinking had been reduced to a minimum. With this, much social tensions in the village and in the family has been reduced and economic conditions of a large section of people bettered. Also, since the last few years, the party has issued a total ban on cutting forest trees. Even fire-wood is to be only collected from the dry and dead branches. Previously, entire tribal villages existed on felling the forest and selling the wood in nearby urban centres - now, these same people, live by agriculture. An environmental consciousness is brought to the people by educating them about the importance of forests for rain.
These economic, political and social changes which are clearly visible in the guerilla zone areas of DK and NT are to a large extent also visible, if to a lesser degree, in the other three regions which are at the preparatory stage of guerilla zone-that is the Eastern Zone, the South Telangana region and the Nallamala forest region. But, the leading factor in all this change has been the Party.
PART — 11
PARTY....THE LEADING FACTOR
Continuing the Legacy of Naxalbari
The development of the party structures grew with the development of the movement. In North Telangana the movement was first built by Central Organisers in the 1+2 system i.e., one CO with two squad members. By 1985 all centres had adopted this system. But with the first round of suppression between 1987 and 89 these developed into squads having 5 to 7 members. At present the squads have 9 to 11 members. In DK, the forest squads started with 5 members, now they have 11 members. Now steps are being taken to form platoon size squads - where in one squad area (50 to 60 villages) there will be a CGS (Central Guerilla Squad) under which will function two to three LGS (Local Guerilla Squads) of roughly seven members each. Each of these LGS will be given responsibility for 20 villages.
In the beginning the squads comprised of chiefly party members. But as the squads grew, non-party members also entered. Since 1992 in each squad there is a Squad Area Committee (SAC) of three members which is now the chief party unit within the squad-responsible for the political and organisational tasks in their areas of operation. Each SAC member would have a responsibility of roughly 20 villages. Village party cells began to develop since 1983, but the bulk of them were smashed during the first suppression campaign in 1985-87. Since then, they have been steadily growing and today, a wide network of village party cells exist under each SAC. With these party cells have also grown the village defence squads-both function under directions from the SAC.
First the entire movement was under the AP PC (which functioned under the CC). Under the APPC was the North Telangana regional committee and in 1982 a Forest Liaison Committee (FLC) was setup to guide the DK movement. In March 1987 the first Forest Party Conference was held and a forest committee with 5 members elected. By 1990, with the growth of the movement, this was expanded to seven members with a three member secretariat.
Now with the growth of the movement there are three independent committees (of status of state committees) functioning directly under the Central Committee. These are :
(i) The AP State Committee under which function three regional committees - Coastal-Rayalaseema Joint Regional Committee, South Telangana Regional Committee and East Zone Regional Committee.
(ii) Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee- under which function the four divisional committees of Gadchiroli, Bhandara/Balaghat, South Bastar and North Bastar.
(iii) North Telangana Special Zonal Committee - under this are the district committees of Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Warangal, NTFD (North Telangana Forest Division comprising the adjoining forest areas of Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam) and the Singareni Belt Committee.
The party centre has concentrated in raising the political and military level of the organisation. For each level of party leadership, political courses and classes are held. Military training camps are also held at various levels - for village militants, for squad members and also, a central training camp. Each state committee brings out its own political organ which propagates the line set by the Central Committee and also takes up the problems of its area.
With this the overall military and political level of the party has grown.
Militarily, it can be seen in the growing number of successful actions....the number of raids on the police in 1996 was eleven and the number of rifles snatched between March 1996 and November 1996 was 130.
Politically, this growth can be seen by the preparations and successful conclusion of the party's All India Special Conference held in November 1995.
Continuing the Legacy of Naxalbari
A full quarter century after the holding of the 8th Congress - the founding Congress - of the CPI (ML), the All India Special Conference of the Party was held in November 1995. Though it was a conference, it had the stature of a Congress as it adopted the four basic documents of the party : (i) the Party Programme and Constitution, (ii) Strategy and Tactics, (iii) Political Resolution and (iv) the Political and Organisational Review.
Earlier, these four draft documents had been thoroughly discussed throughout the party and passed (with amendments, if necessary) at the various regional and state conferences before being presented before the All India Conference for adoption. These state conferences had also reviewed the work in their own respective states and had taken decisions on rectification and development of the movements in the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Also the units of West Bengal and Haryana set out tasks for building the revolutionary movements in their states. Besides the four major documents, a special resolution adopting the self-critical review of 1980 was passed. Also in a detailed discussion, delegates expressed their opinion on another document : "The Indian Revolutionary War - Guerilla Zones" and authorised the CC to finalise it.
The Conference was attended by 41 delegates (including three women delegates) from AP, North Telangana, Dandakaranya, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Haryana and a few other regions and a fraternal delegate from the COC CPI (ML) Party Unity. The Conference was held deep in the forests, guarded by armed guerillas and went on for about 20 days. After detailed discussions the draft documents were adopted with some amendments. The Conference also approved the financial report. In the process of election of a new Central Committee, the out-going COC members first put forward their individual self-criticisms, on which delegates made their comments....then a new CC was elected. The Conference finally adopted seven special resolutions : (i) On expulsions, (ii) Hailing the National liberation struggles and workers' struggles throughout the world, (iii) Condemning imperialist propaganda against Marxism-Leninism-Mao Ze Dong Thought (iv) Hailing the revolutionary struggles of other countries (v) Supporting the Nationality struggles in India (vi) Demanding Com. Gonzalo's release and (vii) Calling for united struggle against Indian expansionism.
This Conference was the true successor to the 1970 founding Congress of the CPI (ML) as it upheld the spirit of Naxalbari and reaffirmed the basic political positions taken at the Eighth Congress. The Programme and Constitution passed in 1970 was updated and refined at this Conference, the Tactical Line (now called Strategy and Tactics) adopted in 1980 was further refined with the experience of the past fifteen years which was summed up in the Political and Organisational Review. The Political Resolution analysed the present national and international conditions taking cognizance of the important political and economic changes that have occurred in the last decade.
This Conference gave a new hope to the revolutionaries of the country; a hope that the three magic weapons needed for the success of the Indian revolution - an all India Party, a Peoples' Army and a Revolutionary United Front - would soon become a reality.
PART — 12
INDIA'S BRIGHT FUTURE
Today, besides building a number of guerilla zones in other parts of the country, an important task put forward has been to raise the guerilla zone, that are at present, at a primary level, to a higher level,
where the Gram Rajya Committees and local peoples' militia become a common form of organisation in the villages,
where guerilla squads assume more and more the form of a Platoon throughout the zones,
where guerilla warfare advances from the present stage of actions by smaller units, to a new stage, where bigger units conduct operations by concentrating forces,
and where a centralised military command from bottom to top, emerges.
Such a guerilla zone will be more stable and yet another step forward in the long march to final victory.
Already today, the party wields considerable influence over a population of six crores spread out over an area of about three lakh square kilometers covering the two primary level guerilla zones and the three guerilla zones that are at a preparatory stage. The Dandakaranya guerilla zone, with a population of eight million, comprise portions of two districts from Maharashtra and three from Madhya Pradesh; while the North Telangana Guerilla Zone, with a population of 12 million, comprise five districts of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The three areas that are at a preparatory stage of guerilla zone are :
(i) Eastern Zone, with a population of 18 million covering four districts of North Andhra and two districts of Orissa.
(ii) South Telangana Region, with a population of 11 million, embracing four districts of the Telangana region.
and (iii) Nallamala forest region, comprising portions of some five districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Yet this is only a small beginning, as India is a vast country with a population of over 90 crores. Besides Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dandakaranya region and pockets of influence elsewhere the rest of the country is yet to be drawn towards revolutionary politics. But, the revolutionaries are not alone; strong democratic movements, particularly the armed struggles of the nationalities are gnawing into the foundations of the Indian ruling classes.
Besides, the Indian ruling classes are themselves in a deep crisis and not even able to form a stable government at the Centre. In just one year, since the last general elections, the government has changed three times. The imperialists are tightening their grip over the Indian economy, dashing like mad elephants to every corner of the country trampling under foot the national aspirations and patriotic sentiments of the Indian people. The Indian collaborators, the traitors, who today run the country, are slowly getting exposed for what they really are - quislings of foreign capital, agents of big business and the multinationals and enemies of the people and country. They owe their survival to the extensive semi-feudal base on which they depend....but this is getting eroded with the growing armed agrarian movements. All the parliamentary parties, no matter what their shade or colour, have come to be seen as direct brokers of these business and feudal interests, making crores through 'scams', deals, kickbacks, links with the mafia and by defrauding the treasury. The stench from the parliamentary pig-sty is getting unbearable and each call to clean it, results in added filth accumulating.
Charu Mazumdar and the leaders of Naxalbari had predicted this thirty years back. What they said then has become a reality today. The reactionaries tried to muffle the voice of the revolutionaries so that the truth would not come out. In the first phase of Naxalbari, in just the five years upto 1972, they butchered over ten thousand revolutionaries. But, the voice of truth and justice could not be muffled. They tried again in the Emergency, killing, maiming, arresting thousands of revolutionaries, democrats and even many of their own class. But the more they tried to muffle it, the more intense it got. In 1977 the voice of justice burst forth with even greater fury than ever before. Then came the new revolutionary upsurge of the 80s and 90s. Yet again they sought to smother the voice of the revolutionaries. In these sixteen years since the formation of the CPI (ML) (People's war) about one thousand revolutionaries and their supporters have laid down their lives for the liberation of the oppressed masses of our country. Many have also been martyred in Bihar.
But the voice of revolution, the voice of freedom, justice and equality is getting ever more intense. The lives of the heroic martyrs did not go in vain, their voices echo again and again in the hills and valleys of the countryside, reaching a crescendo .....causing terror in the hearts of the reactionaries. Like the proverbial phoenix, Naxalbari has no death; it rises again and again from the ashes, shattering the long, dark night of gloom and despair, becoming the siren song, awakening the people of our country.