by Harsh Thakor
Integrating the student movement or the student community with the peasantry was an integral revolutionary task. Worldwide revolutions have been made with the participation of students and youth and their integration with the struggles of the working class and the peasantry. In a third world semi-colonial country like India which has conditions to what China had in a pre-revolutionary period the principal work is in the countryside and it is the peasantry which is the major revolutionary force. For the student movement to have a truly revolutionary political character it had to identify and unite with the peasantry in the villages.
In 1977,30 years ago the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union made history by launching the first ever 'Go To Villages' Campaign in India.What differentiated the A.P.R.SU from other revolutionary organizations was it's stress on the student movement linking with the agrarian revolution.
In 1977 the Janata Party had come to power, which was hailed by quarters as a great victory for Democracy. In the villages of Karimnagar a major campaign was launched .Slogans were given off 'Boycott elections and join he Agrarian Revolution.'The peasants of Jagtiyal and Sircilla taluks were greatly awakened. Committees were formed and struggles were started against local landlords. Strikes for wage increase, campaigns for the release of bonded labourers, resistance against different types of caste and gendre discrimination, occurred. In many villages, units of the Rythu Coolie Sangham were formed. Social boycott of the most oppressive landlords began, and soon al the exploited and labouring sections of the villages responded. Parallel Peoples Courts were set up.
The following year another campaign was launched following the 2nd state Conference of A.P.R.S.U. This time greatly inspired by the conference, peasant youth returned to villages to organize the peasantry. Landlords were forcibly tried in Peoples Courts. Over 800 acres of land was occupied and lakhs of rupees collected as refunds by the landless peasants. On September 8th amass rally was held consisting of 35000 peasants Terror was created amongst the landlord sections and some fled to the cities. A few days in the aftermath of the rally, the landlord of China Metupaly opened fire on a peasant demonstration, injuring 20.The peasants retaliated by destroying his crops and razing his nephew's house to the ground.
In April, May, June 1979 the first joint campaign was carried out between the Radical Students Union and the Radical Youth league. This time not only the politic sof agrarian revolution was propagated but students were educated on the Soviet backed Vietnamese aggression on Kampuchea. Propoganda taem members were arrested, and revolutionary literature was confiscated. As the students had integrated with the tendu-leaf workers struggling for higher wages in Adilabad district, the police arrested the yoth.The repression was particularly serve in Telengana district.The campaign culminated in the second state conference of Radical youth League in Khammam.
In subsequent campaigns the students courageously bore the onslaught of the police.They relentlessly propogated revolutionary politics. In 1980 they campaigned against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. They also pledged solidarity with the just struggle of the Asamese people for their nationality. In the 1981 campaign they exposed the police massacre on tribal peasants in Indarvelli. In 1982 they pledged for the release of Comrdae Kondapali Seetharamiah and other political prisoners. A judicial enquiry was demanded for those mowed down in false encounters. The team also mobilsed workers for the first conference of the Singaleri Mine workers .The 1983 campaign was based on exposing the newly formed Telegu Desam Party.It was propagated that he Telegu nationality would only be liberated through proletarian struggle-new democratic revolution of he Proletariat. The 1984 campaign demanded the withdrawal of Central Reserve Force troops from Telanagana district. The goonda attacks of the A.B.V.P were also thwarted More than one lakh signatures wee obtained on this issue.
In all the campaigns the central theme focused on the politics of agrarian revolution.Units of R.YL.and Rytu Coolie SAnghams wee formed.In the 1984 campaign,1100 students and youth split into 150 teams and spread the village of agrarian revolution in 2419 villages.
How Go To Villages campaign is carried out
The students have to participate with a particular understanding. They must analyze the political consciousness of the villagers. A clear political understanding of the purpose and aim of the campaigns is required for the campaign to be a success. Not all villages are ready for revolution.For any revolution the existence of a revolutionary situation is only a first condition Beyond this 3 more conditions are required They are-
1. Revolutoinary Consciousness amongst the people
2. An established leadership to lead the revolutionary movement
3. Building of a Peoples Army.
Under no circumstances should the students be bookish, They should show utmost humility and respect the peasants. The campaigns have to be carried out with tremendous patience. The students cannot always expect a rousing welcome. They must win over the hearts of he peasants with the utmost patience.
The major pre-condition is revolutionary consciousness which understands that the basic reason for poverty is that the means of production are not socialized. This consciousness realizes that the New Democratic Revolution is essential as a first step towards reaching the Socialist Society .Revolutionary Consciousnes has to be carried out amongst the oppressed peole.
In the states of Bihar and West Bengal similar campaigns were
The Emergence of revolutionary student organisations was of great significance in Bihar. The Revolutionary Students League led by the Maoist Communist Centre was the first ever Revolutionary Student organisation which carried out the first ever Go to Villages campaign in Bihar by a student front in 1989.In that campaign they upheld the Chinese Revolution in commemorating the 40th anniversary year. A Village campaign was also held in1993 protesting against the Death Sentence on M.C.comrades in the Dalechauk Baghera Uprising in Aurangabad and against the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992,where a cycle rally was also held.
Significantly in 1992 the Democratic Students Union(Delhi),the Bharat Nauhavan Sabha (Bihar),the Bharat Naujanavn Sangh (Delhi)_and the Revolutionary Youth League(West Bengal) carried out a' Go To village campaign' in Jehenabad in Bihar.Cultural programmes were launched and a study was made on the condition of the villagers.from a class analysis.This campaign inspired many student and youth comrades to integrate with the revolutionary peasant movement.Politics of agrarian revolution was propogated.This campaign was the percursor of the revolutionary students of Delhi integrating with the agrarian revolutionary movement in Bihar.In 1994 the Party Unity section formed their first ever revolutionary student organisation in Bihar which was the Democratic Students Union.(The D.S.U.)This had its roots in the Bharat Naujavan Sabha formed in 1988.The Bharat Naujavan Sabha earlier fought for the students and youth collectively. For the first time a separate organizational structure was built for students. Several former Bharat Naujavan Sabha activists took up the responsibility of building D.S.U. The strategy of the Democratic Students Union was to organise students on their partial demands as well as connect their problems to the chief political issues of the day. The student movement had to be oriented towards the interests of the agrarian revolution. For achieving the task the Democratic Students Union took up the responsibility of organizing 'Go to Village Campaigns'. Democratic Students Union also planned to fight against imperialism. as well as democratic issues. In the colleges the D.S.U fought against malpractices in Arts colleges as well as engineering colleges. In these institutions unqualified teachers and principals were appointed. Funds were misappropriated by managements. In the Patna Arts College the Principal even stole paintings.D.S.U organised agitations agains this.D.S.U D.S.U declared a lockout in the college not allowing principals and teachers to enter the college.Waris Hadi was made principal in 1994 as he had political links with the governor of Bihar.He sold paintings and illegally appointed several people irrespective of merit. including a lecturer who faced a murder charge. After a protracted student struggle the principal was removed. The president of the then students union was rusticated from the university due to complete collapse of administrative structure in the college. The college was not de-affiliated from the All India technical Services board which badly affected students. The D.S.U organised agitations against indifference and politicking in Patna University.70students sat on a dharna for 5 daysand a poster exhibition was organised.Programmes were taken jointly with A.I.S.F,the S.F.I and the A.I.D.S.O. fighting for student's admissions.Dharnas were held against malpractices and corruption. Agitations were also launched against fee hikes. Such examples are in Daltonganj where the students had to clash with the C.P.R.F personnel. In Patna engineering college the students launched a 6 day hunger strike demanding the opening of a college which had been opened earlier.D.S.U gave solidarity to this issue and burnt an effigy of the education minister. In the Jharkand areas D.S.U led struggles for tribals in schools to be taught in their native languages.In these areas D.S.U launched agitations for tribal students who were denied the right to learn in their native languages. The D.S.U also fought for democratic rights issues.Very often D.S.U organise cycle rallies as a form of protest.The most significant agitations were against police firings in Madhubani and Darsinghsarai areas of Bihar.Here D.S.U joined hands with even the revisionist student organisations as well as the Chatra Sangharsh Yuva Vahini.This took place in 1995. The D.S.U also protested against the death sentence imposed on the 13 M.CC activists in 1992.Here the D.S.U joined hands with the Revolutionary Students League and the Progresive Students and Youth front.(The 2 other revolutionary student organisations) After the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre carried out by the Ranbir Sena the D.S.U Along with the Bharat Naujavan Sangh organised protests throughout the state.In Daltonganj,Jehanabad,Gaya,Khagaria torchlight processions were launched.In conditions of severe repression protests were launched.D.S.U joined several revolutionary organizations this issue. In 1997 D.S.U protested against the killing of 6 Party Unity activists. In Patna they burned the effigy of the chief minister.D.S.U also held commemoration programmes of the Arwal massacre that took place in 1986.In 1996 a protest meeting was clamped upon by the police and revolutionary activists were arrested. Afer the killing of Comrade Chandrashekar ,a student of J.N.U IN Delhi D.S.U launched protest programmes along with other organisations.In Jehanabad with A.I.D.S.O protests were organised in the form of torchlight processions. In 1999,D.S.U with the Bharat Naujavan Sabha took out a cycle rally from Daltangaunj to Patna protesting against the Shankar bigha massacre. Earlier in Daltonganj an effigy of the chief minister was burnt. In March 2000 D.SU led a protest with other revolutionary organisations protesting the murder of 11 revolutionaries in Kachnewan.An effigy of the Bihar administration was burnt at Patna junction.D.S.U.also participated in the march to Kachnewan as well as on a protest demonstration on April 6th. From 1995 the D.S.U Organised'Go to Village Campaigns.' These have been conducted on district as well as state levels. Their were 3 types of campaigns launched. The first was on specific political issues. The second type was a general political campaign and the third type was launching cultural programmes.The purpose of these programmes was to integrate the students and youth with the peasantry. In the first campaign in Gumrah district 6 D.S.U activists were arrested campaigning for Beedi Patta workers.The activists were organising the Beedi Patta workers against the merciless contractors who did not pay them their daily wages. The next state-wide campaign took place in 1997 in Khagaria district which is a flood prone region.Here the D.SU formed flood relief distribution commitees and explained the peasants the political reasons for which the state could not give common people protection.The flood relief programmes of the government were found to be totally inadequate and the government gave a ready excuse that Nepal has let off water.Infact the real reason was that the landlords did not allow the construction of dams at sites which would have been appropriate because those sites were falling within their lands.Infact the dam mechanism in the state was create only with the purpose of preventing waterlogging and not for flood control. In addition the boatmen were not paid their wages for the relief work. At the end of the campaign the team held public meetings and dharma demanding an end to corruption and compensation for boatmen .In 1998 the D,S.U with the Bharat Naujavan Sabha visited areas in Buxar ,Palamau Santhal Paraganas and Khagaria districts.In Buxar sustained wall-writing was carried out by activists protesting against the landlords not paying minumum wages to agricultural workers.They were paid wages between Rs.15 to 30.Landlords here possessed 5,000 acres of land and religious Maths owned hundreds of acres.districts.In Santhal Parganas the D.S.U fought for the implementation of a separate Jharkhand State.In Palamau, a centre of the revolutionary peasant movement the D.S.U fought against the construction of a dam which submerged 14 villages.20 people had been killed in the flood the previous year and no compensation was awarded.In Khagaria activists again propagated the real reasons for adequate protection being given to people during floods. The wrong policies of the government were explained. This time 'Bandh Sangharsh commitees were formed in villages which held several protest meetings againt corruption. The last state-wide campaign took place in the Bhagalpur and Banka districts.Here the activists gave solidarity to peasant's struggles and propagated the politics of Naxalbari and agrarian revolution.. In May 2000 the D.S.U held its first state conference in Patna..Students came from all over the state the maximum number coming from Palamau and Jehanabad and Bhagalpur districts in the former 2 districts students faced severe repression on the way to the conference. In addition students came from Buxar,Gaya,Khagariadistricts etc.Before the State conference district conferences were held in Bhagalpur.Patna town and Palamau districts.Here district commitees were formed and the district activities were reviewed. At the State conference Comrade Amitabh was elected the President and Vijay ,the secretay.A 6 member committee consisting of Amitabh,Sachin,Sumit,Pankaj,Vijay and Jaiprakash were elected. Resolutions were passed opposing privatization and communalization of education, opposing the repression on revolutionary movements and supporting the rights of nationalities to self-determination. 2 State-wide workshops were also carried out by the Democratic Students Union. The first one was held in 1999 to discuss organizational functioning, the building of unitspolititicisation methods and finance. Here principally the appropriate forms of struggle were discussed. It was decided that educational institutions were neglected and a regular wall magazine should be brought out in addition to cultural programmes.It was also noted that regular commitees were not formed in several places In the 2nd workshop in February 2000 study classes were held on the history of the Communist movement in India, the State of Education, and dialectical materialism. Delegates attended from Gaya.Palamau ,Bhagalpur and Patna. One of the most significant things that occurred was the merger of the Progressive Students and Youth Front with the D.S.U.The former organisation had a strong mass base in Bhagalpur district leading powerful agitations against fee-hikes and corruption in Bhagalpur University. This organisation also held a massive programme for Tilka Majhi's birthday to be observed in Bhagalpur university. Several times the organisation organised gheraoes against the vice-chancellor for hostel demands. After merging into D.S.U the organisation launched a massive demonstration against the administration in Bhagalpur university house --arresting corrupt officials. The emergence of the Democratic Students Union has played a significant role in the revolutionary movement in Bihar. Innumerable sacrifices have been made by activists. The martyrdom of comrades Anil Ojha and Chanchal were particularly significant.Anil Ojha was killed as a result of police torture after organising a student agitation against malpractices of the principal in Patna Arts College.Chanchal played a great role in organising D.S.U units in Jehanabad districts as well as building the Bharat Naujavan Sabha.Eventually he was killed by his own relatives. However the movement has had several setbacks.As a result of severe repression by the state on the peasant movement the D.S.U has been unable to function openly in many areas of the State. The best examples are Palamau and Jehanabad.Here activists have often been arrested for carrying out open prograames.Even in Khagaria the D.SU which earlier had a unit has been unable to function. The only prominent areas of functioning are in Bhagalpur and Patna. Although activists have made heroic political sacrifices as a result of the powerful left-sectarian trend in the movement various weaknesses have occurred in the movement.
The Vidhyarti Praghati Sanghatna in Maharashtra also carried out campaigns in villages, A village campaign team was jailed in Chandrapur in 1984 which was building units of the peasant organization-The Krantikari Kashtakari Sanghatana. was established.For many successive years campaigns were launched like in Nasik district in 1995 where the politics of agrarian revolution was propagated.
Similarly Go To Village Campaigns were carried out in West Bengal..From May 6th to June 7th in 1995 the Revolutionary Students Federation participated in a month long campaign in Midnapur district covering 60 vilages.Political classes were carried out explaining the politics of the New Democratic Revolution.G.A TT agreement and Jharkhand Movement.3000 pamphlets were distributed I villages.There were 3 objectives I launching the campaign. Firstly to understand he lives of the rural population of Wst Bengal. Secondly, to merge with the lives of the people and thirdly to propagate the agrarian revolutionary politics.T he teams never bought food and always ate with the masses. Local landlords repelled he team and stated laucnching campaign against the R.S F team. They even brought the police and implicated false charges on the team .However the team had won the hearts of he villagers who bravely thwarted off any attempts of reactionary elements to sabotage their campaign. In the night cultural programmes were launched.
The tae had found ouit that socio-economic condtions had not improved in theWe t Bengal C.P.M regime .Women collected Sal tree leaves from the jungle which they converted into plates and sold at aprice of Rs.15-22.,per 1000 pieces. In turn the trader sold them at aprice of Rs 250-300 per 1000 in Calcutta. They were also denied the minimum wage of Rs 40 and were paid Rs 15 for producing Rs5kg.of paddy.T he tribal people were also illiterate.
Campaigns were also carried out exposing the parliamentary system. Campaigns were launched in Kerala in Palakkad,C alicut, Kannur and Ernakulam districts. Mass postering and distribution of pamphlets was done. In Delhi, campaigns were launched in Industrial areas where a skit named 'Sansad Suabarda Hai' was perfprmerd.(Parliament is a pigsty)It was jointly carried out by the Delhi Democratic Students Union and the Delhi Mazdoor Front.I Tamil Nadu 5 districts were coverede,namely madras,Madurai,Salem,Dharmapuri and Vellore.Efforts of Goondas and aother reactionary elements to thwart the campaign were successfully repelled.
In West Bengal,Revolutinary Stuents League conducted avillage campign in North Bengal while the Revolutionary Students Asscociation carried out a campaign in the industrial regions of Calcutta.
There may have been errors with regards to the mass line as how the 'Go to Village Campaigns' were carried out ,but they were an important lesson ion political understanding. Vanguardist tenencies,politics of 'annihilation of the class enemy', incorrect relationship of the party with he mass organizations were prominent but overall we must salute the campaigning teams whose mission will remain a permanent place in the history of the revolutionary Movement and holding high the banner of 'Maoism'or Mao Tse Tung Thought.'(particularly by the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union)
Birds Eye view of the 1984 R.S U-R.Y L "Go To Village Campaigns"
1.No of squads=150
2 No.of squad members=1100
3.No of All women squads=10
4.No.of women squad members=105
No.of villages covered=2419
Total population of villages covere =50,000,000
No of Sanghams organized=200
No of Signatures collected on Charter of demands=1,00,000
Land occupied in Struggles=861 acres
Slogan wall writing=1500 villages
Party literature sold=Rs.2000
DEonatins collected for conference=Rs.30000
No of street Corner meeting sheld=7000
No of public meetings=1000
Chater of demands
1.Withdraw C.R.P.F battalions
2.Solve Rayalaseema Peoples just demands
3.Condemn A.B.V.P.-R.S.S goondas attack on movement.
Repressiion on Campagns
2.Polce and A.P.special police
3.Lanlords of all types
Vilages were raided,with peasantry threatened with dire consequences.Vigil was kept on roadways,for information obn radical squads..An All Women campign was captured in Ananthapur for he night.Forcibly police took prints.
2.West Godavri district-3 squads
3.East Godavri district-1 squad
4.Vijyanagram district.-2 squads
5.Nizamabad district-10 persons
6.Nalgonda district-sqiad abducted by landlord and handed over to the police.
.7.Mahboobnagar district-R.S.S members abducted 2 squad members.
8.Khammam district.-Squad arrested
Written with reference from the Booklet 'History of the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union' and from the 1985.1993,1995,1996 1997 and 1998 issues of the A.I.R.S F organ 'Kalam'The Andhra Pradesh Movement has been cobere from the A.P.R.SU booklet ,while the Bihar campaigns wee covered from the mid 19090-s issues of Kalam,from the 'Go To Village Campaign' section reports.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
30 years since first ever , "Go To Villages Campaign' launched by the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union.(A.P.R.S.U)
by Harsh Thakor
Posted by Vanguard at 7:51 PM