Revolution in India: A History with Deep Roots
Posted by n3wday on September 15, 2010
This article was published in the Hindustan Times.
History of Naxalism
Hindustan Times, PTI
January 01, 0001
Telangana Struggle: By July 1948, 2,500 villages in the south were organised into ‘communes’ as part of a peasant movement which came to be known as Telangana Struggle. Simultaneously the famous Andhra Thesis for the first time demanded that ‘Indian revolution’ follow the Chinese
path of protracted people’s war. In June 1948, a leftist ideological document ‘Andhra Letter’ laid down a revolutionary strategy based on Mao Tsetung’s New Democracy.
CPM splits from united CPI and decides to participate in elections, postponing armed struggle over revolutionary policies to a day when revolutionary situation prevailed in the country.
Communist leader Charu Majumdar wrote various articles based on Marx-Lenin-Mao thought during the period, which later came to be known as ‘Historic Eight Documents’ and formed the basis of naxalite movement.
· First civil liberties organisation was formed with Telugu poet Sri Sri as president following mass arrests of communists during Indo-China war.
CPM participates in polls and forms a coalition United Front government in West Bengal with Bangla Congress. This leads to schism in the party with younger cadres, including the “visionary” Charu Majumdar, accusing CPM of betraying the revolution.
Naxalbari Uprising (25th May): The rebel cadres led by Charu Majumdar launch a peasants’ uprising at Naxalbari in Darjeeling district of West Bengal after a tribal youth, who had a judicial order to plough his land, was attacked by “goons” of local landlords on March 2. Tribals retaliated and started forcefully capturing back their lands. The CPI (M)-led United Front government cracked down on the uprising and in 72 days of the “rebellion” a police sub-inspector and nine tribals were killed. The Congress govt at the Centre supported the crackdown. The incident echoed throughout India and naxalism was born.
• The ideology of naxalism soon assumed larger dimension and entire state units of CPI (M) in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and some sections in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh joined the struggle.
July-Nov: Revolutionary communist organs ‘Liberation’and ‘Deshbrati’ (Bengali) besides ‘Lokyudh’ (Hindi) were started.
Nov 12-13: Comrades from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal met and set up All India Coordination Committee of Revolutionaries (AICCR) in the CPI (M).
May 14: AICCR renamed All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) with Comrade S Roy Chowdhury as its convenor. The renamed body decides to boycott elections. Within AICCCR certain fundamental differences lead to the exclusion of a section of Andhra comrades led by Comrade T Nagi Reddy.
April 22: As per the AICCCR’s February decision, a new party CPI (ML) was launched on the birth anniversary of Lenin. Charu Majumdar was elected as the Secretary of Central Organising Committee. AICCR dissolved itself.
May 1: Declaration of the party formation by Comrade Kanu Sanyal at a massive meeting on Shahid Minar ground, Calcutta. CPI (M) tries to disrupt the meeting resulting in armed clash between CPI (M) and CPI (ML) cadres for the first time.
• By this time primary guerrilla zone appear at Debra-gopiballavpur (WB), Musal in Bihar, Lakhimpur Kheri in UP and most importantly Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.
May 26-27: Andhra police kill Comrade Panchadri Krishnamurty and six other revolutionaries during a crackdown on Srikakulam struggle in Andhra Pradesh sparking wide protests.
Oct 20: Maoist Communist Centre was formed under Kanhai Chatterjee’s leadership. It had supported Naxalbari struggle but did not join CPI (ML) because of some tactical difference and on the question of the method of party formation.
April 27: Premises of Deshabrati Prakashan, which published Liberation and its sister journals, were raided. CPI (ML) goes underground.
July 10: Comrades Vempatapu Satyanarayana and Adibatla Kailasam, leaders of Srikakulam uprising are killed in police encounter during the crackdown. Comrade Appu, founder of the Party in Tamil Nadu was also killed around September-October. The Srikakulam movement in continued in Andhra Pradesh till 1975.
• Leading lights of literary world of Telugu like Sri Sri, R V Shastri, Khtuba Rao K V Ramana Reddy, Cherabanda Raju Varavara Rao, C Vijaylakshmi with others joined hands to form VIRASAM (Viplava Rachayithala Sangam) or Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA).
• Artistes from Hyderabad inspired by Srikakulam struggle and the songs of Subharao Panigrahi form a group — Art Lovers – comprising the famous film producer Narasinga Rao and the now legendary Gaddar.
In the background of Bangladesh war, the Army tries to crush the ultra-left movement in West Bengal. Uprising in Birbhum marks the high point of this year.
• Art Lovers change its name to Jana Natya Mandali (JNM) late this year. It joins Communists and start propagating revolutionary ideas through its songs, dances and plays. It functioned legally till 1984.
July: Charu Majumdar is arrested in Calcutta on July 16. He dies in Lal Bazar police lock-up on July 28. Revolutionary struggle suffers serious debacle. CPI (ML)’s central authority collapses.
August: ‘Pilupu’ (The Call), a political magazine was launched in Andhra Pradesh.
• Kondapalli Seetharamaiah reorganises the AP State Committee of Communist Revolutionaries following killing or arrest of the 12-member AP State Committee.
Fresh guerrilla struggles backed by mass activism emerge in parts of central Bihar and Telangana, now a part of Andhra Pradesh.
July 28: The Central Organising Committee of CPI (ML) was reconstituted at Durgapur meeting in West Bengal. Comrade Jauhar (Subrata Dutt) was elected general secretary. Jauhar reorganises CPI (ML) and renames it as CPI (ML) Liberation.
March: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLP) was formed again with Sri Sri as president.
August: Andhra Pradesh state committee was reconstituted with Kondapalli Seetharamaiah representing Telangana region, Appalasuri (coastal AP) and Mahadevan (Rayalseema).
October 12: Radical students union was formed in Andhra Pradesh. It faced brutal suppression but surged again after emergency was lifted.
Following declaration of emergency on June 25 and the following repression on ultra-leftists and others, the Central Organising Committee in its September meeting decided to withdraw a “common self-critical review” and instead produce a tactical line ‘Road to Revolution’. But it did not unity among the cadres. Armed struggles were reported from Bhojpur and Naxalbari.
CPI (ML) holds its second Congress on February 26-27 in the countryside of Gaya, in Bihar. It resolves to continue with armed guerilla struggles and work for an anti-Congress United Front.
Amidst an upsurge of ultra-leftists’ armed actions and mass activism, CPI (ML) decides to launch a rectification campaign. The party organisation spreads to AP and Kerala.
February: Revolutionaries organise Telangana Regional Conference in Andhra Pradesh and seeds of a peasant movement are sown in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of the state. The conference decided to hold political classes to train new cadres and to send “squads” into forest for launching armed struggle. Eight districts of Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, were divided into two regions and two regional committees were elected.
May: Bihar and West Bengal representatives of Central Organising Committee resign at a meeting. Andhra Pradesh representative fails to attend the meet due to the arrest of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah. The Central Organising Committee is dissolved.
Rectification movements (CPI ML and fragments) limits pure military viewpoint and stresses mass peasant struggles to Indianise the Marxism-Leninism and Mao thought.
• CPI (ML) (Unity Organisation) is formed in Bihar under N Prasad’s leadership (focusing on Jehanabad-Palamu of Bihar). A peasant organisation – the Mazdoor Kisan Sangram Samiti (MKSS) is formed.
• ‘Go To Village Campaigns’ are launched by Andhra Pradesh Party of revolutionaries to propagate politics of agrarian revolution and building of Radical Youth League units in Andhra Pradesh villages. It later helped in triggering historic peasant struggles of Karimnagar and Adilabad.
Sept 7: The famous Jagityal march is organised in Andhra Pradesh, in which thousands of people take part.
Oct 20: Andhra Government declares Sarcilla and Jagityal ‘disturbed areas’ giving police “draconian” powers.
From April to June, Village Campaign was for the first time organised jointly by RSU and RYL in Andhra Pradesh. The two organisations also expressed solidarity with National Movement of Assam.
Between 1979 to 1988, MCC focused on Bihar. A Bihar-Bengal Special Area Committee was established. The Preparatory Committee for Revolutionary Peasant Struggles was formed and soon Revolutionary Peasant Councils emerged. Two founding members of MCC passed away-Amulya Sen in March 1981 and Kanhai Chatterjee in July 1982.
April 22: Kondapalli Seetharamaiah forms the Peoples War Group in Andhra Pradesh. He discards total annihilation of “class enemies” as the only form of struggle and stresses on floating mass organisations.
• Mass peasant movement spreads in Central Bihar.
• CPI (ML) puts forward the idea of broad Democratic Front as the national alternative. It was part of a process to reorganise a centre for All-India revolution after it ceased to exist in 1972.
• The central committee was formed by merging AP and Tamil Nadu State Committees and Maharashtra group of the CPI (ML). Unity Organisation did not join. The tactical adopted by the committee upheld the legacy of Naxalbari while agreeing for rectifying the “left” errors.
• CPI (ML) Red Flag is formed led by K N Ramachandran.
CPI (ML) organises a unity meet of 13 Marxist-Leninist factions in a bid to form a single formation to act as the leading core of the proposed Democratic Front. However, the unity moved failed. The M-L movement begins to polarise between the Marxist-Leninist line of CPI (ML) (Liberation) and the line of CPI (ML) (People’s War).
• First state level rally is held in Patna under the banner of Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha beginning a new phase of mass political activism in the state.
Indian People’s Front (IPF) is launched in Delhi at a national conference of CPI (ML) (Liberation). At the end of the year the third Congress of CPI (ML) is organised at Giridih (Bihar), which decides to take part in elections.
Peasant movement in Assam shows signs of revival after allegedly “forced” Assembly elections. IPF plays a crucial role in this regard.
• An all-India dalit conference is held in Amravati (Maharashtra) to facilitate interaction with Ambedkarite groups.
CPI (ML) and other revolutionaries try to woo Sikhs towards joining peasant movement following Operation Bluestar in June and country-wide anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in Oct 31 the same year.
People’s Democratic Front is launched in Karbi Anglong district of Assam to provide a “revolutionary democratic orientation to the tribal people’s aspirations for autonomy”.
• PDF wins a seat in Assam Assembly elections bring about the first entry of CPI (ML) cadre in the legislative arena.
• Jan Sanskriti Manch is formed at a conference of cultural activists from Hindi belt at New Delhi.
• Bihar govt bans PWG and MCC
April 5-7: CPI (ML) organises a national women’s convention in Calcutta to promote cooperation and critical interaction between communist women’s organisations and upcoming feminist and autonomous women’s groups.
April 19: More than a dozen “landless labourers” are killed in police firing at Arwal in Jehanabad district of Bihar.
PDF gets transformed into the Autonomous State Demand Committee.
CPI (ML) holds its fourth Congress at Hazaribagh in Bihar from January 1 to 5. The Congress “rectifies” old errors of judgement in the party’s assessment of Soviet Union. It reiterates the basic principles of revolutionary communism – defence of Marxism, absolute political independence of the Communist Party and primacy of revolutionary peasant struggles in democratic revolution.
• CPI (ML) ND is formed in Bihar by Comrade Yatendra Kumar.
May: The founding conference of All India Central Council of Trade Union (AICCTU) is held in Madras. Key resolutions are passed at this meet.
November: More than a dozen “left supporters” are shot dead by landlords in Ara Lok Sabha constituency of Bhojpur district in Bihar on the eve of polls.
• CPI (ML) (Liberation) records its first electoral victory under Indian People’s Front banner. Ara sends the first “Naxalite” member to Parliament.
In February Assembly election, IPF wins seven seats and finishes second in another fourteen. In Assam too, a four-member ASDC legislators’ group enters the Assembly. Special all-India Conference is held in Delhi on July 22-24 to restructure the party.
August 9-11: All India Students Association (AISA) is launched at Allahabad. It opposes VP Singh’s implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations.
Oct 8: First all-India IPF rally is held in Delhi. CPI (ML) (Liberation) claims it to be the first-ever massive mobilisation of rural poor in the capital.
• CPI (ML) S R Bhaijee group and CPI (ML) Unity Initiative are formed in Bihar. The former is still active in east and west Champaran.
• Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chenna Reddy lifts all curbs on naxal groups. Naxalites operate freely for about a year but observers say it corrupted them and adversely affected the movement.
In the May Lok Sabha elections, Indian People’s Front loses Ara seat but CPI (ML) retains its presence in Parliament through ASDC MP.
• Andhra Pradesh bans People’s War Group
• CPI(ML) reorganises the erstwhile Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Samiti in South Bihar as Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (Jhamkis).
May 21: Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy bans PWG and its seven front organisations again in Andhra Pradesh.
Dec 20-26: CPI (ML) organises its fifth Congress at Calcutta from Dec 20 to 26. CPI (ML) comes out in the open and calls for a Left confederation.
• AISA registers impressive victories in Allahabad, Varanasi and Nainital university elections in Uttar Pradesh besides in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
• CPI (ML) launches a new forum for Muslims called ‘Inquilabi Muslim Conference’ in Bihar.
February: All India Progressive Women’s Association is launched at national women’s conference at New Delhi.
• Indian People’s Front is dissolved and fresh attempts are initiated to forge a united front of various sections of Leftists and Socialists with an anti-imperialist agenda.
• Interactions among various Communists and Left parties intensify in India and abroad to revive the movement drawing lessons from Soviet collapse.
• A six-member CPI (ML) group is formed in Bihar Assembly. Two CPI (ML) nominees win from Siwan indicating the expansion of party’s influence in north Bihar.
May: N T Ramarao relaxes ban on Peoples War Group in Andhra Pradesh for three months. PWG goes in for massive recruitment drive in the state.
July: CPI (ML) organises All India Organisation Plenum at Diphu to streamline party’s organisational network.
• Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) is launched as an all-India organisation of the radical youth.
• Five members of ASDC make it to Assam assembly. An ASDC member is re-elected to Lok Sabha. Another ASDC member is elected to Rajya Sabha. ASDC retains its majority in Karbi Anglong District Council and also unseats the Congress in the neighbouring North Cachhar Hills district in Assam.
• CPI(ML) takes initiative to form a Tribal People’s Front and then Assam People’s Front
• CPI (ML) joins hands with CPI and Marxist Coordination Committee led by Comrade A Roy to strengthen Left movement.
• CPI (ML) initiates the Indian Institute of Marxist Studies. Armed clashes between ultra-leftists and upper caste private armies (like Ranvir Sena) escalate in Bihar.
• The Progressive Organisation of People, affiliated to revolutionary left movement, launches a temple entry movement for lower castes in Gudipadu near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. It emerges successful.
CPI (ML) organises a massive ‘Halla Bol’ rally in Patna. A left supported Bihar bandh is organised as part of “Oust Laloo Campaign” in view of the Rs 950-crore fodder scam.
• Naxalites launch major strikes. CPI (ML) PW kills six in Jehanabad on February 14. MCC kills 34 upper caste in Senai village of Jehanabad.
Dec 2: Three top PWG leaders killed in Andhra Pradesh leading to a large scale brutal naxalite attacks on state forces.
Dec 16: PWG hacks to death Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Likhiram Kavre in his village in Blalaghat district to avenge the killing of three top PWG leaders in police encounter on Dec 2.
• PWG continues with its revenge attacks. Blasts house of ruling Telugu Desam Party MP G Sukhender Reddy in Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh in January. In February it blows up a Madhya Pradesh police vehicle killing 23 cops, including an ASP. It destroys property worth Rs 5 crore besides killing 10 persons in AP in the same month.
Dec 2: PWG launches People’s Guerrilla Army (PGA) to counter security forces offensive.
April: CPI (ML) celebrates 32nd anniversary of its foundation in Patna on April 22 and gives a call to rekindle ‘revolutionary spirit of naxalism’.
July: Naxalite groups all over South Asia form a Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) which is said to be first such an international coalition. PWG and MCC are part of it.
• As per the Intelligence reports, MCC and PWG establish links with LTTE, Nepali Maoists and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence to receive arms and training. Naxalites bid to carve out a corridor through some areas of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh up to Nepal.
Nov: MCC organises a violent Jharkhand Bandh on Nov 26.
Dec: Naxalites, mainly in AP, Orissa and Bihar celebrate People’s Guerilla Week hailing the formation of PGA on Dec 2. The week unfolds major violence in the three states during which a plant of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and the house of an Orissa minister is blown up.