49 years of Naxalbari Movement- Naxalbari Ek hi Rasta!!!
Spring thunder crashed over Indian subcontinent when peasants of Naxalbari of North Bengal began a militant struggle against landlords and seized land and food grains in 1967. CPI(M) leaders who were in power tried to pacify the situation and United Front government of West Bengal attempted to diffuse the people’s movement by announcing token land reforms. When they failed to do so, Jyoti Basu, the then Home Minister of West Bengal deployed police to suppress it. On 25th May 1967, police killed nine women and children in Naxalbari. The struggle intensified, people’s courts were established and tea garden workers also came out in solidarity.
A large number of paramilitary personnel were deployed in the region and the movement was crushed. Thousands of struggling peasants were killed and arrested. Jangal Santhal was arrested, Charu Mazumdar who was leading the movement and Kanu Sanyal went into hiding. Tribheni Kanu, Sobhan, Ali Gorkha Majhi and Tilka Majhi were martyred. Revolutionaries in Kolkata took up a massive campaign in support of the Naxalbari uprising and against revisionism of the CPI(M). Simultaneous to the police action against those speaking in support of the movement, leading members of CPI(M) like Ashim Chatterjee, Parimal Das Gupta, Asit Sen, Suniti Kumar Ghosh, Saroj Datta,Sushital Roy Chowdhary and Mahadev Mukherjee who were fighting against CPI(M)’s revisionism were expelled. CPI (M)’s Darjeeling district committee and its Siliguri sub-divisional committee were dissolved.
Naxalbari’s spark set the revolutionary fires in other districts like Birbhum, Debra-Gopiballavpur, Mushahari and Lakhimpur-Kheri. It spread like prairie fire to Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, U.P, Tamil Nadu and many other parts of the Indian subcontinent. Naxalbari emerged as an ideological answer and established the revolutionary essence of Marxism in the Indian subcontinent when revisionism of CPI and CPI(M) distorted the Marxist ideology. It showed a new path when the great debate between Communist Party of China (CPC) and Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was happening, when Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution exposed the distortion of Marxism and revisionism of CPSU, when students and workers revolt shook France, when militant Black and women’s movement was happening in US, when Vietnam was waging a war against US imperialism and when national liberation struggles were being waged in many underdeveloped countries.
Though the movement was crushed due to some tactical errors and massive offensive by the enemy, Naxalbari showed the path to revolution and exposed the revisionism of CPI and CPI(M). Naxalbari clearly rejected the revisionist line that India is a capitalist society with feudal remnants, established that India is semi-feudal semi-colonial society and opposed the model of peaceful transition to socialism posed by revisionists. It theorized a clear line on the struggle against Caste aggression and said no revolution is possible without annihilating caste and vice versa. It also brought to the fore that India consists of many nationalities and supported the right to self-determination including secession.
The exploitative nature of Indian state and ruling classes against which Naxalbari movement started in 1967 hasn’t changed. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, exploitation and oppression are rampant in the subcontinent. Naxalbari represents the dream of creating a classless society where everyone would have equal access to basic necessities of life and all other resources. The people who carry forward this dream today are being brutally repressed by the state. Social and economic disparities have greatly increased due to neoliberalism and along with state repression, these have intensified the class struggle in the society. Naxalbari becomes relevant more than ever as it showed that there is no middle path in the class struggle and only the victory of the proletariat can bring relief to the humankind.
It should be remembered that Naxalbari saw a huge participation of students and youths and despite heavy repression, they stayed at the forefront of the movement. Today we see that there is a continuous attack on students and teachers, workers, peasants, adivasis, dalits, religious and racial minorities are witch-hunted on the one hand and on the other hand, Operation Green Hunt is being carried out brutally to facilitate the loot of resources and to suppress the people’s movement. We are also witness to the vicious conspiracy of the fascist forces to term any student or any democratic organization, which opposes the anti-people policies of the state, as anti-national. Diktats are being issued that students should stay away from progressive politics and become slaves to the system. Naxalbari is a historic answer to this kind of propaganda, when students in huge numbers revolted against the state, organized masses in towns and villages and sacrificed their lives to participate in the heroic struggle of the people to bring about a radical transformation in the society and put an end to all forms of exploitation. The time has come to intensify the ongoing students’ movement against the attack of the fascist forces on people and against the neo-liberal policies of the Indian state with courage and determination taking inspiration from Naxalbari.
The ruling Class day-dreamt to brutally crush Naxalbari’s legacy. But more than extinguishing it, today, after 49 years the fire from that small village has spread all over India. Petrified by the Revolutionary Movement, the ruling class calls it the ‘biggest problem of internal security’ and carrying on brutal offensive in various forms like fake ‘encounters’ and witch hunting. The road of Naxalbari is the only panacea – the only road to build exploitation free society. Democratic Students’ Union on the 49th anniversary of Naxalbari resolves to forge unity of students with working class, peasants, oppressed castes, oppressed nationalities, racial and religious minorities and all progressive sections in the struggle to build a democratic society.
DEFEAT FASCIST FORCES, DEFEAT REVISIONISM .LONG LIVE REVOLUTION !