A journalist interviews Comrade Prashant Bose (Kishanda)
Comrade Prashant Bose, a member of the Central Committee and Polit Bureau of the CPI (Maoist) was arrested in November 2021 together with his life partner and a member of the CC, Comrade Sheela Marandi (Sheeladi). A journalist Anand Dutta interviewed him few months before his arrest that was done through internet as written by the interviewer. The interview edited by Samyam Srivastav was posted at 3 pm on 14th December on TV9 Bharatvarsh web portal. We give here a translation of the interview given in Hindi.
Question – Are you ready if the Home Ministry invites you for talks? Are you ready to forget incidents such as the encounter of Azad and Padma?
Answer – I wish to tell you that going for talks depends upon the place, time and concrete condition. At times we might go for talks if it benefits revolutionary struggle. If it is not, it will be correct to not go for talks. Our Central Committee adopted the correct policy after analysing the experience of history, our earlier experience, the present concrete condition, the overall situation related to revolutionary movement and other such issues –
1. Operation Green Huntneeds to be stopped. Paramilitary forces must be withdrawn. If government offensive on the people stops, the counter-violence of the people also shall stop. Many intellectuals also stated that if there is no government offensive, there is no need for the people to take up counteroffensive.
2. The ban on our partymust be lifted. The ban on all our Mass Organisations must be lifted. We must be given the democratic opportunity to mobilise the people. If there is an atmosphere to work in a democratic manner then we can go for talks.
Comrade Riyaz who took part in talks with the Andhra Pradesh government in 2004 was picked up, tortured and killed. The other comrades who took part in talks were targeted and attacked. There were attempts to murder them. Later, Comrade Azad who was trying to facilitate a way for the process of talks was murdered. We cannot rely on the government and send underground comrades.
Therefore, if the government releases our leadership comrades in jail, they shall directly represent the party.
This apart, few journalists and persons from the civil society in Chhattisgarh are making a hue and cry to go for talks for peace. The Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee released a press statement on 12th March 2021 in this regard. It said, ‘if the civil society is really sincere for peace, let it demand immediate stop to the counter revolutionary ‘SAMADHAN’ offensive of the central and the state governments; let them come in support of the lakhs of Bastar tribal people struggling for a long time against the heavy deployment of police, Paramilitary and Military forces in the entire Bastar Division including Maad’.
Q – There are lesser people’s courts when compared to the earlier. Does it mean that people no more need those or is it that you are no more needed?
A – It is a fact that due to the extensive ‘encircle and mop up’ and ‘SAMADHAN and Prahar’, there is considerable decrease in holding people’s courts. But it does not mean that people do not need people’s courts.
In areas where Revolutionary People’s Committees and Krantikari Kisan Committees are effective people’s courts are held in a developed manner.
Disputes are being solved better than the earlier times. For example, you must have learnt about Janatana Sarkar and its functioning in Chhattisgarh (DK). The Janatana Sarkar constitutes several departments and those do each and every work in the interests of the people. In this area people’s courts have become and are becoming popular.
Similarly, Krantikari Kisan Committee is functioning in various places in Jharkhand. As per its understanding, it functions in the most secret manner. It holds small people’s courts and is still holding them. The little weaknesses in this regard need to be rectified.
Q – You purchase arms from the capitalist system against which you fight?
A – The first thing is that who is manufacturing the arms? Without doubt, it is the workers. No worker can make arms or any products on their own. In fact, the history of production is collective production system. It means that in the present society, on one hand the structure of production of capitalist industry is collective but the owner of the products is the capitalist. Therefore, the question does not arise that when we are fighting against the capitalist system, we should not purchase the goods manufactured by the capitalists or that we did something wrong in this regard.
In fact, the owner of the entire produced goods is the working class that inevitably has to sell its labour force. Capitalist loots the goods. There is no contradiction as such in between the purchase of goods produced in the factories of the capitalists and fighting against the capitalist ownership class. The second thing is that we purchase arms at times. But, purchasing arms is not our basic policy. The basic policy is to seize arms and ammunition from the enemy.
Q – Is Parliament yet untouchable for you?
A – See, the question is not whether the Parliament is yet untouchable for us or not. The issue we have to see is what the Parliament is for the people. Therefore, instead of stressing on the word ‘untouchable’, we need to see the essence in using the word, that is we need to see the form and content and need to pay attention on content. This apart, we see from experience that majority of the people do not trust or believe Parliament.
If we take a look at the present Parliament, no government has the support of majority of the people. 88 percent of the Parliament are millionaires and 43 are criminals. The question that arises is how is this democracy? Parliamentary path is not the path that establishes democratic system. In this viewpoint, it is appropriate and correct to say Parliament is untouchable.
Q – If you attain power, will the government be democratic or will it be military administration? How will the format be?
A – If the people attain power, its major and central task would be to root out the present semi-colonial, semi-feudal system and establish people’s democratic state. The people’s democratic state guarantees all types of freedom, power and democracy to the vast toiling people. Everyone will have the right to talk, write and publish. They will have right to hold meetings, to form organisations, to hold demonstration and to live with freedom. They will also have the power to education, health care, minimum employment and so on.
Except for cruel reactionaries, all the citizens who completed 18 years of age will have the right to elect and to call back the elected representatives in a particular stage. This guarantees the right of the people to control state power and opposes any kind of attempt that tries to lessen this right.
Q – How much hope do the left parties have in parliamentary politics? What kind of hope do you have now?
A – Look, however much left parties might be in parliamentary politics, it is almost not possible to have a positive hope on them in the present condition. Workersfarmers and the toiling people also do not have hope in the left parties. For example, the pathetic condition of the ‘left’ parties in India proves this. The answer to the question whether there is any hope left would be no. Yes. Except for CPI-CPM, there are innumerable left parties and groups with which we can form anti-fascist United Fronts and on the burning issues such as people’s living and national living. This is going on too.
Q – New leaders are coming in the left parties; new parties are coming but all of those keep you totally distant. Even in terms of ideology. Are you not absolutely losing political support? What will you do to fulfil this?
A – Whoever leaders are coming in the left parties, or whatever new parties are coming, the fact is that all those are in the parliamentary path and fear revolution. Therefore, they are distant from us. Those are in words with workers and farmers but in deeds try to sustain the exploitation-based society. They serve as the servants of imperialists, landlords and comprador bureaucratic capitalists. We believe that none of the parties have people’s support. We have maximum relations with the people. We have total support from them. The fact is that there is a lot of difference between the ideology of our party and that of those parties and this is but natural.
Q – RSS and Communist party were formed in 1925. But both of these have extreme difference in ideology.
A-RSS is implementing the idea of Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan. Manusmriti is its ideological basis and it instigates extreme nationalist idea through caste system, Hindu religion, Hindu customs and other such. It is the basic program of the Bhartiya Janata Party to fulfil the responsibility to implement its theoretical basis in practice. The Modi government is successfully fulfilling it. But it is wrong to say that the Indian society is very much in need of this.
However much the Modi government boasts about the formation of Hindu raj, it does not have the support of more than 30-32 percent of the people. The vast people are taking up struggle in various ways against the anti-people policies of the Modi government. Especially the struggles against the three agriculture laws, labour codes, NRC, NPR and CAA show what the people need.
If our ideology does not show even a little influence in the present time, why is it that Maoists are being said to be the biggest threat in the whole of India for internal security and why are the extensive and infamous military campaigns such as Green Hunt, SAMADHAN and Prahar being unleashed with the evil motive to root them out? Why is it that there is so much discussion about Maoism and Maoist movement in the whole country? The corporate controlled media or the Modi media or the government broadcast and propaganda are not the criterion to prove the extent of influence of anything.
Q – What does your party do for the families of the Maoists who die in the movement?
A – To say the fact, if red soldiers or activists die, party is not able to do as much as needed for their families in the present condition. What we could do 810 years ago we are unable to do now in the present fierce aggression of the enemy. However, efforts to do the possible with the help of the people and the local party are going on. We feel sorry that we are not able to look after the families of our martyrs.
Q – Do you educate the fighters before giving them a weapon and if so what? I am asking you so, since, when I met a few surrendered persons, it did not seem to me that they understood your revolution.
A – Our party has a specific policy to give membership in the party or in PLGA. Party prepared a syllabus for members, activists and fighters. As per it, regular classes are conducted. There is a special education department for the purpose. We run schools in the rural areas of our influence where the girls and boys are educated. It is perhaps not correct to hope listen to political discussion from surrendered persons. Surrender is not simply physical surrender. It is to divorce revolutionary politics and communist morality and accept the politics and consumerist outlook of the exploitive class, to act as comprador to the exploitive ruling classes and to become slaves to them.
Q – You never openly accepted whether you have directly or indirectly taken part in the Pathalgarhi movement and violence?
A – Firstly I would say that I or our party see the Pathalgarhi movement as a legitimate movement of the tribal people. We think that the Pathalgarhi people’s movement is a peaceful movement. I mean to say that it is not correct to say ‘Pathalgarhi violence’. The fact is that the just Pathalgarhi movement had been branded as ‘anti-national’, ‘traitorous’ movement and the central and the present Raghuvar Das BJP government of the state are unleashing cruel violent repression on it.
Thousands and thousands of activists involved in the Pathalgarhi movement are yet in prison. We have very clearly stated our stand towards the Pathalgarhi movement. Extending total support to a just movement is our political duty. As per this outlook we made efforts to do whatever was needed in support to this just movement.
Q – In addition to the police you need to fight against TPC, PLFI and other such organisations. Of late there is not much conflict. Is it that they accepted you, or their influence had risen or is it because of any secret agreement between you both?
A – We see TPC, JJMP, PLFI, JPC and other such gangs as police teams and counter revolutionary goonda gangs. The top officials of the intelligence department and police department run them.
Therefore, our relation with those groups is absolutely antagonistic. Since there is a decrease in the conflict with them, it does not mean that those groups grew influential or there is a secret agreement with us.
Q – Roads are being laid for the past few years in the thick forests of Saranda. Contracts were taken up and they are going on without stop. A big contractor of Jharkhand who established an investigative agency alleges that the Maoists were paid heavy amount and so the work is going on smoothly.
A – Everyone is aware that in 2011, a barbarous military campaign ‘Operation Anaconda’ had been taken up with the evil motive to eliminate the revolutionary movement in Saranda. The government entered into 13 MoUs with the corporate giant companies in Saranda alone which they are unable to implement due to the Maoist movement and this is the reason to unleash Operation Anaconda. It is to gain control over the area and set up police camps extensively. They firstly started to lay roads with police protection with wide carpet security. However, the people tried to resist them in some or the other manner. Finally they deployed police forces and laid roads.
Anyway, they could not implement even one MoU due to people’s resistance. The second thing is that, Saranda is one of our strategic areas. We are working with the perspective to build base area here. According to it, allowing laying of roads and collecting levies through it goes against our policy. If anyone violates this rule, disciplinary action will be taken. So, the allegation that the Maoists took a heavy amount and allowed laying of roads is one hundred percent wrong and a fake and evil propaganda.
Q – As per parliamentary assessment, Maoists have hold in 53 districts. Do you think this is correct? Or is the number boosted in order to get funds to fight it and to make it political?
A – This is a correct question. These persons are benefited in two ways. The first benefit is that in order to fight the Maoists the central government is giving a special economic package to the Maoist strong districts. They take it. The surrender of 514 youth in the name of Maoists in Jharkhand is a fresh example for this.
It is surprising that all these were made to surrender and put in the old Birsa Munda Central Prison in Ranchi. But the police records do not show to which police official they have surrendered. The fund they received as per the surrender policy to surrender these youth was taken by them. And, the present Jharkhand DGP and the present BJP Parliament benefit from the crores of rupees of the SS fund. This apart, allegations and investigation are also being made on several police officers and officers of the administration department regarding corruption this is not the picture of Jharkhand alone but of the whole of Maoist strong areas. It is extensive in several states and is seen in a large scale. Another benefit out of this is that in the name of Maoist strong area, police camps will be established. Wherever the people take up struggle for right to jal-jungle-zameen against the anti-people policies of the government, it is branded as Maoist supported movement and new police camps are established to unleash repression. Cruel police repression and suppression of people’s movement are unleashed through these police camps. To say the fact, the people are forced to live in the shadow of the trigger.
Q – I am not the first journalist to put this question, many have questioned you earlier. But the question is still relevant. The money you need is from industrialists. Ordinary people do not have so much money. They cannot support you with their sympathy. So whom are you struggling with?
A – See, the first thing is that it is the BJP government that is anti-people. In order to totally suppress the revolutionary movement in the leadership of the Maoists, they are unleashing multipronged offensive in the guidance of the ‘Low Intensity Conflict’ of the US imperialists.
Not only barbarous war campaign is being unleashed through the police, Para-military and Army, but psychological war is also made. The only task of this is to make fake propaganda on the Maoist party, party leaders and Maoist movement.
One aspect of this ill propaganda is that as you have asked, ‘they need money, it comes from the industrial class, then against whom is your struggle’. I firstly wish to say that our party has a specific financial policy which the whole party implements to the best of its strength. It mentions that ‘there are three main sources to fulfil our needs – one is the party membership fees, levy and financial help from the people. The second is to seize the properties of the enemy and the third is tax. We collect tax in the guerrilla zones and base areas in the form of progressive tax’. We also wrote clearly that ‘national bourgeoisie, petty trader and professional are a part of New Democratic Revolution and so we collect funds from them as per their capacity and level.
‘We do not collect tax from public activities such as school, hospital, ration shop and employment projects’. It is clear from our policy that we can collect funds from national bourgeoisie, that is small and middle capitalists. We do not take funds or collect levy from those we consider big capitalists, whom we call comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and the three enemy classes of Indian people namely imperialists, landlords and comprador bureaucratic capitalists who are the targets of the ongoing revolution. This is against our policy. It means our relation with such industrialists is antagonistic.