Fifty Years of Spring Thunder over India
The Communist movement in the country reached a turning point half a century ago when the Naxalbari peasant uprising burst forth on the political scene of the country. After Great Telangana People’s Armed Struggle, Naxalbari once again brought on the agenda the Armed Agrarian Revolution for the liberation of the people of India. Further, it led to ideological, political and organizational parting of ways with revisionism and neo-revisionism and their parliamentary path. Naxalbari paved the way for the formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) which adopted Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as the ideological guide, the programme of New Democratic Revolution and the path of Protracted People’s War. The cobwebs of parliamentarianism were cleared and the clarion call of Naxalbari rose above the din of parliamentary humdrum of revisionists and neo-revisionists.
Struggles of the peasants in Bengal (Tebhaga), Worli, Punappa Vyalar and Telangana, the latter an armed peasant struggle over a vast area, placed the Armed Agrarian Struggle on the agenda for the liberation of Indian people. But the then revisionist leadership not only betrayed Telangana Armed Struggle but also pushed the struggle of Indian people for liberation into the quagmire of refomism and parliamentarianism. Struggle against this revisionist line continued uninterrupted in the communist movement of the country and Naxalbari struggle became an expression of this struggle. As the Basic Lessons of History observed, “The struggle against the CPM leadership on various national and international issues gradually developed in various provinces. But in the beginning, in the majority provinces, the concept of People’s War was not the central slogan around which the internal two-line struggle was conducted. It was mostly based on international ideological issues and support to the correct line of the CPC. Only in West Bengal, a section of comrades in Siliguri district selected Naxalbari area to concretize the slogan of People’s War and took certain practical steps to mobilize and prepare the people for armed struggle, however vague their ideas might have been. The result has been the emergence of the Naxalbari Armed Peasant uprising.”
Besides the struggle against different hues of revisionism inside the communist movement in India, struggle against modern revisionism in the international communist movement conducted by Communist Party of China under the leadership of Com. Mao also played a very important role in the emergence of Naxalbari peasant armed struggle. This struggle influenced the ideological political struggle against revisionism inside the communist movement in India. Communist Party of China had conducted a Great Debate against Khruschov’s modern revisionism exposing different aspects of modern revisionism including its class collaborationist character. It helped communists all over the world in grasping the true nature of modern revisionism and equipped the revolutionary communists in the struggle against revisionism in their own parties as well. CPC under the leadership of Com. Mao later launched Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) against capitalist roaders, revisionists among the leadership of the Party, to prevent the capitalist restoration in China. This brought vast sections of working masses of China into the struggle against capitalist road and created an upsurge in the people’s struggle in China under the condititons of dictatorship of proletariat. GPCR enthused the communist revolutionaries world over in their anti-revisionist struggle and emboldened them and guided them in their ideological, political and organizational struggle against revisionism.
Naxalbari peasant uprising occurred in the backdrop of rising people’s struggles in India and all over the world in the seventh decade of 20th Century. Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and upswing in the struggles of workers and youth in the developed capitalist countries and rising struggles of the people in oppressed countries including liberation struggles of the people of different countries against imperialism including Vietnam, characterized the period. India also witnessed upswing in the struggles of different sections of the people. Strike struggle of workers of different sectors, struggle of students and youth all over India and food movement especially in West Bengal were some of the struggles which dotted the Indian landscape then. Unrest and disillusionment was rising among the people of the country which targeted the then ruling Congress resulting even in electoral setbacks to Congress in a number of provinces. Emergence of Naxalbari peasant uprising gave a revolutionary outlet to that rising disaffection among the people. The spark at Naxalbari led to similar struggles in different parts of the country, in Debra-Gopiballabhpur Baharagora (Bengal and Bihar), Mushaheri (Bihar), Lakhimpur Kheri (UP)and Srikakulam and Godavari Valley (Andhra Pradesh). This spark has kept on igniting fires in the different parts of the country ever since including in Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra and elsewhere.
Naxalbari was not only aimed at capture of land, foodgrains, crops and loan deeds, it also aimed to capture state power. In the concrete conditions of the revolutionary movement in India, Naxalbari peasant uprising illuminated the path of Armed Agrarian Revolution, linking the struggle for land and struggle for state power. This linkage is essential for unleashing the energy and initiative of the peasant masses in the people’s war. While armed actions without an agrarian programme lead to anarchism, anti-feudal struggles of peasantry without armed struggle end up in the blind alley of reformism. The path of Armed Agararian Revolution illuminated by Naxabari peasant armed struggle is the concrete form of Protracted People’s War in India.
There have been many changes in the country over the last fifty years. It is the task of communist revolutionaries to make a detailed study of these changes and to adapt their slogans to the prevailing concrete situation in the country and this task will remain in future as well. There have been some quantitative changes in the situation but these changes have not brought about a qualitative change in the country. These changes have not brought about basic change in the stage of Indian revolution or in the strategy for liberation of the Indian people. Big majority of the people still live in villages which are under the domination of landlord forces. India is still subject to imperialist exploitation, in fact neocolonial exploitation has further increased. Even today India is a semifeudal and semicolonial country. Indian people are still groaning under exploitation and oppression of imperialism, comprador bureacrat capitalism and feudalism. To end this exploitation and oppression and to overthrow the rule of big bourgeois, big landlord ruling classes is still the main task of Indian revolution. India is still at the stage of New Democratic Revolution with agrarian revolution as its axis. Even today, the path of protracted people’s war is the path for liberation of the people of the country. It does not mean denying the changes that have occurred, it means grasping them properly and incorporating them in the perspective of intensifying revolutionary movement in the country. These changes put the onus on us to assimilate the tasks emerging from these changes and not to discard that very revolutionary path shown by Naxalbari in the name of these changes.
We observe the 50th Anniversary of Naxalbari peasant uprising not only as a historic event which had played a role in the past, but also as illuminating the path of Indian revolution even today. There are some organizations which are observing 50th Anniversary of Naxalbari with the former perspective, holding it no longer relevant. But we observe the 50th Anniversary to renew our commitment to the path shown by Naxalbari, to hold high the banner of Armed Agrarian Revolution held aloft by Naxalbari Peasant Armed Struggle and subsequent armed struggles of the peasantry. We are committed to building and developing areas of sustained resistance and to develop armed struggle to liberate the people of India through protracted people’s war.
The 50th Anniversary of the Great Naxalbari Peasant Armed Struggle has come at a time when our country is going through great crisis. Ruling class representatives in power are moving to impose fascist dictatorship over the country to crush the struggles of the people, to safeguard the imperialist exploitation of the country and the rule of big bourgeois, big landlord ruling classes. For this, RSS-BJP are trying to deepen communal polarization by targeting minorities, particularly Muslims and intensifying their attacks against the revolutionary struggles and progressive forces among the people. Their real purpose is to intensify the exploitation and oppression of the workers and peasants. Opposition sections of ruling classes do not have any concrete programme to oppose these attacks and do not draw the people into struggles against such attacks.
To meet this challenge, communist revolutionaries must come to one platform and intensify revolutionary struggles. And for this, while intensifying the struggles of different sections of the people, mainly revolutionary peasant struggles have to be intensified. For this we have to march resolutely on the path shown by Naxalbari. Advancing revolutionary struggle and the unity of the toiling people forged in the course of these advancing struggles is the best guarantee of resistance to the fascist drive being unleased by RSS-BJP.
On the occasion of 50 years of Naxalbari, paying homage to the immortal martyrs of the revolutionary movement of the country, we reiterate our resolve to advance on the path of Armed Agrarian Revolution. We also reiterate our pledge to spare no sacrifice in advancing the struggle for the liberation of the people of our country.