ML Update | No. 38 | 2015

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 18, No. 38, 15 ­– 21 SEPTEMBER 2015

A Government Of The RSS, By The RSS, For The RSS

T


​T​
he Modi Government, instead of being a ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ is proving to be a ‘Government of the RSS, by the RSS and for the RSS.’

Recently, the country has witnessed the Prime Minister and top Ministers of the elected Government of India reporting meekly to an unconstitutional, communal fascist authority – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in a secretive session.

This summit proves that the Sangh leaders (Bhagwat, Togadia, and others) that declare India to be a Hindu Nation and indulge in hate speech against Muslims, Christians, Dalits and women, are not ‘fringe elements’ – they are the bosses of the Modi Government.

Reportedly, at the ‘coordination meet’ of the Modi Government with the RSS, the Culture Minister in the Modi Cabinet, Mahesh Sharma pledged to rid India’s educational and cultural institutions of ‘cultural pollution.’ Later, the Culture Minister elaborated on what he meant by ‘cultural pollution.’ The Minister said that the Gita and Ramayana ‘reflect India’s soul’ and must be taught in schools, while the Quran and the Bible are mere religious texts which are “not central to the soul of India.” He declared that Hindi is India’s “national language” and should be made compulsory in all Indian schools. According to him, “Indian culture” is defined by “women of three generations cooking in the same kitchen” and called for “protecting Indian culture” from pollution by “Western culture.” He also supported the ban on meat imposed by several BJP State Governments during the Jain festival. The Minister claimed that his Government had a mandate for saffronization because “125 crore Indians had voted for the Modi Government knowing what is RSS, what is BJP.” And he supported the renaming of Aurangzeb Road after APJ Abdul Kalam, saying that “Kalam was a great nationalist in spite of being a Muslim.”

In other words, the Modi Government has made it clear that it shares the same view of ‘Indian culture’ that the RSS does. It equates ‘Indian culture’ with Hindu upper caste culture, Hindi language, Sanskrit, vegetarian diet, Hindu religious texts, and the Hindu joint family and specifically the domestic roles defined for women in such families. In this RSS vision of India, a Muslim or Christian can be an Indian citizen only ‘in spite of’ his/her religious identity; languages other than Sanskrit and Hindi cannot be ‘national’ languages; vegetarian diet of the tiny upper caste minority will be imposed on the vast majority of non-vegetarians; and women’s freedom will be branded as ‘Western culture’. And while the Bible and Quran are seen as representatives of only their respective religions, the Hindu religious texts will be taught as representative of ‘Indian ideology’ and ‘Indian culture.’

What the Culture Minister left unsaid is the grim truth of what is being done to voices that challenge this bigoted model of ‘Indian culture.’ People like Prof Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare are killed for raising their voice against Hindutva bigots and conmen, writer MM Basheer is prevented from writing his version of the Ramayana, Hindutva goons use force to take AK Ramanujan’s essay on the many interpretations of the Ramayana off University syllabi, films ranging from documentaries on communal violence to a popular film like PK are threatened with bans or vandalism, saffron vigilante groups mete out violence to women wearing jeans, inter-faith couples in public places or couples celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Not long ago, VHP leader Pravin Togadia, one of the men to whom the Modi Government reported at the ‘coordination meet’ convened by the RSS, demanded that a law be enacted to criminalise any Muslim who has more than two children.

The Agriculture Minister in the Modi Cabinet has called for ‘Yogic farming’ to ‘increase potency of seeds by positive thinking.’ The RSS chief recently said that those Hindu values that “do not conform to scientific standards” should be discarded; but the problem is that the RSS claims various kinds of unscientific and obscurantist ideas to be ‘scientific.’ For instance the RSS ideologues claim that the figure of Ganesha proves that India invented plastic surgery, or that the myth of the Pushpak Viman proves that India invented aviation! Similarly, the Hindutva ideologues tend to proffer ‘scientific’ apologias for casteism and patriarchy. The manner in which Hindutva outfits have issued death threats to rationalists shows the hatred they have for science and rationality.

The Government is defending its ‘coordination meeting’ with the RSS by claiming that the RSS is a ‘civil society organization.’ The truth is that the RSS and its hydra-headed outfits are directly implicated in a wide range of communal pogroms and bomb blasts, assassinations of intellectuals and activists, caste massacres and violence against women’s freedoms.

In the Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi sought votes based on a promise of ‘development’ and ‘acche din’ (good times). He did not state that he would be taking his orders from the RSS, or that his Government would be interfering in kitchens and classrooms. The Modi Government certainly cannot claim any mandate for their unconstitutional agenda of imposing the narrow and bigoted RSS vision of India on the whole country.

The RSS has come out onto the stage from behind the curtains and is now openly showing that it holds the reins of the Modi Government in its hands. Meanwhile, the Modi Government and its Ministers are all failing abjectly in the very areas for which they are responsible. The Environment Minister has recently announced that industry will be allowed to ‘develop’ degraded forest land; the Health Minister has done nothing to control the spate of dengue deaths in Delhi; the Railway Minister has no effective response to the twin train accident in Madhya Pradesh and the derailing of the Duronto in Karnataka occurring within a span of roughly a month; and the Agriculture Minister has blamed peasant suicides on love affairs and impotency. The entire Government has proved utterly incapable of curbing steeply rising prices. The enthusiasm and aggression with which Modi ministers are advancing the RSS agenda stands in stark contrast to the utter abdication of their actual ministerial responsibility.

Midday Meal Workers Protest in Front of the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha

On 25 August, over 15,000 midday meal workers employed by various government schools in Jharkhand protested in front of the Vidhan Sabha in Ranchi, demanding action on a 36-point charter of demands. The main demands are: Rs 233 per day minimum wage for cooks; midday meal workers not to be made to work for free, and adequate honorarium to be fixed; arrears due for over a year to be paid to cooks; and all 3 categories of midday meal workers to be regularized. It is to be noted that CPI(ML) MLA Rajkumar Yadav had previously raised these issues in the state Assembly, after which on 25 March 2015 the Education Minister Neera Yadav had announced an increase of Rs 500 in the honorarium for cooks. However, this was not implemented till 25 August 2015. Therefore, this issue too became a part of the workers’ charter of demands.

5,000 protesters came from Hazaribagh district; 1,500 to 2,000 each from Ranchi, Simdega, Palamu, and Ramgarh; over 1,000 from Dhanbad-Kodarma; 500-1,000 came from Lohardaga, Khunti, Gumla, Chatra, Latehar, Chaibasa, Bokaro, Pakud, Godda, Garhwa, Dumka, Jamtada and Deogarh. AIPWA played a big role in mobilizing midday meal workers from Dumka, Deogarh, Jamtada and Garhwa. AICCTU mobilized workers from Kodarma, Ramgarh, Ranchi and Palamu. As a result of these interventions by AIPWA and AICCTU, the role of the Left in this crucial protest was established. The Assembly was in session at the time of the protest, and the echoes of the protest were heard inside the Assembly where MLA Rajkumar Yadav raised the issue.

A gate block and a 7-hour long meeting was conducted in front of the Vidhan Sabha. Addressing the meeting, MLA Rajkumar Yadav said that the BJP government in Jharkhand is working to benefit the corporate companies, which is the reason for privatization and saffronization of education. Government schools are the only option for the poor and the working classes, but these schools have neither quality nor a proper system for the students. The labour of 2.45 lakh midday meal workers in the state is being looted to ensure excess profits for corporates. The stronger the agitation against this loot, the better this issue can be fought inside the Assembly, reiterated comrade Rajkumar Yadav.

Addressing the meeting, AICCTU State General Secretary Shubhendu Sen said that one reason for the midday meal workers not getting the stipulated Rs. 1,500 honorarium or even the minimum wage, is Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme whose object is to create cheap land and cheap labour for corporate companies. Therefore, there is widespread contractualization of workers under a hire and fire policy, and services for the government are also being done under contract and honorarium systems.

Addressing the meeting, AIPWA leader Geeta Mandal said that the government must declare all midday meal workers as full-fledged workers and fix a proper pay scale for them. She stressed that the Midday Meal Workers’ Association must join hands with AIPWA and para-teachers to fight a decisive battle for this. The Midday Meal Workers’ Association State President Ajit Prajapati gave a brief recap of the long struggles on their demands: a dharna in front of the Vidhan Sabha on 24-26 March 2015; protests in front of 70 block offices in the state on 14 July 2015, and in front of district DCs’ offices on 30 July 2015. The meeting was also addressed by Dayamani Barla, Anita Devi, Premnath Vishwakarma, JMM MLA Jagannath Mahto and others.

The Midday Meal Workers’ Association demanded a monthly honorarium of Rs 6,000 on the lines of payments made by the Karnataka government. They also demanded that the retirement age be fixed at 60, 2 uniforms per year, a dietician in each school for food inspection, increase in funds for eggs, improvement in quality of rice, medical insurance, sheds in the schools for babies and toddlers, and other facilities. After the successful protest, the Jharkhand cabinet announced on 28 August that the increase of Rs 500 passed on 25 March 2015 has been implemented, and also announced a free insurance of Rs 5 lakh.

CPI(ML) State Conference held in UP

The 11th State Conference of the CPI(ML) Uttar Pradesh unit was successfully held between 30 August to 1 September 2015 in Ghazipur district, with the pledge to intensify struggles against the Modi government’s pro-corporate policies, communalism and fascism, against the SP government’s criminal-police raj, for democracy, employment, justice, and people’s safety. 278 delegates (37 women) from 37 districts participated in the conference. 90 delegates took part in the discussion on the work report. A new 43-member State committee was formed under the supervision of the Politburo member and conference observer Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, and Comrade Ramji Rai was unanimously elected State secretary.

The conference began with flag hoisting by senior Party leader Comrade Hariwanshi Ram. Inaugurating the open session, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya stressed various aspects of the ongoing social, economic and political crisis – the agricultural crisis, farmers’ suicides, grave levels of unemployment, further curtailing of employment opportunities, curtailing of labour rights and ensuring of corporate profits in the name of the government’s “Make in India” project, ongoing corruption, inflation and skyrocketing price rise, ever-increasing repression and fascist curbing of dissent. While workers and farmers have always been exploited by various governments run by the BJP, Congress, JD(U), RJD, SP, and the BSP, at present, other kinds of struggles too are being suppressed. War veterans are agitating for pensions in Delhi; a community is agitating for reservations in Gujarat (albeit it is not certain how genuine this demand is), and in the process, the much-touted Gujarat model has unraveled as unemployed youth in Gujarat desperately looking for employment. Comrade Dipankar added that development as defined by the ruling classes has no meaning for the people since it is loot, corruption, and profiteering for capitalists. Basic needs of people such as roads, water, electricity, housing, toilets, health care, have become issues for agitation. Giving a leadership to the struggles of farmers, contract workers, ASHA workers, teachers, health workers and the beleaguered minority community has become a prime responsibility.

Left Agrarian Labour Organizations’ Joint Protest in Haryana

Various agricultural labour organizations affiliated to the Left jointly organized a public meeting on 1 September 2015 at Karnal in Haryana, in front of the mini secretariat. This day was observed as ‘Demand Day’ by Left organizations, to protest against the anti-agriculture policies of the government. A memorandum of demands was submitted to the Prime Minister. The meeting was presided over by the All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) Vice President Comrade Prem Singh Gehlawat. Comrades Sukhchain Singh, Jagmal Singh, Mahendra Singh Chopra and other leaders participated in the protest.

The memorandum gave details of the deteriorating conditions of rural agricultural labourers and artisans. The Congress govt’s disastrous policies of liberalization have been implemented with further ruthlessness by the BJP govts at the Centre as well as the state, resulting in a grave agricultural crisis. Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide in Haryana in the past one year, this number being the highest in North India. Rising agricultural costs and shrinking incomes have put a heavy burden of debt on the farmers. Livelihood opportunities are shrinking and it is becoming impossible for the people to afford education of their child/ren.

The following demands were raised in the memorandum: revoke the Land ordinance 2015 and implement progressive land reforms; make a national land utilization policy; give a minimum pension of Rs 3,000 to agricultural labourers and artisans; free agricultural land from the clutches of the land mafia and real estate barons; make a national law to ensure social security of agricultural labourers; give 12 decimal land and Rs.5 lakhs house building grant to all landless families; guarantee crop purchase from farmers at a minimum support price of 50% above the cost price, as per the Swaminathan commission recommendations; implement an affordable PDS system for guarantee of food security; repeal the new anti-worker labour laws and protect the rights of child labourers; make adequate increase in governmental financial investment in the agriculture sector; ensure development of basic infrastructure and supply of agricultural materials at affordable rates in rural areas; end FDI in agriculture; unconditionally return to farmers unused land acquired under SEZ or other such projects; ensure 200 days work under MNREGA and minimum daily wages of Rs 300; give interest free agricultural loans to farmers, agricultural labourers and sharecroppers; make national crop insurance compulsory; protect crops, life and goods from wild animals; pay a minimum compensation of Rs 10 lakhs to families of farmers who have committed suicide; ensure education, employment and health rights to all citizens; stop the increasing violence against women, dalits, adivasis and minorities. The memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner at the mini secretariat.

Report on Bhagalpur Riots Released by Insaf Manch-AIPF in Patna

On 5 September 2015, the Bhagalpur AIPF unit released a report in Patna on the denial of justice to the Bhagalpur riot victims. The report was released by CPI(ML) General Secretary, Director of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism Irfan Engineer, Rihai Manch UP President Shoaib Ahmad, Inquilabi Muslim Manch leader Sadar Mohd Salim and others. This report on the Bhagalpur riots was finalized after months of research by a team headed by Sharad Jaiswal. Bhagalpur riot victims took part in this symposium in large numbers.

Speaking on the report, Comrade Dipankar said that for the first 15 years after the Bhagalpur riots, the Lalu Yadav government was in power, elected on a slogan of “social justice and secularism”. For the next 10 years, the Nitish Kumar government was in power, boasting of “good governance” and “development with justice”. But during these 25 years, the Bhagalpur victims have only seen treachery, oppression, and injustice. He added that the Nitish government submitted the report of the commission constituted in 2006 on the last day of the Assembly session, clearly exposing its non-seriousness in the matter of securing justice for the Bhagalpur riot victims. It is astounding that the 2 commissions of 1995 and 2006 have both refused to fix responsibility on the administration for the death of hundreds of people and ruin of thousands of families, and have also turned a blind eye to the poisonous and offensive communal mobilization done by the Sangh Parivar. He further said that the High Court has acquitted all the accused in the dozens of carnages perpetrated by the Ranveer Sena on the oppressed and suppressed rural poor in South Bihar, and Nitish dissolved the Amir Das Commission constituted to find the nexus between the Ranveer Sena and their political protectors just before the Commission was about to table its report.

Speaking at the meeting, Irfan Engineer, Shoaib Ahmad, and Sadar Mohd Salim said that the RSS with its agenda of making India a Hindu Rashtra is the chief culprit in this matter and is working through the BJP as well as with the help of other parties. Earlier, the author of the report Sharad Jaiswal presented the detailed information contained in the report. He said that commissions formed by the government have worked to hide the truth of the riots. For instance, the government reports the number of those killed during the riots as 1,000, whereas in reality 2,000 lost their lives. After the riots, resources belonging to Muslims – including land, silk and industries – were captured by others.

Three-Day Hunger Strike by CPI(ML) in Fatuha Block

Comrades Umesh Singh (Party’s SCM and AIKM NE member), Sailesh Yadav (Fatuha block secretary), Satyanand Paswan (Sampatchak secretary), Munna Pandit (AIARLA Fatuha secretary), Ravindra Yadav (peasant leader), and Bhola Das (AIARLA leader) sat on a 3-day hunger strike at the Fatuha block office from 17 to 19 August on burning issues like- (i) construction of roads to join nearby areas of Patna and various areas of Fatuha to main roads and rivers, (ii) repair and reconstruction of the dilapidated bridge over Dargha River on the road from Bir to Kajibigaha, (iii) resolution of problems of farmers, workers, and sharecroppers, permanent employment for honorarium workers, and (iv) security of mahadalits and women.

Addressing the meeting at the hunger strike, Com. Shiv Sagar Sharma said that the BJP, who was a partner in the government till recently, is now trying to come to power by taking advantage of the treachery committed upon the people for the last 10 years by the Nitish government. Though the BJP is continuously singing praises of the Central government led by Modi, the people have by now fully realized the deceit of the “achhe din” promised by Modi. Sky-rocketing prices, huge cuts in people’s welfare schemes, anti-farmer and anti-agriculture policies have made life miserable for the people. He pointed out that, like Ramvilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi has also betrayed the dalits of Bihar by choosing to sit in the lap of the BJP which is the protector of the Ranveer Sena; the people of Bihar will not be fooled by these tricks. Com. Umesh Singh stressed the necessity of the hunger strike by saying that despite Fatuha Assembly constituency being so close to Patna, it appears to be the remotest part of Bihar due to lack of roads and civic amenities. The meeting was addressed by all the striking leaders.

Hundreds of rural women and men were continuously present at the strike venue. On 19 August, last day of the hunger strike, Patna Collector’s representative ADM, BDO, CO, and local thana in-charge came to the venue for talks, considered the demands, and gave an assurance that whatever could be fulfilled at their level would be done, and a memorandum of the demands would be submitted to the government. After this assurance the striking leaders broke their fast by accepting juice from the hands of Party leaders Comrades Ramjatan Sharma, Amar, and Saroj Choube.

Addressing the concluding meeting, Party leaders said that the Centre and State governments are trying to distract attention from the main issues in the imminent Bihar elections and polarize the election. However, the CPI(ML) will fight the election on people’s issues and all the Left Parties together will present a credible Left alternative to the people of Bihar.

AISA Statement on JNUSU and DUSU Elections

AISA congratulates the JNU student community for successfully electing a new JNUSU. The JNUSU mandate has largely reposed the faith in the left and inclusive politics that the JNUSU has been upholding. In the central panel, 3 out of 4 posts belong to the left. AISA congratulates Comrade Kanhaiyya, elected JNUSU President from the AISF. AISA also thanks JNU students for electing Comrade Shehla Rashid Shora and Comrade Rama Naga from AISA as the JNUSU VP and General Secretary respectively.

At the post of President, Com. Kanhaiyya Kumar from AISF secured 1029 votes and Com. Vijay from AISA finished second with 962 votes, with the margin being 67 votes. At the post of Vice President, Com. Shehla Rashid Shora from AISA secured1387 votes defeating ABVP’s Valentina Brahma by a margin of 234 votes. Com. Rama Naga from AISA secured 1159 votes and was elected as the General Secretary defeating Devendra Singh Rajput of ABVP by 213 votes. At the post of Joint Secretary, ABVP’s Saurav Kumar Sharma secured 1154 votes and won by a slender margin of 28 votes, with Com. Hamid Raza from AISA finishing second with 1126 votes.

The largely pro Left mandate of JNU students is all the more significant and welcome in the light of the ABVP surge representing the dangerous agenda of ‘cultural cleansing’ pushed by the Central Government and RSS. We must recognize our responsibility in the context of the fact that ABVP has managed to win the post of Joint Secretary and a couple of posts in SIS.

AISA is committed to carrying forward the JNUSU’s legacy of students’ movement for students’ rights and campus democracy, and against commercialization and saffronization of education.

AISA also thanks the students of DU, who for a third year running, have shown their growing support for a Left alternative. AISA’s performance, polling a very close third on Jt.sec and a very close fourth on all other posts, is most encouraging. AISA has achieved this on the basis of the initiative and enthusiasm of student volunteer alone who battled other groups backed by money- and muscle- power and the might of Government machinery. AISA pledges to continue to work with and for DU students, confident that we will indeed succeed in strengthening a powerful alternative student politics in DU.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s