An Unusual Journey

Tale of a Rebel

Arup Majumder

I joined the naxalite movement like thousands of students in my school life itself. It was a wave. So I can't assure you that I was consciously got involved in the movement. Like many other novices I was also got arrested and just by chance my life was saved. Then after experiencing the famous treatment of Runu GuhaNeyogi in Lalbazar lock-up, I was detained in Presidency jail with many co-travellers. Finally the court considered the best possible justice can be given to me and many others were to be detained in MISA.

From there itself my true political life starts. I came across many leaders of varying viewpoint and different political background. At that time we were told in jail that our liberation army was marching in the villages. Though Charu Majumdar declared that India will be liberated within 1975, but we were believing that People’s Liberation Army may reach Presidency jail much before that, they will liberate us. Masses will gather outside the jail and there will be a grand reception for us.

Believe me, I am not joking. This was our firm conviction at that time. So we were organising lockup resistance and other movements inside jail and facing severe tortures smilingly.

After coming out of jail I faced the cruel truth, which was unthinkable to me. There were no place to stay, no work to be done. Relatives and friends were afraid even to talk to me. But I was preserving deep in my heart that people will surely come forward and make revolution. I was moving here and there for about a year and then finally went to Jamshedpur. There in course of time I started to build up an organisation completely on my own initiative. Students, youths, workers and tribals, lot of persons joined me. My confidence was on the rise. Small successes gave me big enthusiasm.

I started working among the tribals. On the one hand I was trying to develop political consciousness among the new age Jharkhand leadership, on the other hand I was trying to develop our separate foothold among the Jharkhandi people with the political ideology of Naxalbari.

We were attending all workers movements and just watching the developments there. I was a master of uttering quotations of RED BOOK and of Charu Majumdar. So I was learning from the masses. Bringing out periodicals, but that failed to create noticeable impact. But our leaflets and wall writings started creating impacts. I was not knowing what to do. How to advance towards building up a powerful movement? But the dream was alive. Hardships only contributed firm determination.

Slowly different groups started contacting us. It was very difficult for me to understand the real political difference among them. Lin Piao, Three World Theory, 10th Congress of CPC, …so many points of difference unconnected with my day to day practice. Everyone was considering themselves as the only correct and all others as Revisionists, Anarchists and so on. Along with developing our own practice we started participating in the programmes of other organisations.

Then I got involved in the apprentice movement of Telco. I got an opportunity to test my ideas regarding working class movement. Well, it was not only working, it became a hit. Thousands of workers started openly praising us. Absence of experience became a blessing in disguise. Our guerilla type of movement, though unarmed, made everyone enthusiastic. It was a very popular movement. Entire population started participating in our movements. All trade unions in different sectors were specially praising our handbills. From there another chapter of my life started.

Hundreds and thousands of people started considering me a real leader. Management, Administration, all political parties started giving us due weight. Hundreds of people’s life depends upon us. Slowly I became a serious person. We became the symbol of Left movement in Jamshedpur. But I knew my limitations. I need political guidance. Otherwise it was almost certain that I would have been an individualist. Popularity became the main hindrance in our development. A trend developed to maintain and increase popularity.

At that moment I had two options in front of me. Populism or Naxalism. I chose the latter. So I decided to join an organisation at the earliest. So I joined a group which appears to me as most logical and democratic at that moment. I won't like to name it. I will explain slowly, why I don't want to mention the name. So please allow me to express it as CPI ML (X).

Within a short time by the demand of all the representatives of all the states I was compelled to accept a central committee membership of that organisation. I was afraid. ‘Am I becoming a 'Sagina Mahato'?’ Actually everyone liked my straight forward approach. With my little knowledge of basic Marxism I was facing serious problems to take stand on different issues. Due to meetings in different parts of India my day to day activity was getting hampered. I was not happy. I can't able to live without hundreds of so-called non-political workers. I was losing interest in boring meaningless theoretical discussions.

In between I started working in the villages of Midnapore, Bankura. Peasants movements also started developing. Like workers, company of peasants also gave me satisfaction. As I was more projecting peasant problems than party politics, my acceptance was increasing beyond the party boundary.

But I found everything was not well within the organisation. There were very bitter relationship among different members of the highest committee. There were sharp differences in the opinion of different state units. And the dealings among themselves were not healthy. I was feeling suffocating there. I repeatedly told those to release me from that committee.

Here it will be boring if I start discussing the ‘political differences’. Slowly irrespective of my wishes, a section made me the spokesperson of a particular viewpoint. I can't able to understand at that time that a section was using my shoulder to corner the other section. There was not everything well even within each section. Foul plays were going on. I was a man of the movement. I was not at all interested in any sort of groupism. But with my limited knowledge I was having a definite viewpoint and I was expressing that in all appropriate platforms. Every passing day I was losing the enjoyment which I had in Jamshedpur.

Also the inner party conflicts started taking ugly turn. I was observing these developments and helplessly watching that I was also becoming a party to this power game in the name of inner-party struggle. Preparation for the conference was going on and the most powerful state organisation slowly accepted our political viewpoints. At that time I was not aware that it was purely a diplomatic step of the concerned committee.

In a personal discussion with the secretary, I told him that the arithmetic had changed. His line was going to be defeated. I showed him the number calculations also. Then he told me that ‘he cannot remain in minority, if necessary he will leave the organisation’. I explained to him about his wrong approach and asked him to continue his political fight within the organisation.

After a few days I got an emergency call from a central committee member. When I reached there they showed me the prominent daily of that state, I was expelled from the party for anti-party activity. I was at a loss. Then I smiled and thought that the situation also made me a party in the power game. I was happily fighting a power game with Tatas and here I was compelled to fight against Ghosts.

Most of the members were present there and I was helplessly watching that the organisation broke into two due to my simplicity. Everybody made me the All India Secretary. I had only two options in front of me. Either to accept the post and keep almost the entire organisation together or to refuse the post to break the organisation into several state wise groups. The senior most leader, who was very close to Charu Majumdar told me to take up the challenge. Finally I agreed to accept the post temporarily, until the conference.

When very next day they arranged a fifty thousand strong gathering and I was the main speaker. I felt that it was not an one sided affair. Most probably my fellow activists created such a situation that our former secretary was compelled to split the organisation.

I was feeling suffocated there. The organisation started advancing very fast. But I felt that principle is taking slowly a backstage. There were very efficient organisers with us. And till now I have a doubt, whether an organisation can maintain the development by sticking to principles?

I took a multi-dimensional policy to face the situation. On the one hand we started to unite all the revolutionary forces under a single umbrella and on the other hand I tried to introduce strict discipline. And finally I was preparing to step down.

This complicated situation was going on and on and on…. Finally in the earliest opportunity, irrespective of all the members urging me to remain in the post, I stepped down. I told the conference frankly that I am not competent enough to handle the situation. Everyone was knowing me and they requested me to continue with all my limitations. But I was afraid of losing my personal qualities. So I left the post.

Obviously the problems of power game remain unchanged. So according to my own planning of coming back to the ground level I stepped down from the central committee. In this process, when I was mainly concentrating on working at the grassroots level once again they expelled me from the organisation. I was feeling tired of taking up the challenge once again. But I conveyed my apprehension to the leading members that they won’t be able to remain together for long. Once again the old veteran asked me to take up the lead but this time I had no option other than refusing it.

Enough is enough. I was so much depressed that I was slowly leaving the rural organisations also. And I had to arrange the daily bread of my family. Somehow continuing some activities in Kolkata. That organisation with many permutations and combinations in between is a prominent organisation now. That's why I don't want to name it. My intention is not to criticise few persons or one or more specific organisations. One more interesting thing I want to share with you that all of those still approaching me to join with them.

When CPI (Maoist) was formed, they wanted to make a declaration from Kolkata and accordingly held a big gathering in Saheed Minar. I was one of the main speakers on that occasion. After that slowly I became almost alone and I have no grievances for that. I am still now doing whatever is possible for me and will continue to do so. Different permutations and combinations are going on among the different forces who still uphold the great Naxalbari uprising. And now once again I am in my most appropriate place, an activist, unknown to all but I am satisfied. I am confident that one day people will surely overthrow the existing system. The GOAL of Naxalbari will be achieved. Nobody can predict whether any combination of the existing political forces or a completely new force will lead that movement, but the lessons of this 50 years movement will surely help the society to change it. I was a Naxalite, I am a Naxalite and will surely try to remain a Naxalide till my last breath.

Vol. 50, No.46, May 20 - 26, 2018