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Report

Jallianwallah Bagh Centenary Conference

Harsh Thakor

The Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Samagam Committee formed by prominent democratic individuals to commemorate the centenary year of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre has given a call to the people to reach Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on 13th April. In a press statement issued by Amolak Singh, Kanwaljeet Khanna, Jhanda Singh Jethuke and Manjeet Singh Dhaner on behalf of the Committee, they have announced that the broad mass mobilisation campaign being undertaken on this issue culminating in largely attended convention on 13th April will prove to be a promise to intensify the struggle for liberation from imperialism.

They further said that Jallianwala Bagh massacre occupies a prominently significant place in our national liberation struggle against British imperialism. Jallianwala Bagh incident is such a symbolically potent pillar of the sacrifices and glorious struggle waged by our people by rising above the narrow boundaries of castes and religion that it still continues to inspire the working people to fight valiantly against imperialism. The proposed convention will also give a message to the people to avoid mutual divisions and maintain unity during the present election season. Touching upon the question of pardon by the British state, they said that the inhuman crimes of the imperialists cannot be washed clean by a pardon. Rather the centenary year is the proper occasion for a declaration to intensify further people's struggle against imperialism. The Committee members are of the considered view that true patriotism lies only in the fight for people's liberation from every kind of exploitation.

The main theme of the centenary leaflet was about need of anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle,protesting tyranny of rulers in Kashmir,exposing diversionary aspect of Hindutva ideology and how it's so called nationalism was morally anti-national,exposing the anti-people nature of parliamentary elections and the need for people to build a genuine alternative.

The Centenary Samagam Committee includes Amolak Singh, Kanwaljeet Khanna, Jhanda Singh Jethuke, Manjeet Singh Dhaner, Naunihal Singh,Prof. Manmohan Singh, Waryam Singh Sandhu, Baldev Saraknama, Kewal Dhaliwal, Jagmohan Patiala, Satnam Singh Pannu, Kanwalpreet Pannu, Harjinder Tanda, Lachhman Singh Sewewala, Dr. Parminder Singh, Prof. A. K. Maleri, pritpal Singh,Dr. Navsharn, Narayan Dutt, Jagmel Singh,Rajinder Bhadaur,Yashpal, Harjinder Singh,Narbhinder, Gurmit Sukhpur, Harkesh Chaudhary, Ashwani Kumar and N. K. Jeet.

The Centenary commitee represented the massline trend of opposing such revolutionary democratic mass platforms to be converted into party platforms of any party or political group or of mass organizations .It insisted that it should be a forum of intellectuals belonging to different revolutionary mass organizations and independent thinkers.Thus felt it was not appropriate for it to be a front of mass organizations or revolutionary groups.This was distinct from other section sof the revolutionary camp that felt that politiacl organizations msut be able to redress ideology from united forums like C.P.I.(M.L.) New Democracy , Lok Sangram Manch(R.D.F.) and revolutionary peoples front .This trend of the Commitee originated and is based on the T.Nagi Reddy line which had its base from the 1970's itself.

Meticuluos preparations are taking place for the centenary Conference at block level in numerous villages and towns of districts in Punjab reminiscent of a red spark turning into a prairile fire with flags,posters,rallies and conferences blazing the spirit of the Jallianwallah Bagh martyrs.Of great significance is the mobilization done amonst the youth and studenst by Naujwan Bhrat Sabha and Punjab Studenst Union(Shaheed Randhawa),the BKU(Ugrahan) amongst the landed peasantry and the Punjab khet Maazdoor Union amongst the landless agricultural labour.Even if participants did not constitute more than 50-100 people in the qualitative aspect they were very impactful relating to the day to day class issues of the sections.I was most impressed with the great depth of planning and ability of activists and leaders to enable the various sections to relate the Jallinawallah Bagh massacre to their plight today .It succeeded in arousing political consciouness and class hatred of the ruling classes.The programmes did not merely vooice slogan sand project a poitical baner but related to the day to day burning issues of the people.Thus ilustration of massline practice.

Of great significance wa sthe participation of women activists particularly of the dalit agricultural community oin Faridkot.The Malwa belt constituting regions of Bathinda.Moga,Barnala Faridkot,Mansa and Sangrur were the main regions of mobilisation.Sangrur and Bathinda were the main ralypoint for student participants like in Rajendra college in bathinda and Ranbir college in Sangrur.Very significant drama programme was undertaken by the BKU(Ugrahan) in Bhawnigarh Village and by the Punjab Khet Mazdoor union in Kotaguru village.The Inquilabi Kendra Punab also held some significant rallies in Ludhiana area particularly for industrial workers.In Patiala BKU (Dakaunda) also held some rallies and conferences.Significantly all the mass organizations printed leaflets relating to the respective sections be it landed peasantry dal;it agricultural labour students,industrial workers etc,

On March 21st a most impactful inaugural conference was staged in Barnala mobilisng over 2000 people adressed by Amolak Singh,(Punjab Loksabhyachark manch president)Laxman Singh Sewewala,(secretary of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union)Jhanda Singh Jethuke,(BKU-Ugrahan)and ,Jagmel Singh (Secretary of Lok Morcha Punjab).It adrressed all the basic grievances of the opressed masses and propgated about what was a genuine revolutionary peoples alternative.They explained how the ruling classes parties since 1947 were hoodwinking the people and using policy of divide and rule to divert them from their burning day to day issues.They elaborated how the Congress then and the ruling parties today were in essence similar and how morally the social order today was not different from that since 1947.Great emphasis was placed on explaining the farmers issues like suicides,re-payment of debts,distribution of land etc and examples were given how in the nation tribals were denied basic rights and alienated from their land.issues of religious communalism and anti-dalit policies were also summarized.The repression of people in Kashmir was also covered.,as well as role of Hindutva,monopoly of corporates,seizing of land from tribals and peasntry etc.

Lok Morcha Punjab issued a leaflet on the programme of the Centenary Commitee.published in Punjabi Surkh Leeh Journal,special issue.Ideologically it stressed on the fact that a genuine,re-organized united revolutionary Communist party is lacking being fragmented ,It explained the blatant errors of the Communist Party of India in the British days that tailed behind the Gandhian Congress and even capitulated to revisinism internationally.

The pamphlet explains the essence of ressurecting the anti-feudal ,anti-imperialist struggle in the colonial era in times of Jallianwallah Bagh firing and with great depth explains the similarities of the British days with events happening now.It is no apologist of leaders like Gandhi who they feel were part and parcel of the comprador forces,virtually sponsoring the goals of the colonialist forces.It represents the viewpoint of the most correct trend within the revolutionary camp.

This leaflet also condemns the so called nationalism of the ruling class fascist BJP party.In detail it describes what is true nationalism.Thus it summarizes the anti-imperialsit and anti-feudal aspects of nationalism.

Vividly it describes how since world war 1 itself the Congress regime morally played a pro- British comprador role supporting colonialist forces while in world War 2 it collaborated with the Fascist axis powers.It elaborated how the Indian army in recent times particularly in Kashmir brutally attacked the masses as well as in regions of Dandkaranya,Orissa etc in crushing Maoists.It summarized the democratic character of the Kashmiri right to self determination and of all oppressed sections like tribals and workers.It exposed the jingosim and war chauvinism fostered by Narendra Modi and BJP and how recent strikes on Pakistan was exactly the opposite of revolutionary democratic nationalism.Historically the pamplet narrates how Congress vehemently suppressed genuine peasant struggles in Telengana and even pre-1947 gave no moral support to the anti -imperialist movements.It also portrays the importance of the nationality struggles.Deals also with how a genuine revolutionary alternative should be projected during the 2019 general elections relating it to the burning economic issues of the day and other general democratic questions like framing democratic activists for sedition etc.

It historically covered all the incidents when the Gandian Congress leadership betrayed the genuine peoples anti-feudal and anti-imperialist resistance and how they co-operated un the colonial rule and divide policy be it Chouru Choura,Garwhali,Rowalatt act,Assassination of Bhagat Singh etc.Very adamantly it expresed it's views taht at no point did the Nehruvian Congress morally opose the British rulers.

The pamphet gave vivid illustrations of how genuine democratic movements emerged and were crushed in Singur ,Nandigram ,mine workers on chattisgarh.etc.It drew a similarity between the colonial laws and the barbaric laws passed today like UAPA that stifle any dissent or organized movement.It gave detailed figures how still the working class and peasantry are impoverished showing figures of unemplyment inequality in land distribution,price rises,ilitearcy lack of housing and proper transport facilities etc.It reflected how deeply the globalization and liberalization created a stranglegold on any movement of the opressed classes and further enslaved them.Also mention on the framing of innocent Democratic intellectuals in the name of 'Maoism' .

It reflects the trend that emphasises on revolutionary class struggles and not only singling out BJP-RSS forces.Nor does it see anything progressive in Gandhian or Nehruvian 'secularism' or 'nationalism' which it feels served the colonial masters in their days.Thus asserts the semi-colonial semi-feudal structure of India today and that 1947 was only a transfer of power.

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Frontier
Apr 8, 2019


Harsh Thakor thakor.harsh5@gmail.com