'Unite and Resist'

Nityananda Ghosh

Amammoth gathering at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata, on 30 July endorsed the call—'Unite and Resist'—to combat the on-going fascist offensive by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). And its subordinate offshoots. Organised by the CPI(ML)-Liberation to commemorate the 50the anniversary of the founding of CPI(ML) and birth centenary of its founder secretary Charu Mazumdar, the large auditorium was packed with cadres, sympathisers and friends crossing party lines as also non-party libertarians.

The choice of the historic city was significant especially due to a mini-dress rehearsal of fascism at Bhatpara by the Sanghis, overwhelmingly dominated by armed lumpens, after the Lok Sabha elections. The saffron storm troopers keep traumatising the peace-loving people around by hurling bombs, looting of shops and intimidating workers and supporters on anti-RSS political parties. Several veterans who were witness to and participants in democratic struggles of yesteryears greeted the rally when the apprehension is that Sanghis prepare for replication of Bhatpara models elsewhere. Presence of a huge number of     economically weaker sections—especially subaltern peasants—from different parts of India reflected the mass base of the party and inspired the gathering.

Sensing the sentiment of the participants, the CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharyya in his significant speech reminded that 28 July is martyrdom of Charu Mazumdar and death anniversary of legendary social reformer of the 19th Century Iswarchandra Vidyasagar who broke the barrier of caste and gender toward universalisation of education, let alone the radical Widow Remarriage statute. July 31 is also the birth anniversary of revolutionary Hindi fiction writer Munshi Premchand Bhattacharyya added. The two great men symbolised the resistancc to Brahminic feudalism and colonialism in the yester years.

The timely call 'Unite and Resist' had a magnetic impact, reflected in the character of the mass convention that insulated itself from the slightest narrowness which only alienates a mass party from its masses. Bhattacharyya told the gathering that his party cherishes the legacy of Indian freedom struggle that bestowed and is committed to battle for terminating social slavery, oppression and discrimination. Hence, he asserted, there is need to strengthen the commitment for social justice, freedom of speech, liberty and equality, enshrined in the Constitution of India. He stressed that the Indian people would not bow down to Khap Panchyats and lynch mobs, patronised by the state and the powers-that-be. Bhattacharyya took up cudgels for the ideas of deep social commitment by Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar, as also other crusaders for social egalitarianism and gender justice.

Among the speakers were Teesta Setalvad, the unflinching crusader against the Godhra tragedy that triggered the Gujarat Riot in 2002, fearless and uncompromising journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, civil rights activist Dr Binnyak Sen, playwright Chandan Sen and Subhanil Chow-dhuri of Young Bengal. Present at the convention were veteran journalists Barun Das Gupta and Sankar Ray, poet Sabyaschi Deb, fiction writer Kinnar Roy and noted Naxalite of yesteryears. Krishna Bandyopadhyay (the last two having been imprisoned during 'Naxal' years).

There was no portrait of Charu Mazumdar—a conscious decision, attuned to the need of the hour, the broadest possible unity against saffron fascism. No Passaran.

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Vol. 52, No. 10, Sep 8 - 14, 2019