Supreme Court Order
The Supreme Court recently said it recognises the farmers' fundamental right to protest, but at the same time, it cannot affect other fundamental rights or the right to life of others, reported Live Law. "A protest can be constitutional till it does not destroy property or endanger life," said the top court.

However, at the same time, the Chief Justice of India also asked the Attorney General for India if the Union Government can give a commitment that the contentious farm laws will not be implemented while the court is hearing the petitions seeking removal of farmers protests.

In a hearing conducted via video conferencing, the top court said the purpose of a protest can be achieved if the farmers and the government will hold talks and "we wish to facilitate that".

But the Centre argued that if the enactment is put on hold, the farmers will not come forward for negotiations. Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was representing the government, said he will get back to the court on the issue after discussion.

Chief Justice SA Bobde, who said that the matter must be handed over to a committee, said the body must have "independent members with knowledge of agriculture and hear both sides and give a report on what is to be done".

The court order noted that in order to bring about an effective solution to the present stalemate between the protesters and government, the court considers it appropriate in the "interests of justice" to constitute a committee comprising of "independent and impartial persons including experts in the field of agriculture." Bode said that the committee may include experts like P Sainath and representatives of the government and farmers' bodies.

The Bench further said it would serve notices to protesting farmer unions and give them the liberty to approach the vacation bench. "Till the parties come before us, it would be advisable to obtain suggestions about the constitution of the committee, from all the parties which may be submitted by them, on the date of next hearing in the matter," the order read.
A Reader

Reading Contemporary India
India is going through a rapid capitalist transformation in recent times, enacting anti-labour and anti-farmer laws, and following the path of 'accumulation by dispossession'. This phase of capitalist transformation in India merges with aggressive anti-minority Hindu majoritarianism being preached by the State and non-State actors. The symbols and icons of classical Hinduism are being freely used in this rebirth of Hinduism.

What is happening in contemporary India is nothing new in history. In his classic text, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1851-52), Karl Marx unearthed such phenomenon in different periods of world history. To put it in the words of Marx:

"But unheroic though bourgeois society is, it nevertheless needed heroism, sacrifice, terror, civil war, and national wars to bring it into being. And in the austere classical traditions of the Roman Republic the bourgeois gladiators found their ideals and the art forms, the self-deceptions, that they needed to conceal from themselves the bourgeois-limited content of their struggles and to keep their passion on the high plane of great historic tragedy. Similarly, at another stage of development a century earlier, Cromwell and the English people had borrowed from the Old Testament the speech, emotions, and illusions for their bourgeois revolution".

It is worth visiting the past to draw insights for understanding today's India.
Arup Kumar Sen, Kolkata

The Last Message of Kakori Martyrs
Four Kakori martyrs of freedom movement. Rajendranath Lahiri, Ashfaqullah Khan , Roshan Singh and Ram Prasad Bismil were executed during the four days December 17-19 in the year 1927. They were all revolutionary freedom fighters of United Provinces (corresponding largely to present day Uttar Pradesh). All of them were known for their great courage and dedication to their cause.

While their acts of great courage and their sacrifices are well-known, some of their important views and messages also deserve to be more widely known, particularly n the context of present day troubled times in the country. In particular it is very useful to know what they stated in their last days. Fortunately written documents in the form of their last message to their country and its people are available.

Ram Prasad was also known as a very good poet and writer. In his last message he mentions his strong commitment not only to freedom but also to ensuring that natural resources should be shared equally by all. This shows that he was remarkably ahead of his times and was thinking not only of freedom but also of the alternative society to be created on the basis of justice and equality. He writes, "I will be hanged in a short while but I will come back to this world again and again and my aim will be that there should be freedom for all, natural resources should be shared equally by all, no one should rule or dominate others".

In this last message Ram Prasad expresses his deep commitment to communal harmony and to national unity. He mentions his deep friendship with Ashfaqullah as being symbolic of the greater harmony and unity that is so intensely needed in India. He says that this message of unity and harmony is his most important message. His precise words should be quoted, "I pray to my countrymen that if they remember us, they should remember by somehow establishing Hindu-Muslim unity-this is our last will, this should be our lasting memory."

In his last message Ashfaqullah has also conveyed similar concerns-Brothers of Hindustan, no matter to what religion or sect you belong, be one and together in serving the country. Avoid any quarrel among yourselves. We may follow different paths but our destination is the same, our aims are common. So why this useful fighting among ourselves?

In his last message Rajendranath Lahiri says that the day of death sentence is near but he is not at all afraid, he is taking it very lightly and will walk happily to the place of execution. He says that our sacrifice will not go in vain. He also says that he cannot write much because of jail restrictions. Even the little he wrote was tampered with by jail authorities, as indicated by the damaged documents.

In his last message Roshan Singh called upon his friends and near and dear ones not to be mourn his death as he is dying happily for a noble cause.
Bharat Dogra
(The writer is a journalist. He is co-author of two recent books on freedom movement When the Two Streams Met and Azadi Ke Deewanon Ki Daastaan)

Individual Terrorism
(Stalin's letter to Jhonson)
1. I think that the Communist Party of India must wage a resolute struggle against individual terrorism practicsd in some left circles of Swarajists. Communist Party must constantly explain that the tactic of individual terror is deeply contrary to party policy, aimed at winning the masses. Communist Party must constantly explain that the tactics of individual terrorism hinders the development of initiative of the masses, the masses develop passivity, develop a sense of fetishism in relation to individual heroes- terrorists and, therefore, it plays into the hands of the enemies of the revolutionary movement in India. I know that at first it will be difficult to carry out such a policy. But I also know that without a struggle against the policy of terror there will be no opportunities to put the liberation movement in India into really revolutionary tracks.

2. We should raise not the issue of withdrawal of the left wing from Swaraj, but the conquest of Swaraj Party by its left wing from inside. It is necessary to ensure that the left wing in Swaraj organised into a cohesive fraction. It is necessary to ensure that the left wing, not wasting energy, will be focusing its work primarily in the areas of Bengal and Bombay and conquering these areas onto its side. We must ensure that the basic print and party organs in these two major areas will be concentrated in the hands of the left wing. Only after the left wing is strengthened in these areas and will be a truly majority in Swaraj - only then it should raise the question of the conquest of the governing body in Swaraj Party. It is possible that right-wing elements will leave or will be kicked out. I think that there's nothing wrong with that. Rather, it is to be welcomed. Then the banner of the Swaraj apparatus will remain in the hands of the left wing, and the whole of Swaraj will generally move to the left and will be back on the track of the really revolutionary liberation movement in India. In short, the left wing should be not leaving Swaraj, but to make a conquest and capture of Swaraj from within.

3. We should bear in mind that the left in Swaraj will not always be reliable and stable in their fight against British imperialism. It should be borne in mind that not only the right Swarajists lean to portfolios but also the left Swarajists sometimes look with tenderness at these same portfolios. Where is the guarantee that the left Swarajist, after winning over Swaraj, will not then, from time to time, at least, will move to the side of the imperialists? There is only one warranty - a strong Communist Party in India. Only to the extent that the Communist Party of India will surround and push forward the Swarajist left, only to that extent it will be possible to rely that the future veered to the left Swarajist movement will never take the old opportunist tracks. The task of the Communist Party is to strengthen itself, primarily in the areas of Bengal and Bombay, which set the pace of political life in India. The task of the Communist Party is to get a foothold in these areas, to put pressure on the left Swarajists and push them to a decisive struggle against British imperialism in order to make sure that Communists will become the leading force of the revolution in India.

4. In the Muslim's fight with the Hindus, which was instigated by England, you must take a course on concessions to Muslims in the sense of the proclamation and implementation of national equality in political and religious matters, as well as in cultural field. There are not and there cannot be any other ways to eliminate the inter-national conflicts in India. The Hindus are in a majority, the Muslims are in the minority. So the Hindus could make concessions in order to liquidate international conflicts, to unite the efforts of the Hindu and Muslim working masses and to send them to fight against the main enemy of both sides, the British imperialism. Without these means, without such concessions, I am afraid, national conflicts will intensify, and the powerful revolutionary movement in India will temporarily, at least, drown in the chaos of national clashes.

So concessions to the Muslims, liquidation of national clashes on the basis of internationalism, unification of the efforts of Muslim and Hindu working masses against the main enemy, against British imperialism—that is, in my opinion, the main task.
With communist greetings,
August 6, 1926     Stalin
(Translated from the Russian by Irina Malenko.)

Vol. 53, No. 29, Jan 17 - 23, 2021