A Professional Revolutionary

Remembering Thana Singh

Harsh Thakor

The Communist revolutionary contingent dips its red flag in memory of Thana Singh who had recently departed from the ranks of communist revolutionary movement after a brief but fatal bout of illness. Without doubt he has carved a permanent niche amongst the great communist revolutionary leaders of India.

His departure terminated an illustrious chapter of almost five and half decades of dedicated life of a professional communist revolutionary. Born in late thirties in a modest peasant family of Punjab, Thana Singh integrated with trade union movement in early sixties.

With the relentless spirit of a soldier and adept skill of a surgeon, he conducted an underground life, for 4 decades.

Thana Singh‘s life was a manifestation of the very soul or spiritual essence of a Marxist revolutionary .At crucial junctures he made the imperative transformations. The course of his life was moulded in the very furnace of class struggle. Above all, he championed the revolutionary mass line, and till the last breath shimmered Marxism- Leninism Mao tse Tung Thought, like an inextinguishable flame, facing all types of perils. He never allowed the reputation of the Communist movement to be tarnished.

In mid-sixties during his studies in Punjab University, Chandigarh, he established contact with Communist Party of India (CPI) and joined its student organisation. After the advent of the Naxalbari uprising he became part and parcel the Communist Revolutionary ranks committed to Marxism–Leninism–Mao tse-Tung Thought and the People’s War Path of the Indian revolution. As a dedicated activist belonging to the All India Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries, he played an integral role in technical preparations for armed struggle under the leadership of Daya Singh who later became secretary of the state unit of CPI (ML) and fell to bullets in a false police encounter. With a meticulous enquiring spirit he investigated polemics about the correct line for the Indian revolution.

His coming into close relation with  Harbhajan Singh Sohi, propelled him to recognise and grasp the significance of revolutionary mass line and united with the determined team of communist revolutionaries–a very scattered bunch at the time–struggling against the wrong trend for correct application of Marxism–Leninism–Mao tse-Tung Thought. He was among the architects of Bathinda-Ferozepur Revolutionary Committee and then the Punjab Communist Revolutionary Committee (PCRC), which sowed the seeds of the revolutionary massline in Punjab.

During emergency period when HBS was in jail Thana Singh performed duties of  secretary of the state committee of PCRC which formulated the resolution on situation of emergency as well as the guidelines for work in situation of fascist onslaught.

He toiled to the very last straw for intellectual grasp of correct Marxist-Leninist line and made an invaluable contribution in its projection among the ranks of communist revolutionary camp.

Thana Singh exhibited high volumes of mastery in defending attacks on Lenin, Stalin or on Mao.

He played a most constructive role in the ideological-political moulding and practical guidance to the party activists deployed on the peasants’ front.

After the 1980’s Thana Singh ‘s major contribution was preventing the Communist movement from being robbed of falling in the pitfall of Sikh nationalist or Punjabi nationality politics, and he played a vanguard role in establishing the correct line to confront Khalistani and state terrorism.

On verge of death, he expressed high level of concern with problems of work and organisation. He repeatedly expressed his quest and optimism to re-join his work. Anticipating the probability of death, he was pleased with his accomplishments as well as ready to accept his impending doom with a materialist attitude. He said: “I have lived my life with full satisfaction in the movement. Faced with death, I am to leave with a smile on the face”.

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Vol 56, No. 16, Oct 15 - 21, 2023