Homage to Comrade Darshan Singh Khooli of Punjab

Harsh Thakor

On November 19th the Comrade Darshan Singh Khooli departed., who was president of the Ludhiana district unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) Ugrahan. He was victim of a bout of prolonged illness to which he succumbed may have lost his last bout against illness but in his lifetime won the equivalent of many a successful bout in a boxing ring in inflicting wounds in the agenda of the of the ruling classes and their agents. His death was major loss to the mass movement and Communist revolutionary contingent in Punjab. Till his last breadth he shimmered the flame of Naxalbari and Mao thought like a boulder resisting the most powerful of gales. Above all he was fitting example of how a Comrade could stand up to the most hazardous obstacles created by the ruling classes of the times with consistency of practice.

Khooli was one of the pioneers in lighting the spark of the Naxalite movement in Punjab with comrades like Baba Bhuja Singh, Daya Singh and Jagjit Singh Johal. He sowed the seeds for several red roses to spring all over Punjab. He gained his political baptism from 1969 C.P.I.(M.L.) but eventually joined the Punjab -Himachal Committee formed and led by Darshan Singh Khatkar. From 1973-1984 he was part of the group that supported the line of Chandra Pulla Reddy-Satyanarayan Singh. With meticulous precision he strived to practice the line which traversed the path of left deviation till 1977 before vacillating to rightist capitulationism after. It is a testimony that Koohli weathered the storm of left and right trends which played an important role in shaping his political character.

In 1984 Comrade Khooli left the Chandra Pulla Reddy -S. N. Singh group of C.P.I.(M.L.) to join the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India led by late Harbhajan Sohi. He played an important role in guiding the mass line in the period of Khalistani movement. After 1994 he became inactive due to bad health but still played a role as the Ludhiana district president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan).

Koohli's depth of understanding and dialectical mastery of Marxist-Leninist theory played a major role in the success of the Naxalbari martyrs memorial conference in Rajeana in November 1994 and the Homage memorial mass meting for late comrade Harbhajan Sohi. in 2009 and Gursharan Singh in 2011.All these conferences were illustrations of practice of correct massline practice in staging political conferences and not just converting them into mere party platforms. Significant it is 25 years since the conference was held in Rajeana illuminating the scared flame of Naxalbari martyrs mobilizing 12000 people. In simple language the broad masses of Punjab were conveyed the meaning of Naxalbari. In all the Election campaigns in Punjab of recent times Koohli was one of the leading protagonists of the line of 'Active political campaign' as against 'Active boycott" and 'tactical participation in elections. Comrades never forget how Kholi deployed every ounce of his energy to give shape to the correct political understanding and mobilize them, reminiscent of a surgeon stitching a wound.

With great tenacity he propelled the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line like a boulder resisting the most powerful of gales. He was responsible for compiling a book of all the writings and documents in 2011 by late comrade Harbhajan Sohi like the 1996 Internal and International line, the document on the General line of the International Communist Movement and Mao Thought in 1982 and writing on Kashmir in 1990.Few comrades understood line of late Comrade HBS so thoroughly. or shaped or did justice to the mass line of HBS or T. Nagi Reddy now represented by the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist) with such remorseless skill.

What is pertinent that Comrade Koohli shaped political slogans or propaganda compatible or in consonance with the political consciousness of the masses. He also exhibited great mastery in upholding the revolutionary democratic spirit of mass organizations to preserve their democratic functioning and not convert them into platforms of Maoist party politics. His work played the role of an architect in giving shape to the correct political trends in Punjab in this regard. Today the infection of mixing mass and party platforms remains an infection which vitiates political practice in Punjab. Koohli displayed in depth grasp of Marxist polemics by fighting the trend that converted mass organizations into economic outfits merely for fulfilling partial demands as well as the trend of turning mass organizations into Marxist-Leninist forums.

He also was a very talented writer and cultural activist embezzling the revolutionary spark in many a democratic cultural gathering.

His invaluable loss will be compensated with the fact that in Punjab, the Communist Revolutionary led democratic revolutionary movement is taking on a shape of genuine mass character and is a thorn in the flesh to the ruling classes.

A district level homage commemoration meeting is being led in his hometown in Ludhiana on November 28th.

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Nov 27, 2019