Harsh Thakor’s tribute to Sushil Roy, one of the tallest leaders of Indian revolutionary movement (Frontier, July 27-Aug 2, 2014) is laudable. But it doesn’t reflect the actual situation the united Maoist movement has been in for quite some years. As Harsh Thakor has raised some issues in the name of Sushil Roy they need some clarifications. The issues related to the so-called weaknesses of CPI(ML) Party Unity concerning peasant association squads etc. and also with regard to the ‘watertight discipline prior to 2004 etc.’ deserve serious scrutiny.
Prior to the merger of PW and MCCI in 2004 and the formation of CPI (Maoist), both the parties had maintained that there had been three main parties, in the post-Naxalbari phase—MCCI, CPI (ML)[PW] and CPI(ML)[PU], which upheld the naxalbari path and were steadfast in building armed agrarian revolutionary movement while succeeding in raising the movement to the guerilla war stage by challenging the might of the Indian state. Many other groups had backed off when they had to face the state terror, though many of them successfully led the anti-feudal struggles. Some groups like CPI(ML)-Liberation though initially carried out some attacks on the state forces did not display the political courage to advance the struggle to the stage of guerilla warfare and further and eventually left the armed path of revolution. In truth, the broad unity of the earlier mentioned three parties in carrying out armed revolution which subsequently led to the merger of CPI(ML) Party Unity and CPI(ML) [People’s War] in 1998 and then to the merger of CPI(ML)[PW] and MCCI in 2004.
The mergers took place after thoroughly making their political and organisational reviews separately within their parties and then together, and after coming to a collective understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of thirty years of practice. The experiences were synthesized in the statement of the General Secretary of CPI (Maoist) Gana-pathy, where he said that ‘the merger of the two parties does not just bring together two organizations and their numbers and thus make a quantitative leap, but it makes a qualitative leap by the synthesis of the experiences of the two great streams [CPI(ML) and MCCI] of Indian revolution’.
The synthesizing process did not stop in 2004, but it was further continued and enriched during the course of the 9th Congress (Unity Congress) of the party in 2007. Tragically, Sushil Roy was absent during the later process, as he was arrested in 2005 itself and was behind bars till 2012, by which time he was bed ridden with cancer. During the course of this synthesis and organisational review, both the positive experiences as well as the weaknesses in the functioning of MKSS, APRCS (Andhra Pradesh Rytu Coolie Sangram, AP Peasant and Labourer Association) and KKC were more thoroughly discussed, summed up, reviewed and lessons were drawn. The review has not drawn conclusions in the manner that Harsh Thakor has presented. The purpose of a review for communist revolutionaries has always been to draw lessons for future action.
The review has not foreclosed the formation of open peasant organisation outright. Depending on the objective conditions and needs, various types of peasant organisations—open, semi-open and underground, could be formed. The partial presentation of Harsh Thakor comparing the functioning of the MKSS and KKC does not, therefore, reflect the whole truth and is misleading, to say the least. Similarly his formulation that ‘from 1969 to its formation till 2004 before merging with the CPI(ML)PW, it (MCCI) maintained the structure of the party with water-tight discipline with no central committee leader arrested and no military squad liquidated’, also leads to misleading conclusions, apart from not being factually completely correct. The logical deduction will lead to the conclusion that while discipline had prevented arrests prior to 2004, loose functioning led to the arrests later. The objective assessment will lead to different conclusions. The merger of PW and MCCI and the formation of CPI (Maoist) was seen as a serious threat to the state authorities.
One should remember that the Nepal revolution was also taking giant strides at that time. Manmohan Singh declared that the Maoists posed the greatest threat to the internal security. Indian state took the formation of CPI (Maoist) very seriously and the stage had been set for hitherto unseen war on the revolutionary movement in the country. The Central government took upon itself to put down this challenge to their exploitative system with an iron fist. Intelligence agencies were vastly improved. Specialised counterinsurgency forces were raised both at the central as well as at various state levels. APSIB, the most experienced, efficient, ruthless and brutal intelligence organisation was made the nodal agency for intelligence gathering throughout India as far as Maoist movement was concerned. It was especially given the task to target the Maoist leadership.
Most of the central leadership arrested throughout India—whether it was Narayan Sanyal in Raipur, Chandramouli and R Reddy in Kerala, Kobad Ghandy in Delhi, Amitabh Bagchi in Patna, B P Singh in Kanpur, Azad in Nagpur or Patel Sudhakar Reddy in Nasik among others were picked up by the APSIB only. Some were put behind bars but most of those belonging to AP were cold bloodedly killed in the fake encounters. Sushil Roy was also arrested in 2005, in the post-2004 enhanced activation of intelligence agencies. Compared to AP, most of the other Maoist affected states including Bihar, Jharkhand and to some extent Bengal did not have as highly trained intelligence agency as APSIB and highly trained counterinsurgency force like Grey Hounds. The communications and co-ordination were also not developed so much. One has also to take this factor into consideration, while assessing the reasons for the losses. It is also a tragic fact that the Maoist Party has so far been unable to prevent the arrest of its top leadership outside the guerilla zones, in spite of its best efforts. The party has been striving to revise suitable methods of functioning after introspecting about the short-comings in this matter and trying to plug the loose ends to prevent such serious leadership lapses, without which the revolutionary movement will be difficult to be built outside the armed struggle zones.
Akhilesh Yadav, Amith Bagchi,
B P Singh, Vijay Kumar Arya, Ravi Sharma
Vizag Central Jail, 11-08-2014