Assembly elections in Punjab

Communists must work for the program of Navnirman of the state and society!

Elections to the Punjab legislature will be held on January 31. The main contenders for the next state government are the Akali Dal – BJP alliance and the Congress Party.  Neither of them have any credible vision to offer for the future of Punjab and its industrious people.

Communists must work for the program of Navnirman of the state and society!

Elections to the Punjab legislature will be held on January 31. The main contenders for the next state government are the Akali Dal – BJP alliance and the Congress Party.  Neither of them have any credible vision to offer for the future of Punjab and its industrious people.

The nation of Punjab has suffered enormously over the past 65 years. Punjab was divided by the bloody Partition of 1947. Millions of Punjabi men, women and children were massacred in the communal holocaust that accompanied that partition. There was large scale migration between the two parts of Punjab. In the sixties, the portion of Punjab in India was further divided on the basis of language.

The Indian big bourgeoisie decided to turn Punjab into the bread basket of the country in the sixties and seventies. The aim was to ensure that large scale food riots did not take place in the cities of the country. Punjab was the major target of the Green Revolution, whose aim was to expand the home market for the big capitalist houses and to create a buffer stock of wheat and rice under central government control.  The Food Corporation of India procured the wheat and rice produced by the farmers of Punjab at state guaranteed prices. All this was touted as being part of a "socialistic pattern of society".  While a few capitalist farmers and former landlords in Punjab became rich as a result of these policies, the vast majority of peasants were impoverished.

In the eighties and nineties, the Indian state launched a massive assault on the Punjabi people and their struggle to affirm their rights as a nationality.  Political issues were turned into “law and order” problems and brute force was unleashed in the name of crushing "Sikh terrorism", "separatism", and "fundamentalism". The Indian state  incited communalist forces to break the united struggle of the Punjabis for their national rights.  Communal hatred was spread, to divide the people and crush their aspirations. The Indian state stage managed massacres of people of Hindu faith by its police and intelligence agencies, and blamed "Sikh terrorists" for the same. It organized OPERATION BLUE STAR — an attack on the most sacred shrine of Sikhs, in June 1984, in which thousands of innocent people were massacred by the Army. It followed it up with many more Army Operations against Gurudwaras all across the rural districts of Punjab.

The Congress Party ruling at the Center organized the genocide of Sikhs in Delhi, Kanpur and other places in November 1984, in which thousands of Sikhs were massacred. All evidence has confirmed that this genocide was preplanned, and had nothing to do with any "spontaneous reaction" of people to the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Indian state reorganized the Punjab police to carry out torture and massacre of tens of thousands of Sikh youth in the decade after Blue Star. It organized the killings of rights activists. Thousands of bodies of disappeared persons have been found in the waters of the rivers and canals of Punjab.

Those guilty of such horrendous crimes have never been punished. Whether it has been the Congress Party or BJP in command at the center, the guilty have not been punished. This confirms that communal violence and state terrorism in Punjab are part of official policy.  It is part of the preferred policy of the Indian big bourgeoisie. 

Lakhs of Punjabi men and women from Punjab have been forced to migrate to foreign lands as a result of the policies of the Indian state.  Those who have migrated face persecution in foreign lands. Far from defending their rights, the Indian state colludes with the imperialists in persecuting them for their political views.

When it served the interests of the bourgeoisie, it provided fertilizers, seeds, irrigation, etc as well as procured the crops. The farmers were always at the mercy of the bourgeoisie. When the bourgeoisie decided to abandon the Public procurement of wheat and rice, in the name that it was cheaper to import wheat and rice from Canada and other countries, and used this to pressure the farmers to accept lower prices, this led to bankruptcy of farmers. Punjab had already been turned from a self reliant economy to an "export oriented" economy, at the mercy of the Indian big bourgeoisie.

Capitalist agriculture and commercial farming for an increasingly globalised market require extensive use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and controlled water supply.  Farmers have been driven increasingly into debt to pay for the rising costs of agricultural production, while the prices paid for their produce have been highly uncertain and inadequate.  The groundwater table has dropped sharply on account of rampant spread of private tube wells, in the absence of adequate public irrigation. Thousands of peasants, caught in a never-ending cycle of indebtedness and inadequate returns on their investment, have committed suicide in Punjab over the last few years.  

Industrial development has lagged behind the rest of the country.  There is no large-scale industry after 65 years of independence, despite the proven technical skills of Punjabis.

None of the parliamentary parties in the present elections in Punjab address any of the economic and political issues that are vital for the future of the Punjabi people.

The Congress Party has been responsible for all the tragedies inflicted on the Punjabi people. To think that it will solve their problems is to be foolish. It is the main party of the big monopoly bourgeoisie, alongside the BJP.

The Akali Dal claims to represent the people of Punjab, particularly the peasantry.  It claims to represent the aspirations of the people of Punjabi nationality.  It once championed a set of national political demands called the Anandpur Sahib resolution.  The Akali leaders have compromised with the ruling big bourgeoisie. Today, the Akali Party is silent on the state terrorism and genocide unleashed by the centre on the Punjabi nationality and on the peasants and workers of Punjab residing elsewhere. It is silent on the unresolved national question of Punjab.

The workers and peasants of Punjab have progressive and revolutionary traditions, going back more than a century. They yearn for revolution. They want workers’ and peasants’ rule.

The role played by CPI, CPM and Maoists of various shades have created great damage to the movement in Punjab of the workers and peasants. The CPI and CPM created illusions amongst the workers and peasants of Punjab about the Green Revolution and "socialistic pattern of society". They supported the slogan of Indian big bourgeoisie on defending the "unity and territorial integrity of India", when the people of Punjab rose in revolt in the eighties. The CPI, CPM and Maoists apologized for state terrorism in Punjab in the eighties and nineties, under the name of fighting "Sikh extremism", "communalism". "fundamentalism" etc. Today, the CPI and CPM are joining hands with yet another "third front" in the Punjab elections. They refuse to support the communist program of Navnirman of Indian state and society.

The task facing communists in Punjab is to put forward the program of the Navnirman of Indian state and society. In essence it is the program of bringing into place the rule of workers and peasants, and reconstituting India as a voluntary union of nations and peoples. Only in this way can the workers and peasants of Punjab determine their own destiny as a proud people.

One comment

  1. Respected editor,

    The

    Respected editor,

    The article very clearly bring out the real political and economic  issues faced by the people of Punjab. 

    Just today i came across a news item highlighting the plight of even very large farmers of Punjab who are potato growers. The news item highlighted as to how due to bumper crop of potato in last 2 years and due to the complete control exercised by big trading companies over the prices of agri commodities , the farmers can not even get the price which can offset the production cost for their potato crop and many were forced to sale potatoes to big traders @ Rs. 1.50 per kg.! Instead of clarifying the real cause of this plight , the Congress Party lead by Rahul Gandhi is reportedly using this to justify their support for FDI in retail. According to news reports Rahul Gandhi is reportedly saying during campaign that "…..this mystery can be resolved by foreign companies who have rich experience in retail ! "

    Such is the way of all bourgeoise political parties. Even in people's plight they will try to find false justifications for their future program for loot ! No ! As rightly pointed out in the article only a program of Navnirman of Indian society can the plight of people of Punjab and all over India will be permanently erased.

    Your reader,

    Girish

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