The continuously growing communal violence poses a big challenge to the revolutionary movement of workers and peasants. Why are communalism and the incidents of communal violence growing? What is their source? How can they be stopped? It is absolutely necessary today to take up these questions for discussion to respond to the call of the times to correctly lead the worker-peasant movement to deal with communalism.
In this context, the Jan Chetna Manch, Samtamulak Mahila Sangathan and Jan Sangarsh Manch organised a successful meeting “Against Communal Violence” on August 23, 2015 in Gohana town in Sonepat district of Haryana. Hundreds of workers, peasants, youth and students participated seriously in this meeting. A large number of women participated in the meeting.
The meeting hall was adorned with many messages of our patriots. Among the messages was the one expressed by Shaheed Bhagat Singh in his essay on “Communal Riots and their Cure”. Shri Naresh Virodiya, vice-President of Jan Sangarsh Manch presided over the meeting.
Shri Naresh Virodiya invited Com. Shyam Sunder- Convenor of Bhagat Singh Disha Manch, Com. Prakash Rao of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, Shri Arvind Ghosh – ex Professor Delhi University, Dr. C.D. Sharma-Advisor to Jan Chetna Manch, Shri Gajendra Rawat-Delhi Progressive Forum, Com. Sunita Tyagi-Convenor, Samtamulak Mahila Sangathan, Shri Bhagwat Swarup Sharma-Advisor Jan Sangarsh Manch, Advocate Sudesh Kumari, Shri Tarun Bose and Shri Rakesh Bhadauriya to the stage.
The meeting began with a song presented by retired Principal, Shri Ramphal Sharma.
Through excellent examples, Shri Gajendra Rawat explained that while the increasing bigotry needs to be opposed, it has to be done in the correct manner otherwise, it fans the forces that are spreading communalism. While opposing communal violence, we have to ensure that we are not targeting any particular religion.
Comrade Prakash Rao congratulated the Jan Chetna Manch, Samtamulak Mahila Sangathan and Jan Sangharsh Manch for organising a meeting on this important topic. He thanked the organisers for giving him an opportunity to put forward the views of Communist Ghadar Party. The birth of independent India was marred by the most terrible communal genocide resulting from the partition based on religion. The rulers had assured that such tragedies will never again befall on the people. However, such tragedies have taken place repeatedly. Through data he showed that the incidents of communal violence have continuously increased over succeeding decades. Based on the experiences of the 1984, 1992-93, 2002 and other gruesome incidents of communal violence, and the experience of the struggle to punish the guilty, it has been proved that the Indian State is squarely responsible for growing communalisation and organisation of communal violence.
He pointed out that in the 30 years, almost all parliamentary parties have been in power at one time or the other. During this period, incidents of communal violence have continuously increased. None of those guilty of organising these have ever been punished. Therefore, if we believe that only this or that party or individual is responsible for communal violence, then we would not be understanding the problem correctly. The State is communal. Communal violence is a favorite weapon of the bourgeois class to break the unity of the worker-peasant movement. The state is in the hands of the bourgeois class. The various organs of coercion like the police and army, the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the multi-party representative democracy, are all inseparable parts of the State. There is a role for each of these in every incident of communal violence. In this democracy, the bourgeoisie keeps on changing the governments to successfully implement their program. Whichever parties are given the task of running the government by the bourgeoisie, are nothing more than their management team. Communal violence simply cannot be eliminated by replacing one party by another to run the government.
Comrade Prakash Rao said that this propaganda was absolutely false that Indian people indulge in communal violence. He pointed out that before the British came to rule in India, there were no incidents of genocides on the basis of religion. In fact, even during the partition in 1947, while massacres were taking place in the British administered Punjab, United Provinces, Bengal, etc., there were no such incidents in the Princely States. He said that the various backward customs in the subcontinent were under attack by Bhakti and Sufi movements for hundreds of years. Under the pretext of respecting the traditions of people, the British resurrected and promoted the most backward customs and bigotry. Comrade Prakash Rao explained that in the most diabolical and planned way, the colonialists had imposed the problem of communalism on the Indian society, which formed a part of their "divide and rule" policy. They used communal violence as a weapon to break the unity of the people so that a revolution could be prevented by the disunity among the people.
The big capitalists of India are striving to fulfil their desire to emerge as a world class imperialist power. From this aim, they are making deals with imperialism. They have opened the doors wide for encouraging free flow of foreign capital and for investing their capital, accumulated through loot and plunder of the country, in other countries. The program of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation is not only anti-worker and anti-farmer, but it is also anti-social and anti-national. They are using communal violence and terrorism in a planned and deliberate manner to quell the rising opposition of workers and peasants to this program.
In conclusion, he said that people must understand that the ruling bourgeois class and its state are behind communal violence and terrorism. In the present era, the bourgeois rule is not and cannot be secular by any definition of the word. Only the path of revolution can rid the society of backward and fundamentalist ideas. Therefore, to forever rid ourselves of communal violence, we must advance on the road to social revolution to replace this exploitative and communal rule with the rule of the workers and peasants.
Comrade Shyam Sunder agreed with Comrade Prakash that the Indian State is communal and that the capitalist class uses communal violence to break the unity of the people. He said that it is wrong to think that Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs attacked each other. The ruling class, which promotes bigotry and wants to ensure that everything is looked at from religious angle by the people is behind such attacks. He pointed out that Babri Masjid was made into an issue for fanning communal passions initially through an FIR lodged in 1949 during the Nehru Administration in which made this ridiculous claim was made that an idol of Ram Lalla came down from the sky and established itself inside the Babri Masjid. He said that this lie is repeated ad nauseam that Babar demolished a Ram Mandir to make the mosque. If that were the case then how it was that Tulsidas never made a mention of it in any of his writings when he belonged to the same region and lived during Babar's time. He said that both the Congress Party and BJP are responsible for the demolition of Babri masjid and for spreading communal ideas among the people.
In the context of spread of communalism and terror in Punjab, he described one incident in 1988. A consignment of arms was caught in the Delhi airport which was imported by RAW (Indian foreign secret service) and the matter got raised in the Parliament. At that time, the Home Minister had to admit that secret services routinely imported arms but it could not be revealed where these were being used. Subsequently it was revealed that these were used by the secret service agents in Punjab to carry out terrorism and it was being claimed that Khalistanis were spreading terrorism.
To conclude he said that if we have to rid our country of bigotry then we will have to fight like Kabir and Nanak. To counter religious fanaticism, we will have to spread scientific thinking. Referring to the article written by Shaheed Bhagat Singh entitled, "Communal Riots and their Cure", in which he clearly wrote that class consciousness was essential for people not to fight among each other. The working class has to understand that their real enemy is the capitalist class, therefore, they will have to wage struggle against the exploiters, rising above religious, caste, racial and other differences. The road of establishing the proletarian democracy is the only way to eliminate all suffering from society. He clarified that ideas have to be fought at the ideological level but when communal violence is actually organised then we have to be ready to defend ourselves on the ground also.
Human rights activist Arvind Ghosh said that Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully for a millennium in Bengal. The rulers only were responsible for creating animosity and violence among them. Today too, the ruling class is splitting the people. Referring to the 2013 communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, he said that the BJP distributed 35,00,000 videos which alleged that Muslim youth were trapping Hindu girls through "love jihaad". This way they poisoned the minds of the people and succeeded in forcing the Muslims to leave their homes. All this happened when the Congress Party was in the government at the Centre. He also stressed that there was a connection between communal violence and forcible land acquisition, that communal violence will be used to facilitate grabbing thousands of acres of land for the monopoly capitalists.
Shri Ramnivas, leader of the Maruti Udyog Workers' Union said that it is the capitalists who divide people on the basis of religion. By fracturing the unity of the people, they push the workers towards poverty and deprivation, drive the farmers to commit suicide, and oppress and rape women. He said to defeat such attacks it is essential to hold such meetings in many places.
As the last speaker of the meeting, Dr. C.D. Sharma, Advisor, Jan Chetna Manch, said that people are struggling everywhere, whether it is Haryana or Gujarat or Maharashtra. Communal violence is not a religious issue but a political issue. He said that all the parliamentary parties use communalism. He pointed out that the preparation of Advani's rath yatra was done over a period of two years. People were mobilized with one brick and one Rupee for the purpose of splitting the people along religious lines and for preparing the onslaught of communal violence. There was hardly any opposition for this odious propaganda on the ground and they had a free hand in misleading the people.
Commenting on historical issues, he said that it was the British who depicted Indian history as Hindu period and Muslim period, etc. Distorting history was part of a deliberate conspiracy to split the people. Dr. Sharma pointed out that the word "Hindu" was not connected with religion at all. Our thousands of years old literature never mentioned Hindu. It referred to the people on the other side of river Sindhu by the Persians. Because it was difficult for the Persians to say the "sa" sound, they started calling the people inhabiting our sub-continent as Hindus. Dr. Sharma explained that there were no forcible conversions in the older times as claimed by some people. Those days, the only forced conversions were by the kings to completely subjugate the zagirdaars. When people converted to another religion, it was voluntary and mostly to escape their oppressive conditions such as the caste oppression. Regarding the loot of mandirs, he explained that just as mandirs are huge depositories of wealth today, in the older days also a lot of wealth was stocked in the mandirs. Various kings invaded India to loot this wealth and such kings included both Hindu and Muslim kings.
In the end he said that communal violence is used to safeguard the dominant position of the ruling capitalist class and maintain their rule. The ruling class splits the people in all sorts of ways. We have to face this squarely, and we have to organise the people in every street and every locality. He thanked the men, women and girls for their attention through the meeting. He said that our struggle cannot be merely reactive. He called upon the people to proactively prepare themselves to defeat the growing fascism.
The President of Jan Sangharsh Manch, Shri Phool Singh Gautam concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks.