Sixty years ago, on 26th January, 1950, the Republic of the Indian Union was established. A Constitution was adopted by the leaders of the Congress Party who sat in the Constituent Assembly.
Colonial rule had come to an end on 15th August, 1947. In the 29 months following the declaration of independence, the leaders of the Congress Party and Muslim League collaborated in the bloody Partition engineered by the British colonialists. Millions of families were uprooted from their homes and thousands were slaughtered in cold blood. Kashmir, Punjab and Bengal were each divided into two parts, lying on two sides of the hostile Indo-Pak border. Nagaland and Manipur were integrated into India by force. Colonial style empire building states were established in India and Pakistan.
Both the Republic of India and the Republic of Pakistan were born out of the communal Partition. Both the states negate the rights of individual nations, nationalities and peoples who have inhabited this subcontinent for many centuries. Both these republics came into being on the basis of drowning in blood the struggles of the peoples for their national and social liberation. They continue to use force to suppress the national aspirations of the peoples within their territories.
The leaders of the Congress Party who architected the 1950 Constitution represented the interests of the big capitalists and big landlords, who had collaborated and benefited from British colonial rule. They adopted a European style Constitution, disregarding the rich heritage of our own peoples. The basic foundation of this Constitution was derived from the Government of India Act of 1935, which was a further development of the state created on the basis of crushing the Ghadar of 1857. The Indian bourgeois class found it beneficial to preserve the institutions of oppression and plunder that the British colonialists left behind. They adopted the European system of parliamentary democracy, designed to keep the bourgeoisie in power.
Over the past 60 years, the Indian bourgeoisie has used this Republic to amass enormous wealth and to consolidate its domination over the entire country. Having built up its industrial, financial, military, export and overseas investment capacity, the Indian bourgeoisie is on an aggressive imperialist drive today. It is keen to strengthen and expand the Indian Republic into a global superpower over the next decade. This means more intense exploitation and plunder of the land and labour of workers and peasants. It means using the toiling masses as cannon fodder for imperialist wars.
Life experience of the past 60 years has shown that the bourgeoisie will not fulfill the aspirations of the peoples of India for national and social liberation. As long as bourgeois rule remains, super-exploitation, unemployment and insecurity of livelihood will be the lot of the toiling majority. Strife and disunity among nations and peoples will only grow from bad to worse in this subcontinent. The danger of war is bound to increase as the Indian bourgeoisie implements its aggressive imperialist drive.
Which is the social force that can end the colonial legacy and rescue the situation? Which class can lead our people to build an India that is stable and firmly united, and a factor for peace and cooperation among peoples? Is there such a force in our society? Yes, there is such a social force. It is the Indian working class, which has grown in size and composition over the past 60 years, and is the largest class in our society today.
The working class is not tied to any particular piece of land or territory, hence to no nation in particular. It is united across national, religious and caste barriers by its class nature of having nothing to sell except its labour power. Workers have been drawn from the South to the North, from East to West, as a result of which the Indian working class is multi-national, multi-racial and multi-lingual. It has close links with the peasants in every part of the country. It also has links with the emigrant populations in various countries abroad. It is a class that has the latent potential to lead the toiling majority to give shape to a new India.
The working class has no stake in preserving the colonial legacy. On the contrary, the working class stands to gain everything from breaking completely with the colonial legacy, including the capitalist system and European style parliamentary democracy. It has nothing to lose but its chains.
The working class, led by its Communist Party, can and must unite the peasants and other oppressed masses of all nationalities against their common oppressor, the bourgeoisie and its state. It must champion the cause of reconstituting India as a voluntary union of consenting nations, nationalities and peoples. Voluntary means that first the right of every nation to decide its own destiny must be recognized. Every constituent of the union must be free to choose, and enter the union willingly, for mutual benefit.
In today’s 60-year old Republic, national liberation movements face brutal repression in Kashmir, in the Northeast and elsewhere. They are alleged to be posing a threat to the “unity and territorial integrity of India”. Army rule and arbitrary killing by central security forces continues to be legitimized by the colonial and fascistic Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. On the other hand, attempts to incite people against one another, for the benefit of a minority of big capitalists, are deemed to be legitimate political activity.
According to the 1950 Constitution, new states can be created within the Union, existing states can be partitioned, all at the will of the central parliament. The capitalists and their parties back various movements for creating new states whenever it suits their interests. Giant mining and steel corporations have taken advantage of the creation of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, for example, to more easily establish monopolistic control over sources of raw materials.
Today, different factions and parties of the capitalist class are fighting for and against the creation of Telengana as another state of the Indian Union. Their contention is over Hyderabad and the high value land associated with this IT city. They are manipulating the sentiments of the peasants and working people of Telengana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra in their own narrow interest.
The bourgeoisie is dead opposed to any change in the constitution of the Indian Union, because it does not want any weakening of its current positions or any threat to the territory it controls. Only the working class has the interest as well as the capacity to reconstitute the Indian Union, so as to open the path to progress for all.
The working class did not succeed in becoming the leader of Indian society 60 years ago. Its latent potential has been locked up by parties that call themselves communist but have become cheer leaders for the Indian Republic. Such pseudo-communists teach workers to worship the 1950 Constitution, instead of preparing them to establish their own state with a new Constitution. They even support the “unity and integrity” slogan of the Indian imperialist bourgeoisie. In order for the working class to realize its potential and play its historic role, communists must expose and defeat such pseudo-communist practices within the communist movement.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Republic of the Indian Union, the Communist Ghadar Party of India calls on all organisations and leaders of the working class to unite around our common class aim. Let us lead the working class to constitute itself as the unifier and leader of the peoples of India, to establish a voluntary union where the well being of each will be the condition for the well being of all.