Statement of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 10th March, 2017
The 23rd of March is the day Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev and Shaheed Rajguru were hanged to death by the British Raj in 1931. It is the occasion for all Indian revolutionaries to renew their commitment to fight with redoubled energy to accomplish the goal for which they fought and sacrificed their lives, the goal of revolution and a socialist India.
On this day a year ago, Prime Minister Modi tweeted, “In the prime of their youth, these three brave men sacrificed their lives so that generations after them can breathe the air of freedom”.
Facts reveal, however, that in spite of colonial rule having ended almost 70 years ago, the vast majority of Indians are not breathing the air of freedom. Workers are not free from unemployment, inflation and intense exploitation at the work place. Peasants are not free from heightened insecurity of livelihood and the threat of their land being grabbed to serve corporate interests. Women are not free from discrimination, oppression and violence of old and new kinds. Student youth are not free to discuss political issues in university campuses. The social environment is not free from state and individual terrorism and hooliganism. Members of lower castes are not free from discrimination and social exclusion. Religious groups are not free from the threat of communal violence.
It is only a minority of big capitalists, big landlords and other parasites in our country who are enjoying unlimited freedom to exploit and loot everyone else, in collaboration with foreign capitalists. The economy of India is not free from the stranglehold of global finance capital and the imperialist system.
This is clearly not the free India for which Bhagat Singh and his comrades sacrificed their lives.
“Our struggle will continue as long as a handful of men, be they foreign or native, or both in collaboration with each other, continue to exploit the labour and resources of our people. Nothing shall deter us from this path.” These wise words of the Ghadaris, which Bhagat Singh and his comrades liked to repeat, compels the attention of every Indian of conscience today.
Nobody can deny that the labour and resources of our people are still being exploited and plundered by native and foreign capitalists. Hence the struggle for an India free from all forms of exploitation and oppression continues, as our revolutionary martyrs predicted.
Bhagat Singh was inspired by the words and deeds of Hindustan Ghadar Party, the first revolutionary political party of Indians, formed in 1913 to overthrow British colonial rule over India through a mass armed uprising. He was inspired by, and learnt many lessons from, the Great October Revolution in Russia and the triumphant march of socialism in the Soviet Union during the decade of the twenties.
As an active member of Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which subsequently renamed itself as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, Bhagat Singh was committed to the aim of completely eliminating the colonial British Indian State and building in its place an entirely new State. The 1925 Manifesto of HRA had formulated the political aim of the revolution as the creation of a United States of India, which would respect the sovereign rights of all the various nations, nationalities and peoples who had come together in the struggle for liberation from British colonial rule.
The internationalism of Shaheed Bhagat Singh stands in stark contrast to the present official line that India is “one nation” and anyone who talks of national rights of Kashmiris, Punjabis or any other constituent people is “anti-national”.
During the anti-colonial struggle, the proletarian internationalist spirit of Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries stood in stark contrast to the pseudo-nationalism of the Congress and Muslim League, which refused to recognise the multinational character of India. Those parties became pawns in the communal divide and rule strategy of British imperialism, resulting in a “Hindu majority” state and a “Muslim majority” state created through arbitrary partition of territories and breaking up of the nations of Punjab and Bengal.
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were condemned to death for advocating uncompromising struggle against British colonialism aimed at its complete overthrow, unlike the Congress, Muslim League and other parties that sought accommodation within the colonial order. The colonial State awarded death sentences to Bhagat Singh and his comrades because it was threatened by their revolutionary stand. The colonialists branded them as “terrorists” in order to discredit them in the eyes of future generations.
Bhagat Singh’s defence of his actions in the British colonial court showed that he was neither a terrorist nor a “nationalist” of the Congress or BJP variety. He was an uncompromising revolutionary fighter against imperialism and colonialism, for the cause of socialism and communism.
Answering the question as to what he meant by the word revolution, Bhagat Singh said at his court trial: “Revolution does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife nor is there any place in it for individual vendetta. It is not the cult of the bomb and the pistol. By ‘Revolution’ we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change. Producers or labourers, in spite of being the most necessary element of society, are robbed by their exploiters of the fruits of their labour and deprived of their elementary rights. The peasant who grows corn for all, starves with his family; the weaver who supplies the world market with textile fabrics, has not enough to cover his own and his children's bodies; masons, smiths and carpenters who raise magnificent palaces, live like pariahs in the slums. The capitalists and exploiters, the parasites of society, squander millions on their whims. These terrible inequalities and forced disparity of chances are bound to lead to chaos. This state of affairs cannot last long …
“The whole edifice of this civilisation, if not saved in time, shall crumble. A radical change, therefore, is necessary and it is the duty of those who realise it to reorganise society on socialistic basis. Unless this is done and the exploitation of man by man and of nations by nations is brought to an end, sufferings and carnage with which humanity is threatened today cannot be prevented. All talk of ending war and ushering in an era of universal peace is undisguised hypocrisy.
“By ‘Revolution’, we mean the ultimate establishment of an order of society which may not be threatened by such breakdown, and in which the sovereignty of the proletariat should be recognised and a world federation should redeem humanity from the bondage of capitalism and misery of imperial wars.
“This is our ideal, and with this ideology as our inspiration, we have given a fair and loud enough warning. If, however, it goes unheeded and the present system of government continues to be an impediment in the way of the natural forces that are swelling up, a grim struggle will ensue involving the overthrow of all obstacles, and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat to pave the way for the consummation of the ideal of revolution.”
The root of the economic, political and social problems that plague Indian society today lies in the “transfer of power” which took place in 1947, a backroom deal to deliver political independence without social revolution. The colonial machinery of State and its “Rule of Law” have been preserved intact in independent India so as to prevent and block the road to revolution.
To follow in the footsteps of Shaheed Bhagat Singh means to organise to solve the problems of Indian society through collective action based on scientific analysis. It means to recognise that India is crying out for a revolution that will put an end to capitalism and all remnants of feudalism, colonialism and imperialism.
A thorough-going revolution is required that will end the rule of the big capitalists headed by the monopoly houses and establish workers’ and peasants’ rule, thereby ensuring that national wealth benefits the toiling masses of people. The revolution would replace the existing State by an entirely new State, a voluntary Indian Union as envisioned by the Ghadaris. Only then can all Indians breathe the air of freedom.
The new State of the dictatorship of the proletariat would ensure freedom from exploitation for those who toil, freedom from insecurity for those who till the land, freedom from caste and gender based discrimination, national oppression and all forms of persecution. It would do so by eliminating the “right” and the economic basis of an exploiting minority to live off the fruits of other people’s labour. It will make a clean break with the imperialist system and organise the construction of a self-reliant socialist economy, in alliance with all anti-imperialist forces on the world scale.
Long live the words and deeds of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev!