[The first instalment of the English translation of the speech delivered by Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C), in Bengali at the memorial meeting of Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar, Polit Bureau member, SUCI (C), held at Sachin Banerjee-Subodh Banerjee memorial maidan in Jaynagar, South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, on 11 July 2022, was published in P Era dated 15 August 2022. This is the second and final instalment. Responsibility of translation error and inadequate expression, if any, lies with the Editorial Board, Proletarian Era]
Our Party is based on revolutionary principle and ideology
During election, all the parties buy vote with money. They have turned people into beggars. Before vote, they distribute alms to the people. Poor people are confused, deviated from the right track, unconscious and unorganized. They think—‘let us take whatever little money we are getting because such would not be available later’. Thus, they sell themselves out. Not for a single moment do they pause and think what this money is being doled out for. When the impoverished millions languish in hunger throughout the year, do these leaders ever care for them? Do the ministers visit them? But when election knocks at the door, they appear on the scene with bagful of money. This is nothing but investment. They invest by giving alms so that they could fetch several times more of money in their 5-year term as legislators or ministers. How do they make money? You all are devastated by the harrowing price rise which is the handiwork of the capitalist owners. The same capitalists finance these vote-based parties. They want that these parties win and form governments so that they could raise the prices at will and carry out their loot and plunder with alacrity. They also promise to share a part of the booty with these MLAs, MPs and ministers. This is what is going on. We do not indulge in such dirty politics of falsehood and fortune-making. We are ready to lose in election. In fact, we have been losing. But ours is the only Party which seeks donation from the people at the time of election. People are surprised because they find that we ask for both vote and donation whereas others give money to get vote. We even collect the deposit money for contesting election from public. We go from door to door, knocking for collecting donations. We spend the money so collected to meet the expenses for campaigning like hiring loudspeakers, printing posters and handbills etc. This very meeting of today is also organized based on donations collected from the local people. We have never sold us out to the capitalists. They cannot purchase us. This is a revolutionary party. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh has further strengthened and enriched the victory march of revolutionary movement which commenced with the martyrdom of Kshudiram, by arming it with Marxism-Leninism. We are struggling to raise high the banner of that revolutionary politics. We do not have an MLA or MP. But could that break our Party? In this very district of South 24 Parganas, so many leaders and workers have been murdered during the Congress regime. During the rule of the CPI (M), the number of killings had swelled even more. The ground was soaked with flowing blood. The TMC also did not hesitate to kill one of our leaders, and slapped false cases on us. But could they destroy our Party? Our Party is not banking on the number of MLAs or MPs. We are firmly based on revolutionary ideology, culture and morality. So, our Party organization is expanding throughout the country. Despite virtual blackout in the media, our Party is making bold strides ahead. The RSP and Forward Bloc have no one to hold even their banners. The CPI has become a party of a few persons. After being trounced in the election, the CPI (M) is almost bed-ridden. They are yet to recover from the shock. In order to revive them, the mainstream media have been giving them wide publicity. And what about our Party? The CPI (M) might have a slight edge over us in terms of headcount.
But our Party has now emerged in the state as the largest struggling leftist force. In Karnataka, our Party is the biggest left party in terms of strength. Same is the case in Odisha. If we continue to struggle like this, soon we shall attain number one position in West Bengal also as a left party. Being imbued with the revolutionary teachings of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, thousands of students, youths, workers, peasants, women, teachers, professors, lawyers, doctors and intellectuals are joining our Party. We shall continue to struggle with this great ideology and firm conviction, conviction of both honesty and purpose. Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar had conducted life-long struggle doggedly with this firm revolutionary conviction and ideology.
He conducted a unique struggle after undertaking organizational responsibility
There is another instance of the glorious struggle conducted by Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar. When he was an MLA, he was not that involved in organizational activities. It was not needed also. Because at that time, both Comrades Yakub Pailan and Amir Ali Halder were alive. Many other leaders and able workers were alive. It is they who looked after the Party organization. But then a necessity arose for assigning organizational responsibility to Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar. Comrade Rabin Mandal who is here and presiding over this meeting is one of the valiant leaders of the heroic movement that the poor peasants, sharecroppers and agricultural workers had launched holding aloft the banner of proletarian revolution immediately after independence. This glorious movement surged forth on both sides of the rivers of Kultali, Raidighi and adjacent areas. Thousands of peasants took part in the movement. Many had laid down their lives. Based on that, our Party organization developed here. Comrade Rabin Mandal was one of the front-ranking leaders of that movement. Today he is ailing, infirm. He is the only leader of that movement who is alive. In the meanwhile, many of the leaders have been murdered while others have passed away because of old age and being afflicted by various diseases.
Comrade Yakub Pailan was protecting the Party organization with all his might till his last breath. But when he too had passed away, naturally a void was created. Who would undertake the responsibility of Party organization in that district? I asked Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar to shoulder the responsibility. He doubted whether he would able to do so as he had never been involved in that type of organizational work. I assured him that he would be able to do so. Then he took up the responsibility and proved that he was capable of discharging the responsibility efficiently. He had moved from village to village, inspired the Party workers, made them understand the political line of the Party and resolved many organizational problems. Earlier, the Party work in the district had depended largely on Comrade Yakub Pailan. Organizational activities were conducted based on the understanding, ability and personality of Comrade Pailan. Under Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar, a team of the Party leaders had evolved to look after the organization collectively. He used to listen to everyone patiently and with due importance and then took decision. Never had he imposed his own views on others. If anyone, even if a junior comrade pointed out any mistake of his, he could accept that with ease. He never harboured any grievance, bitter feeling or grudge against anyone in his mind. He never showed any unnecessary curiosity, never indulged in any needless activity. He was completely free from all such things. He had deep love for the poor and treated them with respect. He tried his best to implement the decisions of the Party. His allegiance to the Party, to the higher leadership was beyond question. He used to lead a very disciplined life. There is a decision in our Party that all leaders and workers should regularly undertake physical exercise. You will be surprised to know that even before being admitted in the hospital, he used to walk for 15 minutes twice a day. Outwardly, he appeared to be very soft but he was very firm and determined from within. He silently bore with the deep pain of losing his near and dear ones because of either natural death or courting martyrdom.
There is no village in either Kultali or Jaynagar where I had not gone or not conducted any meeting. May be many of those whom I had met at that time are no more alive. Those who are living today were then either in their childhood or in their adolescence. In comparison, I have visited Mandirbazar and Mathurapur much less. Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar had gone to each of these places. I once made a programme that both of us would stay together in these localities and convene joint meetings of the comrades from three or four localities. The meetings would continue for three days—one meeting of the aged comrades, another of the female comrades and the other of the students and youths. We had conducted such meetings. He was with me. I have seen with what emotion he used to speak which touched everyone’s heart. He had left mark as an able organizer. This was the level of his involvement in the Party organization which I want to emphasize upon here. We had a ramshackle office at Jaynagar. Towards the end of his life, Comrade Yakub Pailan had moved from village to village to collect donation and constructed this present office building. Again, it was found that we needed a place of ours to organize big meetings. Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar immediately took initiative. This very venue of today’s meeting has been purchased out of the funds that he collected from the workers, supporters and sympathizers of the rural belts. His contemplation was to build a hall here. But thereafter he fell sick. Even during ailment, he was active in his thinking. He used to listen to various meetings and discussions. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. So, he could not talk properly. Despite that, he attended the meetings. For example, in the last Central Committee meeting, we discussed what programmes would be adopted during observance of the birth centenary of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, our great leader and teacher, from 5 August 2022 to 5 August 2023. This was the last meeting that Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar could be present in. He was in the preparatory meeting but it is very painful that when the inaugural programme would be held in Delhi on 5 August next, he would not be there.
Development is of only 1% super-rich
I want to draw your attention to the fact that India is now passing through extremely hard times. Such a dark period was not seen by the luminaries of the past like Rammohan, Vidyasagar, Vivekananda, Rabindranath, Saratchandra, Nazrul, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan, Bipin Pal, Netaji Subhash, Bhagat Singh, Kshudiram, Ashfaqullah, Phule, Tilak, Subramania Bharati and others. Today the 1% super-rich own 73% of the country’s wealth. The remaining 27% is distributed among the 99%. This 99% includes upper middle class, middle class, lower middle class, poor and the destitute. The leaders of the ruling parties, whether of the states or the centre, are all talking of development. What is that development? Whose development they are parroting about? The 1% super-rich mentioned above? Of this 1%, industrial tycoons like Ambani and Adani, two major patrons of the ruling BJP, are the top-rankers. You will be surprised to know that Ambani earns Rs. 90 crore per hour whereas Adani brings to his kitty Rs. 75 crore per hour. As on 3 June 2022, Mukesh Ambani’s total wealth was $99.7 billion (Rs 7.97 lakh crore), while the wealth of Adani stood at $98.7 billion (Rs 7.89 lakh crores) according to the Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Just think of the astronomical figures! And, as per government data, 40 crore Indians earn Rs. 20 a day. In the last two years, 12 crore people have lost their jobs, crores are unemployed.
In the early 1950s, when we used to come to this district, the middle and poor peasants mainly resided in the villages. They rarely went to the towns. Now you would hardly get anyone in the rural areas. Not only boys even girls who are capable of working are rushing to the cities for a job. Day after day, month after month, they are staying out, moving here and there for jobs. Wherever they are getting any kind of jobs, they are accepting those so as to eke out a bare living. When they have no job, they starve. In spite of working so hard, they are worried as to what would they bring home for the family during Eid or Durga Puja. What would they gift to their children? So perilous is the situation! Come to the cities and you would find families after families staying under a polythene sheet on the footpaths and under the flyovers. They all stayed once in the villages, had cultivable land. In the villages, they at least had a hutment to somehow take shelter in. Everything has been lost. Crores of such rural poor are now turned into pavement-dwellers. Those who try to live on the railway platforms are driven out by the police like cats and dogs. But they again try to return to somehow hold on to their life. Some of them stay in shanties. So many children are born on the footpath, on railway platforms. They also die there. Many of these children do not know who their parents are. A little child who cannot even speak properly but begs. They are all progenies of human race. Could the revered freedom fighters ever think that the spectacle of independent India would be so horrific? Is it for such an India that Kshudiram, Bhagat Singh, Surya Sen or Ashfaqullah embraced martyrdom or the Indian National Army of Netaji Subhash fought for?
Every day, 7000 Indians die of hunger. 10,000 Indians die per day because of non-availability of medical treatment. Such is the condition of the country. In order to somehow hold onto life, poor parents sell out their daughters to the traffickers. Women trafficking is now a roaring trade. Rabindranath-Saratchandra-Nazrul did not witness such heart-wrenching scenes. Otherwise, they would have shed tears. Girls are lured by promise of marriage, kept for some days, given some money at the outset and then sold to the touts. Thus, the trafficked girls are forcibly pushed into prostitution. Even there is a big racket of child trafficking. These children of the age of 5 to 10 years are employed as child labours, made to work for unlimited hours and then given one or two breads or a handful of rice. This is the country we are living in.
Just a few days back, youths burst into fiery protest against the ‘Agniveer’ scheme of the BJP government. Why? Because there are crores of unemployed in the country. Thousands of post-graduates, engineers, doctorates are applying for the post of a peon or liveried attendant or even sweeper and morgue assistant. Such is the objective reality. The economic crisis is growing exponentially. It would assume greater dimension. Those who are at least earning something should think of the future. Three years back, there were 9.60 crores of middle-class people. Now the number has come down to 6.30 crores. Where have the 3.30 crore middle class people gone? They have turned into lower-middle class, semi-proletariat or proletariat. You have now been buying utility items including food items like vegetables from the local markets.
Would such markets exist anymore? Retail giants, both offline and online, like Big Bazar, Amazon, Flipkart, Reliance Jio would take over the entire business. Right now, also, they are selling rice, pulses, spices, sugar, salt, vegetables everything, often at lucrative discounts, and delivering it at your doorstep. You do not need to go to the shops. Can the small shops compete with these retail giants? Small shops, roadside tea stalls, markets would all cease to exist over a period of time. This is the kind of attack the monopoly houses and multi-nationals are bringing on the people. So, the economic crisis is soaring.
If you obey Vivekananda, you cannot be a follower of BJP
On the other hand, education is being destroyed. On this or that flimsy pretext, schools and colleges are closed down. Classes are suspended. Instead, the students have to contend with online teaching and online examination. In online mode, neither the teacher nor the students develop any personal rapport. This model is followed by both the central and the state governments. They are changing the syllabus frequently, distorting history and inculcating religious blindness, orthodoxy. In the process, they are destroying scientific bent of mind, power of reasoning and rational thought process. This is also a dangerous attack. Rammohan believed in the Vedanta. At the same time, he was of the opinion that by teaching the Vedanta, students with modern thinking cannot be developed. What was needed was teaching of modern science and cultivation of knowledge. You know that Vidyasagar was a great Renaissance personality. He was an atheist. But he was so great a man that even Ramkrishna who was the mentor of Vivekananda had rushed to him to pay his respect. Vidyasagar said that the Vedas and the Vedanta are false systems of philosophy. There is no more any truth in them. What was needed was cultivation of science and materialist philosophy. But the Gandhite leadership did not follow that during our freedom movement. Stalwarts like Saratchandra, Rabindranath, Netaji Subhash or Bhagat Singh wanted our nationalist movement and humanist thoughts to be free from any religious influence. But the bourgeois leadership did not give any importance to that. Taking advantage of that, the RSS-BJP are precipitating communal hatred and disrupting unity of the oppressed people by flaunting the vile doctrine of Hindutva. They are not indulging in such sinister activities out of any genuine religious belief but from sheer ill motive. So many people are killed, so many children are dying of starvation in the BJP rule. Vivekananda, as you know, was an esteemed personality who believed in Hindu religion. Had he been alive, how would he have reacted to all these evils of the RSS-BJP? Would Vivekananda have allowed the BJP to continue with this precipitation of mutual conflicts and scuffles based on artificially created Mandir-Masjid controversy? Vivekananda had said: ‘‘Millions of rupees are spent on opening and closing the gates of Kashi and Vrindavan temples. Once the god is changing clothes while at other time, he is eating rice or chiding at the sons of barren women. … On the other hand, living gods are dying without food and clothes.’’ Do the BJP leaders accept Vivekananda’s outlook? They are busy in inflating the purse of Ambani-Adani and reducing crores of people into beggars. They are pushing crores of oppressed people to death because of persistent hunger and absence of healthcare. At the same time, they are championing Hindu religion. What they are doing is not pursuit of religion but committing sin. They use religion to reap benefits in politics of power and lucre. Vivekananda had said that those who indulge in wars, fights and feuds over religion, they do not believe in religion. They do this for fulfilling narrow sectarian political interest. This is what Vivekananda had opined. I can show this from publications of his views and writings. In another letter, he clearly stated: ‘‘Religion has no business to formulate social laws…Social laws were created by economic conditions…The terrible mistake of religion was to interfere in social matters… Hands off! Keep yourself to your own bound and everything would come right.’’ (What we believe in, written to ‘kidi’ on 3 March 1894 from Chicago)
Today, the RSS-BJP are doing that very thing. The BJP is talking of Hindu India and Muslim India. What is their objective? One of the objectives is to make the unemployed youth and hungry people think that all their miseries are the outcome of their ill fate. Why am I unemployed? Why is my son dying because of absence of treatment? This is ordained by God. I am getting punished for the sins I had committed in previous birth. If the suffering millions think like this, they would not rise up in protest against injustice, would not take part in movements. This is what the RSS-BJP want.
Another objective is to create a Hindu vote bank based on which they would be able to win elections. For that, let there be a discord between the Hindus and Muslims. In that case, no one would raise questions as to why there is no job, why are the prices rising, why is retrenchment taking place, why is the railway fare increasing? The Hindus would consider the Muslims as their principal enemies while the Muslims would consider the Hindus their biggest foes. The British imperialists had divided the country by orchestrating communal riots. The RSS-BJP also have similar objective of quelling dissent by playing the communal card.
At the same time, a vested interest group among the Muslims is trying to seize this opportunity to establish their command over the community by raising slogan of Muslim unity. You are to fight against all these evil forces. We want cemented unity of the toiling masses. The poor people are oppressed and repressed. There is no Hindu-Muslim division in that. The harrowing price rise is affecting both the Hindus and the Muslims alike. There is no distinction between the Hindus and the Muslims on the question of job-seeking or job loss. Similarly, both the Hindus and the Muslims are equally plagued by the absence of healthcare or similarly back-broken to pay the increased railway fare. There is no Hindu-Muslim difference over any question of life. Both have the same problems, the same crisis. So, they must fight unitedly.
Capitalism is killing the youth
There is another dangerous attack. That is to pollute the youths, smash their moral backbone. Let the youths be degenerated. Let them forget Netaji Subhash-Rabindranath -Saratchandra-Nazrul-Premchand- Phule-Jyotiprosad-Subramania Bharati. Instead, let them be engrossed in relishing the scandals of the film stars. So, there is an overdose of coverage of the love and divorce stories of the film idols and cricketers; let the headlines in the newspapers be which star is blessed with a baby, who is dating whom and so forth. This is also a kind of intoxication that the rulers want the youths to be sunk in. Another ploy is to encourage consumption of liquor and marijuana as well as drug-addiction. Earlier the CPI(M) government had liberally opened liquor shops. We had protested against that. Now the TMC government is also doing the same thing. They are delivering liquor at the doorstep through a scheme. The elderly people would be horrified to know that even students of Class IV or V are becoming alcoholic. Further attack is in the form of proliferation of obscenity and nudity through films, TV shows, pornographic contents in books, uploads in mobile phones and social media. Hundreds of girls are screaming in the villages and towns. They are being raped and then murdered by the rapists. Have these criminals been born rapists? They too are human beings. Then wherefrom are they tutored to commit such bestiality? The more the central and state governments are claiming improvement in law and order as well as development of the women, the more they are raising slogans of ‘‘Beti Podao Beti Bachao’’ (Educate and save the girls), the more is the number of rapes, gangrapes and other atrocities swelling. Why is it so? Because, capitalism is impelling humans to sink into inhumanity. Even an animal does not rape. Even in the primordial barbaric society, there was no incident of rape. But now it has become a regular phenomenon. The youths are incited to be alcoholic and drug addicts, indulge in all kinds of indecent and perverse activities, be involved in the roaring trade with the girls, subject the girls to inhuman torture and outrage their modesty. These degenerated youths have not even slightest of hesitation in committing such crimes against women. They are no human beings but are a new species with a human body but bereft of human essence and conscience. They are creations of capitalism. Capitalism is a monstrous enemy of the people, of not only our country but the entire world.
Capitalism is the enemy of the mankind
The scientists are repeatedly cautioning about the disastrous consequence of global warming. Sea level is rising and engulfing coastal areas. Glaciers are melting in the polar regions and large chunks of ice are breaking off in the Himalayas too. One day, the river Ganges would also dry up. That is due to global warming. What is the reason? Because reckless burning of fossil fuels like coal, crude oil and natural gas create carbon-derived greenhouse gases and are also polluting the atmosphere. Hence global temperature is rising. Sea level is rising and sea temperature is going up giving rise to sudden devastating cyclones like Amphan in rapid periodicity. Some areas are flooded with excess rain whereas some other areas are having draughts because of absence of rain. Over and above certain greenhouse gases are creating holes in the Ozone layer that protects us from harmful UV-radiation of the sun. This Ozone layer acts like an umbrella. The scientists are again and again asking to stop emission of harmful greenhouse gases. But capitalism pays no heed to such advice. Because that would push up their cost of production and eat into the profits of the capitalists. Capitalism has no concern for mankind, about destruction of ecological balance, or the very existence of human civilization in future. The scientists are of the opinion that the way the sea is advancing, the cities of Kolkata and Mumbai would be devoured in next 60 to 70 years. This is what capitalism is.
This very capitalism is entering your house in another way. There is no peace in any family. The son does not look after old parents. Some affluent children spend money to send their parents to old age homes by paying large sum of money; and thus shake off the responsibility of taking care of them. Thus, their old parents’ dreams and aspirations for having the pleasure of staying with their sons, daughters and grandchildren at the end of their life are in a shamble. Some others are even driving the parents out of home or killing them for not signing documents of inheritance of property. Obviously, they do not feel any concern for their poor relatives. All this very cruelty, selfishness and self-centeredness are also endowments of capitalism. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the great Marxist thinker and guide of the movement for emancipation of the proletariat, inspired his close comrade-in-arms like Comrades Nihar Mukherjee, Sachin Banerjee, Subodh Banerjee as well as his students like Comrades Yakub Pailan, Debaprasad Sarkar and all of us to take up cudgels against this very ruthlessly oppressive capitalism. We have been following his teachings and would continue to struggle in the days to come. The significance of today’s memorial meeting is to draw lessons from the life of Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar who from an ordinary level had attained so high a position of respect by conducting arduous struggle based on Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought. If you, me and all can advance further by struggling relentlessly taking appropriate lessons from his struggle, then only this homage to Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar would be meaningful. Otherwise, paying floral tribute or adopting condolence resolution is pointless.
Last of all, my appeal to you all is that the foundation of the SUCI(C) took place on the soil of this very district. It was in this district that under the leadership of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, a death-defying struggle had developed. This district only had sent to the assembly an ardent student of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh as revolutionary representative of the masses. So, I urge all of you who belong to this district that you would hand over one or two of your children to the Party.
Just like the way Comrade Prafulla Sarkar, elder brother of Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar, had told me— ‘‘I tried, but I failed to become an activist of the Party because I had to take up a job to fend for my younger brothers and sisters after the death of my father. But I have handed over all of them, my entire family to the Party’’. So, I call upon you to give your children to the Party. They might not be able to earn money but they would be groomed as human being worth the name. From among them would emerge more comrades like Yakub Pailan, Debaprasad Sarkar, Rabin Mandal, Amir Ali Halder, Hakim Sheikh, Dhiren Bhandari and such other brave fighters. Do come forward with that objective, save the Party, build up and strengthen Party organization.
Red Salute to
Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar!
Long live SUCI(C)!
Long live Revolution!
Red salute to
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh!