(First published as an editorial in People’s Daily, organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on 5 July 1967.)
A peal of spring thunder has crashed over the land of India. Revolutionary peasants in the Darjeeling area have risen in rebellion. Under the leadership of a revolutionary group of the Indian Communist Party a red area of rural revolutionary armed struggle has been established in India. This is a development of tremendous significance for the Indian people’s revolutionary struggle.
In the past few months, the peasant masses in this area, led by the revolutionary group of the Indian Communist Party, have thrown off the shackles of modern revisionism and smashed the trammels that bound them. They have seized grain, land and weapons from the landlords and plantation owners, punished the local tyrants and wicked gentry, and ambushed the reactionary troops and police that went to suppress them thus demonstrating the enormous might of the peasants’ revolutionary armed struggle. All imperialists, revisionists, corrupt officials, local tyrants and wicked gentry, and reactionary army and police are nothing in the eyes of the revolutionary peasants who are determined to strike them down to the dust. The absolutely correct thing has been done by the revolutionary group of the Indian Communist Party and they have done it well. The Chinese people joyfully applaud this revolutionary storm of the Indian peasants in the Darjeeling area as do all Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary people of the whole world.
It is an inevitability that the Indian peasants will rebel and the Indian people will make revolution because the reactionary Congress rule has left them with no alternative. India under Congress rule is only nominally independent; in fact, it is nothing more than a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country. The Congress administration represents the interests of the Indian feudal princes, big landlords and bureaucrat-comprador capitalists. Internally, it oppresses the Indian people without any mercy and suck their blood, while internationally it serves the new boss, U.S. imperialism, and its number one accomplice, the Soviet revisionist ruling clique, in addition to its old suzerain British Imperialism, thus selling out the national interests of India in a big way. So imperialism, Soviet revisionism, feudalism and bureaucrat-comprador capitalism weigh like big mountains on the backs of the Indian people, especially on the toiling masses of workers and peasants.
The Congress administration has intensified its suppression and exploitation of the Indian people and pursued a policy of national betrayal during the past few years. Famine has stalked the land year after year. The fields are strewn with the bodies of those who have died of hunger and starvation. The Indian people, above all, the Indian peasants, have found life impossible for them. The revolutionary peasants in the Darjeeling area have now risen in rebellion, in violent revolution. This is the prelude to a violent revolution by the hundreds of millions of people throughout India. The Indian people will certainly cast away these big mountains off their backs and win complete emancipation. This is the general trend of Indian history which no force on earth can check or hinder.
What road is to be followed by the Indian revolution? This is a fundamental question affecting the success of the Indian revolution and the destiny of the 500 million Indian people. The Indian revolution must take the road of relying on the peasants, establishing base areas in the countryside, persisting in protracted armed struggle and using the countryside to encircle and finally capture the cities. This is Mao Tse-tung’s road, the road that has led the Chinese revolution to victory, and the only road to victory for the revolutions of all oppressed nations and peoples.
Our great leader, Chairman Mao Tse-tung, pointed out as long as 40 years ago: “In China’s central, southern and northern provinces, several hundred million peasants will rise like a mighty storm, like a hurricane, a force so swift and violent that no power, however great, will be able to hold it back. They will smash all the trammels that bind them and rush forward along the road to liberation. They will sweep all the imperialists, warlords, corrupt officials, local tyrants and evil gentry into their graves.”
Chairman Mao explicitly pointed out long ago that the peasant question occupies an extremely important place in the people’s revolution. The peasants constitute the main force in the national-democratic revolution against imperialism and its lackeys; they are most reliable and numerous allies of the proletariat. India is a vast semi-colonial and semi-feudal country with a population of 500 million, the absolute majority of which, the peasantry, once aroused, will become the invincible force of the Indian revolution. By integrating itself with peasants, the Indian proletariat will be able to bring about earth-shaking changes in the vast countryside of India and defeat any powerful enemy in a soul-stirring people’s war.
Our great leader, Chairman Mao, teaches us: “The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds good universally, for China and for all other countries.”
The specific nature of the Indian revolution, like that of the Chinese revolution, is armed revolution fighting against armed counter-revolution; Armed struggle is the only correct road for the Indian revolution; there is no other road whatsoever. Such trash as “Gandhi-ism”, “parliamentary road” and the like are opium used by the Indian ruling classes to paralyse the Indian people. Only by relying on violent revolution and taking the road of armed struggle can India be saved and the Indian people achieve complete liberation. Specifically, this is to arouse the peasant masses boldly, build up and expand the revolutionary armed forces, deal blows at the armed suppression of the imperialists and reactionaries, who are temporarily stronger than the revolutionary forces, by using the whole set of the flexible strategy and tactics of people’s war personally worked out by Chairman Mao, and to persist in protracted armed struggle and seize victory of the revolution step by step.
In the light of the characteristics of the Chinese revolution, our great leader, Chairman Mao, has pointed out the importance of establishing revolutionary rural base areas. Chairman Mao teaches us: In order to persist in protracted armed struggle and defeat imperialism and its lackeys, “it is imperative for the revolutionary ranks to turn the backward villages into advanced, consolidated base areas, into great military, political, economic and cultural bastions of the revolution from which to fight their vicious enemies who are using the cities for attacks on the rural districts, and in this way gradually to achieve the complete victory of the revolution through protracted fighting.”
India is country with vast territory; its countryside, where the reactionary rule is weak, provides the broad areas in which the revolutionaries can manoeuvre freely. So long as the Indian proletarian revolutionaries adhere to the revolutionary line of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s Thought and rely on their great ally, the peasants, it is entirely possible for them to establish one advanced revolutionary rural base area after another in the broad backward rural areas and build a people’s army of a new type. Whatever difficulties and twists and turns the Indian revolutionaries may experience in the course of building such revolutionary base areas, they will eventually develop such areas from isolated points into a vast expanse, from small areas into extensive ones, an expansion in a series of waves. Thus, a situation in which the cities are encircled from the countryside will gradually be brought about in the Indian revolution to pave the way for the final seizure of towns and cities and winning nation-wide victory.
The Indian reactionaries are panic-stricken by the development of the rural armed struggle in Darjeeling. They have sensed imminent disaster and they wail in alarm that the peasants’ revolt in Darjeeling will “become a national disaster.” Imperialism and the Indian reactionaries are trying in a thousand and one ways to suppress this armed struggle of the Darjeeling peasants and nip it in the bud. The Dange renegade clique and revisionist chieftains of the Indian Communist Party are vigorously slandering and attacking the revolutionaries in the Indian Communist Party and the revolutionary peasants in Darjeeling for their great exploits. The so-called “non-Congress” government in West Bengal openly sides with the reactionary Indian Government in its bloody suppression of the revolutionary peasants in Darjeeling. This gives added proof that these renegades and revisionists are running dogs of U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism and lackeys of the big Indian landlords and bourgeoisie. What they call the “Non-Congress government” is only a tool of the landlords and bourgeoisie.
But no matter how well the imperialists, Indian reactionaries and the modern revisionists may cooperate in their sabotage and suppression, the torch of armed struggle lighted by the revolutionaries in the Indian Communist Party and the revolutionary peasants in Darjeeling will not be put out. “A single spark can start a prairie fire”. The spark in Darjeeling will start a prairie fire and will certainly set the vast expanses of India ablaze. That a great storm of revolutionary armed struggle will eventually sweep across the length and breadth of India is certain. Although the course of the Indian revolutionary struggle will be long and tortuous, the Indian revolution, guided by great Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s Thought, will surely triumph.
Source : Libration, India
An Indefatigable Warrior
Vara Vara Rao
The Voice stopped already a year ago. After he returned from Dandakaranya, in the wake of maoists taking Alex Paul (District Collector, Sukma district, Chhattisgarh state) into custody, he called this writer regularly enquiring ‘‘when would we be able to go again to Maad and when Haragopal would be free to accompany him’’. Once he said over phone : ‘‘Now a days, I an unable to remember things. One day while speaking in a forum, I collapsed on the dias. Before my memory power is completely crashed, let us visit Baster once’’. In fact, he was not in a state to go anywhere, let alone Bastar. But his undiminishing love towards adivasis always wanted him to move out and stay with people. He was B D Sharma, a Gandhian and an affectionate human being to all who loved this world.
Perhaps, he is one among the first generation of IAS officers. He was once the Collector to the Bastar district. Now comprising 7 districts, Baster is bigger than Kerala state and larger than many European countries. Since his stint began in Bastar, he created a niche in adivasi hearts.
His book on ‘Bailadilla Women’, written in the backdrop of iron ore mining, during 1960s, in Bailadilla of Bastar, meant for exports to Japan and Korea, captured the battered lives of women. The book shook many intellectuals. He developed great respect on the adivasis’ concerns towards nature, land, livestock and their strong inclination towards natural life. He realized that ‘Jal, Jungle and Zamin’ is not a mere slogan. Not just a political programme. It is a mode of life. On that mode, nature and humans co-exist, though there is perennial struggle as well. When he stepped into Bastar as an administrative representative of the state, he experienced the bitter truth that the state is but an instrument of oppression and never is an aid to people’s amelioration.
That was why he strongly believed that like in the USA, making of the Constitution began with the deprivation of indigenous people’s rights. Because, the State’s interference followed capital penetration centuries ago. This intolerance changed the history of adivasis and trampled the freedom of adivasis. He often said that with the inception of Indian Constitution, the forest itself became a prison for adivasis. His book on how the clan life of adivasis was broken in the republic unmistakably reflects this view. In his long span of life, he reached high echelons, he faced insults too. He utilized these highs and lows to put his outlook into practice.
As a Collector of Bastar, as National Commissioner of SCs and STs, or as the vice-chancellor of NEHU (North-East Hill University) in whichever position he might be, he commanded profound respect from all the PMs from Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi. He got this reverence as a representative of adivasis who declared his partisanship with adivasis fearlessly. When he exposed the state supported conspiracies of industrialists to establish industries, in Chattisgarh he took in his stride the ignominy of stripping and parading with garlands of chappals. When Chhathis-garh CM commented that why B D Sharma was being allowed to roam in his state, he quipped : ‘The rulers have become servile to the corporate and hence these atrocities’.
He prepared a comprehensive report delineating that adivasis take collective decisions and implement them; that they have their own general administrative self-rule and hence the ‘gram sabhas’ (the village assemblies) should have all the powers to be able to decide what adivasis want in the forest. He got the report introduced through an adivasi member of the house. This report later came to be known as Bhuria Commission Report. Today, whether it is the case of Narmada Project or Polavaram Project, the ‘gram sabhas’ have become nominal. He was appalled to see the government’s interference. The mandatory approvals of adivasis in acquiring land, etc, were gotten by the Collectors and Revenue officials with the help of police. The collectors and the Revenue Officials would not even care to visit the villages. He took voluntary retirement and began his ‘Bharat Jan Andolan’. It’s headquarter is in Bastar and he opened an office near Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in New Delhi.
What is people’s sovereignty? What is self-rule? What kind of freedom and needs that adivasis and dalits aspire for? He wrote 70 books in English and Hindi depciting his deep knowledge of adivasis and their entwined relationships with ‘jungle and zamin’. The books reflect his long experience with the countryside.
Since one and half decade he had been moving with a file in his hand. The file contains a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council. He reads that resolution in all the meetings. Indian Constitution recognized the rights and powers of adivasis on ‘Jal, Jungle and Zamin’ in the 5th and 6th schedules; it also recognized the autonomy of North-East, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and separate states were formed too; but the UN went ahead by drawing territorial powers of the adivasis from the world history of indigenous people’s struggles, ratified the territorial rights.
That means—the 1/70 act, that recognized rights of adivasis over forests which came into effect in the backdrop of Srikakulam Adivasi peasant struggle; and the Samata judgement, according to the Supreme Court, that says that not just the non-adivasi private individuals, but even the state can neither purchase nor sell the adivasi land, without adivasis’ consent.
Now the UN Security Council asserts that the Private individuals and even the state could not enter the adivasi region without adivasis’ consent. B D Sharma time and again was saying that the territorial rights are defined by the UN in such a way. Then even the Army has no right to enter the North-East region without people’s consent, let alone the special powers given to the army. Even the Central Government cannot interfere. The centre has no powers to deploy paramilitary forces into Jangal Mahal, Jharkhand, Dandakaranya, Odisha, North-Andhra and Telangana regions. Without adivasi consent, neither any Corporate power nor the government could enter. This ideal concept of adivasi territorial power concept might be shrugged off as an utopian one by the contemporary mindsets, but B D Sharma lived and died to implement these ideas. In this journey of six decades, he dedicated his life—when he was in position or sans any position; with government’s help and its wrath—receiving the both with equanimity—serving the country to his last breath.
He well understood the government, the Constitution and the centralized rule are shackles to the adivasis. At the same time, he had the knack and creativity to utilize this system and its institution in the service of adivasis’ cause. If that were not possible, he preferred to participate in people’s resistance movements. In this endeavour, his Gandhism was never a hurdle in working with revolutionaries. The maoists who are straining every nerve to build up alternative people’s political organs since 35 years—never considered him as a government officer or an outsider. That was why when Sukma’s Collector Alex Paul was in their detention, they chose B D Sharma and Haragopal as mediators who could talk to the government to press their demands. After discussions with this duo, the representative from Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee (DKSZC), Vijay Madkam, released the Collector showing deference to B D Sharma and Haragopal.
In 1992, the All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) was formed. AIPRF was aimed to fight the imperialist dictated policies of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation as the government’s model for country’s development that had come into vogue in the name of New Economic Policy, was declared in 1991. Ever since the formation of the Forum, B D Sharma had been working like a young activist in the Forum. The imperialists in their efforts to manufacturing consent formed fora like—World Social Forum. Asia Social Forum. Exposing this conspiracy, Mumbai Resistance was held in 2004 (MR-2004). During this period of about a month, from December 2003 to January 2004 be stayed in Forum’s office, dined with Forum activists, energetically participated in all deliberations. He was a man of lofty ideals but with a plebeian attire. His simple life inspired everyone.
For twenty three years B D Sharma would walk with Forum activists and share their joys and griefs; troubled and tribulations and rigours of repressions as well.
He came to Bihar to participate in Muzaffarpur’s meeting. He alignted at Patna and reached his former student’s house. The former student was the then Secretary to the Home Ministry, Bihar government. In the evening the government declared that permission was denied to the meeting. The meeting was planned by ‘Committee Against War on People’ in protest against the Operation Green Hunt. The media enquired the then CM Nitish Kumar why he disallowed people like B D Sharma to participate in the meeting and why the government was objecting to hold the meeting when the CM declared that there was no such Operation Green Hunt in Bihar. Immediately the government withdrew the orders prohibiting the meeting.
When he was invited to become part of the People’s Alternative Forum at Hyderabad, on the occasion of the completion of 10 years of formation of the Maoist Party, B D Sharma consented to be the member of the Forum and expressed his readiness to come as a speaker to that meeting. By then, his health deteriorated considerably. He was shifted to Gwalior. Now everyone knows that permission was denied to that meeting by large scale arrests and repression. When there was a raid by the intelligence personnel from Maharashtra and the centre on Saibaba’s residence in Delhi, he stayed at his place and strongly protested the police action. Despite soaring temperatures of May and his feeble health condition, he was stubborn to go to Nagpur to meet Saibaba in the prison. He lived in the people’s movements and he loved the activists. Such a quinessential human being, B D Shama was. He longed for the aspirations of People’s sovereign powers. Can anyone believe that he is no more? He is truly immortal inspiring people to carry forward the unfulfilled tasks.
1. Maad : Earlier known as Abhuj Maad (unknown Maad), one of the most backward pockets in Bastar Region in Chhattisgarh State.
2. Haragopal, Retired Professor, Central University, Hyderabad and Civil Rights Activist.
[This is a translation from an article published in Telugu Daily, Saakshi on 9th December, 2015. Vava Vara Rao, one of the founder members of Virasam (Revolutionary Writers’ Association)
Published: Liberation, June 1968
Source: Selected Works of Charu Mazumdar
HTML Markup: Nik McDonald for MIA, June 2006
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
Full one year has passed since the peasant struggle in Naxalbari began. This struggle is different from all other peasant struggles. Where is the difference? Peasants have always struggled against various injustices and oppressions. This is the first time that the peasants have struggled not only for their partial demands but for the seizure of state power. If the Naxalbari peasant struggle has any lesson for us, it is this: militant struggles must be carried on not for land, crops etc., but for the seizure of state power. It is precisely this that gives the Naxalbari struggle its uniqueness. Peasants in different areas must prepare themselves in a manner so as to be able to render ineffective the state apparatus in their respective areas. It is in Naxalbari that this path has been adopted for the first time in the history of peasant struggles in India. In other words, the revolutionary era has been ushered in, and this is the first year of that era. It is for this reason that the revolutionaries of all countries are heartily welcoming the Naxalbari struggle.
India has been turned into a base of imperialism and revisionism, and is acting today as a base of reactionary forces against the people struggling for liberation. That is why the Naxalbari struggle is not merely a national struggle; it is also an international struggle. This struggle is difficult, and the path we have chosen is in no way easy or smooth. The path of revolution is difficult, not smooth or easy, and difficulties, dangers and even retreats will be there. But the peasants who are fired with the spirit of the new internationalism have defied all this and refused to submit. They continue to persist in their path of struggle.
Our experience during the last one year shows that the message of this struggle in a small area has spread to every corner of India. Each one of the existing political parties has opposed the Naxalbari struggle, yet the people are thinking in terms of this struggle and are coming forward to take the path charted by this struggle. The heroic leaders of the Naxalbari struggle are still living and the reactionary government, in spite of all their attempts, has not been able to destroy them. This shows how true are the words of Chairman Mao: “All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying but in reality are not so powerful.”
The Chairman has said, “the complete collapse of colonialism, imperialism and all systems of exploitation, and the complete emancipation of all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are not far off.”
Let us march forward to usher in that brilliant sunshine of liberation!
Call for the Four Upcoming Anniversaries: “Celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversaries of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) an the Historic Naxalbari Armed Uprising, Centenary of the Earth-shaking Russian Socialist Revolution and the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Great Teacher of the International Proletariat Karl Marx with Revolutionary Enthusiasm and Spirit!”, Call of the Central Committee, Communist Party of India (Maoist), 16 March 2016, and signed by Ganapathy, General Secretary, CC, CPI(Maoist). English: PDF format [7 pages; 53 KB]; Telugu: PDF format [9 pages; 268 KB] ( (Posted: Jan. 2, 2017)); English booklet: PDF format [11 pages; 128 KB]; Hindi booklet: PDF format [12 pages; 77 KB]