The Dream That Failed: Voices of Naxalbari across the 50 Years–II

by Nazes Afroz

Frontier | Vol. 50, No.45, May 13 – 19, 2018

The First Public Cracks in the CPI(M-L) appeared with the start of the 1970s. Satyanarayan Singh, the party’s secretary in Bihar, denounced the annihilation line, and formed a parallel central committee that “expelled” Charu Majumder. Majumder retaliated by expelling Singh from the CPI(M-L). Some party leaders broke ranks to join Singh’s splinter group. Other leaders who began to criticise Majumder, including Ashim Chattopa-dhyay, were expelled too.

Charu Majumder was arrested from a hideout in Kolkata on 16 July 1972, on information from a comrade who cracked under police torture. By then he was suffering from acute cardiac asthma and needed constant medical supervision. The police interrogated him for 12 days. It is widely believed that his medication and treatment were stopped in custody, leading to his death from cardiac arrest on 28 July.Read More »

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50 Years of Naxalbari: Haam nehee hategaa, I shall not retreat, Declared Jangal Shaaotaal, Naxalbari leader

Second of three interviews from the cradle of the revolutionary uprising

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Countercurrents.org | March 19, 2018

Aneek, an independent, radical Baanglaa monthly from Kolkata, India, in its 53rd years of publication, interviewed three leaders of the Naxalbari Uprising. The leaders with working class background were organizing armed struggle of the poor-landless peasantry in the Naxalbari region since the earliest days of the revolutionary initiative. Following is Khemoo Singh’s interview, the second of the three, conducted by Arijit and Subhasis from Aneek, and published in the monthly’s May 2017 (vol. 53, no. 11) issue. The interview was conducted in May 2017 at Khemoo Singh’s village home in Siliguri, more than 450 km north of Kolkata. All the interviews were video recorded; and its audio parts were transcribed by Subhasis, and were vetted by the interviewees. None of them denied any part of respective interview. The interview is translated from Baanglaa by Farooque Chowdhury. The first of the three interviews was carried by Countercurrents.org, an e-journal from South India, and Frontier, the radical weekly from Kolkata, on November 20, 2017 (https://countercurrents.org/2017/11/20/aabaar-naxalbari-naxalbari-again/) and December 31-January 6, 2017 (vol. 50, no.26, http://www.frontierweekly.com/articles/vol-50/50-26/50-26-Naxalbari%20Again.html) respectively.Read More »

‘Naxalbari 50’–1 Repertoires and Politics in the Time of Naxalbari

by Ranabir Samaddar

Frontier | Vol. 50, No.31, Feb 4 – 10, 2018

The time of Naxalbari calls back to us the past narratives of how Bengalees became radicalised. Historians of Bengal agree that one of the characteristic ways in which Bengalees were radicalised was through the adoption of a critical, interrogative mode. In the process it may have gone at times to extreme length, but time does all the corrections in life. In the long run, the interrogations became part of the common sense of the people. Yet this is not all. Since interrogation and questioning imply acceptance of no final truth, the critical mode has meant a permanent workshop of ideas and a permanently dialogic mode. Once again, dialogues at times became quarrels, inter-sect strife, and battles over ideas to the point of death. But in this case also, time has been the healer. It is an irony thus that the time of Naxalbari with its extremely critical attitude to the period of what is called the Bengal Renaissance resembled in many ways the latter and exhibited the same critical attitude that latter had shown through figures like Akshay Dutta, Vidyasagar, and others.Read More »

50 Years of Naxalbari: Tale of a Roving Rebel

by I Mallikarjuna Sharma

Frontier| Vol. 50, No.30, Jan 28 – Feb 03, 2017

It was in 1967-69, when I was a student in Regional Engineering College, Warangal, AP, that I was attracted towards the communist extremist movement and in course became a staunch activist. In those days it was more fervor bordering on high fever than cautious and broad study and analytical reasoning—more of an emotional and romantic attachment to the ideal of socialism which could free all sorts of fetters and create a new society, etc. First in Marxist Party which split away from the CPI, soon we began to support the Naxalbari movement and its consequent developments. Sri K G Satyamurthy was our local leader—he was a close associate of Kondapalli Sitaramaiah (KS), a sort of father figure for the naxalite movement, especially the Maoist party, in Andhra Pradesh, but later estranged.Read More »

Red Is The Color Of The Poor: Sumanta Banerjee Looks Into The Naxalbari Uprising In India

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Countercurrents.org | November 17, 2017

naxalbari

Sumanta Banerjee (b. 1936), political and civil rights activist and social scientist, moved to the revolutionary position of the Naxalbari peasants’ upsurge in the north-eastern India while working as a journalist for The Statesman in the late sixties, and joined the movement in 1973. He had to resort to underground life while carrying on his revolutionary tasks in rural and industrial areas, Srikakulam forests and hills, and Kolkata slums. As an active participant in the toilers’ political struggle armed with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought he had the opportunity to know the movement closely from his work with comrades from grassroots and a part of leadership, and working with Liberation, the clandestine English organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). Sumanta Banerjee, author of In the Wake of Naxalbari: A History of the Naxalite Movement in India(Subarnarekha, Kolkata, 1980), Marxism and the Indian Left: From “Interpreting” to “Changing” It(Purbalok Publication, Kolkata, 2012), The Parlour and the Street: Elite and Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century Calcutta (1989) and Logic in a Popular Form (2002), regularly contributes to The Economic and Political Weekly from Mumbai. He is also editor of Thema Book of Naxalite Poetry(1987). In this interview, conducted in late-September-early-October, 2017 by Farooque Chowdhury, Sumanta Banerjee looks into the Naxalbari Uprising.Read More »

Red is the color of the poor

Sumanta Banerjee looks into the Naxalbari Uprising in India

by Farooque Chowdhury

Frontier | November 17, 2017

Sumanta Banerjee (b. 1936), political and civil rights activist and social scientist, moved to the revolutionary position of the Naxalbari peasants’ upsurge in the north-eastern India while working as a journalist for The Statesman in the late sixties, and joined the movement in 1973. He had to resort to underground life while carrying on his revolutionary tasks in rural and industrial areas, Srikakulam forests and hills, and Kolkata slums. As an active participant in the toilers’ political struggle armed with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought he had the opportunity to know the movement closely from his work with comrades from grassroots and a part of leadership, and working with Liberation, the clandestine English organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). Sumanta Banerjee, author of In the Wake of Naxalbari: A History of the Naxalite Movement in India (Subarnarekha, Kolkata, 1980), Marxism and the Indian Left: From “Interpreting” to “Changing” It (Purbalok Publication, Kolkata, 2012), The Parlour and the Street: Elite and Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century Calcutta (1989) and Logic in a Popular Form (2002), regularly contributes to The Economic and Political Weekly from Mumbai. He is also editor of Thema Book of Naxalite Poetry (1987). This interview was conducted in late-September-early-October, 2017 by Farooque Chowdhury.   Read More »

India: After 100 Years of Peace-Land-Bread and 50 years of Naxalbari Peasant Struggle

Land Question: Where Do We Stand Now

by Sandeep Banerjee

Frontier | October 21, 2017

On the day our daytime and nighttime were equal (2017 Sept 22), during a march of All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee, Yogendra Yadav told us, “So, what we are witnessing is the beginning of something that can only be described as a peasant rebellion”[1]. What fuel his optimism are — outbursts of peasants’ movement in various part of the country in the last 12-14 months, and also, “Second, they are being run by different organisations, but the demands are actually common. Every single protest boils down to two demands: fair and remunerative price and complete loan waiver or freedom from debt. This de-facto common agenda has emerged in the formation of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee, bringing together more than 150 farmer organisations. So, there is a possibility.” And so the task as he visualizes is, “A lot of work needs to be done but if there was one opportunity for creating a nation-wide farmers’ struggle, today is that moment.”[2]Read More »