More militarism, less mass support: Naxalbari veterans


Mohua Chatterjee,
Times of India | Oct 8, 2012,
NEW DELHI: It may be a little known fact but 95-year-old Mujib-ur-Rahman narrated it with glee while going through his days with Charu Majumdar, Naxalbari and the present day state of the Maoist movement at the JNU Students’ Union hall room.
“Soumen Tagore had come, Jai Prakash Narayan had come… they wanted to join the Communist party. They asked what post they would get… they were looking for posts when we were all equals in the party… they went back. Tagore started his own radical organization and Jai Prakash Narayan started his Socialist Party,” Rahman said while recalling his association with the Communist Party that started following his release from Dhaka jail after the 1942 movement.
Heroes of Naxalbari and politburo members of the CPI (ML)-Janshakti party, Mujib-ur-Rahman, Khokan Majumdar, Khadan Mallik, Shatibala Munda and Suniti Vishwakarma were in JNU to address students, with just one message, “we should be united, only then can we fight the others.”
They call themselves the real communists—men and women who stood with their leader Charu Majumdar and were part of the armed struggle of peasants that started from Naxalbari village, outside Siliguri in north Bengal, in 1967.
Even today, in the sunset of their lives, they believe the movement has not failed but has suffered because of “internal fighting” and hence its splintered existence.
Khokan Majumdar, who lives and works out of Naxalbari even now at 82 years, suffered a cerebral stroke four years ago has developed a speech problem. He told TOI, “The biggest difference between the Maoist movement today and the one we started before independence is that CPI (M) stresses on militarism. Without the mass line, that is people’s movement to fulfill people’s demands across the country, the movement cannot succeed.”
Asked why their movement failed, the reply was prompt. “Chiner chairman amader chairman. Keno? (Chinese chairman is our chairman, why). That could never have worked,” said Khokan Majumdar, who was born Abdul Hamid and ran away from home in Naxalbari when 12 to escape the life of a bidi binder. He became a trade union leader in Kolkata.
The years of struggle and spending half their lives in jail have not dampened their spirit. “Those of us who had started… are almost over, old and dying now, today’s movement is internally divided… united front will help us consolidate,” said Majumdar with a smile on his wrinkled face.
They said the biggest hindrance for the organization to grow was “the emergence of a middle class that is hungry for power… it is a dangerous trait”. The other reason, both said, was the government’s development work, which is “satisfying the people for the time being”.


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October 2012
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