A hall meeting was organised on March 15 at Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhavan in Agartala to observe the birth centenary of legendary Communist leader and freedom fighter Comrade Harkisan Singh Surjeet. The packed meeting was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat and Manik Sarkar and presided over by Bijan Dhar.
Addressing the meeting, Karat said the elements that pursue an appeasing policy to imperialism cannot be true nationalists. The Communists who are the true nationalists would carry on their struggle to the last to defeat the ‘spurious nationalism’ of the RSS-backed ruling forces for the sake of protecting the unity and integrity of our nation, and diversity and endurance of our national culture and heritage.
Denouncing the outcry that has been started by the RSS-BJP in the name of “pseudo patriotism”, Karat said these propagators of Hindutva had no record of joining freedom struggle. On the contrary, V D Savarkar, one of the founders of this Hindutva ideology, gave an undertaking from Andaman Cellular Jail assuring all-out cooperation to the British colonial rulers if he was released. And after release, he kept his words in true spirit of his undertaking. This undertaking is still available in the national archive. Their nationalism is not at all Indian nationalism, true essence of which is tolerance and unity in diversity. But the so-called ‘Hindu nationalism’, advocated by the ruling dispensation at the Centre, terms millions of people belonging to other religions as ‘anti-nationals’ and they are to submit to ‘Hindutva’ if they want to stay here, he said.
Noting that Surjeet was one of the leaders who started their political life as a freedom fighter, Karat said he dedicated his entire life for emancipation of the toiling workers and peasants, advancement of the Communist movement in the country to bring about social transformation.
Referring to the attacks on JNU, Hyderabad Central University, FTII-Pune and IIT-Madras and the recent killing of a man in Chennai for marrying an upper caste woman, Karat said these are not sporadic, spontaneous incidents, rather a calculated drive of the RSS-BJP combine for suppressing the rational opposition views. This is an imminent danger to democracy, he alerted.
Severely criticising the pro-imperialist foreign policy pursued by the BJP government at the Centre, Karat said on the basis of the tactical alliance with the US, our land is being allowed to be used by the world’s biggest imperialist force to terrorise China. What interest it will serve, he asked. So far as new liberal policies are concerned, these have turned out to be disastrous in sectors like agriculture, industry, education and more importantly, in our progressive thoughts, culture and customs etc. Only the big business and corporate sectors are flourishing at the cost of squeezing millions of people through corruption, taxation, price hike and inflation etc., Karat said.
Only the Communists are fighting for these basic problems of the country. Thus the situation demands us to grow further, build stronger organisation and combat the menaces of imperialism, neo-liberalism and Hindutva aggression. And this would be the true tribute to Comrade Surjeet, Karat concluded.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, addressing the meeting, said Surjeet was an internationally towering Communist leader, having rich knowledge of Marxist-Leninist ideology and experiences. At the same time, Sarkar added, Comrade Surjeet was a brilliant architect of coalition politics that was very much useful in bringing about a positive turn in the Indian political history. He remembered the extraordinary teachings of Comrade Surjeet like explaining Marxist ideology in a simple manner understandable to all strata, giving patient hearing to the people and maintaining living contact with the masses and making them politically conscious at the same time take lessons from them. We must inherit these qualities adhering to the mass line for implementing the call of the Kolkata Plenum for building a stronger all India revolutionary party.
Recalling Surjeet’s contribution to Tripura, Sarkar said the people of Tripura should be grateful to Comrade Surjeet whose personal persuasion could not be denied by the then H D Deve Gowda government in giving sanction to extension of railway in the state. Again when Tripura was bleeding in the attacks of the outlawed extremist outfit almost daily in 1998, when the state was in urgent need of security forces for conducting assembly election, it was Surjeet who persuaded the Home Ministry to rush army battalion to Tripura. During the semi-fascist terror regime of the Congress-TUJS coalition in 1988-93, a large number of our comrades were driven out of their homes. They were leading a miserable life underground. Informed of the situation, Comrade Surjeet sent a huge consignment of warm clothes collected from his personal sources in Punjub to Tripura.
CPI(M) Central Committee member Bijan Dhar, in his presidential speech, said we are remembering Surjeet, former general secretary of CPI(M), at a time when we have taken a renewed pledge to strengthen and widen our party organisation. There is a motivated slander dished out by a section of the anti-Left media with regard to one of the decisions i.e. to strengthen media intervention, adopted in our last extended State Committee meeting. Refuting this slander, Dhar said earlier there was only print media. Nowadays, besides print, there are electronic media and other online platforms including social networking sites. We must take to new media such Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to reach out to wider sections of people. With this conception, we decided to strengthen our power of intervention in the media. This was misinterpreted by a section of print and electronic media as if we decided to strangulate the freedom of media. Similarly, our decision to strengthen the inner-party democracy was misinterpreted as if there has been no democracy in the party. He condemned the ill-motivated slanders by a section of media against the Party.