September 03, 2023

AIKS Holds Workshop for Hindi States

P Krishnaprasad

THE Hindi states workshop organised by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on August 25-26, 2023 at Harkishan Singh Surjeet Bhawan in New Delhi was a successful and encouraging initiative. It was envisaged as a workshop focusing on current political challenges and organisation. 86 leading AIKS activists from 15 states attended.

The workshop was planned in the context of the enthusiasm and growing struggles, especially in the Hindi Belt region, on genuine demands of the peasantry facing acute agrarian crisis. The important role of the AIKS in the historic and successful farmers struggle under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has generated hope and confidence among peasants, workers as well as all toiling sections. The slogan of worker-peasant unity has become meaningful to the people today.

The first-ever historic All India National Convention of the Central Trade Unions/Federations and the SKM at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi held on August 24, has called for massive struggles in the entire year 2023. In order to undertake these vast responsibilities, the only weapon we can depend on is the organisation. Thus, strengthening and expanding the AIKS organisation up to the village level has become the most important task ahead.


The workshop was divided into five sessions of two hours each, including the question-answer sessions. The session on ‘independent and united issue-based struggles’ was conducted by AIKS president Ashok Dhawale. He explained the role of the peasantry in alliance with the working class, in forging widespread unity of the toiling people to overthrow the exploitative and suppressive rule of feudal and capitalist classes by giving examples from world history, including the revolutions in Russia, China, Vietnam, Korea and Cuba. He illustrated how the AIKS, after its inception in 1936, played an independent and unique role in glorious struggles from Telangana Peasants Armed Struggle in Andhra Pradesh to Tebhaga struggle in West Bengal, Punnapra Vayalar in Kerala to Surma Valley in Assam, Gana Mukti Parishad in Tripura to Warli adivasis in Maharashtra, as part of the freedom struggle against the repressive colonial rule of British imperialism in India.

In recent history, the 17 days day-and-night mahapadav struggle in Sikar, Rajasthan in 2017, demanding loan waiver and MSP was an example of independent struggles held under the leadership of AIKS. It was a pathbreaking struggle that inspired the peasantry across the country. The united 11-day farmers’ strike of June 2017 and the independent kisan long march of 2018 in Maharashtra demanding MSP, loan waiver and implementation of FRA, caught the attention of the people of India as well as the world. These struggles were joined by many independent issue-based struggles in various states and attracted the peasantry across the country towards united struggles that emerged later. 

The BJP-led union government suffered the first big blow in 2015 when a united platform-Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) was formed against the imposition of the Land Acquisition Ordinance. The peasantry unleashed vigorous struggles that succeeded in forcing the union government to step back from amending the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act of 2013. When the three Farm Acts were imposed, the country witnessed the most militant, massive and determined united struggle of farmers that prolonged for 13 months under the banner of the SKM. These struggles were possible since they were issue-based struggles. Identifying the concrete issues relating to the livelihood of the peasantry and developing concrete demands out of them is the unique way to attract the peasant masses towards such struggles.

Ashok Dhawale concluded the session by stressing that both independent and united struggles were of crucial importance, and without a strong and vibrant organisation at the grassroots level no mass movement could be built. The widespread organisational network of the AIKS was instrumental in sustaining all these united struggles and giving an all-India scale to them.

The second session was on combating the dangerous influence of the communal and casteist forces. This session was also conducted by Ashok Dhawale. The secular traditions of the people of India even during the feudal period were noted. The secular and united nature of the First War of Indian Independence of 1857 instigated the British imperialists to begin their notorious policy of “divide and rule” on the basis of religion, the formation of the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, and the eventual horrific holocaust of Partition.

Tracing the growth of communal forces like the RSS-BJP to the extent of them now dominating the all-India politics, and the scourge of caste and casteism in the context of the hated Manusmriti, he asserted that these will also be eventually countered through massive class struggles against the economic policies of imperialist globalisation pursued by the BJP-led union government, through a concerted political-ideological battle, and through the building of a strong organisation. The larger unity being forged under the CTUs-SKM platforms will help to forge unity of the secular forces and reach out to the villages and towns and cities across the country, convincingly explaining to the people who are our class enemies and class friends. The AIKS in coordination with the CITU and AIAWU will work among various sections of the people – especially minorities, adivasis, dalits and women – to eliminate the atmosphere of hatred, fear and isolation, and will instead strive to inculcate togetherness, love and care for each other.


The third session was on worker-peasant unity in the context of the agrarian crisis. This session was conducted by AIKS vice president Hannan Mollah. He said that the failure of the bourgeois-landlord ruling classes under the leadership of the big capitalist class since independence to accomplish land reforms is a crucial factor that caused the present agrarian crisis in India. Though 6.30 crore acres of land was identified for distribution during the period of Jawaharlal Nehru, only 73 lakh acres were distributed. Even today 36 per cent of land is under the control of 0.8 per cent of landlords. At the same time more than 50 per cent of the peasantry is landless. He explained that land reforms is the major component of the democratic revolution and without that no true industrialisation could materialise.

This issue needs to be addressed through forging worker-peasant unity across the country that can develop as a political alliance.  The first worker-peasant rally on September 5, 2018 and the second such rally on April 5, 2023 under the combined leadership of CITU, AIKS and AIAWU were conscious efforts in this direction. The non-parliamentary forms of struggle should have primacy in the process of political action and this is a unique achievement in the fight against the corporate-communal ruling combine led by the RSS-BJP, and backed by American imperialism.  Such independent actions helped to create a conducive atmosphere to achieve larger unity of the central trade unions and kisan organisations.

The session on organisation was conducted jointly by AIKS general secretary Vijoo Krishnan and AIKS finance secretary P Krishnaprasad. The importance of membership and fund was dealt with by P Krishnaprasad. He stressed the need to advance the organisation in the Hindi belt in order to overcome the uneven character of the kisan organisation at the all India level.  Vijoo Krishnan explained the need of focusing on village level activities based on the slogan ‘kisan sabha in every village, every kisan in the kisan sabha’ that was given by the 34th AIKS conference held in Haryana in 2017. Independent functioning at the village level is crucial to checkmate the menace of the corporate-communal nexus and to save the livelihood of the people, and save the country. The importance of regular committee functioning, role of whole-time cadres, and political schooling were stressed.

In the context of the capitalist expansion in agriculture, crop-wise mobilisation is necessary to coin specific and concrete demands to unleash struggles in the fight against corporate exploitation of the peasantry. The demand for value addition, developing processing and marketing infrastructure under the producer cooperatives are some of the key components of the alternative agricultural policy framed by the AIKS and AIAWU. This is inevitable to counter the corporate domination on agriculture being promoted by the big capitalist class and to advance towards cooperative agriculture. Likewise, sector specific movements like tenant farmers, fishermen, dairy sector, women farmers etc would help to expand the kisan movement to reach the so far unreached sections and regions.

The workshop concluded with the understanding that similar workshops be organised at the state level, followed by district workshops where the AIKS has substantial strength and membership. Already, political schooling has been completed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand. The remaining states will conduct it in September-October 2023. In the review session, all those who participated appreciated this Hindi workshop initiative and proposed to hold annual all India workshops in order to train the leading cadres, and monitor the progress in fortifying and expanding the organisation.