Statement of Lok Raj Sanghathan, Maharashtra Regional Council
A hundred years ago, in 1908, the whole of Mumbai was brought to a standstill for six days as the working people came out on the streets to protest against the arrest and imprisonment of Lokmanya Tilak. Tilak had condemned the British policy of Divide and Rule and opposed the partition of Bengal in 1905, into a Muslim Bengal and a Hindu Bengal. He exhorted his country men that whether Hindu or Muslim, their real enemy was the British and called on them to not co-operate with the British Govt. For this he was arrested and jailed.
During 61 years of independent India, the new rulers of India, have used the same tactics of the British repeatedly. Right now we are seeing another wave of the politics diversion and division, of hatred being promoted across the country. The aim is to ensure that we, the working people, divert our anger against one another instead of uniting to solve our common problems. They want us to believe that we, the working people, have different interests depending on whether we are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Maharashtrians, North Indians, etc.
We see that those political parties that are creating enmity among the people are given full state protection and allowed to spread their venom through the media, both state run and private. When innocent men, women and children are being beaten up, killed, and raped by these forces, the Govt. and its agencies look the other way. This shows that they are completely in collusion with these forces.
At the same time bomb blasts are engineered one after another all over the country in which hundreds of innocent people lose their lives. The authorities have not to date brought conclusive evidence of who are the sinister forces behind these blasts. The blasts keep on taking place all over India. These facts suggest that the forces that spread communal poison are the same as those that are behind the bomb blasts. These forces have the aim of diverting and dividing us; to keep the people confused and paralyzed.
While the people are under the double attack of communal violence and deadly bomb blasts, the Govt. preaches “tolerance” – as if it is we the working people who are the source of the problem.
What is the source of the problem?
The source of the problem is that the present political, economic and social system works to the benefit of a very small minority of the population, the big corporate houses of India. That is why in the 61 years after Independence these big business houses have grown so enormously that 4 of the 10 richest people in the world today are Indians. At the same time the world’s poorest people are also found here, and 40% of the world’s most malnourished children are in India.
The political parties that rule at the centre and in the states are financed by these big capitalist corporate houses. They are paid to keep the people divided and at each other’s throat, so that the super-rich minority can keep on increasing its private wealth and empire.
The Big Corporations of India have dreams of becoming even bigger on a global scale, riding on the backs of a billion toiling Indians. One of the representative associations of India Incorporated, called Assocham, has put forward a list of demands to the Central Govt. These include the demand to 1) increase the legal working week from 48 hours to 60 hours 2) Allow contract labour in all sectors 3) prevent workers earning more than Rs 10,000 per month from unionizing claiming that they are no more workers and 4) Allow closure of industrial units without the need for getting Govt. approval. At the same time these big capitalists are demanding reforms in the banking and insurance sectors so that they can get easier access to the accumulated savings of the Indian people. Moves are afoot to amend the SEZ act to make it easier for them to forcibly acquire land of the peasants.
Working people have been opposing these anti-people and anti-social reforms. Indian working people have shown time and again that they will not sit quietly with folded hands while their rights and interests are being attacked. The All India strikes of the working class; the struggle of brave peasants and farmers against forcible seizure of their land for creating Special Exploitation Zones, the struggle of the brave Warkaris to oppose the setting up of new plants by Dow Chemicals in Pune on the sacred birthplace of Sant Tukaram, are but few examples. The rulers of the country know that the Indian people, when united, can upset all their “beautiful” plans. It is to prevent this united struggle of the Indian working people, that this small minority of super-rich have set their most trusted political parties into action – to launch a coordinated attack to divide, divert and confuse Indian people.
What is the Solution to the Problem?
We the working people of India, the workers, peasants, office goers, the small business men, the women and youth, the dalits, tribals and all oppressed peoples of India are the overwhelming majority of the population. We all wish to see a new India where all those who toil can live a life of dignity, be fully employed, and have affordable housing, free education for our children, and health care for our families. In this 21st century, with the development of science and technology, this is very much possible in our country, which is blessed with abundant natural and human resources. But how do we build this people’s power, this Lok Raj, which will be the instrument to build this new India ?
For this we must affirm that we the majority of the population, the working people of India, constitute the real India. We must by right constitute ourselves as the rulers of the country – in place of the minority that is ruling today. To become the rulers of the country, we need to organize ourselves, in our workplaces and in our residences.
We cannot rely on the existing political system to defend our interests. We must realise that the present political process effectively ensures that we are deprived of power. If we unite and act as one political force, we can get rid of the present anti-people political system. We can establish a new system in its place – with a new political process in which people will exercise political power.
We need to build people’s organizations in every mohalla and village – Lok Raj Samitis – to wage a united struggle against the anti-people offensive. These Samitis must be built on the foundation of unity in action – in the course of organising mass protest actions. Let us build the Lok Raj Samitis where we live and where we work.
- Oppose the Politics of Divide and Rule!
- Build lok raj samitis in every mohalla and village!
- Build the New India!