By our Maharashtra Correspondent, 22 Feb 2018

Every day we get news about grave provocations and even gruesome attacks carried out against people of different communities. This happens not just in our country but around the world. Since more and more people are aware that these attacks are either organised by or have the blessings of the powers-that-be, there is a palpable fear among many that attacks on them are imminent. What should we, the working people do to ensure safety of all citizens and establish peace? This has become the topic of discussion among many people from diverse backgrounds.

Over the past two and a half years, Lok Raj Sangathan has organised many events all over the country to address this burning issue. The Maharashtra Council of LRS itself has organised more than seventy such events in different localities, from slums to residential colonies, from schools and colleges to universities.

Bhiwandi is a textile loom town close to Thane in Maharashtra. It has often faced the ill effects of communal propaganda of various political parties of Indian capitalists. The Bhiwandi Committee of Lok Raj Sangathan has been consistently conducting activities in and around Bhiwandi to build the unity of the people. On 28th January 2018, it organized a “Kaumi Ekta Parishad”. This event was enthusiastically supported by many prominent local people as well as some who came from Thane and further afield, from Mumbai.

Irfan Engineer of the Centre for Study of Secularism and Society (CSSS), Maulana Awsat Salahi from Jamat-e-Islami , Zia-ur-Rehman, the Principal of a local school, Sandeep Khambe from Adhunik Bharat Pariwar, a representative of Communist Ghadar Party of India, Fakre Aalam , Javed Sheikh, BT Tawde, and Abu Bakr from a respected Urdu news paper were among the speakers. Many women members from nearby Matkyacha Pada also participated in the meeting.

The meeting started with a power point presentation on the subject from Lok Raj Sangathan. With many historical facts and statistics, the presentation established the fact that irrespective of which political party has been in power at the centre or in states, communal violence and communal attacks on Indian people have continued and have increased in frequency in the last 25 years. The strategy of British to divide and rule was continued by both the Congress and BJP governments who came in power at centre after 1947. The presentation explained that Divide, Divert, and Control the State machinery has been the method used by the ruling classes led by 150 families of big capitalists, to rule over a vast population of more than 130 crore Indian people with the help of these parties. After independence, inequality in Indian society and the wealth of these families of big capitalists has increased by leaps and bounds. On the one hand, a vast majority of Indian working people are under- nourished and pauperized. If such a small minority of capitalists has to continue its rule over vast majority of people, they have to divide and divert the working people’s attention from these facts. We therefore cannot expect these political parties and their governments to work for establishing ‘kaumi ekta’. To establish communal harmony and permanent peace we have to work towards replacing the rule of this miniscule minority of capitalists by the rule of people.

Mr. Irfan Engineer highlighted how just in the last 7 years the share of India’s wealth of 1% richest Indians has gone up from 36% to 73%. He explained that ruling classes do not want to ensure Roti, Kapada, Makan for people and they want policies like privatization so that they can loot the natural resources for their own benefit like they have done with water and even air waves. In order to hide their loot from people, they use communalism to divide and divert people. Hence he urged that people should form “peace committees” cutting across religions and castes. He also urged that people should fight for their rights and not fight for “false dignity”(अस्मिता ).

Moulana Awsat Alahi asserted that as long as less than 1% people control the whole economic system and as long as majority of working people have to sleep with empty stomachs, progress is not possible. He declared that unless we fight against this system, inequality will not end. At the same time, he declared, we have to work amongst people to ensure that अमन is established.

Principal Zia-ur-Rehman congratulated Lok Raj Sangathan for organizing the Parishad and urged everyone to convene more and more such dialogues. He highlighted that the media, leaders and bureaucracy by their vicious propaganda create a tainted “communal lens” through which they want all people to see the society. He urged continuous efforts to clear this lens.

The speaker from Communist Ghadar Party of India explained that for the well being of society, both अमन and भरा पेट are equally important. On empty stomach, अमन is impossible and a full stomach without अमन cannot be enjoyed. Those who are responsible for endangering अमन and sowing discord are the same people who are responsible for majority of working people going hungry. It is very important to understand that fight for both अमन and Roti are a component of the same fight, the fight to change this system. He also highlighted the necessity to put forth a demand to punish the guilty and for command responsibility.

The meeting ended in high spirits. Those present generously contributed towards meeting the expenses for the meeting and declared that they will together organize many such discussions in Bhiwandi.

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