People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 43

October 28, 2007

Massive Rally Concludes Godavari Parulekar Birth Centenary Year


Yechury addressing the rally in Dapchari, Dahanu tehsil of Thane district on October 10


Mariam Dhawale


OVER 20,000 people, most of them Adivasis, converged at Dapchari in the Dahanu tehsil of Thane district on October 10, 2007 to mark the conclusion of the Birth Centenary Year of the legendary leader of the Adivasi Revolt, former member of the CPI(M) central committee and former AIKS national president, Comrade Godavari Parulekar.


October 10, 1945 was the day on which the British police, in collusion with landlords, first fired on thousands of Adivasis during the famed revolt, killing Comrade Jethya Gangad and four other Adivasi peasants at Talwada village. Exactly 51 years later, on October 10, 1996, Comrade Godavari Parulekar was cremated at Talasari in the presence of CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and AIKS national president S. Ramachandran Pillai and tens of thousands of people from Thane district, along with the state Party leadership.


It was to mark these historic events that the CPI(M) Thane district committee organised this massive rally at Dapchari that was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury. Last year, the beginning of the Godavari Parulekar Birth Centenary Year saw another large rally at Dahanu on August 21, 2006 that was addressed by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat.


A fortnight of intensive preparations went into the success of the Dapchari rally. Hundreds of meetings were held in the villages and hamlets in the hills and plains and forests of Thane district, and over 20,000 leaflets were distributed. Thousands of peasants, agricultural labourers, youth, students and women from Talasari, Dahanu, Palghar, Jawhar, Mokhada, Vikramgad, Wada and Shahapur tehsils came in hundreds of trucks, tempos and jeeps which closed down the Mumbai – Ahmedabad national highway for two hours. Thousands more from nearby villages came on foot. They were joined by a large contingent of factory workers from Talasari tehsil, who had closed down their factories to attend the Red Flag rally.


Several leading Adivasi activists from the Surgana and Peth tehsils of Nashik district, the other major tribal base of the Party in Maharashtra, also came all the way to attend the rally.


The CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee has recently published several new books and pamphlets, among them one against the Indo – US Nuclear Deal, another on the life and work of Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar and two others on Bhagat Singh and his comrades. This literature worth over Rs 12,000 was sold out during the Dapchari rally.


Congratulating the people for attending this rally in large numbers and paying homage to the memory of Comrades Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar and to the 59 martyrs from Thane district who have laid down their lives for the Red Flag during the last 62 years of the movement, Sitaram Yechury said that the Red Flag will always continue its struggle in the defense of the rights of the oppressed and deprived sections. It was the struggle of the Left on the streets and in parliament that led to the UPA regime enacting the NREGA and the Forest Rights Act. But the implementation of the NREGA is extremely unsatisfactory and the Forest Rights Act, inspite of being unanimously adopted by parliament in December 2006, is yet to be notified even though 10 months have passed. This is an affront to parliament itself and a big struggle has to be launched to ensure that forest lands are vested in the names of Adivasis who have been cultivating them for generations. Similarly, mass struggles have to be led on questions of price rise, the dismantling of PDS, the wheat import scandal and other burning people’s issues.


Instead of paying attention to all these genuine problems of the people, said Yechury, the UPA regime is trying to push through the Indo-US nuclear deal. He then strongly criticised the nuclear deal and the attempts by the earlier NDA government and the present UPA government to forge a strategic partnership with the USA in all sectors, which will lead to a loss of India’s sovereignty. He also debunked the Congress propaganda that the nuclear deal was necessary for energy security.


Coming down heavily on the BJP for its communal campaign on the Sethusamudram issue and calling for the defeat of the Narendra Modi-led BJP regime in Gujarat, Yechury concluded by saying, “We have to wage a battle against both imperialism and communalism. This country must be run to further the interests of the crores of working people, not to fatten the profits of a handful of exploiters. For this, we have to greatly intensify our struggles to build a new India. I am sure that the people owing allegiance to the Red Flag in Thane district will take this struggle forward.”


The rally was also addressed by CPI(M) state secretary and central committee member Dr Ashok Dhawale, central committee member Kumar Shiralkar, state secretariat members Mahendra Singh, J P Gavit MLA and Lahanu Kom, district secretary and state committee member Rajaram Ozare MLA, and state committee members L B Dhangar, Mariam Dhawale and Barkya Mangat.


The rally was followed by a three day Party district workshop from October 10–12, 2007 which was attended by 230 leading Party activists from 11 tehsils of Thane district. The workshop was inaugurated by Sitaram Yechury and it deliberated on the important issues relating to taking the movement and organisation forward with determination in Thane district, which is one of the biggest and most long-standing bases of the Party and the Left movement in Maharashtra.