People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 09, 2007


Big Rally At Nandigram Is Replete

With Passionate Enthusiasm

B Prasant


Bengal panchayat minister Dr Surjya Kant Mishra addressing the huge gathering


The sweep of ecstasy that overwhelmed the rural poor of Nandigram when the Red flag went up at a morning mass rally held recently at the Nandigram bazaar was replete also with eleven months of agony, heartbreak, and tragedy.  Lives have been lost.  Women have been dishonoured.  Houses have been looted.  Crops have been torched.  Normal rhythm of life had been made to resemble a death-like stillness.


It was little wonder, then, that nothing less than the spontaneity of participation of a late Deepavali and a later Dussehra marked the enthusiastic popular presence at the rally organised by the Nandigram zonal committee of the CPI(M).


Women who had lost their sons, women who were forced to put on widow’s weeds, women who had to surrender their modesty, boys and girls who lost one or both their parents, men who bore raw wounds of torture and bullet injuries, kisans who had lost all they had, tradespersons who had seen their cubby-holes of tiny shops go up in flames after being subjected to systematic looting, thin-looking, underfed men, women, and children who were on the run endlessly – all, all of them came to attend the rally with bright faces, faces that exuded hope for a better future, and the strident and choral ‘shout-outs’ of inquilab zindabad, repeated incessantly with verve and gusto, and echoing across the plains and the rolling lands indeed carried sweet music to their ears.


A large number of the rallyists had spent a long, long period of nearly unbearable unease and agony at relief camps, constantly in fear of attack, sleepless nights having been the order of the day. For them, for them all, the flutter of Red flag in the bright morning sun shining from a cloudless and azure sky, was the very sign and symbol that the days and nights when the murders had held sway, have at last ended.


Panchayat minister Dr Surjya Kant Mishra was the principal speaker at the rally. He repeatedly stressed on the need for peace, accord, and fellow-feeling to be allowed to grow firm roots at Nandigram as in the past - prior to the period of dark nights and darker days when manifest disharmony was orchestrated by the enemies of the people. 


Dr Mishra was strident in his running down of the gang-up of the Trinamul Congress, the Maoists, the SUCI, and the Naxalites who had done their worst to develop a siege-like situation of utter barrenness and hateful terror at Nandigram for day in and day out, for weeks together, and for month after month, cutting the area off from the rest of the district and establishing a reign of fear marked by vicious violence.


Dr Mishra said to applause that over the past three decades, the Left Front government it had been which had built up Nandigram, a very backward area, bit by bit, brick by brick, so to speak.  Roads are metalled throughout in place of the unplanned red clay pathways of yore.  Culverts and bridges feature the latest architectural technology.  There are dozens of health centres, a modern rural hospital, scores and more of educational institutions including a thriving multi-stream college.


The extent of area of land under irrigation has increased; save-and-except the low lying saline and marshy stretches, and the very many thriving bazaars, big and small, prove the patent increase in the purchasing capacity of the rural masses. The rural stakes had virtually disappeared; the redistributive land reforms had touched and changed the very livelihood of the rural poor.  The Left Front government has concomitantly brought in the fresh breeze of democracy, and with it amity, peace, and harmony.




What did the worthies of the Bengal opposition – the Trinamulis, the Maoists, the Siddiqullahs do?  They chose to rain down assaults on all the norms of democracy and development, killing, looting, molesting, abducting, and generally cutting off the major parts of the blocks that make up Nandigram, from the district and indeed from civilised constructs.  Roads were cut up -- indeed in some cases, blown up, as were bridges and culverts, as later investigations have proved. The people’s enemies expectedly played ducks and drakes with the lives of human beings forcibly, viciously, at the point of guns and bombs, reducing them to the status of refugees in their very own homes and hearths.


The people of Nandigram truly deserved a vigorous and enthusiastic Red Salute, said the panchayat minister, for having fought off the fiercely fanged animals at their doorsteps, and more importantly, having survived with a courage of conviction an ordeal that the people have never ever experienced ever since they had swept the Left Front to office way back, three decades back in fact, in 1977. 


Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra expressed the hope and the conviction that in the days ahead, as development swings into position, as democracy flourishes further and further, the people of Nandigram shall struggle as before against the forces of reaction and sectarianism, breaking down barriers of faith and belief, maintaining harmony, and growing together, as they had always done.  Political activities and the political processes shall go on but not brigandage and attempts at disharmony assured the speaker amidst cheers.