People's Democracy

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


No. 29

July 18, 2010

Kisan Sabha Holds Workshop for Hindi Region


Vijoo Krishnan


THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) held, at Banga Bhavan, New Delhi on July 10 and 11, an organisational workshop for its leading cadres in the Hindi speaking states. The workshop was the first of its kind to have been held in recent years, specifically to address the organisational matters and to identify the issues confronting the peasantry in this region in particular. Altogether, 83 delegates attended the workshop.

The workshop was divided into two sessions and each session was followed first by a statewise group discussion and then by individual delegates placing the collective opinion of the states. The first session was on policy issues and the second was on organisation.


AIKS president S Ramachandran Pillai introduced the subject in each session and set the tone for the discussions. Inaugurating the workshop, he placed the understanding of the AIKS centre on the issues in the region, and also about the organisational strengths and shortcomings. The findings of the detailed questionnaire that had been circulated to all the states prior to the workshop also helped in developing the centre’s assessment. The unprecedented agrarian crisis and the region specific issues, the manner in which they had been addressed in different states and the problems of consistency as well as weaknesses in consolidation were stressed. He also stressed on the need for ensuring regular membership campaigns and the importance of unit level and tehsil level committees. Consistent efforts were needed to build up the movement; the gains of struggles could be consolidated only if they were not ritualistic and mechanical implementation of decisions from above, he said.


At the workshop, 16 delegates spoke in the discussion on policy matters and 12 delegates spoke in the discussion on organisational issues. The main thrust of the discussion by the delegates also highlighted the major issues and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats before the organisation in the region.


Land and land related issues including displacement, rehabilitation and resettlement as well as forest rights were at the centre of the discussions. The weakness in taking up social issues and providing proper representation to women in the leadership was also frankly shared by the delegates. The latter highlighted the state-specific struggles, which helped in rallying the peasantry under the AIKS banner. These included flood relief and land and bataidar (sharecroppers) issues in Bihar, the menace of wild animals in Himachal Pradesh, projects-led displacement in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, the Abaadkar issue in Punjab, intervention in the mandis in Haryana, against corruption in procurement, on the forest rights in Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and parts of Gujarat. They also talked of struggles against and the corruption prevailing in the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in all the states and successful interventions seeking compensation for crop losses due to spurious seeds, floods and drought.


All this was in addition to the discussions on prices, markets, subsidies, irrigation, power, input costs, PDS etc. Delegates from some of the states also recounted the positive experiences of taking up local issues like condition of roads, schools and health centres. Taking up problems of dairy farmers also had benefited the organisation in some states. The question of large tracts of land belonging to royal families in Jharkhand and Rajasthan, house sites for the landless etc, were some other significant issues discussed.


At the workshop, women delegates mentioned about the problems they face and also criticised the fact that they were not proportionally represented in the leadership though they were in the forefront of agricultural activities and struggles.


The delegates who attended also appreciated the importance of the workshop and were enthusiastic about the possibilities. They suggested that there should be similar workshops at the state level to give proper direction to the movements in the states. The frank sharing of issues and the strengths and weaknesses as well as the challenges faced, identification of certain common issues that affect all these states created a positive atmosphere.


Summing up the discussions, AIKS general secretary K Varadha Rajan noted that the workshop was a good initiative and expressed the confidence that it would make a significant contribution to spreading the reach of the Kisan Sabha as well as in its emergence as the fighting voice of the peasantry in the region. He emphatically said that the AIKS centre would also take up the Hindi region as a priority region and concentrate on building up the movement in this region by intervening more regularly in the activities of the states. He also emphasised that, backed by solid studies of the ground situation, land and land related issues had to be taken up and pointed out that the organisation could not advance if social issues were not taken up in right earnest. He suggested that the possibility of forming crop specific organisations affiliated to the Kisan Sabha should also be explored. For example, organisation of apple-growers, cane-growers, dairy farmers and others could be tried, he said. On the issue of project-led displacement, the possibility of joint movements with coordination between states would be explored and broadest possible unity of the rural poor and peasantry --- and joint actions wherever possible --- would be built. All help from the AIKS centre according to the requirements of the movements in the states was also assured.


AIKS vice president Amra Ram presided over the workshop. Noorul Huda, Lehember Singh Taggar, N K Shukla, Hannan Mollah and Vijoo Krishnan participated from the AIKS centre.  


The workshop ended on a positive note with a strong resolve to consolidate and expand the movement in the Hindi region.