People's Democracy

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


No. 42

October 17, 2010


Lal Jhanda Flutters in Lalgarh




B Prasant


PASSING in front of the CPI (M) office at the Lalgarh gram panchayat area, we saw a woman busy with a formidably large broom.  On being asked what she was going about, she curtly told us that she was sweeping the débris away from the Party office, and would we mind going about doing whatever we had come to do from the ‘city’ – and what she was sweeping away was waste material, flotsam and jetsam that had accumulated in terms of dust as well as fall-out from a grisly political outrage.  We later realised the person was a district committee member of the Midnapore west unit of the CPI (M).


Earlier, on a bright and breezy Sunday mid-morning, around twenty five thousand people once residents of Lalgarh had come trooping in, Red Flags aflutter by the thousands. 

There was no fanfare, and there was no sound of any bugle or another form of wind instrument. The marchers passed the so-called ‘Maoist’ strongholds of Gopalpur, Jhatuiara, Jirakul, Jirpara, Kochatola, Mohanpore, Brindabanpore, Bamal, Kakpara, Chemtiara, Laxmanpur, Sakhakulia,  and Chunapara before finally entering the Lalgarh gram panchayat.


Where were the vaunted ‘Maoists’ with their ‘formidable’ armed personnel, their mass base, and most important their sophisticated guerrilla techniques backed up by ‘superior’ firepower?  This is a puzzle that awaits history for the disclosing of an answer.  We may humbly posit here that all these labels are rendered meaningless when the crucible and matrix of comparison is the mass of the people.  Nothing, nobody, and certainly no ‘Maoist’ can and shall come between the people and their tasks that are emblazoned in history.


This was no ‘come back’ that Lalgarh gram panchayat witnessed.  The area has seen hundreds of CPI (M) workers, sympathisers, and supporters killed, injured, abducted, women raped, children butchered over more than a year’s time.  Many villagers too had been killed despite their lack of affiliation to any political party. 


The joint forces operations had left Lalgarh devoid of most of the population.  The people virtually in exile, had fumed, fretted—and also planned, under the vanguard leadership of the CPI (M).  Over the past two months, they had marched fearlessly across the so-called ‘Maoist’-infested terrain.  The halt at Dharampur was a brief one.  Then the people came home, to Lalgarh.  It was homecoming and not a come-back in the sense that the corporate media would like to have its readership/viewership believe.


Each one of the heinous deeds, the brutal murders, the abductions, the outraging of the modesty of the women and the deportations, perpetrated in the Lalgarh had been done in active connivance of the Trinamul Congress; the people have kept this in mind.  Not a single Trinamuli flag was seen in Lalgarh as the marchers entered the zone.  Red Flags appeared instead from hutments and courtyards where the strong Party veterans had held out in the face of the toughest of survival challenges.


By the evening, when it was time for us to leave, the bazaar had opened with fresh vegetables being brought in eagerly from the fields afar and near.  The pitched-and-tarred roads have started to witness cricket matches, impromptu football games.  The bell rang from the Lalgarh high school.  The bell also rings in memory of the 58 CPI (M) comrades who were killed at Lalgarh.  They, each one of them, will be remembered by the people of Bengal, and elsewhere, we have no doubt.