People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 24, 2010

Supreme Sacrifices of Martyrs

Benefit the Poorest of the Poor



IN a choked voice, young Ravi Kumar Singh narrates to us how his father was brutally hacked to death by landlord criminals as he was returning from a meeting. A few seconds later, his words become not only steady but are laced with determination: “I tell my uncles and others to work hard for the CPI(M) which is fighting for the poor. I also want to work to fulfil my father's dream”. This young boy is presently studying in IX class in Delhi, staying at his relatives house. He was in his native village, Sakhmohan, for Dusshera holidays when we met him.


Ravi Kumar's father, Virender Pratap Singh, was a member of the CPI(M) Samastipur district committee and elected mukhiya (president) of the block when he was killed by the landlord-criminal Tun Tun Singh's goons on May 16, 2008. Virender Singh was in the forefront of struggles led by the CPI(M), AIKS and AIAWU for distribution of land to the landless. So dear he was to the people of Sakhmohan and surrounding villages in the block that most people did not cook for two days following his death. Thousands of people turned out to pay homage to the martyred leader. The son wonders how such a nice person working for the benefit of the poor could be killed. He is trying to seek answers whenever he comes to the village during holidays by trying to know more about the work of his father and the Party to which he belonged.


This family played an important role in building the CPI(M) in these areas. Virender Pratap Singh's elder brother, Udayshankar Prasad Singh, was one of the key leaders of CPI(M) who fought against social and feudal oppression in Sakhmohan village. Along with others, he strengthened the Party in these areas by waging militant struggles against the landlords. In 1978 he was CPI(M) candidate in the panchayat elections along with two others in Narhan and Pathelia villages – all three villages being the strongholds of CPI(M) and being contested for the first time. Udayshankar Prasad was brutally killed by the landlords while campaigning in that election. Both the brothers were district committee members of the Party at the time of their death.


Not just from this family, 22 other CPI(M) leaders and activists have also been martyred so far in  Samastipur district while waging land struggles, particularly after the Party launched the land struggle in a big way in 1993. Among them included CPI(M) state secretariat member and AIAWU state general secretary, Ramnath Mahato, killed in the same Sakhmohan village. Scores of others have been injured in this class struggle.


That such supreme sacrifices have not gone in vain was clear when we visited Gangouli village, around 6 km away from Sakhmohan. There was a cluster of around 40 thatched houses, each with a small courtyard in front and back. Living in these houses were the poorest of the poor. Most of them were Musahars, the most backward among dalits whose main source of living has been piggery. There were also Dushads, another dalit sub-caste, Yadavs and some other backward caste people. These downtrodden people built their modest huts on land wrested from the landlord Baleshwar Babu under the leadership of the CPI(M). Ramnath Mahato, Virender Pratap Singh and others stood with these poor when the landlords tried to reclaim the land.


Shyam Pari, a 50 year old dalit woman living in this cluster, said “We would have been ousted from here but for the strong support of the CPI(M). Once the landlord's people tried to burn our huts to evict us. They also resorted to firing in which one constable posted in the police picket in village died”. Along with Shyam Pari, 1300 more such poor dalit and other downtrodden sections people have benefited in the form of house sites from the consistent land struggles waged by the CPI(M) in this region. This fact would definitely give satisfaction to young Ravi Kumar, who, while we were parting, had this advice to give to all CPI(M) members: “If you are in the CPI(M), work hard for the Party”.


N S Arjun from