People's Democracy

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


No. 17

April  24, 2011

 AIKS Observes Foundation Day                     


ON April 11, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) observed the 75th anniversary of its foundation with enthusiasm at its central office at 4, Ashoka Road, New Delhi. On the day, all state units of the organisations had had their own programmes with flag-hoisting, seminars and meetings. Programmes were observed at the district and village levels also.


At the AIKS centre, the programme began with its finance secretary Noorul Huda hoisting the AIKS flag, amid shouting of slogans by all present. Representatives of the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and All India Lawyers’ Union (AILU) were present to greet the gathering.


Noorul Huda recollected how the Kisan Sabha was formed at Lucknow on April 11, 1936, as a culmination of various struggles of the peasantry. Formation of peasant organisations in different provinces preceded the formation of the AIKS as the first and only truly national organisation of the peasantry. He reminded of the glorious history of struggles under the AIKS leadership, and its anti-feudal and anti-imperialist character during the freedom struggle. However, post-independence, the faulty policies of the different central governments, irrespective of whether they were led by the Congress or the BJP, and the neo-liberal economic policies pursued by them have pushed the peasantry into an acute agrarian crisis. Huda emphasised on the need to intensify struggles against the anti-peasant policies of the present Congress-led central government and against the feudal remnants.


D K Agarwal, general secretary of the All India Lawyers’ Union, greeted the people present on the occasion and expressed solidarity of the AILU with the struggles of the peasantry. He also spoke of increasing corruption in the country and pointed out that the UPA government was busy indulging in corruption of unheard of proportions while the peasantry and other poor were suffering.


Addressing the gathering, Suneet Chopra, joint secretary of the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, stressed on the need to build unity of the peasantry, agricultural workers and other rural poor. He also spoke of the historical legacy of the Punnapra Vayalar, Telangana, Tebhaga and other struggles and reiterated that it was the struggles of the Kisan Sabha that paved way for the formation of communist led governments in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. The land struggles under the Kisan Sabha’s banner ensured that there were some efforts at land reforms and the Left-ruled states protected the tenants as well as redistributed land to millions of landless peasantry.


Speaking on the occasion, CITU secretary Dipankar Mukherji said while lessons have to be learnt from the Kisan Sabha’s glorious legacy of struggles, there was a need to analyse the ground realities and unleash consistent struggles for protecting the peasant and agriculture. By explaining the link between withdrawal of subsidies, high fuel prices, increase in fertilizer prices and high prices of food grains, he also brought out how government policies in agriculture have a bearing on the larger society. Policy decisions like disinvestment and closure of the public sector undertakings (PSUs), taken on the industrial front, also have an impact on other sections of society. This makes broader alliances and strengthening of the worker-peasant alliance all the more relevant, he said. Greater solidarity needs to be built with the struggles of the toiling masses and steps have to be taken to strengthen the worker-peasant unity and have joint actions, he said.


AIDWA office bearer Ashalata greeted the gathering on behalf of her organisation, and spoke about the close relationship of the rural women with the peasantry as well as the Kisan Sabha. She assured that the AIDWA would always be a part of the struggles launched by the Kisan Sabha.


CPI(M) Central Secretariat member V Srinivasa Rao also attended the programme. He spoke about the historical role played by the Kisan Sabha in mobilising the rural masses against feudalism as well as against imperialism. The Punnapra-Vayalar, Telangana, Tebhaga and numerous other land struggles have been an inspiration for generations and continue to inspire people who desire to have a society free from oppression and injustice, he said. He also emphasised the need for the Kisan Sabha to learn from the experiences of the past and organise the peasantry against the anti-people neo-liberal economic policies that are pursued by the ruling classes as well as against the social evils prevalent in the society.


AIKS joint secretary N K Shukla spoke at length about how the Kisan Sabha was formed as a broad-based organisation of the peasantry and how people with different ideological convictions were associated in its formation and in the early phase. During the course of intensified struggles and radicalisation of the peasantry as well as its acquiring a strong ideological orientation against feudalism and imperialism, many such fellow-travellers who had been associated with the Congress and the socialists drifted away from the movement. The Kisan Sabha’s struggles led to a transformation in the rural countryside and “Land to the Tiller” became the rallying cry which gave rise to many land struggles. He recounted the various struggles under the Kisan Sabha banner across the last 75 years. Today, in the wake of intense attacks on the peasantry in name of liberalisation, there was a need to have organised peasant movement which efficiently takes up local issues such as land reforms, remunerative price for agricultural products, supply of cheap inputs, cheap credit, crop insurance, power, irrigation etc. In sum, we have to build powerful broad resistance against the central government’s anti-people policies, he said.


AIKS joint secretary Vijoo Krishnan thanked all those who attended the foundation day celebrations. AIKS office secretary R C Yadav was also present.