(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 07, 2011
Huge Chidambaram Rally
Marks AIKS 75 Years
Dr T Raj Pravin
THE town of Chidambaram witnessed celebratory events on July 31 marking the 75th year of the formation of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). However, the celebrations had begun a week before, when AIKS flags were hosted in ten thousand villages of Tamilnadu. Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar was the chief speaker at the public meeting organised by Tamilnadu Vivasaigal Sangam, state level affiliate of the AIKS. The meeting began with the welcome address by G R Ravichandran, district secretary of the AIKS.
As a part of the AIKS 75th anniversary celebrations, a sacrifice torch was brought from Thiruvarur; it was here that Tamilnadu Vivasaigal Sangam was started in the past. Also, a Venmani torch toured across the state, highlighting the earlier peasant struggles in the Cauvery delta region. Both these torches were handed over to dignitaries on the dais. The services of senior peasant leaders were appreciated as a part of the function; they were presented mementos and gifts on behalf of the AIKS.
More than ten thousand peasants from across Tamilnadu attended the public meeting and on this occasion the temple city of Chidambaram wore a festive look with Red flags fluttering all around.
Manik Sarkar, addressing this gathering of Tamilnadu peasants, highlighted the corruption charges faced by stalwarts of the Congress as well as the BJP. He emphasised the role played by the AIKS in meeting the basic needs and rights of common peasants from the days of the British rulers. In the best interest of the nation, Left leaders have always been stressing the need of radical land reforms from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru down to the present day of Manmohan Singh dispensation. But not much has come out of it. In spite of repeated representations from Left parties, peasants are neither able to get agricultural inputs at subsidised prices nor remunerative prices for their agricultural produce. Irrigation infrastructure continues to remain in a pathetic stage, he said.
Sarkar pointed out that about 2,13,000 farmers had committed suicides due to farm related problems in the last 12 years, but instead of taking effective steps to arrest this trend, the Congress government has been shedding crocodile tears only, with the aim of reaping votes during the state level and all-India elections. Instead of protecting the peasants, this government is busy protecting the interests of corporate houses like the Tatas, Birlas, Reliance, Dalmias and others. The black money stashed away in Swiss banks can be used to solve many of our present day problems but the Congress and the BJP are in reality interested in saving the culprits. Instead of creating new jobs, false promises are made on employment generation while lakhs of government jobs are lying vacant across various departments.
Sarkar further said the 2G spectrum scam involving A Raja of the DMK, the Commonwealth Games scam involving Suresh Kalmadi and some other scams, with their perpetrators now lodged in Tihar Jail, have brought to light the serious state of corruption growing under the ruling regime today. On the other hand, the BJP is also facing corruption charges in regard to mining in Karnataka, showing the BJP leadership in its true colours. It is only the Left parties that have set an example of probity and integrity in public life. Their record is very much in the knowledge of the common man of this country.
K Varadha Rajan, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, spoke in detail on the need to distribute fallow land among the landless poor and also highlighted the role of AIKS in combating the caste based discrimination at the village level. He dared the DMK leader, M Karunanidhi, to expose the corruption cases involving the BJP and the Congress. Highlighting the success of erstwhile Left Front government of West Bengal in effecting land reforms, he suggested that the peasant leaders of Tamilnadu must identify lands to be distributed among the agrarian community.
In his presidential address, AIKS state president K Balakrishnan highlighted the land grab issue in Cuddalore district where multinational companies and Indian corporate houses have acquired 10,000 acres of land belonging to small and marginal farmers. He focused on how Cuddalore district is likely to become a hub of pollution, how thousands of agricultural labourers are on the verge of losing their jobs here and how marginalised communities are likely to be displaced from their habitats where they have been settled for several generations. He also stressed on the need for organised struggles to safeguard the interest of agrarian community in Tamilnadu.
T Elumalai, general secretary of the Tamilnadu Sugarcane Farmers Association, highlighted the success of the peasant struggles of 2009, including the march to parliament by sugarcane growers for implementation of the state advised prices (SAP) by all sugar mills across the nation. He also highlighted the notable work done by the AIKS in protecting the farmers from the clutches of moneylenders and farm credit institutions.
G Veeriyan, former general secretary of the Tamilnadu state unit of the AIKS, mentioned the sacrifices made by the AIKS in upholding the rights of the peasantry. Now that the fourth generation of kisan leaders is in the fray, the AIKS must chart out new paths for the upcoming kisan leaders about organising peasant movements in the best interests of the agrarian community.
AIKS state secretary Professor R Chandra, in her address, made a mention of the two centuries of the British rule in India and the struggles that led to achievement of independence in 1947. Today we are on the verge of losing our hard won independence and that Indian farming is becoming a prey to multinational corporations. Our agriculture minister is busy talking to cricketers rather than to the farmer representatives, she said, adding that instead of protecting the agrarian community, the present generations of the Congress and DMK leadership are busy protecting the interests of multinationals like Cargill and Monsanto.
AIKS state general secretary Shanmugam spoke in detail on the occasion, explaining the corruption charges labelled against some DMK leaders, which have landed them in Tihar Jail in Delhi. He also emphasised the role played by Tamilnadu Vivasaiyal Sangam in bringing the Karnataka High Court chief justice Dinakaran to book in the land grabbing case and later his resignation.
The organising committee, headed by Moosa, had made elaborate arrangements for this mass gathering. Zakier Hussain, treasurer of the Tamilnadu Vivasigal Sangam, proposed the vote of thanks before the meeting concluded on a positive note regarding the continuation and intensification of peasant struggles and movements in the days to come.