People's Democracy

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


No. 10

March 10, 2013


Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha in Southern Jatha

Meets Lakhs of People in its first 10 Days


Vijoo Krishnan


THE southern leg of the Sangarsh Sandesh Jatha completed ten days on March 05, touching close to 10 lakh Indians, spearheading the efforts of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to convey the message of struggles for an alternative that would alleviate the miseries of the millions. The Jatha completed its journey in the three south Indian states of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka as well as a part of Andhra Pradesh. The jatha, the first initiative of its kind at the all India level by the CPI(M), clocked around 2000 kilometers at the time of writing this and was received by lakhs of supporters and the masses with great enthusiasm.


The leaders of the jatha – flagged off on February 24 – addressed meetings in over 50 venues where hundreds of thousands greeted the jatha. Numerous receptions, big and small, were held all through the route. The jatha was enthusiastically greeted by wide sections of the society that included workers, peasants, agricultural workers, adivasis, dalits, minorities, youth, students and women. It was welcomed with great fervor – different cultural programmes, folk art forms and guard of honour by red volunteers marked these receptions.


People’s anger against the anti-people policies, landlessness, homelessness, water shortage, closure of factories, ruin of traditional industries, rising prices, falling employment, corruption, violence against women and social injustice was palpable all through the route of the jatha. Many of them had submitted memorandums. People are looking forward to the CPI(M) to make a strong intervention and take forward struggles.


The jatha traversed through the different venues of heroic struggles like Marthandam, venue of protests against the oppression of the princely State of Travancore, revolutionary Punnapra-Vayalar anti-feudal struggle, the places of Moplah rebellion in Malappuram, Tiruppur, the venue of martyrdom of Kumaran in the independence struggle and workers’ struggles, Salem the venue of the martyrdom in the Jail rebellion, Dharmapuri witness to the heroic Vachathi struggle of adivasis and struggles of dalits against caste oppression, venue of Bellary, jail-break by A K Gopalan and other comrades, Kurnool witness to resistance against the British and also the regions witness to the historic Telangana armed struggle against feudal landlords and the Nizam which was an added source of inspiration.


In a unique show of solidarity, eminent academicians, film personalities, folk artists, retired judges, artists, poets and sportspersons met the jatha leaders and expressed solidarity to CPI(M)’s message of struggle. The jatha leaders also felicitated more than a hundred families of martyrs and cultural personalities, sportspersons as well as social activists.





The Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha reached Coimbatore on February 27, traveling a little over 650 km since it started its journey from Kanyakumari. It reached Coimbatore two hours behind schedule due to the unprecedented show of support and streets overflowing with people greeting the Jatha in neighbouring Kerala. The jatha leaders were welcomed with fireworks and slogans and red volunteers led them to the stage. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K Varadha Rajan, in his simple and humorous style, hit out against the Congress-led UPA government and the different governments in Tamilnadu which were following anti-people policies. He contrasted the Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha which had a positive agenda to defeat the anti-people government with Advani’s rath yatra which had a divisive agenda and had set out to destroy a mosque.


Jatha leader S Ramachandran Pillai and member M A Baby addressed the gathering and in their speeches spoke about the acute problems of textile workers hit by the neo-liberal policies.  Among those who were present included CC member P Sampath, state secretariat member Noor Mohammed and Coimbatore district secretary Ramamurthy.


From Coimbatore, the jatha set out on February 28, accompanied by hundreds of red volunteers on motor bikes decked with red flags. It entered into Tiruppur district at Avinashi where a huge gathering welcomed it with fireworks and slogans. The district level reception was held near Kumaran statue opposite Tiruppur railway station. Kumaran was a martyr in the struggle against imperialism who was beaten to death for holding aloft the Indian National flag and protesting against the British. 


Party district secretary Kamaraj welcomed the gathering and the jatha leaders while state secretariat member and local MLA K Thangavelu presided over the reception. K Varadha Rajan said that it was befitting that this was the venue for the reception to a jatha which was taking forward the message to protect our sovereignty from imperialist forces. M A Baby began by breaking the news of the impressive showing of the CPI(M)-led Left Front in Tripura elections and congratulated the people of Tripura for ensuring the formation of a record seventh Left Front government. This was met with spontaneous slogans and fireworks by the comrades present. S Ramachandran Pillai explained the six main issues on which the jatha was focused on and put forward the CPI(M)’s position on these issues.


Jatha member Sudha Sundararaman expressed concern at the spate of attacks on women in all parts of the country.  Another member V Srinivasa Rao spoke on the need to channelise the people’s anger against corruption, agrarian crisis, extreme poverty, hunger and violence against women in the direction of a movement for a progressive politics.


The sixth day of the Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha was kicked off on Friday, March 01, with a reception at Omalur, on the outskirts of Salem. It then entered Dharmapuri district of Taminadu, situated in the north western corner of the state, with a warm welcome at Thoppur, a  small settlement on the district's border with Salem. The jatha was ushered into the district in a convoy of hundreds of motorcycle riding red volunteers. A meeting was organised and among those who spoke included Sudha Sundararaman, Dharmapuri district secretary Marimuthu and CPI(M) local MLA Delli Babu.




The jatha entered Karnataka from the border town of Hosur and proceeded to Bangalore. There were meetings in Bangalore till late in the night. From Bangalore, the jatha proceded to the northern regions of Karnataka. Meetings were organised in Doddaballapur, Bagepalli and Gudibanda.

In Doddaballapur, the jatha leaders interacted with the local people and found out that water scarcity and lack of electricity are adversely affecting the livelihoods of the people there. Women are found waiting for water since 5 AM in the morning for more than six hours and water finally trickles in at around 11 AM.

On the other hand, due to the erratic power supply, power looms largely lie idle. Doddaballapur is predominantly a town whose people depend on weaving. They weave the famous silk sarees of the region, which consumers buy in fancy showrooms for thousands of rupees. The weavers in Doddaballapur work for more than 14 hours a day to weave two sarees. They have to work all through standing in small dingies. For all this hard labour they are paid at a piece-rate of 150 rupees for a single saree. Due to the erratic supply of electricity, now the weavers are unable to weave even a single saree per day. The rising input costs is adding to this and are forcing them to either leave the profession and migrate or as some have done commit suicides. It is to be noted here that even silk farmers are committing suicides due to the lack of proper support from the government, which is only happy in announcing many industrial complexes in the region, but not showing any interest in addressing the issue of the weavers and farmers.

S Ramachandran Pillai spoke about these problems and explained the anti-people policies of both the Congress-led UPA government at the centre and the BJP government in the state. He called upon the people to join the struggle against these policies and strengthen the CPI(M) because it is only the Left that can usher in alternative policies and ensure the well being of people. Other members of the jatha also spoke during the course of the day where many public meetings and receptions were organised.

The jatha was escorted from Doddaballapur to Gauribiddanur by an impressive rally of nearly thousand motorcycles.




The Southern Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha was welcomed into Andhra Pradesh on March 03 by CPI(M) central committee member M A Gaffoor and Anantapur district secretary of the Party O Konda Reddy at Guntakal. The next day morning, the jatha proceeded from Guntakal to Maddikera village where a reception was organised by various mass and class organisations of the party.


The jatha leaders were handed over memoranda by the gram sewaks, washerman's association and anganwadi workers. They expressed their firm belief that it will be the CPI(M) alone that can work genuinely for the solution of their problems.


From Maddikera the jatha proceeded to Adoni, which is locally called as the second Mumbai. On its way, the jatha was received by the people of Kosur, Pathikonda and Aspari. Pathikonda was once a stronghold for the communist movement and the Party had a member of legislative assembly too from this area. The people of this area still cherish the good work done by the Party. A reflection of this affection can be seen from the fact that the Party office is built on the land that was donated by the potters.


The entire region is drought prone and drinking water is a huge problem. At times, the villagers complained that there would be no drinking water supplied for days together. Though the lower canal of river Tungabhadra, a tributary of Krishna, passes through this region, water remains a scarcity.


Adoni is famous for its spinning mills, which are closed now. Just as Mumbai, the second Mumbai too is bereft of the famous mills. The difference is, while Mumbai prospered as a financial capital of the country, the second Mumbai (Adoni) is now famous for starvation deaths, migration and all round deprivation.


From Adoni, the jatha proceeded to Emmignoor, another famous centre for weaving. The Emmignoor Weavers' Society is of national repute and the products of its members are valued. But now due to the policies of the government, the society is closed as most of its members are ruined. Unemployment is a major issue here, with the weavers who could not continue in their profession and lost their jobs, unable to find even alternate employment.

The jatha proceeded to Kurnool, the district headquarters and home to many chief ministers and ministers in both the state and union cabinets. It is a town with vibrant trade union movement.

The entire region also has substantial population of the minorities who are facing lots of hardships as many of them are dependent on small occupations. The continuous drought and the resultant agrarian crisis has impacted their lives adversely.


The people of the region submitted memoranda about their problems like the lack of ration cards, house sites, water for irrigation and drinking. They wanted the CPI(M) to take up their issues in right earnest and organise struggles. They pledged all their support for such struggles.


The jatha entered into the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on March 05 Alampur in Mahbubnagar district where it was received enthusiastically by Party workers and sympathisers. Mahbubnagar is predominantly dependent on agriculture with fertile land. However, absence of proper irrigation facilities and recurrent droughts as well as absence of both remunerative prices and government support, the farmers are in acute crisis. This is despite two major rivers - Krishna and Tungabhadra - flowing through the district. It clearly is a sign of the fast vanishing State intervention and investment in agriculture and irrigational infrastructure. Large number of agricultural workers and dispossessed farmers migrate throughout the country. Popularly known as “Palamuru” labourers they take pride in the fact that there rarely are any major projects in the country which has not seen the sweat and sacrifice of the “Palamuru” labour. This large rate of migration is also an indicator of the sorry state of industrialisation in the district and the inadequate absorption of labour in the meager industrial base in Shadnagar and Kothuru towns.


The first meeting was held Pebbair, a mandal headquarter, where over a thousand people were waiting to hear the message of the Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha. The hamali (headload) workers who along with the MNREGS workers and the landless are the mainstay of the Party in this region, were present in large numbers.


At Kothakota a good number of municipal workers, anganwadi workers, mid-day meal workers and aadhaar workers were present. Mahboobnagar town, Jadcherla, Shadnagar witnessed participation of a large number of workers. After interacting with people in these places the jatha moved towards Shamshabad where hundreds of workers received it and in a procession of bikes, scooters and auto rickshaws it moved to Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad, where over five thousand people were waiting to listen to the jatha leaders.


S Ramachandran Pillai, M A Baby, V Srinivasa Rao, Sudha Sundaraman and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and AP state secretary B V Raghavulu addressed the gathering. CC members Paturu Ramaiah, P Madhu, S Veeraiah and M A Gafoor and state secretariat member Y Venkateswara Rao and leaders of various mass organisations were among those present.


The spirit of Telangana Peasant Struggle was visible throughout the day and the meeting began with the jatha leaders offering floral tributes to Comrade P Sundarayya in his birth centenary year and each of them remembered his contributions and fondly recollected their memories with him. The inspiration of Telangana to the activists of the Left movement is eternal and the CPI(M) will take forward the legacy as well walk on the path shown by Comrade Sundarayya, reaffirmed the leaders.