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Sunday, July 26, 2020
In memory of one of the greatest martyrs, Baba Bhuja Singh, on his 50th anniversary.
By Harsh Thakor
On July 28th
the Communist revolutionary world dips its blood in memory of one of it's
greatest martyrs, Baba Bhuja Singh, on his 50th martyrdom anniversary. Few
comrades shimmered the torch of what is now Marxism-Leninism-Maoism with the
intensity or meticulous skill of Baba who blended the determination of a
soldier with the vision and creativity of a painter. In his lifetime he
encountered the most turbulent or stormiest of oceans or the wildest forests
but his spirit remained undeterred. With dialectical mastery he overcame every
hurdle. Even in the gravest of situations he would resurrect his soul like a
phoenix rising from the Ashes.
He had a
subtle or characteristic approach in integrating with the struggles at different
junctures understanding the language of the masses in deep depth. He gave great
respect to the involvement of women and the Dalit community. In his view the
aspects of oppression of women and Dalits had to be treated as separate
subjects in itself.
Bhuja Singh played the role of an architect in the building of the Ghadr party,
the Kirti party, the revolutionary movement of the pre 1947 period of the
Communist Party of India, post-1947
agitation sled by the Communist Party of India and finally the Naxalbari
movement led by Communist Party India (Marxist Leninist) (C.P.I.(M.L.)Within
the Communist movement he confronted revisionism with a sword of iron and was
instrumental in the Communist party in Punjab rejecting the revisionist line of
the All India Communist Party of India in the 1940's ,and lighting the spark of
armed agrarian struggle in Punjab. His practice gave shape to the Communist
movement in Punjab adopting the Chinese path
prescribed by Chairman Mao. After 1947 Comrade Bujha raised his powerful voice
against revisionism more than anyone and morally led the demarcation of the
Punjab Communist movement against revisionism. Within the All India
Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) and the C.P.I.(M.L.) itself he strived for mass line
and mass movements and with surgical precision.
established great rapport with the Argentine people in the anti-colonial
struggle, winning their hearts as a Ghadarite. Meticulously with other comrades
like Teja Singh Swatantra he established units through political study circles
and initiated military guerilla training. Being a hard core opponent of
Gandhian non-violence he stressed on the need to militarily overthrow the
British rule. In Rosario
he was arrested for raising funds after imposition of martial law.
In Moscow he was inducted
into study classes on Marxism-Leninism and its application to colonialism. He
interacted with fellow Ghadarite students from China,
Japan, Argentina, Malaya etc. which he
brought into the Ghadr movement. All the Ghadraites received military training.
Baba was deeply impressed with the socialist construction in Soviet Russia
which he thought represented a new epoch.
contribution to the building of the agrarian movement under the Kirti party was
remarkable. He initiated formation of debt committees in Doaba. He launched a
magazine "Kirti." In Jalandhar he began to organize a Punjab Kisan
Sabha. Then in Lyalpur district he worked as a main organizer and in four
tehsils mobilised the peasantry. His efforts enabled the Kisan Sabha to combat
Sikandar Haya Khan and Chhotu Ram who were amongst the most powerful landlords
and ministers. They used to organize peasant conferences on lines of caste and
ruled and divided peasantry on caste lines. It facilitated the growth of the
Kisan Sabha with a central poster published exposing the nefarious designs of
Bhuja's leadership a campaign was initiated to open and close mouths of water
channels for irrigation. The peasants blocked the water openings irrigating
land of the 2 ministers and other oppressive landlords. The small peasants now
had access to channels of their own fields. This campaign enabled to accentuate
the struggle between small peasants with the feudal lords and government.
Baba's tutelage a mass upsurge erupted which took a major organizational shape
after a landlord slapped a water carrier. At the conclusion the landlord
yielded and pleaded for mercy by touching the feet of the water carrier.
issue of debt Bhuja Singh launched many struggles which paved the way for many
comrades to be won over to the body of the Kirti party. He explained to the
peasantry that only through integrating them within the framework of the Kirti
party that any genuine freedom could be won from the British. The issue of
political consciousness and military training was highlighted through this
Singh continued to expand the Kirti party on the peasant front with great
dedication enabling the communists to come closer to the democratic forces. The
Kirti party had appointed a decision of joining a united front of the Congress
Party. Bujha Singh thus adopted membership of the Congess Party. He became
involved in propaganda against communalism with other comrades.
Kirti magazine was formally was formally banned so Bujha Singh resurrected it
under the name of Kirti Lehar which was circulated all over Punjab.
After 1937-38 elections Kirti party raised issue of political prisoners and
organized a fast in front of the Lahore
assembly hall in support of prisoners of Anadman jail. A demonstration was
staged on the first day of the assembly session at Lahore, with Bujha Singh the main leader. The
police obstructed the demonstration in a Muslim area on its way to Anarkali
Bazaar and tried to terrorize the people. However the Muslim community not only
welcomed the demonstration but also served the demonstrators with roti and
water. The procession converged at the Anarkali Bazaar being a huge success. It
inspired similar demonstrations in Calcutta and
leaders of the Kakori case in mobilizing huge numbers of people in front of Lucknow assembly.
of being confined to his village Bujha Singh adopted underground life but still
organized mass upsurges ,led peasant conference and demonstrations without
failing into the trap of the police which was remarkable.
party organized three conferences in Lyallpur
in 1938. In July 1938 ,15000 peasants organized a conference and demonstration
in the city after they had blocked moths of water channels. All three
conferences were led by Bujha Singh and had historic impact. It resulted in the
building of the DoabCanal and the Lahore
Kisan Morcha. A major campaign was launched by this force against World War 2.
Teja Singh Swatantra the Red Party condemned the collusion of the Communist
Party of India with British imperialism And the Indian comprador bourgeoisie.
In waging a crusade against the revisionist or-Congress approach of C.P.I.
Bhuja Singh with other comrades he raised the mantle of armed revolution and
hit out against princely states, feudalism and pro-British imperialism. Baba
Bhuja Singh championed the cause of tenants of Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). He performed task of schooling the organized tenants,
train them in arms and collect funds. He developed party armed guerilla squads,
educating cadre about secret party work and how to face the enemy. With great
persistence he collected funds. The party published a magazine Lal Jhanda and
stage secret meetings. Baba Bhuja exhibited the relentlessness of a soldier in
arousing tenants of PEPSU. Now the PEPSU government was compelled to distribute
the land legally.
1962 Buja Singh was a most vocal opponent of the Indo-China war and sided with China
under Mao. He resigned from the Communist Party of India and joined forces with
the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He activated the mass movement guided
by the new party defending Socialist China and condemning Kruschevite
revisionism. He became editor of the party Organ 'Peoples Democracy.’ He
deployed great energy in building the mass organizations of the party and party
branches. He waged a sharp polemical debate with the C.P.I. combating
1965 his party condemned the Indo-Paka war, exposing its anti-people character.
Bujha Singh had been arrested in the Indo-China war earlier but this time
evaded arrest by staying underground. Bujha Singh propagated how the rulers
were deploying nation chauvinism from diverting the people from their basic
issues. like unemployment, starvation and poverty.
1966 he became an active participant in the civil liberties movement and
supported struggle for Punjabi Sabha.
Naxalbari movement although very late was still the most defining event in
Bujha Singh's life which gave him untold glory. He played an important role in
steering comrades within the Punjab unit of the All India Coordination
Committee of Communist revolutionaries and joint comrades like Gandharav
Sen,Saraban Singh Cheema, Baburam Bairagi, in an inaugural meeting of the Punjab unit in Jalandhar. It is difficult to find an
adjective that can do full justice to the spiritual metamorphosis within Bujha
Singh and hundreds of other pro-Naxalbari cadres ,as though a red flame was
shimmering within their hearts. It was as though he had garnered all his energy
and harness life's experiences to confront a final climax. On bicycle he
travelled many a region in Punjab in the
manner of someone reborn and illuminate the red flame to capture the hearts of
thousands of youth. Bujha Singh gave them a vision of the new man which a
revolution would create, touching them in the very core of their soul. With
dialectical mastery to the core he imbibed the revolutionary ideology of what
is now Maoism in the youth .With surgical precision he educated the youth on
revisionism, Naxalbari dialectical and historical materialism, and the root
cause of the Naxalbari upsurge.
Bhakra Samaon peasant struggle was shaped to a great extent by Bujha Singh
.Land was first occupied in Samaon on 8th December and in Quila Hakiman on 18th
June 1969.Before initiating capture of lands preparations were made with mass
gatherings. Bujha Singh raised the central slogan of land to the tiller .He
also taught the strategy of building an army to capture state power through guerilla
warfare and forming revolutionary commitees of landless peasants, agricultural
labourers and tenants., and how to accomplish the new democratic revolution. by
capturing the cities. The role of the vanguard Communist party was also
elaborately explained. He organized important camps in the villages of Quila
Hakiman, Balian, Kumbahrwal, Sultanpur, Rangian and Bhaini. After lecturing
cadres in the camps he deputed different persons to perform various duties to organize
preparations for land struggles. Hundreds of peasants seized lands and planted
the red flag. With incisive application of mass line Baba organized landless
peasants and agricultural labourers.
of the most poignant aspects of Baba Bhuja Singh's role was his criticism of
line of C.P.I.(M.L.) He was critical of line of annihilation of individuals
opposed designating Chairman Mao as India's chairman, criticized party for
rejecting economic struggles, supported mass struggles and movements and
people’s organizations which the party rejected and felt party had not created
a red army in Bengal. Still revealing the qualities of a disciplined soldier he
upheld the party line with the tenacity of a rock and played a major role in
the 1970 C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Congress.
state targeted Baba Bhuja Singh and on three grounds. One was the murder of
Quila Hakim landlord, General Balwant Singh, the others were the publishing of
a poster and the Acharwal conspiracy case.
The Punjab government felt Baba Bhuja was a grave threat to
their rule or the oppressive social system and went to the extent of executing
a plan to assassinate him. Tragically on July 27th 1970 he was captured by the
police force as a result of information of a police agent .Baba was on the way
to attending a meeting in village Haripur near Phillaur riding his bicycle by
the side wall of the school which was the meeting pace when a police jeep
barged into him, toppling him to the ground. Before he could retrieve himself
the police got hold of him and flung him into the jeep. With death defying
courage he raised the slogans of 'Naxalbari Zindabad" In the police
station Bujha was severely tortured but he revealed no secret not even the name
of the place o the meeting he was to attend that night. On the 28th July early
morning after not being able to extract any information after tow rounds of
interrogation the police threw his body down on a bridge after breaking his
backbone. The police fabricated the events by stating in report that Bhuja
Singh was killed in an intense encounter with the police on the bridge of
village Nai Majara. They alleged that he was on his way to murder Rana Mota
Singh Jadla, state Congress president.
we do not exactly face the same circumstances Comrade Bhuja Singh did but we
face a regime which is morally more oppressive than what existed in time of
Baba. Semi-feudalism may not exist in the classical form as in the time of Baba
but has disguised itself in a more pernicious version with the advent of
globalization. We may not have warlords as in China but the peasantry in Punjab
is subjugated by to the enslavement of the moneylenders or commission agents
and are unable to repay loan debts for which they are penalized. So called
development has not emancipated the Dalit agricultural labour community from
the wrath of upper caste landlords who rob them of the promised right to 1/3rd
of panchyat land ,in addition to being denied permanent work. Thousands of poor
and landless peasants and agricultural labourers were compelled to commit
suicide, unable to repay debts incurred. Democratic movements of Dalit
community and landed peasantry face brutal attacks. Hindutva fascism is twice
as dominant as it was in the 1970's with the current rulers smashing every form
of democratic dissent to the dust. The recent incarceration of urban
intellectuals is a perfect illustration with leaders like Vara Vara Rao and
teachings and practice play a major role in shaping the mass movements and mass
organizations towards revolutionary inclination. His practice and teachings
were instrumental in paving the guide lines for building movements that at
their very core rejected Gandhian non-violence and exposed it’s
superficiality in practice.
the last 50 years counter revolutionary winds of revisionism or right deviationist
trends emerged as a major obstacle which Bujha Singh confronted with the
tenacity of boulder in his lifetime. He gave us abject lesson son how to
counter revisionism and repression of the state. Comrades must learn how in spite
of differences he went along with the party in 1969 when factionalism or
splittism was beginning to emerge with comrades being openly critical of the
party. Baba never openly spoke against the errors of practice like attack on
police stations which in his view would break the backbone of the party. It is
similar to the situation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (C.P.I.
Bhuja Singh's asassination symbolized the oppressive nature of the
semi-colonial ,semi-feudal state as a whole which today is fast turning into a
fascist one dictated by Hindutva. I congratulate the democratic movement of Punjab for showing such strong mental resilience in
confronting the brutal assault of operation Greenhunt ,like the recent arrest
of the urban intellectuals. Nowhere in India has the spark of resistance to
extinguish proto-fascism shimmered as much as in Punjab, in spite of times of
adversity, engulfing almost every region. Fitting that in the time of the 50th
martyrdom anniversary of Baba Bhuja Singh such organized protest is taking
place in all spheres whether on issues of poor peasantry, of Dalit agricultural
labour or on democratic rights.
movement of the Punjab Students Union and the Nuajwan Bharat Sabha of the
1970's like the 1974 Moga Sangram rally did great justice to Comrade Bhuja
Singh's ideology, giving it a concrete shape. Both these organizations played a
most significant role in organizing mass protests exposing the staged murder of
readers to read or get translation of the writings published in Punjabi journal
Surkh rekha narrating the contribution of Baba Bhuja Singh and the document of
the erstwhile Central Team of the C.P.I.(M.L.) on martyrs of Naxalbari in Punjab. I feel the Surkh Rekha of the 1980's
ideologically was closest to the line and practice of Baba Bhuja Singh. No
group made such an incisive theoretical analysis of the reasons for setback in
Naxalbari movement in Punjab and evaluation of
the C.P.I.(M.L.)line and practice as the Central Team group.
the flow of water in a river or a road continuing many happening in Punjab resurrected the spirit of Baba Bhuja Singh.
the period of Khalistani movement spirit of Baba Bhuja Singh was resurrected
with armed retaliatory actions of squads of revolutionary groups from different
trends, avenging the death of comrades martyred at the hands of Khalistani terrorists.
All the martyrs who laid their lives confronting the fascist Khalistani
movement continued the legacy of Bhuja Singh from all streams be it Baldev Singh
Mann, Jaimal Singh Padda,Sarabjeet Singh Bithewad, Nidhan Singh Gudhan, Mehgraj
Baghtuana or Jagpal Singh. The resistance of the 'Front against repression and
Communalism' against twin terror of Khalistani fascism and state terror and the
Sewewala martyrs memorial rallies and conferences staged in 1991 and 1993 will
be written in red letters in revolutionary history.
all revolutionary groups irrespective of belonging to different trends
illuminate Baba Bhuja Singh's name in golden letters. It is difficult to
describe the depth of emotions expressed by comrades like Darshan Singh Khatkar
or Amolak Singh when paying homage to Baba. Comrade Darshan Singh Dusanj who
died in August 2000 and Samsher Singh Sheri who died in October2005 made the
greatest contribution in rekindling the flame of Baba Bhuja Singh by upholding
the armed struggle in Dandkaranya. Even if upholding the T,Nagi Reddy line
morally comrades like late Zora Singh Jalajan, late Amritpal Passi or late
Harbajan Sohi sowed the seeds in illuminating the inextinguishable spark of Mao
thought. Of comrades still alive it is in my view Darshan Singh Khatkar who
exudes the torch of Bhuja Singh utmost.
the flow of water in a river or a road continuing many happening in Punjab resurrected the spirit of Baba Bhuja Singh. I must
make a worthy mention of the memorial conference in memory of Bant Singh
Rajeanna in November 1994 held by 2 organizations which ultimately merged into
the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist or Ngai
Reddy Group )mobilizing 10000 people .All cadres should read or get a
translation of journal Surkh Leeh's historical review of the Naxalbari movement
in Punjab on 50th anniversary in 2017,which does ample justice to comrades lik
Baba Bhuja Singh.
path of the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC) and the Kraktikari Pendu
Mazdoor Union has treaded the very path of Bhuja Singh on liberation of Dalits
by organizing many a land capture, confronting the goonda elements. In other
spheres also democratic movements invigorated the very essence of the ideology
of Comrade Baba. In recent times the ZPSC have staged some of the fiercest
rallies and conferences gheraoing the Ministers residential palace in Patiala and confronting
upper caste landlords and goonda elements working in connivance with police in
Jaloor and in Jhaneri and Badli Kalan. It has written a new chapter in the
history of Dalit agricultural labour liberation movement.
factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), particularly of the Ugrahan have taken democratic agitation to a
crescendo opposing seizure of land by corporates and challenging the monopoly
of commission agents. The experience of the BKU(Ugrahan) resisting Trident MNC
in Gobindpura in 2007 is unforgettable as well as the manner they prevented
Akali Dal leaders to hold a meeting in villages of Badiala and Raika kalan in
2016. In Gobindpura, Faridkot, Mehelkela, Channa Pindi peasantry displayed its
enormous potential in fighting for genuine revolutionary democracy There was an
example of a victory of a suicide compensation in Bathinda. In Mansa 152 acres
of land was awarded to the peasantry. 94 crores compensation at 2 lakhs per
head was won by the peasant families whose members committed suicide and 140
acres of land was won which had been seized by the corporates and politicians.
intensive planning Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union organized successful struggles to
win rights for plots for agricultural labourers in Lambi, Muktsar and Faridkot
and organized struggles protesting auctioning of land in Balajhr vinju. The
precursor of the mass line base of the BKU(Ugrahan) lay in the 2000 Firing in
Jethuke. The subsequent protest deploying correct political line was one of the
most defining moments in the history of movement of Punjab
methods for justice to families. In 2016 in June BKU(Ugrahan) made history of
some kind besieging the city of Bathinda in protest for 50 days claiming compensation
for victim s of suicides, taking revolutionary mass resistance to its
crescendo. Succeeded in wining almost 100 crores of compensation amount for
families of suicide victims.
democratic front against Operation Greenhunt organized the most qualitative
protests and gatherings challenging the opression of Neo-fascism and attacks on
Adivasis In Moga in 2011 on issue of attack of Adivasis in
Chattisgarh and in Barnala in June and December in 2018 on the issue
of arrest of urban intellectuals ,it organized qualitative conventions with a
rally. An event that created the impact of lightning was the protest rally against
black laws and release of democratic rights activists staged in Chandigarh in September
of 2019 comprising activists and organizations of all spheres. Similar protests
took place in Barnala in 2014 in September and in Ludhiana in 2017.I recommend everyone to read
a summary by Pavel Kussa in Surkh Leeh making an appraisal of Chandigahr
protest in 2018,in relation to the achievements of the revolutionary democratic
movement as a whole.
successive election campaigns representing Nagi Redy line organized by Lok Morcha,
Punjab Khet Mazddor Union, BKU(Ugrahan) in 2004, 2012 , 2017 and 2019 elevated
revolutionary political consciousness like no section did in any part of India, with
most illustrative organizational methods. It opposed slogan of 'boycott' and
tactics of participation in elections and advocated tactic of 'active political
campaign. "In the last 3 election gathering forces of Inquilabi Kendra and
BKU(Dakaunda) joined them. No trend has much as much depth of planning and
ground work in building mass struggles as the Nagi Reddy one. Personally I was
a witness to the 17000 strong elections gathering in Barnala in 2012 and in
12000 strong congregations in Bathinda in 2017. I also witnessed a 20000 strong
Women’s day programme launched in 2018 by Ugrahan group where the venue was
literally painted with spark of liberation.
that when faced in the depths of despair of Corona Pandemic the revolutionaries
of Punjab in recent months particularly the BKU(Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet
Mazdoor Union have risen to the hour and ignited the spark of resistance with
rearguard actions...Even if quantitatively small in many districts it organized
most qualitative flag protest marches, alternative relief and
exposed the apathy of the state in providing relief promised. In this very hour
joint agitation of tractor rally is being staged by landed peasant
organizations and PMKU and ZPSC are organizing protest of landless Dalit
agricultural labour against micro-finance companies and for panchayat land
his death history was repeated of such killings of Bhuja Singh in the forests
and plains of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and
Telengana and now Dandakaranya Thousands of Maoists including important leaders
were murdered in staged encounters like Azad and Kishenji and in earlier years
Murli,Shyam and Mahesh.in 1999.
Bhuja Singh was the strongest advocate of a unified party. Today the party and
the revolutionary movement is at the stage of being re-organized in Punjab with
different trends .However all groups basically adhere to the path of new
democratic revolution and path of protracted peoples war which Comrade Bhuja
Singh prescribed .There is strong criticism of the Nagi Reddy group practice
within the revolutionary camp in Punjab for negating political work when
organizing mass movement and displaying economist tendencies. The proponents of
this view are the C.P.I.(M.L.)New Democracy group , the C.P.I.(Maoist) sections
and Surkh Rekha journal edited by Nazar Singh Boparai.
my view in terms of building the united front of the landed peasantry with the
agricultural Dalit labour the practice of Nagi Reddy group or Communist Party
Re-Organization Centre of India(Marxist-Leninist)has been most articulate with
the revolutionary democratic resistance organized on partial and political
demands with great preparatory work. I still uphold the view that the
C.P.R.C.I.(M.L))is the greatest torch-bearer of mass line practice in state of
Punjab with greatest democratic functioning prevailing within peasant Unions and
agricultural labour organizations it is guiding.
is strong criticism of the Nagi Reddy group practice within the revolutionary
camp in Punjab for negating political work
when organizing mass movement and displaying economist tendencies. The proponents
of this view are the C.P.I.(M.L.)New Democracy group , the C.P.I.(Maoist)
sections and Surkh Rekha journal edited by Nazar Singh Boparai. I cannot
completely dismiss views of other sections or completely run them down. After
all they are all in the revolutionary camp.
mass political campaigns against state repression like against scrapping of
Article 370 in Kashmir, NRC or Operation
Greenhunt. Nagi Reddy group has displayed the most correct practice and staged
greatest mobilisation as well as in protests for partial demands of poor
peasantry. However it has revealed weakness in organizing mass political
programmes commemorating 50th anniversary of Naxalbari, centenary of Russian
Revolution or memory of martyred Comrades. It also guides a relatively weak
students and youth force compared to that of C.P.I.(M.L.) New Democracy.
Whatever remarkable progress a genuine agrarian revolutionary movement has not
been built nor is their sufficient integration of the Dalit agricultural labour
with the landed peasantry.
unhealthy trend within the revolutionary camp has been that of supporting Sikh
or Punjabi nationality movement and soft-pedaling with Khalistani politics. It
is predominant within the C.P.I. (Maoist) forces in Punjab.
The Nagi Reddy trend and Surkh Leeh journal tooth and nail refutes
Sikh fundamentalist ideology of Akali Dal which it did in the
factors are not conducive for launching armed struggle today in Punjab Still
the practice of Baba Bhuja Singh is a vivid example, that without raising arms,
any change will be superficial or cosmetic. This very line is being rekindled
in the forests of Dandakarnya by the Maoists .The armed inclination of the days
of Baba Bhuja Singh have to be ressurected to make any genuine headway in the
revolutionary movement. One major aspect that requires study are the
complexities of the impact of globalization in agriculture .Even if
semi-feudalism still prevails to large extent it is defined by forces of
imperialism and it is hard to envisage feudalism still as the principal
contradiction with the masses in Punjab. Situation and conditions in Punjab is
not fertile for launching of protracted peoples war and a different strategic
pat has to be devised in accordance .Punjab lacks forest regions or mountains
which are a perquisite to apply Chairman Mao's peoples war theory.Arguably
there has been greater qualitative political development in Dandkaranya than in
Punjab, which is more in tune with the ideas of Baba Bhuja Singh. Intellectuals
have to investigate why a red army has not been created in Punjab
as Bujha singh visualized.
written with reference to BABA BHUJA SINGH An Untold Story-by Ajmer Sidhu. I
thank comrade Ajmer