COMRADE ARVIND WAS A MANIFESTATION OF THE SPIRIT OF A PERFECT MARXIST REVOLUTIONARY AND ONE OF THE MOST CREATIVE COMRADES OF ALL
By Harsh Thakor
On July 24th, 2008 Comrade Arvind left us, after a sudden illness. Today we commemorate Arvind’s 13th death anniversary. It is a travesty that the movement was robbed of one of its most creative exponents. His life was reminiscent of Lotus blooming in full, radiating the spirit of revolution. Although he left us so early the revered comrade crystallised the flame of Marxism-Leninism -Maoism to depths rarely traversed by comrades. He was one of the best comrades ever of the Communist movement. traversing every obstacle with consummate skill. Few comrades’ lives better illustrated the spiritual evolution of a Communist revolutionary, Reminiscent of Che Guevera. Arvind exuded the element of humanism, which is such a vital component of a Marxist revolutionary. Few Comrades could steer a ship on correct path or even revive it from sinking in the most turbulent of waters as Comrade Arvind. Few comrades were better models than Arvind, who literally planted the seeds for new roses to bloom. It is a great tribute that his own brother Anand Singh left a lucrative career in WIPRO to join the revolutionary ranks.
Comrade Arvind today is the architect of the trend in the revolutionary movement sowing the seeds of 'Revolutionary Renaissance,' creating revolutionary bookhouse ‘Jan Chetana’. He also founded a trend that has broke away from conventional norms, by organising workers in their bastis and not in the factories. Arvind paved the way for giving revisionism and opportunism a knockout punch in the Indian Communist Movement. His only weak point was his inability to comprehend the semi-feudal nature of Indian Society and path of New Democratic Revolution. Arvind simply could not extricate himself from the clutches of classical Marxism and categorised India as a capitalist country. He completely negated agrarian revolution, so much needed in India.
His memorial functions in Lucknow and Delhi sparkled the spirit of revolutionary fervour at magnitude rarely witnessed in India. Contingents from every section of the Communist revolutionary camp participated. In no uncertain terms they praised Arvind's contribution to enriching the working class movement. The homage speech spoke volumes of Arvind's remarkable consistency. Most unforgettable was the tributes paid by the Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha, formed by late Shankar Guha Nyugi.
Arvind taught one how to apply Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology in the most challenging of situations to enable comrades to resurrect from the depths of despair. He was such a powerhouse of talent that even in no man's land he could be effective and fervour revolutionary fire. Few comrades were more adept in putting a house in order or churning new cadres. Throughout his career he was instrumental in creating a huge spectrum of forums and magazines. He deployed his huge creative skills to combat dogmatism at it’s very roots. He educated or trained many a student or youth in how to become an organizer and a revolutionary writer. Few comrades revealed greater mastery in evolving appropriate forms of work amongst the working class or penetrating their ranks. Most dialectically he differentiated between a mass organization and a party. Arvind could give classic lesson to pupils in the correct methodology of welding a scattered bunch of cadre into a cohesive group. Above all he was not mechanical and understood the broad masses above anything. He was a great student of the language of the masses. Had he lived on he would have become a truly great revolutionary leader with his outstanding organizational skills. Arvind wedged the gap between political theory and practice like very few leaders. Few comrades placed so much emphasis on the understanding and study of the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao thought or Maoism. With the inattentiveness of a sculptor he innovated new methods of organizational work, when globalization broke the very backbone of the working class, dividing it at it's very workplace itself. Outside the Nagi Reddy-DV Rao camp very few comrades so astutely defended the contribution of comrades like late Harbhajan Sohi or T. Nagi Reddy. With the methodology of a surgeon or architect. most illustratively he portrayed how revolutionary movement was not only about heroic actions of armed squads, but about building mass movements. Irrespective of revolutionary cadres ideological differences with Arvind we must all defend him as a staunch defender of the Communist revolutionary camp as a whole. Arvind sponsored spirit of debate in Marxism Leninism at a magnitude few leaders ever did and in the most dialectical manner. Even the ranks of the Maoist or other major revolutionary groups did not have leader with such astute organizational skills as Arvind. I can’t express how much we miss a leader with the organisational prowess of Conrad Arvind today, within the ranks of the working class movement. I recommend every cadre to read the Hindi booklet narrating the life story of Arvind, published by Jan Chetana publications.
LIFE STORY AND CONTRIBUTION OF COMRADE ARVIND
Com Arvind was born in a middle class family from Sultanpur district in Bhela village. In 1965 his family migrated to Varanasi. He matriculated from Kating memorial Inter college and did his intermediate from Central Hindu school, Banaras. Then he joined Banaras University where he procured honours in B.S.C.
Arvind received his baptism in the revolutionary ideology from experience in Banaras Hindu University with engineering students. He formed a radical group S.S.W. With great humility he led this group to work amongst the poor in the slums, Inspite of lacking ideology this group evolved into a stronger force on the campus. Several youth fell out in pursuit of careers but Arvind remained weeded to class struggle.
In 1986 in Varanasi he organized a 5 day seminar from 28th April to 2May 1986 on the 'line of student movement.' Arvind organized student youth teams in Bengal and Bihar to propagate the message of revolution.
In 1986-87 on the new education policy he led a student protest in Banaras, Gazipur, Baliya, Mau, Aazamgarh. A major campaign was organized exposing the anti-students designs of the New education policy. In July-August 1987 a major agitation was led against fee rise from Banaras to Gorakhpur, Gazipur and Baliya which is remembered till today. The 'Gatiwadhi Vichar Mancgh and Disha student front was inspired by Arvind. In 1988 all over U.P. a month long cycle rally was held and 'Purvachil Naujwan Sabha was formed. Arvind played a major role in influencing youth during the cycle rally covering Azamgarh, Mu, Devariya Gorakhpu, Baliya and Maharajganj.
In 1989 he formed the student front 'Disha' and the youth front'gatiwadh' .These organizations influenced students and youth in Delhi, Rodki, Bahalganj, Allahabad.It also spread in Punjab in Patiala, Jalandhar as well as Ahmedabad and Lucknow. A bridge was made between students and intellectuals. In I.I.T Delhi and Agra Medical college a student’s fronts were formed. In many villages of Uttar Pradesh now the red flag was fluttering amongst the youth which set the base for forming the Naujwan Bharat Sabha.
In 1989 Itihasbodh front was formed which was formed to inculcate Socialist ideology amongst youth Glasnost and Perestroika of revisionist U.S.S.R. was condemned and real Socialism defended.
In 1990 'the 'Front to defend Marxism' was formed which had great significance when revisionist Communist regimes collapsed in Eastern Europe and phony communism was used by the bourgeois to slander the ideology of Socialism. From 6-10th June a 5 day seminar was held defending the Socialist Societies of China from 1949-76 and U.S.S.R. from 1917-56. Arvind explained polemics with great incisive analysis, particularly the achievements and mistakes of the Cultural Revolution period. I recommend every comrade to read the booklets on 'Maoism' and Problems of Socialist transition 'which reflect most incisive and dialectical analysis.
In 1991-92 the journal 'Davityaboth 'was born which defended the Marxist Leninist theory and polemics. In that period work started amongst students and youth in Gorakhpur, Badalgaharj,and Mayardpur. Work began to organize the women and village workers of Mayradpur. A paper for the youth 'Aahwan' was launched
In 1992 work was stated amongst the students and youth of Lucknow under the banner of 'Disha Chatra Manch' and 'Koshish Chatra Manch' and in August 1992 a 100 km march was held exposing the economic policies and corruption. A struggle was also led of village workers in Sultanpur
In 1993 the Rahul foundation was founded on April 10th.. This was a landmark day in the launching of a movement to publish revolutionary literature and books. It was named after Rahul Sanskriteyan. The work of Rahul foundation started in Lucknow. This foundation has consistently printed the revolutionary literature of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao and books giving Leninism the cutting edge, more than any publishing group ever. In 1996' Parikalpana' publication was introduced. In the same year 'Anuragh Bal Kendra' was formed for children.Arvind played the leading role in all these foundations. It is most praiseworthy how they have republished classics of Edgar Snow, William Hinton and even writers like Bob Avakian or Grover Furr.
In 1994 the 'Lok Swaraj Abhiyan' was formed which was led in Sultanpur, Lucknow and Nikatvarti. In November 1994 in Siwan, Hazzafarpur and Muzzafarpur a 28 member strong rally was held while on 27th February 1995 to 22nd March 1995 in Gorahpura Shahid Mela was held which Arvind led.
In April 1996 the workers paper 'Bigul;' was inaugurated to build revolutionary ideology for advanced workers. It was a major Marxist Leninist innovation in creating cores of revolutionary political workers. Arvind developed a style of writing to influence the working class.
In 1997 Arvind worked in the student front to organize Railroad workers and inaugurated the ;the railroad workers democratic front ‘He also formed the technical and artisan union' He deployed the newspaper 'Bigul' to educate the workers of these unions.
In 1998-2000 in Mayardpur he started work amongst village workers and youth work in Gorakhpur.
In 2000 in Delhi Arvind began work in forming a student commune and started a student -youth propaganda and cultural team. In Noida work was started. Painstaking work was done amongst the students and youth through cultural work. This spread to Haryana and Punjab.
In the 2000 decade Arvind played a major role in exposing the Ghodra riots of 2002 and after the riots in Gujarat in 2000 he led a campaign through the 'Jujharu Jang Virodhi Abhiyan.;'.He also exposed the P.O.T.A act through the 'Pota Virodhi Front.' An anti imperialist front was also formed. In 2004 during Mumbai resistance Arvind introduced his original ideas in opposition to W.S.F. Arvind opposed the understanding of the Mumbai resistance and published a major polemic debate of his own creation which was reproduced in journal Dayitvabodh.
In May 2005 Arvind worked amongst workers in Khatima of Easter Factory. In Terai he did significant work in exposing revisionism and introduced 'Bigul'
One of his greatest creations was the staging of the 3 year campaign in memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh's 100th birthday from 23rd March 2005 to September 27th 2008 It was led bu Disha, Naujwan Bharat Sabha,' Bigul Mazdoor Dasta' It spread to Varanasi, Allahabad. Lucknow etc. Various cultural programmes were staged and mass postering, rallies and leafleting was initiated. Many contacts were made in the bastis and colleges. Significant cycle rallies wee launched in Lucknow and Allahabad in memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Similar programmes were stage in Punjab and Delhi. This campaign had a major impact on the youth and inculcated new cadres to the revolutionary movement 2007 Arvind led the Dehati Mazdoor Union in Myardpur on the issue of ration and widows pensioning May 2008 Arvind started work amongst the sweepers in Noda-Baliya.A broad front was formed in Baliya, Banaras, Mirzapur. Allahabad and Noida for staging united struggle.
Ironically at his very peak this great comrade's energies took their toll and he fell victim of very high fever. After some days he perished. The Revolutionary movement lost one of it's most valiant comrad
PERIOD AFTER DEATH OF ARVIND AND WORK OF ORGANIZATIONS
Arvind generated many a most disciplined and committed cadre to sprout after his death and in mass programmes one witnesses their relentless spirit. I am most impressed with the disciplined and dedicated manner the Jan Chetana undertakes its book sale programmes of Marxist literature annually and the depth in which they have penetrated the literary field. It is also praiseworthy the emphasis the organization built by Comrade Arvind place on political education of Leninism through study circles of youth and workers. Political education is a feature neglected amongst the working class., with several groups placing one sided emphasis on partial demands. In November 2019 it undertook a nine day study course on ‘Capital.’
It is positive that the organisation has expanded at an All India levels spreading to regions like Kerala, Harayana, Bihar,Maharashtra etc. Some of the most disciplined political cadre have been developed in Maharashtra who defend Leninism ,arguably better than any other political group in this state. Few Organizations today have cadre that better defend the Chinese Cultural Revolution or Stalin.
I was most impressed with campaigns which their Youth unit or Naujwan Bharat Sabha undertook in Allahabad and Gorakhpur on issue of opposing Saffron communalism and uploading teachings of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad. With such work units of Youth front were built in adjoining villages. Even in other parts like Delhi I was impressed in the manner they knitted a disciplined cadre into cohesive force.
A very progressive development was the formation of an All India Youth Organization. in Delhi in 2014 in September with constituents from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar. In states of work they have regularized student units and work in colleges or university campuses, built workers libraries and reading rooms and built cultural forums.
Another progressive development has been consolidation of student organisation ‘Disha’ in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. It has flashed its banner waging many a struggle on issues of opposing fee hike, for facilities for scheduled caste students, proper; libraries for students and against the menace of saffron Hindu fascism.
I admire this group not projecting the party banner which is so predominant in India today and stressing on building mass organizations.
Today the cadre of this group are like a virtual offspring of Comrade Arvind. testify how Arvind’s work touched the very core of the soul of younger comrades. Emergence of comrades like late Shalini who was a victim of Cancer .Whatever ideological aberrations, leading Comrade Abhinav Sinha obtained such profound theoretical mastery only through tutoring of Comrade Arvind.
After his death an Arvind memorial was founded and seminars at All-India level were conducted first bi-annually and then annually. They covered a huge range of issues like on labour movement, on Democratic Rights Movement, On ideology of Socialism, On Caste, On Imperialism etc. I personally attended 2 of the seminars. I was most impressed with the seminar on polemics of Socialism in 2014 which in detail stressed the importance of upholding contribution of Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and legacy of Stalin and Lenin. At the very root it exposed the reactionary nature of post-modernist or New Left trends, covering the Bolivarian Revolution, Paris Students Movement etc. Most remarkable seminars were also launched on the Issue of Israel-Palestine. In the seminar on Imperialism there was most illustrative presentation of significance of Leninism and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution even today. A most symmetrical analysis was portrayed by Eric Schmidt on; The World Situation and World Revolution’ making a most dialectical dissection of all the different eras of imperialism. Other most analytical papers were those by Abhinav Sinha of ‘The Present Imperialist Crisis: A New Great Depression’ as well as by Shivani on ‘Post Marxist theories of empire and Leninist theory of Imperialism.’
Arguably the best work in this organization was amongst the Textile and Hosiery workers in Ludhiana, where the union won a victory on issues of minimum wages and permanency. I was most impressed with the organizational methods of the Textile workers union in instilling political consciousness, particularly in confronting black laws. Impressive work was also done amongst steel roller workers in Delhi.
One characteristic feature or development of their work in the working class is off organising workers in their very homes or bastis and not in the factories. They attribute this die to the alienation created in the modern age.
We must credit this organization today of publishing 'Anvil' which is a quarterly journal on Marxist Leninist theory or polemics. It has covered in detail aspects like Naxalbari. Cultural Revolution in China. Nature of fascism in India, Caste system etc. No Organisation has perhaps staged as may seminars on topics concurrent to Marxism-Leninism, or made such attempts to foster political education in cadre. We must also pay them a tribute that even on its 25th anniversary this year amidst conditions of the pandemic, workers paper ‘Bigul’ still flashes like a beacon. Arguably no workers paper so consistently projects the cutting edge of the Marxism- Leninism as ‘Bigul’,in the country.
FLAWS IN THE ORGANISATION
Still there are major flaws in Arvind's organization namely the ‘Rahul foundation’. It refuses to recognize India as a semi-feudal or semi-colonial society .They are die hard adherents that India has turned capitalist and path revolution is of New Socialist character. In my view pursuing path of Socialist Revolution is a suicidal path. It completely rejected the General line of CPC of 1963, classifying the Chinese path as erroneous for India. and rejecting agrarian revolution. They have completely placed path of protracted peoples War in the Museum. There are also powerful trends exhibiting one sided emphasis on political propaganda and neglecting mass organisational work.
It also takes a most ecclectic stand towards farmer’s movement and agrarian revolution, labelling the landed peasantry as a reactionary class.
Even in their annual memorial seminars they have been subjected to strong resentment and criticism from other comrades and groups. for adhering to a dogmatic viewpoint, and rebuking comrades from other streams to the last straw. Comrades are critical of the fact that they do not do political work in the organized working class. In one seminar in 2013 on caste they literally humiliated an intellectual like Anand Teltumbde. In some ways the last seminar in November 2017 revealed a greater sense in the organization to invite spirit open debate, with a strong participation of a representative of the Communist Party India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star.
A very sad or negative development in recent times has been the moral separation of the stream from Punjab, on grounds of Punjabi nationality.
There is strong eroticism from quarters that the organization is promoting NGOisation. To me if it does not rectify its line of New Socialist Revolution, it may well even leave the Communist revolutionary camp.
Nevertheless I can't forget even how comrades from other streams like G.N. Saibaba, Arjun Prasad Singh, Varavara Rao or intellectuals like late Dipankar Chakraborty, Dhruv Jain or Shirish Medhi held Arvind in such high esteem.
Let us all bow down in Arvind's memory.