We are holding the 19th Session of the All India Kisan Sabha after quite a long period. The 18th Session was held at Trichur in April, 1961. The reasons for this delay of a long period in between the two sessions have been mainly beyond our control. During this period, the leading functionaries of the Kisan Organisation have been repeatedly subjected to Governmental repression and every time when steps were taken to normalise the functioning of the Sabha, our plans were upset under a fresh wave of repressions by the Government.
Immediately after the Trichur Session, General Elections to the State Assemblies and Parliament were held all over the country in February-March, 1962 and in view of these General Elections the Central Kisan Council decided to dispense with the Session in 1962.
By the end of 1962, taking advantage of the India- China clashes the Congress Rulers enforced “Emergency Rule ” in the country and arrested large number of Kisan functionaries in the month of November, 1962 from all parts of the country. Quite a large number of those who were arrested were released only after September, 1963 while Kisan leaders like Comrade S. V. Parulakar, Mrs. Godavari Parulekar and others were not released at all.
The functioning of the Kisan Organisation was normalised to some extent ofter these releases but in December, 1964 the Indian Government again resorted to a still more ferocious repressive attack. A large number of Kisan leaders were re-arrested in all the states and many had to function underground during this period.
Those who were under arrest were released in April-May, 1966 and after that steps were taken to normalise the functioning of the Sabha, enroll Kisan Membership to hold the regular delegates Session.
Because of the intervening General Elections held in February, 1967, a certain amount of further delay was unavoidable but the Central Kisan Council in its meeting held in April 1967 decided to hold the Session in October, 1967.
The Political developments in West Bengal, the attack on the democratic Rights, the unconstitutional dismissal of the U. F. Ministry and the large scale repression let loose against the people of West Bengal, once again disturbed our preparations. We had to postpone the Session to January, 1968 and now because of the further deterioration of the situation in West Bengal, we had to shift the venue at the last moment, and thus after crossing many hurdles and obstacles, we are holding the 19th Session of the All India Kisan Sabha at Madurai in Madras State.
HOMAGE TO OUR DEPARTED LEADERS
During this period after the Trichure Session, a large number of Kisan Sabha leaders and functionaries have departed from us and we pay our revolutionary homage to all those colleagues who devoted their valuable life to the building of this glorious Organisation and suffered in the cause of toiling peasant masses of the country.
Among those who have departed from us, most painfully, we remember, our colleagues, leaders and founders of the All India Kisan Sabha, like Comrade Bankim Mukharjee, Comrade Sri Nivas Rao, President, Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha, Comrads S. V. Parulekar, Joint Secretary All India Kisan Sabha, Dr. Bhag Singh, Ex-General Secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, Pandit Karyananda Sharma Ex-President and others. Before starting our work in this Session, let us pay revolutionary homage to these Comrades and pledge that we will spare no effort to uphold the banner of the All India Kisan Sabha, handed-over by them to us.
PERIOD OF GREAT AND SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS
Qur country has gone through very great and significant developments during the period after last Trichur Session. The Ruling Congress Party which had the record of uninterrupted rule at the Centre and in almost all the states ever since the Independence was achieved in 1947 has been reduced to minority in a number of states during the General Elections held in February, 1967. Its majority at the Centre too became precarious.
It is all the more significant that the Leftist forces have emerged in a dominating position in the two states of West Bengal and Kerala and improved their position in some other states.
But in certain other states the reactionary forces have taken advantage of the discontentment of the masses. Yet the development as a whole is undoubtedly an expression of the disapproval by the people of India and especially the toiling peasant masses, of the Congress Rule. The crushing defeat to a large number of Congress Candidates has not come about by any accident; it is the result and culmination of determined glorious and heroic struggles of the masses during this period against the anti-people policies of the Congress Rulers that subjected the Indian masses to the state of chronic food crisis, famine and unheard of high prices.
PERIOD OF GREAT MASS STRUGGLES
In this connection the two years preceding the General Elections held in February, 1967 would ever be remembered in the history of mass struggles in India. The struggling masses defied the most brutal repession let loose by Congress Rulers. It is inadequate to describe this period as Police Rule alone, because a number of times the Congress Rulers called in the Armed Forces too, to suppress the masses.
Defying all this repression, we witnessed the glorious unity of all sections of the masses in the form of state-wide Bundhs (closures of all business) in many States.
The All India Kisan Sabha is proud of the fact that its Units and functionaries have also taken an active and leading part in all these movements mobilised the peasant masses against the Congress mis-rule and contributed in bringing about these developments,
The Congress Rulers, who still control the Central Government who have at their disposal the entire State michinery are not easily resigning to their fate. Inspite of the Professed federal character of the Indian Constitution, Provincial autonomy was always a farce, but the attitude of the Central Government towards the non-Congress Governments especially those formed in Kerala and West Bengal has further exposed the real nature of their democratic professions. Shamelessly using the Governors as tools in the hands of Central Government and interpreting the provisions of the Constitution suitable to their needs, the Congress Rulers have resorted to a counter offensive to regain their position. The Government of West Bengal and Kerala were made the first target of this attack. The West Bengal Government as well as the non-Congress Governments in Panjab and Haryana have been dismissed. Minority Governments of Dr. P. C. Ghosh and L. S. Gill have been installed in power as puppets of the Congress Rulers.
This is not an ordinary incident. It shows that, If allowed to proceed un-checked, the Congress Rulers are out to transform Democracy into a mockery, because they are convinced that it is impossible for them to regain the monopoly of their lost power through normal democratic means.
The brief period of about one year after the General Elections is very rich in mass experience. It has also unfolded the true class character of many other non-Congress Parties who exploited the anti-Congress upsurge of the masses at the time of the elections. We find that some of these non-Congress Parties like the Swatantra Party and the Jan Sangb etc. are either openly conniving with the Congress rulers or showing their luke-warm attitude. These Parties, representing the Bourgeois-Landlord class interests, not only dissociate, but openly oppose and slander the mass struggles of peasants and workers against the landlords and capitalists.
As in the past, the masses are not in a mood to surrender before the counter offensive of the Bourgeois-landlord Rulers.
The crushing defeat to the Congress Party doing the elections and the formation of non Congress Ministries in many states, especially the Left-orientated Ministries in Kerala and West Bengal give an impetus to the mass movements.
The people of West Bengal have shown their heroic determination to resist the attack on their democratic Rights after the dismissal of Ajoy Mukherjee Ministry Through the mass movement unleashed by the U. F. in West Bengal, the people of West Bengal have demonstrated that they would not tolerate the undemocratic and puppet Government of Ghosh or any other.
At the same time, there should be no room for complacency. The bourgeois-landlord Congress Rulers have irrevocably taken to the path of trampling all their own democratic profession under their feet. Ever since October, 1962, the people of India have been subjected to the “ Emergency Rule ” under which all democratic rights and civil liberties were at the mercy of Police and bureaucratic Officials.
The “Emergency Rule” is supposed to have terminated on January 10, 1968, but this does not mean that democratic freedom would be restored to the masses. Before ending the emergency Rule the Congress Rulers have armed themselves with a “black law“ known as “the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act”. Its examination reveals that the Congress Rulers are now armed with a legislation which enables them to curtail democracy and democratic rights in a much more serious manner, and it should never be forgotten that the Congress Rulers have armed themselves with this “Black Legislation“ mainly to deal with the rising mass movements against their anti-people policies and against their misrule.
DEEP CRISIS OF BOURGEOIS-LANDLORD CLASS POLICIES
The bourgeois-landlord class policies of the Congress rulers have entangled the country into a deep crisis, from which it is unable to release itself within the framework of its own rule. Country’s economy is facing an alround crisis the crisis of foreign exchange, the food crisis, the crisis caused by rising prices and inflation, the crisis of internal and external resources for the Plan and so on, and ultimately has come to a stage where even after the elapse of two years of the fourth plan period, the Government of India is going without a plan.
It is not the purpose of this report to examine the nature and cause of the crisis in all aspects of our country’s economy. But it is most relevant for this report to briefly examine the nature and causes of the agrarian crisis and especially the food crisis in our country. As a matter of fact the agrarian problem is the crux of the entire problem of the country.
DEEPENING AGRARIAN CRISIS
It is necessary to examine in more details the various features of deepening agrarian crisis giving rise to widespread mass discontentment in the country.
Ever since Independence our country is deficit in food grains. But the most distributing feature of the situation is that inspite of the three Five Year Plans, country’s deficit in foodgrains and dependence upon imports has been on the increase.
During the Second Five Year Plan period country’s dependence upon imports of foodgrains ranged from 3 to 3.5 million Tons a year, but it mounted to 7.5 million Tons in 1964-65. about 9 million Tons in 1965-66 and 10 million Tons in 1966-67. Inspite of the assurances of a “bumper crop” during this year, the Government of India is already searching for the sources to import food-grains not less than the quantity imported during the last year.
|Year||Quantity Million Tons.||Rupee Value (in Crores)|
Note: One Crore is equal to 10 Millions.
The total import of foodgrains from all countries abroad since Independence and upto 1967 end are more than 83 million Tons. Major part of these imports came from the United States of America under P. L. 480. With the latest foodgrain import agreements under PL 480 for the current year, the share of U.S. in foodgrain imports from abroad reaches nearly 55 million Tons.
It is chiefly so because our country’s agrarian production as a whole and especially the foodgrain production is stagnant.
During the first three years of the Third Five Year Plan foodgrain production stagnated at 1960-61 level. Although it increased by 8.5% to 89 million tonnes in 1964-65 (supposed to be mercifully the most favourable climatic season) it again declined in next 2 years.
|Production in million Tonnes:||82.02||80.24||88.95||72.29|
It is really the most severe indictment of Congress rule that at the completion of its three successive Five Year Plans in 1966 the total foodgrains production was less by about 10 million tonnes compared to the production of the five year earlier period i. e. 1960-61.
Increase in foodgrains production has been throughout going on at a snails pace. It was 1.2 percent during the first plan, 3% during the Second Plan and 2% during the Third Plan. Average for all three plans will be less than 2%. Even if the unfavourable year 1965-66 is excluded, it comes to 2.1% upto 1964-65 for the 14 years.
If that is the situation during the period of 15 years, when its so called “Planning“ was also in operation, who will believe the Congress Rulers promises to tide over the food crisis during the “Fourth Plan”, which is a Plan without any shape or skeleton.
As compared to an average increase in foodgrain production of less than 2% during the First Three Plans it is promised to step up the production by 4.7 per cent during the Fourth Plan! The target for foodgrain production at the end of Third Plan in 1966 was originally fixed at 120 million Tonnes. Soon after it was corrected and fixed “realistically” at somewhere at 100 million Tonnes. The Third Plan actually ended with production of 72.29 million Tons of foodgrains. Production in the most favourable preceding year of 1964-65 was also no more than 88.95 million Tons.
In view of these past achievements who will consider it realistic that foodgrain production will be raised to 120 million Tons in 1970-71.
The result of this stagnation in foodgrain production is the prevalence of chronic food scarcity in vast regions of the country and permanent dependence upon imports of foodgrains from abroad.
According to a statement of Mr. Desai, the Finance Minister of India, in the Rajya Sabha on December 20, 1967 the total rupee account in favour of U. S. A. in India from sales made under PL. 480 till September 1967 amounted to Rs. 1831 Crores.
The Congress Rulers discribe the foodgrains imports under PL 480 as a “generous aid” from USA and thus try to conceal the dangerous implications of the chronic food crisis and the growing dependence upon imports of food-grains from abroad and mainly from USA, not only for the country’s economy but also for its very independent existence.
The huge sum of rupee accruals to U.S.A. from sales under PL. 480 is one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of US Imperialists to blackmail, pressurise and dictate terms to our country. Out of the rupee accrulas to USA, Rs. 1269 crores had been disbursed to India as loans and grants and Rs. 21 crores remain to be disburesed as loans and Rs. 41 crores as grants.
Apart from that US Government is entitled to disburse a part of this amount direct as loans to firms and establishments in India under the cooley Plan, and reserve another part for its own expenditures in India. Upto September, 1967 according to the statement of Mr. Desai the USA has spent Rs. 140 crores for its own uses in India and the balance available to be spent was Rs. 114 Crores.
Apart from dangerous economic and political implications of this huge rupee accruals to USA in India, country’s dependence upon food imports, does involve expenditure of huge amounts of Foreign Exchange as well, e.g. in 1965 nearly 548 ships brought the imported food grains at a total fraight of about Rs. 60.74 crores. US. Government lays down that foodgrains imported under PL 480 shall have to be improved by U. S. ships and major portion of the freight charges have to be paid in Foreign Currency.
It is also well known that our country’s growing dependence on USA for food is being utilised for dictation of terms to Government of India on crucial policy matters. Devaluation of the Rupee, the change in fertilizers Policy and above all the non-finalisation of its Fourth Five year Plan are a few important examples besides many vital political issues with regards to which the Governments of India is surrendering every day.
BUNGLING IN PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION :
The serious nature of food crisis in the country is not only because of the stagnation in production, but further-more because of the policies of the congress Rulers which more and more strengthen the hold of biglandlords, rich peasants and traders on the marketable surplus of food grains.
The Congress Rulers mainly rely upon the big-landlords mid upper strata of rich peasants to increase production in agriculture. This has resulted in large scale eviction of peasants and in increasing the capacity of the substantial landowner, to appropriate larger share of the agricultural produce. Such substantial landowners with hold their stocks from the market, reduce the stock of the open market arrivals and thus enter into the practice of hoarding, smuggling and profiteding in foodgrains.
Dr. S. S. Madalgi, in his contribution on “The Food Situation: Retrospect and Prospect” published in supplement to “Capital” dated 21st December, 1967 notes that the marketable surplus of rice and wheat declined from 40.5 per cent and 45 per cent in pre war years to 31.4 per cent and 32.7 per cent respectively in 1956—57. In recent years, according to him, the trend has intensified as is reflected in the decline in market arrivals of rice, wheat and jawar in selected centres from 1.86 million Tons in 1961-62 to I.28 million tons in 1964—65, a year of record production. (88 million tons against 81 million tons in 1961—62).
Whatever stocks arrive in the market is placed at the disposal of monopolist Traders. Inspite of the serious food shortage and breakdown of Governments own limited rationing liabilities the Congress Rulers have refused to undertake monopoly Procurement of marketable surplus, refused to Nationalise wholesale trade in foodgrains and for that end refused to nationalise big monopolists commercial banks.
Unbridled rise in prices and cost of living and mounting inflation are very closely linked with the worsening food crisis, growing dependence upon imports of foodgrains, bungling in the food policies of the Government.
The combined Index of prices (which is itself unreliable) for food articles shows a rise of 12% in 1965-66 alone, 47% during the Third Plan and 86% during the 10 years upto the end of Third Plan in March, 1966. It shows further steep rise after the Third Plan period. The price Index for 1967 is 257.7 as compared to 200.5 in 1966.
Base: 1952-53 is equal to 100.
Volume of money supply which increased gradually in the year 1957-61 (from Rs. 2389 crores to Rs. 3046 crores) went up quite sharply in the subsequent five years. In 1966 money supply reached the level of Rs. 4950 crores and stood at 4834 crores in August, 1967.
Various parts of the country are permanently suffering from chronic food shortage. The entire population of Kerala state is under a meagre rationing for the last many years. 50% of its food requirements have to come from outside the state. Quantum of rationing has been 280 grams and people call it a “Chicken rationing”.
In West Bengal approximately 9 million population have to be maintained on rationing.
There is absolutely no National food policy. Inspite of the serious nature of food crisis the Congress Rulers have refused to Nationalise the whole sale Trade in food-grains.
The procurement of surplus foodgrains stock is most inadequate and ineffective.
Only the United Front Governments formed in Kerala and West Bengal took effective measures to procure surplus stocks.
Unreasonable differences in prices of foodgrains exist in various parts of the country, which encourage large scale smuggling and black marketing across the borders. For example, the prices of wheat in Punjab have been between Rs. 72 to Rs. 85 per quintal this year, but across the border in UP the prices have been between 115 to Rs. 135 per quintal.
This whole gap in the prices of the same commodity creates uncertainty in the market and encourages hoarding and black marketing. It also enables the big landowners and hoarders to mislead the small peasants and mobilise them against any effective control measures.
The prices of foodgrains in deficit areas are unduly high and beyond the purchasing capacity of not only the urban population but of agricultural labourers and poor peasants. Government refuses to take up the responsbility of feeding rural population through fair price shops.
THE ROOT CAUSE OF FAILURE:
In order to cover the bankruptsy of its policies and conceal its real pro landlord and capitalist nature, the Congress Rulers attribute these failures to various out-moded and frivolous causes. The most ready made excuses are failure of monsoons or excessive rainfalls, the high growth of population and the impact of its conflicts with People’s Republic of China and Pakistan.
Thus they try to conceal that the basic cause of stagnation of our agriculture does not lie in the very policies of the Congress Rulers, the policies that do not rely upon bringing about a radical transformation of the agrarian structure of our country and thus generate enthusiasm among the peasant masses and utilise the vast rural manpower for production, but, instead, chiefly rely upon the landlords and handful of upper sections of the rich peasants and capitalists, to bring about “revolution in agricultural production.”
In our previous session held at Trichur, we examined exhaustively, through a separate report, the “progress of land Reforms in India” under the Congress Rule. We need not labour upon this subject any more, Our experience during this period has further fully confirmed the conclusions arrived at in that report.
After examining all types of land-legislations passed by the Congress Rulers, like abolition of Intermediaries, the Tenancy Laws, the laws relating to ceiling on Land-holdings, the report arrived at the following conclusions:-
- By these Land Reforms Legislations the feudal Land relations are being changed. The power of old type feudal landlords is being curbed. It would be unreal to say that feudal from of ownership is kept intact.
- At the same time these legislations do not, to any appreciable extent, reduce the concentration of land in the hands of top sections nor they bring about a distribution of land in favour of the peasants.
- On the contrary what is happening is this-the feudal landlords are being converted into capitalistic landlords with the concentration of land intact in their hands-their economic power is becoming more powerful. They are entering in trade, they are capturing sources of credit and by direct cultivation, control a large share of produce as well.
- The Exploitation of common peasant masses has increased. Various forms of semi-feudal exploitations (high rents, usury etc,) remain-new forms of capitalistic exploitation are super-imposed.
- It has further worsened the position of the peasantry and created further difficulties for the development of agriculture.
That the land Reform Legislations of the Congress Rulers have failed to benefit the peasant masses- that ’substantial areas were still cultivated through informal crop-sharing arrangements, that there were ejectments of tenants,, and that the ceiling had been evaded through well known device of transfers and partitions and not much land was made available for distribution to the landless has been admitted even by the report on “implementation of land Reforms’ published by the Planning Commission in August, 1966.
The main point to be noted in this connection is that the failure of the land Reforms Legislations of the Congress Rulers is not just fortuitous, it is inherent in the very policy of land Reform pursued by them. The Congress Rulers only deceptively talked of “Land to the tiller“, “Security of tenure for the tenants”, ”Ceiling on the Land-holding for acquiring surplus land for distribution”, etc.
Concentration of land into the hands of a very small minority and the state of landlessness and tiny and small holdings for vast number in the rural area, inspite of the so-called land Reforms of Congress Rulers, have been noted by official surveys as well. It is estimated that:-
“47% households in rural India owned no land or less than an acre of land each and their share of total land is 1% only”,.
“74% households owned no land or less than 5 acres of land each and had only 16 per cent of the total area under their ownership”.
“The share of 2.5% households each owning 30 acres of land or more amounted to 28% of the total landed area”;
“About one percent households owning more than 40 acres each, hold 20% of the total area.”
Instead of breaking this concentration of land ownership and distributing the surplus land to the landless and land-hungry peasants, the Congress Rulers have further pursued this trend towards the concentration.
Major part of the reclaimed waste lands have also fallen into the hands of the upper sections through Government allotments and public auctions of land.
It is not so difficult to find that in almost all the states especially in Punjab, Haryana, U.P. and parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh etc. large Farms have come into existance in recent years.
And now the big capitalists like Birla are also entering the field of the big Farming business. In this period of chronic food crisis, the field of big Farming is quite profitable. Apart from that it is a very handy field to conceal the blackmarket money for the capitalists.
The Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a brochure on “Development of Agriculture” have come out with the demand that “In place of present policy of imposing ceiling on agricultural holdings thus depriving agricultural of the advantage of economics of scale it would be desirable on experimental scale in the first instance to permit joint stock companies to undertake agricultural production of foodgrains and Commercial crops.”
The capitalist spokesman talk of agricultural transformation by permitting modern capitalist farming in agricultural sector.
The small landowners are already being “expropriated”. The demand of the advocates of modern capitalist farming as to accelerate this process. It is directed towards further strengthening the grip of monopoly in the sphere of agriculture.
This policy is causing further havoc regarding the employment position in the rural India. Apart from the large scale eviction of tenants, the introduction of machinery in agriculture, within the prevailing rural social structure, throws millions of agricultural labourers out of their jobs, without any alternative source of employment.
This fact has been unabashedly admitted even by the newly elected Congress President Shri Nijalingappa, who stated in his presidential address to the 71st Session of the Congress, held this month at Hyderabad, “One important and basic matter about agriculture which I would like to refer to is that land Reforms have not been fully implemented in any of the states. This is unsatisfactory.” Having stated so he once again promised, ‘I urge that within a year from now all state Governments may satisfy the demand that the tiller should be the owner…..“.
Nobody will be deceived by these “hypocritical admission of failures” of land Reforms and fresh promises to atone their sins and grant land to the tillers. We remember that with a greater show of solemnity and under the leadership of Pandit Jawahar Lai Nehru himself, a similar Resolution was passed at Nagpur in February, 1959 in an annual session of the Congress. In the same manner solemn assurances were given at the beginning of the Third Five Year Plan. And if the “Land Reforms have not been fully implemented in any of the states, Shri Nijalingappa, is himself one of the Chief culprits, who has been the Chief Minister of Mysore state for a long time.
As a matter of fact the Congress Rulers have a different policy for “development of agriculture”, and recently they have come out more and more openly with their “real Policy“. This becomes abundantly clear from Shri Nijalingappa’s address itself.
His reference to the Land Reforms is dismissed in one small paragraph, out of more than 2 dozen paragraphs in address dealing with agriculture. He does not consider it appropriate as head of the Ruling Party, the causes of Failure of Congress Party in all states to implement the Land Reforms, nor does he consider it necessary to laydown the future policy in order to undo this failure and “within one year, satisfy the demand that the tiller should be the owner.”
On the contrary, he is building castles in the air, relying “the new strategy in agriculture.” He promised, “The new high yielding varieties of wheet, paddy, maize, Jawar, Bajra and other millets with the application of artificial fertilizers backed by plant protection measures point to a able break through in agricultural production.” “These should provide the new jumping base for our economy as a whole.” “I am enthused by another aspect of this performance on agricultural front-the new prospect it holds to the toiling millions of our people in rural areas. It would also open up new areas of development in rural areas.” “There will have to be new processing Mills, storage capacity, transportation facilities etc. on the basis of which a large number of agro-industries could develop…” and so on.
It is clear that in actual practice the Congress Rulers have closed the chapter on “Land Reforms”, and now rely upon this “new strategy in agriculture”, that of relying upon technical improvements, improved seeds, more fertilizers, pesticides, Credits, and thus make a “break-through” by relying upon a narrow strata of substantial landowners and capitalist farmers.
No one denies the importance of these measures in increasing agricultural production. But the main point is, in conditions of technical backwardness of our country, which path do we follow to advance the agricultural production.
Those who talk of “bringing about Revolutionary change in agriculture”, by technical improvements, improved seeds, fertilizers etc. alone without changing the Rural set up forget two important factors.
- Because of the industrial backwardness of our country we heavily rely upon import of agricultural machinery, fuel, fertilizers and pesticides and because of which their use is becoming beyond the reach of even upper sections of cultivators.
Take the example of the fertilizers alone. The prices have gone up many times during the last 10 years and even then there is a serious short supply. Third Plan ended with indigenous production of 2 lakh tons of Nitrogen against a target of one million Tons. The industry was given liberal assistance after the Third Plan and a modest target of 5,25,000 Tons was fixed. Actual production is expected to be less than 4 lakh tons for the current year.
This has made it necessary to raise the years import from about 8.5 lakh tons to 9.7 lakh tons to keep the targeted overall availability at 1.35 million Tons.
The demand for fertilizers is expected to be 2.5 to 3 million tons in 1970-71 and 5 to 6 million tons in 1975-76 if high yielding varieties of crops are to be maintained.
“Authoritative sources in the Government make no secret of their doubt whether even half the needed quantity will be produced in India by these dates”.
(Stateaman December 21, 1967).
Taking into consideration India’s limited foreign Exchange and shortfall of indigenous production, it is doubtful we can import so much fertilizers. Prospects of foreign aid with which we buy fertilizers from abroad are also very bleak in coming years.
Apart from the fact that within the present agrarian Social setup, this path is open to a limited number of big landowners and thus applicable on a small area under cultivation, it further worsens the food situation.
The policy of relying upon a handful of big landowners and strengthening their hold on the agrarian economy enables them to cover larger and larger part of foodgrain production into their hands, without very great overall increase in production.
The increasing monopoly of a handful of big landowners on agricultural production is now-a-days one of the chief causes of short arrivals of foodgrains in market, hording, blackmarketing and rising prices.
THE GROWING RURAL INDEBTEDNESS
The anti-peasant agrarian policies of the Congress Rulers are directly the cause of increased exploitation of peasants by the landlords, by the tax burden and by the traders in the market. It is evident from the growing Rural indebtedness.
A Reserve Bank of India survey relating to “Rural Debt” estimated rural indebtedness in 1956 at Rs. 900 crores. A later survey of the Reserve Bank in 1961-62 points out that it has reached Rs. 2788.83 crores.
|State||Principal||Interest (Rs. in crores)||Total|
|Jammu & Kashmir||12.33||0.32||12.65|
It is true that a part of this phenomenal rise in indebtedness is due to the borrowing by the richer sections of the Landlords to develop their agriculture but the phenomenon as a whole reveals growing pauperisation of a vast majority of peasantry. It is evicted from the purpose of these loans.
As big as 51.3 per cent of the outstanding loans were the category of household expenditures (as big as Rs. 1430-63 crores of the total).
Only 23.9% of the loans were borrowed for the purpose of capital expenditure and capital expenditure in farm business constitute only 8.6% (Rs. 662-21 crores and Rs. 240.03 crores of the total).
It needs no mention that narrowing for household expenditure is done by the bottom strata of peasantry.
Despite all measures trumpted by the Government rural money lender still constitute the main lending agency. As much as 45.9% of the loans were given by such moneylenders, the professional moneylenders supplied 14.9% and the traders and commission agents supplied 7.7%.
The loans supplied by the Government and co-operative societies constitute only 5.3% and 9.1% respectively of the total outstanding loans.
It is common knowledge that a major share of loans from Government agencies and the co-operatives goes to the big landowners and rich peasants and the common peasant masses have to rely upon such creditors who charge heavy rates of interest.
The average rate of interest comes to 12% but it has also been brougt out by the survey that in relation to nearly 30% of the outstanding loans the interest rates vary from 13.5% to 37.5%.
In view of this distressing picture of rural indebtedness and exploitation of peasant masses, Mr. Nijalingappa’s rosy picture regarding expanding cheap rural credit possibilities are most unfounded. In his address, he remarked, “I am glad that there is a growing awareness of this necessity both in the Government and among the Banks.”
It is necessary to remind the Present Congress leaders, about the promise made by their organisation long ago, to the suffering peasant masses. The sub-Committee of the National Planning Committee on Land Policy and Agriculture constituted by the Congress Party in 1936, held out a promise:
“All un-productive debts to cultivators should be summarily liquidated. All debts of more than ten years standing on which interest has been paid should be declared as having fully discharged. Interest on a debt to agriculturist cultivators must not carry on interest higher than 6% per annum.”
The interest rate that the peasants have to pay on the credits received from the co-operatives under the Congress rule today is from 9% to 11%!
Another method of oppressing the peasants and giving rise to the, growing “agrarian crisis is the increasing burden of taxation.
The total tax Revenue of the Centre, states and union Territories combined has increased from Rs. 6267 millions in 1950-51 to Rs. 32514 millions in 1966-67 and the budgeted revenue for 1967-68 is Rs. 35040 millions.
Nearly three-fourth of the Taxes are raised by way of indirect taxation, the major source at the centre being Excise duty and with the States, the sales Tax. Union Excise Duty has increased from Rs. 675 million in 1950-51 to Rs. 10204 millions in 1966-67 (Budget Estimate). Other indirect Taxes increased from Rs. 1714 million in 1950-51 to Rs. 8340 millions in 1966-67.
The main burden of Union Excise Duties falls upon the articles of common consumption by the masses.
PROPORTION OF EXCISE DUTIES AND CESSES TO COST OF PRODUCTION
|Iron and Steel||1.1||15.0|
If the sales Tax is also taken into consideration the burden becomes all the more high.
IT is also so often argued that the “agriculture is relatively lightly taxed,” In support of this contention, the PICCI in its memorandum at the seminar of fiscal and Monetary policies, held at Delhi, December 12, 1967 argues that the direct contribution of agriculture (by way of Land Revenue) is only Rs. 109 Crores out of the income of Rs. 12000 crores generated in agricultural sector as against Rs. 350 crores out of Rs. 2400 crores income generated by the organised Industrial Sector.
Those who argue like this should also note that Rs. 12000 crores of income generated in agriculture, if taken as such, is most misleading, because a major share of this income is taken away by a handful of big landowners, the usurers and other capitalist exploiters. According to one estimate one percent of the uppermost strata of rural population enjoys 30% of the total rural earnings.
In addition to that it is also not realised that the poor peasant masses have to shoulder the burdens in many other ways. As the bulk consumers, the main burden of Excise Duties, the sales Tax and other such indirect Taxation is borne by the peasant masses.
They are further more burdened by the local rates, the betterment levies, the high irrigation and Electricity rates and so on.
THE PATH OF DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE PURSUED BY CONGRESS RULERS
The Congress Rulers have thus arrived at a compromised and allied with feudal and semi-feudal landlords and in view of their narrow class interests and their desire to perpetuate their class rule, have not only abandoned but pitted themselves against the urgently needed radical agrarian Reforms.
They seek to develop agriculture within the frame work of class alliance and its social set up.
This path has not only failed to solve the agrarian crisis but it has created new complications in the rural economy of our country such as, increased capacity of big-landowners to hoard and black market, profiteering intensification of food crisis, large scale eviction of tenants the creation of a vast problem of unemployment for agricultural labourers and so on.
The agrarian crisis, thus perpetuated and deepened by the Congress Rulers cannot be viewed in isolation from the general crisis of our economy. The entire course or social progress and development of our economy hinges upon the solution of the agrarian crisis and as it has been stated in the preceding paras the class alliance forged by the Congress Rulers and the Class Rule established on the basis of this alliance is the stumbling block for achieving urgently needed agrarian Reforms.
It is most dangerous, therefore, to have any illussions on this respect. The realisation of this fundamental demand, the introduction of radical agrarian Reforms, is closely linked with the fundamental struggle of the Indian Masses, the struggle for democratic revolution by replacing the Congress Rule.
The struggle organised by the Kisan Sabha for their day to day demands have therefore to be linked with the general struggle of the Indian masses for a democratic revolution.
It is gratifying to note that in recent years our Kisan Sabha Units have consciously worked in this direction and mobilised the peasant masses into the common democratic struggle of the masses.
At the same time, it should not be missed that the mobilisation of peasant masses and the intensity and scale of peasant struggle lags much behind the struggles of other sections of the toiling masses. The rural sector is not less hit by the economic crisis than the urban sector. On the other hand, the devastating effects of the crisis, rising prices, increasing tax burdens, growing unemployment and destitute wages for the rural labourers, the disintegration of the handicraft industry and the hunger, are more telling and oppressive.
The main cause of this gap is the low level of consciousness and the poor state of organisation of the peasant masses. This weakness prevents the helpless peasant masses for fighting in an organised manner. Because of that the vested interests even the feudal land-lord sections and communal elements exploit the peasant masses either inculcate inertia and helplessness among them or direct their discontentment into wrong channels of inter-caste and communal struggles.
During the recent elections, we witnessed the most disturbing phenomenon as well the emergence of feudal and capitalist elements as a strong force in many states, besides the Congress Party, in the form of Swatantra Party, Jan Sang etc. This has happened particularly in the states and areas where Kisan Organisation is weak. Our Organisation has to understand its responsibility in the building of general democratic movement as well. This lag in these states and areas has to be overcome very soon. And it is possible if we build up Kisan Organisation in these areas and initiate the class demands of toiling peasants, especially, the agricultural labourers and poor peasants against their feudal and capitalist exploiters and the Government.
STRUGGLE OF PEASANT MASSES:
It may not possible to do full justice to varied struggle carried on by our Kisan Sabha Units, in relation to agrarian Reforms for distribution of land and in defence of their holdings, against tax burdens, high prices, for food and for employment and development of agriculture. We are meeting after a very long time and it is also not necessary after a very long time and it is also not necessary to enumerate all the struggles of this period in this report.
In thses paras we take up some of the problems around which the peasant masses are engaged in their struggles at this moment.
THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND AGAINST DISPOSSESSION:
The defective Land Reform Legislation and an openly pro-landlord implementation have caused a serious agrarian situation. The peasant masses are sought to be dispossessed not only from the lands held by them as tenants but also from the waste lands, reclaimed and occrpied by them.
This situation is prevalent in all the states, inspite of the various legislations. But it is all the more serious in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and Tripura.
The size and acuteness of the tenancy problem in these states and many other is very large. As a matter of fact, even the limited tenancy rights are not available in these states.
IN West Bengal, there is the problem of Bargadars (Share Croppers). In Assam, their counterparts are known as Adhiars. In Bihar they are under Raiyots. The number of Bargadars recorded in settlement operations is over one million in Bengal. According to an official finding, it is estimated that only about 25% of the plots actually under the Barga System were recorded as such. It was also estimated in 1960-61 that the area under Barga system varied between 25% to 46% of the total cropped area in the eight districts and that another 11% to 38% of the area was, cultivated through landless labourers. (Burdwan 25%; Midnapur 36%; 24 Pargana 26%; Murshidabad 30%; Malda 27%; Dinajpur 28% Jalpaiguri 46% and cooch Bihar 31%). Shri A. N, Seth, Director Planning Commission, is of the opinion that the size of the Barga problem in West Bengal may be much larger than what is indicated by the census and the settlement records.
The Jotedars have fully utilised the defective provision of the “ceiling Law” especially, the exemption provided in the name of Orchards, diaries, Tank fisheries etc. and reduced it to a nullity. The tea Gardens have been allowed to retain large areas of agricultural lands.
The bargadars, whose number is very large, who are forced to part, with 50% or more of their produce as Bata (crop Share), who have not even the right to thrash and store their produce have been the victim of not only excessive exploitation but of large scale evictions from land at the sweet will of the Jotedars,
This is the root cause of wide spread agrarian unrest in West Bengal. The defeat of the Congress Party and formation of the United Front Government in West Bengal inspired the Bargadars and poor peasants to defend their rights and fight back the offensive of Jotedars.
The Congress Leaders, the Central Government and other projotedar elements including the PSP leaders, and combined to distort and misrepresent the real nature of this agrarian struggle, the legitimacy of the peasant cultivator’s right to fight back the Jotedar’s offensive.
A great hoe and cry was raised around the bogey of “Naxalbari”. Thereby, these elements sought to cover up the crimes of the Jotedars, the crimes of the Congress Rulers who encourage the Jotedars to attack the Bargadars. All these pro-landlord forces combined to let loose repression against the peasant masses.
But it has to be that Nexalbari is not an isolated spot where a trouble has been cooked by somebody. Similar situation is prevailing in many more, larger areas in West Bengal where the peasant masses are carrying on their struggle against the Jotedars.
It is much more organised and widespread in 24 Parganas district where the peasants have occupied the bogus Tank fisheries and converted this land into rice fields. In various districts of West Bengal the Kisan Sabha Units have not only defended the peasants from eviction, but have also unearthed the lands unduly occupied by the landlords in various forms. The Kisan Sabha Units have organised the peasants to defend their crop at the harvesting time as well. This legitimate struggle of the peasants in defence of their land, their crop and against the landlords is sought to be suppressed by all their might by the Congress Rulers.
The positions of the Adhiars in Assam and under Ryaiats in Bihar is also the same. Apart from the pro-landlord bias of the machinery for implementation and the defective lagislation, the peasant cultivators suffer from another serious drawback. There are no records of the rights of the peasants as cultivators and the Congress Rulers have deliberately not under taken the completion of this task in order to enable the landlords to dispossess the peasants. This is evident from the attitude of the Bihar Government where serious agrarian trouble is brewing in many districts because of lack of any records.
On July 10, 1964, Bihar Government promised a special drive to complete the records by November, 1964. But on 12th September, 1964 the Bihar Government issued a second letter which directed:
“Reports have been received about the eviction of under-raiyats and agrarian distrubances. Government desire that every effort should be made to maintain peaceful relations between the raiyat and under-raiyats and requisite steps should be taken to avoid any action which may give rise to disorder. In order to achieve the same, the collection of details to that extent should be kept in abayance.”
In Tripura the situation is more serious in a way. The target of attack are the Tribal people. They are being dispossessed of the lands cleared by them, by money landers and other big landowners and driven to higher mountains. It is part of the conscious conspiracy of the administration to foment a Tribal versus non-Tribal controversy.
The Kisan Sabha Units are also carrying on Land struggles of various forms in Tamil Nadu State.
In Kadmalaikundu in Madurai District 10 thousand families cultivating 40 thousand acres of forest land were ordered to be evicted by the previous Congress Government.
STRUGGLES AGAINST TAX BURDEN:
The Kisan Sabha Units are campaigning against the high tax burdens and demand a complete change in the Taxation Policy in relation to agriculture.
It should be on the pattern of Income Tax. Besides on the peasants should be provided with cheap irrigation facilities etc. During this period the Kisan Sabha Units were launched big struggles against enhancement of land Revenue in certain States.
In Andhra Pradesh a big Satyagraha was launched against the 100% enhancement of land Tax in earlier parts of 1964 in which over 20 thousand persons courted arrest.
In Bihar a big campaign was launched against the proposal to enhance land Revenue by 25%.
Because of the prolonged and consistant struggle of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, it has achieved two major victories for the peasants under the United Front Ministry.
The United Front Ministry announced exemption of peasant holdings upto five acres from land Revenue. Under pressure of the Kisan Sabha and by an amendment to the lagislation proposed in the Assembly, moved by the President of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, Comrade Dalip Singh Tapiala, all holdings upto 5 standard acres have been exempted from Land Revenue in Punjab.
The United Front Ministry in Punjab also decided to concel the realisation of Betterment Levy in Punjab, against which a memorable struggle was launched in 1959. The puppet Gill Ministry after the dismissal of United Front Ministry in Punjab was reluctant to implement this desicion.
The Punjab Kisan Sabha at its Provincial Conference held at RAYYA (Amritsar District) took a serious notice of it and warned the Punjab Government that any move to reimpose the Betterment Levy in Punjab would be resisted. Now the Gill Ministry has announced its decision to cancel the Betterment Levy. But the Punjab Kisan Sabha has still to be vigilant till an actual legislation to that effect is passed.
Under the new Non-Congress Government the eviction is stopped and agitation is going on for grant of cultivation rights.
In Trichy District at Tamil Nadu a campaign is organised for the rights to peasants on about 81580 acres of land in 416 Inams.
In Coimbatore District campaign for protection of tenancy rights in Gobi Taluk and rights of peasants cultivating waste lands, and river bed lands is being conducted.
Similar Campaigns are being carried on in the districts of Salem, Kanyakumari. Ramnad and Nilgiri districts.
Reports from all the states indicate that the cultivable waste lands are being passed into the hands of big farmers instead of being distributed among the landless.
In Rajasthan vast fertile areas of land would become cultivable in the region of Rajasthan canal. The Congress Government has adopted the policy of “auctioning” this Land, which would result in passing this land into the hads of moneyed people. The Rajasthan Kisan Sabha has organised a campaign against this policy and demands allotment of the land to landless and poor peasants.
In Punjab, the agricultural labour organisation (Dehati Mazdoor Sabha) and the Kisan Sabha are carrying on a big campaigns for allotment to evacuees, Government lands and waste lands to auction of this type of land done under the Congress Rule.
BUNGLING IN SUGAR CANE POLICY:
Sugar Cane is an important cash crop of the peasants mainly in Bihar, U.P., Punjab and Haryana. Cropped area under Sugar cane reached more than 6 million acres in 1964-65 (2.5 million Hectares). In many of these states Sugar Cane is the cash crop of a large number of small peasants.
Ever since the Second World War, the prices of Sugar Cane are under control and areas around the Sugar Mills, sufficiently in excess of the crushing capacity of the Mill are Preserved“ for these mills. Many a times the peasants are legally forbidden to crush their came at home or supply it to the crushers manufacturing GUr or Khandasari.
he policy behind the Controlon Sugar Cane and restrictions on its supply and crushing has always been to the benefit of the Sugar Mill Owners. The peasants have always received a price far below the reasonable price, taking into consideration the prices of Sugar and prevailing general index of prices.
Sugar production reached the figure of more than 3 million tonns in 1960-61 but it fell down to 2.73 million tonns in 1961-62 and 2.15 million tons in 1962-63. During the last two years production has further fallen down to 1.5 million tons.
This fluctuation is mainly because of the bungling of the Central Government in its Sugar Cane policies. The Mill Owners are provided with all the facilities to rob the peasants of their cane crop and no reasonable price is guarnteed to the peasants.
As the production started falling down after 1962-63 and the general prices started going up, including the price of Gur and Khandasari, the Central Government insisted on fixing the price at lower than Rs. 2/- per maund. On the other hand in 1964-65 vast areas of sugar cane crop was not lifted by the Mills even at half the prices fixed by the Government.
Since then the area under Sugar Cane crop has steeply fallen down. This year the Central Government has notified its Sugar Policy, permitting the Mill Owners to sell 40% of their productions in the open market. They are fetching a price of nearly four Rupees per Kilogram as against the controlled price of Rs. 1.60 or 1.70 per Kilogram fixed by the Government. As a result of this modification of sugar policy, the price of Sugar cane was also raised from Rs. 9/- to Rs. 10/— per quintal.
This was obviously a very low price taking into consideration all the circumstances.
The Sugar growers in various states had to launch struggles for a price rise. At various places the growers refused to supply their cane to the mills. Government imposed restriction for helping the mill owners and in order to force the peasants to supply their crop to the mills.
Inspite of that the Mill Owners have been forced generally to pay above the control price. It is now paid from Rs. 12/- to Rs. 15/- per quintal. The Kisan Sabha Units took active part at various places in organising the Cane growers strikes and launching other struggles and campaigning for raising the price of sugar cane.
OTHER PROBLEMS OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Besides the availability of land to the tillers, there are many other serious problems of agricultural development that the peasants are facing.
These problems are, availability of cheap fertilizers, and implements, cheap credit, cheap and ensured supply of water for irrigation and control of fllods, water logging and crop diseases.
The prices of fertilizers and implements have been raised many cold and it is almost difficult for ordinary peasants to apply these inputs. Similarly, the credit facilities to the peasants have been further curtailed. Government has changed over to co-operative loans for the peasants from direct Taccavi loans. The interest on direct agricultural loans to the peasants was already high (5% or more) as compared to the industrial loans. But the interest on co-operative loans is still higher. The peasants who benefit from this agency have to pay an interest ranging from 9% to 11%.
The amount of credit available to the peasant through the GOvernment or co-operative agency is much less than the credit needs. The commercial banks are reluctant to advance agricultural loans direct to the peasant. Most of the Bank credits go in for profiteering in agricultural commodities, which means helping the big traders to loot the peasants in the market. Yet the Government refuses to nationalise the Banks.
Another problem facing the peasants is the recurring havoc caused by the floods to the crops and village life. Most of the flood control schemes are carried in half-hearted manner and are incomplete.
Floods are also causing the problem of water-logging etc. in vast areas of land. This menace was so far peculiar in the states of Punjab, Haryana, U. P , Bihar and Assam. It is now spreading to the desert regions of Rajasthan as well.
While the excessive rainfall seasons causes great damages because of floods, a slight failure of monsoon in our country creates devastating conditions of drought. Our country experienced this fate in 1965 and 1966 when large pasts of Bihar, U. P. and many other states were in the throw of actual famine.
This shows the utter dependence of our agriculture on Nature. In large areas of U. P. and Bihar, the poverty ridden peasants are unable even to manage Kucha Wells, worked by hand Dhingli, what to talk of persian wheeled wells. The peasants exploited by feudalism have been reduced to this position of ruination. And the Congrees Rulers have further imposed huge burdens of compensation for the so called abolition of landlordism. Failure of the peasants, particularly in U. P. and Bihar to ensure against the draught conditions is therefore, directly linked with the feudal exploitation and pro-landlord policies of the Congress.
Agricultural labour population ranging from 25% to 40% in many states, is the worst hit by agrarian policies of the Congress Rulers. Their numbers are constantly swelled by the in flow of large number tenants, ruined poor peasants and rural artisans. The serious crisis in handloom and weaving industry is also throwing large numbers of rural population out of job to enter their ranks.
Most of the official reports have already revealed that agricultural labour remains out of employment for about 7 months during the year. Their problem of employment is further aggravated by introduction of machinery in agricultural operations of various forms.
The income disparity is perhaps much more in the rural economy. It is estimated that top one per cent enjoy an income equal to the total earnings of bottom 30% of rural population.
There is immense land-hunger among the agricultural labour. All these years, the Congress Rulers have been giving promises without even distributing the waste lands at Government’s own disposal.
The Kisan Sabha have to take up the issue of land distribution to this section of the population, more earnestly and vigorously. It has to be understood that they are even without their homestead land. Various legislations passed in Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala etc. for grating homestead lands to the landless rural poor have also been of no avail in practice.
Their everyday problem is the problem of wages. In view of the rising prices of agricultural commodities, especially, the foodgrains the landlords have taken recourse to payment of wages in cash, which fail to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
In view of the still prevailing feudal oppression due to land monopoly the agricultural labour faces immense difficulties in their struggle for increase in wages. The police, the landlords the Goondas, the feudal rights all are used in combination to oppress them. Feudal oppression is used in the form of refusing their entry into the fields, even for answering the call of Nature.
The Kisan Sabha Units have to boldly and unwaveringly champion the demands of agricultural labour. It must be admitted that the Kisan Workers and Kisan Sabha Units do not champion the cause of this most oppressed section of rural population in many parts of the country.
It is also encouraging to note that this year in this Session of the All India Kisan Sabha, the agricultural Labour Unions are more closely and actively associated. We have to give consideration to the problem of more close organisational integration of agricultural labour.
The problems of Agricultural Labour are taken up much more earnestly in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra and some parts of Kerala.
In Tamilnadu, the movement is mainly concentrated in Tanjore district.
In 1966 an agitation was conducted under an all parties committee for opening fair price shops in villages. Agricultural labour joined in large numbers in the agitation which took the forms of demonstrations and strikes.
An agitation was conducted in Tanjore district by putting wage demands to the landlords, demanding of them not to import labour from outside the district and settle the issue in a tripartite conference.
After the General Elections, in October, 1967 there was a firing by the police on peaceful agricultural labourers at poonthalangudi in Mannargudi Taluk in which Com. Pakkiri was killed.
Inspite of that the landlords were forced to come to a wage settlement in a Tripartite conference.
INTERNATIONAL SITUATION AND U.S. AGGRESSORS
The All India Kisan Sabha has played its role in struggle for peace, freedom and against Imperialist war mongers. Ever since the relations worsened between India and China in 1962 and inspite of the slanderous campaign and repressive attacks against Kisan Sabha leadership, the Kisan Sabha has been warning the countrymen regarding the role of U.S. Imperialists and chauvinistic elements in India, and advocating peaceful settlement of the border dispute and restoration of friendly relations between the two countries.
The All India Kisan Sabha is conscious of the fact that the Imperialists, mainly the U.S. Imperialists are feverishly carrying on their conspiracies to subvert the freedom of newly freed countries, try to establish Government subservient to the U.S. imperialists and do not hesitate to resort to open aggression wherever they can.
The U. S. Imperialist aggressors are the common enemy of freedom loving people all over the world.
The U. S. Aggressor in Vietnam is, therefore, a serious attack against the freedom struggles everywhere. It has much more imminent dangerous implications for countries in Asia and for our country.
Taking into consideration the continued escalation of war by U. S. aggressors by resorting to bombing of Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the All India Kisan Sabha undertook a special campaign in solidarity with the people of Vietnam and against U. S. Aggression.
The very first meeting of the C. K. C. held in July, 1966 after the release of all the C. K. C. members from jail, decided to launch a special campaign. Besides holding countrywide meetings and demonstrations it was decided to distribute badges with the inscription. “U. S. Imperialists-Quit Vietnam”, and collect funds to be handed over by way of token contribution towards the heroic struggle of the people of Vietnam.
This campaign of the All India Kisan Sabha evoked mass response and a delegation of the All India Kisan Sabha consisting of Comrade A. K. Gopalan, P. Sundarayya and Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, presented contributions worth Rs. 2,000 on behalf of the All India Kisan Sabha to the Consul General of Democratic Republic of Vietnam at New Delhi.
The anti U. S. aggression campaign has not ended with that special drive launched last year. It is one of the permanent features of our campaigns. The All India Kisan Sabha also responded to the call for Vietnam solidarity campaign given by SOHYO, a Trade Union Organisation of Japan representing four million workers in Japan.
DISRUPTION BY RIGHT COMMUNISTS AND FORMATION OF RIVAL KISAN SABHA
The Right Communists leaders, led by Dr. Z.A. Ahmed, Y.V. Krishan Rao, Bishawanath Mukherjee, Manali Kandaswami and others have broken away form this traditional organisation and set up a rival Kisan Sabha. It seems they have already held a “Session” of their rival organisation in Maharashtra State.
This step on their part is the culmination of their treacherous and disruptive activities pursued ever since 1962. Whenever the Congress Rulers attacked the Kisan leaders mill detained them in thousands in jails under the notorious “Emergency Rule” curiously the Right Communists were spared to carry on with their disruptive activities.
In its career of existence since 1936, the All India Kisan Sabha had to so often suffer repressive attacks by the Government because of its policy of boldly championing the cause of the toiling peasantry.
It was attacked under the British Rule and large number of its functionaries were put in jails or had to work underground from 1939 to 1942.
At the very inception of Congress Rule after Independence the All India Kisan Sabha had to face a much more serious attack. It was declared illegal in Bengal. From 1948 to 1952 its normal legal functioning was made impossible. So much so that after its Session held at Sikandrabad (U. P.) in 1947, the All India Kisan Sabha could meet only after a long time in 1953 at Cannanore in Kerala State.
Every-time the Kisan Sabha was attacked, it emerged as a stronger force, it spread its influence to new areas and larger numbers of peasant masses rallied round its banner.
The main reason of its ability to meet the repressions and every time emerge as a stronger force after the attacks were: (i) that in face of all difficulties, it stood by the peasant masses (ii) that the organisation to the last man stood in defence against the attack.
But during the periods of attack on the Kisan Sabha and its functionaries, after November 1962, the Right Communists performed the dirtiest and most shameful role.
The Right Communists did not earnestly take up the question of release of the Kisan leaders. They did not bother about strengthening the Kisan Sabha and defending it against the attack of the Government. On the other hand they utilized the situation created for them by the Congress Rulers to disrupt the Kisan Sabha at Various levels.
Immediately after the first attack on Kisan leaders in November 1962, they planned “capturing“ the Kisan Sabha Units to the exclusion of those who were in jail. They organised this treachery under the plea of holding special Session of the State and District Kisan Sabhas.
They started with their disruptive game in Punjab, by convening a special Session, in violation of the unanimous desicion of the State Kisan Sabha Working Committee as well as the circular of All India Kisan Sabha to postpone the Annual Session of A.I.K.S. as well as Provincial Conferences in view of the emergency and arrest of large number of leading Kisan Workers.
In this manner they disrupted the state Kisan Sabhas in Punjab, U.P., Maharashtra, Assam, Tamilnad and many other places.
It is significant to note that these Right Communist leader who were so keen to hold “Special Sessions” to set up rival Kisan Sabhas; did not show any enthusiasm to strengthen and activitise the All India Kisan Sabha and defend the peasantry against the forcible collections of “Defence Fund”, enhanced relisation of Taxes and so on.
As a matter of fact, these Right Communist leaders openly supported and assisted the Government in putting more and more burdens upon the masses under the cover of Emergency Rule.
In 1963, the Congress Rulers brought forth a proposa in the U.P. Assembly to enhance the Land Revenue on the peasant holdings by 25%. Almost all the opposition Parties in the Assembly, including certain Congressmen too, opposed this proposal.
But it has the solitary voice of Dr. Z.A. Ahmed from among the opposition Benches, which treacherously supported the proposal for enhancement of Land Revenue.
Similarly, when after the release of all the C.K.C. members in 1966, it decided to launch a special campaign in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, the Right Communist leaders led by Dr. Z. A. Ahmed kept practically aloof from this campaign.
So much so that even the small amounts of Vietnam aid fund collected in Andhra and Tamilnad States were neither handed over to the All India Kisan Sabha nor forwarded to the Consulate of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at Delhi, through the All India Kisan Sabha.
The Central Kisan Council, in its meeting held in October, 1966 had to censure Y. V. Krishana Rao a member of the Central Kisan Council and M. Kathamuthu, a Right Communist member front Tamilnad.
A letter dated 14-9-1966 addressed by M. Kathamuthu to Dr. Z. A. Ahmad, and now in the possession of the All India Kisan Sabha’s office, reveals that M. Kathamuthu sent an amount of Rs. 250/- by Telegraphic Money Order to Dr. Z. A. Ahmad on 14-9-1966 collected by the sale of badges prescrided by the All India Kisan Sabha for Vietnam aid Fund, to be remitted to the A. I. K. S. Office. But upto this day Dr. Z. A. Ahmad has not remitted this amount to our office.
In the first round of repressive attack in November, 1962, majority of the CKC members and office bearers were arrested. Inspite of the fact that Vice President, Manali C, Kandaswami, Dr. Z. A. Ahmad, Y. V. Krishna Rao and other Right Communist leaders were out of jail, none of them co-operated with the President, Comrade A. K. Gopalan in running the Office, in activising the Kisan Sabha Units and conducting tours of various states. So much so that inspite of the repeated attempts made by the President, these persons failed to turn up even for a CKC meeting.
The C. K. C. meeting could be held only on January 18, 1964 after the release of many of the C. K. C. members from jails towards the end of 1963.
It was found that the Right Communists, who had organised the show of “Special Sessions” to set up Rival Kisan Sabhas in various States, in violation of the Circular of the All India Kisan Sabha, had enrolled no membership.
The Central Kisan Council directed its units to launch various campaigns and enrole membership and thus reactivise the Kisan Sabha.
In December 1964 the Congress Rulers launched another attack of repression. Majority of the CKC members including the President were arrested. The General Secretary and joint secretary Comrade Prasad Rao had to function from underground, because of arrest warrants against them.
Inspite of the serious situation created by the repression of the Government the Right Communist leaders who enjoyed fullest liberty, were approached ip carry on the enrollement and thus strengthen the Kisan Sabha.
But the Right Communist Leaders further puisued their disruptive activities and without enrolling any membership organised Rival Kisan Sabhas at many more places.
After the release of all CKC members in April-May, 1966, in its very first meeting held in July 1966 at New Delhi this serious problem of Rival Kisan Sabha Units was taken up. It was attended by Dr. Z. A. Ahmad, Y. V. Krishna Rao, and many other Right Communists,
After thorough discussion the CKC adopted the following resolution:
“The Central Kisan Council of the All India Kisan Sabha regrets the fact that in several states rival Kisan Sabhas have been formed at a time when a part of Kisan Sabha leaders and workers were in jail.
“The CKC cannot accept any of the disputed Committees as legally and formally constituted.
“The CKC will be happy if the Comrades concerned in different states can come to an agreed solution by 15th September, 1966 and the CKC will welcome the agreed solution.
“The CKC also decides that in case of no agreed solution, the Status quo ante will be maintained i. e. the 1961-62 Committees that were formed in duly constituted conferences at a time when there were no disputes, will be accepted as the Pradesh Kisan Committees or District Kisan Committees.“
The Right Communist leaders refused to abide by this decision of the C.K.C. and insisted that the Rival Committees formed by them without the backing of any regularly enrolled membership, in violation of the directive of the All India Kisan Sabha, and above all at a time when a part of the Kisan Sabha leaders and workers were in jail, should be accepted as legally and formally valid Committees.
They publically attacked the Central Kisan Council in the Press for this most reasonrble and just solution offered for unification of the Kisan Sabha. They carried on with the Rival Committee at various State and District levels, and refused to discuss with their counterparts to “come to an agreed solution by 15th September 1966” as desired by the CKC.
Under the circumstances the CKC had no option, but to restore the 1961-62 Committees as validly constituted Committees of the All India Kisan Sabha in place of the Rival Committees, in its meeting held in October 1966.
The CKC had at the same time issued a call for enrolement of membership and decided to hold the regular Conferences and elections at all levels immediately after the General Elections.
Even after this final Resolution of the CKC the Right Communists refused to abide by it, and carried on with their rival functioning.
As has been noted in connection with the other Campaigns of the Kisan Sabha such as Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, they were not the least interested in mass campaigns and in functioning and strengthening the Kisan Sabha Units. They were only interested in “capturing“ the Kisan Sabha organisation by any fair or foul means.
Thus they prolonged the rival functioning till after the General Elections, Motivated by the urge to restore unification, the Central Kisan Council, overlooked their open violation of the discipline and continued its efforts to bring them round to function under the 1961-62 Committees.
In the meantime, with their concourrence, the last date for enrolliing the membership was fixed as June. 1967 end and last date for submitting it to the All India Kisan Sabha Office was fixed as July 22, 1967. It was also decided to hold the Annual Session in West Bengal in place of Bihar in view of the serious Famine conditions prevailing in that state.
After these prolonged and patient discussions, Dr. Z. A. Ahmed arrived at a written agreement on behalf of the Right Communists, with Comrades A. K. Gopalan and Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, President and General Secretary of the Sabha on 19th July 1967 which reads as follows:
Agreement Signed by;
A. K. Gopalan, Z.A. Ahmad and Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri on 19-7-1967. ’
With a view to resolving certain controversies which have developed lately inside the A.I.K.S. and for restoring the unity of the organisation at all levels as also for strengthening joint functioning on the part of its main constituents, we the signatories agree to take the following organisational steps.
- That the 1961-62 Kisan Committees, wherever they have been restored by the CKC should be formally recognised by all, and joint functioning of these committees be developed.
- That these committees should in their respective states prepare for the holding of regular district and State conferences on the basis of the existing membership enrolled by both sides.
- That as per constitution any lower Kisan Committee can forward the fees of the membership enrolled by it directly to the CKC within the due date as a precautionary measure against that membership being debarred by the State Committee. But eventually the CKC will handover this membership to the State Committee concerned which is functioning under the discipline of the CKC and the State Committee concerned will have the authority to check up and scrutinise the membership.
- That for promoting future joint functioning, the election of Committees and office bearers shall be based on the principle of proportionate representation. Suitable amendments to this effect will be incorporated in the constitution at the time of the next All India Kisan Conference. The principle of proportional representation shall however, not be enforced in the case of election to those posts which are only one in number like that of the President or General Secretary. The election to these posts shall be held in a spirit of mutual accomodation and after full consultation between the various constituents of the Kisan Sabha irrespective of their relative strength. In the case of all those leading posts whose number is more than one the sharing out shall be on the principle of proportional representation.
- This pattern of election to committees and to the leading posts shall also apply to all lower units of the AIKS.
- Appreaciating the difficulties about holding the next All India Conference in Bihar, both sides shall appeal to the Bihar State Unit to accept the decision of the CKC to change the venue and both sides agree that at present the best venue for holding the next Conference would be West Bengal. Accordingly the Bengal State Committee will be requested to undertake this responsibility.
- The Bengal State Committee will fix suitable dates and place of the conference which is proposed to be held in October, 1967.
- All district and State Conferences shall be over by the end of September, 1967.
- The next CKC meeting shall be held towards the end of August. The probable dates being, 28th to 30th August, 1967.
- Regarding the Punjab State Committee a provinsional adhoc Committee shall be set up with equal representation to both sides and with Comrade Dalip Singh Tapiala as the convener. This adhoc Committee will function and organise district and state conferences in a spirit of mutual accomodation.
- The same pattern shall be developed in Haryana i.e. an adhoc committee with equal representation for both sides and with Comrade Chattar Singh of Hansi as convener. Here again the principle of mutual consulation and accomodation shall be adhered to,
- Finally all disciplinary actions taken against any office-bearer or member of a Kisan Committee on the basis of political differences between the two Communist Parties since the 1961-62— All India Conferencee shall stand cancled and all such members and office-bearers shall be restored to their original position.
Sd. (A. K. GOPALAN) Sd. (Z. A AHMAD) Sd. (JAGJIT SINGH LYALLPURI)
The terms of the agreement finally arrived at, clearly show, how disruptive was the attitude of Right Communists, who refused for a long period of time, to accept 1961-62 committees as valied committees, and perpetuated the split in ranks of the Kisan Sabha.
It also demonstrated our keenness to maintain unity in the Kisan Sabha, for which purpose, we assured utmost accomodation to all groups and individuals in the constitution of committees, and as an interim measure, in order to satisfy the Right Communists agreed to set up joint ad hoc Committee in Punjab and Haryana.
But inspite of this written agreement, the Right Communists failed to abide by its provisions. Most of their Rival Units refused to submit to the discipline of the 1961-62 Committees even after this written agreement. Except West Bengal and Kerala, they failed to submit their membership through the state Committees, as it should have been done normally, for verification of the membership as per para 3 of the written agreement.
Thus in violation of almost all the provisions of the written agreement, they submitted large number of bogus membership direct to the All India Kisan Sabha Office, long after the due date and without even any payment of the provincial membership fee quota.
Most of their membership was thus submitted direct to the A.I.K.S. office, more than one month after the due date. Some of it was submitted just at the time of CKC meeting held at Madras on 29—8—1967.
A brief reference to their membership and the time for submission to the AIKS is necessary to expose their disruptive games.
The last date for submission of membership to the AIKS office being 22—7—1967, they submitted 1,05,000 membership from Punjab on 26—8—1967; 24,000 from Haryana on 24th August; 75,000 from Bihar after 15th August, 29,017 from U. P. after 15th August, 88,000 from Maharashtra after 5th and 12th August, 24,000 from Tamilnad on 1st August and 26,076 on 29th August, and so on.
As was agreed upon, the CKC meeting was held at Madras on 29th August, 1967. This meeting was faced with the problem of this membership. As per the Constitution of the All India Kisan Sabha, as well as the written agreement only the membership received within the due date fixed by the CKC can claim representation in the Session.
But the Right Communists insisted that the entire membership submitted by them direct to the A.I.K.S. with the AIKS money quota alone, and long after the due date should be accepted.
They insisted upon the CKC to accept as valid a membership of more than Four lakhs, which was obviously bogus and submitted in violation of all the provistons of the Constitution and the agreement.
Naturally the CKC turned down this unresonable demand and decided that it would accept only such membership that has been duly verified by the Provincial Committees and recommended for acceptance to the CKC.
The game of the Right Communists was very clear. Having known the actual membership enrolled and Sumitted to the AIKS within the due date (which was given out by the General Secretary by a circular dated August 1, 1967 to all the provincial Kisan Committees), the Right Communists wanted to create their majority in a number of State Units by submitting bogus membership after the due date.
This was another unfair and objectionable manner in which they wanted to pursue their game of “capturing” the Kisan Sabha. The doors of the Kisan Sabha are open for every body to Organise the Kisan and seek due place in the Organisation. That is why through the written agreement we had further ensured proportional representation.
But it is impermissible to hand over the organisation to persons who are not interested in carrying on mass campaigns and building the mass organisation, but want to capture it on the basis of bogus membership.
Having failed in their nefarious games, finally the Right Communists have openly broken away from the All India Kisan Sabha and set up a rival All India Centre.
UNCONSTITUTIONAL DISRUPTIVE AND DECEPTIVE MOVE
In order to give a “Constitutional” colouring to heir disruptive move, the Right Communists have made many deceptive moves, They claim to be the real All India Kisan Sabha Centre, backed by the authority of the All India Kisan Committee.
In order to make this show, some of the Right Communist leaders led by Dr. R. A. Ahmed convened a meeting of the All India Kisan Committee on October 27-28, 1967 without any reference to or demand from the All India Kisan Sabha’s Office.
They claim that they have taken recourse to this step because the General Secretary “insolently rejected” a requisition signed by 24 members.
Let us first of all examin the false-hood of this statement. Under Article X (4) of the Constitution a meeting of the All India Kisan Committee can be requisitioned for a specific purpose made by at least 20% of the members and addressed to the General Secretary.
When in October 1966 the CKC restored the 1961-62 Committees in place of Rival Kisan Committees, the Right Communists refused to abide by this decision. On December 12, 1966, Dr. Z. A. Ahmad and Bhogindar Jha wrote to the General Secretary that they want the All India Kisan Committee to meet in order to review the decision of the CKC.
It was not a regular requisition by 20% members but signed by two members only. This letter was written by them on the eve of the General Elections. The General Secretary wrote hack to Dr. Ahmed on 21st December, 1966, the difficulties in view of the impending General Elections and sought the opinion of all the CKC members through a circular letter, whether the AIKC meeting should be immediately called as desired by Dr. Ahmed.
None of the CKC. members, including Dr, Ahmed and other Right Communist leaders once again resumed discussions, as a result of which the written agreement quoted above was signed. Their lie is exposed from the terms of the written agreement as well. The agreement dated 19-7-1967, provides for the probable dates of district, State and All India Conferences. It also provides for holding a CKC meeting on August 28th to 30th, 1967 at Madras.
If the Right Communists were keen on holding a meeting of the AIKC between the Session and the General Secretary was “insolently rejecting” this demand, why it was not raised at the time of signing this agreement.
A CKC meeting was again held on August 29, 1967 at Madras, which was attended by Dr. Z. A. Ahmad and other Right Communists as well. If they were still keen to hold a meeting of the AIKC., they should have taken up the opportunity of raising it in that meeting itself.
Far from this correct and constitutional proceedure, after the CKC meeting held on August 29, 1967, the Right Communist leaders, without writing to the General Secretary on their own announced a meeting of the AIKC on September 28th, 1967.
Now let us examine the composition of the AIKC, which was called by these Right Communist on October 28-29, 1967 to take momentous decisions of removing the President and the General Secretary and taking charge of the All India Kisan Sabha.
The Right Communist leaders claim that they have taken these decisions at an “emergency meeting of the All India Kisan Committee convened by the majority of its members……”
In their Central Party Organ, “New age”, they announced the names of 48 members who backed this meeting as a majority out of the total strength of 84 members of the AIKC.
Among these 48 names, there are 20 such persons who are not members of the AIKC. Some of them were not even delegates to the Trichur Session. Take for example, the four AIKC members in their list from Punjab, Wadhawa Ram, Arjan Singh, Shamsher Singh Josh and Darshan Sing.
The names of the AIKC members from Punjab were printed in the monthly organ of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, Kisan Lehar, May 1961 issue, immediately after the Trichur Session. Anyone can see that these four persons are not among the AIKC members from Punjab.
The Quota of Maharashtra in the AIKC as per the strength of its membership of about 40 thousands was 4 only. No body can deny the membership of Comrade S.V. Parulekar and Mrs. Godavari Parulaker both of whom were also members of the CKC, but the Right Communists have appropriated all the 4 members from their side in the printed list.
Membership of Manipur was 5,000 only and as such this state was not entitled to any member of the AIKC. But they have included one Bira Singh from Manipur in their list of AIKC members.
Membership of Bihar was 25,000 only and as such this state was not entitled to two members only. But the Right Communists have excluded Com. Rama Nand Singh, and included three members from their side in their list. Similarly, Bishnu Borah, Dhireswar Kalita from Assam; T.A. Majeed, Kanthalottu Kunhambu, E. P. Gopalan from Kerala; K. Kathamuthu and M. Adimulam from Tamilnad and many others have been added as bogus members to their list.
Furthermore, while taking the organisational decisions in their AIKC meeting the Right Communists have forgotten that the President is elected by the delegates, a body superior to the AIKC. They have taken a very funny decision regarding the President, by appointing Y. V. Krishna Rao as the Acting President in place of Com. A. K. Gopalan. Y. V. Krishana Rao the ‘Acting President” issued notice to the real President to band over the charge to him.
The Right Communist Leaders have also tried to make out a case that although the Constitution of the Sabha lays down that the AIKC “shall meet at least twice a year” the present All India Kisan Committee was not allowed to meet even once for the last so many years.
According to them this was dare ‘to perpetuate the Centre of the All India Kisan Sabha Office by the minority led by A. K. Gopalan and Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, President and General Secretary, respectively.
In order to expose the hollowness of this charge, we have to look into the actual history of the functioning of the All India Kisan Committee.
Although it is so provided in the Constitution as stated by them, that All India Kisan Committee, ever since 1942, has only once met in between the two Sessions of the Sabha, and that was at Gazipur in 1955. During all this period, inspite of the provision in the constitution, it has met only at the time of the annual Session, and that too very briefly to elect the Central Kisan Council and Officebearers besides the President.
Surely the Right Communist Leaders cannot charge that during this long period of 1942 to 1961, A. K. Gopalan and Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri did not allow the AIKC to meet. More specifically, it can be pointed out that the All India Kisan Committee did not meet during the two terms of Office of General Secretaryship held by a Right Communist Leader, Bhowani Sen, prior to the Trichur Session in 1961.
The All India Kisan Committee has not met because in practice it has always been difficult in our vast country, the calling of its meeting have been kept in abeyance.
During this period after 1981, too, it was the same difficulty because of which the All India Kisan Committee has not met.
As a matter of fact, at the time of Trichur session, a definite proposal had come to abolish this committee as the Central Kisan Council is sufficient to carry on all the responsibilities in between the two Sessions. But it was dropped because amendment of the Constitution required three months prior notice. On this technical ground it was left for the next Session.
Nobody could foresee that the Congress Rulers would prevent us from holding the regular Session of the Sabha for such a long time.
There is no use of pointing out all these ridiculously disruptive and bogus moves on the part of the Right Communists while setting up a rival All India Kisan Sabha.
No doubt this is the most treacherous move on the part of the Right Communists, to break away from the traditional Mass Organisation of the toiling Indian Peasants and set up a Rival Organisation, at a time of serious crisis and ferocious attacks on the living conditions and democratic rights of the people.
For the last few years, it seems the Right Communists have been training their treacherous disruptive moves with the repressive attacks of the Government of India. As narrated above they started their activities after the first repressive attack of the Government in 1962.
If carefully examined, it will be found that the present final culmination of their move is also carefully planned and trained. It was in the last week of September 1967 that the Central Congress leaders hatched a conspiracy to tople the Unite Front Ministry by robing in Ajoy Mukherjee, in their “anti-Left Communist“ slander campaign. According to the original plan, Ajoy Mukherjee was to resign on October 2, 1967 and it was to be followed by ferocious repressive attack. The Right Communists were, in the know of these developments, They knew that once again the genuine Kisan leaders would be the target of repression after October 2 and that the Congress Rulers would be “kind enough” towards them as usual.
In this deep rooted conspiracy they announced the meeting of this bogusly constituted AIKC in the last week of September, 1967. They thought that by the time their AIKC meets on October 28, a vast majority of the Kisan leaders would be already in jail or hunted by the police and under the circumstances, there would be nobody to expose their disrupted move.
But unfortunately for them the peple of West Bengal, backed by the democratice movement of the entire country upset the plans of the Congress Rulers. Ajoy Mukherjee refused to resign and inspite of the treachery of P. C. Ghosh, the Congress Rulers themselves stand isolated and under the attack of the democratic movement.
Comrades, the disruptive move of the Right Communists is serious for the peasants of the country and their glorious organisation. It is all the more serious in view of the most critical nature of situation. We have to expose and defeat this game of the Right Communists, maintain the Unity of peasant masses under this organisation and further expand and strengthen the All India Kisan Sabha.
The past, more than 30 years of this glorious organisation have not been the years of easy and smooth sailing. It has weathered many storms, not only of the severe repressions but also of the attempted disruption from within. It has been able to beat back all these offensives and disruptive moves, because the Kisan Sabha workers have steadfactly stood by the peasant masses, have heroically championed their cause and fearlessly organised and led their glorious struggles, like the Tebhaga Struggle in Bengal, the Worli Struggle in Maharashtra, the Telengana Struggle, the peasant Struggles in Kerala, the anti-Betterment levy struggle in Panjab the struggles of Tribal peasants in Tripura and many more such struggles.
Presently too, the peasant masses are engaged in many bitter struggles. Some of which have been referred to in earlier part of this report. Rest assumed that this disruptive move of the Right Communists too will be beaten back provided we tirelessly work for the Peasant masses, organise and rouse them in millions and earnestly devote ourselves to the cause championed by the great and glorious organisation, the All India Kisan Sabha.
STATE OF ORGANISATION.
Comrades, in the preceding paras of this report, an attempt has been made to drive home the gravity of the situation reflected in the serious and ever deepening agrarian crisis, the chronic food crisis, the ever rising high prices, Tax burdens etc. In short, this brings out a picture of ever worsening living conditions of the peasant masses on the one hand, and the mounting attack by the Landlords and capitalists backed by the Congress Rulers on the other. In this connection. It has also to be noted that because of the repressive Legislatives of the Government and diversionary slogans raised of reactionary classes, the conditions of the struggle of peasant masses in defence of their rights and ultimately for an agrarian Revolution, are complicated as well as difficult.
Only a vast and well knit organisation covering all regions of the country and embracing all families of toiling masses in the villages can cope with this heavy task.
Moreover, such an organisation can be consistently militant; and competent of meeting all types of opposition, attacks and diversions, only if it is based mainly on the support of rural poor, the agricultural labour and poor peasants. Only these sections in the rural life, can lead the middle peasants, and ultimately achieve its goal.
This fact emphasises the importance of further reorientating the base of the Kisan Sabha towards the poor sections in the village.
At the very outset, let it be realised, that our Kisan Sabha organisation is far below the standards of requirements of the situation as well as the expectations and demands of the struggling peasantry.
The perfection of the Kisan organisation is all the more imperative, in view of the treacherous disruption caused by the Right Communists.
With this realisation in mind, let us set ourselves to the important task of strangthening our organisation.
After the Trichur Session held in April 1961, the Central Kisan Council and its Central office started its work with a well worked out plan and determination, besides the Priesident and the General Secretary, the Central office enjoyed the valuable assistance of its joint secretary. Com. S. V. Parulekar. A regular monthly Kisan Bulletin was published and on the demand of the State Kisan Sabha, the Central team of Office bearers, conducted many tours as well.
A joint workers and peasants jute convention was held at Calcutta on August 27. 1961, which was organised by the Kisan Sabha along with the Bengal Provincial Trade Union Congress.
The Kerala State Kisan Sabha organised a campaign for Land Reforms, and against evictions. Kisan Jathas organised three Marches from various places.
Tamil Nadu State Kisan Sabha launched a struggle against bogus Land Reform Legislations of Congress Government in which 16,000 Volunteers were arrested.
In November 1961, the Kerala State Kisan Sabha held a special conference to chalk out a programme for defence of the interests of the peasants against the Landlords and as a result of delibrations of this conference started a struggle of picketing the offices.
The Punjab Kisan Sabha “organised a big campaign against the Tax burdens, jointly with other parties and organisations.
The Central Kisan office and its functionaries personally participated in chalking out and carrying on those campaigns and struggles.
As has been mentioned at the outset, the Emergency Rule enforced on October 26, 1962, and the Consequent lage scale arrests seriously affected the normal functioning of the Central as well as many state level offices.
For about one year, the President Comrade A. K. Gopalan, alone had to manage the Central office as well as conducted tours of various states. The vice president, Manali C. Kandaswami and members of the CKC like Dr. Z. A. Ahmad, who were free at that time, practically non-cooperated with the President.
The All India Kisan Sabha had to suspend the publication of its Monthly, Kisan News in this period of dislocation at the centre.
Actually the Central Office and many of the state Kisan Sabha offices resumed their normal and regular functioning only after the general releases in April-May, 66.
Since then, our President and General Secretary have devoted almost all their time to the organisation. Comrade P. K. Tandon member of the CKC from U. P. has devoted half the time at the Centre and other half in U. P.
Comrade Hari Singh Kang was appointed incharge of the Central Office after July, 1966. He has managed the office, most regularly, maintained accounts efficiently and attended to all correspondence at the centre most promptly. I believe that due to his services at the centre, all circulars and information documents were made available and the correspondence from the states and individual workers was attended to without any delay,
During this period after the general releases in 1966, the Central Kisan Council met four times besides its meeting on the eve of this session.
In all the four meetings of the CKC, it was faced with the problem of disruption created by the Right Communists. The Right Communists, throughout dis not show any enthusiasm for activising the Kisan Sabha. Except for the first meeting of the CKC held in July 1966, attendance from their side was always very thin.
In April 1967 meeting held at Calcutta, none out of the 12 members belonging to Right Communists attended. Even Bishwanath Mukhejee and Bhowani Sen, staying at Calcutta failed to attend.
The August 1967 meeting was held as per the terms of agreement signed by Dr. Z. A, Ahmad on their behalf. In this meeting loo only 5 out of 12 members belonging to their group attended.
Tours of various States have been conducted mainly by the President and the General Secretary. Both of them have visited Bihar, U. P., Tamilnad, Punjab, Kerala. Karnatak and Rajasthan at various times at the invitation of the State Kisan Sabhas.
Much more places could have been visited but for the failure of the state Kisan Sabhas to fix the tours and the meetings.
An international Conference of Agricutral and Forestry workers was held towards the end of 1967 at Berlin. The All India Kisan Sabha being an affiliated Organisation received an invitation to attend the same. Due to imminence of General Elections, it was not possible for any one of us to attend,
One seat on the administrative Committee of this International organisation was reserved for All India Kisan Sabha. Comrade A. K. Gopalan our President fills that post and he attended its meeting held in the first, week of September, 1967.
Inspite of the urgent necessity and our earnest desire it has not been possible to resume publication of a monthly organ of AIKS.
The total membership enrolled, verified and accepted valid as per the decision of Central Kisan Council meeting (August 29, 1967, at Madras) agregates 9,71,473 from 18 state Kisan Sabha Units in the country.
|1. West Bengal||5.21.694|
|4. Jammu and Kashmir||17,000|
|9. Uttar Pradesh||45,000|
In addition to that there is the membership enrolled by separate organisations of Agricultural Labourers in the States of Punjab Andhra and Tamilnad (approximately 2 lakhs). These organisations have always been closely associated with the All India Kisan Sabha and it is now proposed to provide a closer organisational affiliation to their membership. The note to article 1 of the Constitution of the AIKS makes provision for such affiliation, but we have to make it more clear and specific in this session. The draft changes proposed in the Constitution points out this problem and I hope the Session would take a final decision.
After the last Session held at Trichur, we have added a new state/Kisan Sabha Unit of Jammu and Kashmir. Inspite of the difficulties during this period, this Unit has been consistent in Annual enrolement.
Haryana state Kisan Sabha is also a separate and new Unit after the formation of Haryana state.
The state wide membership enrolement figures show that West Bengal alone accounts for a little more than 50% of the total membership of AIKS. The West Bengal State Kisan Sabha and the large number of Kisan Workers in that state have to be congratulated for their tremendous achievement of breaking all past records of membership enrolement in Bengal. One of the important lessons of the enrolement campaign of West Bengal is that, if it is combined with the campaigns and struggles of the peasants, the achievements are always very great, and beneficial for strengthening the organisation.
The achievement of the West Bengal State Kisan Sabha at the same time reveals, how vast in the latent influence of this Kisan Organisation among the peasant masses and if they are not mobilised into the organisation in much larger numbers than actually achieved by this year it is mainly the failure of Kisan workers.
The members enrolled by the many other State Kisan Sabhas are undoubtedly far less than the actual mass influence of the All India Kisan Sabha.
Inspite of the respectable figure of over one Lakh membership enroled by Kerala State Kisan Sabha, it must be stated that latent possiblities of membership enrolement are far more than this figure.
In this connectioa, we must point out the failure of Kisan workers in Andhra State. The All India Kisan Sabha has a solid vast base among the peasant masses in Andhra. The State Kisan Sabha in Andhra came into existance in the very beginning of the founding of the All India Kisan Sabha in 1936. We still remember the historic, mamoth gathering of peasants at the All India Session of the Sabha held in 1944 at Vijayawada. The State Kisan Sabha has to its credit innumerable militant Kisan struggles, crowned by the historic Telengana struggle.
With this background and heritage of the Kisan Sabha in Andhra state the failure of Kisan workers in enroling the Kisan masses and in building the Kisan Sabha, for the last few years, is most deplorable. We hope that the Kisan workers of Andhra State, would earnestly and self—critically examine their failure and during the next year restore the prestige and organised strength of the State Kisan Sabha to its rightful place in the AIKS.
Another weakness regarding membership enrolement has also to be pointed out. It has not to be considered as a useless formality or a ritual. I am afraid, there is such tendency growing in some workers and that is way there is no planned and consistent enrolement campaign.
Enrolement Campaign is the important method of frequently renewing our contacts with the Kisan masses, of approaching newer sections and of extending the base of the Kisan Sabha to new areas and new sections. This is an important task in building the mass organisation and is the key to our achievements.
Is it possible to achieve this task, if we do not undertake the enrolment campaign in a planned manner? The Kisan Sabha Units at each level should every year examine the chart of their previous enrolment and plan out their approach to unapproached families in the village and unapproached villages in the area. Furthermore, such an approach for enrolement should be accompained by mass meetings and sale of literature, explaining the policy of the Kisan Sabha and above all, it should be linked with the campaigns and struggles of the peasant masses on their burning issues.
Proper enrolment capaign is the key to building a strong Kisan Organisation for rousing the vast number of Kisan masses and preparing large number of new cadres to guide the masses, lead the struggles and man the organisation.
The state of our organisation at various levels is far from satisfactory. We are seriously neglecting the functioning of offices, there is no oermanent cadre to devote to the organisational duties on a permanent basis.
I need not point out the organisational weaknesses in all respects. In the past Sessions we have so often examined these weaknesses and laid down valuable proposals to remedy this situation. The main point is to seriously implement those resolutions.
Comrades with this brief posing of problems and issues, naration of campaigns and struggles and statement regarding the organisational position, I propose to close my report.
I do not claim it to be either perfect or exhaustive with regard to manifold activities of the Kisan Sabha. You should also realise the limitations and handicaps under which the report had to be prepared because of lack of day to day functioning of the Units below and absence of proper reports from the state Kisan Sabhas.
Those deficiencies, I am sure, would be removed by the representatives of State Kisan Sabhas and the delegates during the course of their constructive discussion on this report in this session. Welcoming such discussion and I contribution on your part, I finally close the report.
To conclude, let us resolve In this session.
To lend the peasant masses in the campaigns and struggles;
To further strengthen the Kisan organisation, relying more and more an poorer sections of the villages and spreading it to newer areas;
To fight back the disruptive role of Right Communists and maintain Unity of the organisations;
And to fight back the offensive of the Government the Landlords, the capitalists and all exploiters of the masses.
Date: MADURAI (TAMILNAD), January 26-28, 1968.
Author: JAGJIT SINGH LYALLPURI