6th Conference: Presidential Address

Presidential Address of Com. Indulal Yagnik At the BIHTA session of the All India Kisan Sabha 1942


May I at the out-set offer you my most grateful thanks for the great honor that you have done to me by electing me your president at this critical juncture. I am of course aware of the vast responsibility that goes with the president-ship of the All India Kisan Sabha .But may I assure you that I shall try my utmost to discharge those responsibilities to the best of my abilities. And I have no doubt therein that in endeavoring to fulfill this task of mine I shall receive the co-operation of your Kisan Comrade.

We meet today after a lapse of more that two years in this sixth session of the Kisan Sabha. During this period the shadows of the world war have deepened and lengthened till they now overcast all the continents and oceans of the world. Never before has the history witnessed such a titanic war in which millions are fighting on land, sea and air in all parts of the world. The carnage of the last war pales into significance when compared with the holocaust that is raging to day at the same time in places as far removed as the Arctic seas and Australia, Libya and China, Western Europe and the Caucasus.

The Introduction of aeroplane has not only changed the whole strategy of war but has brought crores of civilians, men, women, and children, living far in the interior, into the front line of battle.

Why is this ghastly war being waged on such an unparalleled front ? In the beginning it looked as if the Imperialist powers of England and France were engaged in a mortal combat with Fascist Germany and Italy who wanted a share in the colonial empire. We then thought it best to keep away from the struggle of the big powers and even planned to profit by the battering blows received by both the parties. Accordingly, the Pallasa session held in February 1940 concentrated our attention on the struggle of national liberation and formulated a bold policy for achieving the object.

Hitler’s attack on Russia in July last year and then Japan’s Deceleration of war against Britain and America, introduced new elements in the national and international situations. The war confined before within the limits of western Europe became a veritable World War. Russia, China, England America are now allied together in a total war or the final destruction of the Axis powers. While each of the allied states is naturally inspired by the instinct of self-preservation, there is no doubt that they together represent principles of liberty and democracy in sharp contrast to the ruthless barbarism preached and practiced by the Fascist powers.

Moreover, we of the Kisan Sabha could not but identify ourselves whole- heartedly with the Soviet Union – the Peasants and Workers’ states in its terrific defeats and heroic successes, in the sufferings and valour of its mighty men and women. We instinctively feel today that our hopes and aspirations and those of the toiling millions of the world would receive a great setback if the Soviet light was extinguished from the surface of the earth. On the other hand, our hearts are full of joy and hope at seeing the Soviet Union standing as the colossal rock in the face of battering blows of Hitlers hordes and preparing confidently to drive them back to Berlin.

It is gratifying to note that these thoughts and feelings are shared by most parties and leaders of the country. Congress leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru agree even today with out-most Socialist, Labour and Kisan workers, in proclaiming their sympathy with the indivisible front of the United Allies and wishing a shattering defeat for the axis powers. We are all of course not mindful of Britain’s past misdeeds and present niggardliness towards India. But these things should not be allowed to cloud our estimates of Indian Freedom in the context to World conditions. Even greater unanimity has been witnessed in expressing sympathy and solidarity with the Soviet Union. Politicians and professors, scientists and writers of all parties and shades of opinion, have joined cultural societies like the Friends of the Soviet Union and they have contributed their might to hep its people in the greatest hour of their trial. It is these considerations shared by an overwhelming majority of the people of India that induced the Central Kisan Council in February last to revise its negative attitude towards War and exhorted the Kisans of India to align themselves on the side of Russia, China and the Allied progressive forces of the world.

Japan’s entry into the war and its rapid advance westwards, taking in its stride Malaya, Java, Sumatra and Burma, has bought the realities of war to the door steps of the India. This situation demands that the people of India should not merely express sympathy with the allied powers but prepare themselves to fight for the defence of their motherland. There might be amongst us a few who may be believing that the Japan’s ghastly record in China, Korea, Formosa and other colonies that it has conquered. Japan is no philanthropist. But its one aim is to exploit and enslave India. The narrow- minded patriot must, therefore, prepare to give answer to the challenge of the invader.

Overwhelming sympathy for the allies, and the will to fight the ruthless invaders could not, however, blind the Kisan council to the realities of the internal situation. A total war of this gigantic proportion could not be successfully fought by any people except in full co-operation with and under the aegis of the National Government . With a view, therefore, to mobilise the vast resources and the man-power of India for the destruction of Fascism, the council demanded above all the formation of National Coalition Governments at the centre and in the Provinces. The Council further wanted the release of the Kisan, Labour and other political prisoners and the satisfaction of the urgent needs of the peasant masses if their will to freedom was to be translated into concrete action. Here again, slogans and phrases apart, a surprising degree of unanimity has marked the statements of most leaders and parties in the country and confirmed the wisdom of the Council’s decision.

Then came the Cripps Mission that was heralded with such a fanfare of trumpets from England. Contrary to early expectations, the British proposals when published were received unfavorably throughout the country. Most parties denounced “the cessation clause” which was said to grant PAKISTAN to the Muslims in advance. The Congress not wishing to break up negotiations on this issue demanded power over the defence department as a proof of the bonafides of the British Government . Sir Stafford Cripps refused and wanted it to be a preserve for the British Government. And while methods of abridging differences on this subject were being examined largely due to the eleventh hour intervention of Mr Louis Johnson, the American representative , the Cripps plan was finally turned down by the Congress as it did not grant any real power to the would be Indian ministers. The mass of statements and the counter statements made by Sir Stafford and Party leaders made two points abundantly clear; first that the British Government was determined to act within the framework of the August declaration and second that the Congress demand for Cabinet responsibilities at the center was denounced by Mr Jinnah as totally unacceptable to the Muslim League and liable to jeopardize peace and order in the land.

The differences thus disclosed between the Congress and the Muslim League over the constitution of the war time Government has now worked their way into the congress organization itself. Mr C Rajagopalchariar, the veteran Congressman and ex-premier of Madras, quickly diagnosed the cancer that was eating in the body politic of India and boldly came out with his well-known remedy to forget national unity and establish national Government in the country. If the Muslims would co-operate. with us in defending India against the Japanese invasion on condition that their right to separate existence was accepted now and here, then let us grant them, says Rajaji, that freedom m the fervent hope that they would not care to exercise it after the war. The Madras Assembly resolution passed on Rajaji’s advice has created a veritable storm in the political life of the country. Though the A. I. C. C. has now rejected the plan by a great majority, Rajaji has secured his freedom by resigning from the working committee and is now engaged in conducting raging and tearing campaign to convert the Congress and the country to his creed.

It is indeed difficult for a layman like myself to differentiate between Rajaji’s plan and the stand of his opponents who also repudiate all idea of coercing any persons or groups to join the Indian Union. Many Muslim members of the A. I. C. C. including the president of the Punjab Provincial Congress Committee voted with Rajaji at Allahabad. Most nationalist Muslims attached to the Congress, the Ahrar party or the Jamiet-ul-Uleima are daily ranging themselves on Rajaji’s side. Many leftists and Labour leaders are inclined to view his proposals in a friendly spirit. And the cogent logic of the Madras Leader’s daily utterances stands in sharp contrast with the confused and sentimental outbursts of his opponents.

The unity of India must surely rest not on mere geographical basis but on the unity of heart and head of its people. We all passionately desire that all classes and communities should live together in voluntary and amicable partnership as members of an undivided family. But how shall we achieve our purpose by denying to any of the right to partition the family estate if they are determined to do so. I do not desire to anticipate your decision on this vexed question. But I believe that some plan of national unity will have to be quickly agreed to if the people of India are to fight the Japanese menace with any chance of success.

While disputes and discussions on Rajaji’s plan fill the air, the enemy is battering our frontier towns and seaports and seeks to besiege us on sea and air. Meeting at this grave juncture in India’s,history the All India Congress Committee has in all seriousness advised the faithful in the land to take to the sovereign remedy of non-violent non-co-operation to resist the prospective invader. However grand and impressive the method might sound in our cars, it will prove nothing short of an invitation to the aggressor to walk into the country, take possession of it and what it liked with it. And the Japanese Fascists are shrewd enough to exploit this method for their own nefarious and predatory ends. The people of India and particularly the peasantry must unequivocally repudiate this idealistic but utterly futile doctrine which has proved completely inadequate to dislodge the British Power from India during the last 20 years.

Realities of the Situation

Disappointed by the quackeries of our leading political doctors, let us now survey the situation in a realistic and rational manner. Turning first to the moral and mental attitude of the people, one finds the atmosphere surcharged with nervous fear of tomorrow. The Indians settled in Java, Sumatra, Singapore and Rangoon might be excused for fleeing back to the mother-country in the hour of danger. It is more astounding to see the white colored gentry and even labourers running helter shelter from big ports and towns to the countryside in search of imaginary safety. Moreover, the rise and fall of the population in coastal towns follows the fortunes of the, allied forces in the Indian zone. For instance, lakhs of people left Bombay, when its attack was thought to be imminent. The victory of the British-American fleet near the coral inlands and the continued pre-occupation of the Japanese forces in North Burma have again induced thousands to return to Bombay to pursue their normal vocation. These movements should incidentals give food for reflection to those who demand with Gandhiji the withdrawal of the foreign armies from the country. Anyway the fact remains that millions of people are now seized with fear for the safety of their person and property at watching the rising prospects of a successful Japanese invasion bringing in its wake the outbreak of thefts and dacoities in the Countryside

The kisans and the poor in the districts are on the other hand hit hard by the growing scarcity of food grains and the daily rise in their prices. Verily, hunger and starvation stalk the land in many areas. Many causes have bought about what must be regarded as a grave economic crisis the rural areas. Australian wheat and Burma are no more available. Government requirements of food grains are naturally growing daily with the progressive increase in the armed forces. The merchants have hoarded disproportionate stocks of grains with a view of profiteering. All efforts of Government to control prices in the interests of the people have failed miserably. Dishonest merchants plead want of stocks when they are asked to sell the grain at market prices, and sell by the back door at fancy prices. A few cheap grain hops dotted over the countryside can hardly meet the requirements of the people .The recent Government order requiring wholesale grain dealers to get licenses and submit periodical returns of their stocks to authorized officers may help to relieve the situation. Let Government however, understand that what the people want in gently is that Government should take overall stocks of grain from merchants and sell them through their at reasonable prices. Grain should also be given as tagavi and as wages to millions of peasants, tenants and landless labourers if their hunger is to be appeased and their help is to be secured for winning the War.

The political uneasiness created, by the nearer approach of Japan and the worsening conditions in the villages are no doubt responsible for the increasing prevalence of thefts and dacoities in the countryside. While all efforts of the possessing classes to protect their hearths and homes should be welcomed, they cannot obviously cope with large gangs of armed dacoits. Nothing but an effective solution of the food problem and the issue of arms to local guards can guarantee peace and security in the small towns and villages.

Recent looting and shooting by the Hurs in Sindh is a sign of the times. Let the Government and the landlords read this writing on the wall carefully. Apart from its special features, its general features are common to all village areas. It not only proves that at the moment of crisis the government machinery is incapable of maintaining law and order, which was their only plea for remaining in the country so far, but it also shows which way the wind is blowing in the rural areas. Crushed between the millstones of falling prices of their produce and the rising prices of manufactured goods needed by them the small peasant and tenant has come to a pass where he can tolerate no longer the prevailing system of land tenure and land revenue, and is, therefore, resorting to armed uprisings to remedy their grievances. If, therefore Government does not take heed and immediately set about meeting their urgent demands every part of India likely to witness such outbreaks.

It is also instructive to note that none of the habitual votaries of Gandhiji have welcomed so far the virtual state of anarchy that has been created by the Hurs in Sindh. The commercial classes and the city fathers of Karachi have on the other hand addressed frantic appeals to the Government to augment their police and military forces to suppress the Hur riots. It may, therefore, be taken for granted that the people who tacitly support the loose talk of welcoming anarchy and the withdrawal of armed forces would be brought to reason at the first sign of real danger to their interest. Let the intelligentsia of the cities and the possessing classes read betimes the signs of times and gird their loins in their own interests to wage a relentless war against the enemies of mankind.

People’s Government for People’s War

These facts of the situation largely produced by the the war carve their indelible lessons on our minds. First and foremost there is no longer any question of helping Britain’s war. It has now become the bounden duty of every Indian to defend motherland against Japanese aggression and to secure all possible help from England, America, China and Russia in organizing armed resistance against the enemy. The magnificent and courageous defence by the Russians and Chinese of their motherland under the circumstances is a most glowing example worthy of emulation by every people threatened by wanton aggression. Such resistance no doubt requires complete co-operation between the Government and the people. The formation of a National Government is, therefore, absolutely essential for building a wall of steel round our country. ’Let us, therefore, cast all permission created by the Cripps failure to the winds and continue i ceaseless agitation to compel the Government and the leading parties to seal their unity and to do their duty by the nation.

Meanwhile all possible pressure must be exerted on the present Government to adopt a new outlook towards all war effort. Let it cast away all lurking suspicion and fear of the people. It was suspicion and doubt that led to the tragedy of Singapore and Java and Burma. The people of those countries kept at an arm’s length by their Governments could not take the war as their own. If the British Government wants to avoid a repetition of that tragedy in India, it is high time it awoke up and took prompt steps to mobilise the moral and material resources of the country. Government should enroll and train atleast half a million every month instead of a paltry 50,000 so that an army of 5 million men can fight the invader at the end of an year. It must also set about training and Mining the people in the art of war, including guerrilla warfare so that they should be able to oppose the invader at every step. Encouragement and facility of training in arms should be given to every organization established for the purpose of local defence among the people of any locality.

Let not the want of up-to-date arms present an in operable barrier. Fighting units can be trained and equipped even with sticks, lances, spades and crowbars, and inch other .weapons as are habitually used by the Kisans of the locality. If the Viceroy exhorts the people to fight the Japs with even their bare will, why should his Government wait for an increased production of firearms In extend military and civil defence training to millions in the land?

“Grow More Food” “Eat More Food”

The present scarcity of good grains, the increasing demands of the army and the restricted demand for money imps have combined to induce government to give the slogan grow more food. Its correctness has been accepted alike by the national leaders and the shrewd Kisans. I must, however, proclaim with all the emphasis at my command that the slogan is woefully one-sided and inadequate to realize the object in view. How can Kisans grow more food unless they have more grain to sow ? While government grants niggardly Tagavi to farm owners for the supply of seed grain, it generally neglects the demands of the tenants who constitute the vast majority of cultivators in the country. The Revenue Department should be directed to modify its conservative policy in the interests of the poor tenants. Moreover, the present crisis demands that Government should give tagavi for feeding the grower during the agricultural season. No farmer can devote his undivided attention if he is continuously worried over his daily needs and has to go with a half empty stomach during the period of the most strenuous work. The slogan, GROW MORE FOOD must, therefore, be logically coupled with others—like EAT MORE FOOD and PROVIDE MORE FOOD, if a bumper harvest is to be secured next winter.

Government will have to take some other measures also to carry the new policy to its logical conclusion. It i. notorious that most of what the Kisan gathers in his thrashing floor is extorted from him in lieu of debt interest and rent charges. This normal state of affairs cannot possibly be permitted during this war period, if the grower of all food is to be induced to exert himself to the very best of his abilities and resources. Special boards should be appointed to cut down the rent and the debt charges to the very minimum. Complete moratorium should also be declared on the payment of all arrears of rents and debts and the hearing of all rent and debt suits should be postponed during the war period. All evictions of tenants from their lands should be prohibited forthwith. Thus should the slogans “take more food” and “get more food“ and “eat more food” be rationally added to the government motto GROW MORE FOOD, in order to provide the best incentive for the mobilization of the Kisans on the agrarian front.

The growling number and increasing pauperisation of landless labourers also demands the urgent attention of the Government. Their employment is insecure and their wages always scanty are hopelessly inadequate to-day to give them and their family even half a meal a day. Progressive starvation of these workers definitely adds an explosive element to an otherwise anxious situation. Government must immediately open public works on standard wages to provide employment to such labourers wherever necessary and make all efforts to secure a living wage for them, commensurate with the rise in the cost of living.

Kisan Tasks

Having dealt so far the imperative duty of Government in the present crisis, let us now turn our attention to the urgent tasks of the peasants and people of India. The Kisans as the tillers of all land and the growers of all food are truly embedded in the soil of the country. They are the real inheritors and masters of the land. They are the natural guardians of its frontiers, and contribute the greatest man-power to the fighting forces of the State. Constituting as they do the overwhelming majority of the people they have the greatest stake in the safety of India; whatever the Government and other classes may or may not do, the Kisans must of right take the boldest initiative in the present situation without waiting on the doorsteps of their rulers.

First and foremost the Kisan must carry out his mental and moral rearmament. He must shake off the dust of ages and rise to the stature of his manhood. He must learn to widen his horizon hitherto limited, by his farm, his village and community, to the frontiers of the country and beyond. He must learn something of the horrors of the threatened Japanese invasion and the black cult of Nazism which is carrying death and destruction to the most distant corner of the world. Let him take courage and inspiration from the grim struggles that are being waged by his brothers in Russia and China for the defence of their lands. Thus would he be enabled to steel his nerves and gird his loins like his forefathers ’of old who’ though often outnumbered rushed courageously to the battlefields to preserve the dignity of their manhood, the honour of their women-folk and the sanctity of their temples. The Kisan should cast off the supine indifference and the cowardly fear instilled in them by the slavery of ages and should prepare to acquit themselves like men and heroes at this fateful hour.

Never was a greater opportunity offered in living memory and never might it be offered again in the near future to mobilise our man-power and place ourselves on a war- footing. The British rulers actuated by insane distrust of the people actually disarmed them and never dreamt of asking them to defend the land of their birth. It is only the. threat of an eminent invasion on all fronts that has compelled an unwilling government to issue the first tardy summons to defend our. hearths and homes. Let us seize the opportunity of a life-time or a century to arm our hearts with manly courage and learn the indispensable arts of modern warfare. Let us realize the sound though unpalatable truth that no nation can secure or retain the priceless heritage of freedom that is not prepared to defend itself successfully on the battlefield. If the Japanese ever succeed in conquering us, we might bid good-bye to all prospects of learning the use of arms as citizens of a realm. We should sweep aside all platonic advice and rosy day-dreams to take time by the forelock and learn the manly vocation of war. Our millions organized as a people’s army may yet be able to hurl back the Fascist hordes. And we may be sure, as the Britishers know only too well, that the Indian people once organized into solid battalions can never be ruled except by themselves.

But a Peoples’ army can be best organized by a Peoples’ Government. While we continue our campaign for the formation of such a government, let us plan out how the Kisans can mobilise themselves immediately on the agrarian and anti-Fascist front.

Obviously Kisans can best begin right at the bottom, i. e„ on the village and the home front that is best known to them. And they cannot do better than organize themselves, even more energetically than before, in their own class organizations’ that is—the Kisan Sabhas, which should serve as a basic foundation of all their activities. These Sabhas should serve as the primary organs of the suppressed peasants and labourers who should fight under its banner against injustice at home and Fascism abroad. These bodies should popularize their immediate demands for urgent reductions in rents and debts, removalof other local wrongs, and press them on the attention of the local Zamindars, Sahukars merchants and authorities. Special efforts should be made to draw all Kisans under its banner regardless of differences in caste, creed and religion. Pursuing such activities and securing some partial reliefs, the Sabhas would grow in mass strength, attract wavering elements and stand as bastions of the power and the pursuance of the rural masses. Small Kisan Committees should direct their operations and should be served by well-knit Kisan-Dals or Kisan volunteers, who should be trained on a military footing to protect and serve the village folk in all emergencies. Proceeding to organize this Sabhas in Circles and Thanas, big villages or small towns, we will have to devise a new technique for dealing with influential Zamindari Shaukari elements and other middle class people. Here too, primary Thana and Taluka Sabhas and Committees should be organized and strengthened to secure bread and justice for the Kisan masses. Special attempts should then be made by these committees approach the Mahajan and Zamindars with concrete proposals for forming Peoples’ Defence Committees and Peoples’ Volunteer Brigades on condition that they would grant forthwith the urgent demands of the Kisans or agree to settle them by arbitration. For we should not seek false unity based on hollow pretensions, but real co-operation grounded on social justice for the poor masses. Such unity alone will be effective and lasting and will serve to protect the people against internal danger and external aggression.

Districts like Circles or Talukas should be equipped with strong Sabhas and Committees to protect Kisan’s rights and interests in these areas. Districts* are bigger than villages and yet- comparatively homogeneous and geographically united. District Sabhas thus standing mid-way between village Sabhas on the one hand and the Provincial Sabhas on the other, serve as the real pillars of our whole organization. Districts are also the biggest convenient units for planning and organizing civil defence measures. The problem of mobilizing the peasants and the people of a District on the home and the anti-fascist front demands, therefore, our most careful attention.

The people of a district would usually comprise a multifarious variety of castes, creeds and communities. Political bodies like the Congress, Muslim League and the Hindu Sabha would also be represented within its limits. Students and youths would also be found organized in their bodies for pursuing educational, social and political. activities. The large mass of urban labourers might also be organized in their own unions and engaged in securing justice from their employers. And the Mahajans, Zamindars and the other possessing classes would also be ranged there in their own bodies.

I suggest the following ten-point programme for uniting all these elements in District Peoples’ Defence Committees:—

1. Fight Against Fascism

All bodies joining the Committee should be actuated by a passionate desire to resist the Fascist aggression. They should carry on a rigorous propaganda to expose the Dark Deeds of Fascist powers in the countries of their occupation. Committee should organize volunteers to fight th$ enemy on the home front and proceed to participate actively in full-fledged military activities as soon as the national Government is formed.

2. Communal Unity

No valiant fight can be put up against the Fascist hordes without sealing hearty unity between the various communities. All efforts should be made to remove old prejudices and suspicions lurking against each other. All disputes between the uniting bodies should be settled by arbitration. Special attempt should be made to bridge the differences existing between Hindus and Muslims-and Caste Hindus and the Untouchables, so that their united energy might be mobilised to fight the enemy.

3. Relief to Kisans

All uniting parties should heartily co-operate in securing urgent reliefs for the Ivisans as the main burden of the Civil Defence will fall on the Kisan masses, and unless they obtain relief from the crushing burdens they will have no incentive to co-operate with other classes in the conduct of civil defence. It should be impressed on the Government and the Zamindars and the Shahukars that it is in their own interest that they should concede the urgent demands of the Kisans as they alone can secure the safety of every class against aggression.

4. Relief for Urban Workers

Similarly, labourers and wage-earners living in towns should be granted dearness allowance to preserve their standard of life. Their employers should be pressed by the Committee to grant them their just demands. Peasants and workers representing the vast mass of people would heartily participate in national activities only when they were relieved of their daily worries.

5. Unification and Training of Volunteers

All volunteers organised by Kisan Sabhas, Trade Unions, Political and Public Bodies, should be brought under the unified control of the Committee. It should also arrange to give as good police and military training as possible to these volunteers with the help of retired or regular officers. Mock fights and periodical demonstrations should be held to test and increase the fighting strength of these volunteers.

6. Demand for Arms and Home Guards

Though a beginning can be made with sticks and crowbars, better arms are essential to fight effectively against the gangs of dacoits and the Fascists. A welcome move in the direction has been made by the Government of the United Province which has permitted the use of guns and lances to approved village guards. The Bengal Government has also made a beginning in this direction. The district committee must, therefore, bring every pressure on their provincial governments to relax the operation of the Arms Act and permit the arming of the Defence Volunteers. The Committee should demand the formation of Home Guards to be trained as in England as a first class force to fight the enemy in the locality.

7. Provision of Food to the People

The Committee will have to make special efforts for providing food to all sections of the people at reasonable prices. A strong campaign must be carried on to compel the Government to do its duty in the matter. Work will also have to be found for the unemployed in the towns and the villages. The disabled and the infirm will have to be fed with the assistance of the Government.

8. Grow More Food Campaign

Committee will supplement the efforts of the Government in this behalf and help it with useful suggestions. Landlords turning over vast areas of land pasture will have to be warned of the error of their ways aud compelled by the Government to have these cultivated on pain of immediate confiscation. The Committee will have also to watch over Kisan difficulties in these matters and see to their effective solution.

9. Preserve Peace and Order

The Committee should take all necessary measures to preserve peace and order during the present crisis. This work will be rendered comparatively easy when the just grievances of the poor masses are removed and they are relieved of their anxieties for the daily bread. Working arrangements should also be made for co-operating effectively with the Police force in the area. The Committee will have to gradually prepare itself to take charge of its district in any unforeseen emergency.

10. Formation of National Government

Lastly, the committee should carry on a vigorous propaganda for the formation of a national Government which alone can mobilise to the full the man-power of the country in the grim light against Fascism.

Kisan workers should take the initiative in forming and strengthening such Peoples’ Defence Committees throughout the country. They shoud, however, refuse to budge an inch from any of the ten points mentioned above. A loose conglemoration of make-believe anti-Fascists will not help us in this crisis. Let us not dilute our principles to secure the alliance of all and sundry. Let us make a beginning with such bodies as are prepared to join the Committee on the basis of our ’full-fledged programme. If the vested interests fight shy of our economic programme we might make a beginning with joint Kisan Labour and Student Committees. If they prove their mettle and their mass basis others will join them and render the rulings of the District Committees well nigh irresistible in their area. When a network of such committees was formed throughout the country and assumed the leadership of the masses the day would not be distant when the peoples’ army would be marching on our distant frontiers under the aegis of a Peoples’ Government and fighting with valour and determination against the Fascist enemies.

Comrades, I have done. The peasants and people of India like those of most countries of the world are faced with a crisis unparalleled in their history. Hunger and War, Slavery and Death stare us in our face.“ If our courage fails and our steps falter we might be subjected to the worst tyranny and torture and the loss of all ‘that we hold dearest in life. Let us make a supreme effort to summon up the hidden resources of our manhood and march in serried phalanx to fight the enemy of all culture and Civilisation, Liberty and Democracy. This great effort will require for its fulfilment an internal revolution in pur minds and lives and our social order. Let the Kisans and the Kisan Sabha take this supreme opportunity to place themselves at the head of this epoch-making movement and win with the might of their right arm and the strength of their solidarity Land, Freedom and Power in the New India of Tomorrow.


Date: 1942