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Homage to Comrade VM

Hold High the Revolutionary Legacy of CPI(ML)!

Forward, Comrades,

along the Path

Lighted by Comrade VM !!

Comrade Vinod Mishra had taken over as the General Secretary of our Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) after Comrade Johar was encircled and killed by the armed forces of the state at Babubandh in Bhojpur district on November 29, 1975. This was a very critical juncture in Indian politics and more so in our party history, when constitutional democracy in India was being throttled behind the iron curtain of Emergency and our fledgling party was just preparing itself for its Second Congress to revitalise the movement and revive the organisation after the severe countrywide setback of the early 1970s.

From this crisis-ridden early phase, Comrade VM successfully carried forward the revolutionary communist legacy of Comrade Charu Mazumdar and Comrade Johar and led the party tirelessly and heroically for 23 years till the cruel hands of death snatched him away from us most prematurely on December 18, 1998 right in the middle of the year-ending session of the Party Central Committee in Lucknow.

Today as the entire party mourns the tragic loss caused by the premature passing away of its most beloved leader and teacher, we must turn our grief into strength and resolve to hold high the great red banner of Indian revolution and carry forward Comrade VM’s unfinished mission with all our might and determination. The saga of his most outstanding and dynamic leadership and his role as the supreme architect of the party’s historic recovery and glorious resurgence to the present phase when our party stands out as the brightest red star on the firmament of India’s Left movement will continue to inspire the party in its forward march against all odds.

Comrade VM showed us how to grasp the universal essence of Marxism, its revolutionary kernel, and apply it in the concrete conditions of democratic revolution in India. He enriched our Party programme with a profound Marxist insight into the social and historical particularities of India, and enabled us to grasp the centrality and dynamics of classes through the otherwise confusing maze of castes, communities and nationalities. Simultaneously, he also strengthened the party’s moorings in Marxist-Leninist tactics, enhancing the party’s striking power and ability to respond dynamically to the changing demands of the situation by combining various forms of struggle and organisation and mastering the art of making a swift and skilful transition from one form to another. And most importantly he led us in harnessing this programmatic and tactical understanding into a comprehensive revolutionary line, and in defending and developing it in relentless struggle with and negation of the opportunist line and practice of social-democracy. We must preserve and enrich this all-important asset of our party at all costs.

Under Comrade VM’s leadership, we have been able to comprehensively demarcate our party from various anarchist trendencies and place it firmly on the high road of Indian revolution as the true inheritor of the revolutionary tradition of Telengana and Naxalbari. We shall continue to uphold this militant mass revolutionary tradition of our party and draw strength from it to combat both anarchism and parliamentary cretinism.

Comrade VM had a keen eye for every developing positive aspect in our movement. He always encouraged the party to study and refine every such positive element and absorb it as an organic component of the party’s conscious practice. This is how the party has evolved its tradition of integration of theory and practice. All major changes in our forms of struggle and organisation have been preceded and accompanied by very comprehensive ideological and theoretical campaigns.

The party, for example, will never forget the experience of the rectification movement in the post-Emergency years when the entire party was ideologically mobilised against certain metaphysical rigidities in our thought and practice. The rectification movement heralded a phase of rapid advance of our party by unleashing tremendous mass initiative, particularly in the arena of peasant struggles, and Comrade VM led the party in raising it to a new political height through the novel experiment in the form of the Indian People’s Front even as the party remained underground. Subsequently, against the opportunist parliamentary model of Left Front, he developed the concept of a broad based Left Confederation which would be based on a common programme of struggle on common issues and against the common enemy without in any way curbing the ideological-political independence of the revolutionary communist party.

Under his leadership, the party also waged the decisive struggle against liquidationism in the late 80s. The entire party reasserted its unwavering commitment to the three cardinal principles of (i) taking the militant peasant movement as the axis, (ii) waging consistent struggle against parliamentary opportunism and social-democracy and (iii) upholding the absolute importance of the leading role of the communist party in our democratic revolution. This enabled the party to successfully overcome the immediate challenge posed in the international communist movement by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the party emerged stronger in terms of both ideological clarity and cohesion and political influence and maturity.

Comrade VM always encouraged and educated the party to grapple with every unresolved question of Indian revolution in the light and tradition of Marxist theory. He brought about a theoretical awakening throughout the party and always emphasised the Leninist principle that there can be no revolutionay party without revolutionary theory. We shall never slacken this emphasis on study, investigation, analysis and Marxist theory in our party in the challenging days to come.

Singleminded in his mission to strengthen our party’s developing character as an all-India revolutionary communist party, Comrade VM waged a relentless battle against every liquidationist idea, factional or federalist tendency, narrow considerations of localism and regionalism, and expressions of both sectarian attitude and liberalism in political or organisational affairs, which, if unchecked, could weaken and even destabilise the party’s organisational solidity and corrode its ideological integrity and independence. At the same time, he was all for maintaining a very open, vibrant and democratic atmosphere throughout the party based on the principle of freedom of thought and unity in action. We shall always sincerely adhere to the principles of democratic centralism and remain ever vigilant against every idea and practice that militates against the party’s monolithic unity and iron discipline.

In his last address to the Party Central Committee, Comrade VM cautioned us against the pitfall of parliamentary short-cuts and called upon the party to preserve its revolutionary identity forged through protracted and militant struggles of the working people, and particularly its most oppressed and exploited sections. We shall always remember this last caution of our beloved leader and will never refrain from making any immediate sacrifice for preserving this long-term strategic interest and identity of our party.

After the party became overground at the 5th Congress in Calcutta in December 1992, Comrade VM led a new phase of nationwide political assertion of the party. Addressing every major question of our national life with a sharp and refreshing Marxist analysis and responding to every issue of popular concern with a clear accent on developing mass agitation, he established the revolutionary credentials of the party among wider circles. While the political and economic situation of the country plunged from one crisis to another in the face of the two-pronged offensives of communal fascism and economic neo-liberalism and the opportunist Left and its centrist allies went on retreating and surrendering before the rapid rightward shift, the CPI(ML) under the leadership of Comrade VM went on to assert itself as the most uncompromising and consistent defender of democracy, secularism and national dignity and independence.

This is why the premature death of Comrade VM is being mourned by progressive and democratic forces all over the country as the exit of a great visionary. We must keep up this revolutionary credential of our party and hold high the great banner of militant and popular anti-fascist resistance and awakening of the poor and the oppressed which has now been bequeathed to us by Comrade VM.

Comrades, as we begin the first year in our party history without the ever inspiring leadership of our beloved leader and teacher, let us resolve to strengthen the party at all levels and in all respects, unleash all-round mass activism on all fronts, and remain ever vigilant and firm in defence of the revolutionary essence of Marxism.

These are the tasks Comrade VM had set for his cherished party for the coming days. Let the death-defying revolutionary spirit of Comrade Nagbhushan and Comrade VM spur us on to fulfil these tasks and carry forward their unfinished mission.

Patna, December 24, 1998 Central Committee, CPI(ML)

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