Liberation Archive  
VM's Selected Writings
Thirty Years of Naxalbari






Lalgarh’s Battle for Dignity and Justice

A concerted paramilitary campaign is now underway in Lalgarh and surrounding areas in the tribal-dominated western region of West Bengal bordering Jharkhand and Orissa, ostensibly to flush out Maoists and restore the authority of the state. The campaign though being carried out by the state government is being actively guided and sponsored by the Union Home Ministry. The Union Home Minister has warned that the operation may take longer than expected and has appealed to political leaders and civil society organizations not to visit Lalgarh while the operation is on. Mamata Banerjee has called for declaring the three districts of West Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia a disturbed area. The Union Home Ministry has meanwhile included the CPI(Maoist) in the list of unlawful associations under the recently amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.....Full text


Verdict 2009 and the Left: Key Issues and the Road Ahead

Political Observer

Five years ago, the 14th Lok Sabha had witnessed the largest ever presence of Left parliamentarians. Along with the defeat of the NDA, the arrival of the Left as a major player in national politics was a key message of the 2004 elections. Five years later, the 15th Lok Sabha now presents a drastically different picture. The CPI(M) and the CPI, the two biggest constituents of the Left bloc in Parliament, have secured their lowest ever tallies, reducing the overall Left presence to a meagre 24....Full text

Manmohan Government's Second Term: Early Signals and New Rhetoric

Dipankar Bhattacharya

President Pratibha Patil's address to the joint session of the two houses of Parliament has outlined the priorities and direction of the second term of the UPA government. While the government has listed ten points as priority areas, the basic thrust is essentially three-pronged: an unfettered pursuit of the agenda of privatisation, commercialisation and globalisation; intensification and legitimisation of repressive measures in the name of national security; and strengthening of Indo-US partnership as the cornerstone of India’s foreign policy......Full text




Revisiting the Women’s Reservation Debate

Kavita Krishnan

Once again, the debate over Women’s Reservation Bill has resurfaced, in the wake of the President’s speech promising to enact 33% quota for women in assemblies and parliament as well as 50% quota in panchayats. After 13 years of delays and vacillations, the women’s movement and progressive forces are naturally demanding that the Government and main ruling parties, who no longer have any excuse not to enact the Bill, walk their talk this time without any further delay......Full text

  Speical Report 7

Crackdown on Struggles of the Rural Poor in Punjab

Soon after the Lok Sabha elections, the Akali-BJP Government of Punjab has unleashed an all-out offensive on the rural poor in Punjab, and on the CPI(ML) which was leading their struggles. Since 21 May, over 1300 agricultural labourers and labour leaders, of Mansa, Moga, Sangrur and Bathinda districts, including 511 women and 42 children, were confined in Punjab's jails. As we go to press, virtually all activists and leaders of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and the CPI(ML) in the state – nearly 40 –  remain in jail. In spite of the fact that many of them got bail, the government contrived to keep them in jail by naming them in ‘open FIRs’ which they had earlier filed against unnamed persons. Jasbir Kaur Nat, a National Council Member of the AIPWA, was among those jailed.....Full text

Agricultural Labourers in Punjab: Struggling for Survival

There have been many studies of the situation of agricultural labourers and dalit rural poor in Punjab. In this section, we discuss some of the relevant aspects of dalit agricultural workers’ lives, in the light of the observations of such studies. 
The impact of the agrarian crisis on peasants in Punjab is more widely known, but it has had a grievous impact on agricultural labourers as well.
Work and Wages
The state of work and wages in Punjab, supposedly one of the more developed and prosperous states, is shocking. In ‘Status of Local Agricultural Labour in Punjab’, a study sponsored by the Punjab State Farmers’ Association and authored by R S Ghuman, Inderjeet Singh, and Lakhwinder Singh of the Department of Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala, in November 2007 (henceforth Ghuman et al), the bulk of local labourers get work in agriculture for only 8-10 days a month....Full text

Protests against Punjab Crackdown

The CPI(ML) Delhi State unit and AICCTU held a protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar on May 25 to demand the unconditional release of all arrested leaders and workers, which submitted a memorandum to the Home Minister demanding his intervention....Full text

  Policy Watch 7

Policy Offensive on Higher Education

Kavita Krishnan

Soon after the re-election of the Manmohan Singh government, the corporate media offered a slew of policy recommendations for its second tenure. Foremost among these have been impatient demands for the privatization and commercialization of higher education.....Full text

  In Depth 7

Rosy Hype of Globalisation vs Realities of Recession and Racism

Tapas Ranjan Saha

The continuing spate of attacks and violence against Indians and Indian students in particular in Australia has once again exploded the much touted myth that globalisation promotes and respects pluralism and multiculturalism.
The Australian government initially tried to cover up and even deny the racist dimensions of the attack, terming them as just routine robberies and muggings. If that were so, why do Indians constitute a disproportionate share of the victims – 30% in Melbourne? One of the important demands of the protesting Indian students is to make the records of the assaults public - which would bring out the actual extent and dimension of these racist crimes. It is revealing that while the Australian police swooped down on the Indian students to thwart their protests against racist violence, the same police hardly displayed any urgency or sensitivity to stop the spate of crimes and violence. ...Full text

Indian students in Australia confront racist attacks

Sravan Kumar Theerthala, a 25-year-old Indian student studying in Melbourne, Australia, was stabbed through the head with a screwdriver on May 23 leaving him comatose and in intensive care. The day after Theerthala was attacked, Indian student Rajesh Kumar, also 25, received burns to a third of his body after a petrol bomb attack in Sydney. The following day, Baljinder Singh, another 25-year-old Indian student was stabbed at an inner Melbourne train station. During the following week, Indian student Ashish Sood was admitted to a Melbourne hospital after having been beaten up by 15 young people....Full text

Racism and State Terror:

The Case of Pakistani students in Britain

In early April, the British media reported  a remarkable ‘blunder’ on part of the British police. A top police officer had revealed crucial information about a number of terror suspects by inadvertently carrying a paper listing such information on his way to see the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. With expectations thus having been created for a major terrorist operation on 8 April, armed police carried out a number of raids in the North West of England and arrested twelve Pakistani students. One, a Liverpool University student, was thrown to the ground and held there at gunpoint for an hour, before being interrogated for several more hours. Several UK cabinet ministers made statements implicating the students in a terrorist conspiracy. “We are dealing” said Prime Minister Gordon Brown “with a major terrorist plot…. We had to act pre-emptively to ensure the safety of the public”....Full text

  Reports 7

Cyclone Calamity in West Bengal

Normal life in the Sunderbans has been totally paralyzed, it being the worst-hit by the Cyclone Aila. Even thirty days after the Aila devastation in this delta there is no sign of progress in restoring normalcy although good gestures are prevailing among the cadres of few political parties and voluntary groups engaged in relief work. Most parts of the devastated area of this delta had till now have been cut off from the rest of the world. More or less all the embankments have been broken, flooding the homes of the rural poor. The fragile ecology too has been badly affected, resulting in tremendous loss of biodiversity in this delta. Scientists are apprehending fifteen per cent loss of mangrove vegetation. As a consequence the food chain of this delta’s ecosystem will be damaged and the dwellers of Sundarbans will face severe crises to maintain their livelihood both at present and future....Full text

People’s Health’ Seminar in Kolkata

Dr. Binayak Sen and Dr. Ilina Sen recently visited Kolkata responding to an initiative taken by People’s Health. They addressed the Calcutta press at Calcutta Press Club on 29th May. Dr. Binayak Sen’s two year long unlawful detention in a Chattisgarh jail ended on 25th May. “I want to resume my unfinished work as early as possible,” he said. “I could finally come out of jail but many colleagues and comrades of mine are still in Chattisgarh jails on fictitious charges – we have a long fight due for their unconditional release.”...Full text

AIALA Convention in Dharmapuri

A Convention demanding 2 acres land, 5 cents home-stead land, 200 days work and Rs.200/day wage in NREGA was held by All India Agricultural Labourers’ Association (AIALA) at Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu on 15 June. Dozens of rural poor, 95 percent of them women, participated in the convention. Com. Balasundaram, State Secretary of the Party, came down heavily upon the CM-in-the-making, Mr. Stalin, the Dy. CM, for being lavish in allocating lands for the corporate sector in the name of development but now absolutely silent about the promises made by his government on 2 acres land to the rural poor....Full text

Pricol Workers on Indefinite Fast

Workers of the Pricol factory who are conducting a protracted struggle against the management for more than 2 years, are on an indefinite fast from 15 June 2009 demanding that the TN government intervene to resolve their issues....Full text

Reports from Chhatishgarh

PI(ML) and the Safai Kamgar Union (sanitary workers’ union, affiliated to the AICCTU) jointly held a dharna at the Commissioner’s office in Bhilai on 6th June with several demands pertaining to the livelihood and working condition of the sanitary workers working for the Bhilai Municipal Council....Full text

  International 7

The Changing Facade of US Imperialism

Arindam Sen

Barrack Hussein Obama stoops – well, only a little bit – to conquer. His carefully prepared and brilliantly presented speech at the Islamic University of Cairo contained quotations from the Quran, rich references to Islam’s contribution to civilisation and his own personal connection to the faith – all geared to get Muslims around the world to accept US aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan in return for lavish promises of benevolent policy changes elsewhere....Full text

Developments in West Asia

Srilata Swaminathan

The history of the West Asia for over a century is one long history of how colonial and imperialist powers, both old and new, have arrogantly plundered, looted, dismembered, manipulated and raped a region for their unbridled self interests. It is a history of total disregard and callous disrespect for the peoples of this oil rich region. These policies are still in place in spite of the rhetoric, so it must be kept in mind, that the US, UK, France and others are part of the problem in West Asia and not part of the solution....Full text

  Tributes 7

Being Kamala

It’s a pity that a kind of voyeuristic interest in the late Kamala Das’s life has tended to distract from her poetry. The editor of a major newspaper once asked me whether she really had those affairs or was fantasizing. Prissy academics have disapproved of her “endless female hungers,” while pompous ones have lamented her concentration on self, and concluded it arises from “a paucity of experience.”...Full text

Habib Tanveer

Habib Tanveer, the doyen of Indian theatre breathed his last on June 8, 2009. He was not only a theatre personality, but an organic cultural personality; one of the greatest products of the Marxist cultural movement in India. His lifelong association with IPTA and PWA shaped his ideological orientation and unflinching commitment to the development of a cultural movement dedicated to social change....Full text