THE MALKANGIRI ADIVASI SANGH
This organisation has an important historical background. It has successfully led the Adivasis in Malkangiri implementing the revolutionary democratic mass line. -organise.This organisation is an excellent example in the democratic functioning of a mass organisation.Various significant political struggles have been led by the Sangh.Emphasis has been placed to involve masses in struggle and democratization of political functioning.Led by Communist Revolutionary forces the organization 's functioning is a textbook for a mass activist.
The birth of the Sangh took place in reaction to the spontaneous movement of 1977.In the Manuskhunda jungle belt, the forest officials got a number of tribals arrested from 40 villages to punish them for having settled forest lands.10,000 tribals protested against this in Balimela,a working –class area. A Jan Pal Sangh was set up.A large number of tribals in the region were victims of displacement for development projects.
In 1983 the Malkangiri Sangh held it's first conference. However at this time a revisionist trend took place within the organisation.The mass organisation was stripped of all it's powers. There was no more democratic functioning. In 1985 the Sangh put up a candidate for the elections.This was an imposition on the mass organisation
However after 1988 some comrades under the leadership of Purshottam Palli revived the Sangh.The revisionist line was refuted. Political activity was regularised.Mass activity was re-started,village commitees and Panchayat commitees wre re-started Agitations were launched. Collective functioning was emphasized. Representative commitees were selected.Mass organisation members were asked todraft their own leaflets, devise programmes etc.The idea that outside leadership is the centre is removed.The involvement and encouragement of common people was encouraged.
Any leaflet would have to be passed only after being drafted and corrected by mass organization members in the committee.This way a sense of confidence was enthused on the tribals.A special charter of demands was made.Every May Day the Sangh renewed it's charter and the copies of the charter were distributed on a large scale.The significance of each demand was reviewed in the village committee,based on specific instances in local areas .
Solidarity with the working class in Balimela
The Sangh held joint programmes with the workers of Balimela.In 1992 they had a joint May day programme where a rally of 3000 people was staged.The workers had been mobilised to raise demands on behalf of the peasantry.A leaflet was brought about on May day explaining the connection betweeen the struggle of the workers and the struggles of the tribals.In january 1993 the Tapu tribals grabbed about 1500 acres of land 27 tribals were arrested by the police. The Balimela workers demonstrated against the police against the arrest.They went into the district's magistrate court and ultimately helped in releasing the tribals.
May Day programmes
In 1992 ,the leadership of he Sagh and the workers of Balimela held a jopit programme. Workers were organized to support peasant's demands while peasants were organized to support Peasants demands.The central demands of the tribals were land,jungle and water.
A leaflet as written explaining the birth of the Red Flag,the symbol of the collective strength,sacrifice and Struggle.It discussed he specific oppression faced by the tribals and dalits(scheduled castes ) in the society)It explained the trelatinship between the basic demands although they were relatively small with unity could change the basic conditionsd of labour.It went on to explain that expectations from the electoral process was an illusion.
The 1992 May Day programme was attended by 3000 workers and peasants. People came from distant places o attend the village programme,walking for 6-7 hours.The raly had a lightning effect with the message spreading far and wide.It reached distant places as a island region which could onlybe reached by boat and a seven to eight hours journey from Chitrakaonda and Paplur.The leaflets laid the seeds for activity in those regions.
In 1993 the rally was held at Malkangiri town. Forces like the head-load workers and Dandkaranya project employees came in.The workers and peasants unity was very significant. The leaflets of May Day,followed by classes led by Adivasi youth and the December 1992 conference of the Adivasi SAngh became hje backbone of the movement of he landless ,half-starved tribals.In January 1993,the Tapu tribals garbbed upto 1500 acres under 7 villages in the region,the main ones bei ng Mulapat,Joda Amb,and Sindhiput.Amajor protestw as launched against a police arrest .The police were blockaded for 3 days .Eventually he workers in Chitrakonda demonstrated for he release of he 27 arrested people. District level Sangh activists were contacted, The 27 prisoners wee produced before a magistrate's court 3000 people gheraoed the court and eventual the judicial administration had to concede and order the release of he prisoners. A victory procession was taken out by the Workers and the Adivasis.
By the time of the 2nd conference in December1992 the Sangh pledged to consolidate the organization at village levels and also build up Panchayat –level commitees.The collector of the region went as far as circulating a 10 point leaflet among the tribasl scaling them to build a'Socialist Malkangiri.'The sangh subsequently drafted a leaflet to counter this malicious propopganda ,refuting all is 10 points.After the conference the following points were raised'
1.The position of land what type of land,occupation,ownership and [patats
2.Land encroachment cases and amounts being extorted above the legally stipulated fines
3.diarrhoea deaths due o lack of clean drinking water and health facilities,
4.Corruption of bank officials in regards to tribal's loans.
5.The position regarding drinking water I each village.
The collector redressed these questions and promised to implement them.The Sangh made an accurate survey later and exposed the collector.In May 1992 before the assemble elections the Govt stated in the asebmy that evey illage must have drinkinh water.It stated that every village should have atubewell.The SAngh explained that the government was making false promises.The govt.did asimilat hjing with the land records .Here again the Sangh exposd them.
The govt . tried to lure the Sngh by trying to win over activists and offered the Sangh the facility of building co-operatives for he purchase of minor forest produce.
One important development in the movement was the formatin of the Nari Sanghatna.(woman's organization)A women's wing was launched to lead anti-liquor struggles as well as anti-rape struggles.The women participated in the Birlakahanpur Land Movement and the Doraguda anti-goonda movement.In August 1993 a Cultural team was formed.
The women's wing launched a famous struggle in the Jamuna-Uttar rape case.On February 9th 1994 a rally was launched against the rape,inspite of pouring rain. The rallysist shouterd that the police were responsible for the promotion of liquor dens and claimed bribes for camouflaging rape cases.A charter of demads was presented to he Tehsiladr. Subsequently, four liquor dens were smashed.
The Sangh had mastered such amass approach that ,even non activist of the SAngh were inspired.Those who got orgainsed own the Sang as heir own.
Tribals from 2 villages, worked on aj ob for along tome but still did not colllecty their wage,till the last ay.On the last day they colecte he Sangh amount and deposited it al with he Sangh leadrs.They stated, "We have now collecterd sufficient funds.You tell us how much it costs to print aleaflet.Is that all? Now you tell us how much it will cost o feed one thousand people.Here is the amount.When will you hold the meeting?
A grand meeting was organized.A night meal was hosted for over a thousand outsiders which gave a great boost to their confidence. After the conclusion of the programme,the villagers ran after the Sangh leaders.They left money from their wages.Their wages for he whole month were donated to the Sangh!
In Ramagiri-Boipuri guda block of Koraput district tribals contacted the Sangh,demanding it should function in their region.50 Sangh activists emerged on the scene and organised 2 rallies.A charter of demands was allotted.
To build it's cadre the Sangh organised health camps where symphathetic doctors train the Sangh cadre.The Sangh also organises classes to help their cadre understand the manifesto,the charter of demands,
The past history of the Koraput region,the history of social development and the role of the state of society.,the nature of the present society and finally the alternative organisation of people in building a democratic state.At the end of each set of classes the youth give undertakings and oaths regarding what responsibility they would take up for the Sangh.The class in Tapu infact inspired a land struggle.
STRUGGLES OF THE SANGH
1. Debt cancellation-In 1990,after the Janata Dal came to power it declared a cancellation of rural debts upto Rs,10,000.The Sangh exposed the class character of the loans.The Sangh explained that the loans of the tribals were not cancelled.The Sangh gheraoed the Panchavati Grameen Bank,demanding issue of correct vouchers ,against every loan payment.People demanded a stop to bank officials demands for bribes.They also demanded that they could be directly allowed to purchase the item for which thet were seeking the loan for.
2. Land-Grab movement-For these movements the Sangh had to make major preparations. It was necessary to prepare for arrests,and to make sure if one set of ploughers were arrested,another set would substitute them.In May-June 1991 about 500 acres of land was occupied by tribals in of 5 villages of Pandhapirani.Demarcations set up by officials were pulled down and ploughing continued for 3 days.When officials threatened them the tribals said "We don't mind giving up this land.But you provide us land elsewhere-we are landless." The tribals then said. "They won't dare to attack us as long as we have the ploughs in our hands."(The ploughs can be used as weapons)Earlier in Pada Magazine village the officials had seized land which the tribals cultivated for 150 years.The people fought back and re-captured the land. Despite arrests and repression the tribals held on to the land.
In Tapu region in Panusput panchayat 2 non-tribal landlords had amassed huge lands.They had been acquired through 30 years of usury.The Sangh occupied the lands of the 2 landlords.The landlords tried to get the land back but the Sangh intervened.The landlords tried to implicate Sangh members in false cases , however the Sangh intervened and the landlords had to make an agreement that they could not demand the land back.
3. Fighting the forest department.-At Birlakhanpur Panchayat the government took over 500 acres of tribal land in the name of wasteland development project, and began plantation of trees.The Sangh mobilised the entire Panchayat into village- level commitees.Rallies were held at Panchayat quarters as well as public meetings.The entire 500 acres was re-captured by the Sangh.The officials tried to terrorise the Sangh members. After hard struggle the officcials finally a.Promised land records b.passed an order that no land could be transferred to any government department. The fruits of the plants on this land would only be enjoyed by the tribals.Inter-cropping rights would only be enjoyed by the tribals.
The present situation is such that the government cannot snatch the tribal's lands.This is a significant victory.
4.Chawlamendhi struggle-In Mathili village here the forest department grabbed 200 acres of the Harijans.A gathering was held by the Sangh which was attacked by the Sarpanch's goondas.The Sangh retaliated mobilising all their members with traditional weapons for meetings.Though the police arrived they could not combat the overwhelming presence of the Tribals.The forest officcials could only put up token resistance.
5.In about 50% of the Sangh's tribals are arrested and booked in cases.The Sangh has been fighting for the withdrawal of such cases.
6.Self-defence-Tapu village is a typical example of this. The contractors and the politicians attacked the tribals with the aid of goondas.Dacoits were employed to attack, loot and burn down houses in village after village.In response with the guidance of the Sangh the people in the village armed themselves with bows and arrows and axes. The villagers dealt several blows to the dacoits.
Demands of the Sangh.
a.Sacp the G.A TT.agreement,give land to the landless,make appropriate land records for land cultivated by tribals,return all illegalextractions made by settlement officials,abolsh enccroacment fines,conced tribal's rights over forest produce,provide drinking water to every village,set up medium irrigation projects to provide waterand arable lands,Implemt laws preventing non –tribals from purchasing land,land declaed surplus should be distributed among sthe lanless and poor peasntry,fair pric shops at every panchayat level,a pro-people literacy campaign and educational system,and a compulsory appointment of teachers in all primary schools,,job sto all jobless tribals and Harijans.
Banning all liquior centres,open mine centres for extracting valuable stones instead of allowing smugglers to operate,provide electricity to all villages,provide land to impoverished Bengali refugees,primary health centres to be st up at every Panchayat,stop exploitation of tribals by tradesmen,stop cheating of tribals with regard to bank loans,provide subsidized food and health care to bamboo coupe workers.wothdraw police cases against Sangh activists,stop harassing ribalsof Konda Dhura and Dhurua in obtaing theircaste certificates,provide boats to Paplur for fishing and Communication,implement all minumumwage laws and implement equal wages to men and women,Compenste every peasnt whose land has been given over for teree projects.scrap he forest Act,abolish all illegal taxes,provide electricity o all villages who have lost land to electricity projects,
Padmagiri and Pandripani Struggles
Between 1995 to 1996 a struggle emerged in 2 Panchayats (Panchayats are Village level Councils) Padmagiri and Pandaripani respectively. The Adivasis who belonged to Villages from these districts had no security of their lands and through Panu were subjected to further ruthless exploitation at the hands of the forest, revenue and Police officials. A notorious smuggler named G.Subhash Chandra Bose was an established smuggler of highly valuable tinned stones to Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He deployed the services of hundreds of Adivasis.His activities were a major thorn on democratic activities of the masses but the Sangh began to challenge his activities through publishing articles.In May 1995,the marking of trees was carried out and some trees were felled.Sal, teak, sisu, pipal and other trees were felled which were a major source for the tribals.The felling had been carried out by Chandra Bose with the consent of officials .
Earlier when the tribals tried to procure dry wood or cut trees they were prohibited by officials but now this criminal was given an invitation. The Sangh organized a mass meeting on October 30th 1995 and gave a memorandum to the adminstration.However it took no action. In 21st November 1995, the Sangh decided to build mass resistance against the felling of trees, to expose the enemy and to unite the people on their long-term demands. Full-time cadre and leading Sangh cadre were deployed for this purpose.Betwween 22nd to 29th November a major programme took place where one team was employed to accost the administration, while a bigger team was employed to mobilize people to entangling into direct action.
These 7 days infact not only influenced people of this Struggle Area but provided the base for the emergence of a revolutionary peasant movement under the leadership of the Sangh.Before leaving for Padmagiri the team questioned the district collector in Malkangiri and demanded to know what the administration was doing in the villages of Padmagiri Panchayat.The collector stated that the felled trees were on the private lands of the Tulenguda Peasants.The team blamed the adminstration for allowing such large scale destruction of the Adivasi's forests assets. The team warned the collector of the way the Sangh would retaliate the injustices meted out to them.
The team reached Padmagiri almost covering the whole journey by foot. When they arrived ,the people ,both Bengali and Adivasi were afraid to talk to them.The team marched further covering another 5 to 6 km.,reaching the Adivasi Village Kanjoli.They started raising slogans:Adivasi Sangh Zindabad!Inquilab Zindabad !The forests belong to the Adivasis! We will not allow the transportation of timber! However only after 45 minutes there was a response. A youth came out and took them to his house. He volunteered to participate in the Sangh struggle against the contractor's injustice. The youth went on to organise a few more villagers for the task. Ultimately a team was formed that marched to Tulenguda-the felling spot.
The members of the team were armed with traditional weapons like Tangias and axes.More people from other villages joined the team.2 Km.from Tulenguda,they heard a truck coming from the distance. To block the truck the people cut trees on either side of the forest road and laid them on the road. A makeshift bridge was broken. After some time the contractor came to Tulenguda on a motorcycle. The contractor's truck arrived on the scene the team members gheraoed the truck-blocking the road.A major duel emerged between the Adivasis and the Contractors mercenaries. The contractor's force of 150 people vastly outnumbered the Adivasis who only had 25 activists. The Sangh leaders explained the Adivasi labour amongst the contractor's men that the Sangh was fighting for people like them and not the Sahikars,Landlords and the contractors.
They were opressed Adivasis and thus the Sangh supported their class interests.After that explanation a lot of Adivasi labour originally belonging though the contractor were won over by the Sangh.The 3 motor cyclists originally mentioned warned the Sangh that if they did not withdraw their protest they would face dire consequences.One of the motorcyclists happened to be the elder brother of the first Kanjoli youth who volunteered. He explained to his brother how the Sangh was fighting against injustice. At about 4 a.m a block chairman belonging to the Janata Dal began to condemn the Sangh.The general secretary of the Sangh refuted the derogatory remarks of the leader.
The block chairman was forced to retreat and he began to persuade the Sangh to make a peaceful settlement. Finally the contractor arrived making similar gestures. He now pledged to contribute to the Sangh.He said he would now only take the empty truck and not take the timber. The team replied that the spot-verification should take place as promised by the collector and that before that nothing would pass from there. This raged the contractor who threatened to call the police if his demands were not met. This bold behaviour gave the Sangh great self-confidence and boosted it's morale. The people gained confidence in the Sangh and had been liberated from their fear complex.
On 23d and 24th November the Sangh spread out it's programmes. Extended propaganda and mobilisation work was done.The tales of the valiant deeds of the masses was carried to several villages. A collective realisation was instilled in the people who now realised that there was an organisation fighting for them and it was possible for them to organise their own self-defence and struggle for their right through this.The masses started carrying bows and arrows to defend themselves .Hundreds of people, especially from Boilapari, got organised under the leadership of the Sangh by 24th November. A people's camp was set up to track the enemy's moves.
The forester of Pandirapani came to the spot and threatened the leaders that he would take action against them for felling the trees. The Additional District magistrate and the Deputy Superintendent of Police came with a team to the previous night's battlefield. The Sangh combated them verbally replying that why were they talking of just small trees, what about the large plot of the forest that was entirely destroyed. The officials were forced to examine those areas. People after hearing the heroic deeds of the Sangh people of all nearby villages banded together and discussed the future plans of the enemy. A new realization was installed in the villagers. They now stared carrying bows and arrows. On 24th November a People's camp was set up in Boilapari to keep watch on the enemy camp and to plunge into action to resist any attack.
On the morning of the 23d the forester of Pandaripani came to the spot and threatened the leaders that he would take action against them for there unlawfully cutting trees. By the afternoon the A.D.M came with a police contingent. The Adivasis replied that why were they talking of these few small trees, what about the large plot of the forest that was destroyed just a little distance away? The Adivasis forced the officials to see the plots and examine the destruction. On the 22nd the district collector had indicated that the plots of land from the trees from which the trees are cut are not part of a reserve forest, that this150 Acres of land belonged ,since 1982,to 22 Adivasi families of Tulenguda who sold the tress to the contractor; that the contractor had obtained a timber Transport permit through a high Court Order in 1995;that he is legally entitled to take the timber out and that neither the Sangh nor the other people have any right to obstruct it and if they do so, it will become a criminal offence!
This answer of the collector was a part of a carefully manipulated fraud which had to be exposed so that people could fight for their legitimate rights .How could the officials be sure that that the felling was limited to the so-called private tenant lands? The Sangh asserted that whatever the legal position, they would not allow timber transport until a proper verification was done by the collector. The Sangh team was similarly placated when they met the Chief Conservator of forests, however, on the team's assistance he officially called the D.F.O. and asked him to go and verify the matter .However on meeting the Contractor in Padmagiri the D.F.O totally side with the Contractor and blamed the Sangh for offences, holding the contractor innocent. The Contractor started abusing the team.
However that time the district collector arrived along with the president of the Sangh.The Sangh leadership remained firm in a spot enquiry and verification being held. During the enquiry, the peasants were largely intimidated, being herded in one after the other, and nodding their heads meekly, one by one, stating they were not aware of the contractor. The D.F.O.announced the case as closed. The collector now announced that on law and order grounds he would not allow the transfer of timber. The question pertinently asked by democrats was that if the land really belonged to these 22 peasants of Tulenguda, how is it that nobody Knew it, a and all these people of nearby villages, have been utilizing it as a common forest/They also asked how 10 of these 22 peasants were arrested in 1990 in a "Podu Case" for cultivating the same land which the officials were now claiming to be the private Tenant lands belonging to those very peasants in 1982.
Amazingly, when a team of journalists came to the spot on an invitation of the Sangh and talked to the tenant peasants, the peasants were unaware that a case was not fought on their behalf in the high court nor did they know that a Timber Transfer Certificate was issued in their name. Till recently, they did not know that the land belonged to them nor did they know of any agreement between them and the contractor. Then how did the high court order come about? How was the timber Transfer Permit issued?
The Sangh revealed that the innocence of the Adivasis was exploited and that manipulating the loopholes of the law with the collaboration of officials, the interest of the toiling people was subverted. The vested interests got some patches of forest records as Patta or tenancy lands of a particular Adivasi with the collaboration of the revenue and forest department officials. But even these Adivasis are not informed of this and officials can harass them along with others at least till the time the vested interests decide to use this handiwork.
In this case the crime was started by Ganghadar Madhi,a timber merchant and now a Congress M.L.A.In 1982 he got the said lands of Tulenguda put in the names of those Adivasis,who are Gondia tribals who have migrated to Tulenguda in 1979.In the late 80's he tried to fell the trees to take the timber out. The D.D.O.did not allow it and he filed a case against it in 1987in Jeypore district Court. It was rejected. In 1994,the present contractor Bose, got the case re-opened, by filing an appeal in the name of the same tenants who were taken to Jeypore,entertained in a lodge and made to put thumb impressions of which they knew nothing.
To combat the enemy used the following methods.
1.Selective and secretive allotment of land.
The Sangh leadership raised the demand that the Administration should properly identify and demarcate the government Forest lands and the tenant lands in a transparent and consistent way. The very fact that 22 Gondia peasants of Tulenguda had land recorded as their respective pattas or tenant lands, raised significant questions from the Adivasis.The Adivasis question was why those Tulenguda peasants, who settled there only in1979,were given those lands.If the lands could be given to those who settled there only in 1979 why couldn't land be given to them?
2.Issue of possible destruction of forests.
The Sangh raised the demand banning further felling of forests. The concerned authorities of the Sangh had to be informed if a felling was to take place. In the name of forest laws, not only has the government snatched away their traditional Rights, but has been harassing them on every pretext-such as drawing firewood or bamboos for their huts. Their lands were being snatched away in the name of government afforestation Projects. The Sangh insisted that their committee concerned in the particular village had to be contacted before any work took place.
Issue of Contradiction among Adivasis.
The Tulenguda Peasants, besides being under the physical pressure of the Contractor, were also tempted with the prospect of legally owning and more profitably cultivating the lands from the trees felled. Thus they maintained a distance from the Sangh.They had succumbed to the contractor's pressure.
The Sangh took effective Steps to win over the Tulenguda peasants exposing how they were being cheated by the contractor being paid a mere Rs.200 to 300 per tree. On the 24th November Spot verification the Sangh made these demands for the Tulenguda Peasants. A programme of a militant mass rally was planned. The enemy retaliated, trying to foil the rally. The contractor used his goonda forces to suppress the Sangh activists. The political leader of the Congress,B.J.P and the Janata Dal launched a propaganda campaign that the Sangh leaders were Naxalites.
The people were not intimidated and realized the merit of their organised strength. They rallied in greater numbers with traditional weapons. A sizable section of Bengali Activists attended the rally.
4 Flouting of the Agreement, the Struggle Advances.
On December 13th,when the contractor started felling the trees in Rangamatiguda,the Adivasi villagers opposed it and even resisted it for 2 hours. However they were scared of Gangadhar Burda ,a Congress ex-Chairman. The Adivasi leaders approached the Sangh and led by it organised a 500 strong rally, with traditional weapons in Rangamatuda.However the collector took no action. The contractor also retaliated removing his labour from the region's he people protested against this and unitedly with the Tulenguda Peasants led a movement.
. Significant advances were made in the creation of a reliable Sangh cadre; the people's active role in taking decisions, at times taking initiative on their own ;and to the preparedness of implementing their collective will. In Padmagiri itself 6to 8 cadre emerged. In Tulgendu-Kanjoli pocket the Adivasis of all villages unitedly opposed felling of trees. In the second week of December they decided to man 2 or 3 people's check posts at different entry points in Tulenguda and Padmagiri to prevent the lifting of freshly felled trees by the contractor's forces.
In Rangamatida-Podarapalli pocket, the development of people's initiative was even more enthusiastic. In a joint meeting they decided that The remaining forest would be left for the common use for all Adivasis of the Adjacent villages; at any cost the already felled trees will not be given to the contractor at any price; the villagers will raise funds to compensate the concerned tenants for those already felled trees.
The villagers were so implemented that this procedure was implemented that they reacted angrily when they felt there demands were being side-tracked, when the collector was discussing with the team and the contractor about the rate of payment to be made by the contractor, at the time of the spot-verification, the next day. The Adivasis firmly demanded that all irregularities should be opposed and all Adivasis should be properly given Pattas.
Such struggles were significant as they reflected the building of a struggle to a higher level. The fight for partial issues was lifted to the fight for securing basis rights on land and forest-a step that has a very significant role to carry out an agrarian revolution.
All Round Repression and Attacks ,people fight back.
The contractor and his henchman, particularly Ganghadar Burda of the Congress attacked a fact-finding team of the GananatrikAdhikar Suraksha Samiti,a democratic Rights Organisation working in Orissa.Team members were hounded, being abused and threatened in every village they travelled.The officials and police remained passive spectators. They simply refused to give protection to the team.
However the Masses retaliated, assembling in huge numbers, both men and women carrying traditional weapons. At Rangamtida they beat up Congressman Ganghadar Burda along with his followers.Burda had been a key agent of the Contractor. The womenfolk's gheraoed the collector. In the end it was the Sangh leaders who had to control the fury of the people to save Burda and the collector.
On returning Burda's gang attacked the team at Pandaripani and beat up the Sangh cadre who attempted to rescue them.The police took the revolutionary mass leaders into custody!-booking them under 7th Criminal Amendment Act 3bof the S.C./S.T.Atrocities Act.
On 17th January the people encircled a police camp blowing Singhas(horns) protesting the arresting of 12 peasants in Kanjoli.They got hold of 10to 12 policeman and locked them up in a room of the Panchayat Office. The collector and the S.P arrived with 3 vanfuls of police force, but dare not came near the Singha blowing Koya people. The collector was ultimately forced to plead with them!
On the 18th January, the Adivasis retaliated when the Cotractor's agents threw boiling oil at them in Padmagiri Bazaar.
On the 19th the Contractor approached the Tulenguda peasants, and gave them their respective pass books, saying that he had deposited Rs 2.60 Lakhs in their names in the bank, which was the price of the earlier felled trees as well as the newly felled trees. On January 20th to 21st he brought 7 trucks and loaded them with the timber. However ,the Adivasis protested encircling the trucks with their traditional arms, pooled dry wood around the tyres of Trucks and warned the Contractor that unless the trucks were unloaded and taken away, they would be burnt. The Contractor agreed and fled.
On January 24th to 25th the people made a route march from Tarlakota Sangh office through Birlakhanpur,Pandarapani,Rangamatiguda and finally to Tulenguda in a show of will and determination to combat the enemy.
The Contractor returned with the trucks and with the collector and this time the leaders of the Sangh were arrested. The Collector approached the Sangh office to agree to a settlement but the Sangh activists refused.Scores of Adivasis were visiting the arrested leaders of the Sangh in Malkangiri jail giving them fruits or flowers.
On January 28th and 29th 2,500 people assembled with traditional weapons demanded the release of important Sangh cadre who were captured after the Contractor had earlier launched an attack on them in Tulenguda.A captive cadre broke free after a long duel between the enemy and Adivasi camp and the Contractor attacked the people with his hardcore men.
The people now retaliated with bows and arrows.The enemy forces now fled into jeeps. The people caught 4or 5 of the Contractor's men and marched them deep into the jungle in another Panchayat.The people made the condition that unless the Sangh leaders were release their captives would be held hostage.(Contractor's men)The Collector now tried to fight for the release of the Contractor's men.
After rejecting bail for the arrested leaders twice and subjecting them to humiliating handcuffs and public parade, they were released by the Jeypore District Judge.The Contractor attempted to kidnap them at the jail gate but his attempt was foiled because of the prompt work of democratic forces.
Silmuntaneously,in Tulenguda and Rangamattiguda,the people who were blocking transport of the timber now finally decided to seize the timber and disperse it to different places in the forest.
The Vigilance and fighting preparedness of the Sangh was reminiscent of the Chinese Red Army led by Mao. During the entire period of the enemy's allround attack, while the democratic Revolutionary Mass leaders were imprisoned with the main Sangh functionaries going underground, the awakened people and the Sangh cadre dealt with the enemy on their own initiative,organisational Skills and fighting potential.
The fact that the Adivasis armed themselves with traditional weapons I self –defence and protest ,encircling the police camp ,thwarting the contractors and the henchman from felling trees etc .set a base for major militant armed peasant struggles to occur. It is also the launching pad of creating revolutionary class consciousness of the Adivasis in carrying out an agrarian revolutionary movement, and winning over sections of the peasantry.
On February 2nd 1996,the Sangh leaders were released. The Executive body of the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh took the following decisions.
1. The Sangh members will not surrender themselves to the Police
2. 2.The struggle Areas should be extended through wider mobilization.
3. There will be a social boycott of those who opposed the Struggle and aligned with the enemy.
4. Volunteer Squads will be built for the defence of villages upholding the right to hold arms in self-defence.
5. The message of the Sangh will be spread to the various districts.
Although Struggle wood is the main course, public Interest Litigation would also be resorted to
The Struggle of Adivasis to protect their bamboo Rights.
Bamboo is a means of production for the Adivasis.They use it's shoots as food for at least 4 months of the year. Craftsmen among Adivasis and Dalits make household items as well as various articles from bamboo, and earn their livelihood.Adivasis also use it for a large range of articles needed for cultivation, house building fencing, fishing and hunting They also procure the use of bamboo for purposes like musical instruments Sewa Paper Mill,a unit of Ballarpur Industries of the Thapar Group,had been unscrupulously cutting bamboo Illegally through forming N.G.O's it illegally seized large chunks of land.There is no law allowing non-tribals to buy or lease out non tribal land for commercial purposes.
The company appointed agents in the villages to protect their interests. With each such peasant it has made an agreement, the copy of which is not given to the peasant. He is promised a big amount of money at the end of every agricultural season, and the price of tress at the end of 7 years. All these agreements were found to be false when examined by the Sangh.When 3 villages under Boipaniguda block of Koraput district raised this question and served their charter of demands to the authotities of the mill the latter lodged many false police cases in hand with the police and made false arrests. The Thapar Group's Intention was to loot the bamboo from the forests and carry out commercial plantation. However they opposed running a full scale paper factory. Instead they would make pulp to feed their paper factories elsewhere.
In December 1999 the people of Gonguda, Korkonda,Potrel, Tarlakota Somnathpur,Kambeda, Mariwada Beijing wada, Chitrkonda, Bapdadar, Paparmetla and Ralegada joined the people of the 2 Panchayats in Malkangiri preventing the felling of bamboo.Defence barricades were built by people at certain places like Tekpadar of Badpadar Panchyat and Kunigada of Ralegada Panchayat to prevent the entry and departure of bamboo trucks.6 KM.away there was also a movement to stop timber cutting.Sangh Activists seized timber. However the forest officials came down to argue that timber is required for building of the Rath.
The Sangh members initially saw bamboo cutting as a source of employment for a large number of Adivasis.Struggles related to bamboo focused on better wages for bamboo cutting labour.However after increased awareness of the Adivasis over their collective Rights over Forest Produce, struggles to combat bamboo cutting started. In Tapu Sangh members saw bamboo cutting as a source of employment for a number of Adivasis.Struggles relating to bamboo focused on better wages for bamboo-cutting labour However the Sangh's movement against timber cutting and the adivasi's growing awareness of their collective rights over all forest produce paved the way for major struggles preventing bamboo cutting After the third conference of the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh the struggles were intensified.
A huge consolidation period had been launched by the Sangh in September 1999 during the Elections where 14 teams of the Sangh were engaged in covering organization pockets. In this consolidation period the bamboo issue was discussed .Planning was done by the three Panchayat committees. A struggle committee was formed. In another pocket in Mariwada a struggle was launched over Adivasis right over timber. When it started it was planned to extend the Struggle to another pocket between Malkangiri and the Sangh office known as D Zone, which runs for about 30 Km.
Over 6 Panchayats.During 1997-98 the D zone had taken up the movement successfully under the Sangh's leadership The people in that area reported to the Sangh that the bamboo was flowering.Sewa Paper mill was told to take away these flowering bamboos, which were otherwise useless. However,Sewa cut much of the good bamboo.In 1999,they were stopped from doing this.So,with this previous experience, and extension to the d Zone was a must. After being informed of the Sangh's agitational plan, the Panchayat Committee leaders as well as the people of the area assured the president of the Sangh that they would continue the Struggle and keep on informing the Sangh about their day to day activities.
A barricade was staged to block vehicles of the paper mill. It was reminiscent of a wall constructed by people to combat the enemy's moves. This barricade was guarded day and night by 50 to 1000 people from different villages. The struggle committees decided the method of guarding. At Tentuliguda village he Sangh's views on timber and bamboo were projected.1,000 people attended the meeting. A charter of demands served to the government and to the paper company were read out. Leaflets published for the bamboo and timber movements were also explained. When the struggle against bamboo in Tapu began in 1999 the Sewa paper mill officials came to the Sangh officer regularly hoping for a compromise.
They explained that they took bamboos from Malkangiri on behalf of the forest department and the Orissa Forest development Corporation and gave employment to about 25,000 workers over the course of the year, and increased the workers wages from Rs 45 to 50per day, the rate for carrying bundles of bamboo for 100 metres had been increased from Rs 47 to Rs.57,and the cutting charges from Rs.4.70 to Rs.5.15They went on to explain that they had done nothing against the Adivasis setting,(Whatever claims you have against the Government, fight against them. Because of your Stoppage of work, hundreds of coolies are leaving their villages and going to distant destinations to work as dadan labourers.
So the work must be re-started immediately. The Sangh leaders reiterated these facts stating that they were false. The Sangh claimed that the authorities had not only taken away the flowering bamboo but had cut all the good bamboo was well. Later, the Sewa authorities admitted their errors. By Mid 1999 a major protracted Struggle was waged. The Adivasis controlled the gates and allowed no entry of the authorities. A memorandum was offered to the Government stating.
1 Bamboo should be listed as a minor forest produce by the govt.,the tribal's right over it should be legally recognized.
2.The govt must initiate an inquiry into how much bamboo has been really cut, investigating the true nature of the reckless bamboo cutting.
3.Till the survey was completed bamboo cutting should be banned.
4.The Owners of Sewa Paper Mill should be prosecuted as they failed to abide by the rules.
5.The Sewa Paper mill must carry out bamboo plantation in twice the area as they cut the bushes.
6.All workers of the mill who died in accidents must be compensated. Many accident affected Adivasi Worker were not awarded compensation.
The heroic Adivasis paralysed all bamboo cutting.
In the 13th Parliamentary Elections the Sangh gave a classical l attempt at carrying out the mass line. The Executive committee of the Sangh planned to concentrate it's election propaganda in the selected belts of the mass organization rather than carrying out an extensive campaign throughout the mass organisation's influence and work. The organization was divided into propaganda teams which would be sent through different pockets to organize mass meetings and suitable gatherings. The mass organisation's leaflet was prepared by the main leadership of the Sangh.
However it was first thoroughly discussed in the steering committee and the draft was later improved after taking into consideration suggestions.An extended meeting of mass activists were organized on the election Issue.12 teams were appointed comprising 2 to 7 activist. Most of the teams concentrated in the Central Zone and the H.A.M.C.O.Zone2 Teams campaigned in the ChitraKonda Tapu area while one team went to the Tendki-Challanguda area for campaigning.
The Sangh meetings were well attended, at places in hundreds. The TRIBAL PEOPLE PARTICIPATED IN DISCUSSIONS,RAISED QUESTIONSIN RELATIONSHIP TO THEIR DAY TO DAY ISSUES. The people invited the Sangh to form bodies in their respective areas. The most discussed topic was that of lad and forest. The gains achieved under the leadership of the Sangh were explained in contrast to the promises of the leaders. The tribals expressed their disillusionment with the leaders and on their own thinking promised to not participate in the elections.Sangh leaders displayed creativeness in their organizational skills.
With regards to an issue in Moupadar Panchayat the Sangh team opted for a gathering to resolve the issue. The Sangh leaders argued that the tribal was not a political thief and fined him only Rs 100 and got an apology from him, the people retorted that the police wouldn't let him go without fining a minimum of Rs 5000 Through this Incident the Sangh leaders explained the distinction between contradictions among the people and the contradiction between the enemy and the people.-the exploitation and oppression of the tribals at the hands of the police, authorities and exploiting classes. Highly impressed the tribal people gage at least 17 concrete examples of such police exactions.
At One place an all Woman Sangh team posed as a Congressman who wanted to buy the people's votes. The Tribals, identifying with the Sangh demanded land and ordered them to get out. Only when the team disclosed their identity did the people warmly receive them. Using the occasion ,the Sangh explained the significance of land and the way to acquire It.-as a method of solving various other problems of people. In another village where forest Committees were grabbing people's lands, the Sangh team offered Rs.2,000 Per acre for land and demanded offers for sale of land. One person agreed to sell hislandThe people in the gathering argued with this person, asking how he could think of selling his landing the course of the discussion, the Sangh team revealed their identity and laid bare the govt tricks to create disunity amongst tribal people and garb their lands
In some villages the people combated the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. The leaders were questioned and the tribals stated that they would alternatively vote for their own axes, the handle of the plough, or land Etc.In an isolated mountainous village which the Sangh had never visited before, the people warmly received them and explained how they had heard of the Sangh's struggles. They narrated that they were searching for the Sangh for a considerable period of time. They narrated the futility of elections. Their houses had been totally drenched in the monsoon due to poor roofing. One tribal told the team "Do you no why my loincloth is so dirty? Because I do not have a second one."
The Sangh teams explained the real political alternative ,the need of organization and Struggle and the importance of land and forest Issue The people were involved in lively discussions and related the politics to their day to day issues. The Sangh team was not able to convince the people that they should boycott the polls. However they assertively put their stand that they were for organization and Struggle, and that it was upto the people to decide whether to participate or not to participate in the election. In one area the Sangh emerged as a parallel Institution. A clear polarization took place between the pro Sangh and anti Sangh forces .Like a torrent overflowing a spontaneous poll boycott took place in the tribal villages where the people swept the villages.
Overall the Election campaign was a great success. New Units of the Sangh were created. Existing Units were consolidated and the organizational and political Consciousness of tribal was raised.5 points were worth noting.
1.Discussion meetings were much more effective than rallies. They help more in understanding the people and their problems and in communicating the Sangh politics.
2.Struggles and campaigns of local issues would be of great assistance in consolidating the Sangh.
3.Need of regular Interaction of Sangh Units
4.The Tribal people everywhere displayed their strong urge for organization and Struggle. The Enemies offensive has stepped up. An Effective mechanism for struggle and self –defence is the immediate need.
5.The Activists need to develop a propaganda method redressing the people's grievances. In the course of political campaigns, they would only listen to the campaigners when their grievances were adhered to. Stereotyped methods of propaganda need to be replaced by a more creative variety compatible with the understanding of the Adivasis which would spiritually elevate them.
Another Remarkable aspect of the Sangh's functioning was it's methods employed for selecting areas of consolidation. Certain Small Pockets were chosen and cadre were deployed in those places. The leadership ensured that the selected areas were accessible transportwise.I n this way the cadres could conveniently relate their experiences and communicate to each other. In this way 3 small pockets within a stone throw of each other were selected.
The Forest Corporation, Forest Department and timber Mafia were cutting reserve forest trees. Their excuse was that it's purpose was to provide housing material for the Cyclone affected. The people protested only when the mafia began cutting in large quantities, with mechanized Saws. Instead of cutting 19 trees which the forest department had given permission ,the Corporation cut off 600 trees. The Sangh exposed this to the people.
All the Adivasis were mobilized and the Sangh opened up a camp at the site of the cutting. Day and Night guarding was deployed. This movement enabled the guilty forest officials, guilty conservators, and Corporation officials to be prosecuted hey were suspended or transferred. I n the Panchayat where the people had lost land to the Balimela dam the Forest department began grabbing land for plantation. The Sangh uprooted the plantation.
The Sangh felt it was the need of the hour to consolidate. The Sangh's view was that local activist's local activists should be given the role of running the Sangh and conducting protests. That are had witnessed bamboo and timber Struggles in recent times. The favourable factors were
1.The Militancy of the Dodois ,the militant tribe there
2.The Sangh's old ties with the people of the region, thus the trust people had in them.
3.The asset of the Workers of the nearby Chitrkonda area, under a democratic workers organization, could be a reliable ally.
4.Political Consciousness in that Region.
5.it's being a key area in any future Struggle on the bamboo question.
The Sangh now developed a new style of work. Now 2to 2 full time cadre were attached to each selected Panchayat.They were to me mainly responsible for the Panchayat and would remain there, living with the people depending on them for upkeep. Co-ordination between different teams was organized. Classes of advanced Elements, some public programmes, youth meetings were held. The People were explained the de-centralization motives of such programmes. In this way the old local leadership of the Sangh was replaced. It Bamboo is a means of production for the Adivasis.They use it's shoots as food for at least 4 months of the year. Craftsmen among Adivasis and Dalits make household items as well as various articles from bamboo, and earn their livelihood.Adivasis also use it for a large range of articles needed for cultivation, house building, fencing, fishing and hunting They also procure the use of bamboo for purposes like musical instruments,medicines,pooja and Parab.
Struggle against H.A M.C.O(10 th Anniversary year)
In 1997 the Sangh launched a glorious struggle against the H.A.M.C.O.Project. When H.A.M.C.O.-R.E.M.E would come to know of tin ore and tin concentrate deposits in some private plot of land during their survey, they would go to the landowner and threaten him since there was ore beneath this land,for which tin ore they hold the licence. Official colluded. The revenue Inspector would accompany the R.E.M.E Official to impress the landowner that it is a government concern and it is a government order.The landowner was further threatened by stating that his patta would be seized if he failed to collaborate.
The landowner would sign an agreement in English and the thimb impression of the Adivasi would be taken.In the thickness of the forest and the darkness of the night these impressions would be taken.The Adivasi would go back home with the cash and the same night some policeman would come to him,enter his house forcibly and demand the cash. The Adivas would be threatened with the condition,that unless he handed them the amount, he would be interned for Smuggling Ores. From his own land! Then they would walj out with the loot .
Any protesting tribal would be arrested by the police..Peasants got nothing for Dakhali jungle category land. Mining operations, along with illegal and backdoor land acquisition for the purpose was going on in 7 Panchayats.An Investigation and rally was organized.H.A.M.C.O.Company with theR.E.M.E,WITH THE HELP OF THE Revenue Inspector of Salmi spread the rumour that they had acquired tribal land from the ORISSA Govt. and that the occupants must therefore vacate the land.For a few cases of dakhali anabadi land,they gave Rs .500 Each However many peasants were denied anything.
The Sangh made heroic attempts to combat the mining operations of H.A.M.C.O. On 17th April 1997 at the Mundaguda rally the Sangh announced it's agitational programme to prevent the mining and transport operation in toto.It also declared that peasants should occupy all lost land and cultivate it in the next agricultural season.A high judicial inquiry was also raised.
On one landowner Aita Kunjami's land on April 18th the Adivasis of the area stopped the mining operations.On April19th however the R.E.M.E reverted to work with the help of security forces. The Adivasis retaliated on 20th April.20,000 Adivasis thronged with their bows, arrows and Tangias.The manger of the R.E.M.E.fired on the people and his security forces followed. Heroically the people defended themselves with traditional weapons. The staff and security men fled to their camps.
The Sangh organized a protest meeting and arran ged for 24 hours surveiilance at the mining spot.A delegation was sent to strengthen and guard the area.Between 25th and 27th April 3 gates were made between 3 different points Kamarpalli,Maupadar and Durmaguda.In all these 3 villages committees were formed to guard the gates for 24 hours a day to block all vehicles on routes.On 29th April,a delegation of the Sangh under the leadership of it's advisor,Jidishtir Goud,met the district collector and demanded an immediate inquiry into the firing incident.A demand was made stopping the transportation of Ores.However,counter to their promise on May Dayat Korkunda the Mathili police along with the R.E.M.E official s blocked the gates and participated in a garand feas in Mundaguda Camp.The Same night, when on returning from the rally by truckthe activits reconstructed new gates and guarded them.
The next day the police retaliated by breaking the gates,dragging the guards of the Sangh,beating them up and taking theminto Police Custody.When the Issue was taken up by the S.P Malkangiri,his explanation was that it was as much a violation of law to build gates on any road as it is to transport ores.His condition was that if the people want to stop transportation of ores they should lie down before t6he vehicles and inform the police .On 4th May the Sangh gheraoed the Maupadar police outpost till the evening.Only when the police promised to vacate the outpost and begged pardon, and when information from the Sangh also reached there about the release of arrested activists,t he Adivasis released the policeman.The people locked up the police outpost. When the information of the Gherao reached Salmi outpost all the policeman fled after locking the place.
After the closure of 2 local police outposts,the local smugglers became very active One Smuggler who was working as an agent of R.E.M.E. AS WELL AS FOR Madhya Pradesh based tin smugglers was brutally punished by the people.In the 2nd week of May, when the S.P. and Collector of Malkangiri came to the village women activists blocked their vehicles at the Kamarplai gate.In June the H.A.M.C.O ATTEMPTED TO START PLANT CONSTRUCTION WORK.This was vociferously resisted by the people who obstructed all site work.The Sangh discovered at this point that out of fright local smugglers posed themselves as well wishers of the movement, and on the other hand tried to convince the local people that since the ores are found in their land and since both earlier the Orissa mining Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Mining Corporation were purchasing the ore from them legally, there is nothing illegal to mine the ore and sell it to the smugglers.
They won over a section of people through this .Smelting Activities increased in the local backyard Chullhs,and so did the smuggling activities.On July 18th the Sangh broke 7 Chullahs at Gudguda,Mundbahal,Bedurpali,Siarkal and Talguda.People asked question son the legitimacy of the action against the Chullahs as well as the sale of ores by smugglers which provided economic help to the poor.The Police exploited this occasion by persuading the Adivasis on the benefits of the Chullahs and selling of the ores.They opened 2 outposts.2 Platoons of the Orisa Special Armed police were deployed.T he Sangh now prepared a charter of demands which was served to the director of the R.E.M .E on August 15th.
A central mobile camp was organized to co-ordinate movement activities and to consolidate the organization by combating the false propoganda of the Enemy camp.The Sangh explained that what was happening in the Sabari valley was essentially an applicvation of the Government's New Economic Policy and the liberalization policies.The Exploitation and large-scale smuggling of tin ores and the silmuntaneous repression of Adivasis utilizes the fact that the majority of Adivasis have been denied legal documents. About their titles to the land.The ways the land was snatched by them from thr money lenders ,Industrialists, bureaucrats Etc.was narrated.
The Adivasis attempts at thwarting the H.A.M.C.O.Corporate body was like an elephant combating a lion.It demonstrated that how a big corporate giant blessed by Imperialist forces can be thwarted by the might of the people.
Method of Educating the Adivasis.
The Sangh adopted most innovative methods of Imparting Marxism Leninist education amongst the triblal.It must be remembered that Comrade Mao always emphasized the need of revolutionaries to explain revolutionary politics through the people's idioms in most accessible terms. Comrade Mao stressed on the need to write simply and overcome a stereotyped party style of writing. One of the major factors in the Chinese Communist Party's revolutionary success was it's ability to reach the people through their idioms and lively style of writing.
The Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh used storytelling,songs and dances ,hunting and dramas for education. Once theAdivasis get the conception,one has to reduce the conception to rote,for easy recall.The aim was to build a long,steady,repetitiveand interesting learning scheme.The organizer has also to emphasise on taking notes .Even rote,after being properly formulated ,must be abbreviated to failitate easier memorizing.T he organizers must silmuntaneously involve them in struggles and connect their instinct to fight to this.
After every struggle the organizer must review the experiences bit by bit,so that the activists can analyse their mistakes,weaknesses or defects in orientation for themselves compared to the correct orientation,and thus feel the necessity to rectify their errors .Illiteracy is the major obstacle to educating the Adivasis.The Adivasis know letters but are unable to use written language.Tribal culture s mainly oral,so participants are often reluctant to take notes.
The Organiser has to train in taking notes after explaining them the positive qualities of the written method as an instrument of knowledge and action.The participants have to be convinced that oral methods,however good is insufficient because they have to withstand and combat the ruling classes who are most adequately equipped with the resources of the best knowledge stored in computers and the cleverest intellectuals who are their paid servants. However the organizer has to innovate different techniques and methods by which the learning becomes more related to the day to day lives of the tribals.
This learning should relate to their struggles and must incorporate a picturesque,lively style giving buoyancy to the Adivasis in Struggle.The Organiser must always refrain from criticizing the people from labouring classes.Instead the hypocrisy and the vanity of the oppressor classes should be condemned.The Sangh has deployed the use of folk tales of Indian Culture depicting class significance. Fraudulent land transfers,cases of exploitation and their modus operandi and the role of moneylenders ,bureaucrats,c ontractors and politicians were explained through this way. With regards to cadres neglecting taking notes the following story was told.
There were 2 brothers in a village. One was cultivating land,the other was as School teacher.The wives of the 2 brothers did not get along.The younger brothers wife did not perform housework on the pretext that her husband earned ready cash.T he Elder brother's wife was annoyed by this and demande that her husband take up a job.The elder brother left the house to got o a faraway village where he organized a Catshali.S ince he was semi-illiterate he took the assistance of an older boy asking him to take the classes. When an officer came to inspect the school the elder brother left the school premises giving a reason of suffering from diarrhoea.
Somehow the younger brother got his address and came down to see his brother. The elder brother repeated the trick by going to the jungle with a container full of water. However later he found his brother and embraced him .The younger one aslked, "Despite being illiterate, how are you managing the school?". The older brother explained his standard tricks. The younger brother asked him how long he continued like this. The older brother said, "As long as I can push."
The organiser explained, "Whatever tricks one may follow, can one rise by this to a higher level? Can one by such tricks be able to deal with and develop militants? So should not one try to sincerely practice and know the use of written language? The effect of the narration was spontaneous.10 to 12 Comrades now sat together reading political literature and taking notes!
Another Story was narrated to explain the political resolution among selected comrades. This story was from the Panchantatnatra ,a compilation of folk tales.Birds ,while flying over a hunter's net saw the rice strewn beneath. One old bird argued with the younger one that since this was uncommon in a jungle,,they must avoid pecking at the rice .The young and smart birds argued that the older bird could have been correct but since they were hungry and a hungry stomach defied logic they would go down and eat the rice first.
They explained that they would face the danger collectively. All the birds went down to catch the rice and got trapped in the net. he old bird advised the younger trapped one's to assemble all their strength and fly towards the sky.T hey flew headlong to the sky along with the net. The hunter came out of the bush and flung his stick at them; but it failed to reach them. The old bird then instructed the younger birds to go to a mouse, who was his old friend .All the birds assembled there. The old bird requested his friend to cut the net with his teeth. He obliged the old bird, and all the old birds were released.
United States of America and all of imperialism are hunters. Their aid and loans are but strewn rice.The conditionalities of the loans are the net. Our party is the old bird.The smart birds are eager in pecking the rice.The more they peck it,the more they are trapped by the net. The mouse represents. the proletariat.The younger birds listening to the older bird to fly towards the sky and with the help of the mouse cut the net, represents the peasants with the help of the proletariat bringing about the people's democratic revolution. Another story was narrated to explain the differnce between form and content.
A king was very fond of his pundits and organized discourses in his court. His minister thought of a trick to discourage the king from the practice of emptying the treasury for this purpose, and proposed to allow him to test them. The king agreed. he minister arranged their accommodation in a King's inn,and gave them some money to purchase materials to cook for their meals. The grammarian went to the milkman. When the milkman was milking the cow,he uttered some words which, according to the pundit, were grammatically wrong. He objected to this. Hearing this interference the cow kicked the milk bucket.
The milkman enraged, slapped the grammarian, who therefore came back empty handed. The musician was boiling the rice .When the rice started bubbling,he started to beat the vessel to the tune of bubbling. But when it doubled his singing got disturbed. In rage the musician broke his earthen pot in which the rice was being cooked. The Ayurved specialist went to purchase vegetables,and found fault with each vegetable EG.would create gas,affect skin Etc.He came back empty handed.
The astrologer went to get fuel wood, and climbed a tree The Lizard then shrieked. Taking it as an ill omen, he climbed down Another lizard shrieked below. The astrologer remained in the same position throughout the night till the king's men came in the morning and rescued him.T he 5th pundit ,a logician went to procure ghee. Coming back he asked himself, "Is the container the form and ghee the content or vice versa?"To test this he turned the container down ward,a nd 6the ghee spilled out. The logician danced at the result.(Ghee is the Content and container is the form)Thus all of them remained hungry, and he king realized how worthless are the pundits!
Such stories explain the difference between form and content. The last story was used to explain a resolution from the basic documents of the Revolutionary Group.
Another significant story this time with regard to attending classes was told. Adivasi Comrades repeatedly nodded their heads without having understood what was explained in the meetings.
A Pundit was explaining the Bhagbatas to some villagers.The night was advancing and all the devotees left the place,bar an old womanThe woman was observing the scanty beard of the old pundit and tears were falling from her eyes.She explained she was weeping for her goat whose beard resembled the Pundit's one.
The Organiser explained that the intent looks being misleading,like that of the old woman showed the importance of getting the points explained.3 months later in the same class an organiser asked the participants if they followed.A woman comrade replied "I am really looking at your chin."Thus the organizer re-explained the same point.Such narrations stress the importance of organizers trying to understand facial expressions or physical participation of the participants to understand the extent t owhich they have understood them.
In the formative days of wok classes used to take palce on the
2.Sangh's charter of demands
3.history of Adivasi Struggles
5.Weaknesses of the peasantry.
Thus through effective cultural modes term slike democratic Centralism,communism,cadres,the Revolutionary group's name,names of different Marxist heroes,names of Isms,historic events like Paris Commune or October Revolution,names of Countries Etc.
Nowrangpur Zilla Dalit Adivasi SAngh
In January 1995 the Nowrangpur Zilla Dalit Adivasi SAngh and Muliah Sangh was organized as a sister organisatin of the Sangh.The main cadres of this organization were drawn from the Gana Sangharsh Samiti against the Indravati dam project. Within the first year of formation the Sangh took up the issue of land and jungle, mainly of Tentuli Khunti block and spread to Dabugan and Jharigan block.The Sangh succesfuly fought against the capturing of 500 acres of land seized from the Adivasis from the soil conservation department.
The Sangh occvupied he land through mass ploughing.The next year the Sangh re-captured 2000 acres of land from the forest and soil conservation departments. They also fought the money-lenders. The same organization played a role in the struggle of the Malkangiri Adivasis against the timber mafia.
In Chuinmatiguda in June 1996,4 peasants 's land was snatched by a landlord in Dabrimunda illage.50 acres of land was stolen.The Sangh investigated that the culprit,a landlord called Bhagahban Gouida had 200 acres of land I 4 villages.
The Sangh organized an occupation of 8 acres of land originally belonging to the peasant Banabasi Saanha.(in the property records)On November 12 th 1996.The landlord Bhaghaban Gouda's sons came to re-plough the land,destroying the sprouts.The rightful peasant and his father Kusuma launched a complaint about this at Jahrigan police station.On November 12 th 1996 ,when the paddy crop was not yet ripe ,the landlord and his son started cutting the green crop.
When the peasant and his brothers tried to stop them,t hey attacked the peasants family with arrange o weapons like sickle,axe.The peasants Saanta,Bananbasi ad Pitabasa were injure and wee rushed to hospital.In response 50 people were mobilized by he Sangh. They cut and harvested he crop. A part of the harvested crp was awarded to the family, while the rest was distributed amongst the people..The police intervened,seizing 2 bags of paddy
The same was repeated in 1997.This time the Sangh mobilized 2000 peole to harvest the crop.This time the landlord Bhgaban Gouda and his family members along with some goondas attacked the peasants with guns anmd tangias.The Sangh made a large mobilization organized with lathis,tangias,batali and stiones. They gave a befitting reply to the enemy camp. The Sangh activist grabbed the harvest and distributed it amongst the people.
3 days after the incident the police from Jharpada police station came in full strength and launched af ull-scale attack in Chuilnmatagada and Satighat Guda.25 peole were arrested,women molested,.In police custody the arrested were treated like animals,being kept I custody for 60 hours.
11 days later a protest as organized against police excesses and illegal detentions.They asked "Why did you destroy and loot our property", "Why did you molest our women?" "Why did you detain our people for more than 60 hours?" "Why did you not give food o th earrested people?"The O.I.C.panicked witnessing the fury of he people.After 2 hours of the siege the police tried to arrest the vice-president Ananda Garada.The peole [protested like a raging torrent.The administration resorted to lathi-charge and arrested 15 activists.The administration tried every way possible to suppress the organization.
Bail was not granted to arrested activists for 45 days.
Heroically the Sangh produced a joint leaflet with the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh. Their policies towards chidni and other forms of usury were declared .A struggle was also waged in Dandasara Vilage of Hirapur Gram Panchayat.Contractors were gheraoed for not paying minimum wages.Cycle marches were undertaken fro village to village boosting the morale of the people .
The Nowranpur SAngh prepared to fight for the following demands.
a.All the excess land of Bhabagan Gouda should be seized and distributed amongst the landless peasants
b.Action should be taken against police excesses.
c.False cases foisted o Sangh activists should be withdrawn.
d.All cycles seized at the Jharigan rally should be returned.
e.The poor peasants of Chuinmatiguda,Satighat Guda and Chacha must be returned their lands.
f.rights of dalits and tribalsshould be recognized.
g.All land illegally transferred to non-tribals should be returned to the original tenants.
In August 2002,the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh came across the land issue of Batri Antal, in Sindhrimal Panchayat.Batri Antal is a village with six to seven hundred people comprising 69 tribalhouseholds.Near Batri Antal is Padmapur village ,an old belt of the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh.The forest department tried to capture the land there .In the first atck the forester tried to occupy 100 acres.Under the banner of the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh the villagers thwarted the forester's attempt.Before the attack on Padmapur,the forest authorities had occupied acres of Batri Antal Land, and planted teak,which was unrelated to the needs of the Adivasis.After the Batri Antal villagers came to the Sangh,the Sangh leaders felt it was necessary to investigate, and they visited Batri Antal.
A meeting was fixed for the occupation of the land. however before the meeting was to be held the authorities brought 4 truckloads of police and encircled the site On the day, when the action was planned .a person of the area died,and many people who had gone for the action would have come rom the funeral instead.
However those a ssembled decided to confront the police ,maintaining the morale of the gathering. The Sangh set up a camp at Batri Antal. They organized villagers from surrounding villages like Padmapur and Bigaghati.By October 11th ,the Sangh had conducted 3 big meetings of 1000-1500 people.
In the action programme 500 adivasis gathered ,of which more than half comprised of women .After the people occupied the land ,the police tried to arrest the local leadersIn Bijaghati on October 24th ,the wife of a leading activist protested by saying "How dare you arrest him?"The police had to return empty handed.
Beween September 15t andOctober 11th about a truckload of police had be stationed to protect a nursery about 3 km away. In Bijaghati,a village of 20 families, where people live of forest produce,and have no land of their own. People sell charcoal for livelihood. Although this is destructive of the forest ,the Sangh did not immediately ask them to stop producing charcoal. The Sangh had a famous slogan "The forest is ours, this land is ours ,govt get out!"
After the peole carried out the occupation of the land, the police continuously tried to arrest the local leaders of the movement. The Sangh resisted this .In Bijhaghati,the wife of a leading activits played a major role stating "How dare you arrest him?"The plice had to return empty-handed.
The forester now tried a new tactic by writing a letter to the general secretary stating that there was no controversy between the Batri Antal villagers and the V.S S,and that the forest authorities wanted a solutionto this.On behalf of the Sangh the general secretary replied, "We do not recognize the V.S S. .It is not a peole's Committee.
The Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh now drafted a leaflet, explaining the importance of the issue. The leaflet gave the full details of the case,and exposed the V.S S was the mechanism to grab the Adivas's land. The Sangh now planned a leaflet for July 9th and drafted a leaflet. The leaflet was titled "For real protection of the forest and in protest against evicytion of tribals from the forest ,attend the January9th rally in Malkangiri in reponse to the call."
"The Forest Minister on December 5th informed the Orissa Assembly that the govt.was planiing to carry out a plantatin on 5000 km. Of land in the state,and would be receiving 4000 crore in foreign aid from Japan for the purposeThe govt.claims that out of 58 lakh hectares of forests land ,only 47,500 hectares were under Adivasi possession. The govt itself has diverted 2.37 lakh hectares of forest land to non-forset uses..
In the past the govt had accepted the dividing line of October 25th 1980 for determining who are in legitimate possession of lands.
The govt.declaration means that about 5000 villages in which 100 lakh Adivasis reside,would have to be evicted. On the other hand ,after 1980 the govt has handed over 25,343 hectares of forest land to business houses for non –forest purposes,in villation of the Forest Act.MangalamTimbers,N.A L.C.O,Hindustan Aeronautics Etc.
The secret behind this new attempt to evict the Adivasis from the forest is the vulture eyes of the foreign exploiters and their agents to loot precious minerals and timber,to seize land for planting of acacias,teak and eucalyptus-trees of commercial value but no relevance to the Adivasis.
Adivasis must defend every village, every forest.Resistance has a lready started in Batri Antal.
We wont obey any black laws of the govt. Our last drop of blood will be shed for this!"
Before the rally a strong consolidation campaign was launched.In October 2002,a preparatory class was held in one area for the preaparation of a self –defence team50 militants were trained .They were to enumerate ithe number of persons in the villages before the poverty line,the conditio of the land in the village,the wages of workers working for contractors, and cheating regarding wages.
There was a prominent example of the initiative of the self-defence team.A non-tribal trader had occupied the house of a tribal and was refusing to vacate it.The tribal approached the Sangh with his issue.The Sangh formed a unit in the village, enrolled membership. It surrounded the village and then dispossessed the non-tribal.The trader went to the police station .The Sangh women comrades vacated the house ,making a seizure list of contents and making an interim arrangement for the womenfolk.
Further consolidation eeforts ttok place in the H.A .M.C.O ara whereRs 500 was sent towards the printing of a leaflet.The Batri Antal prole bore the cost of their own leafletsFor this movement they collected Rs 1100.
On Dec 5th the Sangh Organisers decided to have a volunteer campin Batri Antal area anda second one on Tandki-Chalenaguda. Aleaflet was prepared for this. And a campaign was statrted.The maximum mobilization was to be from Barti Antal.From other areas the target was 1000 at the most.In Tandki-Chalunagada panchayat ,a camp was set up at Sukhraguda,6km from Malkangiri.4 taems were formed for the mobilisatin in Batri Antal araeA cycle rally was staged of 15-20 Barti Antal Youth.They went touring the villages for 8 days.A women's taem toured the nearby villages.The H.A M.C.O are activists would camp at Batri Antal,as would the Birlakhanpur people.The majority would come in processions.
Opposing forces attempted to make the programme fail.The C.P.I organized taem sof cyclists in the H.A.M.C.O.area who were collecting money from the peole in the name of the Sangh rally.They were caught by the Sanghand confronted.In the Cental Zone ,Ganghadar Buruda a Malkangiri Panchyat chairman,who was one of he targets of the timber struggle of 1995-96 ,went from village to village campaigning for rival programme on the same date as the rally,where he promised meals to attract the people.However his programme failed.In The Tapu area police went around warning the villagers that thee was sure to be a foring at the rally site.Rival political forces in the region too campaigned against attending the rally.
The March went of as scheduledThe total mobilization came to 6500-the biggest ever rally in Malkangiri's history.Paricipants arrived in columns and each column knew where to go ,where to camp.The mobilization was as follows:from Batri Antal area and Hamco are.3000.Tandki-Chalanaguda:one big column of 2000 and two small columns totaling 500 Tapu are 100 Gumma 100 Maribeda 30 Tarlakota 300 Nakamamadi:30
The Tapu area people walked 85 km to reach the site..One woman was sweating balck sweat when she came.
The whole procession was armed The proccessionsists all carried about 1500 bows ,2000 tangias,1000 lathis, and 1000 other assorted weapons.
The proficient work of the Volunteer teams prevented the police from carrying out any arrests. New activists had been trained to conduct the rally.The self-organisation of the Adivasis was remarkable.
Four Adivasi Women spoke at the rally.A widow made a striking speech. "WE have occupied the land and we will continue to do so. People of Sorismal!You cannot live on wood, but on rice and Mandya. Why do you fear If we have any love for our children in our hearts ,then we have to do as we are doing."
Another tribal women said "The govt thinks it can frighten us as it frightened and drove out the people for the Macchkund project It will not succeeed. Only,if you people, though you are few,sacrifice for the cause of the people and give your bones for making weapons, can the sun of fortune rise."
The next day all the organizers met at the Sangh office to revive programme.5-7 persons from each zone took part in the meeting.Thee was a shortage of trained slogan shouters.
What was brought to light here was the fighting initiative inculcated in the Adivasis who took up an armed procession with traditional weapons, including women.The consciousness of the Adivasis had improved greatly.
Tribal peasants major victory over a powerful pipeline Company.
The Corrupt Bhartiya Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party govt of Orissa enters into shadowy deals with big comprador companiesand is ona spree of signing memoranda of Understanding with various Industrial houses.It has recently abridged its industrial Policy resolution to suit the big capitalists.It has committed 150 million tones of bauxite resources to Vedanta Alumina of the Sterlite Group.for establishing an alumina palnt in Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.It alos entered into an accord with the Utkal Alumina of the Birla Group for launching an alumina plant at Kashipur in Rayagada district,in collaboration with Alca of Canada.
In all such deals,huge grafts are taken by rulers and in turn undue favouritism and concessions are showered on industrialists to the detriment of people's interests.
After a 5 month struggle The Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh won an important victory against a powerful pipeline company ofa big corporate house.Essar Sttels Ltd,has been laying an underground steel pipeline to pump its iron ore in slurry form from its captive iron ore mines in Bailadilla in Chhattisgarh state to it's iron plant at Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.So far,the iron ore transportation was being made through railway rakes.But in view of the heavy demand for Iron ore in the world market particularly innthe Bailadilla ore the company is expanding the capacity of its palnt to three million metric tones per anum.This expansionis being undertaken in technical collaboration with Lurgi Gmbh of Germany.
The steel ministry of the Cental Govt.on Septemvber 30th ,1997,issued a public notification for acquiring lands to stay above the pipeline,in the name of interest.As per the rules ,it is the statutory obligation of the govt.to ensure a detailed coimmunication of such notification ina suitable manner to the concerned peole whose lands are meant to be taken.The people however remained in total darknessabout the project.On February 22nd 2000 ,the govt,through a gazette notification transferred the right of use of he notified lands to Essar Steels Ltd.Whenever the represnatatives tried to enquire from the district authorities,thet flatly denied having any knowledge of it.
The actual pipe line laying work came to the notice of the Sangh fot the first time during it'szonal committee meeting held on May23rd 2004,at Chitrakonda.A fact-finding team was sent to investigate.
The fact-fiding team noted that the Adivasi peasants were being given a paltry compensation amounts of the order of Rs 11,25,42,etc to secure their thumb impressions on certain papers.The pverty-striken Adivasi people ,unused to financial dealings and unable to read ,were accepting without questioning whatever was given to them.It was noted that a large number of peasants were actually being denied any compensation for their lands taken over by the company.The company was paying land compensation at the rate of a mere Rs.1500 per acre.The forest law bans any cutting or felling of trees in the rainy season,but the company was recklessly felling trees and the forest dpt.wasa mere spectator.The pipeline company gave no compensation for a variety of felled trees.
The Sangh now planned to undertake a sustained campaign but organizing the affected peasants against the injustice on the Adivasi people. It was decided to organize peasant resistance against the company. There were 3 major risks in undertaking this task. The first was that the tribal peasants ,who lacked experience in matters of deception and loot, were mostly unable to interpret the fraud being played by them on the company.
They were happily accepting what was given to them.Secondly,only a small section of peasants were directly affected by the pipeline work.Thirdly,under the pretext of surpressing the Naxalites the police spread a reign of terror, and thus people were scared to participate in agitational activity. Fourthly,because of the money ,muscle power and political influence of the company, and it's corrupt coercive and terrorizing tactics, the tas kof resistance was made more arduous. Finally,t he shortage of adequate information related with the pipeline work and the company alos made the task more difficult.
In the first phase of the Struggle ground-level mass propaganda and encouraging the masses against the company took place. Written and ora lpropoganda were conducted on the selling of mineral wealth and other public resources to native,f oreign big companies at throway prices Etc.
A delegatio of the Sanghwent on June 7tto meet the district collector. The official behaved like a company executive and spoke in an aggressive tone tha the pipeline would be laid at any cost .The official revealed that six villages under Badapadar panchyat were still resisting the laying of the pipeline and not accepting compensation.The net day promptly the Sangh sent a team to those villages On June 12th a road blockade was unleashed in Lamba Singa village threatening the movement of the company'S WORK-SITES prior to the visit of the A.D.M.
The A.D.M.'S meeting was thwarted by the Sangh activists by organizing a peasant mass meeting and dispersing it before the A.D.M's visit after passing a resolution to continue the struggle against the company till the demands are conceded..The A.D.M sent a land Officer.After the visit of the land officer the tribals began to loe enthusiasm and the company struck back by giving a job to the local tribala ctivist active in the road blockade. However though the blockade was lifted after a week it left a vey encouiraging feeling on the tribalpeasnts and activists in adjoining areas.
On the day of the routine zonal meeting of the Sangh at Chitrakonda on June 23rd, nearly 150 militant tribals assembled.In the meeting,some tribals told the meeting about three heavy machines would be deployed for taking up some major work over the Sileru River.The meeting resolved to Gherao these machines and resist their deployment till the peasant demands are met .After the conclusion of the meeting, nearly the entire gathering,after walking for many hours,reached the company's camp and began a gherao of machines .The speakers warned the company yofficialis not to deploy these machines till a settlement with the struggling peasants is reached. Demanding the removal of machines,the speakers made it amply clear that the Sangh would be responsible if the enraged peole inflicted damage on the machines. Sensing the rage of the tribals t he company officials claimed that they would return 2 machines to Chirakonda base camp. The tribal activists gained a victory and their morale was boosted.
Now daily the tribals plunged into agitational activity. A mass rally against the Company on June 26th at village R.S.C –10 gained a huge response. Almost a thousand
Adivasis from neighbouring villages like Paliguda,Rathaguda,Katanipadar,Kamladapar,Purunapani Etc marched into the rally.Militant speeches were made.
The increasing revolt of the tribals against the company and repeated work-closures made the company bow down and make some degree of compromise.he company henchman forced a Sangh functionary to negotiate.The functionary stood his ground and refused to negotiate.Later,he was dropped at the Sangh office by th company people.The next day, an angryverbal duel took place with the company Dalaala who came to prevail upon the Sangh to lift the work blockade imposed on the company.Only when the senior officials of the company visited the office,was the Sangh neutralized and calmed down.
However the company tried it' s best to continuethe work of the pipelineIt tried to buy over the local Adivasi leaders leading the peasnt resistance and attempted to terrorise the masses by recruiting local goondas and deploying them for spreading terror.
As the company was acquiring peasant lands permanently but for transient use,the Sangh decided in favour of negotiating and invited the company and district administration for negotiation on Augsut 20th.
In the 2nd phase of the struggle there was a sharpened bout of militancy. From mid-june to mid-August,a sort of hide and seek continued between the company and the struggling peasants. Sometimes the struggling peasnt surged ahead and carried out total work stoppage on the company.At other times ,when the struggle activity receded a bit,the agitators relaxed the company would promptly resume work.
The district administration was not reconciled to the idea of negotiating wit the Sangh It prevailed upon the company to double the land compensation, and fixed August 20th and 21st as dates for compensation distribution ,to foil the Sangh effort.In view of this arrogant behaviour the Sangh gave a call for Boycott of the administration sponsored compensation –distribution function. The Sangh opened a day and night camp in the struggle are in the vicinity of the company's worksite.2 days later,it started a blockade and the movement of company vehicles was stopped. Hundreds of slogan shouting tribals daily marched through different villages from one camp to another Sangh banners and flags were planted at all company vehicles and machines.
The work closures wee costing he company several lakhs a day.The company had rented very costly machinery to engage I some operations across the Sileru river,but ot could not be deployed for over 2 months due to the upsurge of the tribals.The company was thus suffering huge lossesT he company was eager to hike compensation many-fold.In the meanwhile,a contingent of Adivasi fighters armed with traditional weapons caught red-handed a high-ranking company officials ecretly distributing enhanced land compensation .A tangia was thrust on the neck by the angry tribal people.
During the peak of the rainy season in Malkangiri the desperate company executives tried to seize the opportunity to enhance the pipeline work in a stealthy way. However a large group of tribal people, armed with weapons all of a sudden pounced on the company camp on September 7th and caught red-handed nearly 15 people engaged in pipeline work in clar violation of their resolution not to resume work till a negotiated settlement.All,of them, were captured by he Sangh and arrested till the company higher-ups arrived.
The company now tried to build a dispute among the struggling tribal people.Utilising some erstwhile mass activists, bought over to it's sidethe company tried to lure the tribal masses of 4 villages on the river bank,by offering them increased land compensation at a rate of Rs.35,000 per acre.
The Sangh leadership foresaw the move on the part of the company to promote disunity among the struggling sections of the tribal people. If the Sangh disputed the Agreement, it would have hurt the ego of the leaders of those villages and turned them antagonistically towards the Sangh.Had the Sangh upheld the agreement, it would have led the company to resume work to the detriment of the welfare of the struggling people. Either way, there was danger of peoples Unity breaking .To tackle the sensitive situation, the Sangh mobilized the people of the area around these villages and concentrated protest demonstrations against the company in these villages, thus indirectly pressurizing the said villages.
On September 12th, the Sangh leaders held a meeting of nearly 200 activists and militants in the Sangh camp, where the above issue was thoroughly discussed. It was decided to hold a militant mass demonstration from the camp to Oringi Ghat and Tatmanguda.On September 17th, hundreds of armed adivasi peasants, storming with rage in their hearts, and vociferously shouting slogans assembled at Tatmanguda.The local agents of the company were so fear-striken, from the outrage of the masses, fled their homes.
With the peasant resistance intensifying and turning more and more militant, the company official s and workforce operating in the field stated feeling insecure. The closure of work in the past, few months had cost the company heavily. The company now decided to launch a bilateral agreement with the Adivasi Sangh, sidelining the diffident district adminstration.The Company after opting for negotiations wit the Sangh, concentrated all its efforts to quicken the process of negotiation. They rushed to the Sangh office.
With the support of a strong peasant resistance movement, the Sang was in afar better position to negotiate. Even if it was in a position to entangle a rope around the company's neck if it violated the commitments, The Sang marched stealthily. The company was desperate to resume work at Oringi gate where it's machinery was rusting, and was offering one concession after another. The Sangh wasted to exert the maximum pressure over the company before allowing it to resume to work, so that it dare not violate in future the agreement made in the Sangh.Finally, the Sangh invited the company officials to the Oringi ghat work site on October 3rd, where a peasant assembly would give it's verdict on whether or not to allow the company to work.
On October 3rd it was raining heavily, and despite the rains, hundreds of armed adivasi peasants reached the Sangh camp. After a meeting in the camp, the peasant procession proceeded to the Oringi River gate for an on the spot inspection of the pipeline work and the deliberations with company representatives. The peasant gathering, drenched with rain, returned to their camp, after leaving a message for the company representatives. After getting information, the company representatives made a bee-line to the Sangh camp in the downpour, appealing to the peasants to allow them to resume work. As according to the decision, the local leader of resistance permitted them a limited specified work till the final agreement was resolved.
A remarkable aspect of the negotiation process that the company could not accept was the democratic approach of the Sangh.
In the negotiation meetings held between the 2 sides, a large number of pipeline –affected tribal peasants, usually ranging from 50-200 participated in the talks. Whatever the Sangh representative spoke in Hindi (Indian national language), was translated into Oriya (native language of the tribals in Orissa), for the benefit of the tribal peasants. The tribal peasants listened to every word of the discussion and fought if anything was not translated. Their mood and intervention saved the negotiations from collapsing. Before the final agreement was signed, it was read aloud and explained in detail to more than 200 tribal peasants and their consent was taken.
The talks process took place over nearly month, the successful conclusion of a bilateral agreement signaled a major victory for the Sangh and the peasants.
.Land Compensation was awarded, Crop compensation was given compensation of tress was given, Compensation for hoses and assets were given, Compensation in cases of accident was given, Employment and wages was awarded, Community Collective Compensation was awrded, .Etc.
The Significance of the Struggle was the successful assertion of peasant's rights over all lands during this struggle will serve as an important base in all the agrarian revolutionary fights over the land question. The great struggle was not uplifted by any sudden upsurge of the tribals against he pipeline company The Sangh leadership foresaw a diligent effort to build a peasant resistance in a well -organized way, and ultimately changed a setback situation to one of triumph. The might of the all-powerful steel company had to surrender to the strength of the masses like an emperor bowing to his subjects, pleeding for forgiveness. The lesson is that if your cause is genuine and you depend on the invincible capability of the masses and attempt to struggle, even an enemy who seems invincible can be defeated.
The struggle also united the Adivasi peasants with the Bengali toiling masses on a big scale in their joint struggle against a common enemy. Earlier there were attempts to divide the Bengali speaking peasantry from the Adivasi community of Orrisa.The trade and money-lending practices of a section of Bengali migrants and usurpation of Adivasi lands by them created antagonistic relations
Finally, now democratic revolutionary forces under various banners are active along the whole stretch of the pipeline in 3 states-Chattisgarh,Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
This pipeline traverse through these 3 states ,but unfortunately,only the Malkangiri Adivasi Sangh,staged a protracted resistance combating the e loot of the powerful company on the toiling Adivasis.The act of laying a pipeline can hardly go un-noticed by the progessive forces.
The Sangh discovered that for the purpose of a pipeline, land was being acquired from the tribals in complete disregard of laws regarding Adivasi land. Agents of Essar Steel Company acquired tribal's land violating the laws regarding Adivasi land.The tribals were proised a lot of money.125 hecatres spread over 125 villages would be purchased and the company explained the tribals that thee was no scope to stop the acquisition.The Sangh explained the tribals not to part with the land and believe the false promises of the Company.
Thus the Sangh has been an example of an organisation with mass character and practicing democratic functioning. It has fought for immediate ,partial demands as well as political demands.It has instilled in the tribals that through their struggles and through the medium of their mass organizations, they can become the alternative centers of power and authority. The Sangh has also shown the importance of assistance from the class allies ,particularly the working class. The Sangh has shown that people when organized can govern their own affairs and collectively assert their authority. The tribals were thought to place faith only in their own organized strength. An important activity to achieve this end has been the steadfast exposure of although ruling class institutions and propoganda.
The Sangh has also been an effective answer to the Left Sectarian line of Armed Squads of a major revolutionary Group. Who though function with the utmost sincerity and best intentions ,do not take the path of involving the people and forming genuine organizations with a genuine mass character. The revolutionary forces working within the Sangh have done their utmost to maintain the balance between de-centralization of Committee Activities( to promote democracy and give the lower mass sections more opportunity to assert their authority),and maintaining proletarian revolutionary leadership (so that the mass organization is prevented from ultra-democratic.
What is significant is that armed militant struggles of the Adivasis have taken place to defend their rights. They have confronted Imperialist sponsored projects like H.A.M.C.O and a pipeline company ,which is of great significance-in connecting to the anti-imperialist Struggle. Land grab seizures have taken place thus setting up a spark for agrarian revolutionary struggle. Unique forms of struggle have been devised applying the politics of the Chinese Revolution or Mao Tse Tong Thought .A mass armed agrarian peasant revolutionary struggle has yet to be created and the Malkangairi Adivasi Sangh is at a preparatory stage.
It is one of the greatest movements of its kind in revolutionary struggle world over. No tribal movement has been as close to the mass line for half a century or exhibited such democratic functioning.The leadership of the Communist revolutionary organization is exemplary even if it has not given call for armed struggle.Most innovative methods of work were innovated and Mao Tse Tung Thought was brilliantly applied.
Compiled from issues of the revolutionary journal"The Comrade".The author does not support or is not a member of any revolutionary group but greatly reveres the practice of the Sangh.Whether the situation exists (subjective forces) to implement armed struggle or not is debatable but he feels that the practice of the Sangh has greater closeness with the mass line than the work of he C.P I. (Maoist) which performs squad actions.Even the former secretary of the Al India Peoles Resistance Forum (mass organization of the then Peoples War Group,G.N.Saibaba stated to the author, "Their work is simply outstanding".
Quote from a reader of revolutionary literature and sympathizer in 1997.
"The Sangh is inventing new forms of struggle with every passing day.They are utilizing Social boycott as weapon which was previous used by exploiters. Their heroic struggle in Padmagiri-Pandrapeni is a morale –booster to the rest of the country. I believe heart and soul if mass movements flourish all over India,t hen Malkangiri will be the fist to establish Red rule in the country in the years to come.So,all of us should support it and expand mass movements all over he country.
I have never visited Malkangiri and thus my knowledge is based on literature.