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Posted: May 1 2012, 08:44 AM
Member No.: 235
Joined: 1-August 09
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.