Patna: The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) launched a “Jan Abhiyan” on Thursday to counter what it called a false campaign by Hindutva forces to discredit country's glorious freedom movement and independence. It is a part of the CPI(ML)’s initiative to reach out to people across Bihar to inform them the “real history” and to create awareness against attempts to distort the history of independence.
Amid controversy over right-wing Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s remarks allegedly belittling the country's Independence movement, the CPI(ML) began the “Jan Abhiyan” on November 18 to mark the birth anniversary of Batukeshwar Dutt, a companion of Bhagat Singh, a legendary icon of freedom movement. Hundreds of people from all walks of life attended the programme held at Dutt’s house in Jakkanpur, Patna.
CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, after garlanding the statue of Dutt along with the party’s senior leaders, activists and intellectuals, addressed a convention entitled “Azadi ke 75 Saal: Sapne aur Chunautiya” .
Bhattacharya said that the names of Batukeshwar Dutt and Vinayak Savarkar could not be taken together as Savarkar’s history in Andaman jail was of pardon from the British rulers but Dutt was fighting in the jail. “Our fight is against all BJP’s lies and its attempt to distort real history,” he said, adding, “We will not let the history of our Independence, won through blood and sweat, be distorted or appropriated.”
Historian O P Jaiswal in his address said that there was no contribution of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the freedom movement. Their history in the freedom movement is the history of betrayal. ”This is well documented that when the Constitution was being implemented, the Sangh leaders had opposed it. Same people are now trying to distort real history of the freedom movement,” he said.
Speaking at the convention, Hindi poet Arun Kamal said Bhagat Singh and his companions’ struggle and the naval mutiny were valuable aspects of the freedom movement. There was a need at present to save freedom and to remember their values, he stated.
In the convention, a resolution was passed demanding the central government to withdraw the Padma Shri award given to Kangana Ranaut due to her statement against the nation’s independence. Last week, Ranaut had kicked off a row by saying India attained "real freedom" in 2014, apparently referring to the Narendra Modi-led BJP government assuming power, and describing the country's Independence in 1947 as “bheekh” (alms).
“The party has decided to run the campaign (Jan Abhiyan) for two years till 2023. We will take the real history of the freedom movement and independence to the door of the people. We hope to get support and help from people during the campaign,“ CPI (ML) state secretary Kunal said.
Kunal further said the campaign’s main focus was to inform the people about the danger of the way the BJP-led central government had been working with a “wicked mindset” to change history. During the campaign, the CPI(ML) would hold conventions at the district levels, meetings would be organised at block level along with photo exhibition and cultural events.
The CPI(ML), which has 12 sitting MLAs in the state assembly, is part of the opposition Mahagathbandhan, along with the CPI(M) and the CPI, led by the RJD.