THE day began with a Sankalp March - pledge-taking March - from the CPIML party office in Ara, close to the railway station. The March had the party General Secretary and other leaders at its head, and was full of placards with photographs of the Bhojpur revolutionaries, with the slogan 'Defeat Fascism, Unite For A People's India'. The March swelled as it winded its way through the lanes and streets of Ara, joined by people all along the way. Shops and houses lining the road were full of shopkeepers and people waving smiling and calling out greetings to the marchers. The immense affection and sense of belonging that the local people felt for the revolutionary movement of Bhojpur was palpable. Undergraduate students of Veer Kunwar Singh University, Ara formed an enthusiastic contingent of young women and men. Along with several elderly men and women, and a team of very young teenagers beating traditional drums and other instruments at the head the March, the University students showed that the revolutionary movement in Bhojpur continues to attract people of all generations including the very youngest.

Inauguration of the Park

Once the March reached the small park near the Ara Bus Stand, one could see an area of the park separated by a curtain. The rain that had been pelting down the previous day has let up, letting in warm sunshine.

Veteran Politburo member of the party Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, who himself has an extremely crucial and integral relationship with the Bhojpur movement that continues to this day, unfurled the red flag at a martyrs memorial flagstaff in the Kranti Park. Party GS Comrade Dipankar then pulled back the curtain and unveiled and garlanded the five busts. Politburo and Central Committee members of the party then offered floral tributes to the revolutionaries and the martyrs. Vinod Mishra's words from his Introduction to the Flaming Fields of Bihar was in the minds of many, as they thought of the Party's journey in Bhojpur:

'All the precious blood of our heroic martyrs spilled over fields & factories, hamlets & lanes, torture chambers & prison cells all over the country rose high in the sky & there appeared a red glow over Bhojpur.'

Comrade Jagdish Master's sons Ashok and Anil, daughters Usha, Asha and Leela and other members of his family, as well as Comrade Rameshwar Yadav's son Bihari Yadav and Comrade Ram Naresh Ram's daughter Suryavanti and granddaughter also offered floral tributes.

This was followed by a Sankalp Sabha - a pledge-taking Public Meeting which began with veteran CPIML leader Comrade Nand Kishor Prasad greeting and welcoming the party Central Committee members who would go on to attend a three-day CC meeting in Ara, as well as other party members, guests and local people. This was followed by a song by Hirawal in memory of the martyrs.

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Comrade Dipankar then addressed the gathering. He reminded those present that the most challenging task of the present times is to oust the fascists and their allies who rule the Central Government in Delhi and the state Government in Bihar. He compared these fascist-ruled regimes to disasters, remembering how Ambedkar said a Hindu Raj would be a disaster for India. Like every disaster, the Mo-disaster calls for urgent rescue and relief efforts - centring around the news to oust the Modi regime in May 2019 - followed by rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. He called upon people to assert the right to bread against hunger, truth against lies, peace against violence and love against hate with all their might to resist the fascist BJP and RSS. And in this struggle he said the legacy of the freedom struggles of 1857 and 1942, the Naxalbari peasant upsurge, and the Bhojpur revolutionary movement offered unique resources and strength.

He called for justice for the political perpetrators of the massacres of 1984, 2002, the many Dalit massacres of Bihar and other communal and caste massacres.

He said the recent Assembly election results were a curtain-raiser and we must all struggle to ensure the momentum grows to oust the BJP in the Parliamentary polls of May 2019 as well.

Underlining and affirming the need for the broadest possible unity against the fascist forces, he pointed out that opportunists from the NDA camp, sensing a BJP rout, are trying to switch sides in the last minute. While he welcomed all forces wishing to join the anti BJP battle, he warned that alliances with opportunists who have for the longest time aligned with the fascist BJP, have proved brittle and fickle in Bihar itself. And so the broad alliances must be forged with the most reliable and uncompromising fighters against communal and feudal forces at their core.

This was followed by a cultural session conducted by Sudhir Suman. People's balladeer Krishna Kumar Nirmohi presented a song in memory of VM and the Bhojpur martyrs. Hirawal presented songs written by some of the best poets I'd the Bhojpur revolutionary movement - Ramakant 'Ramta' and Vijendra Anil. Kamta and Lalan Yadav of the Pukar team also presented a song.