CPI(ML)’s Khabardar Rally Reasserts Bihar’s Fighting Resolve Defying Modi’s ‘Hunkaar’ and Conspiratorial Blasts

The last week of October was a week of rallies for Patna. On October 25, the CPI held a ‘Janakrosh’ (People’s Anger) rally, which witnessed arguably the biggest gathering by the party in last ten years or so. The rally clearly reflected the mood of the Left ranks and common people in Bihar – determination to resist the growing fascist threat and anger against the non-performing and anti-poor Nitish Kumar government of Bihar.

Two days later, it was the BJP’s turn to stage its ‘Hunkaar’ (roar) show. The rally turned out to be the BJP’s biggest ever in Bihar, and certainly bigger than the kind of crowd that came to Modi’s recent rallies in Delhi, UP or MP. Even as the rally began, a series of blasts took place around the rally ground, and blasts were all the BJP would be talking about later. But quite surprisingly the rally went on like business as usual with Modi churning out a mythical history of Bihar, full of bloomers for anybody familiar with the rich history and heritage of the state.

Nitish Kumar was quick to take on Modi on the issue of his ‘historical bloomers’ in the JD(U)’s ‘chintan shivir’ (brainstorming session) at Rajgir, but his government left Patna in a state of post-blast panic and uncertainty. The state government could not sanitise the Gandhi Maidan, the venue for all big rallies in Patna and the scheduled site for the CPI(ML)’s 30 October rally, even fifty hours after the blasts. The blasts also overshadowed the entire media and Bihar seemed to have been plunged into terror and panic. Postponement of the CPI(ML) rally seemed almost like a foregone conclusion.

But the rural poor of Bihar and the CPI(ML) network spread across the state once again rose to the occasion and displayed tremendous tenacity and fearless resolve to make the rally an astounding success. Just consider the facts. Around 7 PM on 29 October, the district administration of Patna formally intimated that Gandhi Maidan was unsafe and the allotment stood cancelled. Till then the work of stage construction and decoration was going on at Gandhi Maidan. Overnight, a stage was erected on the new site – on the road near the R-block crossing, and the rallyists who kept pouring in all through the day and night of October 29 spent the night on the road under the open sky. The veil of panic and speculation disappeared as the spirit of hope and determination took over.

To the city of Patna which has been witness to many great gatherings at various turning points of history, the Khabardar rally presented an unprecedented sight of a red wave splashing on the city roads. The stretch from R-block crossing which has a statue of the iconic 1857 hero Veer Kunwar Singh to the Income Tax roundabout, housing a statue of JP, the great inspirational leader of 1974, became a veritable human sea. Old-timers recalled the last time when the area had witnessed such a major assembly: on 4 November 1974 when a procession led by JP was lathicharged injuring JP himself along with many more processionists.

For those who thought that Modi’s ‘Hunkaar’ was the ultimate roar of an aggressive saffron sweep in Bihar, the Khabardar rally has sent out a strong message of resolute resistance. While remaining alert to foil the saffron design to whip up communal frenzy in Bihar, the rally has called for a massive mobilisation of the justice-loving people of Bihar to secure justice for the massacre survivors of Bathanitola, Bathe and Miyanpur. Millions of signatures will be collected across the state and will be brought to Delhi for submission to the President on 18 December, the 15th death anniversary of Comrade Vinod Mishra.

Incidentally, on the same day an anti-communal convention was held in Delhi where the CPI(M) and its LF partners shared a platform with ten non-Congress non-BJP regional parties. The organisers and participants sought to deny the impression that the gathering was an exercise in forging a third front, claiming that the purpose was just to promote a broad-based mobilisation against communalism. But a quick look at the forces that were deliberately excluded from the ambit of the convention exposes the hollowness of the grand anti-communal claim. Apart from the CPI(ML), the most committed and militant defender of secularism, the excluded parties also included the RJD and LJP both of which have far stronger anti-communal credentials than the JD(U) which must be held squarely responsible for enabling the BJP to accumulate strength in Bihar, not just through power-sharing but by allowing feudal-communal forces to go on the offensive.

As elections come closer and the BJP becomes increasingly desperate to whip up a fascist frenzy, the task for the democratic movement in the country is clearly laid out. Fascism thrives on the illusive yearning for a ‘magic solution’ to our pressing problems, but the challenge of resisting and defeating the fascist threat cannot be fulfilled through any ‘counter magic’, electoral or otherwise. It calls for bold, organised and sustained mobilisation and assertion of the people for a democratic solution, and the Khabardar rally has shown us the kind of strength, determination and courage that the oppressed poor can contribute to this battle under revolutionary communist leadership.

Liberation Archive