Our President Comrade Amra Ram, members of the presidium, our respected leader Comrade S. R. Pillai, our general secretary Comrade Hannan Mollah, newly elected office bearers, CKC and AIKC members and my dear delegate comrades, I feel deeply honoured to be elected the President of the All India Kisan Sabha, the most powerful and progressive Kisan organization in our country. I am deeply humbled by the confidence reposed in me by this august Conference. I sincerely thank all of you and solemnly assure this Conference that the new CKC and AIKC team that you have elected will, collectively and unitedly, strive to defend and advance the cause of the millions of peasants in our country, and through this struggle, take our beloved AIKS to even greater heights.
We have a great and rich legacy to carry forward with pride. Our legendary leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Rahul Sanskritayan, Muzaffar Ahmad, P. Sundarayya, A. K. Gopalan, E. M. S. Namboodiripad, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Hare Krishna Konar, Benoy Krishna Choudhuri, Dasharath Deb, B. Srinivas Rao, Shamrao and Godavari Parulekar, Krantisinh Nana Patil and many others have laid the solid foundations of the democratic peasant movement in India.
Thousands of our peasant martyrs from all over the country have made the supreme sacrifice of their lives to defend the banner of the AIKS. I pay revolutionary homage to the memory of all our dear and respected martyrs.
My dear comrades, this has been a very fruitful Conference. Our Conference is concluding at an enthusing time, when the peasant movement in the country is on the rise. There have been huge independent and united peasant struggles in several states in recent times, in which the AIKS has played a leading role.
The Report, the Resolutions, the Commission Reports and, above all, the rich discussion by the delegates has given us a clear direction of intensifying independent and united struggles on all burning peasant issues, but particularly on the issues related to unjust land acquisition, Forest Rights Act, loan waiver, remunerative prices, crop insurance, MNREGA and pension.
If the Modi regime can dole out loan waivers of lakhs of crores of rupees to a handful of corporates, why cannot it give a loan waiver to the millions of farmers in distress? Why is the Modi regime going back on its election promise to implement the Swaminathan Commission recommendation of setting the MSP for all crops at one and a half times the cost of production? These must be made the prime issues of our campaign and our struggle. It is only by unleashing such massive struggles that we can build our powerful Left and democratic counter narrative to defeat the RSS-BJP regime.
Once again, after 25 years, the Haryana unit of the AIKS, along with all other mass organizations, has worked for months to make this a memorable Conference. I warmly congratulate them and all the volunteers from my heart.
25 years ago at our All India Conference at Hisar in 1992, ours was the only peasant organization in the country that had accurately analyzed the class nature and the likely disastrous effects of the imperialist-dictated neo-liberal phase of capitalist development in agriculture that our ruling classes had just begun to unfold. Many other peasant organizations at that time had illusions that these new so-called free market policies would benefit the peasantry.
Today, 25 years later at this All India Conference at Hisar, the unprecedented tragedy of the lakhs of suicides of debt-ridden peasants and the deaths of lakhs of malnutrition-affected tribal children in large parts of the country have exposed the bankruptcy of the neo-liberal policies pursued by the ruling classes. We have analyzed this bankruptcy in this Conference.
But the reason why this Conference will be remembered is that, we have analyzed in depth the far-reaching changes in agrarian relations and the class differentiation in the peasantry. It is this analysis that will help us to evolve the correct tactics and slogans, identify the issues for future struggles and give a clear direction to the peasant movement in our country.
My dear comrades, these are challenging times. As we have discussed in depth in this Conference, the neo-liberal policies of the ruling classes, the rabid aggressiveness of the communal, divisive and fascistic forces, attacks on minorities, Dalits and Adivasis, increasing violence against women, the drive towards authoritarianism and the loot by imperialism are the major challenges that we vow today to face with courage and determination.
But, to face the grim challenges of today, we must mobilize peasants in even greater numbers to stand up for their rights in every single state of our country. We must increase the extent, sweep and intensity of our struggles. We must increase the participation of peasant women and of peasant youth in our struggles and in our leadership. The Kisan Sabha leadership at all levels must make special efforts to help the growth and advance of the SFI and DYFI, from whose ranks many of us have come. The young are our future. The example of our young general secretary from Maharashtra, Dr Ajit Nawale, is before us.
We must vastly increase our membership and strengthen our organization from the village committees upwards. We already have and must further develop, the thousands of our dedicated and fighting activists all over the country. They are our true gold mine. By making conscious efforts from the leadership downwards to go the peasantry in every village, our slogan from this conference must be, as exhibited in this conference hall: हर गाव में किसान सभा, किसान सभा में हर किसान! Kisan Sabha in every Village, every Kisan in the Kisan Sabha!
We are very proud of our major states like Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, who have a glorious legacy of struggle and sacrifice. We salute our comrades in West Bengal for their courageous resistance against the unprecedented reign of terror of the TMC hoodlums. We are confident that this resistance will eventually result in our victory. We hail our vibrant movement in Kerala, which has led to our smashing victory in the assembly elections. Our comrades there are now facing the attacks of the RSS hoodlums with determination. I remember with pride the inspiring receptions we got in every district of Kerala during our All India Kisan Jatha campaign last November. We congratulate our comrades in Tripura for their remarkable successes and are confident that they will triumph over the RSS-BJP and their separatist allies in the coming assembly elections.
We are proud of the magnificent recent struggles waged by our comrades in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Gujarat. But in all these states, we should make even more rapid and concerted efforts to forge our advance. Along with all our office bearers, I would personally like to participate in the struggles in our states, so as to learn from you all.
To combat the assault on peasants’ rights, we will build united struggles with all peasant organizations. To combat the twin scourge of neo-liberalism and communalism, we will fight shoulder to shoulder with all our fraternal organizations of workers, agricultural workers, women, youth, students, dalits, adivasis, minorities, intellectuals, cultural and literary artistes. To combat the danger of imperialism, we will unite with all the patriotic sections of our people.
So let us all march forward together from this Conference, to combat and defeat the communal and fascistic RSS-BJP demons who only help the rich and the corrupt, who throw the toiling millions to the wolves, and who seek to divide us on the grounds of religion and caste, region and creed, just so that they can perpetuate their wretched and disastrous rule.
Remembering always that the agrarian revolution is the axis of the people’s democratic revolution, let us march forward unitedly from this Conference and implement our mass line with unflinching resolve and determination, to create and strengthen a Left and democratic alternative in our country.
Let me conclude with the inspiring lines of the towering Communist poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz:
हम मेहनतकश जगवालों से, जब अपना हिस्सा मांगेंगे
इक खेत नही, इक देश नही, हम सारी दुनिया मांगेंगे !
यहां सागर सागर मोती है, यहां परबत परबत हीरे है
ये सारा माल हमारा है, हम सारा खजाना मांगेंगे !
दौलत की अंधेरी रातों ने मेहनत का सूरज छुपा लिया
दौलत की अंधेरी रातों से हम अपना सवेरा मांगेंगे !
ये सेठ वेपारी रजवाडे, दस लाख तो हम दस लाख करोड
ये कितने दिन अमरिका से, जीने का सहारा मांगेंगे !
जो खून बहा जो बाग उजडे, जो गीत दिलों मे कत्ल हुए
हर कतरे का हर गुंचे का, हर गीत का बदला मांगेंगे !
जब सफ सीधी हो जायेगी, जब सब झगडे मिट जायेंगे
हम हर एक देश के झंडे पर, एक लाल सितारा मांगेंगे !
Thank you very much, my dear comrades!
All India Kisan Sabha Zindabad!
Worker-Peasant Unity Zindabad!
-Dr Ashok Dhawale