The people’s campaign called by historians, intellectuals, cultural activists and civil society to mark 75 years of the country’s independence began at the Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir in Patna on 18 November 2021 on the birth anniversary of Batukeshwar Dutt, great revolutionary and comrade of Bhagat Singh. Earlier, a meeting was organized at Batukeshwar Dutt Lane in Jakkanpur and the great revolutionary’s statue at the Vidhan Sabha main gate was garlanded.
The people’s convention on the topic ’75 Years of Independence: Dreams and Challenges’ was addressed by renowned historian Prof OP Jaiswal, CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, poet Arun Kamal, former HoD History at Patna University Prof Bharti S Kumar, Prof Vidyarthi Vikas from AN Sinha Institute, Pasmanda Mahaj leader and former MP Ali Anwar and others. The convention, conducted by Kumar Parvez, was attended by a large number of people including Prof Santosh Kumar, Ghalib, Ranjiv, PS Maharaj, Dr PNP Pal, Tanveer Akhtar, Kunal, Dhirendra Jha, Mahboob Alam, Santosh Sahar, Meena Tiwari, Sandeep Saurabh and others. The Hirawal group presented Azimullah Khan’s ‘Hum Hain Malik Hindostan Hamara’ at the start of the people’s convention.
Addressing the convention, Prof OP Jaiswal said that the history of BJP/RSS in the independence was one of treachery. They are also against the Constitution, as they consider Manusmriti to be the constitution. RSS leaders had opposed the implementation of the Constitution and the right to vote for all. Today these people are twisting and falsifying history. It is our collective responsibility to forge an extensive unity against this and carry forward the fundamental values of the independence struggle.
CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the names of Batukeshwar Dutt and Savarkar cannot be taken in the same breath. Savarkar’s history in the Andaman jail is one of apologizing to the British, while Batukeshwar Dutt fought ceaselessly in jail. Our fight today is against the lies and falsification of history by BJP. We take inspiration from the freedom struggle and remember various aspects including the 1857 freedom struggle, the 1942 Quit India Movement and the participation of Muslims, dalits, backward sections and women in the freedom movement. Their struggle is our inheritance, and it is our responsibility to cherish this legacy and also learn from history.
Arun Kamal remembered the struggles of Bhagat Singh and his comrades and said we must cherish and protect the values of the freedom fighters. Vidyarthi Vikas spoke in detail of the heroic actions of Batakh Miyan who saved Gandhiji’s life. Ali Anwar said we must bring to light the history of those who are in the margins of the freedom movement. He pointed out that BJP and RSS are spreading poison and encouraging the likes of Pragya Thakur and Kangana Ranaut who insulted all the martyrs and called the country’s cherished independence ‘alms’.
Batukeshwar Dutt’s daughter Bharti Bagchi sent a message to the People’s Convention saying, “Today is the birth anniversary of the great revolutionary Batukeshwar Dutt. On this occasion, to all of you who are inspired to walk on the path of secularism, equality and fraternity shown by Batukeshwar Dutt and Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and to work for the upliftment of the poor, extend all best wishes. Inquilab Zindabad!
“I am sorry that due to physical incapacity I am unable to send this message through voice message. I wish great success to the people’s convention being organized on the birth anniversary of my father the revolutionary Batukeshwar Dutt.”
The people’s campaign to mark 75 years of independence will be continued for the next two years.
Resolutions Passed at The People’s Convention
The following resolutions were passed at the people’s convention organized in Patna on 18 November:
1. The campaign ’75 Years of Independence: People’s Campaign’ to spread the values and vision of the freedom movement among the people will be continued for the next two years till August 2023.
2. This convention demands that the Bihar Secretariat halt railway station and Gardanibagh Gate library should be named after the great revolutionary Batukeshwar Dutt, and Batukeshwar Dutt Gate should be constructed with public participation at Goria Math.
3. This convention calls for this campaign to be turned into a widespread people’s campaign and for the completion of the following works:
People’s Campaign Schedule
1857: First Freedom Struggle
- To bring out the untold aspects of the freedom struggle in Bihar prior to 1857; to throw light on Kunwar Singh as well as Bhojpur’s Nishan Singh, Harkishan Singh, and especially the role played by women, to document them and organize programs on them.
- To build a park in Arwal dedicated to the memory of the great 1857 freedom fighter Jeevdhar Singh.
- To renovate the Shaheed Peer Ali Memorial at Gulzarbagh in Patna.
- To document the Rajwar Revolt that continued in Nawada District for about 10 years even after 1857 and to organize programs on this.
To bring out the history of the activists in Gandhiji’s Satyagraha Movement, especially Shekh Gulab, Batakh Miyan and others, and to document the peasants’ movement against the zamindars that continued even after Gandhi left.
To make a list of the martyrs (about 500 martyrs) who were killed in the 1942 movement and build a memorial to them, and to bring out the history of the parallel government (Badh-Badahia) formed in Bihar.
The spirited adivasi movement in undivided Bihar is a golden page in our history. It is our aim to bring to light the history, especially the hitherto untouched aspects, of the adivasi movements in the Bhagalpur-Purnea regions.
To document the historic peasants’ movements that took place in Shahabad, Magadh, Saran and Mithila and to reconstruct the Yadunandan Sharma Ashram in Gaya.
To bring to light the life and work of freedom fighters from Bihar who were incarcerated in the Andaman Jail and to make efforts to safeguard their memory.
a) Nachhathar Malakar (Araria)
b) Bismil Azimabadi (Patna)
c) Badri Aheer (Bhojpur)
d) Taqui Rahim (Patna)
e) Prithviraj Singh (Jehanabad)
f) Ramakant Dwivedi Ramta (Bhojpur)
g) Jubba Sahni (Muzaffarpur)
h) Taramuni Devi (Saran)
i) Shaikh Gulab (Champaran)
j) Batakh Miyan (Champaran) and others.
4. Padma Shree awardee and BJP supporter Kangana Ranaut has declared that the independence of 1947 was ‘alms’ given to beggars, and the country got its true independence in 2014. Her statement is in keeping with the feelings expressed by the RSS immediately after Independence and is an insult to the martyrs of the freedom struggle. We strongly condemn this statement by Ms Ranaut and demand that the Padma Shree awarded to her should be revoked.
5. This convention condemns the BJP/RSS conspiracies to twist and falsify the history of the freedom movement and pledges to re-establish and carry forward the values of the freedom movement such as democracy, secularism, fraternity, social justice and socialism.