All the peasant movements right from the era of colonial regime to even in the post-independent India have left a huge tragic impact on our societies and have ushered the desirable changes in just a few cases. Thus Ms. Medha Patkar convincingly argued while delivering the Late Professor D R Chaudhry Memorial Lecture held on 4 June, 2022 at Rohtak in Haryana.
This thought-provoking lecture was organised on his first death anniversary by his family that included his elder son Prof. Bhupendra Chaudhry fame, younger son Ashwini Chaudhary and a filmmaker of late Om Puri and Revati starrer Dhoop, daughter and professor in a Haryana College Kamla Chaudhry and spouse Parmeshwari Devi.
D R Chaudhry was a renowned educationist, a professor of English in a Delhi College and founder editor of a popular Hindi fortnightly Peeng. The theme of this maiden memorial lecture was on ‘Role of people’s movements in restructuring society’.
National Vice President of the Democratic Women’s Association, Jagmati Sangwan presided over this event where an inspirational book in Hindi on people’s struggles in the Narmada Valley was also released.
Medha Patkar’s thought-provoking lecture was laden with in-depth valuable and viable suggestions, highlighting the greatest example of the most popular social movement on various crucial economic and political issues of tribals, dalits, farmers, labourers and women facing gross injustices. It was a talk of way forward 2022 onwards.
She shed light on the nature of the political and economic development of the Indian bourgeoisie connived with and fully supported by the current regime. So much so, the essence of her talk focused on the present state of capitalism engineered by self-proclaimed industrialists which has resulted in short and long term catastrophic effects.
The wide ranging views voiced by her literally prompted the audience that one should agree with her quick and sharp criticism, consequences and how the current trends of a specific path led by bourgeoisie globally has shattered the hopes of millions of labourers, farmers, tribals, poor people including the middle class.
Ms. Patkar put forward the views that this particular structuring necessarily developed to create permanent dependency on bourgeoisie as she elaborated with clarity by citing the Godhra riots of 2002 in Gujarat vis-a-vis the recently released movie ‘Kashmir Files’.
With a foresight, she aptly recognised the urgent need to stop the prevailing trends of capital accumulation in a few hands and justifiably expounded on the traumatic times of farmers and overall the working class being deprived of their basic entitled privileges, better known as human rights. Further she pointed out how enormous difficulties have precluded the farmers and working classes from leading a normal life of contentment.
Her address was a sort of food for thought and action too for academicians, students, educationists, women workforce, administrative machinery, social activists and students to fulfill their duty and responsibility through result-oriented decisive methods in the nation building process.
While pondering over the concerns raised by her, there is no doubt that we must put our might to save water, forests and lands from further land grab by bourgeoisie. On these aspects, she noted how the farmers movement over the past three years was aimed at saving their lands and the three farm laws hurriedly put in place and later, revoked by the Narendra Modi Government. Indeed, one of the most painful, unbearable realities and the worst outcome of this land grabbing process is the worsening hunger in the country, she added.
Insisting on the vital need to create opportunities for the sustenance of the masses Ms. Patkar said that it is the sole recourse to rebuild the country and make it strong. On this score, she reiterated her conviction that in both the social and political spheres all the stakeholders must join hands together and put concerted efforts for a mass movement.
Indian farmers, dalits, tribals and rest of the working class with Medha Patkar as the torch-bearer will definitely do better through mass mobilization in the backdrop of merits of all nationalist movements including freedom struggle in India.
*The author is Hyderabad – based independent journalist
*Inputs from CP Jha – Bihar based independent journalist & Author