Lohia Academy auditorium was packed to the capacity and beyond on October 7 on a seminar on “Need for unity and united movement of intellectuals, genuine left, democratic and progressive forces in the prevalent crisis-ridden situation of our country in the backdrop of freedom struggle”, convened by the Bhubaneswar branch of SUCI (Communist).
The seminar aimed at promoting exchange of experiences of progressive persons in their respective activities and to acquaint the participants with thoughts of cross section of intellectuals and to raise the level of thinking on national issues.
In welcoming the seminar, Secretary, SUCI (C) Bhubaneswar, Purna Ch. Behera said, when the two main rivals in Indian power politics – the UPA and the NDA – are the same in their politico-economic concept and conduct, it is necessary that patriotic intellectuals and genuine left should unite to save the people from further disaster.
In a short introduction to the topic, State Office Secretary, Shankar Dasgupta stressed upon unity of the genuine left, as in the present political environment, when religious revivalism and divisive forces are raising ugly heads, the dreams of freedom struggle are getting shattered and mass welfare programs are getting derailed. Citing Rourkela Steel Plant as an instance, he pointed out that massive vacancies in permanent posts are being caused while work execution is being assigned to increasing numbers of labor on contract. The capitalist government is thus trying to shatter the working class unity that can only be remedied by united efforts of the left, he said.
Eminent mathematician Prof. Dr. Swadhin Pattanayak put emphasis on creation of a climate that may force the rich to shoulder projects meant for welfare of the poor. For this, the unorganized sector needs necessary guidance as the middle class, benefiting from free economy, would probably continue to feel comfortable under corporate culture.
Eminent scientist Dr. Ashutosh Parida pointed out that the pre-independence scenario of the plights of the common man has not changed. Whosoever from the poor class gains influence because of education and electoral situations, sides with the rich and overlooks the poor, despite that being his background. In a situation like this, intellectuals need be involved with the poor and notwithstanding media gone mostly into corporate control, media persons belonging to working class need be used for the disadvantaged and mass movements need be supported by the intellectuals, as they too are exploited by the rich, he said.
Former Vice-Chancellor Prof. Gokulananda Das opined that the best of remedies to all the maladies the country has been subjected to lies in reform in education, not in economic reforms the government is clamping on the people. He stressed on Gandhiji’s basic education and promotion of environment of self-reliance. For elimination of corruption, honesty at the top is essential, he said.
Journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak took the audience to the phase of formation of free India at the end of the freedom movement. Citing Orissa’s Laxminarayan Sahu in the Constituent Assembly, he pointed out how dreams of the common man for emancipation was discarded by the framers of the constitution under overwhelming presence of the propertied class in that Assembly and how Dr. Ambedkar had even confessed that with promulgation of the constitution on January 26, 1950, India would enter into a life of contradiction because of denial to the people the right to social and economic equality, as the Assembly had to go by the majority that the affluent persons had comprised. Dr. Ambedkar had hoped that the Loksabha to be elected under the constitution being a house of people’s representatives, unlike the Constituent Assembly, would remove the contradiction. But, the governments of free India perpetuated the contradiction by transforming democracy into plutocracy. Its remedy, therefore, lies in obliteration of all the components of social and economic inequality which should begin with a campaign for imposition if ceiling on private property, he said.
Prof. Lambodar Prasad Singh stressed on the necessity of transformation of the country’s education system to a single and universal pattern.
For Dr. Birendra Kumar Nayak, elimination of economic disparity is the task that patriotic segment of intellectuals must address themselves to; and for this, the policies and political ideology that help concentration of wealth in a few hands must be fought against ideologically.
Social activist Prafulla Samatra stressed upon united action for promulgation of a single pattern of education and protection of environment which is so very essential for future generations but which capitalism so savagely destroys. Ex-MLA Surendra Pradhan and educationist Smt. Aparna Nayak also stressed upon the necessity for equal pattern of education.
General Secretary of International anti-imperialist co-ordinating committee and polit-bureau member of SUCI ( C ) Manik Mukherjee gave a clarion call for united action based on the ideology of communism to save the country from pernicious grip of capitalism. He came down heavily upon the central government for promulgation of FDI not only in multi-brand retail trading but also in areas like insurance that directly affects people’s economy. Elaborating on the difference between capitalism and communism, he showed how capitalism has not only ruined the working class but also has damaged the cultural fabric of the country. The achievement of political freedom has been lost in the labyrinth of capitalist exploitation as Nehru’s mixed economy and confused socialistic pattern has merged in invigorated free economy masterminded by Manmohan Singh under the umbrella of USA induced imperialism. It is time for the genuine left to initiate united action against every tentacle of capitalism that thrives in India by hoodwinking people through pseudo fights between the ruling party and the rightwing opposition, he said.
Udhab Jena, member, State Committee of SUCI ( C ) presided over the seminar.