Sabyasachian Violence is the same as Gandhian Non-Violence in the Struggle for Emancipation

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

[Sabyasachi Panda projects himself and is projected by others as a Maoist. I will, in this article, deliberately discard the words – Maoist and Maoism; because use of the name of Mao in any emancipating movement of our people would be an affront to self-respect of India in view of the blatant breach of our trust and the bloody war he had subjected us to in 1962. When radicals amongst the Communists had emerged as Naxals, the right-wing media had deliberately coined the words Maoism for Naxalism, to create a situation for the people of India to look at them askance, because of the impact of the natural aversion to Mao, so that the radicals would stay far from being acceptable to majority of Indians in the psycho-political environment. Some radicals failed to grasp this mischief and misguidedly projected themselves as Maoists. The result is: their spread is stunted. I will, therefore, in this article, use the words ‘radical Communist’ in place of ‘Maoist’ and ‘radical Communism’ in place of ‘Maoism’ and mention Sabyasachi as a symbol of radicalism.]

A very odd prerequisite

In seeking a solution to social unrest as perceived by them, nine known persons of Orissa, not all Gandhians but projected as such, have appealed radical Communist leader Sabyasachi Panda to shun violence so that they can influence the State to fulfill whatever demands he has for the Dalits and exploited people.

When the signatories are: Smt. Annapurna Maharana (Cuttack), Smt. Sumitra Choudhury (Cuttack), Smt. Krushna Mohanty (Anugul),Sri Rabi Roy (Cuttack), Md. Baji (Nawarangpur), Sri Ratan Das (Gunupur), Sri Bhabani Charan Patnaik (Bhubaneswar), Dr. Bhagaban Prakask (New Delhi) and Prof. Radhamohan (Bhubaneswar), here is the crux of their statement in its original form:

Roughly translated into English it says: We shall raise strong demands before the government for fulfillment of whatever demands you have for the Dalits and the exploited, if you and your associates accept our request to shun violent ways.

If anything, this is naked hypocrisy; because, if these ladies and gentlemen feel that there is justification in Sabyasachi’s demands for the Dalits and exploited people, why are they waiting for him to surrender? Why do they make his surrender a prerequisite to their taking up the cause of the oppressed Dalits and the exploited wretched? Why are they shying at the reality that persons like them staying silent spectators to the oppression and exploitation perpetrated and perpetuated by the State and the State-pampered / protected profit-mongers, compradors, socio-economic offenders, and looters of natural resources, is responsible for persons like Sabyasachi taking up arms at the risk to their own lives? Their admitted reluctance to press the Government for stoppage of oppression and exploitation of the Dalits and the wretched people till Sabyasachi and his associates shun violence is certainly not indicative of their genuine concern.

I do not know Sabyasachi or any of his associates personally. But perceptibly, they are using violence against official violence as a method of elimination of fear from the oppressed poor as they want end of economic inequality / social exploitation / loss of living environment / loot of natural resources / enforced displacement at the behest of private profit-mongers / lack of administrative concern for their human rights. Judging them by the yardstick of Gandhian non-violence, as is evidenced in the appeal-statement of the above named nine signatories, is misjudging Gandhi himself.

Gandhi would have preferred the violent way

Had Gandhiji been alive today, he would have certainly preferred violence to what the so-called Gandhians have been projecting as non-violence.

Every age has its own meaning for terms used in politics in specific situations. What non-violence meant in Gandhian terminology, is exactly what violence is meaning in Sabysachian terminology.

There is no difference between Gandhian non-violence and Sabyasachian violence; because both the phenomena are felt in the impact thereof in evolution of fearlessness amongst the oppressed people against the power of oppression. So, condemning Sabyasachian violence in the present context of India is also the same as condemning Gandhian non-violence in the context of pre-independence India.

Gandhi on violence

In writing in Young India on 11 August 1920 on The Doctrine of the Sword, Gandhiji dwelt on justification of violence in compelling conditions. “I do believe that where there is only one choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence” (The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol XVIII, p.132). “Thus when my eldest son asked me what he should have done, had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have run away and seen me killed or whether he should have used his physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defended me, I told him that it was his duty to defend me even by using violence”, he has said at the same time. “I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should be in a cowardly manner become and remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor” (Ibid). He has admitted with absolute honesty that whoever resorts to violent ways to save the countrymen from oppression is also a Mahatma (high-souled person). He has unambiguously noted, “The high-souled men, who are unable to suffer national humiliation any longer, will want to vent their wrath. They will take to violence” (Ibid).

Violence begets violence

Had the State not been acting violently against opponents to exploitation, people having succeeded in fetching political freedom under greater influence of non-violent method of Gandhiji, would not have thought of preferring violence to non-violence after so many decades of independence.


However it has its own significance.

Gandhiji had used non-violence to wipe out fear from the minds of the subjects of the British raj in their fight for political independence; and now the radical Communists are using violence to eliminate the accumulated fear from the minds of the people oppressed under the corporate raj in their fight for economic emancipation. Both the methods are the same in aim and similar in purpose and befitting to their respective age and condemnation of the radical Communists’ violence in Capitalist India is not different from condemnation of Gandhian non-violence in British India.

Independent India has been, sadly, siding with the capitalists and their monstrous exploitation. As long as the State uses violent methods to protect the exploiters, the victims of exploitation will naturally continue to react violently. Because, responding violently to violence is not unnatural.

The radical Communists and their method might just be contributing a philosophical support to people’s revolt against exploitation; but radical Communism is not by itself the sole definition of people’s disposition in meeting the State-led oppression and hence it is not the generator of violence that people adopt to retort the violence perpetrated by the State.

So, even if Sabyasachi switches over to Gandhian non-violence, as the appeal in question insists, it would not stop the people going violent against violent conduct of the State.

So what is the solution?

The solution

Solution lies not in converting any radical Communist to Gandhian non-violence, but in defeating plutocracy that has replaced democracy in India under cover of non-violence.

Plutocracy cannot be defeated by the so-called mainstream politics that endorses State-led violence but wants the victims thereof to stay non-violent.

Removal of plutocracy and restoration of democracy depends on class warfare and calls for people emerging fearless against the oppressive State in this war.

In this war, Sabyasachi appears to have stood so far with the poor and oppressed class that has declared “enough is enough”.

Whether or not he and/or the radical Communists in our land epitomize the ideal they vouch, is not known to me as yet. But what I know is that, these activists have made a tremendous contribution to evolution of fearlessness amongst the wretched and the exploited people against the oppressive system.

Any attempt to urge the radical Communists to renounce arms is clearly taking a position against the oppressed people who want to gnaw down the design of the rich, in their struggle for emancipation.


Finance Minister Prafulla Ch. Ghadai placed before the Orissa Assembly on November 19 the first supplementary statement of expenditure for the year 2009-10 amidst chaos over the Opposition’s stress on the need for obituary honor to farmers that embraced death through suicide being forced by unending negligence of administration to agriculture.

Discernibly drafted on deficient economy, the statement addresses planned sector with Rs.1322 crores and non-planned sector with Rs.1231 crores.

Glimpses of what character it belongs to comes to gaze when one goes through the priority given to funds allocation. For an instance, one may look at lift irrigation and naxal extermination. Lift irrigation in Orissa, not only stunted in growth, but also defunct due to chronic official negligence, is a sector that needs more funds for agro-activities in the State. By sacrificing their lives, one after one, the farmers of Orissa have shown how important it is to invest more funds in lift irrigation. But the present instrument pledges only Rs. 20 crores to this sector whereas allocation of Rs.34.12 crores is drafted for extermination of Naxals even though thereby agro-productivity, which is essential for people’s sustenance, will not get any booster.

An impromptu impression that one gets from Ghadai’s presentation is that the budget is a hoodwinking project.

How the Assembly looks at it is a matter to be observed.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

BJP leader L.K.Advani and media organization CNN-IBN have preferred Hindu sectarian leader Laxmanananda’s posthumous misuse against Leftist ultras through premature assertions that Naxals have killed him, when, his own organization Viswa Hindu Parisad that is supposed to know where the shoe really pinched has declared that it is the Christian fanatics who are the real killers.

Both the assertions are premature and irresponsible specifically as the matter is under active investigation by rightful authorities.

We have earlier discussed that religious revivalism that has ruined the peace and tranquility of tribal belt is meant to counter Naxal influence by pushing peoples into the labyrinth of fate so that they can tolerate economic exploitation by accepting their wretchedness as the result of sins they might have committed in previous birth. So religious revivalism, conversions and counter-conversions and acrimonious sectarian quarrels practiced by both the Hindu and Christian chauvinists are not meant for making peoples religious but are promoted by Indian capitalism and American imperialism to stop evolution of exploited peoples’ conscious rising for their economic rights by blocking the spread of Naxal influence. In other words, rival religion practitioners are not their enemy; the real enemy is the Naxal organization. Therefore, Advani was quite eager to attribute Laxmanananda’s annihilation to the Naxals only.

Naxals are known as politically aggressive advocates of wretchedly poor and blatantly exploited peoples’ economic rights. Therefore to oppose them is a clear act of exploitive political activism. Advani is an exploitive political activist. When peoples of Orissa had raised the first ever Indian mass movement against deliberate price rise by profiteers and hoarders and blackmarketeers in the early eighties, Advani had instigated marwadis to observe Diwali as ‘Black Diwali” in protest against the Orissan movement. So there is nothing unusual in his attempts to make propaganda that Naxals have killed Laxmanananda. And he has not done any wrong by that, because that is the right way in pursuit of his political creed and nothing other than that is expected of him. In doing this he has just extended the mission of Laxmanananda in a political way that he is supposed to do as a right wing politician.

But why a media organization like CNN-IBN has ignored the minimum professional discipline needed in such cases and shown so eagerness to use Laxmanananda posthumously against the Naxals?

Conduct of this organization in cash for confidence vote matter exposed recently is yet alive in mass memory. Therefore it attracts suspicion in matter of its motive in trading this most premature but prejudiced propaganda that Naxals have killed Laxmanananda, the master craftsman of counter-conversions so dear to Hindu ultras.

Advani and this media organization look like close collaborators in frustrating the peoples who love democracy, peace and tranquility and want inequality to honorably end.