Eastern Jatha in Champaran

Eastern Jatha travelled through Champaran of Bihar on Saturday, covering two districts. Once in frontline of independence movement, peasants in Champaran rose on several occasions against imperialist rule. Today, after long periods of misrule and discrimination, Champaran villages and towns carry visible signs of impoverishment. The fertile lands produce finest qualities of rice apart from wheat, sugarcane. But the small peasants and agricultural workers are facing acute crisis. Come to Champaran, and Nitish Kumar’s drumming of 'changed Bihar' is exposed to the core.

Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha moved in from eastern Champaran headquarters Motihari to West Champaran’s Betiah. In this area, CPI(M) has considerable influence among the peasants and unorganised workers. In Betiah town, rickshaw workers are well organised under the banner of CITU. The public meeting took place in Sahid Smarak area in which poorest of the poor participated. Prakash Karat, Biman Basu and others addressed the meeting. Karat said that CPI(M) would try to co-ordinate various local and sectoral struggles and unleash powerful movement throughout the country.

On Friday, the response to Jatha in Darbhanga and Madhubani districts was evident on the roads. Hundreds gathered on roadsides to receive the Jatha. Women came with garlands and virtually forced the Jatha vehicle to stop so that they can pay their regards to the leaders. In Laharia Sarai, Shafi Muslim School ground, thousands of people were most vocal in their slogans. There were peasants who are regularly endangered by floods of river Bagmati and Koshi. Nothing concrete has been done over the years for their protection. Whatever money is allotted vanishes even before the work starts. In towns, hundreds of dalits live in jhuggi-jhopris (slums) without basic amenities and under constant threat to evacuate. CPI(M) has taken up their issue and are resisting administration’s attacks on them. These poor people attended the rally and aptly listened to the call for a new struggle.

In Bisfy of Madhubani, struggle against feudal forces has a proud history. The public meeting took place in midst of vast agricultural lands, attended by peasants. Large numbers of women were there. CPI(M) leaders were felicitated in the land of poet Vidyapati in traditional Maithili culture.