S Ramachandran Pillai
(Member Polit Bureau CPI(M) and Leader of the Southern Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha)
It was in 1969 that I have had the first chance to be a part of a Jatha in Kerala that called for changes in the policies of the government and for ushering in a new era for the suffering sections of the society. We organized that Jatha as a part of the youth movement seeking employment or unemployment allowance.
The Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha, the first of its kind organized by the CPI (M) at the all India level is of a much larger magnitude and is addressing the issues that have arisen out of the capitalist path of development and the neo-liberal economic policies of the government.
The experience of being a part of this Jatha has been unique. We have travelled two thousand kilometers in four states so far. The people are expressing their disappointment about other political parties. I have had the chance to come across workers, agriculture workers, peasants, other toiling sections of the people, Dalits, Adivasis, religious minorities, women, students and youth in large numbers. We have had the opportunity to interact with them and learn from them about their problems.
People are suffering. Hunger is on the rise. People are being displaced from their land and homes. Landlessness and homelessness are increasing. There is acute shortage of drinking water and irrigation facilities. Unemployment is rampant. Education and health infrastructure are in tatters. Social infrastructure, which must be a part of a modern society, is falling apart and governance is corrupt. Social justice is denied and people are frustrated. Traditional industries are failing. Agriculture has been ruined.
People are expressing their opposition and anger and are looking for alternate policies that would reverse this downward slide. Organised and spontaneous struggles are taking place. People are looking forward to the CPI(M) for providing leadership.
There are many memorable instances that touched our hearts. Most inspiring was that a large number of family members of martyrs came and expressed solidarity with the Jatha. They expressed happiness that the CPI(M) was taking forward the unfinished tasks of the martyrs. They assured us of being a part of all struggles to fulfil the dreams of the brave martyrs.
The Jatha received enthusiastic response from the people who came out in large numbers to support the alternate policies proposed by the CPI (M). They are looking forward to the declaration of the CPI (M) on the 19 March, 2013 rally in New Delhi.