March 23 marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru, at the hands of the British colonial rulers. The call of our martyrs – that the struggle shall continue as long as a handful of exploiters, whether foreign or Indian, continue to exploit the toiling masses – rings in the hearts of our revolutionary youth even today.
In the last 65 years, the rule of the British colonizers has been replaced by the rule of the Indian capitalist class, while the toiling majority of people remain exploited and excluded from political power. It has become increasingly clear that no matter which political front is in power, whether a front led by the Congress Party, BJP or a Third Front, it is the corrupt and parasitic capitalist ruling class which is and has always been setting the agenda for the whole country.
Over the last 20 years, the program of privatisation and liberalization has continued relentlessly, as a result of which the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis, and others have grown super rich and become global players, while the workers, peasants and other working people have been growing poorer. It is these monopoly capitalists who have been deciding which government is formed, who becomes a particular minister and which policies are adopted by the government. The present system of multi-party democracy is, in reality, the dictatorship of the capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses.
The youth today face an uncertain future. Primary and secondary education are still far from being realizable as a right (despite the law to this effect), while higher education continues to remain the privilege of less than a third of those who do manage to complete secondary education. The increasing privatization of education at all levels, from the primary level to universities and technical institutions, and the exorbitant cost has pushed education out of reach of millions of our youth.
The promises of opening up of glamorous job opportunities with the liberalization of the economy have made very little difference to the conditions of large numbers of youth of urban and rural India. Millions of youth are forced to compete for a handful of jobs, both in the state sector and private sector. Their parents are forced to pay hefty bribes for recruitment. , The stories of selection exams for recruitment into the police, armed forces, and railways in which tens of thousands of youth compete for a few openings, reveals the terrible lack of prospects of decent livelihood. For those youth who have managed to get some livelihood opportunities, it has meant intense exploitation, with no limits on working hours, difficult working conditions, insecurity of tenure and practically no rights.
Today, the anger and dissatisfaction of the working masses of our country with the existing political system and process, with the barbaric rule of the monopoly capitalist class, is manifesting itself in a thousand ways. People are demanding control over the galloping prices of food and other commodities. People are demanding a universal public distribution system that will guarantee availability of food and other essential items in sufficient quantity, of good quality and at affordable prices for all. The demand for the right to livelihood, to living and working conditions fit for human beings, to security of life and dignity from state terrorism and state organized sectarian violence, for the right over our natural resources and the right to decide the course of our economy and political life, is coming through loud and clear in the numerous strikes, protests, demonstrations and other forms of struggle raging in different parts of the country.
The revolutionary youth of today, as in the past, are full of boundless energy, fighting to transform our society so that it is free from exploitation, oppression and discrimination of all kinds. They must seriously study the science of Marxism Leninism, the science that shows the way out for our working class and peasantry out of the crisis ridden capitalist system.
Today political power is concentrated in the hands of a handful of super rich monopoly capitalist houses, with political parties and governments serving their interests and ensuring their super profits. This needs to be changed on an urgent basis, so that political power comes into the hands of the working class and other toiling people, organised in committees in their work places and residences. People’s organisations need to enjoy the right to select and elect candidates, as well as to recall the one elected at any time, while the role of a political party must be to make the people conscious and provide them with a vision and program. With political power in their hands, the working class and working masses can ensure that the economy is oriented towards fulfilling the needs of the people. Policies and laws can be framed and decided by the working masses in their interests and government functionaries made accountable and answerable to the people. The present conditions call upon our youth to organize and take forward the struggle for a complete reconstitution of the political system and reorientation of the economy.
The call of our martyrs is to take forward the struggle for an end to all forms of exploitation and oppression, for a life of security and prosperity, to build our motherland on new foundations!