On December 25, 2013, the Communist Ghadar Party of India completed 33 years since its founding. The occasion was marked by celebrations organized by the party organizations in different regions of the country. The Central Committee had previously planned to organize a series of Party Schools in different regions. The subject for study was the Constitution of the Indian Republic– its origins and history, provisions on fundamental rights, the political process and party system, the question of rights of nations and nationalities. On this theme, schools have already been organized in Delhi and Mumbai. The school in Delhi was held on December 29-29, 2013. A similar school was held in Mumbai on January 4-5. These Schools were conducted over two days, through 4 sessions. Those who participated were members of the party, young and old, women and men, from the working class, peasantry as well as the revolutionary intelligentsia. Similar schools will be held in different regions of the country in the coming weeks.
The purpose of these Schools was for the Party comrades to study and be educated on the Constitution of the Indian Republic in all its aspects. The Party considers this very necessary given that the bourgeoisie swears by it and demands that every Indian venerates it blindly, so that any proposal to review it critically is treated as “anti-national.” To accept or reject something, one must first be informed on the subject.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. It is the basis on which the different institutions of the Republic are legitimized, it defines the relations of these institutions with one another, it defines the rights and duties of the citizens, and it defines where sovereignty lies, amongst other things. All of us have read the Preamble to the Constitution that declares “we the people give to ourselves this Constitution”. The School clarified that exactly the opposite had happened – it was drafted by a Constituent Assembly whose members were not elected by the Indian people but were selected from amongst the members of the Provincial Assemblies under the colonial state. These members were themselves elected on the basis of extremely limited franchise, with the right to vote extremely restricted on the basis of educational and property qualifications. The Indian bourgeoisie, the class which had collaborated with the British, and who was handed over the reins of power of a partitioned India by the colonialists, drafted a Constitution that would legitimise its rule. It is the rule of a powerful minority over the majority of workers and peasants. Neither did the workers and peasants of India draft this Constitution, nor is there any mechanism in this Constitution, to enable the workers and peasants to give to themselves a Constitution that will defend their rights by ensuring their rule in place of the rule of the bourgeoisie.
The Indian Constitution did not make a break with colonial rule. On the contrary, every vestige of the colonial legacy has been maintained in the Republic and its institutions because it was eminently suited for the bourgeoisie to preserve its rule, in place of the colonial rule. The presentation at the Schools informed comrades of the debates in the Constituent Assembly to understand the perspective with which the various provisions were formulated and how subsequent amendments were made to make it more effective in preserving and strengthening the institutions of bourgeois rule.
The bourgeoisie claims that the Constitution is a very sacred document that has to be taken as gospel truth and that it cannot be challenged. The working class on the other hand has to understand the fact that this Constitution cannot defend its rights and interests, or the rights and interests of the peasantry and other exploited and oppressed sections of our people. The Constitution does not even acknowledge the existence of nations and nationalities not to speak of their collective rights. The toilers and tillers of this land can see from their own experience that their rights and freedoms are severely curtailed and negated by this Constitution and the system that it upholds. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), preventive detention and several black laws have been legitmised by introducing exceptions to the provisions in the Constitution dealing with civil and political rights. The Constitution even allows the government at the centre to ride roughshod over resolutions of the state assemblies to withdraw such black laws.
The eager participants of the Schools, who were carefully listening to and making notes during the presentations, raised many questions and sought clarifications. Their enthusiasm was unwavering right through the two days of each School. In conclusion, all the comrades acknowledged that what they had learnt from the School was in stark contrast with what they had been taught through school and college in political science and civics. There was a demand from all the comrades that we need more such schools and more discussions on the Constitution and subjects which will educate us so we can learn from our history to better understand the present and chart our course for the future.