On the question of education and employment, this national convention of AISA is certainly a very well-timed step. Few days back I read in the newspapers that on this very question another national convention attended by about 1500 participants belonging to 14 student-youth organisations could only decide that the Prime Minister Mr. Deve Gowda should be given a memorandum. The newspaper headlines read Student Convention displeased with the government. There was no announcement to launch a movement or give an ultimatum to the government. Such a big student-youth force could have put enormous pressure on the government through its movements but from somewhere or the other their hands were tied. And the biggest reason for this is that the parties to which these organisations are attached to, are either part of or are supporters to the government. This CMP that the student-youth organisation have criticised has been jointly framed by these parties and so it would have been better if these organisations instead of giving Deve Gowda a memorandum had submitted the same to their own parties. As against this, you have come up with a movemental programme by adding that the students would be forced to go into direct action if the government fails to respond to the student-youths' demands within a given time. This is a welcome step and I feel extremely glad inaugurating this convention.
You saw that as Com. Harkishan Singh Surjeet put it, that 77% of the people have voted against communalism. The BJP interpreted that again 77% people rejected the Congress. And the third view was that 77% have voted against the third front that was formed with JD, SP, LF etc. Hence, it is obvious that no formation is able to define the people's mandate in its favour. In these elections we saw that some questions emerged very prominently. BJP had claimed that with its slogan of Hindutva, its concept of Hindutva, it would establish a new national unity at the all-India level. But we saw that the influence of its Hindutva was not seen anywhere else leave the Hindi-speaking areas and some parts of western India. This raises an important question – Is Hindutva that national aspect, that thread which can unite the whole of India? At least the elections have proved that such is certainly not the case. And if BJP had to take the support of other parties to form the government then here you would see that all those demands that were directly connected to Hindutva including that of Ram Mandir were dropped only to help them form the government. We communists have always asserted that India is a nation of many nationalities who have their own cultural identities, regional aspirations and demands for autonomy. With all these nationalities we have to build a nation in which everyone participates in developing Indian nationalism not against their own wishes. Forcible attempt to impose the interests of one region, one stream or one idea, over the whole country would never lead to establish any national unity and instead there are dangers of breaking up whatever national unity exists today.
We saw in the past that a Mandal-based alliance with the slogan of social justice was forged between dalits, backwards and Muslims all over India in an attempt to create a new stream and give a challenge to communalism, but as we found in these elections this stream too could not advance further. There was a division among the backward forces and in many places its benefit went to BJP. We also saw that there were sharp contradictions between dalits and backwards, because of which BSP, and SP fought against each other in UP. And in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and right up to Orissa and other states this Mandal-based third force could not have any effect. This project of unity did not succeed but the emerging kulak section from amongst the backward castes tried to prevail over this coalition, resulting in increased fighting between dalits and backwards and even within backwards too, between that section which has acquired wealth, and others who have been left out in the process of development, the contradiction sharpened. That is why any unity between dalits and backwards could not sustain.
I mentioned these questions in front of you because being students you also represent that section of the intelligentsia which has to think about its own education, own problems and at the same time think about the whole nation.
This people's mandate which I said was not a clear one, resulted in an opportunist coalition. The third front has formed a common understanding with Congress and on that basis they are running the government. There is an opportunist friendship between Congress and the third force. This is how our ruling classes have brought out a solution to the crisis which had emerged as an election issue. There were movement against Congress during the election campaign and also during the last five years. But finally this government is being run along with the same Congress or with its support.
We also saw that among the LF parties, CPI preferred to directly participate in the government. Though CPI(M) did not participate in the government but then is was there to prepare the common programme of the government or set its policies, or stand in the government's favour in the Lok Sabha or as a whole, since it is a government of the UF and being in the UF itself, it is, even though indirectly, still part of the government in one way or the other. This has raised a new question because these forces of the left are slowly advancing this social-democratic ideology that India does not require any revolution and only through reforms by operating from within the government can we change the society and the country. The question is to stand against this social democratic ideology that is being spread in society. And this is why we think that revolutionary left and other revolutionary forces who think that in the last analysis for any fundamental change in the society revolution is the only path, all these forces have to take up a special role today and in that as student-youths you have to take up the leading position. In today's situation you are the only left-oppositional force and you have to step out to lead this struggle.
Ever since the Soviet Union collapsed and the communist movement world over faced many a problem, we saw that many ideologies flourished and according to them, one can no longer look at history in a holistic way, you can not find a rule for the history. Further, it says that there exists a particular system in society like the capitalist system is entirely wrong. Neither can you understand a complete system nor can you find a rule to the whole system. All earlier ideologies used to study the whole society and history in its totality. They tried to look for the real reasons behind the various problems in society and in this way tried to change society. The new ideologies say that the old ones have become useless and are not required now. They say that at the most you can in a scattered way protest against this or that exploitation or injustice but nothing more than that. These ideas are being called post-modernist ideas. It is being said even to this extent that if you cannot stop a rape, enjoy it. These ideas are coming from the West that since it is impossible to change this capitalist system, one should enjoy this capitalist system, one should live in it and enjoy the pleasure of consumerism. This one argument which is blocking the students, youths and intellectuals from moving ahead in their struggles. As against this the Marxist and progressive ideologies say that there are various problems related to different section in societies, their struggles are different and we should surely wage ail these struggles but at the same time the whole history can be explained; there are various rules in history and one can find these rules, the rules behind changing a system, and based on this a great unity of the toiling sections of society could be forged and thus society can be changed. At the end, the whole human race can be emancipated. This declaration of Marxism needs to be kept alive and therefore at the level of ideology when there is an attack from all directions, from forces of communalism or liberalism or from post-modernism, to keep alive our revolutionary struggles, it is important that we keep alive the correct ideology.
Seen in the total perspective students are not just for themselves but for changing the whole system. These struggles for social change are very cruel, tough and brutal as you saw in the latest killing by feudal forces in Bihar. The question is not just about the struggle for the poor but it is also for the progress of the nation. You will find in history that only those nations have developed where feudalism has been wiped out.
At the end, I would say that at many places in India caste mobilisations are taking place, parties are being formed and elections are being fought. Many people say that even among students one has to take recourse to caste based mobilisation so as to win union elections. This has been called social engineering. If student movement gets dependent on such caste equations it will lose its vanguard role. You have to fight against all such negative tendencies existing in the society and take new light into the society. If India has to move forward the student community or intellectuals have to rise above these backward and negative ideas and also against feudal forces which are trying to take you back to Brahminical pattern of thought so as to revive the old feudal past. I am sure AISA will lead this movement of students.