Vinod Mishra is no more among us.
Against the forces of national subjugation and all sorts of reaction, VM was the commander-in-chief of Indian people's battle for a genuine national liberation and consistent democracy.
In an otherwise dark and confused atmosphere prevailing in the wake of saffron offensive, real danger of Congress revival, degeneration of centrist politics and left opportunism, CPI(ML) led by VM emerged as a centre of hope for nation's life, aspirations of the toiling and oppressed masses and expectations of democratic and patriotic intelligentsia.
He was the greatest Marxist thinker of our times. He was the unparalleled theoretician of the Indian path of revolution in the 75 year history of Indian communist movement. Under his leadership the CPI(ML) was emerging as the conscience keeper of the Indian communist movement.
Then he was a shrewd tactician, excellent organiser and an exceptionally popular mass leader too. It was his resolve to establish the Indian left, otherwise limited to the periphery of the national map, at the centrestage of Indian politics by rooting it in the strategic Hindi-Urdu belt. He was heading for making communist movement a real contender for power freeing it from the course of tailing behind the ruling class parties.
Along with the revolutionary peasant movement, he regarded student youth movement as a particular feature of CPI(ML) movement. In the wake of extreme opportunism, impotence and disintegration of the opposition parties, he often used to call on the youth to rise as the force of true revolutionary opposition against the offensive of right reaction. In fact, his deep faith on youth potential was a product of, besides theoretical understanding, his own experience as a youth grown up in a highly momentous phase of Indian history.
Brought up in a worker's colony at Kanpur, the talented son of a clerk, Vinod Kumar Mishra traversed the journey from a rationalist-atheist position to a Marxist one in a short span of time. And then he jumped into the storms of revolutionary struggles giving up his engineering career.
Barbaric repression in jail, police bullets, 22 years of underground political life, when he was almost regularly brushing past the death, nothing could deter him. Though death of Naxalism had already been proclaimed, he picked it from the ashes and established as the revolutionary stream of Indian communist movement on the national political landscape.
His life as a revolutionary student leader is an ideal for the youth. We get its glimpse in his memoirs of Durgapur RE College. He longed to see youth movement full of that revolutionary spirit. Remembering those stormy days he wrote: “On our part we worked for breaking the regimented life of a 'professional' education system and for bringing forth students' voice and their participation in running the college affairs; we did all in our capacity to foster a revolutionary progressive culture among students; we strove for educating in communist ideology and revolutionary politics a specific category of students who had nothing but the individual career as their life-mission; we did our best to integrate students with the life and struggles of workers and working people; we roused them in struggles against injustice, against anti-social activities, and against police atrocities.”
In contrast to romantic revolutionism and careerism, he stood for a firm commitment towards revolution. In his Durgapur memoirs he again noted, “We neither advocated nor practised Che's theory of urban guerilla actions, nor did any 'Kaka'-style super hero emerge from among us. We always remained loyal to the Party mainstream.”
He witnessed the same ideal in the life and martyrdom of Comrade Chandrashekhar. Inaugurating the third national conference of AISA, he said, “Chandrashekhar was not a romantic revolutionary but a vanguard conscious of his mission.”
He was very serious about ideological tasks of student youth movement, particularly in its post-Soviet collapse phase. Against social-democratic and fashionable postmodernist ideas he very much emphasized deep study of Marxism, grasping its revolutionary essence and defending it through its enrichment.
He always attacked caste-based manipulations. In his address to the AISA convention in Allahabad, he said, “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 becomes 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.”
In 'India of my dreams', he wrote, “In India of my dreams, glorification of pariahs as harijans will end and dalits will cease to be a category. Castes shall dissolve into classes with each of their members having their individual identity.”
For student youth movement, he always emphasized the need to adapt to the changing circumstances. He persisently advocated for autonomy to youth movement. Addressing the second national conference of AISA in Delhi, he said, “Our party believes in pointing out only the general course that the student-youth movement should take. Owing to their distinguished features, their youthful dynamism, students and youth shall traverse this course in their own peculiar way. It is neither possible nor desirable to dictate every step in advance.”
In the same conference he said, “A proper combination of the revolutionary spirit of 70's and the tactical expertise of today provides the key to your advance; and this you shall never forget.”
In the parallel student youth assembly held in Patna, in a different context, he said, “present movement is continuation of the positive legacy of JP Movement.”
But he regarded integration with the toiling masses for social change as the touchstone of revolutionary character of student youth movement. In the Delhi conference of AISA, he said, “Just as the revolutionary character of a youth is determined by his integration with the toiling masses, so also the revolutionary credentials of a student-youth organisation depend very much on its active role in the struggles for social change.”
Again he wrote in the introduction to Bhagat Singh's “Why I am an Atheist”: “Bhagat Singh advised the youth political activists to study Marx and Lenin, work among the working class and peasantry and impart class consciousness to them.”
He repeatedly underlined the crucial role of students in democratic movements. Addressing the 3rd conference of AISA, he said, “AISA must stand in solidarity with all democratic struggles and oppose all anti-people policies irrespective of whether the colour of the government is saffron, green or even red.”
Again, in his last call, he wrote: “All our mass organisations, particularly the youth front, should take bold initiatives on all issues of people's concern and strive to march ahead of all others. The days of closed-door conferencing are over. This is the time for all round initiatives. In history the issues of major significance are only resolved on the streets.”
And above all, he laid much stress on the vanguard role of student and youth in struggle against the increasing imperialist onslaught on our sovereignty.
Addressing the Patna Conference of AISA he said, “Despite Swadeshi rhetoric the pace of mortgaging the country's economy to the multinationals has only become faster. It is the foremost duty of AISA to mobilise students in anti-imperialist struggles.”
Vinod Mishra was a great patriot. On special request from 'The Telegraph', he wrote a magnificent article laying down the foundations of progressive nationalism. It is unique in depth and in sweep of its content as well as in beauty of its style. It appears to be prologue to the epic of his great patriotic dream of 'discovery of a New India' as opposed to the ruling class vision in Nehruvian 'Discovery of India'. He wrote, “India of my dreams shall rise in the community of nations as a country which the weakest of the neighbours shall not fear and which the most powerful country in the world shall not be able to threaten or blackmail. This India will rank among the first five countries of the world in economic prowess as well as in Olympic tallies.”
Like Bhagat Singh, his patriotism was identical with genuine liberation of great Indian people. In the same article he wrote, “Finally, for me the mother of all dreams is my motherland where political liberty of each of its citizens will be valued most; where dissent will be considered legitimate.”
Again he wrote in the same article, “And thus I dream of a great resurgence of rational ideas where the human essence alienated in the form of God shall retrieve itself. This great reformation of human minds shall accompany a social revolution where the producers of wealth shall also be the masters of their produce.”
That's why he said that in the entire freedom movement if anyone deserves to be called 'national hero', it is no one but Bhagat Singh.
Vinod Mishra was the brightest star of post-independence India like Bhagat Singh was the supernova of enslaved India.
Vinod Mishra is Hero of the New Nation.
Lal Salaam beloved comrade VM, the immortal hero of Indian revolution.