When Bhabani Mahato fed the revolution

“It must have been very hard for you when your husband Baidyanath was jailed for 13 months in the Quit India movement?” I ask Bhabani Mahato in Puruliya. “Running such a large joint family and…”

“We had a large joint family,” she says. “All responsibilities were mine. I did all the chores. I took care of everything. Everything. I ran the family. I looked after everybody in 1942-43 when all those incidents happened.” Bhabani does not name the ‘incidents’. But they included, among others, the Quit India stir. And the famous September 30, 1942 attempt by freedom fighters to hoist the tricolour at 12 police stations in what was even then one of the most deprived regions of Bengal.

And so the action planned in response happened on September 30, 1942. Fully 53 days after Mahatma Gandhi’s call for the British to ‘Quit India’ at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai on August 8, 1942. Baidyanath was arrested in the crackdown and suffered in the repression that followed. He was to become a schoolteacher after Independence. Teachers back then played a key role in political mobilisation. A role that would be carried over into Independent India for some decades.

— source ruralindiaonline.org | P. Sainath | Apr 18, 2022

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Bhagat Singh: An Unsung Hero of Political Journalism

Bhagat Singh is widely venerated as a radical thinker; political revolutionary; a great intellectual, despite his young age; and a martyr, who was reading Lenin in his last moments before being hanged in a Lahore jail on March 23, 1931. However, he is seldom celebrated as a journalist; an identity that was quite intrinsic to his critical thinking, individuality and revolutionary integrity.

Indeed, the thinking aspect of his personality – which made him stand out markedly from among all modern political revolutionaries – manifested itself, to a large extent, through his journalistic endeavours.

Singh was a committed, multi-lingual journalist. He frequently produced politically charged and socially-rooted writings on several pressing contemporary issues. He mostly wrote

— source thewire.in | Naren Singh Rao | 23/Mar/2022

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Panimara’s foot soldiers of freedom – 2

There were battles on other fronts, too, that Panimara’s freedom fighters had to wage. Some of these were right at home.

Inspired by Gandhiji’s call against untouchability, they acted.

“One day, we marched into our Jagannath temple in this village with 400 Dalits,” says Chamaru. The Brahmins did not like it. But some of them supported us. Maybe they felt compelled to. Such was the mood of the times. The gauntiya (village chief) was managing trustee of the temple. He was outraged and left the village in protest. Yet, his own son joined us, supporting us and denouncing his father’s action.

“The campaign against British goods was serious. We wore only khadi . We wove it ourselves. Ideology was a part of it. We actually were very poor, so it was good for us.”

All the freedom fighters stuck to this practice for decades afterwards. Until their fingers could no longer spin or weave. “At 90, last year,” says Chamaru, “I thought it was time to stop.”

It all started with a Congress-inspired “training” camp held in Sambalpur in the 1930s. “This training was called ` sewa ‘ [service] but instead we were taught about life in

— source ruralindiaonline.org | P. Sainath | Jul 22, 2014

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Panimara’s foot soldiers of freedom – 1

“Take back all these petitions and tear them up,” said Chamaru. “They are not valid. This court will not entertain them.”

He was really beginning to enjoy being a magistrate.

It was August 1942 and the country was in ferment. The court in Sambalpur certainly was. Chamaru Parida and his comrades had just captured it. Chamaru had declared himself the judge. Jitendra Pradhan was his “orderly.” Purnachandra Pradhan had opted to be a peshkar or court clerk.

The capture of the court was part of their contribution to the Quit India movement.

“These petitions are addressed to the Raj,” Chamaru told the astonished gathering in the court. “We live in free India. If you want these cases considered, take them back. Re-do your petitions. Address them to Mahatma Gandhi and we’ll give them due attention.”

Sixty years later, almost to the day, Chamaru still tells the story with delight. He is now 91 years old. Jitendra, 81, is seated beside him. Purnachandra, though, is no more. They still live in Panimara village in Odisha’s Bargarh district. At the height of the freedom struggle, this village sent a surprising number of its sons and daughters to

— source ruralindiaonline.org | P. Sainath | Jul 22, 2014

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On Frontier Gandhi’s Death Anniversary

Landing in New Delhi in time for Gandhi’s birth anniversary in October 1969, Badshah Khan returned to Kabul four months later, shortly after the anniversary of Gandhi’s death. In India Badshah Khan was an unusual state guest who carried his bundle of belongings and washed his clothes himself. Affectionate in every personal relationship, he was blunt in every public utterance and also in some private conversations.

Stirred by a reminder of less petty times, many Indians asked Badshah Khan to make India his home. Shaken by the reality of Indian public life in 1969, Badshah Khan asked to be excused. On 7 October he said, ‘Even if I live in India for a hundred years, it will have no impact. No one cares here for the country or the people.’

Disappointed that India was importing food and taking aid even from Japan, he said: ‘You talk a lot but don’t know how to work. It seems as if you think that to clap, give or

— source newsclick.in | Rajmohan Gandhi | 20 Jan 2022

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Abdul Ghaffar Khan: Freedom Fighter, Gandhian, Pacifist, Muslim and Pakhtun

January is an important month for Indians. Apart from the English new year, 26 January marks the day when the Constitution was adopted, and 30 January marks the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, a Hindutva fanatic. Very few remember that 20 January marks the death anniversary of another Gandhian giant whose politics rose above communalism and was singularly focussed against British imperialism’s purloining of India. He was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a.k.a. Bacha Khan and the Frontier Gandhi. He was named Badshah Khan at twenty-six by the members of his tribe when his father died.

Khan was born on 6 February 1890, two and a half months after Jawaharlal Nehru, in the village of Utmanzai, what is now a small town near Peshawar in today’s Pakistan, then British India. His father was Behram Khan, the leader of the Muhammadzai tribe who owned prosperous agricultural lands and took pride in speaking the purest accent of Pashto, allowing the tribe to remember traditions bequeathed upon them by their rich history.

Badshah Khan, too represented the best among the Pathans. As a young boy, he left his high school final exams, aspiring to join ‘The Guides’, a corps composed of Sikhs and

— source newsclick.in | Shubham Sharma | 20 Jan 2022

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Socialists Must Be the Champions of Freedom

The topic of freedom was raised when I was giving some talks in Peru. The students there were very interested in the question: “Does socialism require a surrender of individual freedom?”

The right wing has managed to appropriate the concept of freedom as its own and to use it as a weapon in class struggle against socialists. The subservience of the individual to state control imposed by socialism or communism is something to be avoided, they said, at all costs.

My reply was that we should not give up on the idea of individual freedom as being part of what an emancipatory socialist project is about. The achievement of individual liberties and freedoms is, I argued, a central aim of such emancipatory projects. But that achievement requires collectively building a society where each one of us has adequate life chances and life possibilities to realize each one of our own potentialities.
Marx and Freedom

Marx had a few interesting things to say on this topic. One of them is that “the realm of freedom begins when the realm of necessity is left behind.” Freedom means nothing if you don’t have enough to eat, if you are denied access to adequate healthcare, housing, transportation, education, and the like. The role of socialism is to provide those basic

— source jacobinmag.com | David Harvey | 10.22.2020

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Freedom Is Not Free (That’s Why You Don’t Have Any)

“Freedom is not free,” goes the old bumper sticker slogan, commonly accompanied by an image of a flag or soldiers or some other bullshit.

Freedom is not free, the saying goes, because military personnel are out there laying their lives on the line fighting for your right to do as you’re told and toil away at a meaningless job making some rich asshole even richer.

Freedom is not free, because we’re all just so much freer after murdering families on the other side of the planet for corporate profits and geostrategic domination.

Freedom is not free, because we’re all so much freer after teenagers get thrown into the gears of the imperial war machine to provide a good quarterly statement for Raytheon shareholders.

Freedom is not free, because this thing we’re calling “freedom” has been paid for with the blood, lives and limbs of millions of innocents throughout the Global South.

— source caitlinjohnstone.com | Caitlin Johnstone | 2021/07/13

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Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha — Youngest Ghadar Party Hero who was Executed at Age 19

Attempts to demean, carefully erase historical achievement as a nation is the new tactic in deployment by nation’s Right-wing forces. November 16 marks 106th martyrdom of Kartar Singh Sarabha, one of the youngest heroes of nation’s freedom movement.

Born in the village of Sarabha (in Ludhiana district) in 1896, Kartar Singh was brought up with immense care and love. Having lost his father at a very tender age, his grandfather, Sardar Mangal Singh, brought him up. After his initial education at the village school, Kartar Singh took admission in the Khalsa School, Ludhiana.

Academically, he was an average student, who was good at playing pranks on others and was called ‘aflatoon’ by his classmates. He was loved by everyone, had a separate group and was a leading sportsman in his school. He possessed all the qualities of a leader.

After studying up to class 9, he left for Odisha to stay with his uncle. Having passed his matriculation examination there, he joined college in 1912. Kartar garnered influence by his headmaster, Shri Beni Madhav Das, whom his one-year junior Subhas Chander Bose revered as his Guru, a patriot to the core. Further, he desired to go to the US, and his

— source newsclick.in | Saurav Kumar | 16 Nov 2021

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For miscarriage Oklahoma woman is sent to prison

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) has denounced the prosecution of Brittney Poolaw. On Tuesday, October 5, Brittney Poolaw, a 20-year-old Oklahoma woman, was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree for experiencing a miscarriage at 17 weeks and sentenced to 4 years in state prison. Last year, Ms. Poolaw experienced a miscarriage and went to Comanche County Hospital for medical help. On March 17, 2020, she was charged with Manslaughter in the First Degree, arrested and incarcerated. The court set a $20,000 bond, an amount she could not afford. Ms. Poolaw has been incarcerated since her arrest over 18 months ago.

— source nationaladvocatesforpregnantwomen.org | 26 Oct 2021

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