नैतिकता, भ्रष्टाचार, समाज और राजसत्ता

नैतिकता, भ्रष्टाचार, समाज और राजसत्ता

अभी हमारे देश में भ्रष्टाचार पर काफी चर्चा हो रही है. आम लोगों और बुद्धिजीवियों का मानना है कि भ्रष्टाचार आज विकराल रूप ले चुका है और उसे रोकना ही चाहिए. भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ तथाकथित जंग में देश के समाजसेवी, धर्मसेवी, कई राजनेता और आम लोग जुड़े हुए हैं. दिलचस्प बात तो यह है कि जो लोग भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ जंग में शामिल हैं, उनपर भी भ्रष्टाचार के आरोप लगाये जा रहें हैं और जो अब तक भ्रष्टाचार पर गला फाड़ कर चिल्ला रहे थे, उन्हें अब सफाई देनी पड़ रही है. देश के कई प्रमुख राष्ट्रीय राजनीतिक दलों के प्रमुख नेताओं पर सीधे तौर पर भ्रष्टाचार के आरोप लगाये जा रहें हैं. खैर मसला चाहे जो भी हो, यह विषय आज पहले से ज्यादा प्रासंगिक हो चुकी है, और लोगों को इन बातों पर अवश्य विचार करना चाहिए. यहां बिना किसी दर्शनशास्त्र में गये मैं एक बात पूछना चाहता हॅू कि हम जिस भ्रष्टाचार की बात कर रहें हैं, माफ किजीएगा, यहां यह बताना जरूरी है कि भ्रष्टाचार के विभिन्न स्वरूप हैं, उसके विभिन्न आयाम हैं, लेकिन हम आज सिर्फ सत्ता मेें नासूर की तरह चुभ चुके भ्रष्टाचार पर ही ज्यादा बोल रहे हैं. इसलिए यहां यह जानना जरूरी है कि आखिर भ्रष्टाचार की उत्पत्ति हुई कब और वह आयी कहां से. यदि यह सवाल एक बच्चे से पूछ जाए तो हो सकता है वह इसका जवाब दे, चाॅंंंद से ! यहां यह जानना भी महत्वपूर्ण है कि भ्रष्टाचार क्या आज जितना है वह पहले नहीं था ? हमें जरूर इन सवालों का जवाब तलाशना चाहिए. दरअसल भ्रष्टाचार मानवीय सभयता के विकास में जबसे परिवार, निजी संम्पति और राजसत्ता की उत्पत्ति हुई है, तब से हमारे समाज में कमोबेश मौजूद रहा है. इसके हजारों तथ्यगत जवाब मिल जायेंगे. हाॅं जब आदिमानव इस धरती पर निवास करते थे तब यह शायद कम था लेकिन हो सकता है तब भी मार कर लाये गये शिकार में कमजोरांे की हिस्सेदारी को लेकर सहज मतभेद होते होंगे और उन्हें भोजन से वंचित रहना पड़ता होगा. हम इसे आदि मानव काल का शिशु भ्रष्टाचार कह सकते हैं.

बाद में जब परिवार फिर उसके बाद निजी सम्पत्ति और फिर राजसत्ता का जन्म हुआ तो यही शिशु व्यस्क हो चुका था. उसका भी सभ्यता के विकास के साथ बढ़ना स्वाभाविक था. मैं यह बात इसलिए कह रहां हूंॅं कि भ्रष्टाचार का मानव स्वाभाव के साथ एक अभिन्न रिस्ता है, यह उसके चरित्र का ही एक स्वरूप है, यह उससे अलग कहीं नहीं है और ना ही रहेगा. यानि भ्रष्टाचार मनुष्य का एक चारित्रिक गुण है जो कहीं ज्यादा तो कहीं कम लेकिन कमोबेश इसकी मौजूदगी रहती है. लेकिन यहां एक सच्चाई यह भी है कि दुनियां में कुछ ऐसे भी लोग हैं जो इससे प्रभावित नहीं रहते हैं लेकिन अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से उनके अन्दर भी इसकी मौजूदगी रहती है. इसे हम युं समझ सकते हैं. मान लिया जाए एक सन्यासी जो तमाम भोग विलास से कोसो दूर है, वह यदि मौन व्रत रखे हुए है और कहीं से गुजर रहा है. अब यदि उसके आंखों के सामने कोई गलत काम हो रहा है और वह सन्यासी चुपचाप उसे देखते हुए वहां से गुजर जाता है तो इसे क्या कहेंगे ? सीधे तौर पर तो वह उस गलत काम में शामिल नहीं है लेकिन उसका चुप रहना कहीं न कहीं गलत काम को बढ़ावा देने का ही काम किया……………..ऐसा कई बार कई जगहों पर देखने को मिल जाता है…………………..अभी हाल में अन्ना हजारे के आंदोलन में जो घटनाक्रम देखने को मिला और उनके साथियों पर भी भ्रष्टाचार के आरोप लगने लगे………………हो सकता है यह राजनीति से प्रेरित हो लेकिन ऐसे समय में अन्ना का अचानक मौन व्रत कर बिलकुल चुप हो जाना, इसे क्या कहा जाएगा. यह महाभारत के उस धृतराष्ट्र वाली स्थिति हो गई जो सबकुछ जानते हुए भी मौन रहता है और उसके मौन ने महाभारत जैसी एक महायुद्ध को जन्म दे दिया.
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इतिहास के पन्नों में ऐस कई उदाहरण हैं. हम ऐसे कई राजाओं-महाराजाओं को इतिहास में उनकी क्रूरता, उनकी लूट और हवस के लिए जानते हैं. तो फिर उसे समय के लूट का मतलब क्या था ? यह सवाल बिलकुल उसी तरह है जैस कोई पूछे कि भ्रष्टाचार है क्या ? आज के परिप्रेक्ष्य में हम कह सकते हैं कि किसी काम के लिए घूस लेना, सरकारी व सार्वजनिक खजानों का अपने हित में इस्तेमाल करना, किसी काम के एवज में पैस लेना, देना इत्यादि.लेकिन यह तो समाज में रोज-बरोज का घटनाक्रम है, हाॅं, इसकी मात्रा या गलत की गुजाईश कहीं कम है तो कहीं ज्यादा. दुनियां के तमाम धार्मिक इतिहासों को उठाकर देखा जा सकता है, उस समय के समाज को समझा जा सकता है. ईसा मसीह को इसलिए सूली पर चढ़ाया गया कि उन्होंने उस समय के समाज में हो रहे अत्याचार और लूट के खिलाफ अपनी आवाज उठाई. यह लगभग 2 हजार वर्ष पहले का घटनाक्रम है…………. रामायण में भरत को सिहांसन पर बैठाने के लिए राम को वनवास जाना पड़ा………………….सिकंदर को हम सिंकदर महान कहते हैं लेकिन उसने दुनियां पर राज करने के लिए ना जाने कितने लोगों की बली चढ़ाई होगी……………..हमारे देश को ही कभी सोने की चिडि़यां कहा जाता था और उसे लूटने के लिए कभी हून, कभी मंगोल, कभी मुगल लगातार इस देश पर आक्रमण कर इसे लूटते रहें. बाद में अग्रेजों ने लूटा और अब हमारे देश के अन्दर की लूटेरी ताकतें इसे लूट रहीं हैं. यानी यह लूट का सिलसिला तो सदियों से चला आ रहा है. आज अमेरिका समेत पूरे युरोपीय देश जिस आर्थिक मंदी से गुजर रहेें हैं उसकी जड़ में भ्रष्टाचार ही तो है. चीन जैसे समाजवादी देश के अन्दर भी भ्रष्टाचार के मामले आते रहते हैं. खैर यह तो बड़े पैमाने पर राजसत्ता में फैला भ्रष्टाचार है जिससे कोई राजसत्ता कभी अछूता नहीं रहा है. हम कह सकते हैं कि जहां राजसत्ता है वहां भ्रष्टाचार की गुजाईश से बचा नहीं जा सकता है.

लेकिन यह भ्रष्टाचार सिर्फ राजसत्ता में तो नहीं है. राजसत्ता में तो यह समाज के जरिए ही आया क्योंकि राजसत्ता जिनके हाथों में रहती है वे भी तो समाज के ही अंग हैं. एक पिता अपनी लड़की के शादी में चाहता है कि वह कम से कम दहेज दे और लड़के के शादी में चाहता है कि उसे ज्यादा से ज्यादा दहेज मिले……………यह हमारे समाज में फैला एक सामाजिक भ्रष्टाचार का हिस्सा है. हम अपने बच्चों को पास कराने के लिए शिक्षकों के पास पैरवी लेकर जाते हैं, बच्चों को अच्छे स्कूलों-काॅलेंजों में दखिला दिलाने के लिए घूस देते हैं……………..यह क्या है ? यह भी सामाजिक स्तर पर ही फैले भ्रष्टाचार का ही एक अभिन्न हिस्सा है………..हमें खुद तो तन्ख्वाह मिलती है 30 हजार लेकिन हम जब अपने यहां काम करने वाले किसी नौकर को रखते हैं तो हम उसे न्युनतम मजदूरी भी नहीं देते हैं……………हम अपने घरों में बाल मजदूरों तक से काम कराने में नहीं हिचकते……..हाॅं, हम भ्रष्टाचार पर चिल्लाते जरूर हैं……………..इस प्रवृति को क्या कहा जाएगा………और यह प्रवृति आज किस व्यक्ति के अन्दर नहीं है. बाबा रामदेव का भ्रष्टाचार विरोधी आंदोलन में आचार्य बालकृष्ण को टी.वी. चैनलों पर लोगों से चंदा लेते दिखाया गया और जब रामदेव मैदान से कूद कर भागे तो आचार्य कई दिनों तक लापता रहें………यह भी सामने आया कि उनका तो पासपोर्ट ही नकली था. बाबा रामदेव के योग शिविर में सामने बैठने वालों को ज्यादा किमत चुकानी पड़ी है और यदि आप गरीब हैं तो आपको सबसे पीछे बैठना होगा. ये हैं आज के सन्यासी……….जो समाज को कुछ देने के लिए समाज से उसकी भरपूर किमत वसूल लेते हैं. जबकि विवेकानन्द ने बहुत साल पहले ही कहा था कि सच्चा सन्यासी वही है जो उन लोगों के पास जाए जिन्हें उनकी जरूरत है, सूदूर गांवों में जहां लोग गरीबी और अशिक्षा में जीवन गुजार रहें हैं. लेकिन आज के सन्यासी हाईटेक हो गयें हैं……………….फूल मालाओं से लदे, किमती सिंहासनों पर बैठकर लोगों को नैतिकता का पाठ पढ़ाते, टी.वी. चैनलों पर प्रवचन देते इन सन्यासियों को यदि उनके प्रवचन की कीमत नहीं दी जाए तो वे अपना मुंह नहीं खोलेंगे……………….इसे क्या कह जाएगा ? क्या यह भ्रष्टाचार का एक स्वरूप नहीं है. लेकिन इसका मतलब यह नहीं है कि दुनियां में सभी गलत हैं और भ्रष्टाचार हर जगह मौजूद ही है, लेकिन आज यह एक सच्चाई है भ्रष्टाचार एक विचारधारा बन चुकी है और हम पर भारी पड़ रही है जिसे हराने के लिए एक महायुद्ध की जरूरत है. लेकिन उस युद्ध की शुरूआत हमें खुद के अन्दर से करना होगी क्योंकि भ्रष्टाचार हमारे द्वारा ही समाज में और फिर विभिन्न माध्यमों से राजनीति और राजसत्ता में जाती है. इसे एक सहज फार्मूला से इसे समझा जा सकता है ःनैतिकता-व्यक्ति-समाज-समाज में प्रभुत्व-सत्ता. इस फार्मूले में भ्रष्टाचार की शुरूआत व्यक्ति से होती है और उसके बाद वाली कड़ी से जुड़ती चली जाती है और फिर उस भ्रष्टाचार का असर वापस व्यक्ति तक आकर फिर वही प्रक्रिया दुहराती जाती है जो निर्वाध चलता रहता है. यह फार्मूला बिलकुल सही इसलिए भी है कि यह सभी जानते हैं कि भ्रष्टाचार की शुरूआत व्यक्ति से होती है. कुछ लोग कहते हैं कि सत्ता व्यक्ति को भ्रष्ट बनाता है, कुछ लोग अन्य सांसारिक कारकों को इसका जिम्मेवार मानते हैं. पहला तो बिलकुल गलत है. दुनियां में एसी भी सत्ता स्थापित हुई हैं जहां भ्रष्टाचार नगण्य या फिर बिलकुल नहीं रहा है. दूसरा कारण सामाजिक कारणों से जुड़ा है, जैसे आज के उपभोक्तवादी समाज में भ्रष्टाचार की सहज गुंजाईश बनती जाती है और हम उसमें डूबते चले जाते हैं. लेकिन मूल बात यही है कि हमारी व्यक्तिगत ईमानदारी और चरित्र ही यह तय करेगा कि भ्रष्टाचार को हराना है या उससे हारते जाना है. इसलिए भ्रष्टाचार के विरूद्ध संघर्ष की शुरूआत हमें खुद से करनी होगी……….

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Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh

Views of Com. Ajay Ghosh:

Few cases in this country have attracted such attention as the Lahore conspiracy case of 1929-30. From the day bombs exploded in the Central Assembly till the time curtain was rung down with the execution of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev, the floodlight of public attention was focussed on the case, on the prisoners, on the countless struggles they waged for the cause of political prisoners and for the principles they cherished. Bhagat Singh and his comrades became the heroes of many legends – some of them were true, some were fond creations of the popular mind. Songs and poems about them could be heard wherever one went.Who were these people that overnight became so popular? What was it they stood for? Why did they evoke such sympathy and admiration? These questions I shall try to answer in the following pages.I believe it was sometime in 1923 that I met Bhagat Singh for the first time. A young boy of about my age – I was fifteen at that time – he was introduced to me by B.K. Dutt in Cawnpore. Tall and thin, rather shabbily dressed, very quiet, he seemed a typical village lad racking smartness and self-confidence. I did not think very highly of him at that time and told Dutt so when he was gone.A few days later I saw him again. We had a long talk. Those were days when we used to dream boyish dreams of revolution. It seemed round the comer -a question of a few years at most. Bhagat Singh did not seem so confident about it. I have forgotten his words but I remember his speaking about the torpor and apathy that prevailed in the land, the difficulty in rousing the people, the heavy odds against us. My first impressions about him seemed confirmed.Our talks drifted to past attempts at revolution and a change came over Bhagat Singh as he spoke of the martyrs of 1915-16 and especially of Sardar Kartar Singh, the central figure of the first Lahore conspiracy case. Neither of us had met Kartar Singh. He had already been hanged when we were yet kids but we knew how he, then a mere youth of 18 and a comrade of Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, Baba Rur Singh and Prithvi Singh Azad, had become the undisputed leader of the Ghadr Party. He came to India in 1915-16 with the aim of organising armed revolt against British rule. A fearless fighter and a superb organiser, Kartar Singh was a man admired even by his enemies. I literally worshipped him and to hear one talk inspiringly of my hero was a great pleasure. I began to feel a liking for Bhagat Singh. Before he left Cawnpore we were close friends though I never ceased to make fun of what appeared to me his pessimistic outlook.
Kakori Arrests and After:
In 1925 like a bolt from the blue came the Kakori arrests most of our leaders were in prison within a few weeks. More round-ups followed: searches and arrests, harassment of suspects became the order of the day. but what really shattered my dreams was the effect of these arrests. Men who had professed sympathy with ourcause would now avoid us. Boys who had talked now began to leave the gymnasium we had started in Cawnpore for physical culture and as a recruiting centre. The whole province was in the grip of panic.In January 1926, I went to Allahabad to join the university. We tried to rebuild the party out of the shattered remnants of the Kakori round-ups. It was an uphill task. Revolution, it seemed now, was far, very far off.This sense of frustration, which prevailed in the ranks of the revolutionary minded youth of that period and inevitably drew them towards terrorism was the outcome of the general political situation then prevailing. Following the failure of the great mass movement of 1921-22, the Congress had split into two factions—no-changers and pro-changers-and now the Swaraj Party with Gandhiji’s blessing held the field. Of political activities outside the legislatures there were none, mass meetings were rarely held and scantily attended. Stillness hung over the land, the stillness of a stagnant pool.Prolonged discussions took place in our ranks about what to do to break this stagnant calm. Socialist literature was trickling in, the triumph of the November revolution, the consolidation of the socialist regime in Russia and more than anything else, the aid given by the Soviet Union to Asian countries like Turkey and China against imperialist powers attracted us towards the new socialist state and towards the ideas and principles it embodied.Simultaneously another phenomenon whose significance we could only vaguely grasp then was being witnessed in our own country. At a time when the whole country seemed quiet and sunk in the morass of apathy the great strike of the Bombay workers led by the Gimi Kamgar Union, strike struggles in Calcutta and Cawanpore, were attracting universal attention.Terrorism, armed action against the enemies of the people, we were convinced, was indispensable to rouse the nation. But, clearly, terrorism by itself could not lead to freedom. In what channels and by what means was the mass movement unleashed by terror to be directed, what sort of government would replace British rule? These questions, vaguely formulated were beginning to be asked in our ranks.Bhagat Singh was in the meantime active in the Punjab. He and his comrades had formed the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, a militant youth organisation which was to propagate socialist ideas, preach the necessity of direct action against British rule and serve as a recruiting centre for the Terrorist Party. The Sabha became tremendously popular in the years that followed and played a leading part in the radicalisation of the youth of the Punjab.Bhagat Singh also worked for some time on the editorial staff of the Kirti – a socialist journal edited by Sohan Singh Josh.One day in 1928, I was surprised when a young man walked into my room and greeted me. It was Bhagat Singh but not the Bhagat Singh that I had met two years before. Tall and magnificently proportioned, with a keen, intelligent face and gleaming eyes, he looked a different man altogether. And as he talked I realised that he had grown non-merely in years.He was now, together with Chandra Shekhar Azad – the sole remaining absconder of the Kakori conspiracy case, the leader of our party. He explained to me the changes that had been made in our program and organisational structure.We were henceforth the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association with a socialist state in India as our avowed objective. Also the party had been reorganised with a central committee and with provincial and district committees under it. All decisions were to be taken in these committees, majority decisions were to be binding on all.As for the most important question, however, the question in what manner the fight for freedom and socialism was to be waged, armed action by individuals and groups was to remain our immediate task. Nothing else, we held, could smash constitutionalist illusions, nothing else could free the country from the grip in which it was held. When the stagnant calm was broken by a series of hammer blows delivered by us at selected points and on suitable occasions, against the most hated officials of the government, and mass movement unleashed, we would link ourselves with that movement act as its armed detachment and give it a socialist direction.Our very contribution towards ensuring the success of the movement would ensure that free India became socialist India. All those who met Bhagat Singh then and afterwards have testified to his remarkable intelligence and to the powerful impression he made when talking. Not that he was a brilliant speaker, but he spoke with such force, passion and earnestness that one could not help being impressed. We talked the whole night and as we went out for a stroll when the first streaks of red were appearing in the grey sky, it seemed to me that a new era was dawning for our party. We knew what we wanted and we knew how to reach our goal.Such was our socialism in those days. We had lost faith in the existing national leadership, its constitutionalism, its slogan of boring from within disgusted us. And we looked upon ourselves as men who by their example would create the basis for the rise of a new leadership. Socialism for us was an ideal, the principle to guide us to rebuild society after the capture of power.
The First Blow:
The visit of the Simon Commission in 1928 was the occasion for countrywide strikes and demonstrations. The Bombay workers came out in a gigantic one-day protest strike. “Simon go back” was the slogan that rose from the seething sea of humanity wherever the commission went. Such scenes had not been witnessed since the non-cooperation days.A wave of indignation swept over the country when news came that at Lahore the protest demonstration had been broken up by the police and Lala Lajpat Rai, who was leading the procession, had himself been seriously injured. A few weeks afterwards he died. The country was plunged in mourning.Even more than sorrow the common feeling was one of hatred and anger and also of frustration. Here in broad day light in full view of tens of thousands, an aged and universally respected leader had been done to death and nothing could be done to meet out justice to the cowardly perpetrators of the crime.Our party decided to strike a blow. In December 1928 Saunders, the assistant superintendent of police, the man who had led the lathi charge, was shot dead in front of the police headquarters in Lahore. Well-timed and daringly executed, it was an action that was acclaimed by the public with joy. The first of the blows by means of which we expected to stir the country had been struck.Bombs in the Assembly:Things seemed to be moving apace. At its Calcutta session in December 1928 the Congress resolved to unfurl the banner of independence if dominion status was not conceded within a year. Torpor that had hung over the land like a black cloud for years was slowly lifting. Youth Leagues were springing up everywhere, another gigantic strike was impending in Bombay.We felt a big fight was ahead, an upheaval like that which had convulsed the country in 1921-22. We were feverishly busy preparing to play our part in it -collecting arms and money, training our cadres in the use of arms. Jatin Das was brought from Calcutta to teach us how to make bombs.In April 1929, streamer headlines announced the arrest of communist and trade union leaders all over the country P.C. Joshi then a student in the Allahabad University and a Youth League Leader, was arrested his arrest being followed by a huge protest demonstration of students.Bhagat Singh and some others among us had already met a number of communist leaders. We felt sympathetic towards them and at one time even contemplated some sort of a working alliance with them – communists to organise the masses and conduct the mass movement, we of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association to act as its armed section. But when we learned that communists considered armed action by individuals to be harmful to the movement, we dropped the idea. While we did not look upon communists as revolutionists – revolution for us meant primarily armed action – we felt one with them in many respects: in their hatred for imperialism, in their opposition to constitutionalism and insistence on direct action, in their striving for socialism.And so the countrywide arrests of communists were felt by us to be a matter of vital concern for the revolutionary movement. It was imperialist attack against a cause, which was our own, against a movement which had our love and sympathy. We resolved to protest not merely against the arrests but against the whole imperialist policy of fostering the growth of constitutionalist illusions on the one hand and unleashing terror against the people on the other.A few days later bombs exploded on the official benches in the Central Assembly just after the Trades Dispute Bill – a measure directed against the working class movement-had been passed. Bhagat Singh and Dutt were arrested on the spot.In a ringing statement that revealed the powerful pen that Bhagat Singh wielded they admitted their responsibility and explained what had led them to it. They were sentenced to transportation for life.Soon followed the accidental discovery of our bomb factory in Lahore and the arrests of Sukhdev, Kishori Lal and others. Jai Gopal confessed, then Hansraj Vohra, and the result was more round-ups, more confessions and within a few weeks most of our active workers and leaders of Bihar, United Provinces and the Punjab were in the hands of; the police. Others went underground. My arrest came just when I was preparing to go underground.It all seemed over, our dreams and our hopes. More depressing than anything else was the shocking fact that, unable to stand police torture, no less than seven, two of them members of our central committee had turned approvers.
The Trial Begins :
In July 1929 we were produced in court – 13 of us – and there we met Bhagat Singh and Dutt again. No longer was he the Bhagat Singh of the magnificent physique whose strength had been a byword in our party. A shadow of his former self, weak and emaciated, he was carried into the court on a stretcher.For months he and Dutt had been tortured by the police and now they were on hunger strike demanding human treatment for all political prisoners. Our eyes filled with tears as we greeted them.Though sentenced already to transportation for life Bhagat Singh and Dutt were our co-accused in the new case that now began – the Lahore conspiracy case of 1929. For three days we paid no attention to the proceedings but held prolonged discussion which Bhagat Singh, though so weak that he had to recline in an easy chair all the time, took the leading part.The first thing, he emphasised, was the need to get rid of the idea that all was over. Ours was not to be a defence in the legal sense of the word. While every effort must be made to save those who could be saved, the case as a whole was to be conducted with a definite political purpose. Revolutionary use was to be made of the trial, of every opportunity to expose the sham justice of the British government and to demonstrate the unconquerable will of revolutionists. Not merely by our statements when the time came but even more by our actions inside the court and prisons we were to fight for the cause of all political prisoners hurl defiance at the government and show the contempt we had for its courts and its police. Thus we were to continue the work we had begun outside the work of rousing our people by our actions.These talks had a galvanising effect on us. As a first step we resolved to join the hunger strike that Bhagat Singh and Dutt had already had already begun. Our central demand was the placing of all political prisoners in a single class, better diet for them, newspapers and reading material and writing facilities.The Hunger Strike:Thus began the great Lahore conspiracy case hunger strike that continued for 63 days resulting in the self-immolation of Jatin Das and stirring the country to its very depths.In the beginning the government and the jail authorities did not take the strike seriously. They believed it would peter out in a few days and this belief on their part was strengthened when two of the prisoners gave up the strike after a few days. Some of us were none too confident either and I for one wondered how long it would be possible for me to remain without food. All of us had undergone hardships before physical conflict with the police now did not frighten us, but the prospect of starving ourselves for days, weeks and even months – this was a chilling prospect indeed.For ten days nothing big happened. Hunger grew and with it physical weakness. Some had to take to bed after a week and, as the trial continued, it was a’ real strain for them to sit in the courtroom. But our first terror had gone. Hunger strike did not seem such a hard job after all. But we did not know that the real fight was yet to come.After ten days forcible^ feeding was started. We were all in separate cells at that time. Accompanied by a number of tough and strong nambardars (convict overseers) the doctors came to each cell, the hunger striker was thrown on a mattress, a rubber tube was forcibly pushed into his nostril and the milk poured into it.Violent resistance was offered by everyone but with little effect at first. It almost seemed as if they had already beaten us.In the night on the thirteenth day of the strike news reached me in my cell that Jatin Dass was in a bad state and had been removed to the jail hospital. At first I could not make out what had happened for Das had appeared quite fit only a few hours ago. Then the man who had brought the news – he was a subordinate jail official – hesitatingly told me that something had gone wrong during forcible feeding and Das was now lying unconscious.This was shocking news indeed. I like most others amongst us, had never met Das before my arrest. But during the few days that we had come to know him in prison he had won everyone’s affection. Though quiet and unassuming, he had a keen sense of humour and a fund of stories and anecdotes, which he used to narrate to us and make everyone laugh.I called the jailor and by bullying him got the permission to visit the jail hospital.Das was lying there on a cot, unconscious, with doctors attending on him. They feared he might die that very night. He recovered but developed pneumonia and that weakened him so much – he refused all medicines and nourishment – that forcible feeding was now out of question.From now on the strike became grim and determined. Das was followed by Shiv Varma and others. Soon the hospital was full. Court proceedings were now adjourned.It was a veritable race for death that now began. Who would be the first to die – this became the subject of competition.Many were the methods we devised to defeat the doctors. Kishori swallowed red pepper and boiling water to cause sore throat so that the passage of the tube led to such coughing that it had to be taken out lest he might die of suffocation. I swallowed flies immediately after forced feeding to induce vomiting. These devices came to be known to the doctors and guards were kept on us.Determined to break us the jail officials removed all water from our cells and placed milk instead in the pitchers. This was the worst ordeal imaginable. After a day thirst grew unbearably. I would drag myself towards the pitcher, hoping every time to find water but drew back at the sight of milk. It was maddening. If the man who had hit upon this device had been there before me, I would have killed him.Outside the guard sat – watching every movement -mute, impassive.I could not trust myself much longer. I knew that a few hours more and I was bound to give way and drink the milk. My throat was parched, my tongue swollen.I called the guard. As he stood outside the barred door I asked him to get me a few drops of water at least. His reply was: “I cannot do it. I have no permission”.Fury took possession of me. I snatched the pitcher and hurled at against the door, breaking it to pieces, spilling the milk on the guard. He recoiled back in horror. He thought I had gone mad. He was not far from right.The same torture was being undergone by Kishori and others who were then in cells. And everyone, as I leamt later, had done the same thing -broke their pitchers before their guards.The jailor gave away. Water was brought to our cells. I drank and drank. Then I fell sick and vomitted out every drop.In the meantime sympathetic hunger strikes were taking place wherever there were political prisoners. A powerful mass movement had grown to back our demands. Mass meetings and demonstrations were taking place in every part of the country.The Meerut conspiracy case prisoners went on hunger strike after a few days. The news was flashed across the seas. It created a stir in England. World attention was now focused on conditions in Indian prisons.Several times during the hunger strike Bhagat Singh came to our jail on the plea of consultation but really to meet us and know how we were faring. Though himself weak and emaciated he would sit by the side of Das and other comrades and cheer them up. His very presence infused new life in us and we looked forward eagerly to these visits.At last when Jatin Das was on the point of death and the conditions of Shiv and others were very serious, the government yielded. A committee with a non-official majority was appointed to recommend changes in jail rules. The committee met us in prison, assured us that most of our demands would be conceded and on the basis of its assurances we resolved to end the strike.Jatin Das was now beyond any hope of recovery. He could no longer talk or even hear. Victory, so it seemed at that time, had been won but the man who had more than anyone else contributed towards it was not to live to share its fruits.There he lay, with all of us sitting round him, and a lump rose in my throat. As he passed away and I lifted my head, I saw tears even in the eyes of hardened jail officials. When his body was borne out of the jail gate, to be hauled over to the huge crowd that was waiting outside, Hamilton Harding, superintendent of police Lahore, bared his head, bowing in reverence before the man whom all the might of the British empire had failed to defeat.The promise made by the government on the basis of which we abandoned the strike were not kept forcing»,us to resort to two more hunger strikes and even afterwards the new rules were interpreted in such manner as to exclude the vast majority of political prisoners from any benefit. But public attention was focussed on the terrible conditions prevailing in the jails-conditions far worse than today. The sham pretensions of the government stood exposed.One event during the hunger strike moved us deeply. Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, the founder of the Ghadr Party and a hero of the Lahore conspiracy case of 1915-16, who was then in the Lahore central jail, joined the strike; he had already served 14 years in the Andamans and in Indian prisons and was about to be released. We were informed by the superintendent that if he persisted, he would lose his remissions and would have to remain in prison much longer. Moreover, Babaji was old and in ill health, 14 years of hell had shattered his body and the hunger strike might end disastrously for him.In vain, however, Bhagat Singh saw Babaji and pleaded with him – he was in tears when he reported the interview to us – to desist. Babaji continued the strike as long as we did. He lost a good part of his remissions and had to remain in jail for a year more.
The Man and His Ideas:
Bhagat Singh had none of the characteristics of the traditional terrorist leader. We had differences amongst us on many occasions, several of the meetings we held were stormy and more than once Bhagat Singh had to follow a course of action with which he did not agree. Impetuous and strong willed, he lacked the coolness and imperturbability of Azad and would at times fret and fume and lash at those who seemed to vacillate. But only seldom did he give offence and whenever he did so he felt mortified and begged forgiveness with such candour and sincerity that one could not bear any grudge against him. Of affectionate nature, tender towards ailing comrades, frank and open hearted, with no trace of pettiness in his make-up, he was a man who claimed the love of all who were even acquainted with him.Always passionately fond of studying Bhagat Singh spent most of his time in prison reading socialist literature. Perhaps the first among us to be drawn towards socialist ideas, he was an avowed atheist and had none of the religious beliefs of earlier terrorists. It would be an exaggeration to say that he became a Marxist, but more and more as a result of his studies, of discussions which we held frequently and under the impact of events outside – stirring events took place while we were in prison: the Sholapur uprising, the Peshwar upheaval, the heroic stand of Garhwali soldiers led by Chandra Singh – he began to stress the need for armed action only in coordination with and as an integral part of the mass movement, subordinated to its needs and requirements.Studies in prison deepened the love that we already cherished for the Soviety Union and on the occasion of the 1930 anniversary of the November revolution, we sent greetings to the Soviet Union, hailing its victories and pledging support to the Soviet State against all enemies.Ex-Parte Justice :Throughout the trial we strove to carry out the policy we had chalked out in the very beginning, the policy of propaganda by action. The success of that policy and the tremendous publicity that our case received made the government furious. Every opportunity was seized to break us. We were equally determined never to give into humiliating orders, never to bow before the court and the police. And the result was frequent struggles, physical clashes with the police, prolonged adjournments.The effect of each of these was better exposure of the government more publicity and more popular sympathy for us.After nine months of trial before the magistrate and long before even a small number of prosecution witnesses had been examined, the proceedings were abruptly ended and “in view of the emergency” that had arisen threatening “peace and tranquillity” a special ordinance was promulgated by the viceroy to try us known as the Lahore conspiracy case ordinance of 1930, its provisions were of an unheard of character. We were to be tried before a special tribunal that could, if it deemed it necessary, dispense with our presence. There need be no lawyers, no defence witnesses, no accused in the court. Any sentence, including the sentence of death, could be passed by the tribunal. And to crown it all, against its judgement there was no right of appeal. Never had any government calling itself civilised adopted such measures.What the government intended, above all, was to defeat our policy of using the trial for revolutionary propaganda. Another thing, it seemed, was worrying them. Mr. Frane, the only police official present at the spot when assistant superintendent Saunders was killed, had failed to identify Bhagat Singh. Due to the tremendous popular enthusiasm that the case had evoked, a number of key witnesses had turned hostile, more were likely to follow suit and two of the approvers had retracted their confessions.The whole case was in danger of ending in a fiasco if ordinary legal procedure were followed and ordinary legal facilities allowed us.Before the trial had proceeded in the court of the special tribunal for a fortnight the expected clash came. Orders were passed by the president of the tribunal to handcuff us for raising slogans when entering the court. On our pointing out that this had never been objected to in the magistrate’s court or even in the High Court where we had been taken once the police were ordered to use force.There, in the presence of lawyers and visitors, scores of policemen armed with lathis and batons pounced upon us. This was the order they had been waiting for. We fought back with bare firsts but the odds against us were too heavy. Blows rained on our chests, on our,.arms. Thrown on the ground we were kicked and beaten with lathis. We were removed from the court by force, bloodstained and severely injured. The injuries were so serious that several comrades could not move for days together.We demanded withdrawal of the order and assurance that such things would not be repeated. This was not forthcoming. Justice Agha Haider, the only Indian member of the tribunal, was so moved by the scene he had witnessed that he issued a statement that he had been no party to the order to handcuff us and to use force. A few days later the tribunal was reconstituted. His name was missing from the reconstituted tribunal.And so the trial proceeded, without defense lawyers, without defense witness, before a court from which the one judge whose sense of justice would into permit illegal beating-ups and who therefore might take an independent stand on the question of sentences also had been removed. What the judgment would be was a foregone conclusion.In October 1930, after a farcical trial lasting five months, the judgment was announced. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death, seven to transportation for life, others to long terms of imprisonment. I was among those acquitted because the only evidence against me was that of two approvers, the third approver who had deposed against me having retracted his confession. As the jail gates closed behind me and I stood on the street outside, I felt like a man who had deserted his comrades.What Bhagat Singh had come to mean to our countrymen I realised only when I was out. “Bhagat Singh Zindabadh” was the slogan that rent the air’ wherever a meeting was held. “Inquilab Zindab” -the slogan he had been the first to raise-had replaced “Bande Mataram” as the slogan of the national movement. His name was on lips of the millions, his image in every young man’s heart. My chest swelled with pride as I thought of my long association with such a man.Hopes there were still of saving Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Everyone expected that the release of the Lahore case prisoners or at least the commutation of their death sentences would be one of the terms of any agreement between the Congress and the government. That expectation was belied. We had been guilty of violence and so while the congress leaders desired to save Bhagat Singh that could not be made one of the conditions of the Gandhi-Irwin pact.On the evening of 23rd March 1931, just on the eve of the Karachi session of the Congress, the death sentences were carried out. Bhagat Singh was barely 24 at that time.I was then on my way to Karachi. Men who heard the news wept like children. As for me I was too stunned even to think.Like a meteor, Bhagat Singh appeared in the political sky for a brief period. Before he passed away, he had become the cynosure of millions of eyes and the symbol of the spirit and aspirations of a new India, dauntless in the face of death, determined to smash imperialist rule and raise on its ruins the edifice of a free people’s state in this great land of ours.————————————————————————————————-

Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Shaheed Bhagat Singh


Born: September,27,1907Died: March,23,1931

Achievements:

Gave a new direction to revolutionary movement in India, formed ‘Naujavan Bharat Sabha’ to spread the message of revolution in Punjab, formed ‘Hindustan Samajvadi Prajatantra Sangha’ along with Chandrasekhar Azad to establish a republic in India, assassinated police official Saunders to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, dropped bomb in Central Legislative Assembly along with Batukeshwar Dutt.Bhagat Singh was one of the most prominent faces of Indian freedom struggle. He was a revolutionary ahead of his times. By Revolution he meant that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice must change. Bhagat Singh studied the European revolutionary movement and was greatly attracted towards socialism. He realised that the overthrow of British rule should be accompanied by the socialist reconstruction of Indian society and for this political power must be seized by the workers.Though portrayed as a terrorist by the British, Sardar Bhagat Singh was critical of the individual terrorism which was prevalent among the revolutionary youth of his time and called for mass mobilization. Bhagat Singh gave a new direction to the revolutionary movement in India. He differed from his predecessors on two counts. Firstly, he accepted the logic of atheism and publicly proclaimed it. Secondly, until then revolutionaries had no conception of post-independence society. Their immediate goal was destruction of the British Empire and they had no inclination to work out a political alternative. Bhagat Singh, because of his interest in studying and his keen sense of history gave revolutionary movement a goal beyond the elimination of the British. A clarity of vision and determination of purpose distinguished Bhagat Singh from other leaders of the National Movement. He emerged as the only alternative to Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, especially for the youth.Bhagat Singh was born in a Sikh family in village Banga in Layalpur district of Punjab (now in Pakistan). He was the third son of Sardar Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. Bhagat Singh’s family was actively involved in freedom struggle. His father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh were members of Ghadr Party founded in the U.S to oust British rule from India. Family atmosphere had a great effect on the mind of young Bhagat Singh and patriotism flowed in his veins from childhood.While studying at the local D.A.V. School in Lahore, in 1916, young Bhagat Singh came into contact with some well-known political leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Ras Bihari Bose. Punjab was politically very charged in those days. In 1919, when Jalianwala Bagh massacre took place, Bhagat Singh was only 12 years old. The massacre deeply disturbed him. On the next day of massacre Bhagat Singh went to Jalianwala Bagh and collected soil from the spot and kept it as a memento for the rest of his life. The massacre strengthened his resolve to drive British out from India.In response to Mahatma Gandhi’s call for non-cooperation against British rule in 1921, Bhagat Singh left his school and actively participated in the movement. In 1922, when Mahatma Gandhi suspended Non-cooperation movement against violence at Chauri-chaura in Gorakhpur, Bhagat was greatly disappointed. His faith in non violence weakened and he came to the conclusion that armed revolution was the only practical way of winning freedom. To continue his studies, Bhagat Singh joined the National College in Lahore, founded by Lala Lajpat Rai. At this college, which was a centre of revolutionary activities, he came into contact with revolutionaries such as Bhagwati Charan, Sukhdev and others.To avoid early marriage, Bhagat Singh ran away from home and went to Kanpur. Here, he came into contact with a revolutionary named Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, and learnt his first lessons as revolutionary. On hearing that his grandmother was ill, Bhagat Singh returned home. He continued his revolutionary activities from his village. He went to Lahore and formed a union of revolutionaries by name ‘Naujavan Bharat Sabha’. He started spreading the message of revolution in Punjab. In 1928 he attended a meeting of revolutionaries in Delhi and came into contact with Chandrasekhar Azad. The two formed ‘Hindustan Samajvadi Prajatantra Sangha’. Its aim was to establish a republic in India by means of an armed revolution.In February 1928, a committee from England, called Simon Commission visited India. The purpose of its visit was to decide how much freedom and responsibility could be given to the people of India. But there was no Indian on the committee. This angered Indians and they decided to boycott Simon Commission. While protesting against Simon Commission in Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally Lathicharged and later on succumbed to injuries. Bhagat Singh was determined to avenge Lajpat Rai’s death by shooting the British official responsible for the killing, Deputy Inspector General Scott. He shot down Assistant Superintendent Saunders instead, mistaking him for Scott. Bhagat Singh had to flee from Lahore to escape death punishment.Instead of finding the root cause of discontent of Indians, the British government took to more repressive measures. Under the Defense of India Act, it gave more power to the police to arrest persons to stop processions with suspicious movements and actions. The Act brought in the Central Legislative Assembly was defeated by one vote. Even then it was to be passed in the form of an ordinance in the “interest of the public.” Bhagat Singh who was in hiding all this while, volunteered to throw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly where the meeting to pass the ordinance was being held. It was a carefully laid out plot, not to cause death or injury but to draw the attention of the government, that the modes of its suppression could no more be tolerated. It was decided that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt would court arrest after throwing the bomb.On April 8, 1929 Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in the Central Assembly Hall while the Assembly was in session. The bombs did not hurt anyone. After throwing the bombs, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, deliberately courted arrest by refusing to run away from the scene. During his trial, Bhagat Singh refused to employ any defence counsel. In jail, he went on hunger strike to protest the inhuman treatment of fellow-political prisoners by jail authorities. On October 7, 1930 Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were awarded death sentence by a special tribunal. Despite great popular pressure and numerous appeals by political leaders of India, Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged in the early hours of March 23, 1931.——————————

Peoples Hero : Che Guevara

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Articles by Che Guevara from Sierra Maestra:-

By Ernesto Che Guevara.

From the Militant, Vol. t0, no. 3, 22 January, 1996 The following are three articles by Ernesto Che Guevara, one of the central leaders of the Cuban revolution. They were published in El Cubano Libre (Free Cuban), the newspaper of the Rebel Army in Cuba, which led the revolutionary war to overthrow the U.S.-backed tyranny of Fulgencio Batista. El Cubano Libre – also the name of a paper published by Cuban patriots during the independence wars against Spanish colonialism in the 19th century – was established by Guevara in November 1957 in the Sierra Maestra. “As for the dissemination of our ideas, first we started a small newspaper, El Cubano Libre, in memory of those heroes of the jungle,” says Guevara in the chapter “One year of armed struggle” of his book Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War – 1956-58. “Three or four issues came out under my directorship; it was later edited by Luis Orlando Rodri’guez, and subsequently by Carlos Franqui, who gave it new impetus. We had a mimeograph machine brought up to us from the cities, on which the paper was printed.” In February 1996 Pathfinder Press will release a new edition of the Episodes. The English-language translation of the articles below, which are not included in the Episodes, is copyright Pathfinder Press. They are reprinted by permission. Footnotes are by the Militant.

One year of combat:-

El Cubano Libre, no. 3, January 1958 The first year of our struggle in the Sierra Maestra has now been completed. The road has been long and difficult. On the third day after our landing in Cuba on December 2, 1956, our troop of 82 expeditionaries was taken by surprise, dispersed, and almost annihilated at a place known as “Alegri’a” [joy].(1) Bitter days of dispersal followed. The defeated rebels – hungry, thirsty, discouraged, in small groups – roamed the woods aimlessly. Some lost faith and turned in their weapons. Then came death at the hands of military killers, as Laurent and other jackals gorged their lust for blood, and great comrades fell victim. Antonio Lo’pez, Juan Manuel Ma’rquez, Jose’ Smith, and Ca’ndido Gonza’lez were among the murdered. Days passed and finally the dispersed fighters were reunited: fifteen poorly armed men with even less ammunition. What sustained them was a common ideal: Cuba. And they were driven by a faith that could move mountains: that of Fidel. Few times can it be said so truthfully that one man was the creator of a revolution. Marti'(2) proclaimed that those who march at the head have the obligation of seeing farther. Fidel marched at the head of a tiny guerrilla unit, and saw what no one dared to see; during those days of defeat he saw victory, and his wonderful faith in the power of the people sustained and inspired everyone. Later came the victories at La Plata and Palma Mocha. Subsequently a traitor whom Casillas introduced in our midst had us in the jaws of the jackal on three occasions; the worst period eventually passed, and we eliminated the internal enemy. Later, when the world had given us up for dead, the interview with Matthews put the lie to our disappearance.(3) Thus we can say that the timid stage of the revolution was brought to an end. Up until then we saw in each peasant a potential informer; we saw in each peasant hut a threat to our security. We ate boiled malanga or yucca, often without salt or lard. We had still not understood the enormous capacity of struggle of the Cuban peasant. In response to the threats, the mistreatment, the burning of homes, and murder, they responded by supporting us with greater enthusiasm, giving us their children as combatants and guides, and letting us use their houses, all as a contribution to the cause. Afterward came the battle of Uvero, where we achieved a great though painful triumph, costing us the lives of seven of our comrades. The subsequent forced evacuation of peasants by the government was the pretext for a thousand crimes, robberies, and abuses against them. Again the peasants responded with renewed support to the cause of the July 26 Movement. Our fair treatment toward the peasantry – respecting their property, paying for what we consumed, tending their sick, helping those most in need – was the total opposite of the government’s bestial policy. At that point the relationship of forces in the Sierra Maestra began to shift greatly. Four well-armed columns were formed, Estrada Palma and Bueycito were attacked, the enemy was compelled to maintain a defensive posture, and their columns were decimated when they tried to ascend the mountains. Now the Movement has proposed to obstruct the sugar harvest as long as Batista is in power. We intend to overthrow him: through economic pressure caused by the loss of the sugar harvest, his principal source of income; through the revolutionary general strike, which will be called at the appropriate moment; and through the pressure of our columns, which will repulse every attempt by the enemy to enter the mountains, while preparing to take the struggle down onto the plains once and for all. Now that our triumph is clearly in sight, when a Fidel Castro is not needed to see its approach, the politicians of old, living comfortably in exile, tried to make a pact in which our name was invoked.(4) Not only did they not consult us, but they boycotted us in a clear attempt to return to the swamp that existed prior to March 1952. But the blood of the people has not been shed in vain. Each and every one of our dead over these five years of dictatorship constitutes a solemn pledge to carry our revolution forward, far beyond the simple ouster of Batista – as far as necessary to ensure there will be no going back to the status quo of old. That is why we fight. And neither the latest crimes that drag the army down to the lowest rung of barbarism, nor the betrayal of the pseudo-oppositionist and electoralist groups, will make us change our stance. ——————————

No Bullet in the Chamber:-

By “Sharp-shooter” Che Guevara, in El Cubano Libre no. 3, January 1958 Here in the mountaintops of our Sierra, the voice of a distant world reaches us via the radio and newspapers. The media are more explicit in describing events abroad, because they are unable to mention the crimes committed here on a daily basis. Thus we learn of the disturbances and deaths in Cyprus, Algeria, Ifni, or Malaya, all of which have common characteristics: a) The government authorities “have inflicted heavy losses on the rebels.” b) There are no prisoners. c) “All goes normally” for the government. d) All the revolutionaries, no matter which country or region they are in, are receiving “secret aid from communists.” How much the world resembles Cuba! It is the same everywhere. A group of patriots is murdered, with or without arms, whether or not they are rebels. After a “ferocious struggle,” they fall under the guns of the oppressors. No prisoners are taken because all witnesses are killed. The government never suffers any casualties, which is sometimes true – since murdering defenseless individuals is not particularly dangerous. But sometimes it is also pure lying; the Sierra Maestra gives irrefutable proof of this. And finally, there is the handy accusation, as always, of “communists.” Those who are fed up with so much poverty and pick up a gun, wherever it may be, are “communists.” Those who murder the indignant people: men, women, or children, are “democrats.” How much the world resembles Cuba! But everywhere, as in Cuba, the people are standing up to brutal force and injustice. And it is they who will have the last word: that of victory. ————————-

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By Che Guevara, El Cubano Libre, No. 4, February 1958 There is a notable difference between that tattered and filthy “army” of twelve men (please don’t count them) who roamed as isolated inhabitants of the highest peaks of the Sierra Maestra, and our new army of twelve columns and great offensive might. The difference is not only military, although perhaps the military aspect provides the basis; today it is also political. There is a world of difference between the pictures of bearded guerrilla fighters that used to appear on the amusement pages, taken from Life and Coronet magazines, and the serious declaration by the State Department denying Fidel Castro’s comments to Homer Biggart denouncing the pact between that department and Batista. The July 26 Movement is no longer a bizarre spectacle for the entertainment pages; it has now become an international political factor. But there is a question on the minds of the Cuban people: Does the pact exist? And if so, what is the United States trying to achieve? Yes, the pact exists, and the revolutionary general staff knew that Batista would lift the censorship and Pri’o would be arrested the day before these things occurred. What we cannot answer is what goals are being pursued by the United States of North America, the Great Power defending democracy and the free world, backing a semidefeated dictatorship against the clear will of the people. It would seem ridiculous for our small forces to attempt to threaten the giant. Threaten them? No, never. We are simply reminding them. Reminding the United States of North America that behind the July 26 Movement’s army there is a people in struggle, there is a unanimous civic will. To put them on notice, simply put, that the July 26 Movement is advancing toward its goal, fulfilling the will of the masses. And to put them on notice that our conduct is guided by the battle cry that serves as this publication’s motto:

Freedom or death!

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