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Drift of support worries CPM

Agartala, Dec. 19: The Tripura CPM is concerned over the drift of indigenous supporters from the party and the creation of a powerful middle class.

During the past few decades, there has been major stratification in the indigenous society where consciousness of individual property rights, intrusion of capital and creation of classes has happened. The process has been accentuated by the introduction of rubber cultivation in the hilly areas of the state, especially after allotment of forestland at least among 1.2 lakh indigenous people.

During the conference of the CPM’s powerful indigenous front organisation, Ganamukti Parishad (GMP), senior party leaders expressed their views on the emerging class conflicts in the egalitarian indigenous society.

“Various economic factors, especially rubber cultivation in the hilly areas has brought about a socio-economic transformation in the indigenous people. A powerful middle class has also emerged whose political inclinations are not clear,” said chief minister Manik Sarkar in a signed article authored by him in the souvenir published by GMP.

Though the CPM is still undecided on forming a concrete strategy to retain and expand the party’s base among the indigenous communities, the party has decided to launch a campaign on the basis of past achievements and movements. “We are launching a cultural campaign on the Jana Shiksha Andolan which had been launched on December 27, 1945 and brought about a major change in the indigenous life of Tripura,” said Haripada Das, CPM office secretary.

He said since the early forties of the last century the indigenous society in Tripura had started changing with the growing influx of non-indigenous people from the Tripura royal family’s domains in eastern Bengal following communal riots.

“The last king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya had provided shelter to the evacuees with land and rehabilitation benefits but this had also posed a threat to the indigenous people still confined in the hilly areas of the state,” said Haripada Das.

It was in this situation that former chief minister and legendary indigenous leader Dasharath Deb launched the Jana Shiksha Samity (JSS) for starting a literacy movement among the indigenous people.

As part of this many schools under private initiatives had been set up in the hilly areas and worked effectively to spread literacy among indigenous people.

“In the late forties, the JSS became GMP for launching an armed struggle against the monarchical misrule and finally the body merged with the CPM as a front organisation,” said Haripada Das.

He said Leftist intellectual Pranab Debroy wrote a play On the Road to Liberation and tried to capture the essence of the JSS movement in Tripura in the forties, in it. “The play will be staged in Agartala Town Hall on December 27, the foundation day of the JSS. We are also getting it translated into Kokborok language for staging it in areas dominated by indigenous people,” said Das. He said the young generation of the indigenous people need to know their “glorious past and struggle for their rights”.