(The last speech of Comrade Vinod Mishra, 6 December, 1998, Patna)
In August our Party started a campaign – “Oust Saffron, Save the Nation” that concludes today, 6 December, the day when Babri Masjid was demolished by communal fascists in 1992. And during the campaign period elections to four state assemblies were held in which people inflicted a crushing defeat to the BJP. This shows that the overwhelming majority of our people do not like politics based on religious fanaticism, do not support the attempts to turn our country into a religious nation or the politics of fanning war hysteria against neighbouring countries on the basis of chauvinism.
For us, the question of Babri Masjid is a question of struggle between fascism and the forces of democracy. It is not about either appeasing the minorities or to get their votes. This is not a Muslim issue but is one concerning all the forces of democracy, all the forces of progress standing against fascism within the country. Because, by bringing down Babri Masjid an attempt was made to change the history of our country
All of us know that our bondage began with British imperialism colonising our country. But there are some forces in our country that do not agree that the battle for independence was a battle against the British. They hold that our enslavement began with the advent of Muslims. Therefore, in their view, the battle for independence does not start from 1857 but long before that. In fact, in their eyes, the battle for independence is a battle against the Muslims.
This is reflected in Bankimchandra’s novel ‘Anand Math’, which is about a Hindu religious jihad against Muslim rulers and not against the British! It is a known fact that a section of intellectuals among the Hindus stood by the British even in those days and they felt that Muslim rulers could be overthrown with the help of the British. There was a whole section of intellectuals in Bengal who had opposed the 1857 battle for independence and stood in favour of the British rulers. And it was in this novel that the ‘Vande Mataram’ slogan was raised against the Muslims and that the song ‘Vande Mataram’ should be made the national anthem. All progressive forces, however, hold that the battle for Indian Independence begins with opposition to the British in 1857 when India advanced as a country and as a nation.
Why is it that of all the aged leaders of Sangh Parivar there is not a single freedom fighter? They always cooperated with the British. Wherever you find a freedom fighter, he or she will either belong to the socialist or communist ideology. Is it not a shame that today we have a prime minister in our country who not only made no contribution whatsoever to the freedom struggle but his name appears in history for acting as an informer and as an agent of the British? This has been published in the newspapers and has also been raised in the Lok Sabha.
That is why we say that the struggle of 6 December is not just a question of Muslims or the Masjid or of India or Pakistan. This is a struggle for democracy against fascism; for progress against reaction. There are forces in our country standing against freedom of expression of all kinds and against all kinds of rights to the poor, the minorities, dalits and women. They have always been harping that communists oppose freedom of expression. But today reality is lying exposed before you. Therefore this struggle against fascism is the struggle of all the poor peasants, of the toiling people, of all intellectuals who stand for freedom of expression
We hold that this is a common struggle, a common battle, whether Gandhian, Socialist or Marxist ideology influences us. We appeal to all lovers of democracy, of secular and progressive thinking to march together at least on this one day every year — 6 December — to fight for democracy, progress and justice. This is the national political need of the hour. With this I conclude.