Patna: The Left parties current land grab movement in Bihar seems to have become more of a publicity-grab movement. The Samyukta Socialist Party, particularly, has focussed on gimmicks like house-grab and chair-grab.
The only house the SSP could find for this purpose, interestingly, belonged to the family of the famous film star Meena Kumari.
A vulgar stunt indeed.
Land Grab Movement
The two-month old land grab movement launched by certain left parties has proved a fiasco in Bihar. Nowhere in the State the movement took the form of a mass agitation.
The agitation remained confined to the cadre of the CPI, the PSP and the SSP, who had sponsored the movement. By the time of reporting 2,242 persons have been arrested in connection with the agitation.
From 1st July to 9th August CPI grabbed fallow land belonging to the government. From 9th to 15th August it grabbed land owned by landlords in excess of the ceiling.
An illusion was created by the CPI local leaders that whoever plants a red flag on the land it going to own it.
Ramanand Tiwari assaulted
At least at four places the movement had to face the bullets of the zamindars. The zamindars have formed Kashtkar Sangh, backed by rightist parties. A few kisans were killed. One zamindar was done to death.
No big leader of the CPI was injured during the agitation. SSP leader Ramanand Tiwari, who was offering a peaceful satyagraha, was brutally assaults by the goondas of sugar factory.
The movement, however, failed to click because the people believed that it was a vote grab movement.
The CPI is in coalition with the Congress party, which is in power. The SSP is the biggest opposition group in the assembly.
The Congress Chief Minister Daroga Rai at first tried to give all out support to the CPI. He even addressed a number of meetings organised under the Red Flag. There were sharp differences in the Congress regarding it.
Now the Government says that it would not recognise the validity of the occupied land.
Meena Kumari’s Bihar connection
How come, Meena Kumari’s family had ancestral property in Bihar? Actually, her grandmother, Hem Sundari, was from Bengal. Meena Kumari’s mother, Prabhawati, was a dancer on Calcutta stage who later moved to Mumbai.
For generations, Bengalis have settled in several parts of Bihar like Bhagalpur, Purnea, Ranchi, Patna, Dhanbad and Deogarh. Bihar was a part of Bengal till it became a separate province in 1912.
Excerpts from Radical 26 September 1970
Updated on 27 September 2020