Tribute to Comrade Moni Singh
Today is 31st December, 28th death anniversary of comrade Moni Singh. He was born on 28 July in 1901 in a middle class family in Kolkata. After the dead of his father he came to Susong Durgapur, present day Durgapur upazila of Netrokona district. When he was reading in school he started movement against British Colonial Rule. He joined anti colonial movement group Anushilan Samiti. Particularly, young Moni Singh was influenced by the movement against British Colonial Rule, the Khilafat and non-cooperation movement.
The British government issued arrest warrant against Moni Singh which was equivalent to capital punishment. During the arrest warrant, young Moni Singh conducted campaign for freedom of country with great determination. He started agriculture labour movement at his own area Susong Durgapur in 1921. Due to labour movement he became popular among the textile labour. Moni Singh joined the communist party fully and was one of the most devoted activists in 1928. He also joined the movement of trade union with full devotion in Kolkata.
Due to active participation in trade union movement the government was furious and he was arrested on May in 1930. He was released from jail in 1935 but till 1937 he was under surveillance by police in his own house at Susong Durgapur. But he did not stop his activities. During home arrest he inspired the farmers to organised Khetmajor Movement to establish farmers' rights. During this time his maternal uncle zamindar of Susong Durgapur stood against the movement.
Despite serious antagonism by the family members he continued the movement with courage to establish the farmers' rights. At that time he had become more popular due to leading the Khetmajor Movement. Due to the movement and the demand of fair price of jute he was arrested again for one year and 6 months. After the release from jail in 1937 he got the membership of communist party. At that time he decided to organise a labour movement in Kolkata again.
But the Hajong and Garo people of Susong Durgapur seriously requested him not to move Kolkata and lead movement against zamidar's Tonk tax. He could not ignore their request and postponed to move Kolkata. Locally meaning of Tonk is a paid tax for land use by the crops. At the time the zamindars of Mymensigh area imposed this type of tax that was difficult to pay for the poor Hajong and Garo people. According to this rule a fixed amount of paddy had to pay to zamindar as tax for using the land.
Famers were compelled to pay the tax whether their crops produced or not. But farmer did not get any seed and fertilizer for cultivation. On the other hand land owner was the zamindar. So zamindars could increase tax for their land as they wished. They used to change the farmer whenever they wanted. In this situation the poor farmer of Hajong and Garo community had difficulties to abide this kind of rule.
That kind of oppression increased upon the Hajong and Garo people day by day. As a result, the farmers of Hajong and Garo organized movement against this unjust rule and Moni Singh led this movement. The movement was stated in 1937 and ended in 1949. When the movement was reached to tougher stage Moni Singh was arrested in 1941. Later he was elected as Presidium Member of Bengal Krisan Sova in 1944.
He attended in All India Kisan Sava at Netrokona as Chairman of Kisan Sova Reception Committee. At the time he played role in fever of undivided Bengal. Comrade Mojaffor, comrade Har Kisan Singh, Sujit, Lili Jogi were present in the conference. British Colonial period has ended by that time but there was all engulfing communalism which was clearly understood by the established religion based Pakistan. Moni Singh and his many fellows did not accept of the partition based on religion.
They were conducting their movement against communalism and for establish socialism. As a result the Pakistan government banned the communist party and issued warrant arrest against Moni Singh. At the same time the Pakistan government declared Tk 10 thousand award to seize of Moni Singh. This declaration compelled him to remain underground.
Despite oppression he played crucial role against military autocratic regime of Pakistan. In this tougher period in 1951 banned Communist Party held its' 2nd National Conference and Moni Singh was elected as the General Secretary and subsequently in 3rd Conference he again was re-elected at the same position. The Pakistan Government arrested him in 1968 and he was released in 1969 but was arrested again in the same.
In 1971 when the Rajshahi jail was broken by the prisoners, Moni Sing release from the jail. In 1971 comrade Moni Singh organized the freedom fighters and established especial guerrilla force of NAP-CPB and Chhatra Union. Besides he was played important role to convince Soviet Union and Socialist countries in favour of our liberation war of 1971.
He was elected adviser of Mujibnagor Government. In independent Bangladesh he was struggling for true democracy and secular society. For these reason the politicians criticized him. In 1973 in 2nd national conference he was elected as President of Communist Party and next in 1980 in 3rd national conference he was re-elected as president of communist party. After 1975, Communist Party was banned by the military government and during the military rule of Lt Gen Ziaur Rahman in the middle of 1977 Comrade Moni Singh was again arrested at the age of 77.
This legendary revolutionary was politically active up to the age of 84. On 23rd February of 1984 he became seriously sick and took his last breath on 31st December of 1990. His struggle still inspires people of our country to be patriot. He sacrificed his whole of life for the oppressed people. Unfortunately, from British to Bangladesh government oppressed him. In spite of oppression by the government he did not stop his struggle.
When politics was engulfed by hypocrisy and corruption he played an important role to prevent the decay of patriotism and morality in politics. For his dedication, love and courage to defend the right of marginal people the people of Bangladesh still remember him with red salute (Lal Salam). Every year communist party organises Moni Singh fair in his death anniversary which lasts from 31st December to 6 January.
Rakhi Mrong is writer and human rights worker