India is hyped as being very modern, yet in the midst of the towering buildings and corporate plazas there are huge swathes of ghettos overflowing with intense poverty and misery, where human beings are forced to live in bestial conditions of unhygienic and filthy dwellings. The artificial glitter and the facade of modernity fails to conceal the primitive social and economic conditions that prevail across India. These conditions are reflected in politics, and particularly in the elections that are being held in nine stages from 7th April to 12th May this year.

South Asia’s elite historians have deliberately distorted certain events within their accounts of the struggle against British imperial rule and subsequent bloody partitioning. One such significant episode was the struggle of the Hindustan Revolutionary Socialist Association (HSRA) and its most renowned martyr Bhagat Singh. On the 23rd of March 1931 the twenty three year old revolutionary and his comrades in arms Sukhdev and Raj guru were murdered at the Lahore central jail.

One of the cruellest features of the present period of lull and social stagnation in the Indian subcontinent is how economic and social conditions are seen from the standpoint of the bosses who have a total disregard for the pain and misery inflicted by this economic development on the heaving masses.

On July the 1st at Mavalankar Hall, New Delhi, a historic convention was held. At this convention, leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) agreed on the text of a declaration, an alternative policy platform, with which they will approach “all democratic parties and mass organisations” in the lead up to next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Over the past few weeks Indian politics has been rife with talk of a new electoral front being built to challenge the political hegemony of the currently ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress Party, and its rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). But, what does this discussion actually represent?

Today marks the beginning of a two- day general strike in which the working class of the whole of India will rise with one voice to declare their dissatisfaction at the horrible conditions being imposed upon them by the crisis of capitalism. This unprecedented action should not be seen as a one off event or as simply a demonstration. Rather, it is indicative of the pressure that has been building up within Indian society over the last period and is symptomatic of the on-going fight within the trade unions to force the leadership to come up with a fighting solution to the problems which are faced by the workers on a day to day basis.

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