Can We Have a Revolutionary Movement with a Human Face?


To share an opinion on our revolutionary struggles stirred up from the various discontents that I came across on numerous social groups, public forums, etc. Though I am not in a position to make any judgment or put a label on our movement, which I am close to at heart, this is just a part that I, as a concerned citizen would like to share some  observations and opinions on our struggles.

The actions of any revolutionary organisations that are widely accepted to carry the sentiments and cause of the people always are of crucial importance, be it good or bad. So any action of a revolutionary organisation touches the sentiments and strikes the people in its own way. Moreover, as a body, which represents the people, the revolutionary organisations and their movements have to be close to the people always, work with the people and move along with them.

As in the case of the Zo struggle, although we share a common call for liberation, most of our organisations have considerably failed to mobilise or join hands with the people. Year after year, the organizations are losing foothold on the masses, which it is based upon. It is a real danger that we may end up having only our own village warriors or clan warriors if we go on disintegrating among ourselves. The suppression and marginalisation of the rights of the people and functioning in an oppressive or authoritarian way increase the suffering of the common people done by the State actors.

In our present situation, we are busy in dissociating and distancing ourselves from one another, engaging in internecine conflicts among ourselves. More often, joining hands with our enemies and assassinating our own brothers. In other words, we are busier hunting down ourselves. This is clearly shown from the frequent incidents of the past decades, which exposes that we are busy killing ourselves. This action of ours will not serve our common objective in the real sense and never will we move ahead if we continue with the same. Despite the fact of sharing the same dream, a dream of living with complete freedom for which so many have shed their lives, losing their near and dear ones, which we all believe is a just cause. While to be killed in a battle with the enemy can be called “martyrdom”, I really don’t know whether this will apply for the ones who die by our own hands. Will their souls ever rest in peace? Will they not regret the sacrifice they have made and what they get in return; if they ever had the chance to be alive again and express themselves? It is time to end the stories of “brothers killing brothers” and stop staining our hands with the blood of our own brothers.

It must be noted that from the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, the masses (people) have been the backbone of the struggle, and the voices of the leaders represent the voices of the people transforming the struggle into the truest form of a “democratic revolutionary movement” struggling for change. In our case, the masses have no voice in the decision-making processes, which are bound to have a long lasting implication on our society as a whole. In many instances, certain action seems to be taken without proper deliberation or without ascertaining the pros and cons. It will not be long that we will perish if this undemocratic form of struggle is continued; silencing the masses, alienating them and resting upon our cause on some individually motivated decisions. In the present situation, the people are under a “revolutionary prison” wherein our organisations govern our land but not governing for us or with us. The people are often left between the anvil and the hammer, living in a fearful state, incapable to determine who is with us, who should be trusted so on and so forth. It is a real danger that the masses will get fed up; not just fed up in the known sense, but fed up enough to not support the movement any longer.

It is not a fact to be denied that we are divided into groups, sub-groups in all lines, be it social, economic or political. However, one commonality is the post-revolution goal objectives that are in significant agreement, i.e., “Homeland”. As much as Zalengam fits Zogam, Zogam fits Zalengam; all we need is to be Zalen in Zogam. What is lacking is just the inclusion of the people in the movement and walking together to achieve our goals.  Furthermore, I would like to contend that since all of us are to be blamed and held responsible for what is happening today, it is we, through a “collective effort”, who can salvage our movement and put it on the right track. It is high time that we bridge this long lost gap between the organisations and the masses, and this bridging of the gap will ensure freedom to express and move freely, our action to be more people-centric and humane, end the habit of marginalising ourselves, and collectively putting our efforts together to achieve our long dreamt goal. This may be the first step for us, which will draw us near to our dream—a dream that will free us from the clutches of oppression, discrimination and marginalisation.

It is time that we take note of the fact that a revolutionary struggle can only attain success if it is mindful of its relationship to the people, who are the only guarantor of their continuity. Despite the many pitfalls in the course of our struggle, the loyalty and the shared sentiments towards the cause of our movement, which binds us together, is still alive and many of us are still armed with a deep conviction that our dream of having a separate “Homeland” will come true. The time is ripe to harness this spirit in the best possible way and get the best out of it. It may be an arduous task to achieve in a day or two, but at least for the “greater common good” and for us and for the future generation, it is the need of the hour. It is high time that we move forward and take a great leap to achieve our goals.


** The writer is a student of M.A. in Development Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He can be reached at

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