IN the November 15 rally in Kolkata in which prominent intellectuals protested against the brutality of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at Nandigram, a poster had a picture of Karl Marx with the caption ?Not In My Name.? The poster actually sums up the thinking of the entire intellectual class: Marxism is a great ideology that has been hijacked or appropriated by the goons masquerading as Marxists. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The thinking is deeply flawed on several counts. First, to say that the CPM is not the real Marxist party is like saying that Saudi Arabia is a true Islamic nation (It is a country where rape victims are flogged. Some dogmatic liberals may say that Saudi Arabia is not truly Islamic!). Facts, however, are facts. The CPM is Marxist and Saudi Arabia is Islamic.
Second, there is a mountain of evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that communism is the most violent ideology the world has ever witnessed, killing more than 100 million people in various countries in the twentieth century.
Yet, our intellectuals continue to deceive themselves, and others, about the reality of communism. They should be asked a few simple questions: Didn'tyou know about Stalin, his murderous purges in which hundreds of thousands were eliminated, some of them being his own closest friends? Didn'tyou know about the holocaust-like collectivisation drives in which millions perished during Stalin'sreign? Didn'tyou know that there was a time when 25,000 people were dying every day? Didn'tyou know that Mao was responsible for the death of 70 million people in peacetime? Didn'tyou know anything about the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, about the hills of skulls in Cambodia?
If the answer to all these questions is yes, then the intellectuals should not be complaining, for the CPM goons are angels in comparison to the dreaded Cheka set up by Lenin and developed by Stalin. They are no match to the young, violent students unleashed on ordinary people by Mao; nor are CPM cadres faintly as merciless as the thugs who slaughtered millions in Cambodia.
Unfortunately, our intellectuals answer in the negative. Parroting communists? lies, they say that all the bad things said about the Soviet Union, Maoist China, or Pol Pot'sCambodia are either ?Western propaganda? or gross exaggerations. And this is the crux of the problem.
Like the neo-Nazi negationists who claim that Hitler never killed the Jews and the Holocaust is a Zionist fiction of gigantic proportions, our intellectuals are just not willing to accept that communism is an evil ideology. This evilness is evident not only in the countries where the Reds ruled but also in many of the writings of Marx. For instance, in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marx and Engels wrote, ?The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.?
As American philosopher Thomas Sowell said, ?Most people who read The Communist Manifesto probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of ?the workers?.? Marxism is violent but enthralling poetry, but it masquerades as philosophy. In the Marxian scheme of things, there is only struggle, conflict, class war; there is no harmony, no peaceful coexistence, no philanthropy or altruism. Therefore, Marx wanted to establish a ?dictatorship of the proletariat,? a clever euphemism for the Communist party'styranny.
Unsurprisingly, it has always attracted excitable, violent, and sentimentalist people. And our intellectuals have always sympathised with such people. Nandigram has certainly strained the cozy relationship between communists and intellectuals. On November 15, intellectuals led a rally, in which over 50,000 people participated, against the CPM'sbrutality at Nandigram. The intellectuals included filmmakers Aparna Sen, Rituparno Ghosh, Gautam Ghosh, authors Mahasweta Devi and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, poet Shankho Ghosh, celebrated movie cameraman Soumendu Roy, artists Suvaprasanna and Jogen Choudhury. Even Mrinal Sen, considered close to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, made common cause with other prominent public figures.
There was also the permanent protester, Medha Patkar, exhorting the participants to march to Nandigram. ?Raise the slogan: Tomar naam amaar naam Nandigram Nandigram (Your name, my name, Nandigram, Nandigram),? she said. This was on the lines of the famous Leftist slogan of the 1960s against America'sintervention in Vietnam?Tomaar naam amaar naam Vietnam Vietnam.
It took a Nandigram to wake up intellectuals to the reality of Marxists. But when would they wake up to the reality of Marxism? We can paraphrase Bob Dylan, the cult poet-singer of the 1960s whose poem ?Blowin? in the Wind? was sung at the anti-CPM protests, and say: ?How many ears must an intellectual have/ Before he can hear people cry?/ Yes, ?n? how many deaths will it take till he knows/ That too many people have died?/ The answer, my friend, is blowin? in the wind,/ The answer is blowin? in the wind.?
(The writer is the author of How India'sIntellectual Spread Lies (2007), Vision Books.)
Like the neo-Nazi negationists who claim that Hitler never killed the Jews and the Holocaust is a Zionist fiction of gigantic proportions, our intellectuals are just not willing to accept that communism is an evil ideology. This evilness is evident not only in the countries where the Reds ruled but also in many of the writings of Marx.