IN 1947 the departing British wanted to leave behind a broken backed India, with a weak Centre, divided among adversarial regional satraps and princely states looking to London for succour. They managed to incite India’s bloody Partition, as Narinder Singh Sarila has demonstrated in his astute exegesis on it, by exploiting deeply-rooted Islamic separatism and thoroughly wrong footing an inept Congress leadership. They also left behind the political equivalent of the HIV virus in the shape of Indian communism, thoroughly compromised in Indian jails once the USSR allied with Britain and the US against Nazi imperialism. Indian communists became eager agents of the British, supplying confidential internal Congress documents to the British police in India.
After all, their foreign boss, Joseph Stalin, decreed it was completely kosher. This fateful engagement with the British colonial power meant that some of the most senior communist leaders continued to collaborate with the British and Americans until they began to expire due to old age in the 1970s and 1980s. Had it not been for the far-sighted and forceful Vallabhai Patel India’s fractious states would have gone their own merry way as the departing British ardently wished and they were themselves inclined to do. And the Nizam of Hyderabad would have declared independence with communist support and the Mahatma threatened to fast unto death if a beleaguered India intervened. Indian communists themselves had supported Partition along sectarian religious lines and shocked the leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Rajani Palme Dutt, who visited India in a forlorn attempt to dissuade them.
But now the people of West Bengal and Kerala appear to have tired of communism. The world has changed too much, communist depredations exceeded the worst fears of the knowledgeable and tired slogans no longer convince. On the contrary, communism has enriched a cadre of outright gangsters, engaged in blatant plunder and murder when necessary. They have also allied with jihadi forces and the Pakistani ISI in order to remain in office to sustain corrupt enrichment and savour a disgraceful lust for political power. Islamism’s demographic assault on Bengal was fully facilitated by Bengal’s communists led by the evil satyr, Jyoti Basu. Thankfully, the last Indian communist redoubts will be some very mediocre universities, liberally funded by the taxpayers to engage in pro-Pakistani and pro-Chinese subversion of the Indian Union. It was this venal communist leadership of Bengal that sided with the genocidal murderers and mass rapists, Generals Yahya Khan, Amir Abdullah K Niazi, Rao Farman Ali, Tikka Khan, et al in 1971. And it is to the CPM head office in Alimuddin Street that the British Consul General made haste when Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency. All of piece really!
There was never any serious ideology and the Indian communist leadership can be characterised as intellectually semi-literate. There was no Leninist genius or the formidable front rank that led the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Nor a Joseph Stalin, who ushered the world into victory in the most momentous military campaign in all of recorded history. It is somewhat remarkable that India only ever produced one communist thinker, MN Roy, whose writings even today repay study and whom Nehru helped financially in his impoverished declining years. Instead we had the likes of Jyoti Basu and EMS Namboodripad, with absolutely nothing of significance to say and unable to deliver anything memorable. The family of the former has emerged immensely wealthy during the patriarch’s destructive thirty year reign. And it was Snehansu Acharya, a senior party member and West Bengal Advocate General, who pleaded with the US government to double his per diem to $1000 while on a post-Emergency jaunt sponsored by them. Anyone willing to join in the subversion of India was a US ally and opposition to Indira Gandhi merely a transparent ruse since her real crime was to resist Anglo-American tutelage. The Indian Emergency was an extremely mild homeopathic version of the brutal political rule favoured by the US elsewhere in the world, from Alsatian dogs trained to commit rape in Chile to the removal of private parts from live detainees by Latin American killers nurtured in US military academies.
The economy of Bengal was destroyed by the application of murderous party-led trade union thuggery and killings of managers though not owners! The communists had reached a cynical compact with leaders of Bengal’s business community and not a single one was harmed at a time, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when hapless Bihari traffic policemen were being murdered by alienated former CPM members under the banner of Maoism. Government hospitals were to become places to die in rather than recovery from illness, with pigs owned by trade union staff members running loose in wards! And the hated bourgeois culture, tracing its roots to India’s man of the Millennium, Ram Mohan Roy and his spiritual and intellectual progeny, from the Tagores to Satyajit Ray, was systematically destroyed. Like conquering Islamic Ghazis before them and their own contemporary Bamiyan iconoclasts, the communists sought to extirpate all in their path, like countless temples and Nalanda erased by Muslim invaders. Illiterate provincial hatreds became de rigueur and a precious cultural and intellectual heritage nurtured over a century and a-half was trashed by mediocre goons.
There was also a largely successful attempt to ruin Bengal’s education. Purported revolutionary zeal was a necessity for being appointed to teaching and administrative posts and resulted in the installation of unqualified and incompetent party apparatchiks. In many such institutions communist party union employees vetted academic appointments under pain of disruption and violence. A well-connected party hack with shameless Islamist credentials ended up as supremo of Calcutta University, once presided over by the distinguished Ashutosh Mukherjee, father of Shyamaprosad, who had recruited the likes of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Meghnad Saha. Instead the outstanding scholar, Aditi Lahiri, now Professor of Linguistics at Oxford was considered politically unsuitable and turned away. One senior administrator close to Jyoti Basu lied about having a PhD but very interestingly it was Wendy Doniger, Hindu-basher par excellence, who came to her rescue! Uncle Sam and Indian communists were never at odds with each other though some useless energy had to be spent on make believe denunciation. Today, virtually all prominent communist scholars are employed on ample salaries in anti-Hindu US institutions like Columbia University, a New York madrasa.
Communist Kerala has had a rather good press from ideologues in prestigious universities like Harvard, but their fulsome paeans of praise have more to do with discouraging serious examination of the basis for their apparent awe than reality. It is insinuated that Kerala performs well on various social indicators, despite relatively low income levels, which could suggest factors other than prosperity can raise them. However, the existence of somewhat better-off outlier communities distorts the data and a notably higher starting point, for example, in life expectancy is more germane in accounting for Kerala’s alleged state of grace than could the ideological sectarianism and grim violence that pervade it. But the duplicitous EMS Namboodripad, the top communist honcho, did not allow communist prejudices to overlook the Caste sanctity of those marrying into his family! More to the point, Kerala receives a massive $ 5 billion in annual remittances because its 20%+ unemployed decant to slave in the comic Gulf sheikhdoms. Its obverse local impulse has been to keep Hindus in check by murdering them if they get uppity. But as Kerala flounders into bankruptcy there is wholesale surrender to Islamic Jihad, which is alarming even god’s own people. Kerala’s self-important Christians no longer feel quite so self assured about their own divinely ordained place under the sun and the right to convert Hindus by preaching cant while engulfed in legion sexual scandal involving nuns and little children.
The elections in West Bengal and Kerala are intertwined and the outcome in one will affect the result in the other. Contrary to what seems settled opinion the Left may not be routed in Bengal though it will be severely mauled. It has sunk deep roots in every nook and cranny of Bengali society through the use of institutionalised intimidation and the political dividends of this investment will not evaporate abruptly despite the unpopularity of the prevalent communist dispensation. It is also supremely experienced in the black arts of electoral fraud. In the event of a political stalemate, with neither side emerging decisively ahead, violence is guaranteed. If the communists lose by a small margin they will instigate Muslim communal protest for newly minted grievances that will discomfit Mamata Banerjee, who has sought to cultivate a recalcitrant community at all cost. In addition, a new season of 1960s style industrial unrest and populist disruption will stymie the economic reforms her illustrious advisers are supposedly poised to inaugurate. However, this is why MK Narayanan was dispatched to Bengal as governor, to deploy his IB and NSA derived skills to, first, curtail communist penchant for electoral fraud and, second, potential resort to violent vengeance in its aftermath should they really lose. The Kerala CPM, mired in corruption scandals and factionalism will suffer electoral setback. The fate of the multi thousand crore business empire which the CPM has become is harder to predict once it loses political power and the capacity for self enrichment.
In the long run, the Sonia Congress probably plans to get rid of Mamata Banerjee since in her absence West Bengal is the most attractive possibility for Congress to augment its Lok Sabha numbers. It has proved extremely demanding to deal with the ersatz Haitian Papa Doc family counterparts of Tamil Nadu and the Congress is all at sea navigating the primordial caste politics that have solidified in UP. Bitter experience has also counselled discretion was the better part of valour in taking on the Karachi-Dubai-Mumbai, Jihadi cum crime don nexus that effectively controls Maharashtra politics through treasonous nominees. However, it might have been concluded that Mamata’s mediocre entourage will fall for the fatal charms of India’s first family should she herself succumb to an unfortunate accident. Trinamool members, encouraged by copious bribery, the standard mechanism in Indian political life now, may then re-join the grand old party to help the career of the anointed crown prince. But it may all fail because the Congress party is staffed by people comprehensively neutered as individuals by relentless practise of deference to India’s first family and have few of the political skills required for what the Italian Marxist thinker, Antonio Gramsci described as battle of manoeuvre.
(The writer is president of World Association of Hindu Academics, and taught international political economy for more than 20 years at London School of Economics & Political Science and is co-author of Analysing the Global Political Economy, Princeton University Press, 2009)