Interview: ‘Communists have no Future in India’
The Indian Communists movement in India is “at a cross roads”. Unlike the different sects of extremist communist parties that operate in India, the two main Communist parties, both the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M), which at least swear by parliamentary democracy, are utterly confused about the path that they should follow to make their presence felt in India. The communists have no future in India says Professor Rakesh Sinha, eminent political scientist and Director of India Policy Foundation (IPF) spoke with Pradeep Krishnan on the future of Communism in India. Here are the excerpts:
- How do you see the present change of guard in CPM and Yechury’s conviction to fight against RSS?
The change shows party’s tactical line will change. Karat wanted to revive EMS’s line but Yechury will follow the footprints of Harkishan Singh Surjeet. His main objective would be to make party relevant in the corridors of power. Rectification programmes would be dumped and party would also gradually drift from Marxism. He is a social democrat not a Communist at all. And he knows well communism has lost its relevance. Yechury has read more Golwalkar than Marx. He is master misinterpretor.
I am afraid his approach would lead many cadres to migrate to CPI (ML). As far his commitment to fight RSS is concerned it is laughable. Can he dictate Centre of Indian Trade Unions to break alliance with Bhartiya Mazdoor sangh (BMS) a labor wing of RSS? Is it not true that CPM’s political ideological document of 2005 praised RSS for its works among dalits, tribals and in the education field and appealed the party to follow example set by RSS. Because communists have no positive programmes for the party they are using anti RSSism to engage their cadres.
- In the present Lok Sabha, the Left is limited to a meager 12 seats. What are the main reasons behind this stunted growth of the Indian Left?
The decline of both the communist parties-CPI, CPI(M) is not beyond comprehension. They have been in the grip of bookish Marxism. The leadership has always been non-proletarian and could never understand the Indian realities be it economic or cultural. The tallest leader of the Indian communist movement EMS Namboodiripad himself confessed that party’s founders and their successors had been “radical intellectuals thrown up from the ranks of non proletarian.” What can you expect from JNU brand former SFI cadres? There are two theoretical reasons for their decline: Firstly, they read Marx, Lenin and Mao that teaches revolution through class struggle, but practice parliamentary opportunism. Secondly, they applied foreign experiences of Communist revolution to India which led them to disconnect from Indian realities.
- Why the communists were not able to win the minds and hearts of the proletariat in India?
As I told you, the Communist leadership has used proletariats for their own empowerment. Their social base could not lead them to be integrated with workers and peasants. For instance, in the first conference of the CPI(M) in 1964 which they call seventh party Congress, while the number of delegates from the poor peasants and agricultural workers together was 54, the number of rich peasants and landlords were 61. Moreover, the number of Middle class delegates was 204 but representation of working class was merely 62. This trend continued. See the example of Kerala, now sidelined VS Achuthanandan managed to expel CITU leaders MM Lawrence and Ravindranath in Palakkad Conference in 1998. Both the CITU and AITUC leadership too failed to maintain their domination and Bhartiya Mazdoor sangh founded by late Shri Dattopant Thengadi has been enjoying the status of number one trade union organisation. To conclude, one can say that the Indian Communists could not develop some sort of Indian path of socialism as it was in the case of Czechoslovakian Communist Party.
- Why is Indian youth not getting attracted by the Communist ideology?
Empty slogans can’t make impact for long. The country where poverty, inequality and unemployment have been the basic ailments, the communist ideology has failed to make difference and have abysmally failed to address such issues in a sincere manner.
Mohit Sen, a Communist intellectual once said that dogmatism, sectarianism and inhumanity were part of Leninism and Stalinism. But for Indian communists, both Lenin and Stalin are leaders worth adoration.
They are victim of infantile disorder. To know the reason you have to go to their history. The first Communist conference was called by Satya Bhakta in December 1925. He wanted Indianised character of the communist party and rejected proletariat internationalism. He wanted to name it as Indian Communist Party, but Manabendra Nath Roy (who was associated closely with communist heavyweights such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Trotsky) and his men disrupted his plan and captured the party platform throwing an honest and dedicated founder to oblivion. New leadership was trained to remain in complete subordination to the CPSU/CCP and to Stalin/Mao.
- What could be the reasons behind Indian Communists’ hatred towards Hinduism?
Their indoctrination makes them view Hinduism with contempt. Indian Communists have never integrated with Indian culture and civilisation and are the best example of voluntarily slavery of former Soviet Union and China. They were unable to spot difference between (Semitic) religion and Sanathana Dharma. For ages diversities has been an integral part of our dharma and culture. Therefore Hinduism cannot be compared with Semitic religions like Christianity or Islam. In Hinduism one has the privilege to critically examine even the sacred scriptures and does not inhibit anyone to start a new sect or a philosophy of life.
Communists failed to understand that Hinduism is a way of life. And a very few like Vani Deshpande or Bhogendra Jha of communist party who tried to understand it were either sidelined or expelled. It is important to mention here that it was the the Indian Communists who demanded 26 Constituent assemblies to be formed instead of one! They believed in the theory of sub nationalities. They remained un-Indianised, tuning their hearts to the so called internationalism and ultimately became natural ally of forces and ideology meant to degrade Indian culture and civilisation.
- In one article you had stated that “The tragedy of Indian Communists is that they are too obsessed with historiographies of the (erstwhile) Soviet Communist party and the Chinese one to self-introspect about their failures.” Could you elaborate?
Even though both the CPI and CPI(M) disagree on their date of birth, the Communist Party of India was formed in 1925. However, according to CPI, the year of formation was 1924. The inspiration for forming the party in India was not Marxism, but Sovietism as the party was established in India with the active support of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU). In fact the CPI in India received funds through the Communist Party of Great Britain! During the colonial period they decided their tactics, programmes and policies as guided by and dictated by the former Soviet Union. For instance, during the WWII they opposed Indian cooperation to war efforts of the British imperialists calling the war as imperialist war. Their slogan was “hum na denge ek bhai hum na denge ek pai –yah hai samrajyawaad kee ladai (we will not give a single paisa or single man power for the war.) But once the Soviet Union joined hands with Britain their assessment of the war changed from ‘imperialist war’ to ‘people’s war’. This impelled them to sabotage the Quit India Movement in 1942 and they acted as active and open agents of the British imperialists against the Indian nationalists. Another significant aspect is their open, theoretical and practical support to Pakistan campaign of the Muslim League. Their pro Pak resolution is known as Adhikari Thesis. Their top leader Gangadhar Adhikari was the father of the resolution. CPI ordered the All India Students Federation’s Aligarh unit to merge into League’s students’ wing, they didn’t join the Independence Day celebrations on 15th August 1947. Moreover, the country was shocked to see them siding with China during India china war in 1962. There was also an allegation that CPM was paid 40 crore by the Bank of China. The attitude of CPM leadership towards Chinese aggression made them unpopular with the Indian masses. This is evident from the fact that the party’s membership dropped 40,000 between party’s Amritsar Congress in 1958 and Vijaywada Congress in 1961.
- What is the future of the Indian Communists?
They do not have any future in India. While both the CPI and CPI(M) have big signboards and huge buildings, they lack man power. CPM’s Salkia Plenum in 1978 pointed out that the party had to deal with three ills which it inherited from ‘bourgeoisie’ politics. They are: federalism in the party which means state units or regional bosses act on their own and ignore the center. The second ill they pointed out corruption in the party. Can you say the party has overcome this problem? The party does not enjoy anymore moral leadership of P Sundarayya or EMS Namboodiripad. Why youth will join them—Just because they criticise capitalism. Do they have any blue print for either struggle or administration? Yechury’s slogan for attracting youth was merely to change the balance in his favour.