|Beyond Red: An Apostate on Communism; P Kesavan Nair; Pagan Books; Pp126; Rs 195|
The book is an insider’s analysis of communist ideology from many different perspectives i.e. theoretical, historical, economical and political
This very slim but fully loaded book is must read for those who want to identify with the reasons for failure of communism and its attendant cruelties in scientific backdrop. This thorough analysis of communist ideology from many different perspectives i.e. theoretical, historical, economical and political comes to us from an insider – P Kesavan Nair who had been practising communism for very long time in Kerala. The book is restructured from the original version written in Malayalam.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Man for All Seasons; Kingshuk Nag; Rupa Publications; Pp 202; Rs 395
From being one of the earliest members of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Vajpayee blossomed into a leading opposition MP by late 1960s, went on to head the first non-Congress government to complete a full term in office. In this book, the author traces the political journey of this tall parliamentarian of over four decades. The book is a definitive account of the life and times of one of India’s most illustrious non-Congress leaders.
The Secret Diary of Kasturba; Neelima Dalmia Adhar; Tranquebar; Pp 406; Rs 699
Kastur is long dead, but she lives on in the pages of her diary…. Renowned author Neelima Dalmia Adhar lays it bare to tell the world what it meant to be Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – in a gripping tale of unconditional love, passion, sex, ecstasy and the ultimate liberation that every woman seeks.
Internal Security Problems in Northeast India;
The book mainly concentrates on the issue of Assam’s insurgency and counter-insurgency since 1985. The book also deals with various aspects of counter insurgency policies formulated by the Central Government of India and State Government of Assam. The implications of insurgency and counter insurgency on India’s national security have been exclusively articulated by the author.
Warzone Tourism in Sri Lanka; Sasanka Perera; Sage Publishing; Pp 231; Rs 750
The book explores travellers’ narratives that reflect the experiences and interactions of those going to northern Sri Lanka, and argues that the discourses that emerge are not simply based on leisure and innocence of travel. This book is a significant contribution to academia in light of the disruption of civilian travel to northern Sri Lanka during the civil war.
Speaking his experience PKN makes a very bold but factual and thought provoking statement, “Like many totalitarian traditions, both religious and political, the only freedom communism gives others is the freedom to praise it”. Communists always talk about freedom of speech, freedom of expression etc but as per Marxist ideology, personal likes and dislikes, individuality and value of human life are considered taboos. The individual becomes a sacrificial lamb for the establishment of proletarian dictatorship. Communism offers greater possibilities for absolutism than any other political ideology. Communists suppress all ideas and opinions that are not theirs even if it has strong scientific back-up. It is quite despicable to know that under the cover of communist ideology, genetic studies were removed from Soviet curricula and books on the subject were confined to flames. Genetics thus died out in Russia during communist regime!
Communism claims to be based upon scientific theory called dialectic materialism. The word ‘science’ is a much-misunderstood one. Many people think that science is something absolutely true. By science, what is meant is observing things, classifying them and also explaining things on the basis of those observations, and formulating principles and theories for them, and predicting about new things and phenomena on the basis of earlier theories. Scientists also modify them in the light of new discoveries. Considering this PKN has made a very valid point saying – “Marxism, as such, is not a science but a belief system. If it were a science, it would have undergone changes. If we examine its history of 150 years, it can be seen that neither its principles nor its categories have changed”.
Communists quote Marx and Engels to explain anything and everything. As far as communists are concerned, dialectical materialism is the ultimate principle–something which is absolutely true. They follow it just like a religious faith. They have been trying to impose it on others. Just like any other Abrahamic religions, communism too is intrinsically intolerant towards other belief or philosophic systems. The language of the Semitic religions is revelatory in nature. It is supposed to be something straight from God, which is, to the believers, the ultimate truth. Just like that, dialectical materialism was the ultimate truth for Marx. It was equal to God’s laws. In chapter ‘Red Religion’ PKN says, “If all power is centered around the Pope in the Catholic Church, it is centred around the party secretary in communist parties”. The reason for frequent clashes between CPM Vs BJP or CPM Vs Congress or the reason for massacre of RSS swayamsevaks in Kerala is, the fact that along with Fascism and Nazism, Marxism is a faith system. PKN says, “The mass murders that took place in the countries where communists came to power are reminiscent of mass murders in crusades and jihads intended to cleanse the society of non-conforming and ideologically differing elements” He further says. “Communists hate those who criticise Marx and his ‘ism’ with the same hatred as the adherents of Judaic religions have towards the deniers of their God”
Though Marxism is supposed to be a philosophy based on proletarian rule, what it created in reality is not something proletarian. The classless society visualized by Karl Marx was not realized anywhere in the world. In the old Soviet Union, there were great differences in the wages paid to common workers and technicians. According to statistics published in 1970, a factory worker was paid 200 rubles while a technician, 8000 rubles per month. Then who is the ultimate beneficiary of communism? As PKN rightly sys, “The real beneficiaries of it, like many other totalitarian and millenarian systems, are a handful of intellectuals and clever men who, while enjoying every pleasure of power, indulge in double speak, partly, to protect their positions and, partly, to assuage their guilty conscience”
Communism is a big failure and we have already seen adversity of capitalism in the form of financial crises of 2007-08. I echo author’s resolve that we need to think of an alternative economic system with holistic vision. We need an economic system which does not consider man as mere material being but think of him as a physical-mental- intellectual-spiritual entity. In my opinion that is the message of the book. Lack of in depth discussion on certain topics might disappoint at some level but one cannot expect every detail in such a small volume. Moreover that’s not the purpose of the author. n