Many realities of Naxal life are narrated in the book ‘Pehela Naxali: Kanu Sanyal ki adhikrit jeevani’ in a simple way. Hopefully, after reading about the internal contradictions in the ideology directly from Kanu Sanyal’s mouth, people who believe in ‘Communism’ will also get disillusioned
I read this book some time ago. ‘Pehela Naxali: Kanu Sanyal ki adhikrit jeevani’. It is the ‘authorised’ biography of Kanu Sanyal; a key figure of Naxal Movement. Journalist Bappaditya Paul has written it on the basis of his interviews with Kanu Sanyal.
Everytime I read any Naxal/Leftist literature, I read it with a feeling that may be this will soften my stance towards Leftism. And every time I end up becoming even stauncher anti-Leftist. Same happened after reading this book. Many contradictions and illogicalities of Naxalism come to mind after reading it.
In his youth, Sanyal used to loathe Communists. Reason was that Communists used to say filthy things about Subhash Chandra Bose, used to call Bose a ‘quisling’ (writer has not mentioned but Communists had even called Bose a dog and donkey of Japanese General Tojo and even depicted this in cartoons). But after Independence, Sanyal, all of sudden, became a Communist and started taking part in their violent protests. What did Communists do to atone for their sins of abusing Bose? Sanyal is silent on that.
The reason which Sanyal gives for his becoming Communist is that Government had put a ban on the Communist Party and in independent India Sanyal found such a restriction to be wrong. These ideals of Sanyal on ‘Right to protest’ sound noble but having faced with the protest himself, his actions were completely opposite.
In prison, when Naxals of rival group used abusive
language against Sanyal and his comrades, Sanyal got them badly thrashed in the courtroom (page 147); and once they even snatched the gun of a guard and pointed at them (page 140). Neither on the judge, nor on the ‘tyrant’ police, not even on the ‘representatives of exploitative State’; in the courtroom Sanyal and his comrades pointed gun at the Naxals of their own kind, just because they were saying 'bad' things about Sanyal & Co.
As far as the question of government's ban on Communist Party is concerned then the truth behind it is that the Communists had raised an armed rebellion against the Indian State. They openly used to support violence and were actively involved in violent activities too (Sanyal himself participated in one such violent protest- page 26). Decrying India’s independence to be “false”, Communists were murdering people to bring the “true” independence.
Home Minister Sardar Patel arrested each and every one of them and the revolution ended with a whimper.
The severeness of the situation could be understood by the fact that Pt. Nehru, who fostered these Communists all his life, too was watching helplessly. When Lady Mounbatten asked angrily in one of her letters to Nehru, if RSS leaders are being released from prison then why are Communists not? Nehru almost begging forgiveness replied “they [Communists] go on advocating something in the nature of violent rebellion and sabotage and indulge in it, whenever opportunity offers” and that their activities are “in the nature of a war”.
So, that means if anyone just uses bad words for Sanyal, Kanu Sanyal has the right to crack his skull but the Indian Government, for whose destruction the Communists were active, doesn’t even have the right to put a ban on them. What a bizarre sense of fairness!
In another letter, Nehru again wrote to Edwina Mounbatten- “You know that I have had strong leanings towards Communism and have many friends among Communists.”
Till Patel was alive Nehru could never openly favour these “friends” of his. Only after Patel’s death in 1950 Communists were brought out of the prison. It was this kind of indirect government patronage due to which Communism flourished in India, and not due to some divine miracle of Sanyal’s god Mao Tse Tung. Sanyal himself could come out of prison in 1979, even after doing a
horrible rebellion like Naxalbari, because in West Bengal a Leftist government came to power.
The entire struggle for Hell
The above mentioned is just a small example. The contradictions between the preaching and practice of the Left are much deeper and serious.
Putting it simply, according to Naxalites, Indian Government and its capitalistic-democratic system was oppressive and it used to exploit the poor, especially the peasants. This system had to be destroyed by a massive bloodbath and a Communist system like China had to be brought in India. China was their ideal; in 1962’s war they even supported China! China’s Communist ruler Mao was nothing less than a god-incarnate for them.
In 1964, in a meeting of CPI (M), Sanyal and his
comrades created ruckus just because Mao’s portrait was not being displayed there. This reason was enough to get them disillusioned with the party (page 72). In 1967, even though facing great difficulties, Sanyal and his comrades travelled to China so that they could take lessons from Mao and Chinese Communists. They were not being able to get a photograph with Mao so they were clicking pictures with Mao’s statue and were feeling blessed (page 112).
Hence, without knowing China and Mao it’s impossible to understand the Naxalism. And at that time the reality of China was such that it would make even bravest of the brave shudder with horror.
In the known history, the biggest mass-killings have been done by Communist China and Mao. At least 6 cr Chinese died due to their policies (apart from millions of sparrow birds). It’s even greater than Hitler. By the way, the second rank in this list of mass-murderers is secured by Communists only—Joseph Stalin.
The peasants, for whose interest Naxals were fighting, in China the worst condition was of these peasants only. All their agricultural produce was snatched by the Communist state, whatever little was left was not enough for survival. People were even eating tree-barks, roots, stems of rice, anything and everything just to survive; whereas, the godowns of Communist party were bulging with grains. Between 1958 and 1962, around 4 cr people died of starvation. And on this god-incarnate Mao said “It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill”!
The sparrows mentioned above, they too died due to this mindless policy of increasing the agricultural production and filling the godowns with it. According to Mao, sparrows used to eat too much of food grains, hence they were declared ‘People’s enemy’ and an order was issued for their total destruction. Sparrows were killed in billions. The result was- the insects and vermin started proliferating rapidly.
What was the condition of ‘Right to political-protest’ in China, whose banner Sanyal was raising in India? Those who just ‘verbally opposed’ the policies of Communism were treacherously arrested by Mao. Around 5-10 Lakh people were arrested. Thousands were deported to the slave camps in Gobi Desert, where, due to brutal torture they used to die. Their bodies used to be buried in the sand only. Years later their skeletons used to come out of sand.
In India such a horrible situation never came, neither it was at the time when Sanyal’s ‘revolutionaries’ were murdering people.
Naxalites/Leftists criticise imperialism day in and day out. But in 1959, China attacked and subjugated Tibet. At that time Dalai Lama got refuge in India only. Can there be any bigger shameless example of imperialism than this? But while speaking against it cat gets their tongue (many openly support it!).
So, the meaning of all this is, Sanyal/Naxalites were expecting Indians to become Naxalites to bring a China-like system in India , to murder lakhs of people, even commit treason at the time of war! But, for what reason? This entire struggle to achieve what? To achieve this hell?
Couldn’t Sanyal and his comrades see what kind of a hell China was? If they couldn’t see then they were too dumb and if they could see then they were crooks.
When Sanyal and his comrdes went to China and met Mao and Chou-en-Lai, their happiness knew no bounds. Looking at Mao and Chou-en-Lai from a distance they
started shouting slogans “Mao Zindabad, Chou-en-Lai Zindabad” (This is the same Chou-en-Lai who came to India chanting “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai”).
Mao arranged for these people’s proper war-training, and one important task that was given to them was that they had to make many secret passway/passages through which Chinese Army could enter in India and send weapons. Where these passages are to be made was told by Chinese Army and money was also given for this task to Sanyal and his comrades.
Anyone would be stunned witnessing this height of
idiocy. Just a few years ago Mao and Chou-en-Lai had
gobbled up whole of Tibet, they were still occupying a big area of India; and now they were handing over some money to Sanyal & Co. and putting them to the work saying “go and make secret passages for our Army”! Wasn’t even this enough to open the eyes of these people that they were only being made paid mercenaries of China, or even worse their ‘beasts of burden’ and nothing more? Cheerfully they came back with the money saying that ‘O.K. Let’s make secret passages’! This feat was nothing short of bringing a revolution in the field of idiocy. Whether they were successful or not in brining any other revolution, but the credit of bringing this one ‘revolution’ goes solely to Sanyal and his comrades.
Sanyal and Boxer
George Orwell wrote his famous novel ‘Animal Farm’ on Russian Revolution and the events that followed it. There was a character in that novel- Boxer. Sanyal reminds of Boxer only.
Boxer was very loyal, hardworking, and alone used to change the course of wars. Whenever in doubt, he used to say just two things to himself, “I will work harder” and “Napoleon [their leader] is always right”. Just on the basis of these two mantras Boxer carried the whole empire of injustice on his shoulders all his life, and in the end he had a painful death.
Sanyal also gave up everything and struggled all his life. There are incidents in the book after reading which one feels respect for Sanyal. But what for was this entire
struggle? To carry the empire of injustice all the life?
Like Boxer, Sanyal too was a blind follower. In the entire book Sanyal criticised his one-time guru Charu Majumdar and held Charu’s wrong policies responsible for Naxal Movement’s failure; but till the very end of his life Sanyal didn’t stop revering Mao, Stalin, etc. At least by then the realities of Mao and Stalin were in public domain. And, in the end, Sanyal too had a painful death.
In a way it’s good that this book is published. Many
realities of Naxal life are narrated in it in a very simple and clear language; things which people like me would have kept on telling but nobody would have believed. Hopefully, after listening to these things directly from Kanu Sanyal’s mouth, people’s eyes will be opened.
(The writer is lecturer at Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita Avam Sanchar Vishwavidyalya)