Monday, August 29, 2005

Decline of the Left in India

by Rajesh Tembarai Krishnamachari


This paper analyses the reasons behind the decline of the Left movement in India over the past 15 years. The impact of this decline on the society in India is discussed, as are means by which the Communists can reverse this trend.


While the political parties professing Left ideology have done well in the past elections in India , it is undeniable that the Left movement here is in deep stupor. The Leftist intellectuals recognize the electoral success of the CPI-CPIM as arising from factors severely limited in the spacio-temporal sense. Thrown in a disarray from a host of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, the Leftist intellectual today in India is the very personification of a man demoralized by failure to realize the Utopian ideal, broken by the failure of logic to transcend strict boundaries, and confounded by the unraveling of plans previously endowed with ‘historical inevitability’. We begin our analysis of the situation by enumerating the reasons for the decline of the Leftists in India .

Reasons for Decline:

A. Internal Reasons

A.1 Anti-egoism [1]

While most men display egoist or egotist tendencies, the Marxists in order to stress their broad-mindedness have inculcated a tendency to self-abuse. The denigration of every aspect of Indian life (culture, history and other elements of heritage) is glorified and recognized as a step forward in the progressive path. Such a retrograde step has led to severe attrition in the ranks of the Leftists. It has also planted seeds of confusion in the minds of the remaining ones as they attempt to unsuccessfully reconcile the unmask-able grandeur of Bharatiya history with the contempt Marxism ingrains in them towards the same. [It was a similar sense of anti-egoism that made Mikhail Gorbachev unravel the Soviet empire.]

A.2 Arrogance and closed mind

Every intellectual develops early in his/her life an absolute contempt for the populace that is overwhelming mentally challenged. This brings in him/her two tendencies:

a. A life-long desire to be different from the mass of cretins surrounding him/her

b. A sense of arrogance that sooner or later transforms into a closed mind. Beyond that stage, every new input to the mind is filtered through the prejudiced outlook to place them in pre-defined categories.

The Marxists have thus become classic frogs in a well or a fly captured in an empty glass that is unable to come out of its chrysalis.

A.3 Lack of academic integrity

The single most influential reason for the present pathetic state of Indian intelligentsia is the precipitous fall in academic standards. With most young, bright students embracing other lucrative careers, it is only the mediocre youngsters who have taken to humanities/arts in the last decade. Further the present academia has shamelessly sanctioned plagiarism, relegated talent to second place behind ideological conformance, and replaced synthesis of original works with bland analysis of existing ones.

A.4 Pawns in the hands of enemy nation

A great tragedy to befall Marxism in India is the control of its adherents by the nationalists of India ’s adversary nations. Hence the proponents of world brotherhood have been transformed into Chinese and Pakistani nationalists. This subversion, badly disguised under the banner of ‘progressive self-criticism’ has completely eroded the support base of the movement within India .

A.5 Alliance with Mohammedanism

The most unconscionable decision taken by the Marxists worldwide has been the embracing of Islam and support rendered to it in all manners. This has been justified in three ingenuous ways:

a. Islam shares with the communists a fierce hatred for the Western world. The communists who believe that the Americans thwarted the worldwide revolution in the 1950s see the current age as payback time where rising Islam would bring down the capitalist West to its knees. However, it is being overlooked that the capitulation of the West would end the very base from where the Communists preach their philosophy and Weltanschauung.

b. Islam is regarded by the Communists as being the very anti-thesis of logic. They are convinced that an Islamic interlude would lead to a final Communist earth, as the intellectuals in each Islamic nation would rise against its patently visible logical fallacies. The communists seem to forget at their peril the plight of their brethren in Islamic Pakistan and Islamic Bangladesh.

c. An inexplicable fear of Islam has gripped the Marxists in some regions. Like an appeaser who keeps on sacrificing his brethren to the predator in the fond hope that he would be killed/eaten last, the Marxists (esp. in Bengal) are giving one concession after another to the unappeasable Islamic terrorist. This constitutes the greatest sacrilege to the memory of the legendary sons of Bengal who presented to the proletariat personifications of the conjoint amalgamation of virility with dharma.

A.6 Fighting their greatest allies

The most loyal ally for the Communist has been the Hindu mass in this nation. Even the Bangladeshi immigrants, whose very illegal infiltration and settlement in Indian Territory was enabled by the Marxists turned their back and voted en masse for the Semitic-controlled Congress [I] party. Even from a theoretical background, the Hindu traditions (inclusive of Vedic, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh branches) are exceptionally close to the secular humanist Marxist approach.

The Vedic sage declaring ‘Ekam sat viprah bahuda vadanti’ [Truth is one, but the wise address it differently] transcends all artificial boundaries of sectarianism. The Hindu dictum of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ embracing the atheist Charvakas within its fold is the greatest secular movement ever founded. Manu’s rule of possessing only as much is needed for the next meal and strict adherence to one’s duty without causing societal inequality is a living embodiment of the socialist ideal.

A.7 No root in Indian traditions

The Marxists have only acquired a superficial understanding of the Indian traditions. Lacking a feeling for the pulse of the inhabitants of this land, they have utterly failed in implanting their ideology here.

B. External Reasons

B.1 Rise of RSS

The world’s largest NGO namely the National Volunteers Corps (or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) has shown persistent and steady growth. RSS advocates a version of Perennial Philosophy (Sanatana Dharma) that incorporates within itself all streams of progressive thought. The views of the group expressed cogently in the text ‘A Bunch of Thoughts’ by M S Golwalkar [2] has not been refuted by any of the Marxists.

B.2 Boom in the Indian economy

Right-wing author Robert Harvey points out that the Marxists have succeeded only in industrially under-developed regions. With the boom in the Indian economy and consequent rapid rise in living standards, the support base for Communism has vanished overnight from the urban areas at least.

B.3 Rise in religious consciousness

The past decade has witnessed a steady rise in religious consciousness within all communities. The pumping of Arab petro-dollars and the spread of Salafi Islam has energized the Mohammedans. The Christians, alarmed by their falling demographics in Europe , have greatly accelerated their proselytization work. The Hindus too have realized that after losing 50% of their lands to barbaric hordes in the last 1000 years, India constitutes their last living space. This rise in religious feeling has impeded the spread of Communist beliefs.

B.4 Setbacks suffered in other nations

A common man associates himself with philosophies that have been successful. Once very few students attended the great Rabindranath Tagore’s lecture at a Japanese university as ‘who wanted to listen to a philosophy from a slave nation.’ Similarly, with the collapse of USSR and the unraveling of the Communist blocs, the hoi polloi no longer feel the same kind of attraction as before for it.

B.5 Information revolution in India

The Communist hold over India was predicated on their iron grip on the English language media that by its skillful display of selective omission and deliberative commission had managed to delude the people for so long. With the emergence of Internet and rapid communication, the ways of ‘suppressio veri suggestio falsi’ no more have the same effect as before.

Impact of Decline:

While there are, beyond doubt, innumerable benefits accruing to the proletariat from the demise of the Leftists in their current incarnation, there are some negative aspects which are elucidated below:

1. Blow to Atheism

The scourge of mental afflictions that currently rule over the minds of the human populations disguised as prophetic religions can only be cauterized and exterminated by a rigorous application of atheism. In the absence of Communism and other like-minded atheist outfits, these religions would play havoc with the world and its denizens.

2. Blow to Rationalist-humanist streams

MK Gandhi had once described Hinduism as a perennial pursuit of truth. While that is indeed true, truer is the fact that Hindus today are enervated. This had led them to subscribe to various superstitions thus reducing the rational faith to the level of other Semitic faiths. Till the Hindus emerge from their fatigue, it is essential that some rationalist-humanist movement continue to act as a course corrector for society.

3. Blow to Free-thinking

While the Hindu faith undoubtedly encourages and even admires freethinking, India is a society just emerging from 1000 years of brutal alien rule. In such circumstances, adherence to the established norms is predominant in our society. The promotion of freethinking in such an atmosphere would lead to intellectual blossoming of Hinduism itself.

4. Blow to Civil Liberties

Fearing the misuse of civil liberties by the terrorist sympathizers, the middle class and the nationalists do not currently support civil liberty movements. It is due to the relentless criticism of the police and army by the communists that they (police/army) have not yet transformed into ‘tools to implement organized state terror’.


But all is hardly lost for the Left. It can rejuvenate itself and play a vital role in shaping the destiny of India . Some measures for achieving the same are enlisted below.

1. The Leftists in India must make a genuine attempt to understand native traditions. Currently they approach the Indian texts with a dictionary in one hand and a grammar text in the other. Such a word-digging approach deprives them of any real, first-hand appreciation of Indian heritage.

2. The Leftists in India should not get stuck at materialism and Hegelian dialectics. It is essential to realize the truth within and not rely merely on seemingly logical derivations.

3. The Left by the very origin of the word suggests revolutionary transformation. The Left needs to be inquilabi in nature and not embrace status-quoism.

4. The Left in India should get rid of its propensity to apotheosize China and Russia . In fact, their mistakes should be analyzed and lessons drawn from it as how to avoid their pitfalls.

5. The Leftists must empty their mind and rethink from the scratch free from any previous prejudice. Such a procedure is indeed an exceeding painful catharsis. It is out of fear of such a catharsis, that even the intellectually advanced Iran does not renounce Islam. The Leftists need to abandon their pre-conceived notions and try to build up the logical structure of their argumentation from ground up and by exploring the alternatives at each step as they proceed.


Even a paper can progress in its path if the wind is in the right direction; a bird distinguishes itself from the paper from flying against an antagonistic wind. The coming times would severely test the Leftists in India as whether they suffer the fate of the paper or rise up like a bird. A lot of that would depend on a self-realization of past mistakes and corrective action being implemented to thwart the occurrence of the same in future.

Such a process would also enable them to appreciate the secular and rational-humanistic outlook of Perennial Philosophy and merge themselves into the mainstream of the progressive Hindu society.

(TK Rajesh is a R&D engineer based in Bangalore and writes on the ‘convergent triumvirate of Indian nationalism, Indian culture and Indian religion’. email-


1. The word anti-egoism is a neologism by the author.

2. The Marxists have attempted (unsuccessfully) a character assassination of the brilliant scholar either by quoting him out of context or by entirely misquoting him. Another technique used against both Golwalkar and other modern authors like Arun Shourie is that of ‘stifling them with silence’. The approach mirrors that followed by the Mohammedans against Anwar Sheikh.

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