Thursday, May 11, 2006

Communist Double-Standard

By Balbir K. Punj



We are witnessing a strange situation. West Bengal Left Front Chairman Biman Bose, in a press conference in Kolkata’s Press Club, on April 18 last, accused that “opposition parties like Trinamool Congress, Congress and BJP have a nexus with Maoists of Midnapore, Bankura and Kamtapuris in Coochbihar”.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes of India

The Marxists of India are running with the hare, and hunting with the hounds. At a time the Maoist guerillas are wreaking havoc across central India, a CPI leader, Atul Kumar Anjaan, advises government of India to release 60-70 Nepali Maoists leaders lodged in Indian jails. Sitaram Yechuri, who attended the opening session of the Nepali Mahapanchayat, has also said that the CPI (M) would pressurise the Indian government to release the Nepali Maoists languishing in jails of India. The idea is a brainchild of Baburam Bhattarai, who heads the International Department of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, and offered to hold talks with the Nepalese government, provided it agreed on a new constitution, lifted terrorist tag on Maoists, and freed Maoist leaders in India and Nepal.

Mr. Anjaan has gone one step forward in saying that this would ‘cement the ties between India and Nepal’. What the CPI leader actually meant was that it would ‘cement the ties between the Maoists of India and Nepal’. This would certainly bring them closer to overthrowing ‘reactionary regimes in Kathmandu and New Delhi’ and establish ‘revolutionary dictatorship’ as they dream to do. In 1960s, Naxalites had given the slogan ‘China’s Chairman Mao is our Chairman’. After the departure of the British, in 1949, the Communists had declared an armed war to overthrow the ‘bourgeois regime’ in India.

It is worst kept secret that Maoists of Nepal and India act in tandem. India has a highly porous border with Nepal in Bihar, which is freely exploited by Maoists. Bihar has eight districts and 54 police stations situated on the border. In recent years Bihar police has arrested a number of Nepali Maoist leaders in East and West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Seohar, and Mudhubani. Bihar’s law and order situation was in a complete mess under Lalu Prasad Yadav. Nepali Maoists, taking advantage of the situation, had set up several bases in frontier districts of Bihar. Forest of Bagha in West Champaran district emerged as haven of Maoists.

The Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), which merged with People’s War Group in September 2000, to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had reportedly published a paper in February, 1996 welcoming Maoist movement in Nepal. The growing Maoist menace in Bihar in recent years reveals the footprints of Nepali Maoists, who collaborate with Marxists. On April 21 last, three alleged Nepali Maoists were arrested from Muzaffarnagar town of Bihar, along with computers, CDs, mobile phones, and rupees two lakh. Three had been hiding in the town where their other colleagues are receiving medical treatment.

We are witnessing a strange situation. West Bengal Left Front Chairman Biman Bose, in a press conference in Kolkata’s Press Club, on April 18 last, accused that “opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress, the Congress and the BJP have a nexus with Maoists of Midnapore, Bankura and Kamtapuris in Coochbihar”. ‘In the morning’ Mr. Bose affirmed rather theatrically, “they are sitting at Trinamool or Jharkhand Party office. At night they become Maoist”. Is it a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Our Marxist friends in India vend a theory that Maoism in Nepal is a reaction to autocratic Monarchy. But why then Maoist/Naxalite insurgency is becoming acuter in India that is a functional democracy? Perhaps, Marxists could like to say, that democracy in its true sense is not practiced in India. Left-liberal Arundhati Roy, in an interview with Tehelka weekly (06/05/2006) says: “The Maoist phenomenon has arisen because people have had doors of the liberal, democratic institutions slammed in their faces. To dismiss them all as extortionists and free-loaders is not just deeply apolitical, it’s extremely unjust.” So the democratic system in India is rotten and the Maoists are ‘social reformers’.

But why then Naxalism is rearing its head in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts of West Bengal that is being run by a coalition of pro-people parties like CPI (M), CPI, Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party etc. Why Naxalite posters calling for boycott of General Elections 2004 found their way to walls in Chief Ministers Buddhadev Bhattacharjee’s locality not to speak of those three districts. This time Bhattacharjee had to dare the Naxalite during his election campaign in those western districts of his state. Elections were held in those districts under unprecedented security of central paramilitary forces. Are we to say that Left font rule in West Bengal is as iniquitous as monarchy in Nepal. Will Yechury and Anjaan answer?

Marxists/Maoists project themselves as greatest custodian of democracy. How democratic was ‘German Democratic Republic’ (GDR) i.e. Communist East Germany, or much was people’s voice respected in Mao’s ‘People’s Republic of China’? How democratic is ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’, i.e. North Korea that has a ‘dynastic communist rule’? In contrast South Korea, simply known as People’s Republic of Korea, is liberal and democratic country. Behind the façade of the terms democracy and people’s republic the Maoists want to achieve a totalitarian, Stalinist and Maoist state. To Mao, power did not flow from people, but from barrel of gun.

Bolsheviks and Mensheviks ousted the Czarist monarchy in Russia, when the Ramanov dynasty, was implementing developmental and pro-people policies after 1905 uprising. When Lenin took over, a civil war between Reds and Whites followed, leading to 20 million deaths, before Lenin began implementing more market friendly New Economic Policy. But then Stalin took over, and presided over unmitigated disaster of the USSR.

Mao ousted the Chiang Kai-shek, from China, forcing him to retreat to Taiwan in 1949 where he served as President. Chiang (d.1975) and Mao (d.1976) served as their respective ‘Republics’ as authoritarian rulers till they died in close succession. But while Taiwan prospered under Chiang, and took a humane image, China under Mao was a worst repeat of Stalinist Russia. Taiwan is now democratic, where China is not although it has dissociated itself from economic policies of Mao, and escaped the fate of the USSR.

Like their ideological cousins elsewhere, the Marxists of India, swear by democracy and civil society, but harbours dreams of a ruthless dictatorship. To achieve their ends, they paste labels on their perceived road blocks such as ‘iniquitous monarchy’ in Nepal and ‘illiberal democracy’ in India. Is it not a classic case of kettle calling the pot black?

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