Many scholars opined that the main struggle within the philosophical circle of India was between the theist and the atheist lines. The Marxist philosophers understood this struggle as the struggle between idealism and materialism. The importance of Debiprasad lies in the fact that he tried to understand this struggle much more deeply and in the course of that he showed that this struggle originated from another specific struggle, which was, the struggle between two social systems — patriarchal society and the matriarchal society. Therefore, the struggle between idealism and materialism originally sprang out from the struggle between patriarchy and matriarchy. Later this struggle in philosophy became the spiritual tools of different classes, which were developed inside the Indo-Aryan society, in order to establish their own domination. This explanation about the history of the struggle among different philosophical trends is obviously a new one as almost no Indian scholars, neither Marxist nor non-Marxist, put their labour to unfold the history of matriarchal past of our country and its reflection in philosophy. Therefore, when Debiprasad discussed that how the development of materialism in India is closely connected with non-Vedic matriarchy and the origination of idealism with the Vedic patriarchy, obviously a new light is thrown in the discourse related to the history of philosophy.
Secondly, the reading of the book Origin of Family, Private Property, and the State written by Engels gives an impression that the primitive communist society was matriarchal in nature. However, with the origin of the private property the communistic organization of the society was broken and class division was developed. Along with that the matriarchal society had to be changed into patriarchy in order to retain the private wealth within the family. Therefore, patriarchy replaced long-established matriarchal society and Engels called it ‘world historic defeat of the woman race’. Therefore, it is quite obvious from this explanation that the change of society from matriarchy to patriarchy follows a linear direction which cannot be reversed. Debiprasad did not agree with this view at least in case of the Indian scenario. He noticed that the peculiar history in India witnessed a reversal from patriarchy to matriarchy once again when the basic economic activity of the society changed from hunting-gathering stage to agriculture. And this early agricultural matriarchal society acted as the social basis of the origination of proto-materialist notion like Tantra. From this view he reached yet another new concept that materialism was developed as the first ever philosophical trend in India, not idealism.
All these new sights regarding the history of philosophy and on the philosophical battles in our country coupled with the history of societal development are extremely important in order to understand the actual socio-political reality of our country and at the same time these ideas could have played important role to develop Marxist theory and praxis. But alas! The Marxists of our country never paid attention to the valuable works of Debiprasad, god knows why?
Debiprasad handled three sets of opposite ideas and reality at a time in order to enter in a detailed discussion on the origin of Indian materialism and found the very connection among them magnificently. Materialism and idealism, matriarchy and patriarchy, non-Vedic society and Vedic society — these three sets of opposites came into his discussion and Debiprasad unfolded the actual relation among them.
We have already noted in the previous chapters that according to Debiprasad, one of the main issues of debate between materialism and idealism was cosmogony. The Vedantist cosmogony was idealist according to which the universe was created from idea. On the other hand the Lokayata cosmogony put forward one sort of materialist idea which says that there is no difference between soul and body (deha) and the universe was originated from unification of prakriti (female) and purusha (male). We have also seen that the Lokayata cosmogony and Tantrika cosmogony are all the same. Debiprasad told us that Tantrika cosmogony and Lokayata cosmogony or Carvaka cosmogony was all the same, or more accurately one transformed into another. Then, there was another question raised. Which one originated first? Tantrism or Lokayata? According to Debiprasad, Tantrism was an ancient idea which consists of a bunch of old beliefs mainly naturalist or proto-materialist in nature. The importance of Debiprasad is that he is the only Marxist philosopher who tried to understand that which social condition is responsible for the originof the concept like Tantrism. Before going into that question we wish to introduce Tantrism very briefly to our readers as elaborated by Debiprasad.
The central concept of Tantrism is Vamacara. Many scholars understand the term ‘vamacara’ as the ‘left hand practice’. The word ‘vama’ appears to them as ‘left’ and by ‘left hand practice’ they want to mean a bunch of mysterious rituals which are not common in conventional wisdom (Vedic concepts and rituals). It is true that in our country the struggle between Vedic and non-Vedic ideas and culture is the main source of the philosophical struggle. Therefore, in this background the above mentioned explanation of vamacara is widely accepted in the academic circle. However, Debiprasad did not agree with this explanation. He argued very clearly that Tantrism originated much before than composing of the Vedas. Therefore, according to Debiprasad, in comparison with the Vedic rituals and beliefs Vamacara was so uncommon rituals and that was why it was originally meant as ‘left hand practice’ — this concept is very much farfetched. He clearly declared that Vamacara is nothing but the rituals of the females. Debiprasad understood the term ‘vama’ as woman. He explained that the women were in the centre of Tantrism and Tantrika rituals. Vamacara was deeply associated with Kamacara which meant nothing but sex (kama) rituals. We have already seen that in order to criticize the Lokayata view the conventional Vedantist philosophers always portrayed these sex rituals as perversion.
Elaborating the Tantrika view Debiprasad proved that the sex rituals in ancient materialist or proto-materialist views in India was not perversion at all, on the contrary, unlike the Vedic tradition in Tantrika practices sex rituals always were dominated by the females. Vamacara originally means the rituals exclusively by the women. It does not mean that in these rituals male folks had no part to play, however, their role was only to assist, and again the final aim of the Tantrikas, irrespective of their biological gender, was to become female (vama bhutva yajet param). Let us enter into more elaborate explanation of Tantrism.
The most important part of Vamacara is the practice of yoga, or yogasadhana. According to Tantrika belief there is another nerve cord inside the central nerve cord of every human body, which is called chitrini. Further, there are seven special points on chitrini which are actually seven seats of energy or power (shakti). The power residing in these seven points are differently named. The power residing in the nethermost point is called Kalakundalini. The immediate aim of Tantrika Jogacara is to arouse the dormant Kalakundalini in the nethermost center on chitrini. Once Kalakundalini is aroused or awakened she gradually moves upwards and starts piercing all the intermediary positions in order to finally reach the uppermost point on the chitrini which is called sahasradalapadma. That is why the Tantrika yogasadhana is often called as satchakraveda sadhana or a practice to pierce seven points. It is an extremely important point in Tantrika view that it clearly stated that the highest seat of consciousness resides on sahasradalapadma on chitrini which is actually placed in human brain. So Debiprasad said: “The main contribution to some of the sciences — particularly to anatomy and physiology — came in our country from the Tantrikas. They discovered long ago that the brain was the seat of consciousness.” (Lokayata/pp 335). He quoted a passage from the book Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus (1915) written by the eminent philosopher of Brahmo Samaj, established at the time of Bengal Renaissance, Sir Brajendra Nath Seal which says the following: “In Charaka and Susruta (as in Aristotle) the heart is the central organ and seat of consciousness; but in the Tantrika writings (as in Galen) the seat of consciousness is transferred to the brain or rather the cerebrospinal system.” (Seal/PSAH/218-19).
Now the question is that what is the nature of this force like Kalakundalini? Debiprasad put forward a splendid discussion where he clearly pointed out that the nature of this force is nothing but female force. In Tantrika literatures the seven points on the chitrini which are considered as the places of the power or forces often termed as Lotus or Padma, like Asthadalapadma or Sahasradalapadma etc. Here, the term ‘padma’ is a technical term which means female genital organ or vagina. Debiprasad said: “Seven padmas, literally lotuses, are conceived as situated on seven different positions of the susumna-cord. Modern writers on Tantrism usually call these nerve plexuses. But the point is that in Tantrism the lotus (padma), like many other terms, is conceived exclusively in a technical sense. In Tantrism the lotus is invariably a symbolic representation of the female genital organ.” (ibid/pp 281). Therefore, the nature of the forces which are originated from the female genital organ are undoubtedly female. So Debiprasad opined: “So, if the Kalakundalini and other saktis residing in the seven padmas of the susumna are at all energies or forces, we cannot but conceive them as female forces or feminine energies. Thus there are seven seats of femininity on the central nerve-cord.” (ibid/ pp 281-82).
What happens when this female force is awakened and reaches in the highest seat of consciousness, that is, Sahasradalapadma, by piercing all the intermediary points? Answering this question Debiprasad leads his readers into an extremely interesting and path-breaking discussion. He answered that when this force reached in the highest seat of consciousness the female force united with the masculinity that resides there along with femininity and ‘everything dissolves into a kind of non-duality, because, evidently, everything is lost into the pure all-absorbing femininity which is aroused within’. A total transformation took place in the consciousness of the Tantrika. The Tantrika may be a female or male biologically, however, he transforms into a female in consciousness. Debiprasad said, “Thus the essence of the Tantrika yogasadhana consists in arousing and vitalizing the female principle residing in her nethermost centre and then transmitting her to her highest centre, the seat of consciousness, after piercing all the intermediary positions. It is thus nothing but an effort towards a total transformation of the personality into femininity.” (ibid/pp 282). In Tantrika literature it is called, vama bhutva yajet param, that is, the highest goal of practice (sadhana) is to become female.
Debiprasad showed that kamacara, (the sex rituals) were very important component of vamacara. Sexual practices (kama), that is, the urge to be united, occupy special place in Tantrika beliefs and rituals. Actually vamacara is nothing but kamacara and the opposite is also true. However, we have already noted that in Tantrism sexual practice is neither led by the male nor for the male which can be seen in Vedic society. On the contrary, here, the sexual practices are led by the female and for the female. The role of the male folks is only to assist and that too, the ultimate goal of the sadhana is to become female, transforming the personality of the Tantrika into femininity. That is why in Tantrism we see that the important components of female sexuality, like, female genital organ or menstrual blood are considered as most auspicious and holy in stark contrast of patriarchal religious ideas. The menstrual blood has extremely important place in Tantrika text where it is called as sky flower (khapuspa) which is also a technical term like ‘padma’. Several technical terms of this kind can be seen in Tantrika text, which represent different components of female sexuality. Another important aspect of Tantrika sadhana is its practice related to five Mas. These five Mas are Madya (wine), Mamsa (meat), Matsya (fish), Mudra (fried corn) and Maithun (sex). All these are important components of sex rituals to facilitate the Tantrika yogasadhana in order to transform the human consciousness into all-absorbing femininity, vama bhutva yajet param.
Debiprasad engaged in a long discussion with Tantrism and directly raised a question that on which type of socio-economic basis a belief-system like Tantrism could be developed. He discussed the matter so magnificently that without his help we could answer that only in a matriarchal society this type of belief-system could originate. The Vedic society was a patriarchal society. All the major deities in the Vedas were male. Indra, the Lord of the War, full of masculine vigor was most prominent among them. A lot of praises had been devoted to him in the Rig Veda. Therefore, it is quite natural that the Vedic society could not be the society where Tantrism could originate. However, without being satisfied only with this Debiprasad continued his investigation in order to reach deeper understanding. What is the actual significance of female power in Tantrism? Why the sexual practices or sex rituals are so prominent and dominant in Tantrism? We have already seen that kamacara is the actual practice of the women and irrespective of biological gender the Tantrikas are engaged in the sadhana to become female. Therefore, the prominence of sexual act is not at all inspired by any kind of masochism which was very common in patriarchal Vedic society and its thoughts. If then, what was actual inspiration behind the dominance of sexual practices in Tantrism?
Debiprasad showed that the real inspiration behind widespread sex rituals in Tantrism actually remained in the desire of production. In the lower stage of agricultural society where there was almost no development in the arena of natural science, people were mostly ignorant about the real reasons behind agricultural production, there from the utmost uncertainty of production one kind of practice was developed. Debiprasad called it Magic. In this society the concepts relating material production, sexual reproduction, female force and fertility can mix together in order to give birth to the magical belief-system like Tantrism. Here, we can recall what Engels said regarding the basis of societal structure. Discussing the base and superstructure Engels said that the production and reproduction of immediate life was the base of a society, and it had twofold characters. He opined that if the production and reproduction of essential materials for livelihood is one aspect of this activity, another aspect is to produce and reproduce the human species itself.
Debiprasad showed that in the society of the early agriculturists how the magical beliefs came out from this ‘double helix’ of these two aspects of production and reproduction. Before entering into the subject we must admit that Debiprasad was the only Marxist who deeply investigated theology and in connection to that he investigated about the origin of religion. The Marxists of our country even today lack proper understanding regarding religion and cannot say anything more than ‘opium’ and ‘sigh of the oppressed’. This is a fatal lacuna in a country like India. If the important works of Debiprasad were taken into account this situation could not have arisen. Debiprasad established with due emphasis that religion did not exist always. In the course of the societal development, with the origin of class division, religion came into being. Then what was there before religion? “Magic”, answered Debiprasad. Now the question: what is that magic?
In a series of lectures in 1986 organized by the Kolkata University on religion and society Debiprasad put forward an elaborate discussion on the origin of religion. Those lectures were later published in a book under the same title: Religion and Society. Debiprasad discussed on ‘before-religion’ in one of those lectures. He said that in the primitive society where human beings had very little knowledge about the mystery of the nature, thus production was uncertain, food crisis was high, there the humans took refuge in a special instrument to overcome the difficulty which is called magic. From this instrument sacrificial ceremonies and rituals were developed in later period. Magic was an illusion which used to visualize the people that as if they were getting the desired objects. It was not like the ceremonies which were devoted to please the gods. The primitive people were people of action. They were not separated from production. Therefore, magic was an imagination that the desired incidents were taking place. When rain was badly needed people used to assemble in a particular place and a dance used to get started and the gathered people imagined that the raining was taking place. In the early pastoral society of the Vedic Aryans in India the strong presence of magic can be seen. Similarly, Debiprasad showed that in the early agriculturist societies magic related rituals were very common not only in India but in a vast areas of the globe. The reason explained by him: “To the early agriculturists, it was not known why or how the plants really grew. The process from sowing to reaping was with them greatly mysterious. Besides, the technique was poor and consequently the prospect of success was extremely precarious. That is why it required patience, foresight and faith.” (Lokayata). Therefore, in the pre-Vedic early agriculturist society in India where the people had almost no material tools to overcome the difficulties in the production it was imperative for them to take refuge in magic. Magic was the tools which helped the people to imagine as if they were controlling the objectivity. Debiprasad told magnificently: “imposing illusion on reality”. Tantrism developed from the magical beliefs of the people in the early agriculturist society of India.
Now the question is what is the relation between the early agriculturist society and the female force? Debiprasad led his readers to a splendid and path-breaking discussion in order to answer this question. Let us know his opinion in a nutshell. However, before that we should note that when in “Communist Manifesto” Marx-Engels declared in 1848, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”, they had no knowledge of pre-history. In the year of 1888 Engels put forward a note to the English edition of “Manifesto” which says: “That is, all written history. In 1847, the pre-history of society, the social organization existing previous to recorded history, was all but unknown. Since then, Haxthausen discovered common ownership of land in Russia, Maurer proved it to be the social foundation from which all Teutonic races started in history, and by and by village communities were found to be, or to have been the primitive form of society everywhere from India to Ireland. The inner organization of this primitive Communist society was laid bare, in its typical form, by Morgan’s crowning discovery of the true nature of the gens and its relation to the tribe. With the dissolution of these primaeval communities society begins to be differentiated into separate and finally antagonistic classes. I have attempted to retrace this process of dissolution in: Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.”
Morgan and Engels both portrayed the same picture about the transition from primitive communist society to class divided society and its relation with another transition from matriarchy to patriarchy. According to them the primitive communal society was based on matriarchy. From the very beginning of the human society indiscriminate sexual relation between women and men was found, however, as the time passed by, the range of this indiscrimination was reduced and different phases of evolutionary process of the family structure can be seen. However, all these phases belong to a general category which is called matriarchy based on Mother-right. Debiprasad quoted eminent English anthropologist W.H.R. Rivers in order to provide a definition of mother-right where it says that it is “a form of social organization in which the rights of a person in relation to the other members of his community and to the community as a whole are determined by relationship traced through the mother. In this condition the duties which a person owes to society, the privileges which he enjoys and the restrictions to which he is subject are regulated, and their scope is determined, by the relations in which the person stands to his mother’s relatives and his mother’s social group.” (Lokayata/pp 238).
The emergence of private property had to break this matriarchal society based on mother-right. The uncertainty of the father of a child became a roadblock for the private property to keep within the family. Morgan said: “With property accumulated with the masses and assuming permanent forms, and with an increased proportion of it held by individual ownership, descent to female line was certain to overthrow, and the substitution of the male line equally assured.” (Ancient Society/ L. H. Morgan/K. P. Bagchi & Co./ Kolkata, 1982/ PP 355).
Engels accepted this formula of Morgan and put forward the same theorem regarding the relation between transition from matriarchy to patriarchy and the transition from classless society to class society in his book OFPPS. However, the main flaw of this theorem lies in the fact that here it is pre-assumed that the accumulating private property had to be owned by the male only and not by the female. But what is the basis of this pre-assumption? The theorem does not answer this question. Debiprasad never raised this question, however, he was clearly not satisfied with this formula and his objective inquiries and researches on the Indian society in particular and other oriental societies in general led him to realize a different picture altogether regarding the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy. Our Marxists never paid attention to this valuable discovery made by Debiprasad.
I shall put forward an elaborate outline of Debiprasad’s thought on this subject in order to understand the relation between matriarchy and materialism in our country in the next issue of Red Star under the title of Remaining part of "Further Studies in Indian Materialism". n
Imperialism, the world’s mightiest military machine and number one sponsor of terrorism at a global level, now led by Donald Trump, is engaged in an all-out offensive against world people to preserve its imperialist interests. The consequent US economic, political and military machinations on the part of US have led to a sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions. The setbacks suffered by left forces and the world-wide shift of ruling class politics to the far-right leading to fascistic tendencies have enabled US imperialism to forge ties and alliances with such reactionary regimes to ensure its geopolitical interests in different parts of the world. Trump administration’s renewed pressure tactics and ‘carrot and stick’ policy on the Modi regime should be seen in this context. In fact, a number of unilateral restrictions on trade including withdrawal of tariff concessions to India which were taken and informed to Modi government in March 2019 have been kept in abeyance in view of the Indian General Election. Though the Indian ruling classes with their time tested allegiance to US imperialism are satisfied with a ‘decent’ position in the neo-colonial order led by US imperialism, the latter has been rigid in dealing with India in all issues connected with US neo-colonial interests. But the Modi regime in tune with its continuing subservience to US has not done anything worthwhile to protect the interests of India. Its inability to properly intervene in favour of high-tech professionals from India when Trump imposed a series of legal and financial hurdles on them is just an example. Most ignominious is Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal’s assurance on June18 to US firms Facebook, Dell, Amazon, SAP, Google, Cognizant, Paypal, IBM, VISA, and Microsoft regarding upholding of their corporate interests in India vis-à-vis RBI’s directive on data localisation.
However, immediately after the second coming to power of Modi with a thumping majority, in continuation of his aggressive trade moves such as cancellation of half-a-century-old preferential trade treatment based on the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) with effect from June 2019, the Trump administration has made certain new initiatives to transform India as a perpetual dumping ground of strategic US weapons. To facilitate this, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s India visit is scheduled towards the last week of June 2019 to be followed by the planned meeting between Modi and Trump during the upcoming June G-20 Summit in Japan. As a prelude to this high-level meeting, a Bill sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats seeking amendments to the US Arms Controls Export Act for bringing India on par with NATO allies, Israel, Australia, Korea and New Zealand and for selling high-tech military weapons under ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) list has been moved in the Senate. When this Bill brings appropriate changes in the National Defence Authorisation Act 2020 (since both Republicans and Democrats have the same imperialist interests, the Bill is likely to sail through the Congress), then America will be able to stockpile key weapons in India extending considerable executive powers to US president to export and deploy these weapons for real-time military operations. In continuation of India’s signing of the Communication, Compatibility, and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with US during Modi’s first innings and in the context of the ongoing bilateral discussion on Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA) both as foundational agreements for defence cooperation between both countries, the aim of this US initiative is to maintain India as its junior strategic partner in South Asia.
The Modi regime is still keeping a silence on the US warning and threat of sanctions against India’s buying Russian-made S-400 Triumph missile defence system as it is not in consonance with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) adopted by US parliament. Similar has been Modi’s approach to Trump administration’s unilateral termination of the GSP scheme and on the ultimatum on halting cheap oil imports from Venezuela and Iran. Of course, to dilute India-Russia defence deals and to wean away India from Russian influence, the US is reported to have informed its junior partner on its willingness to transfer high-end defence equipment like National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS II), the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), Patriot Advance Capability (PAC-3), and the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet, etc. Obviously, these are very tempting to the saffron regime in India.
Revealingly, at a time when the Erdogan regime of Turkey and certain Latin American countries like Bolivia are eager to maintain their ‘relative national independence’ by taking advantage of the sharpening inter-imperialist contradictions, this American servitude of the Indian ruling regime, true to its class character, is condemnable. Recently, in spite of still being a crucial “NATO ally”, Erdogan has pushed ahead with the purchase of S-400 missile from Russia and amidst US threat of sanctions declared that it is “impossible to cancel deal with Russia”. Evo Morales of Bolivia has openly declared his country’s decision to cut off ties with the Bretton Woods twin, IMF and World Bank, America’s neo-colonial economic arms.
Therefore, ‘the saffron nationalists’’ talk of nationalism is only for hoodwinking the broad masses of people and is a camouflage for acting as an agent of US imperialism. The Modi regime’s actions including its responses on the latest Yankee machinations amply show its self-satisfaction to act as its junior partner under the umbrella of US imperialism, and above all offering itself as a launching pad for Pentagon’s geopolitical interests in the Indo-Pacific directed especially against imperialist China which is contending with the US for world hegemony. If the said Bill that is initiated by both factions of the US ruling class materialises as scheduled, then surpassing Saudi, India will become not only the biggest arms importer from US, but the latter can more nakedly penetrate into India’s defence system too.
However, it would be very naïve to construe these developments under the RSS-led Modi regime as an overnight development. During the Nehruvian period Russia had been the major supplier of arms to India. But, with the onset of neo-liberalism, US imperialism displaced Russia as India’s biggest military supplier and under the pseudo-nationalist Modi regime, most of India’s military exercises are along with US imperialism as the big brother. To counter China’s growing influence particularly in Asia and in the Indo-Pacific region, US imperialism is bent on using India as a regional bully. And in tandem with these military ties, economic cooperation between the two is also growing very fast. As its manifestation, during the quarter century of neo-liberalism, volume of trade between the US and India has increased more than ten-fold. According to strategic analysts, under Modi’s second term, the US-India economic integration may accelerate the trade volume between the two from the existing $150 billion to around $500 billion in five years
As noted above, behind this intensifying military and economic ties between the US and India, long drawn-out common interests between US imperialism and saffron fascists are at work. That is, even much before the formal neoliberal promulgation of “war on terror” and Islamophobia by US imperialist think-tanks by the turn of the 21st century regarding which the RSS shares the same wave-length with the Yankees, the pro-American orientation of the saffron forces has deep-rooted historical tradition. In other words, the pro-British servility of the Hindutva forces during the colonial period continued unabated, albeit in a nuanced form, during the post-1947 period through its abject servitude towards US imperialism, the supreme arbiter in the postwar neo-colonial global order.
This inherent US allegiance of pseudo nationalists including their far-right orientation could be easily guessed from a letter reportedly written in the early seventies glorifying the US by Golwalker, the biggest-ever RSS theoretician, to the US president Lyndon Johnson. At a time when the whole world was rising up against US imperialism for its crimes against humanity in Vietnam, this letter was entrusted to Atal Behari Vajpayee who was visiting US in 1971. Eulogising US and its ‘democracy’, among other things, Golwalker wrote in the letter thus: “By God’s grace USA is the leader of the free world. Dharma and Adharma are today engaged in a worldwide war. In this war, the US heads the side of Dharma.” It should be specifically noted that this declaration of RSS’s unconditional loyalty to US had come at that critical juncture when world public opinion had gone against US imperialism because of the Vietnam War. When the Seventies came to a close, the Sangh Parivar’s stand against Soviet-supported Indira Gandhi’s Emergency had immensely contributed to an increase in RSS’ prestige and credibility among US policy makers who were leading the Cold War against the Soviet Union.
Though certain Hindu organisations like the ISKON headquartered in New York since 1965 had their operations in several American cities, it was from the 1980s onward that a sudden spurt in the growth of RSS-related organisations became conspicuous in the US. The International Hindu Conference organised in New York in 1984 was a milestone in this direction. In tandem with the steady growth of BJP, the political party floated by RSS after Emergency in continuation of erstwhile Jan Sangh, as neo-liberalism advanced, encompassing a wide spectrum of Hindu fundamentalist outfits and saffron ideologues, the ‘Overseas Friends of BJP’ started its operations in USA. This marks the beginning of intense ‘lobbying’ in the US by networks of wealthiest Hindutva groups connected with RSS/BJP emulating the Jewish lobby. Emergence of a network of professional organisations with far-right political undertones under the cover of Indian American Forum for Political Education, Indian American Committee for Political Awareness, US-India Political Action Committee, etc. effective lobbying was made possible first with the formation of Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans in 1993 followed by India Caucus in US senate in 2004. In fact, the Senate caucus dedicated to India was the first of its kind in USA. In creating favourable pro-India opinion for Vajpayee’s nuclear test (1998), Kargil War (1999) and US India Civilian Nuclear Agreement (2008) this lobbying was very effective. Further, the Caucus members played a major role in highlighting the economic and military significance of India becoming America’s strategic junior partner.
The ascendancy of the far-right, Hindutva and openly pro-American BJP to power in 2014, added a qualitative dimension to this trend. Modi’s frequent visits to US following the removal of US visa restraints against him being prime minister, boosted this Indo-US nexus further. Immediately after coming to power in 2014, Modi had a meeting with 40 Congressional Representatives in Manhattan followed by another meeting with a 50-member delegation of the ‘Overseas friends of BJP’ and a convention organised by it to interact with the Diaspora. The US interest in hosting and sponsoring such meetings is obvious—to exploit India’s expanding consumer and capital markets, to ensure India’s perennial dependence on US weapons as well as transform India as the dumping ground of its weapons, and to utilize India’s infrastructure and its status as the south Asian big brother for Pentagon’s geopolitical interests in the Indo-Pacific region vis-à-vis China. And the Hindutva “Indian lobby” in the US has fully reconciled with Trump’s “America First” policy. A convergence of common interests is also visible pertaining to the doctrine of “war on terrorism” targeting Islam enunciated by US imperialism.
In fact, in the context of US election that brought Trump to presidency, modelled after “Republican Jewish Coalition”, the “Republican Hindu Coalition” (RHC) came into being in November 2015 through the coordinated efforts of various far-right and reactionary Hindu outfits and the RHC had a fairly widespread election campaign including fund-raising and mobilising millions of dollars in the process with the slogans “Trump for Hindu Americans”, “Trump Great for India”, “saviour of humanity”, etc. for Tump’s victory. Wholeheartedly supporting Yankee efforts to combat “radical Islamic terrorism”, the RHC situates itself as “a single, unified platform for Hindu Americans to have a respected voice on the policy table in the United States as well as India.” It is the Indian counterpart of this arch-reactionary and obscurantist RHC that adores Trump as the saviour of Hindutva from “Islamic terrorism” and performs ceremonial rituals worshipping him as God.
The upshot of the argument is that it has been the rapid rise and strengthening of Islamophobic and xenophobic RSS-sponsored Hindutva lobby having close proximity to US policymaking that facilitated the increasing economic and military integration of India with US imperialism as the latter’s junior strategic partner. Today, ultra-rightist Hindutva forces in the US including RHC while faithfully serving American imperialism are also in the forefront of propagating Kashmir issue as a conflict that pits the aggrieved Hindu victim against Islam in a disputed territory cleverly ignoring the fundamental national question of Kashmir and covering up the heinous militarisation going on there. To be precise, the strategically important and ultra-neoliberal political, economic and military initiatives which are evolving with respect to Indo-US relations are to be evaluated in the broader context of the ascendancy of neo-fascist far-right in the ruling political spectrum in both India and USA. n
The Central Committee meeting at Bengaluru has decided to observe the Centenary of the Communist Movement in India, considering the meeting at Tashkent in Soviet Union on 17th October, 1920, in which its first committee was formed as its beginning. The Centenary programs shall start with a meeting in Delhi on 17th October 2019, to be followed by the programs in different states till 17th October, 2020. At a time when the Communist movement is facing severe challenges, the CC calls on all Party committees to organize programs all over the country raising the banner of communism high.
Like in other parts of the world, the Russian Revolution of 1917 served as a great inspiration to revolutionaries in India who at that time were engaged in the struggle for the liberation from British rule. Many of them were living in exile and had been in contact with Lenin and the Bolshevik Party and in 1913-14 some of them had formed the Ghadar Party. But it was in 1920 that the Communist Party of India came into existence.
The ground for the formation of an émigré Communist Party of India was prepared by the Second Congress of the Third International (1920). The Comintern Executive Committee (ECCI) set up a sub-committee, the ‘Small Bureau’, to begin the process. The Bureau organised the First Congress of the Peoples of the East at Baku in September 1920, specifically aimed at fighting imperialism in Asia. This was followed by the formation of the Communist Party of India on 17 October, 1920 at Tashkent. The seven members were M. N. Roy, Evelyn Roy-Trent, Abani Mukherjee, Rosa Fitingov, Mohammad Ali, Mohamad Shafiq and Acharya. Shafiq was elected as the secretary of the party, Roy as secretary of the party’s Bureau based in socialist Turkestan and Acharya as the chairman who signed the minutes. At the first meeting on 17 October, the organization adopted its name as the ‘Indian Communist Party’. The inaugural meeting also adopted the principles of the Comintern and decided to work out a programme of the CPI that was ‘suited to the conditions of India’. A preliminary discussion was held on membership procedure and affiliation to the Comintern. The meeting was concluded with the singing of ‘The International’.
M.N. Roy, as the principal organiser of the party, successfully recruited young ex-Muhajir students from India. Roy and Evelyn Roy-Trent, his wife and comrade at the time, played a key role in bringing Mohammad Shafiq, Mohammad Ali and other ex-Muhajirs into the fold of the nascent communist party. The former Muhajirs (Muslims on self-imposed exile from colonial India) were losing their faith in Pan-Islam and enthusiastically joined the early CPI as its founders and earliest members. They had started their journey from India as Muhajirs and joined the process of hijrat, or religious exodus from the land ruled by the infidel (British colonisers). This was an anti-colonial impulse which gained ground among a section of Indian Muslims during the First World War and its immediate aftermath. It was expressed through anti-imperialist Pan-Islamism and showed a marked tendency to align with other anti-colonial tendencies and groups. The aim of the Muhajirs was to reach Afghanistan and Turkey. Some of them had made their way through the North West Frontier Province to Afghanistan, and from there to Soviet Central Asia. In the Bolshevik territories, they underwent an ideological transformation.
The minutes of the CPI of 15 December, 1920 reveal the induction of three others as candidate members who had to complete a probation period of three months for full membership of the party. The same meeting also elected a three-member Executive Committee with Roy, Shafiq and Acharya. The party was registered in Turkestan and recognized by the Comintern as a group with a consultative voice during the Third Congress of the Communist International in 1921. Many of the ex-Muhajirs who joined the party in early 1921 travelled to Moscow and enrolled in the newly started University of the Toilers of the East.
The formation of the CPI was followed by the establishment of an Indian Military Training School in Tashkent. The school functioned from October 1920 to the end of May 1921. Its students, such as Rafiq Ahmad and Shaukat Usmani, later shifted to the University of Toilers of the East in Moscow. According to Muzaffar Ahmad, one of the pioneers of the communist movement in India, at least twenty-one names of young Muhajir students could be identified from the records. They had joined the Tashkent Military School and later some of them had enrolled at the university in Moscow. Of them, ten were arrested when they returned to India to form a communist movement. They were tried in the Peshawar Conspiracy Case and convicted to various terms of rigorous imprisonment. Shaukat Usmani who had been convicted in the Kanpur Bolshevik Conspiracy Case of 1924, was re-convicted along with Mir Abdul Majid in the Meerut Conspiracy Case of 1929. Muzaffar Ahmad dedicated his memoirs of the CPI to Abdul Majid and Ferozuddin Mansur, two of the pioneering ex-Muhajirs turned communists from India.
Though the émigré communists faced persecution when they tried to return, their activities from abroad boosted and preceded the emergence of the communist movement on a wider scale within India. The formation of the party in Tashkent was followed by initiatives by the émigrés to connect with activists such as Muzaffar Ahmad, S. A. Dange, Singaravelu Chettier and others who were inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and were turning towards Marxist-Leninist politics and organising small communist groups in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lahore and Kanpur in the course of late 1921 and 1922.
The history of the communist movement from its first meeting in October, 1920 is a complex and chequered one. There were great achievements and serious setbacks during this period. There were intensive inner party struggles also. These struggles led to many crises and splits, including the first split in undivided CPI in 1964 leading to formation of the CPI (M). The inner party struggle within CPI(M) continued, leading to Naxalbari Uprising in 1967 and to the formation of CPI(ML) in 1969. Following the emergence and domination of the left adventurist line in it, the disintegration of it into many groups happened by 1972. It is still divided into a wide spectrum of organizations. The communist movement, or what is known under this banner, is presently ranging from CPI, and CPI (M) at the right extreme, to the CPI (Maoist), with its anarchist line, on the other extreme.
It was in this situation, the CPI (ML) Red Star, from the time of the formation of the Central Reorganization Committee (CRC) in 1979 initiated efforts to reorganize the movement ideologically, politically and organizationally based on Bolshevik lines, struggling against the modern day Mensheviks led by CPI(M) on the one hand, and against the modern day Narodniks represented by the CPI(Maoist). In continuation to these efforts, it convened the Ninth Party Congress at Bhubaneswar in 2011 after a gap of 41 years from the time of the (Eighth) Congress at Kolkata, upholding the great revolutionary heritage of the communist movement, and developing its ideological, political and organizational line according to the analysis of the vast changes that had taken place in the concrete conditions at the international and national levels. In this Congress, analyzing the intensification of ecological destruction under the neoliberal development paradigm, the contradiction between capital and nature was included in the Party Program as a fifth major contradiction. Analysing the cardinal importance of fighting against the caste system, it was also decided to launch the Caste Annihilation Movement.
Following this, the Tenth Party Congress was held at Lucknow, from 25th February to 2nd March, 2015. The decision to organize the Party Congress in the Hindi heartland was taken at a significant juncture in the history of the country when ultra rightist-saffron fascist forces had come to power replacing the decade long rightist rule of Congress led UPA, and when the left movement was facing great challenges. The successful convening of the Tenth Congress marked a further advance in the development of the party at ideological, political and organizational levels. It also marked the merger of sections of the communist revolutionary organizations with the party before and during the Congress. It has created a better situation for Communist Resurgence as the Resolution on the Theoretical Offensive adopted by the Party Congress pointed out.
This re-organization of the party and its development in all fields were based on the analysis of the ideological political challenges faced by the Communist movement in India from 1920s. The Tenth Congress developed the Party Program, Party Constitution and Path of Revolution along with the Political Resolution and the Resolution on Theoretical Offensive.
At the same time, even after the successful convening of the Tenth Congress it was a fact that so far only a small fraction of the very large number of communist rank and file spread out in the various organizations at all India level, who are holding red flag and professing Marxism-Leninism could be united. While taking up this task, in order to avoid past mistakes, it was necessary that the history of the hitherto unity efforts is scientifically evaluated. During the last four decades there were numerous efforts for unity from the side of the Marxist- Leninist groups who were agreeing on the analysis of the character of Indian state and society as semi colonial and semi feudal, stage of revolution as democratic, and strategy of revolution as ‘protracted people’s war’. But either they could not unite, or if united, their unity did not last long. On the whole, all of them refuse to recognize the vast changes taking place in the concrete situation under neo-colonial onslaught and to develop their ideological political line. As a result, most of these organizations are on the decline and some of them are facing further decimation.
The Eleventh Party Congress was organized by the CPI (ML) Red Star at Bengaluru from 27th November to 1st December, 2019, when the neoliberal/corporate-saffron fascist onslaught under Modi rule had intensified to dangerous levels demanding all round offensive against it from the struggling left and democratic forces. The Political Resolution adopted by the Party Congress states: “…. the uncompromising struggle against saffron fascist forces needs to be carried forward uniting with all the genuine secular, democratic and left forces having a principled stand against neoliberal policies. As opposed to the opportunist ruling class alliances, this alternative capable of bringing about a political and class polarization led by working class, peasantry and all the oppressed will strengthen itself and can more effectively and vigorously lead the struggle against corporate- saffron fascist forces. Raising high the banner of this principled and class-oriented political initiative is thus the need of the hour. If such an initiative is not forthcoming at this juncture, when the communist revolutionary forces are not strong enough to lead a nation-wide struggle against neo-liberalism and saffron fascist onslaught, as hitherto experience has time and again proved, it will only get marginalized and further weaken the Left forces both politically and organizationally. As such, this line of independent left assertion with clear-cut revolutionary political orientation is indispensable for enthusing the broad masses of struggling people in the country and for overcoming the depoliticizing situation propped up by the ruling system”.
It is a basic Marxist–Leninist teaching that “the correctness of the ideological political line determines everything”. A glance through the severe setbacks suffered by the international communist movement (ICM) which had reached a very high level of growth by 1950s, with one third of the world people living in the socialist countries and national liberation movements gaining strength in the Afro-Asian-Latin American countries, to the present situation of severe setbacks when all of them have deviated to capitalist path with the first socialist state, Soviet Union, disintegrating. Refusing to learn from these, as the CPI(M) led Left Front pursued the neoliberal policies and degenerated to social democratic positions, in spite of long periods of LF rule during the 17th Lok Sabha elections they were severely decimated in both Bengal and Tripura. Refusing to take lessons from this, still in its last bastion, Kerala, the LDF is arrogantly pursuing the suicidal path of imposing neoliberal policies on the people, going against the Marxist- Leninist teachings. At this critical phase, it is imperative that the communist forces make a self-critical evaluation of hitherto experience, and take up the concrete analysis of the concrete situation, developing the Marxist-Leninist understanding, program and path of revolution according to these changes. It is always the primary challenge before the communist movement.
So, for evaluation of the reasons for the setbacks suffered by the communist movement and for achieving the genuine unity of the revolutionary forces, the first and foremost task is to find out the ideological political reasons responsible for these setbacks. Based on this analysis, concerted efforts are needed to overcome the mistakes and to develop the theory and practice of revolution according to the present conditions. The most important reason for the failure, or setbacks suffered by the unity efforts so far, is that they were made without making any serious attempts to analyze and overcome the past mistakes and without trying to develop the ideological political line and programmatic approach according to the concrete conditions of present times. These shortcomings should be seen self-critically. At a larger context, the reasons for the International Communist Movement facing severe setbacks and declining to present levels, after reaching such glorious heights by 1950s, can also be traced to this aversion to confront the ideological challenges, to the aversion for always seeking truth from facts.
Presently with the return of Modi rule after the 17th Lok Sabha elections in India, and almost similar developments all over the world, with neo-fascist forces coming to power in most of the countries with the agenda of intensifying neo-liberal/corporate policies, the imperialists, their compradors and lackeys have intensified the onslaught on the revolutionary communist movement. Both right and left deviations have helped the class enemies in this reactionary venture. In this situation, let us utilize the occasion of the Centenary of the Communist Movement in India for unleashing a counter attack on all forces of reaction based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and for striving hard to unite all genuine communists for the building of a powerful communist party in country. n
While discussing the problems of party building in the Hindi region in the March, 2019, Central Committee meeting com Vimal had volunteered to prepare a note on problems confronting party building and development of class struggle in the Hindi speaking states. He prepared the note, which was discussed in the PB and CC meetings in June. Following this discussion, it is decided to publish it in Red Star, July issue, and to organize a meeting of all leading comrades from the Hindi speaking states at Delhi in the beginning of August for discussion of this note and to chalk out the future tasks to be taken up for developing party building in this region. We are inviting opinions on this note and suggestions to develop its perspective from all readers of Red Star and party friends. The note with these suggestions shall be presented before the meeting of the leading comrades from the Hindi states for study and practice – Red Star
The Hindi Region consists of Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It is the biggest area in which Hindi is used as common language where almost 55 crore people live. It has central importance in making nation-wide narrative. UP and Bihar alone have 120 Members of Parliament (MPs) and total 228 MPs are elected from this region. It is called heart of India and road to Delhi passes through it. Except Narsimha Rao and Devegowda, and a few others, almost all Prime Ministers are from UP. Only UP is bigger than many countries of world, area-wise and population-wise. That is why Modi fought election from Varanasi. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, out of 80 seats in UP BJP won 71 seats and its ally ‘Apna Dal’ got 2 seats.
Though politically this region is so important, it is backward in almost all other parameters. Its 3/4 population depends on agriculture and almost 90% farmers have less than 2 hectares land. According to National Financial Inclusion Survey, average income of farmer’s household in UP is Rs. 6668, which is less than Bihar (Rs. 7721) and average national income (Rs. 8931). All government reports indicate that UP got lowest investment among all states.
This time BJP created its narrative around national security and terrorism successfully and Modi campaigned for it rigorously. Creating Hindu-Muslim and caste divide, the real issues like farmers’ distress, exploitation of workers, balance payment of sugarcane farmers, increasing atrocities against downtrodden, etc. were left to the opposition parties. Congress came with narrative of ‘NYAYA’ (Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme) for each. Earlier Modi government had announced Rs. 6000 per year to farmers to placate their anger, Congress declared it would give Rs. 6000 per month to the poorest 5 crore families. Other opposition parties tried to take up some issue, but ultimately they relied on the caste equation of SC-OBC-Minority. Defeat of BJP in recent Vidhan Sabha elections in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh had created an atmosphere for building Maha Gathbandhan (Grand Alliance), but it could not succeed due to differing perspectives on number of seats.
Relevance and Priority of Hindi Region
When ruling class parties have historically understood the political importance of Hindi region for gaining power at centre, then we should also take it seriously and not take Hindi region lightly or otherwise. It is quite useless to talk about changing the balance of forces in favour of proletariat unless we are recognized as an intervening political force in the region. In the pre-revolutionary period we have to build a solid struggling organization and it is not possible unless we have strength and capacity to aggressively attack the nerve centre of the ruling class from where it has always succeeded to create its narrative. We have to address it as a primary challenge and take initiative with will power.
Question of Approach
How should we resolve the question of approach for making closest relation with masses for basic change in class relation and to make a revolutionary party organization to develop communist movement? We have to explicitly answer this question. Many left sections have tried, but failed.
Accepting the historical specific conditions of Hindi speaking region the CPI(M) had seriously raised the question of party building in these regions in its Salkia Plenum held in 1978. Generally their approach featured the following main points:
- a) Their organisational approach was to fix responsibility for developing organization in this region to Central Committee and Polit Bureau.
- b) To publish propaganda material in Hindi: weekly and other newspapers, publish magazines and other literature.
- c) To build left-democratic joint front as a policy matter in Hindi speaking region; this subsequently reduced to only electoral front.
- d) To raise slogan of independent assertion for making party a strong self independent power.
Besides this, CPI and remaining parties of Left Front and CPI(ML) Liberation have tried to develop an approach for Hindi region. CPI was traditionally strong in these areas. But at present we see that they all failed to develop disappointingly.
It may be because of this approach and their policies. Their strength in parliamentary struggle, number of MPs and MLAs are going down day by day. Call of strengthening of party organization and self assertion has also not yielded sound result. Following Salkia Plenum decision, it is consolable to CPI(M) that their strength in Rajasthan and Himachal has somewhat increased, still they are generally sticking to their organizational approach. The content of this approach is like this: True and hard work of their cadres will change the situation in their favour. They claim that big increase in the membership of mass organizations like CITU, AIKS, SFI, DYFI and AIDWA shows the increase in their strength and correctness of their approach. On the other hand, everyone is acquainted with the line of ultra-left section, the Maoists. They are continuing on their path and going downward.
As I do not have serious knowledge of other revolutionary left sections and their approach in this regard, for my analysis I depend on approach of CPI(ML) Red Star. According to it, due to serious right and left deviations since 1956 the communist movement at international level and in our country faced serious setbacks and it got weakened. Hindi region is also victim of this generalized weakness. When other revolutionary left parties are getting stagnant, the Red Star is relatively new and growing. We say that by marching towards the path of revolutionary party building, the untouched areas like UP will subsequently develop naturally.
Whether approach, vision and tactic is correct or not, it is tested in practice. Other organizations have failed in practice. The real challenge before us is to set the agenda of revolution in practice. Only this can carry forward the approach of organizational tactic beyond its limits in the Hindi region. We have to think that how this general approach can be revolutionized, because we are the party devoted to agenda of revolution and only this differentiates us from others.
In its party program the Red Star states that India is a multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual country with vast diversity and complex in character, whose level of social development is different in different regions. It also says about specific conditions and circumstances in different areas (para 1.1 and 1.4). We also say that “In spite of being described as secular country in Constitution, India state has increasingly became a Hindu state in all intent and purpose (para 3.2)” and corporate-communal fascist forces are strengthening unprecedentedly. We have set our task for launching ideological offensive to analyse the general and specific situation multi-dimensionally.
But we do not identify the main reasons of weakness of left revolutionary movement in Hindi region. Neither we talk about special importance of this region, without which agenda of revolution could not be taken at right place in time and space properly. Although this type of work has to be taken up for other areas also, like North-East and other parts of the country, but Hindi region is such a big area from where national narrative is historically defined. Unless majority of proletariat and toiling masses come to us in this region, we cannot we think about Indian revolution.
So our vision of revolutionary party building in this region demands again going through all Marxist laws of dialectical classes and sub-classes, material realities, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought we have learnt through theory and practice until now and apply them to the specific economic and cultural, physical and meta-physical, base and super-structural condition prevailing in this region. Only then we can find a proper ideological and practical scientific path in right direction. After that we can test it in practice.
What are the reasons behind weaknesses of left movement in Hindi speaking areas? To the extent the bourgeois reformist movement happened in Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharshtra etc., that did not happen in this region. So the life of masses in this region is in firm grip of traditionalists which is still nourishing casteist and socially backward systems, which is not seen to this extent in the other parts of country. So the development of consciousness of organisation in this region is directly linked to the fight against this orthodox social system, that is an aspect of anti-feudal struggle for people’s democratic revolution.
In many countries the Marxist has learnt this harsh lesson that struggle in the realm of religion should not be left completely to right-wing forces. In the absence of growing socialist movement and national liberation movement all over the world, we cannot even imagine that there can be liberatory religious discourse.
Inner-contradiction contained in various motifs from different cultures, class, race, gender and nationality and social struggle related to such issues demand the living study and vision, which have been neglected in left circles. In the name of so-called national mainstream of holistic way of life now we are confronting hegemonic culture, which is result of this neglect.
The civil society which is cursed to become right-wing from birth itself, has not faced radical reform movement. Unless masses are free from the grip of counter-revolutionary, reactionary leaders, revolution cannot be successful in any country. Before Russian revolution, any scientific ideology of radical change was almost completely absent in India. In early 19th century life was in the grip of old and orthodox ideas and values. The early revolutionaries, who fought against British colonialists, wanted the rule of established parties accepted by all. This was the situation till 1915.
In the course of zig-zag development of history the Communist Party of India was formed which remained weak ideologically and organisationally up to 1947. How should these weakness be taken, in form of accusation or as a legacy? Instead of giving simplistic and superficial answer, proper analysis is still pending: why the undivided communist party, despite all movement and sacrifices, could not lead the struggle of India’s independence? Why the suggestions of Communist International and sometimes given by great international communist leaders could not be implemented rationally-logically in reasonable way? Why communist movement always remained dependent on others? During this entire process what was the dialectical relation with Hindi region? What was the relation between weakness of communist movement as a whole and the weakness of leaders of Hindi region?
It is the question of feeling the engagement of the Indian masses with the narrative of revolution in the language and vocabulary of Indian masses related to the people’s mind and Indian conditions. Why did we fail to inspire the Indian people to relate itself with it?
Understanding Marxism and its implementation as economic determinism certainly deprived the left history from leading radical reform movements, which were done by bourgeois half-heartedly and in incomplete manner like eradication of untouchability in the name of fighting caste system. In the field of religion, the ‘Rig Veda’ which is the story of development and journey of mankind from classless to class society, casteless to caste society and origin of all philosophical thought processes, like atheist, believer, materialist and meta-physical. Its study from radical point could give a vision of those progressive traditions, on the basis of which we could intervene in the field of religious discourse and religious life of society. Today this whole field has gradually gone in the hand of right-wing and has been distorted. The luxury of over-simplification, formulation and superficial interpretation has limited close contact with the people. This whole war will be fought in the Hindi heartland, which is now acquired by ruling class with the narrative of ‘divide and rule’.
Present Situation and Burning Question
We Have to face the vital questions of people’s mind in this region. If progressive intervention happens, it will establish left forces, otherwise already reactionary intervention is happening, result is Modi. The Hindi speaking area has given so many Prime Ministers, yet why is it so backward? It has an identity or not? It has its nationality or not? Our relation between identity and national identity should have clear explanation. Have we proved totally correct on the doctrine of nationalities? Why after disintegration the Soviet Union not only got separated in different nationalities, but also fighting each other? Why all religions and identities emerged there again?
Similarly, during welfare state or even during neo-liberal state, why proportional investment in Hindi region is reduced? Why Hindi speaking areas are victim of uneven development? How much leadership has developed from this area in the party? What is the path and direction of the left in this horizon? How many leaders are able to touch the heart of the masses? Leader of reactionary forces, Modi’s speeches are touching the point of dissatisfaction with sensitivity and trying to mislead them in ultra-reactionary direction. They spread lies and negativity. What is our tactics relative to these circumstances? Left have the truth, but not the language which touches the people.
The society of Hindi speaking areas is culturally backward, semi-feudal, pre-capitalist, diverse and complex. Here a rickshaw puller feels pulling rickshaw is freedom, not slavery. He does not understand the class. He first understands social class on which caste identity is dominant. He does not understand why he is displaced from the villages and living here in slums, not feeling economic slavery.
The neglect of the spontaneous class struggle going on in the field of super-structure led to these conflicts in social field who are embracing caste and religion politically, such as SP, BSP, RJD, BJP. In this battle communal/casteist parties have been able to occupy the ground from the Congress.
What Should be Done: Our Challenges – Theoretical and Practical Actions
We Have to discuss seriously about Hindi region for preparing general and specific cadres for development of party in this area. It is necessary to understand the reasons behind emergence of so-called nationalism in the context of class combination, different strata in the class, local material-cultural formations, identity and nationality. Basically these are those conflicts and dualities compelling to see identity in the caste superiority, which pushes the inhabitants of this region towards ultra-communalism to seek the reflection of satisfaction in Modi’s 56-inch chest.
1) To find out answer of this process, mass dissatisfaction taking deceptive form and all other such questions, we have to make a set of questions properly in categories and work on it. To do so dialectical laws of Marxism should be stirred sharply until the answer comes and we get a correct narrative and slogan for this area. To make alternative discourse of religion, which is left presently to right-wing, the current concept of religion, its nature, its development, its role in overall economic and social development and its journey till date should be discussed and ways and slogans of intervention by dialogue and discussions should be found.
2) In concrete analysis of the journey of economic relations of this region from 1857 to present; did classical feudalism exist in India? What was its shape and face from 1706 to 1757? In the process of changes brought by colonial forces in feudalism, why nation-wide mass upsurge of peasantry did not happen? The process of neo-colonisation had made a journey from welfare state to neo-liberal state. What type of changes has taken place in class structure of this area? These questions should be studied. To penetrate in the peasantry of this region and for mixing with them we have to prepare short-term and long-term slogans and narrative.
3) Today old practice of organising workers at mill gates is not possible in old manner, due to closing of mills and reorganisation of decentralised production process. We have to find out new ways and methods to organise them. Still today we cannot make a practice and preparation for this. In unorganised sector the intervention of NGOs has multiplied in recent years. Now their masters train their NGO workers not only to raise issue of low level to organise them, but also they are taking up agitation and movements, like social-democrats do. In this situation, we have to change our tactics in this sector. If we are giving same slogans like them, then we can never make organisation which will be radical and revolutionary. After studying it, for revolutionary transformation of vast proletariat population, we have to find out new methods, style and forms to organise them.
4) To meet the real question of youth, students and women. There are no jobs for youth. But to give lesson to Muslims and Pakistan, they are being made devotees of Modi. He has done it in Gujarat. We have to take them back to real questions facing them and prepare to organise and fight.
In the same way to organise women, start with intervening positively in their daily life issues and reach a point from where new era of thinking and working for real goals could start in this most backward region.
5) Keeping Marxism in view, we have to explore special methods for presentation of our ideology in such a way that it could be widely popularized among masses. For this purpose we should create attractive instant and far reaching slogans. Totality and part are the poles of dialectics. Considering it, we have to explore Hindi region in the perspective of whole country. The journey of national identity versus identity has passed through which stages and reached today to what point and has taken what cultural specificities in the plains of Ganga-Jamuna, for this we have understand exact nature of feudalism in recent past, instead of repeating ‘remnants of feudalism’. We should clearly define whether there was feudal economy or peasant economy in this region.
Actual Practical-Organisationsl Actions
If a Nation-Wide communist party could not be imagined without intervening focal point of politics and central place of country, where 55 crore population resides, this work has to be taken seriously. Beginning with a leaflet a debate should be initiated and should be carried to widespread left section. We should make a team that should be tasked to this work. We should make a questionnaire, whose proforma may be as follows:
Problems of party development in Hindi region, a) common problems, b) specific problems;
Problem of building organisation, cadre building and their development;
To explore immediate and long-term slogan, narrative in present scenario and methods to carry it to the masses.
To ensure the fulfilment of following responsibilities we should try to make a committee from CC and PB for specific responsibility for Hindi region: building party committees in all states of Hindi region, not only to create, but helping, nurturing and developing it; for this there are some suggestions – committee should be alive, sincere and connected with everyday life of people, there should be regular meetings; we should avoid thinking that committee is formed and all other things will happen automatically, in summing up committee report the investigation should not be done with bureaucratic attitude, try to understand the problems faced by cadres and we should provide ideological-moral-material help and guide them according to need. We can also do following:
- a) In the untouched areas of Hindi region we can pick up one of the current narrative and immediate target oriented flexible organisation could be made, without any formal committee and membership on the demand and immediate local issue. Thus one local level organisation could be made with different names.
- b) To prepare cadre and educate them in Marxism, we have to be conscious that there should be total absence of bureaucratic trend. The cadre may prepare as whole timer, that is very good, otherwise whatever time he can spend is not matter. Assign him clear responsibility and slogan. Put more emphasis on making mass organisations.
We have to keep in mind that since 1947 the leftist governments in various states (WB, Kerala, Tripura) and the practice of Maoists, instead of popularising the communists and their ideology, actually defamed them. At international level and national level it is the part of well known ruling class strategy now to promote them. When these slogans are used in party building that communists had made mistakes and if we are showing more enthusiasm in criticising present left, so our audience which is already victim of ruling class propaganda of defaming the communists, it seems that the communists are more guilty than ruling class. So discussing our style and behaviour about running ideological struggle against non-proletarian trends should be consciously presented and projected in such a way that necessary result could be achieved. So to explore right method of presentation needs a dialectical approach of perspective.
The purpose is that if there is leftist worker in our area of work, they can understand the reasons rationally – why they should come with us immediately and secondly non-leftist workers could be attracted to recognise us for being the companions. We should keep in mind that in the name of left, people still know these parties. So the motive of propaganda is not to reveal our knowledge, but is a tactics to negotiate.
There is major weakness of Indian communist movement not to be able to cope with the cultural and social environment and myths of India. So that we could not establish leadership, even we could not mix-up with the working class. (An incomparable intellectual Rahul Sankratyayan and so many others were removed from the party). So story of narrative making must be carefully designed as such what is the focal point of discontent of masses, what is the level of their consciousness, what and how should our each and every organisational activities intrude into the surface of their consciousness, so that we can reach out and work with them and starting from immediately made organisation we have to reach up to making revolutionary party organisation.
There is a very important role of Caste Annihilation Movement and Revolutionary Cultural Forum. For example what will be our anecdote for making CAM, that could establish its identity among masses, between those caste organisations which are either identity based or deeply casteist? Same is in the field of religion. Among the masses which are basically affected by religion and religious activities, what will we do? Or will we fulfil our duty by saying that religion is opium for the people? Or in the background of so-called nationalist environment we will explain the principle of nation-state to the people? In the atmosphere of growing communalism, before eruption of riots what aggressive action to calm the atmosphere will we take to attract the people toward our party?
In this area, there must be a clear practical approach before building afore-mentioned organisations. Before starting ideological offensive to opponent thought processes and policies, prioritisation of work is needed for taking the responsibility of awakening and political education. For this purpose we have to publish propaganda materials.
Most important policy slogan of imperialism and ruling class always has been “containment of communism”. Tighten the screw on communists on every occasion. They are currently successful in this. While working in Hindi region we have to find the right way to serve the basis of our competition what our opponent say about Pakistan, Kashmir and North-East.
The problem of our party is also that of not having enough cadres who can be deployed in these areas as a team. Actually cadres develop from the challenges, but nothing can happen without an approach. In these circumstances, when we are not far from above zero in these regions, this is the time when we should look forward for making a scientific approach for Hindi region. This is the time of anecdotes and narratives. We have a narrative of revolution, which is most revolutionary, true path of liberation of mankind. The question is – how can it be put forward and practised so that people know the truth and can fight for it. n
As expected, from day-1, Modi-2 is trying to take one step after another towards its Hindurashtra agenda. Though its effort to impose Hindi is withdrawn following mighty resistance, especially from Southern states, the draft New Education Policy is threatening us with its goal of saffronization of education. Now Modi had convened a meeting of leaders of political parties on 19th June for implementing ‘One Nation, One Election’ plan.
Though Modi and BJP had such ideas during his first term also, any such initiative to implement it could not be taken. This move is an extension of the RSS slogan, One Nation, One Culture, One Language. It goes against the federal, Constitutional spirit. Even when increasing sections of people are demanding electoral reforms including replacement of EVMs with ballots and cutting down electoral expenditure, no action is taken on them. Instead, Modi’s effort is to impose the One Nation, One Election slogan for the sectarian interests of BJP. It should be opposed and defeated
The recent Draft New Education Policy put forward by the Modi government based on the 2018 draft put forward by the seven-member TSR Subramanian Committee Report with no known educational experts in it, replacing the existing 10+2+3 year pattern with 5+3+3+4+4, is an ingenious move to saffronise and commercialize education, at the same time making it more elite-oriented. In the proposed scheme, while there is no formal education to children in the “pre-primary stage” up to the age of 8 and “later primary stage” during the 8-11 age, the so-called secondary education that is envisaged thereafter is totally oriented to vocationalisation, for equipping students with certain skills and making them eligible as job-seekers in the un-organized labour market. Mixing up all subjects including arts, music, craft, community service, yoga, and making no differentiation between curricular and co-curricular areas and having no separation among arts, humanities, science and social science, the implicit agenda in the draft NEP is to deconstruct and dis-organise the existing education system to pave the way for its unhindered commercialisation and saffronisation.
Under the garb of providing all opportunities for each student, the hidden tactic is to delay the process of students earning degrees and the government thus evading responsibility for providing jobs. The agenda of the apex body, Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (National Education Institution or Commission) that is proposed in the draft, is to end an era of ‘liberal’, secular and scientific education and propagate the saffron agenda under the garb of Indianising education. Though the move to superimpose Hindi over non-Hindi people is temporarily frozen due to strong resistance, the focus on Prakrit, Persian, and Sanskrit should be seen as having ulterior motives of going back to the archaic, ‘the ancient’ , and ‘the orient’ with obscurantist nuances totally lacking critical thinking or role of dissent in education. The proposals to transform all higher educational institutions either to universities or degree-granting autonomous colleges on the one hand, and abolition of affiliating universities and affiliated colleges on the other, to hand over both the determination of its content and implementation of education to private-corporate hands, the decision to share public educational resources with private institutions, and, above all, to form special education zones for upper-class superrich elite are all aimed at informalisation of education for the vast majority, together with unprecedented commercialisation of higher-professional education catering to a tiny elite minority.
We appeal to all progressive, democratic and secular people together with the student-teacher community to come forward with a critical evaluation of this draft NEP of the Modi regime and rise up in campaigns throughout the country along with all like-minded forces to defeat the heinous saffron elitist agenda behind it. n
During the two centuries of the valiant struggle for national liberation against the British colonialists and their lackeys including the First Independence Struggle of 1857-58 and later, hundreds of thousands of patriots and freedom fighters have sacrificed their life for national liberation and democratic revolution to overthrow the rule of imperialism and feudalism. Under the leadership of the Communist movement in the country which is going to observe its century for a year from 17th October this year, in the mobilization of the workers, peasants and other toiling and oppressed classes and sections and to lead them in numerous struggles also tens of thousands of comrades have become martyrs and lakhs of them have undergone torture and jai life.
In the course of the ideological struggle against the right opportunist deviation leading to Naxalbari Uprising, in the course of struggles under the leadership of communist revolutionaries and then under CPI(ML), tens of thousands of comrades have become martyrs. Many lakhs of comrades faced state terror and imprisonment. In the course of this protracted struggle for people’s democracy and socialism, tens of thousands of our valiant comrades have departed from us. Even now as we are waging the militant resistance struggle against the anti-people policies of the central and state governments, as in the case of Bhangar movement, many comrades have sacrificed their lives. This saga of heroic struggles for people’s liberation is continuing in all fields. As the country has come under further intensification of neoliberal policies and fascisation with Modi-2 coming to power, in the coming days we have to fight harder than ever and be prepared for many more sacrifices.
On this occasion, as practised every year, let us observe 28th July, the day when Com. Charu Majumdar, leader of the Naxalbari Uprising and the first general secretary of the CPI(ML), became a martyr in 1972, as Martyrs’ Day, remembering all the martyrs during the long history of our people’s struggles, especially after the Naxalbari Uprising, remembering all its leaders and the communist revolutionaries from all over India who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of our country. n
Soon after Modi-2 took over, there are reports of a spurt in mob lynching, attacks on Muslims and dalits, on journalists and democratic people across the country. Fascisation of all fields is taking place more aggressively. The RSS parivar is on the offensive to transform India into a Hindu Rashtra by 2024, as its spokespersons repeatedly assert. While the Congress and other opposition parties are in total disarray, the BJP is on the offensive in West Bengal and elsewhere to de-stabilize the existing non-BJP state governments also.
But, in spite of all this, like what happened during 2014-19, once again sporadic resistance against the corporate-fascist offensive of Modi-2 is visible. Along with all secular democratic forces we should join these struggles, strengthen them and try to provide correct orientation to them.
In order to combat this all round intensification of neoliberal/corporatization policies and fascisation of all fields, the Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star calls for joining hands with all like-minded forces and develop countrywide movements against the intensification of the neoliberal/corporate policies and fascisation of all walks of life by Modi government which is pushing forward the majoritarian Hindutva drive.