Take the Message of Leaders of Renaissance Movement to the People!
Expose and Defeat Manuvadi Hindutva, Theoretical Base of RSS Neo-Fascism!
Indian society is in an unprecedented crisis. The RSS using Manuvadi Hindutva based caste system and patriarchy is carrying forward the neo-liberal, corporate policies at maddening speed, opening the Indian economy and all other fields to IMF-World Bank-WTO trio and other imperialist agencies through Modi government. Whole burden of the crisis caused by these neo-liberal/corporate policies, presently further aggravated by the outbreak of Covid19 pandemic, is thrown on the back of the working class and oppressed peoples by the imperialists and their junior partners. It has already made tens of millions of people jobless and impoverished around the world. They have started expressing their dissent in various forms. To crush these resistances at any cost and to prevent the toilers and oppressed trying to assert their rights, the most reactionary sections of the finance capital system are resorting to neo-fascist aggressive measures in ever larger number of countries, through the RSS like forces around the world. They use all hues of divisive ideas and forces to destroy, disintegrate, or weaken the people’s revolutionary unity. India is a very good example for this.
When we discuss about the Varna system and Manusmriti imposed by the Aryas for subjugating the people who were already settled here, who had developed the Harappan and Tamil civilizations and the agriculture, the Brahmanical forces always try to challenge it by raising many cock and bull stories, and claim that they were also the original inhabitants of India. But, according to latest scientific studies, there were no original inhabitants anywhere, except in the African region where the homo sapiens emerged as a part of the process of evolution taking place in the nature. So, in a way all the humans in India had migrated at different times to this sub-continent during tens of thousands of years. They had settled here and around ten thousand years ago started getting settled in to agricultural societies as in Harappa and Tamil regions of South India. Contrary to the claims of the RSS historians, the Aryan migration to India took place between 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE. It was in the second phase of Vedic period, that is from around 1000 BCE the Varna system was evolved in its full form. This system was developed based on distribution of works and right to properties with the Brahmins on the top. To get acceptance to it among the humans it was claimed that God created this Varna System with the all sections of the humans divided in to Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. Gita is quoted as its authority. A vast multitude of people who were outside this Varna system, or living outside the area where the Aryas had already reached are referred to as Ati-Sudras, or assimilated in to different categories according to the concrete conditions and the interests of the dominant Brahmin and Kshatriya sections. The Manusmriti which codified the rules about the Varna system was drafted around 100 BCE and 2nd century AD. The migration of Aryas, Vedic period, Varna system, all happened after the weakening of the Harappa settlements. And the Lokayat and Charvaka philosophies had developed in the struggle against the very philosophy of Varna system. Following Gautham Buddha’s teachings around 600 to 500 BCE, a powerful movement against the Varna system developed. Buddhist philosophy, not only went to China and Sri Lanka, it spread very fast all over Indian sub-continent. Monasteries were established in large numbers. It is pointed out by the historians that even in Kerala, there were dozens of monasteries. In spite of Buddhism got promoted by many kings against Buddh’s wishes, and started getting diluted to present forms, the Buddha’s teachings, together with Lokayat and Charvak philosophies resisted the Brahmanical domination. During this period though there were invasions by Alexander and later Hoons, they could not sustain them.
This picture changed in the 8th century AD with the aggressive Adi Sankara campaign to uproot all non-Brrahmanical streams by force, in a most barbaric way. In this the Brahmanical forces used the oppressed sections who were influenced the superstitions, beliefs and customs spread by them also The heinous ways used by the Sankara led Brahmanical forces to drive out the Bhikkus and destroy their monasteries are still re-enacted every year in the Kodungallur temple in Trichur district of Kerala. As the resistance was powerful from the Bhikkus and their supporters here, from faraway places oppressed sections were brought, giving liquor and permission to loot, for murderously attacking the Bhikkus and to drive them out singing most vulgar songs! Including Swami Vivekananda, even all so-called Hindu religious reformers from among the Brahmanical forces, nobody has condemned this massacre of Bhikkus, destruction of thousands of monasteries including those at Puri, Ayodhya and Sabarimala, burning down of libraries and knowledge centers opposed to Manusmriti. From that time the Manuvadi Brahmanical forces launched the dark age of caste system based on Varna, which divided the people and imposed inhuman laws in the name of God. Even compared to the dark age imposed in Europe by the Catholic Church, it was more barbarous and against all humane values. It drastically divided and weakened the Indian society so much that all the forces who tried to enter India after Sankar’s Brahmanical offensive, could conquer it and rule over it for a millennia and much more.
So, whatever happened in the sub-continent, the disintegration, the criminalization and the weakening of Indian society, the Hindutva forces who imposed their cultural and political hegemony over the people of the sub-continent are entirely responsible. The Brahmanical forces had established their cultural hegemony through a plethora of rules and regulations, customs, festivals etc. In such a situation, the only way out for the Sudras, Ati-Sudrans and the Vanavasis (as they called the tribal people) was to convert to other religions. But, as all those religions also got infected by the caste system, liberation from Manuvad eluded them there also.
Manusmriti and the Varna/caste system imposed by the Brahmanical forces on Indian society are most authoritarian (as it was dictated that it was God’s own creation and imposed brutally), discriminatory, inhuman and totally undemocratic, even compared to any other religious, racist, gender laws imposed anywhere in the world. Its tentacles were very powerful. Even when the early phase of renaissance movements against it came up starting with the Basava movement in Karnataka in the 12th century AD, followed by the various streams of Bhakti movements, soon after the death of their leaders, their ideas were disarmed, made harmless and easily assimilated to the Manuvadi system, at the same time elevating their protagonists also as new incarnations of God. As a result of severe weakening of the Indian society under the extremely divisive caste system, when the Manuvadi kings lost the political power, and new political centres like Sultanate and Mugal rule emerged centrally or regionally. Still the Brahmanical forces could continue their hegemony by compromising with the new rulers and becoming the main advisers and administrators serving them. It was so more so under British period. The Brahmanical forces have repeatedly proved themselves capable of penetrating and utilizing every ruling system even when many changes were taking place in the society and its relations of production in such a way that the Manuvadi control over the toilers, oppressed and women could be kept secure, in the main.
Though the Savarnas, the Brahmin-Kshatriya-Vysia section, still constitute only 7-8 % of the population of even present India, they are still ‘controlling’ the so-called 80-85 % of the dalits and Adivasis, and OBCs through a cleverly built web of socio-cultural hegemony. They started with creating a hierarchy of Gods, unlike other religions, and have manufactured numerous myths through the so-called Vedic literature. During the last two millennia, using the Manusmriti, the Brahmanical forces have institutionalized women’s status as slaves of males, and dalits as born to serve the upper castes, without any right to property, because they are sinners during last janma, so should suffer all miseries without complaint in this janma to get the right to become a Savarna in next birth! To suit these dictates, even the pre-Arya myths, or the myths which came up during the resistance in the beginning, popular among the people were/are destroyed systematically, and the indigenous people’s festivals are replaced by Brahmanical festivals, made extremely popular using mainstream media and state support. For example, if the myths about Banasur, or Mahishasur, or Maha Bali or numerous others who were/still are popular among the people and festivals were celebrated around them, soon these festivals were turned in to their opposites, and replaced by those festivals which were so far confined to Savarnas, glorifying theirGods/Godesses who killed them through deceit. Now using the political power wielded by the RSS through neo fascist Modi rule these things are done directly.
After the British colonial rulers introduced English education for creating an administrative system with English knowing Indians, as a by-product the scientific temper developed from the time of Industrial revolution, and the bourgeois democratic values based on Liberty, Equality, Fraternity like slogans made popular by the French revolution, a new wave of renaissance movements came up with new vigour. Though the British administration in India were dominated by the Brahmin forces, a section of English knowing intellectuals made renaissance effort as in Bengal by Rajaram Mohan Roy and Iswarchandra Vidya sagar for example. They took the help of British government to introduce laws for some of the social reforms made against untouchability and superstitions, for abolition of child marriage and Sati, to allow women’s education and widow marriage etc. These were big achievements considering the extent of backwardness of the Hindu society maintained under Brahmanical domination. But the socio-cultural influence of Brahmanical-Manuvadi forces is still so powerful that some of these are still not fully implemented. Still in Puri like temples, the priests continue untouchability towards even Indian president Kovind. Another stream of renaissance movement was started by the radicals among the Brahmins to end many Manuvadi customs which led to heinous and criminal enslaving and oppression of Brahmin and other upper caste women, to popularize modern education among the Brahmins etc.
But the radical, main stream of the modern age renaissance movement was launched and led by a new generation leaders like Ayyankali, Narayana Guru, Sahodaran Ayyappan in Kerala, Periyar in TN, Phule, Savitri and Ambedkar in Maharshtra, and many others from other regions. Sighting the deplorable conditions of the dalits, Adivasis, OBCs and women under Manuvadi Brahmanical domination, they started fighting for the right to use the public roads, to end untouchability, to get the right for temple entry, the right to education for all, to get the right to use the water from public wells and tanks, and for the right own land and houses anywhere etc. The renaissance movements in different states helped enormously to educate and to mobilize the dalit masses including women and to encourage many militant struggles to challenge the Brahmanical Manuvadi domination. In Kerala, the struggle for basic democratic rights for dalits, and the slogan of Narayana Guru, One Caste, One Religion, One God for all humans, led even to Sahodaran Ayyappan’s call: No Caste, no Religion, No God. In TN the movement led by Periyar also took very radical positions challenging the Brahmanical forces. In Maharashtra the movement led by Phule and Savitri which took up women’s right to education and dalit’s democratic rights, further developed to the movement led by Dr. Ambedkar calling for caste annihilation, and nationalization of land and industries under the banner of ILP which had a red flag. These movements created a situation when all the progressive political forces in the country were forced to recognize the caste question’s significance in mobilizing the oppressed classes and sections also for the independence movement. At the same time, the Brahmanical Manuvadi forces alarmed by these developments frantically sought ways to defeat this progressive democratic movements and to re-impose the domination of their reactionary hegemony over the society.
Right from the early days of East India Company, British colonialists were encouraged to start their empire building process seeing the possibility of using the deep communal and caste divide in the sub-continent. They started hatching their own plans to use the religious and caste contradictions in India to defeat these divisions as they used the dalit-Maratha divide to win the Bhima-Koregaon war. Similarly, the communal divide was used to defeat the challenge posed by Tippu Sultan in the south. After what happened in the 1857 First War for Independence it was clear that if the Hindus and Muslims unite and take the oppressed people also along with them, the colonialists can be easily thrown out. So, they intensified efforts to use the communal and caste divisions for pursuing their “divide and rule” policy more vehemently. They helped to start the Benares Hindu University by Madan Mohan Malavia, a rabid Brahmanical leader. At the same time they helped the founding of Aligarh Muslim University. When Muslim League was formed and later called for Pakistan as Jinnah found Muslim interests will not be secure in a Hindu dominated India, British promoted it.
On the other hand, when the Congress leader Bal Gangadhar Thilak took the stand of politicizing Hindu religion for mobilizing Hindu masses for independence and transformed Ganesh festival observed only in the Brahmin houses in to a symbol of Hindu resurgence, British were very happy, and made moves to make the political Hinduism and political Islam fight each other to serve their purpose of prolonging colonial rule. Though, after Gandhi returned to India and took over the leadership of Congress, and united the different factions, to make Congress a struggling organization, along with this he also take a soft Hindutva stand. British gave more attention to the Savarkar led Hindu Mahasabha like forces. When based on the concept of political Hinduism, i.e. Hindutva of Savarkar, and inspired by the movements of Mussolini and Hitler, RSS was formed in 1925, the British authorities helped it to strengthen. RSS, calling itself a cultural organization, kept away from the anti-British movement. Its documents show that it is spreading the Hindutva culture based on Manusmriti and to transform India in to a Hindurashtra. It was totally against the renaissance movement and the challenge posed by it to the Manuvadi Hindutva.
But the Congress did not wage any struggle against the Hindutva of RSS, on the contrary continued to pursue the soft Hindutva line to serve its electoral plans from 1935. Though Gandhi started a movement against untouchability and suppression of dalits, called them “harijans”, he was supporting the varna/caste system. The Congress Socialist Party, then working inside Congress, also took a reformist position towards it. As far as the leaders of the undivided CPI were concerned, though they opposed untouchability and suppression of dalits, they refused to unite with Ambedkar to launch joint struggles of the textile workers, were not prepared to take the stand taken by the renaissance movement for caste annihilation. They were afraid such a step will weaken their support base among the upper castes. Besides, there was a mechanical understanding that all these reactionary systems and socio-cultural problems including caste annihilation and women’s liberation shall be resolved once the revolution takes place in the country. As a result, when the renaissance movements called on the upper caste activists to start abandoning the caste based, religion linked titles, caste linked sacred threat like things etc even the leaders of the CPI opposed it as a mechanical demand as, according to most of them, revolution shall resolve the program. They also pointed out that wherever the anti-feudal struggles are taking place as in the Telengana agrarian movement, the dalit and Adivasi masses are the main force and Communists are leading them. As a result, in a country like India where the unique caste system has powerful influence, the relation between class and caste in India where the dalits, Adivasis and the most backward among the OBCs are workers in the urban areas and agricultural workers or a section among the poor peasants in the rural areas, to win over these masses, who are looked down, and are tortured under the Manuvadi system, if the Communists had taken a more positive approach to the annihilation of the caste system called by Ambedkar and other renaissance leaders, Indian history would have been different. But, still among the broad left spectrum ranging from right opportunist CPI, CPIM like forces, the parliamentary left, most of the CR forces, to the left adventurist stream, while all are opposed to the suppression against dalits, Adivasis and especially against their women in hundreds of Hathras like gruesome incidents, they refuse to go beyond, to take caste annihilation as a part of their program, thereby refusing to recognize the dialectical relation of class struggle with caste struggle.
Today the situation is more critical. The RSS neo-fascism led forces are in power. RSS has penetrated to all state apparatus and even the Constitutional institutions. Though RSS/BJP do not formally claim, under the Modi government all over India, especially in UP like states where Yogi is chief minister, the Manusmriti is in action, with the Savarna elites who still constitute vast majority among the upper echleons of power and wealth, they in practice behave as if India has already become a Hindurashtra. As told in Manusmriti they consider women as unworthy of equality and liberation; dalits have no right to study and come near the corridors of power. RSS and its Manuvadi Hindutva ideology is putting Modi like neo-fascists in power to protect the ruling system controlled by the most reactionary section of the capitalist system. So, not only in Hathras in UP, but everywhere, though they may not tell openly in some places, the Savarnas think they have the right on not only over the wealth of the nation, but also on the women of the un-Aryas. It is a barbarous situation.
Meanwhile, in more advanced forms than during the colonial days, in these neo-colonial days, when neo-liberal/corporate forces are in total control all over the world more or less, the imperialist think-tanks have developed new theories, not only to intensify their plunder, but to keep them also with the ruling powers! See how it is functioning. They promoted the post-modernist ideas when it came up in the 1960s, and so also the identity politics when it started emerging in the 1970s. Numerous NGOs were promoted all over the world to campaign that, we have reached the end of history, the period of socialism is over, as the society is divided in to religions, castes, numerous sub-castes, various tribes etc; each section should get organized and work for their identity and share in the existing ruling system; there is nothing like system change.
Dr. Ambedkar defined the reservation in the field of education and administration as a small democratic right to help the socially and culturally down trodden sections at least to reach near the corridors of education and power. At the same time, he called to struggle for annihilation of caste and for nationalization of all land and industries as part of emancipation of the dalits. But, the Neo-Ambedkarites, whether they are functioning like NGOs, or political parties like BSP, Republican party factions, LGP, they mainly work for preserving the caste system so that the reservation will be available continuously, and instead of working for social revolution, they strive for sharing power with the ruling system, even with the Maunuvadi Hindutva RSS neo-fascists! If BJP found publication of Mondal Commisssion Report by VP Singh government and the social engineering emerged based on relations between caste based parties, a move against them and opposed them, today it is in the forefront to organize even micro groups of people belonging to sub-castes and include them in its vote bank under the banner of caste harmony. The opposition to Manuvadi Hindutva is turned to its opposite! The ruling class parties are competing with each other in playing this game among all sections of oppressed people including women.
Almost the same has happened to many of the other renaissance leaders’ movement also. In TN, after Annadurai left Dravida Kazhakam founded and led by Pariyar, with his friends and formed DMK, and it and the ADMK splitted from it have become the mainstay of ruling class system in the state serving the neo-liberal/corporate forces. Many other Dravidian groups separated from the DK also have become part of the ruling system. In Karnataka, Basavanna was taken over by the very caste forces he fought against and deified. In Kerala, for those who follow identity politics have reduced Ayyankali to an icon. Narayana Guru is worshipped as a God by the vested interests bargaining for share of power with all ruling class parties, many times hobnobbing with the RSS. So, during the last century, especially after the Second World War, when US led imperialist system transformed its colonial forms of exploitation to neo-colonial forms, and along with UN and a plethora of organizations under it, and IMF-World Bank were formed, and unleashed a new wave of reactionary campaign targeting the communist movement as well as other progressive movements, all of them have suffered severe setbacks. Under neo-liberal/corporate offensive this degeneration is reaching its peak.
It is in this situation sections of the Communist Revolutionaries, and those dalit, Adivasi and other oppressed people’s organizations who uphold the social revolutionary teachings of the renaissance movements and other likeminded forces from various other streams are once again trying to develop the caste annihilation movement as a broad struggling platform, as part of the all embracing and comprehensive class struggle, with a better understanding of class-caste relation. One of the fundamental components of the success of Indian people’s struggle to overthrow the RSS neo-fascist, neo-liberal/corporate rule led by Modi, and to advance towards people’s democracy and socialism, is making this initiative broader and stronger day by day to ensure the unity of the toiling classes with the oppressed people.
(Editorial of November 2020 issue of Caste Annihilation)
An Appeal to intellectuals, writers, artists, youth, and students to Launch Countrywide Campaign Against Manuvadi Hindutva, Theoretical Base of RSS Neo- Fascism!
Dear Comrades and friends,
Presently the RSS parivar led Modi government is intensifying its fascist offensive day by day, attacking the working class, farmers, and all toiling, oppressed masses in general, targeting Muslim minorities, dalits, Adivasis, women and other oppressed masses. It is using the Covid19 pandemic which is spreading fast to alarming levels in an atmosphere of total government apathy, and the India-China border standoff as cover for suppressing all forms of dissent and for opening the country for further corporate loot. As a result, vast numbers of youth and others have jobless, further pauperized. The growing people’s anger against Modi rule is reflected in the farmers’ movement against total corporatization of agriculture, the spontaneous demonstrations of youth and students against increasing joblessness and many other protest actions in different parts of the country. In the coming days these movements are going to increase. But developments in different part of the country, for example what is happening in Bihar as the state assembly elections dates are coming nearer, show that, while BJP-JD(U) alliance has launched an aggressive campaign based on Hindutva and zingoism sidelining all people’s issues, the Grand Alliance of RJD- Congress, Left Front parties led by CPI(M) and others has not put forward an alternative before the people so far attacking the Hindutva politics of BJP, is but themselves pursuing soft Hindutva vote bank politics.
Though overthrowing of RSS fascism calls for intensifying campaign to bring the people out of its majoritarian Hindutva influence, nothing is done on that line. For example,.on 5th August when Modi was doing Bhoomipuja for Ram temple with the RSS chief Bhagvat, blatantly violating the Constitutional principles, instead of opposing it, the Congress and most of the opposition parties were compromising with the Hidutva politics. Even when there are reports of RSS going to launch a Babri-Ram mandir like dangerous campaigns, at Kashi and Mathura to keep the Hindutva frenzy at high levels, the opposition is not prepared to challenge the Hindutva – Manuvadi line of RSS. Except revolutionary intellectuals and a section of Communist Revolutionary forces, others are not attacking the Hindutva Manuvaddi fascist line of RSS/BJP. As they are also upholding the corporate/neoliberal policies, their attacks on Modi rule is limited to omissions and commissions of it Their approach is a repetition of what they did in 2004. They are not ready to take lessons from what happened in the following years, paving the way for RSS coming to dominant positions in every field, penetrating the state machinery and even Constitutional institutions in a big way.
It is in this context, CPI(ML) Red Star, and mass movements active in the cultural field, the Caste Annihilation Movement, Adivasi movement and mass organizations of women, youth and students, are going to launch an ideological offensive targeting Manusmrithi, Bunch of Thoughts, Savarker's writings etc which constitute the theoretical base of RSS. To begin with and All India campaign starting from 28th September, the birthday of Shahid Bhagat Singh and culminating with mass programs at Nagpur and in all states on 25th December, on the occasion of the 93rd anniversary of the burning of Manusmrithi symbolically by a big mobilization of women and dalits under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar in 1927 at Nagpur. This day is still observed as Women’s Liberation Day at Nagpur. At the sme time this was an attack on the RSS which started in 1925 with Manusmrithi as its main theoretical base. This decision is taken in continuation to discussions taking place at various levels including with a large number of revolutionary intellectuals.
Very few intellectuals are presently launching attacks on the theoretical base of RSS. CPI(M) intellectuals are also writing about ‘positive things in Ramayana, Githa, Manusmrithi etc’. Many so-called independent left intellectuals have also compromised. The liberal-progressive intellectuals with few exceptions helped this fascist onslaught presenting these as part of ‘our positive heritage’ Some of them are even re-wroting the ANANDMATH to present it as anti-colonial theme! The rise of the Hindutva fascism happened as the working-class intellectuals did not confront the reactionary philosophical heritage of the fascists. Many of the original documents of the Hindutva archives which were lying untouched are brought out and criticized only now by the revolutionary intellectuals. The campaign against the theoretical foundations of RSS and public debates on them, in continuation to the renaissance struggle shall help us to attack the fascist roots of RSS neo-fascism.
Our appeal to all the revolutionary intellectuals and all progressive forces who stand against the caste system and against all obscurantic ideas, systems, habits and superstitions based on which the majoritarian Hindutva concept is built up by RSS, is to come forward to carry the message of renaissance movement and develop them according to the conditions of today to beat back and defeat the RSS neo-fascism. Let us strive to throw out the counter revolutionary Hindutvs ideology based on Manusmrithi, to end all inequalities based on gender, race, caste etc. and march forward with socialist orientation.
CPI(ML) Red Star.
The Resolution adopted by the Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star on launching this campaign is given in this Link : http://www.cpiml.in/cms/documents-2/resolutions/item/2524-launch-countrywide-campaign-against-manuvadi-hindutva-theoretical-base-of-rss-neo-fascism
Comrade U. Sambasiva Rao, well known among his comrades and friends as ‘Usaa’, passed away on the early hours of 25th July in a Hyderabad private hospital. As soon as the information was received, I posted a brief condolence message which stated: “Usaa Passes Away: A Great Loss to the Revolutionary Movement: Com. U. Sambasiva Rao, known to all his close comrades as Usaa, left us. He was admitted to hospital in Hyderabad three days ago after he was tested positive to Covid19. He joined the ranks of communist revolutionaries following the Naxalbari Uprising and was part of the UCCRI (ML) stream. But he had differences with the leadership on the approach of communist movement to the question of caste system and on the importance to be given to caste annihilation. As this difference could not be resolved even after a plenum, he left UCCRI in 1987 and from that time was spearheading this question. Later when com. Sathyamurthi left the CPI(ML) People’s War on the same question, they worked few years together. But as SM decided to join the BSP, he criticized it as an opportunist line and left him.
We met in 2011 and started our discussion on the caste question, in which we had basic agreement, as Red Star was already thinking of launching the caste annihilation movement (CAM). We became ideologically closer on most of the basic questions and started working together in different fields in later years. Presently he was one of the conveners of CAM with responsibility for coordinating the work in South India. He was president of OPDR Telengana committee. He was also president of the broad based Anti-Fascist Movement, Telengana. He was very active in the struggle against alien trends among the CRs and attended the Seminar on caste question during the 11th Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star.
Unexpectedly, when he passed away on 25th July early morning in a Hyderabad hospital one week after he proved positive to Covid19, immediately a statement was issued which concluded with thee words “It is difficultnot only to me, but to the very large number of comrades active in all fields to think that Usaa will not be with us anymore. Red Salute to Usaa whose departure is a great loss to the whole revolutionary movement”. Our comrades in Telengana and AP reported that many condolence meetings were held, and messages from large number of comrades and friends, colleagues, leaders of other political, cultural, social and democratic rights activists were received showing how much importance they give to his contributions to the communist movement in general, and especially to his tireless efforts to bring the discourse on the approach towards the caste system by the communist movement in our country. A joint effort is already started by his close friends and activists to bring out a memorial issue as early as possible including his contributions in different fields written by comrades who know him for decades as well as reports of his activities in different fields including the caste annihilation movement (CAM), OPDR, and Anti-Fascist Front, Telengana.
During our long discussions during 2011-12, almost 25 years after he left the UCCRI, Usaa explained that his debate was on ideological questions, mainly focusing on the extent of influence of caste question in the socio-cultural-political reality in India. Though the struggle was bitter, he had no personal criticism against any of the old leaders. His fight was ideological, he repeated. Born in a backward caste family, from the childhood itself he could feel the bitterness in the caste divided society and the sufferings of the people belonging to SCs/STs and BCs under Brahmanical, Manuvadi system. He joined the Marxist-Leninist movement for creating a new society, egalitarian in every sense. Degeneration of Soviet Union even after almost four decades of socialist transition had proved that giving answers like ‘everything will become all right once the working class capture power’ is not sufficient. If China also could degenerate to capitalist path even after the Cultural Revolution, the struggle against all inequalities, not only economic, but caste, gender like inequalities also should start from the pre-revolutionary phase itself. It was when these feelings were becoming stronger, the Karanchedu massacre of dalits took place in 1985. Immediately after the massacre, Usaa prepared a press statement with the title “Condemn the massacre of Dalits by Kamma upper caste landlords.” That the party leadership did not like it, he felt from their attitude and words.
By this time, there were heated discussions on the contributions of Dr. Ambedkar, especially on his paper of 1936 on “Annihilation of the Caste”, were taking place. Usaa started studying more of Ambedkar’s works, and the approach of the neo-Ambedkarites. One of these trends had taken Ambedkar’s critic of the communist party’s (CPI) refusal to take up the caste question in relation to the class formation in India when he discussed with its leadership in 1936, to anti-communist positions; upholding identity politics. For them the protection of dalit identity and reservation were main planks of dalit liberation; they became part of the ruling class politics, like BSP, most sections of Republican Party etc; another school of identity politics, who were also taking anti-Marxist positions, and influenced by the post-modernist theories like ‘theory of de-construction.’ pursued the line of NGO politics promoted by imperialist think tanks. But Usaa’s position was different.
He wrote more profusely on these questions and tried to put forward the Bahujan line with Marx-Phule-Ambedkar ideology, calling for unity of dalits, Adivasis and BCs with all revolutionary classes in the concrete situation created by the publication of Mandal Commission Report, and RSS parivar’s reaction to it by intensifying the Brahmanical-Manuvadi offensive for Ram temple issue, putting it in the forefront. In the complex situation then, on the one hand, the Congress and other ruling class parties were competing with each other to strengthen their vote banks using the caste and religion. The CPI(M) led Left Front parties and many of the CR organizations, in spite of these new challenges were refusing to go beyond repeating the old dogmatic positions that class struggle shall resolve all problems. Any discussion about Ambedkar’s approach based on annihilation of the caste system, or linking caste annihilation with class struggle was anathema to them. While taking up these studies, Usaa had allied with many forces including com. Sathyamurthi, who had left the CPI(ML) People’s War mainly on the approach to caste question. Many of these allies had later deviated to ruling class positions. But Usaa, as he used to say, showing his writings during this period, did not abandon Marxist positions; he was trying to apply it to Indian conditions. As Marx himself had pointed out, the European mode of production and class formation cannot be mechanically applied everywhere. Usaa argued that the Indian communist movement has failed to comprehend the caste-class relation in India. When comrades raise questions, the dogmatic leaderships become irritated and get them expelled through mechanical application of ‘democratic centralism’. Since Usaa had questioned them, even after his death they are coming out with slanderous statements in the name of condolence!
The history of October Revolution teaches that Lenin could lead it to victory by building the Bolshevik party by waging uncompromising ideological struggle against the right opportunist Mensheviks as well as the anarchist Narodniks, and mobilizing the working class and its allies, the oppressed classes and sections for revolution. So, in Indian conditions only through this ideological struggle we can put revolutionary Marxism in the leadership, unite all genuine communist forces and build a powerful communist party. And, if we have to unite the basic masses, the working class and oppressed masses, we have to fight against the Manuvadi caste system, which divide them. It calls for developing a correct approach towards caste annihilation along with class struggle; it basically means developing a comprehensive, all embracing understanding about class struggle. So, more than ever, as we are passing through a critical phase which demands that the working class should make revolution, the central agenda before them is to overthrow the imperialist system and their junior partners in power in countries like ours, to develop the socialist alternative at global level. At this critical juncture, we should learn from mistakes, and making concrete analyses of the vast changes that have taken place, and are taking place, develop Marxist-Leninist teachings according to these present conditions, and use it as our guide to action.
When our discussions reached this stage, he made his position clear. He will try to study more about the Marxist writings on class struggle; but his long experience of working inside the Marxist parties, and his evaluation of most of these organizations including the Naxalite organizations, he is yet to come across an organization with such a concept of class struggle. So, if Red Star is calling for advancing the struggle for caste annihilation as part of class struggle with such an understanding, he shall work with the CAM. But he will continue the discussion on caste-class relation in the Indian socio-economic formation, which is a complex question. When he came to Kolkata in September last year to participate in the “open dialogue to form a revolutionary left coordination” as a step towards unity of the CR forces to build a powerful Bolshevik style communist party capable of leading the antifascist struggle towards people’s democracy and socialism, and with the immediate task of working as a revolutionary left core to inspire, mobilize the broad based anti-fascist movement, participating in the debate he called for such bold experiments with concrete understanding of the Indian situation to achieve system change with anti-brahmanical, anti-Manuvadi approach. As we were staying together we could continue our discussion on the working of the CAM and other people’s movements.
Usaa was a Marxist and revolutionary in the true sense. Through his ideological, political work, mobilization of the masses, and the struggles he led, and even in his family life after marrying a Brahmin woman who was also working with the party, he has left behind a rich experience which the younger generation can emulate. For me, and for many other comrades and friends of Usaa it is still difficult to believe that he with his broad smile and simple life, always eager to cook something non-vegetarian for his comrades in his house where he was living alone after his wife’s death, which he had turned in to a centre for studies and publications, including a studio for social media work including preparing U tube, it is difficult to think he will not be there when I go to Hyderabad next time.