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Bleary-eyed communists - The Observer

Dina Nath Mishra ()
6 February 1997

Title : Bleary-eyed communists
Author : Dina Nath Mishra
Publication : The Observer
Date : February 6, 1997

'I don't know how the BJP and the Akalis can adjust together. What
combination can arise out of their association? One is advocating
Hindutva and the other the Sikh cause! They have issued a white
paper which the BJP leadership should read. The BJP has been
accused by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. They have
openly stated that the whole thing, the blood bath, was because of
the Hindu community maltreating Sikhs. This has been revived,
sharply attacking everybody from Nehru onwards. How can the Akalis
consent to an alliance with the BJP? The Akalis want more powers
for the state. The BJP, on the other hand, is opposed to such
distribution of power. I don't, know how they will reconcile. This
is what the CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet has
told The Sunday Observer (February 2-8, 1997). Surjeet has written
an open letter to Akali leaders in his party organ on similar

Pointing out the contradiction, he gives the argument of Hindutva
and Sikh cause as being diagonally opposite to each other. He
completely ignores the fact that these two parties were allied on
more than one occasion and ruled the state jointly until Article
356 threw them out of power. In the Hindutva concept, Sikhs are
very much a part. One would like to remind Surjeet that thousands
of Sikhs participated in the Kar Seva of the Ramjanmabhoomi
movement. Everybody, specially every Sikh, knows as to who brought
about the blood bath. Top Congress leaders are in the dock in
several cases relating to 1984 riots, but this did not deter
Surjeet to use the so-called white paper only to create bad blood
between Akali Dal and BJP.

The problem with the communists is that they have borrowed the
concept of nationalism, and this I would deal a little later. The
second flaw in Surjeet's short analysis is that he is very cleverly
sowing the seeds of suspicion. On the one hand, he says that the
SGPC has blamed the Hindu community for the blood bath of 1984, on
the other he warns Akalis that the BJP is against giving more power
to states. Not that Surjeet does not know. A leader of his
stature cannot miss the stand taken by a party like BJP that states
must have more financial powers to manage their economic affairs in
a better way.

CPI(M) is quite unhappy over two developments. It wanted to
isolate the BJP completely, but Surjeet could not do it in his home
state. Secondly, CPI(M) would, any day, prefer corrupt Congress
rule in Punjab than the Akali-BJP rule, for, the latter would
increase the area of influence of the BJP. After the formation of
the UF government, the CPI(M) has struck down the name of Congress
from the list of its enemies. CPI(M)'s one and only enemy is the
BJP. The Congress, the most corrupt of the whole lot, is no more
the enemy, except probably in West Bengal and Kerala. The CPI, the
twin sister of the CPI(M), is fighting Punjab elections, having
seat adjustment with Congress. In the broader sense, CPI(M) too
belongs to the establishment in the company of Congress and others.
That explains why the CPI(M) wishes Congress rule in Punjab.

Notwithstanding CPI(M)'s hair-splitting ideological debate, when it
comes to practice the party ensures that the equilibrium is not
disturbed. Surjeet himself may be seen associating with Congress
leaders very often. All these are tactics to keep the whole non-BJP
formation in good humour with varying degrees of platitudes. What
for? To save the country from the dangers of communists

Here it may be said that right from the days of the freedom
struggle, the communists had been advocating multinational theory.
The first signal of this theory patterned on the Soviet model came
in the form of a circular in May 1941. It was fully elaborated in
a resolution adopted by the central committee in 1942. It
classified sixteen Indian nations: Pathans, Punjabis, Sikhs,
Sindhis, Hindustanis, Rajasthanis, Gujarathis, Bengalis, Assamese,
Biharis, Oriyas, Andharas, Tamils, Kannadigas, Maharashtrians,
Malayalees etc. This resolution, explicitly stated that each of
these nations should be granted the right of secession. In 1972,
the party adopted a slightly different approach in which the
implicit demand of secession and self-determination was dropped.
The former general secretary of the party, E M S Namboodiripad,
brought out a book pleading that Kerala is a full-fledged nation.

The basic problem with the communists is that they looked upon the
question of nation in India from a Soviet angle. By and by,
communists started supporting the demand of partition, accepting
religion as the basis of separate nationhood, the theory propounded
by the Muslim League and its leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah. The
renowned author J D Sethi has rightly observed: "Probably their
greatest treachery was in providing intellectual rationale for the
ideology of Pakistan. There is a general consensus among historians
that the communist support to the idea of Pakistan made the
partition that much difficult to resist. The Muslim League had no
serious intellectual group to give it a kind of aura, legitimacy
and sophistication as was provided by the communists in the name of
Stalinist thesis of nationality, a thesis that Stalin had himself
smothered in the case of his own country".

It was Namboodiripad who vivified the Muslim League which was
defunct after partition. First, he had aligned with it, then gave
it two berths in the cabinet. The Congress followed suit.
Ultimately, they carved out a Muslim majority district called
Malappuram in Kerala. Today, the so-called saviours of the nation
from the dangers of communalism, the communist parties and the
Congress, are in alliance with a faction of the League. These
forces go to any extent to sate the communal appetite of
fundamentalist Muslims in every state where they matter. The fact
is that in the Indian context communists are the original

The distinction made between minority communalism and majority
communalism to camouflage their communal vote-bank politics is
playing havoc with the national interest. It does not hide the
real communal face of communists. In the background of their
concept of nationalism, India is a multinational country. If India
is only a conglomerate of such nations, the slogan of national
integrity becomes meaningless. The use f these words is at best
another tactic to confuse the gullible.

To talk of majority communalism and equate it with minority
communalism is an insult to the Hindu masses at large which have
demonstrated inexhaustible tolerance even towards invaders. It was
the borrowed concept of nationalism which did not leave the scope
of understanding the Indian nationhood for communists, and that is
why the communists were wrong in their assessments of Vivekananda,
Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose. They have committed many blunders.
Resolutions in repentance after decades do not mean anything.

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