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Ladder of lies - Rediff on the Net

T V R Shenoy ()
October 15, 1998

Title: Ladder of lies
Author: T V R Shenoy
Publication: Rediff on the Net
Date: October 15, 1998

Two recent statements from Communist Party of India-Marxist general
secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet deserve our attention. He wondered why
the Left had not stuck roots outside Kerala, West Bengal, and Tripura
"despite its glorious role in the freedom struggle." And he slandered
the Bharatiya Janata Party as "the men who killed Mahatma Gandhi."

A man's memory is the first faculty to start withering. But I suspect
Surjeet's speeches sprang from malice rather than age. They are, in any
case, easily disproved.

"I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of Bapu's
assassination," Sardar Patel wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru on February 27,
1948, "It emerges clearly that the RSS was not involved in it at all."

Whom would you rather believe, Surjeet or the Sardar?

Why was the Iron Man's statement ignored? Simple, Sardar Patel was
feared and hated by Nehru-Gandhis and Communists alike, and they joined
to bury his memory. Surjeet, however, may recall the Sardar as the man
who vowed to uproot Marxism from the soil of his Gujarat.

The Sardar has a right to be wary. The Communists spewed poison against
everyone else in the late 1920s and early 1930s. (Even the Congress
Socialists, a group within the Indian National Congress, were described
as "social fascists.") This wasn't original; the Communists were simply
parroting the line laid down by Stalin at the sixth congress of the
Communist International.

This changed abruptly after the seventh congress was held in Moscow in
1935. Stalin decided to infiltrate socialists into the country. The
Sardar wasn't fooled. He acidly described the Socialists as nothing but
"the sappers and miners of Communism" and did his best to keep them out.

Simply put, Sardar Patel didn't trust Indians who owed allegiance to
foreigners. His suspicions were well founded. When Hitler invaded Russia
in June 1941, the Communists abruptly reversed themselves, even acting
as British informers during the Quit India Movement.

Yet at the CPI-M's Calcutta session, Surjeet accused BJP leaders of not
participating in the freedom struggle! Not only is this demonstrably
wrong, it is a blatant method of hiding the Left's own horrible record.

Communist hostility continued even after 1947. Vijayalakshmi Pandit,
India's first envoy to Moscow, recorded Stalin's refusal to believe that
India was truly free. And not a single Russian bureaucrat signed the
condolence book after the Mahatma's death.

Their Soviet masters' attitude was echoed in the 'Calcutta Thesis'
formulated by the Communists in February 1948. Repeating the charge that
India was still a British colony, it vowed to continue the ''liberation
struggle''. The practical expression of this philosophy came in the form
of the Telangana peasant struggle (a fancy name for guerrilla warfare).

Telangana was part of the then Hyderabad state, a princely state
refusing to join the India Union. The Nizam had given free rein to a
group called the Razakars. Their leader Kasim Razvi vowed that "if India
invaded nothing but the bones and ashes of 10.5 million Hindus would be
found". Hindus were openly killed in Marathwada (also part of the
princely Hyderabad).

This was the gentleman with whom the Communists allied. It was said in
Warangal and Nalgonda that "the Razakars rule by day and the Communists
at night." But Nehru's government didn't react, a stance encouraged by
Lord Mountbatten (India's governor-general at Nehru's invitation).

Hyderabad took advantage of this idiocy. It loaned 200 million rupees to
a Pakistan teetering on bankruptcy. It appealed to the Americans and
sent a delegation to the United Nations. Nehru's response was to send a
counter-memorandum, but Sardar Patel's patience was exhausted.

"You referred Kashmir to the UN when victory was at hand," he said,
"What happened?"

On June 21, 1948, Mountbatten finally left, and Chakravarti
Rajagopalachari took over as governor-general. Nehru continued to plead
for a softline as late as September 8, 1948. However on September 13,
'Operation Polo' began. It took just 108 hours before Hyderabad was
forced to lay down arms on September 17.

The Communists, however, fought on for three more years. The Sardar died
in December 1950, but his work was continued by Rajaji who succeeded him
as Union home minister. (He described the Communists as "Public Enemy
Number One.")

I wouldn't normally use this column to talk about events that took place
half a century ago and more, but comrade Surjeet is trying to rewrite
history six hundred and one months after the Nizam's fall.

You cannot ascend the pinnacles of power by standing on a ladder of

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