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Give them no marx

Give them no marx

M V Kamath
March 23, 2000
Title: Give them no marx
Author: M V Kamath
Publication: Mid-Day
Date: March 23, 2000

For some time now, I have been reading T N Kaul's interesting memoirs A Diplomat's Diary (1947-1999). Though everyone referred to him affectionately or familiarly as Tikki, I am too much of a square to assume familiarity with someone much older than me and both in private and public conversation I always referred to him as Mr Kaul.

He had a reputation for being pro-Soviet and distantly Marxist, and never in my life have I ever hid my total repugnance of communism, from Soviet to Chinese variety. And I have nothing but utter contempt for Indian communists. But reading Mr Kaul's memoirs gives me a new picture of him.

Soon after India became independent and we had to establish our embassies in various countries, Mr Kaul was assigned to the embassy in Moscow. In his book he writes: ''After living and working in Stalin's Russia from 1947 to 1949, I felt disgusted with its poverty, lack of freedom and individual liberty... Moscow had been almost like a prison to me''. Indian diplomats were forbidden to have contacts with any Russian except at official levels.

Mr Kaul once met two returned Soviet exiles by chance and exchanged addresses and telephone numbers with them. Writes Mr Kaul: ''The next day, when I tried to meet them again, I learned that they had been picked up by the KGB and interrogated; after some time, one of them was imprisoned and the other exiled outside Moscow''. Mr Kaul writes that in Russia there was supposed to be no racial discrimination officially, but there was resentment against black students and workers.

When China attacked India, Jawaharlal Nehru found himself ordering the arrest of some 900 Indian communists who were Mao's children. At that time Krushchev, writes Mr Kaul, raised the issue, wanting to know why India was arresting so many communists. Mr Kaul had the right answer. He told Krushchev: ''But they are Stalinists''. That silenced the Soviet leader who had no love for Stalinists in his own country either.

Indian communists are the children both of Stalin and Mao; they are, frankly, traitors to their country and we don't have to be squeamish about it. Only Indian communists in Calcutta can name important streets after Lenin, Stalin and Mao. They are a shameless bunch. Indian communists hate Hinduism. They made life for the revered Ramakrishna Mission swamijis so difficult that the Mission was finally moved to say that it was a cult, which is not part of Hinduism.

What Swami Vivekananda would have done in the circumstances is open for anyone to make his own guess. A senior leader writer of The Statesman in an article (March 16) makes the point that ''there are examples of schools run by the Ramakrishna Mission which have been systematically terrorised by the CPI-M functionaries for not succumbing to extortion and blackmail.''

Yet CPI-M goons enjoy respectability with our Leftist 'intellectuals' which is shocking, to say the least. And let me quote The Statesman editorial writer again: "We must also remember that the 1964 Party programme, to which the CPI-M continues to adhere, talks of overthrowing the state (which is) extremely hostile in principle to the philosophy of the Republic.'' And the CPI-M is treated as a respectable party whose members are frequently invited to television talk shows.

I find this disgusting. There is no law in West Bengal. What the CPI-M Government says, goes. Not long ago, Calcutta University's Department of English advertised a vacancy in the CPI-M's Bengali language party organ Ganashakti. Fancy Calcutta University advertising in a communist party paper in Bengali for a lecturer in English! And yet it hasn't made news because our Leftist intellectuals are far too busy throwing mud at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to look at what's happening in West Bengal.

What is amusing is the CPI-M's gangsters holding demonstrations against President Bill Clinton in various Indian cities. There were no demonstrations in China against President Richard Nixon when the latter went to China. Chinese communists have no hesitation in accepting imperialist dollars as investment in China. As a matter of fact, they lap up the dollars as if they are manna from heaven.

The theory among comrades is that the communists anywhere cannot go wrong. Let me now go to another paper, The Asian Age (March 10), which carried an article by Bhaskar Ghose, former secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting. To the best of my knowledge Ghose is not a member of the RSS or the BJP and can't be accused of partisanship. Nor can The Asian Age be dismissed as an RSS paper. M J Akbar may suffer a bout of apoplexy if he heard such a charge. Ghose says that the fuss over RSS membership of government employees is 'hypocritical'.

Writes Ghose: ''Congress may not have openly advocated that government employees join its front organisations, but it did not need to really. Many employees were de facto Congress supporters, some openly and others as a matter of course; some of them held the biggest positions in the government and were suitably awarded with various sinecures after they retired... Then with the passage of time, there was the advent of our revolutionary comrades of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who, in West Bengal and Kerala, established associations of government employees which were brought under the umbrella of an organisation now known as the Co-ordinating Committee. It was, and is, blatantly openly political; with office-bearers who were and, in all likelihood still are, full-time members of the CPI-M.

''The thousands of babus in state Governments were not just encouraged to join these organisations, they were persuaded to do so by a variety of methods which included threats and, on occasion, physical violence. Quick to learn from this, the Congress also set up their associations and used similar persuasive methods to get some of the wretched clerks and peons to join.''

Ghose then adds: ''All this is apparently acceptable. But when the Bharatiya Janata Party Government takes a leaf out of a book so shamelessly put together by the self-styled 'progressive' lot, there is a rending of garments and gnashing of teeth....''

Again, let me add, Ghose is not a member of the RSS or the BJP. He is just an honest civilian who obviously can't stand the hypocrisy of our Leftists and of the Congress and its great leader Sonia Gandhi, who have one set of rules for the CPI-M and another for the RSS and the BJP.

The CPI-M is anti-India, and pro-China through and through. That is considered quite in order! The Congress also has its ways of subverting administration objectivity. That is not to be questioned. The approach of the Congress and the Leftists is: 'don't do as we do; do as we tell you'. The trouble with the RSS is that it is masochistic and will take any amount of abuse without retaliation. It will be a great day for India when communists and their Leftist supporters are thrown into the dustbin of history where they legitimately belong.

(M V Kamath, veteran journalist, takes on all comers)

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