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The right of the Left

The right of the Left

Author: Tarun Vijay
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: October 22, 2004
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/archive_full_story.php?content_id=57410

Introduction: India is not Russia. So all they can do is to unfurl their red flags in the safe precincts of their South Delhi lawns.

There's no point arguing with Comrade Harkishen Singh Surjeet. What he wrote in People's Democracy was perfectly in order, really, considering what the Left has always been doing. The practice of listing and de-listing people has been an inseparable part of communist purges everywhere. Funny though, the only two countries the communists are active in today are ones with a Hindu majority - India and Nepal.

So here they work to bring about the rule of the proletariat, usher in a revolution, bring succour to the subjugated, exploited millions. But whenever in power, they have failed to create even a single model of rural or urban development, a tiny hamlet or a miniature industrial town in tune with the great communist dream. Yet they continue to demand changes - even if it is through the backdoor, or on the shoulders of the same Congress with whom they have fought many a bitter battle elsewhere.

But I would still defend Comrade Surjeet's right to write what he wants to write in his own party journal. We are not friends of his ideology and if he wishes to use his powers against people like us, he should go ahead and do so. However, should the government of the day fall in line with his diktat? When the Centre should be addressing issues like terrorism, poverty and unemployment, why is it getting stuck in concerns like sacking Anupam Kher or censoring Prakash Jha's film on JP?

The Leftists don't just want to remove some people and bring in their own favourites. They want to make sure that the ''other side'' is kicked out of the public domain, whipped and packed off to a Siberian wilderness. Left to themselves, they would like the whole nation to be subjected to a great purge like those their hero, Josef Stalin, presided over: a mass elimination of the bourgeois (read saffronites). Sadly, the junior Stalins are too small in stature and India is not Russia. So all they can do is to unfurl their red flags in the safe precincts of their South Delhi lawns.

It will be interesting to see how this government faces up to Left pressure. If it succumbs in the name of saving itself, it will be seen by the nation as being driven by "outsiders" who have refused to take any responsibility for their stances. Although not a part of the government, the Left has succeeded in getting the ban lifted on those communist terrorists against whom a special cell in the home ministry was once created under a Congress regime as Sidharth Shankar Ray's relentless campaign to eliminate the Naxal menace brought much awaited relief to the hapless people of West Bengal. According to home ministry sources, the People's War Group and their affiliates have killed more than 9,000 people over the last ten years. The main purpose behind the latest unity moves within their fold is to carve out a ''Compact Revolutionary Zone'' from Nepal through Bihar and the Dandkaranya region to Andhra Pradesh. This arrangement also ensures imparting training and supplying arms and ammunitions to Nepali Maoists.

Such people are now getting government protection, even as others are harassed and humiliated for no other crime than holding a different set of beliefs. And, yet, they say we are a free democracy!

The authority of the government to appoint or remove any member on the committees it sets up is unquestionable because apart from merit - which in any case is always a matter of subjective inference - the trust of the people in power is a major factor in ensuring that such committees yield a positive result. However, I earnestly believe that those of us who had links with the organisations should have never accepted any memberships on these committees. No meaningful purpose is served and, on the contrary, needless bickering and jealousies break out. Nevertheless, questionable certainly would be the attitude of any government that attacks a citizen for his personal views. Till the person appointed discharges his duties within the assigned framework and does not act against the state or the Constitution, is there a need to pull him up just because he votes for a different party? Well, in the end it may be a lonely battle and the Left will prove right only if we give up the middle ground.

The writer is editor, Panchjanya. He can be contacted at: tarunvijay@vsnl.com

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