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It's Red alert now

It's Red alert now

Author: Balbir Punj
Publication: The Poineer
Date: November 1, 2004

Andhra Pradesh might soon lose the sheen of Cyberabad as People's War leader Ramakrishna wants the lands given to corporate houses in the city back. The Congress was confident that it was voted to power by the people of the State due to their disenchantment with the Telugu Desam Party. But then it has now to meet an extra-constitutional, extra-legal authority who plans to dictate the Congress "people's" agenda. By giving a long lease to Naxalites, Andhra might soon witness a flight of capital, of the sort we saw in West Bengal. The ban on PW imposed by the former TDP Government might have lapsed but the PW and Maoist Communist Centre continue to be on the black-list of terrorist groups drawn by the UPA Government. The State Congress Government, by ingratiating itself to the Naxalites, is perhaps waiting for the menace to snowball.

The PW underground state secretary Ramakrishna (alias Akkiraju Haragopal), who recently resurfaced from the jungles, is calling the shots. The merger of PW with MCC is a telling event. The new Communist Party of India (Maoist) now has access to 49 districts of UP-Bihar-Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh-Bengal-Andhra Pradesh. Thus, their dream of erecting a red column from AP to Nepal is closer to being realised than ever. With Nepal tottering on the verge of falling to Maoist insurgents, the portents are ominous.

It is a pity that "secularists" and Leftists, who have perfected the art of winning elections by dubbing the BJP "fascists", will not be able to escape the apologists of Mao so easily. This is also an alarm bell for Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, who manages to win elections by doing nothing apart from consolidating the "secular forces" (read Muslim-Yadav combination) against the "communal forces". That under his family farm's "secular regime" Bihar's economic paralysis is complete, generating a massive exodus from the State, does not seem to concern him. But that the CPI (Maoist) kicked off its "creative destruction" by trying to plant a bomb on railway tracks near Karbandia railway station in Rohtas, Bihar, to blow up the Rajdhani Express, should be a matter of concern for the Railway Minister.

When Ramakrishna along with 35 other unarmed activists of Left extremist groups, PW and Janashakti, came to Hyderabad to talk to Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy, they made no secret of their agenda. They said that dialogue with the State was intended to be temporary to sort out certain problems. Otherwise, they had not abandoned their long term goal of capturing power through armed struggle. In fact, they blamed the Congress for creating the mess. Needless to say, Left extremism in Telengana has been a product of Congress rule for the first 35 years. At Guntur, on their way to Hyderabad, they addressed a meeting in memory of the father of Naxalbari movement, Charu Mazumdar.

The word "Naxalite" was popularised by the editorials of The Statesman (like Great Calcutta Killing for Direct Action, 1946) to mean participants of peasant uprising in Naxalbari (district Darjeeling, West Bengal) which began on May 25, 1967. The campaign was codenamed "Khatam" (or Operation Finish Off), meaning slaughter of landlords and other class-enemies.

Later, communists from different states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh formed the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries. Out of this, on Lenin's birthday in 1969, emerged the CPI (Marxist-Leninist), though the MCC kept itself aloof from it. The extremist activities touched a new height as guerrilla warfare pockets came up in Debra- Gopiballabhpur in West Bengal, Mussari in Bihar, Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh and Srikakulum in AP. Charu Mazumdar gave his most anti-national call: "China's Chairman Mao is our Chairman."

Mao might have been a great Chinese leader, a world renowned personality, but from India's standpoint he was a brute aggressor. An armchair communist, Nehru in his naiveté lobbied for China's permanent membership in the UN Security Council and called for "Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai". Mao responded with China's annexation of Tibet in 1959, and aggression into Indian territory in 1962. In 1962, itself the comrades were not lacking in anti-nationalism to say that the Chinese Army had come to "liberate bourgeoise India". Marxist workers' union tried to disrupt mobilisation of provisions to the frontier.

Today, the PW, by paying homage to Charu Mazumdar and naming the new outfit CPI (Maoist), has only shown its anti-national character. By the turn of 1970s, the law and order situation had deteriorated dramatically in Kolkata (and West Bengal) due to Naxalite violence. One remembers how Satyajit Ray had to abandon shooting on the streets of Kolkata.

The Naxalite menace had turned the streets into a guerrilla zones. President's Rule had to be imposed thrice for a year each-1968-69, 1970-71 and 1971-72-due to the political instability and Naxalism in West Bengal. Mao was a communist, but also a proud Chinese nationalist who dealt firmly with Uighur Muslims of Xingjian. But what about our own communists? Even as the Pakistani Army was butchering Hindus next door in East Pakistan, "secular" Naxalites were killing fellow Hindus in Kolkata and destabilising the country at that grave hour.

Finally, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, the Congress Chief Minister (1972-77), decided enough was enough and responded with tough counter-terror tactics. Of course, he had been given a free hand by Indira Gandhi. He understood that burning of railway station, looting of railway godowns, ransacking of schools and takeover of industries could not be allowed to go on indefinitely in the name of "people's revolution".

It was under the same hoax that tens of millions of people had been massacred in the erstwhile Soviet Union, China and elsewhere. But Ray's counter-terror also brought his regime into disrepute with the middle class. Many brilliant students from Bengali middle class homes joined the Naxalite movement (and every home had become a potential suspect of the State Government's ire). On July 28, 1972, frail Charu Mazumdar died in police custody in Kolkata as a result of the excesses. With him, the residual leadership too was gone. Yet the CPI (ML) has continued its activities of "Left consolidation" even after its godfather Lenin's embalmed body was removed from Moscow's Red Square.

Naxalites tell us (it was nothing new when PWG leader Ramakrishna repeated it) that China had left communism long ago. It is indeed so. Naxalites overlook the fact that transition from Mao to Deng (who said "it's glorious to be rich") has given China longevity, while the USSR collapsed. Ultimately, nothing would determine the longevity and vitality of a state more than its economic viability. Marxists, like Nehru, feel the state should guarantee and undertake everything to people.

They believe that everything should be state-owned. The state should run on the talisman of Marx without any FDI. This is not viable, and like all sick companies Marxist and Maoist Inc is bound to go bust. Marxism exists in West Bengal only because "capitalist" centre gives it funds and absorbs those rendered jobless by Marxist agitations.

To think that the CPI (Maoist) will join democratic politics is a paradox. Even for communists who adopt democracy, faith in democracy is a strategy to wreck the system from within. Did Mao ever believe in democracy? What has the new party to say about Islamic terrorism or the exponential growth of Muslim population in India? Despite the fact that there is extreme poverty in Pakistan and Bangladesh, communism does not exist there. The Congress Government's current effort to humour the Maoists in Andhra and elsewhere is like mounting a tiger. No prizes for guessing whether the rider will tame the tiger or the tiger will devour the rider.

(The writer can be contacted at: bpunj @email.com)

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