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Secular Claims

Secular Claims

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Statesman
Date: January 21, 2005
URL: http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=3&theme=&usrsess=1&id=66332

A Marxist Blend Of Duplicity And Deception

In the post-Cold War world, the once catchy communist propaganda jargons such as dialectical materialism, scientific socialism, dictatorship of the proletariat and democratic centralism have lost their appeal and relevance. But the Indian Marxists desperately cling to these stale concepts to impress their lesser comrades and to establish their credentials as the most rational and public-spirited political class in the country.
Long on pretence, but short on performance, the Marxists never tire of patting themselves on the back for their supposed scientific socio-economic outlook and commitment to the have-nots. They glibly proclaim that they are "progressive" and shorn of superstition, bigotry and prejudice of any kind. Never mind, if in the 28th year of the egalitarian Marxist rule in West Bengal, dowry, lynching women as witches, marrying daughters to dogs and hiring sorcerers' service to tackle malaria, and refusal to eat food cooked by Muslims and lower caste Hindus are rampant and thriving in the state.

Convoluted logic
Recently, the atheist CPI-M top brass displayed how fragile is their adherence to rationality. An editorial in the party weekly People's Democracy (January 2), reminiscent of the rantings of the saffron brigade, linked natural disaster to sin, alleging that the tsunami is the "culmination of a legacy of hate and destruction that we the people of India overcame in the political sphere in 2004." Asked for comment on this convoluted logic by the press, the embarrassed party general secretary in New Delhi was evasive, pleading that he had had no time to read the party journal yet.
Whether religion is opium or not, Marxist rhetoric and Marxist rule in West Bengal have failed to turn its people Godless and irreligious. Party stalwarts follow a selective approach to practising secularism. Ministers boycott Saraswati bandana at public functions and excise Ganesh bandana from the Chhou dance sequence, but do not mind sitting through Kuran telawat at official functions. Party activists, including many senior office-bearers, actively participate in pujas and openly and, at times, demonstrably say namaz. There can be no quarrel with that one's faith is a personal matter that must not interfere with one's political conviction. What is insufferable, however, is the Marxists' use of religion with an eye on securing political advantage.
For example, in the last Id ceremony, a former state minister and presently an MP led the namaz on the Red Road in the full TV glare. While there was nothing objectionable to that, during the parliamentary election campaign in his wall writings he had prefixed "Comrade" to his name in the Hindu-majority areas, but dropped it from the writings in the Muslim-dominated areas and used his convenient first name "Mohammed" instead! Though not illegal, it certainly reeked of duplicity and, yes, bourgeois hypocrisy. Morality and communism have always been contradictions in terms, opportunism being the overriding element in Marxist ethos. For the sake of captive minority votes, which account for 22 per cent of the state electorate, the Left-Front regime has been routinely turning a blind eye to many illegal and criminal activities of lumpen CPI-M cadres and supporters in the minority community. Infiltration from Bangladesh has acquired the proportions of a veritable demographic invasion and has entirely changed the communal complexion of the border districts. Criminal and subversive activities of many infiltrators have heightened the insecurity of the original inhabitants of the border belt, forcing them to leave the affected areas in droves, selling their houses and land for a song to Muslim migrants.

Cultivable land
As a result, in the outlying peripheral areas of Nadia district Hindu inhabitants had owned 60 per cent of the cultivable land till five years back, but presently their share has now come down to less than 40 per cent. Keeping mum over this disastrous process for years, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been lately decrying illegal immigration, but has not taken any effective measures to stem the flow of migrants, let alone deport them.
In line with the scale of infiltration, mosques and madrassas have been mushrooming on public land, violating government rules. A feeble attempt by the chief minister to mildly deprecate the unrestrained growth of these institutions earned him a severe reprimand from the state party headquarters, forcing him to eat his own words. The state government spends more than Rs 15 crore annually on madrassa education, focused on teaching the Kuran and hadis, which is not exactly conducive to instilling the much-needed secular ethos in our younger generations to promote inter-community harmony. In contrast, the Left front government has virtually stopped supporting the traditional Sanskrit seminaries (tols). The reason for such "step-motherly treatment", in the words of a former head of the department of Sanskrit of the Calcutta University, known for his proximity to the regime, is the fear that teaching of Sanskrit would increase the influence of the RSS! The Kuran, which calls all non-Muslims Kafir and ordains their gratuitous annihilation, is taught at state expense, but teaching of Sanskrit texts that unfailingly contain the message of universal brotherhood and harmonious living together of all living beings is a taboo. Only Marxist morons are capable of such dastardly distortions and discriminations.
Unchecked radicalisation of Islam in the post-Mujib era has led to the growth of Jamaat-supported Talibani terrorist outfits in Bangladesh, which, while wreaking havoc in the country, also pose a serious threat to the security and stability of the region. Predictably, the unsavoury developments across the border have been adversely impacting on sections of the Muslim community in the state, notably in the border districts. Fundamentalist Muslim clerics in Murshidabad district have issued fatwas proclaiming social and economic boycott of twenty-odd Muslim bauls for singing their traditional songs urging peace, unity and harmony among all human beings. In Bangladesh, the country's High Court has banned fatwa, but the preudo-secular Marxist regime of West Bengal has preferred to remain a silent spectator of these atrocities. By banning last year Tasleema Nasreen's Dwikhandita under pressure from a section of Muslims and a mullah who publicly instigated the faithful to assault and humiliate her, the state government had effectively boosted the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the state.

Apathetic state
And all that is for the 22 per cent crucial block Muslim votes needed to retain the Left Front's hold on power. Twenty-eight years of one-party misrule has turned West Bengal into a torpid and apathetic state that has given its people the rudest and most humiliating treatment. Driven by duplicity and deception, the tyrannical regime successfully maintains a fraudulent façade of democracy and freedom of the media, but its primary concern is to maintain the submission of its ubiquitous army of henchmen spread within its party ranks, the bureaucracy and the opposition parties. Given the will, the henchmen can collectively oust it from power, but the art of its unimpeded tyranny lies in giving them privileges and rewards, which they do not wish to lose, and convincing them that they can hold their own positions only if the regime keeps its. The more ruthless the repression the easier is to achieve this because the henchmen also have a guilty fear of what the people might do to them if their mounting frustration were ever unleashed. In this darkening situation, the intellectuals could have made a difference, but wary of losing the crumbs of government largesse, they are "strangers to that vigour of mind, and all the virtues grafted on those passions which animate our more active spirits." The corrupting and corroding influence of the incumbent regime has heightened the deadening effect of Bengali indolence on them. Honourable exceptions apart, there is little enterprise and less generous sentiments among our intellectuals and, therefore, no significant social commitment to spearhead any serious movement towards pulling the hapless state out of the morass of ruinous Marxist misrule.

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