December 14, 2007

Left intellecutals end their honeymoon with Marxists

Actually the heading should be: "Left intellecutals end their honeymoon
with Marxists"




Marxists end their honeymoon with left intellectuals
2007-Dec-14
Tushar Charan

http://www.asiantri bune.com/ index.php? q=node/8701

With more than three years of the five-year term of the state assembly
still left before it faces the polls, it is disappointing to note that
CPI (M), the dominant party in West Bengal's Left Front, is not even
embarrassed, leave alone shamed, by the barrage of criticism on the way
it has handled the situation in Nandigram. But the series of tragic and
unfortunate incidents in Nandigram since the beginning of the year have
shattered many myths about the Left rule in West Bengal, especially the
image of the big brother CPI (M). The honeymoon between the intellectual
classes and the CPI-M had perhaps lasted too long.

Even as groaning voices kept wafting out of West Bengal in the past
not many outside the state were ready to shed the romantic notions about
a party with leaders who looked ideologically and sincerely 'committed'
to the cause of the poor and the unprivileged and were known to be the
least enamoured of avarice unlike the politicians from other parties. A
party like the CPI (M) was supposed to be free of the common vices of
other parties like crime, corruption and sycophancy. Prolonged exposures
from Nandigram have altered (if not erased) that image drastically.

Despite the popular conception-largely based on the governance in what
was once known as the Eastern Bloc-- that the comrades have no belief in
it, the CPI (M) and its allies notched up more points by proclaiming
their belief in democracy. The CPI (M) appeared to many as a unique
Indian party where its leaders lived simply, preached what they
practised and believed in accepting the poll verdict.

The admiration, though silent and unspoken, for the comrades was high
and widespread in intellectual institutions. It was assumed that higher
institutions of learning would have a predominance of 'Leftists' among
both students and teachers. A good number of top civil servants had
flaunted their Left leanings before entering the portals of privilege.
States ruled by the Left were known as 'progressive' as opposed to the
retrograde states run by petty bourgeoisie politicians who had embraced
'anti-people' policies.

Now we have it from a person no less than Justice S. Rajendra Babu,
chairman of the National Human Rights Commission that the Nandigram
incidents are among the 'worst scars' on the face of India.
(Incidentally, if it is of any importance the Justice comes from a
'progressive' state.) The West Bengal chief minister, Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee, was stumped. When asked to give his reaction, all that he
could say was that he would give his reaction after he had 'studied' the
remarks of the NHRC chairman.

That reply appeared to be rather uncharacteristic of the
post-Nandigram Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who had described the mass murder
and rape by the musclemen of his party in Nandigram as a (befitting)
'reply in the same coin' to the 'goons' who had earlier driven out his
cadres. This cavalier if not offensive expression shocked Kolkata's vast
intellectual circles, most of whom were among his admirers. He had no
qualms about choosing words that could well have been spoken by Narendra
Modi of Gujarat after the latter's 'cadres' had executed a
state-sponsored pogrom of the minorities. It earned Modi a notoriety
with which he has to live his entire life.

Outside the Hindutva world of the Sangh Parivar, not many would like
to be compared to Modi. But if the Gujarat chief minister had reportedly
given a three-day amnesty (vide Tehelka exposures) to his 'goons' to
stage an orgy of murder, rape and pilferage in his state, in West Bengal
the state machinery had had a much longer holiday-almost a year. There
must be only a thin line that distinguishes the fascism of the kind
Sangh Parivar pursues and the brand patented by the CPI (M).

Actually, it may be worse in West Bengal. Despite incompetence,
suspected bias and unpardonable delays before they swung into action,
the state security apparatus did manage to show its presence in Gujarat.
In Nandigram the state actually refused to summon the police and even
prevented the forces sent by the Centre from doing their duty. All
because the state government had more faith in its own party's armed
cadres whose given assignment was to 'teach a lesson' to the opponents.

If the Left Front government in West Bengal has its way, it is the
armed and undisciplined party cadres who would manage the law and order
situation in every state in the country. That would place the party and
its interests above the units of the state and the people who live in
them. The Bengal comrades have also shown that engaging dissenters and
opponents in dialogue is a waste of time, a fruitless pursuit.

Criticism from any quarter can send the comrades fuming; more so when
it comes from the Raj Bhavan where the incumbent had actually asked for
some kind of introspection by the state government when it failed to
deal with Nandigram adequately. It is ironic that it was the Left, still
puffing with anger over their spats with previous governors like A.P.
Sharma and T. Rajeshwar that had asked for Gopal Gandhi to be sent to
Kolkata's Raj Bhavan.

The poor farmers of West Bengal have been wrong in the eyes of the CPI
(M) to oppose the land acquisition programme of the communist ruled West
Bengal. The ruling party decided that the farmers' organisation, the
Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee deserved no hearing, especially when
many Maoists and 'goons' of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress had
managed to infiltrate it. The only way to deal with them was to 'teach
them a lesson' by beating them black and blue, raping their women folks,
burning their homes and hearths and if they still survived and wished to
return home, make them pay fines.

The West Bengal government's determination to acquire land-mostly on
behalf of the much maligned capitalists- would have been admirable had it
not been for the fact that elsewhere in India the comrades think it is a
cardinal sin. Except West Bengal, the comrades have been in the
forefront of opposing special economic zones in the rest of India.

However, the contradictions in their new philosophy of
industrialisation that looks quite pro-capitalists had become apparent
even before Nandigram when the land acquisition plan in Singur had
turned violent. It was perhaps a sign of the arrogance that has crept in
the ranks of the comrade rulers who did not want to learn any lesson
from Singur. Now they have even harder lessons to learn, chief minister
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee' s public regret over Nandigram show
notwithstanding.

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