This May Day, celebrate the eclipse of the Left
by Virendra Parekh on 01 May 2014 9 Comments

The ongoing elections will most likely push the Leftist parties into total irrelevance. Following a dialectics neglected by Marx and Angels, it is the Leftist bloc that is showing signs of withering away. Celebrate it. For, as Cho Ramaswamy put it aptly, if the Left has any future in the country, the country has no future left.


No other ideology has exercised a more perverse and pervasive influence on Indian polity than the local hotchpotch variety of Marxism. That influence is visible in India’s repudiation of its ancient civilisational ethos as the basis of Indian-ness and national integration; its choice of an inward-looking control-ridden economic model, and a ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy that was visibly tilted towards the Soviet bloc. These choices were collectively presented as the national consensus on secularism, socialism and non-alignment. The personality of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a lot to do with these choices, but that does not detract from the ideology underlying them.


For each of the choices, the cost has been heavy. Secularism has clouded our vision, confused our intellect and paralysed our will in the name of national integration and communal harmony. It has led to self-doubt and self-forgetfulness, and sapped the national will to deal with fissiparous tendencies and separatist forces. Socialism kept us poor, backward and underdeveloped in the name of planned economic development and growth with social justice. The country was brought to the brink of defaulting on the foreign debt before it agreed to turn its back on Socialism - in a half-hearted and piecemeal manner. By the time non-alignment became irrelevant after the collapse of the Soviet Union, India had been reduced to a third-rate Third World country good mainly at preaching platitudes in international gatherings.


Blinded by a borrowed ideology, the people of the Book became willing accomplices of foreigners in subversion of India, secure in the belief that History (with a capital H) was on their side.


Marxists routinely rail against the West, but they rarely realize how thoroughly European Marx was in his thinking about India. For Marx, India was “a country not only divided between Mahommedan and Hindoo, but between tribe and tribe, between caste and caste; a society whose framework was based on a sort of equilibrium resulting from a general repulsion and constitutional exclusiveness between all its members… The question, therefore, is not whether the English had a right to conquer India, but whether we are to prefer India conquered by the Turk, by the Persian, by the Russian, to India conquered by the Briton,” he wrote in an article “The Future Results of British Rule in India” published in the New-York Daily Tribune, August 8, 1853. His own preference was clear. He went on to write, “England has to fulfill a double mission in India: one destructive, the other regenerating: the annihilation of old Asiatic society, and the laying the material foundations of Western society in Asia”.


Indian Marxists swallowed hook, line and sinker Marx’s view of Indian society as a loose conglomeration of disparate groups and his justification of British rule in India. It is strange but true that the British domination of India never particularly exercised them. Right from its inception in 1925, the CPI faithfully followed the Soviet line. Its denunciation of Gandhiji and the freedom struggle led by him, sabotage of the Quit India movement, support to demand for Pakistan, and dismissal of independence as a conspiracy between British officialdom and Congress leaders are all recorded facts. At the time of the Chinese invasion, some of them sympathized with China and the party split. Their stand on Bangladeshi infiltration has been downright anti-national. On Ram Janmabhoomi they are on the same page as the Babri Masjid Action Committee.


Indeed, they took upon themselves England’s “historic” double mission in India, especially the destructive part - the annihilation of old Asiatic society i.e. destruction of India’s ancient civilisation and everything that flows from it. They became the cutting edge of Western civilisation. Their contempt for India, particularly the India of religion, culture and philosophy is absolute, uncompromising and unmitigated. And why? Because Marx said religion was the opium of masses!


Before and after independence, communists have masterminded subversion of the national psyche with anti-Hindu poison. As academicians, they have systematically and thoroughly distorted and falsified every period of Indian history to rob it of its Hindu ethos and ensure that it contains nothing that a Hindu could be proud of. Inspirational models, practices, metaphors and expressions – both concrete and abstract – have been belittled as marginal or parochial. Everything that is associated with India’s civilisational genius is blackened by deliberately putting it mean-mindedly in the narrowest possible context. In this, they are ably supported by products of the church-run schools and colleges.


If Marxism poses a lethal threat to Indian civilisation, it poses an equally serious threat to its economic resurgence. Its influence on economic policy wasted four decades of India after independence. When Marxists were elected to rule West Bengal, it was one of the leading industrial states in the country. Thirty-five years later when they were ousted from power, it was among the poorest states; industry had fled, young talent had been forced to move out in search of jobs and investors regarded it as a nightmare. They opposed tooth and nail economic reforms launched since 1991. India’s economic downfall in the last five years is attributed by all independent observers to the populist measures dictated by some Left-leaning elements in the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council.


For all their talk of historical determinism, Indian communists have ignored the changes in technology and the evolving character of the working class. When the young generation is exercised about jobs in the time of economic slowdown, the CPI(M) frets about workers being “the main target of exploitation by the neo-liberal regime.” On terrorism, the communists seem to think the biggest problem facing India isn't Lashkar-e-Toiba or the Indian Mujahideen but “the bias and targeting of innocent Muslim youth.”


CPM’s manifesto in 2014 promises a new food security law that would provide for a universal public distribution system excluding only income-tax payees, the enactment of a legislation for employment guarantee in all urban areas, and a sub-plan for Muslim minorities. Each of these measures is a recipe for disaster. But then economics was never a strong point of Marx; it has never been one of Marxists.     


With a record like this, the surprise is not that Marxists have a limited political influence, but they have any. But there is no mystery.


In an interesting paradox, Marxism appeals to the emotions of the intelligent and to the intelligence of the illiterate. In thousands of pages of Das Kapital, there is not a single theory which can stand the test of analytical rigour. But Marxism gets over it by promising equality, justice, end of poverty and the “ascent from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom”.


As to the workers who know nothing about economics or history, the Theory tells them that their final victory is guaranteed by the march of History; that their biggest ally is Time; they have only to wait for the capitalistic system to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. Of course, time has passed and still the Marxists wait. Meanwhile, it was the Soviet Union, that paradise of the Proletariat which imploded from within.


In practice, Marxism is not about equality, justice or poverty removal. It is about power - power over producers of wealth. A socialist state keeps workers on a tight leash. In a mixed economy, socialist politicians love to appropriate for themselves and their vote banks the surplus produced by the private sector. They talk about welfare and social justice but sell the promise of giving something for nothing. They invoke the poor and the workers to justify their plunder. They are the ultimate parasites.


The alien origin of Marxism, its religious hatred of Hinduism, its suspicion of freedom, its authoritarian politics and parasitic economics pose a living threat to the Indian nation.  


The last Englishman left will be an Indian, wrote Malcolm Muggeridge. The last communist, in the same vein, may be found in the streets of Calcutta. It is a dubious distinction that the country can live without - in both the cases.

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