Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Let me thank all those who did not let me remain in the CPI(M)!!!!!!!!!

``Police Outrage in Nandigram.’’ This scroll message at the bottom of the TV screen got me to stop switching channels. I would not have switched on the TV in normal course. I do not recall why I did that. I had decided to write about Hasan Ali and his hawala business. I was unaware of the massacre in Nandigram. And even when my friend had mentioned something about Nandigram, I did not realise what he was talking about.

But then, after seeing the visuals, I told myself that Hasan Ali must wait. The fact is Hasan Ali was only a player in a money-laundering racket and is not guilty of manslaughter. In other words, to comment on the Hasan Ali, at this stage, will only be an excuse to gloss over the murderous act by the CPI(M)-led Left Front in West Bengal. The hard-core in the CPI(M) may do that. But I was never a hard-core in the party and I am only too happy that I did not end up one. I am glad that I was not allowed to stay on with the party! My formal links were over several years ago.

Let us come to Nandigram now. The fact is that the almost all the inhabitants in the village are united against the state government. It means that even those who were members of the CPI(M) are not amused by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s zeal to convert West Bengal into one huge industrial hub. It means that there are members in the CPI(M) too who refuse to accept a spurious interpretation of Marxism that industrial growth is the only way to progress.

In other words, the resistance in Nandigram is proof that Karl Marx was talking a lot of sense when he described capitalism as inhuman. It will make some sense if the members of the CPI(M) and its leaders take some time to read The Grundrisse, which by all means is a text where Karl Marx’s early humanism (which comes out in the Communist Manifesto of 1848) is synthesized with his later researches in history and economics. The CPI(M) leaders, as I know them, love to dismiss any suggestion to read scholarly texts, as unwarranted and even deride it as a disease. And this is how they manage to contain debates inside the party.

But the events in Nandigram clearly show that there are members and associates of the party who refuse to consider the party leaders as the priest or the prophet. And they decided to be a part of the struggle against the land grab that is being planned in Nandigram in the name of setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) out there. And these former associates of the CPI(M) have no serious problems in joining hands with others, even if some of them were supporters of other parties, to resist the land grab! This indeed is what Marx talked about in all his writings: That the shared experience of the oppressed people is bound to unite them in a battle against the oppressors. And that the oppressors will be backed by the armed mercenaries (the police) and unleash violence.

But then, Biman Bose, the party commissar in Kolkotta thinks differently. Apart from a formal statement that the police must not have fired, Bose has added that the people of Nandigram are being misled by ``outsiders’’ and the Maoists.
Now, Bose would not have made this silly remark if he had recalled the lessons he had learnt in his early days in the party; his own comrades were charged of inciting violence just because they belonged to a band of men who loved violent means. This was how the communists were described by Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel when the organised the peasants and the oppressed during the Tebhaga movement in Bengal, the Telengana armed struggle in that part of Andhra and in Punnapra-Vayalar in Travancore.

And Bose himself was a victim of oppression by the police during the semi-fascist terror unleashed against the communists in West Bengal between 1972 and 1977 when the State was ruled by Sidhartha Sankar Ray. And for him to now make this point about outsiders and Maoists being behind the Nandigram trouble (and on a day when the police killed at least a dozen human beings), is to justify the brutality on grounds that it is alright for the police to shoot down these outsiders and the Maoists. The point is that even if there are outsiders and Maoists, they don’t deserve to be shot dead or beaten up by the police.

And when someone says that such violence by the police is justified against outsiders and Maoists, there is something seriously wrong. And let me stop now with this statement: ``If you are capable of trembling with indignation each time that an injustice is committed in the world, we are comrades.’’ Well, that was Che Guevara!