Right at the onset let me say that I have great respect for Bengalis and this article is in no way meant to ridicule or belittle West Bengal’s (WB) great cultural heritage and its proud yet polite “Bhadra Lok”. Gopalkrishna Gokhale said that “what Bengal thinks today, the rest of India thinks tomorrow”. So if West Bengal gets bird flu today, India will perhaps suffer from SARS tomorrow.
I am not a great political watcher – there are many talented pundits out there – but I do follow national politics. And, I am very intrigued by the communist (and its many different flavors) in India. I will from here onwards call them the communists.
It really surprises me how they continue to hold sway over WB for such a long time. No political outfit worth its salt has ever been able to dent this (perhaps) last communist bastion in the world. Why I say last? Well, even the Chinese have given up on communism (more or less). But, they are too proud and arrogant to own up.
I believe the communism in WB is not the original strain, but more of Bengalism in the garb of communist philosophy. However, it stays true to the original concept of Marx which is trying to be socialist at the expense of the masses. That’s the reason why, WB being one of the most illustrious state from ancient times is the one which is poorest and deprived. The state that produced one of the best known intellectual luminaries is the one that suffers from complete and utter lack of new ideas and thoughts. What the communists have done in WB is mix the Bengali ego with communist philosophy and created a deadly viral strain that now infects (and is killing) each and every cell of the state today. When WB votes, it votes for whom it feels defines a true “Bhadra Lok” irrespective of the party that he/she belongs to. So when a person looses an election, it doesn’t mean that his party or his election agenda was not good, it means that he doesn’t match up to the high “Bhadra Lok” standards of the electorate. To prove my point – Jyoti Basu is the best known Bengali (nay Communist) that ever was, and he ruled like forever.
Coming back to recent times, the communist are making such a hue and cry about the nuclear deal with the USA. There stand is more ideological rather than practical. They are programmed to despise anything which is related to the US, which is obvious. However, not one communist has come out in the open and pointed out the facts on practical grounds as to why this deal should not go through. The USA is not India’s fairy god mother, and so it has its interest in mind when it wants this deal. It wants India to counter the global presence of China, and so it wants India to get equipped with such capacity.
Not one communist has come out in the open and condemned the encroachment that china has made on Indian territories. Not one communist has lambasted the Chinese regime when it says that Arunanchal Pradesh is an integral part of china and refused to give a visa to an official elected representative of the people. Not one communist has tried to the stall the proceedings of the Indian Parliament on these issues. The communists don’t want to do that, which makes me wonder, do they listen to the India people or are they getting their orders straight from Beijing.
Unlike their other comrades across the world, the Bengali communist is stuck in a time warp. He still thinks that the cold war is not over. He believes that the ideals of Marx and Lenin are the word of god. But I feel that the Bengali communist is smart, he knows that he is facing extinction, he knows that the last place on the planet where he can rule and live his pipe dream is WB. And he is arrogant enough to not let it go easily, not silently pass away into the night. He will fight tooth and nail for what he believes is right. Let India, let WB and its people be damned. So he will hold the government and the Indian people’s shot at a better tomorrow at ransom, just to ensure that his lifeline can be extended. He will slaughter with an iron hand the people who rise-up against his dictates, like in Nandigram. So much for socialism!!
But the communist are essential for India, because only they can show how archaic, rigid, and time-warped policies can bring a rich and vibrant society to its knees. How fertile and imaginative minds can be subjugated to despair and stagnation. How the ever industrious and intellectual Bengalis that once stood up, took action, and showed the way to the rest of the country, can be made so listless and mentally blunt. That’s the importance of being a communist.