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Red salute to a young communist

Hailing from a “communist family” in the “red rain land” of Kerala, growing up in an environment where communist stalwarts would all of a sudden drop by at home  – iconic figures such as AKG, E K Nayanar, K R Gowri, M N Govindan Nair, C Achutha Menon, T V Thomas — and as an inquisitive school boy with intellectual pretensions at a highly impressionable age eavesdropping on their animated conversations with my late father, and then in the privacy of the mind co-relating those poignant impressions with my own readings from my father’s vast library (and the Indian realities as I saw them around me in the 1950s and early 1960s) — it won’t come easy for me in this lifetime at least to criticise India’s communist leadership. 

Somehow the conviction got deeply embedded that if India didn’t have a communist movement, it surely needed one. That conviction got battering many a time over the recent decades as one could see the decline of the movement and kept agonising why it had to be so when the historical need of the party for the country at a defining point of transition in its history was only becoming more than ever as India began bifurcating into a “shining” part with iron in its soul. 
A rare moment when that conviction lingering from childhood got  reinforced and reinvigorated was in late 2005 when I came across a young communist by name Pransenjit Bose. 
Communists neither expect nor accept personal compliments, therefore, I refrained from ever articulating my sense of admiration for him. That admiration steadily grew when I began working under his inspiring leadership of the research unit of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Prasenjit combined a brilliant mind to total 24x 7-hr dedication as a committed communist. His austere life, his integrity, his hard work, his precocious intellect, his child-like intensity and his great sensitivity as a humanist — I’ve seldom come across such optimal combination in a single personality.
Thus, I am stunned to read in the newspapers today that Prasenjit has resigned from his primary membership of the CPM. Let me put it starkly: The party has lost one of its best comrades. Prasenjit belongs to a fast-dwindling tribe of communists and he is hard to replace. In true Marxist-Leninist jargon, CPM might claim sometime today in a statement that the party will carry on regardless and no individual is indispensable. But I hope the CPM will instead keep a vow of silence and introspect deeply why such a calamity took place. 
The painful truth is that the CPM is at a crossroads. It is no more having ideological clarity and it is in the very same boat as the Bharatiya Janata Party — and that’s not a good thing to happen for the country when the opposition gets disoriented and begins to meander at a crucial juncture in our national life.  
This is the third time that I know of that the CPM took a party line to accommodate the exigencies of “bourgeois politics” in West Bengal. The other two were in not sensing the great contradiction in the party’s stance on Singur and Nandigram and the heavy toll it was going to take, and, second, the fatal mistake of delaying the withdrawal of support to the UPA-I over the US-India nuclear deal by close to an year before the horse bolted away from the stable because the local elections in West Bengal were the priority. 
As I wrote yesterday, the fateful decision taken by the CPM leadership on Thursday to extend support to the candidacy of Pranab Mukherjee cannot be justified except as one of rank opportunism. The CPM is once again — as it happened over the nuclear deal fiasco — going to fall between two stools. For ever will the Congress string the Trinamool and the CPM. The Grand Old Party is unbeatable in the art of politiking, and, ironically, Pranab Mukherjee has been one of its ablest tacticians (including, paradoxically, in steering the nuclear deal to safety across the choppy waters of the UPA-1 politics during 2007-2008 period). 
Any comeback by the CPM in West Bengal should be on the basis of a rediscovery of the party’s ideological moorings as a movement of the poor people and it should not be predicated on the palace intrigues in Delhi with the Congress leadership.  
Above all, CPM should have shown sensitivity to  what appears to have been a robust opposition by the leaders from Kerala to identifying with the Congress even remotely at this juncture — especially when the party unit in Kerala is facing a crisis and at the same time locked in a “deathly” fight with the Congress.
Given the overall scenario, Prasenjit is right: the only principled (and tactical) course available for the CPM was to follow the lead of the CPI and abstain in the presidential election. Lal salaam, Comrade Prasenjit!  

Posted in Politics.

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21 Responses

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  1. Batao Na says

    A young committed communist means a life wasted.

    Frankly who cares about communism and what it has brought out except misery.

    Don’t waste bandwidth.

  2. Dipak Bose says


    CPI(M) and CITU were created by killing the members of the CPI and AITUC. I have seen that during 1964 to 1970 in West Bengal.

    In one incident in West Bengal in 1968 about 14 members of the AITUC in Tribeni Textile Mill were burned alive by the CITU.

  3. ashok singh says

    there is no meaning of debate on the division of communist in north and south.
    it is the idealogy of the communist party now a days is worth for debate.
    it is true that the idealogy of the communist party is changed from comunism to oppurtunism.
    there is no meaning of supporting one thing always , and all over different scenarios.
    today the biggest thing that lack is the supports of labours , which feel helpless in the todays scenario

  4. navi_reyd says

    There was a time when Calcutta was the number one city of India. It was even known as “the Paris of the East”. Look at Calcutta today, it has declined so much – thanks to the Communists! Mumbai is now India’s top city!

  5. piri says

    Mr. Bhadrakumar, as do several other columnists, remembers to write about the CPM only when there is a perceived opportunity to declare that a calamity has happened for the party !

    If all the attributes that he associates with the leftist movement in India are said with conviction, why does he never attempt to counter the million barbs against the left made by dim-witted commoners ??

  6. navi_reyd says

    Everywhere in the world, you will find that people run away from Communist countries rather than to Communist countires. Yet Bhadrakumar is always singing the praises of Communism.

  7. Dipak Bose says

    South Indians have ruined both CPI and CPI(M).
    In 1964 CPI(M) was composed of mainly South indians who decided to support our enemy China.
    CPI(M) then had started killing CPI and AITUC members to expand CPI(M) and CITU.
    Although South Indians do not contribute anything they now are in charge.

    In 1996, they will not allow Jyoti Basu to be the PM, because he is not a South Indian, but they have no objection to Deva Gaura, because he is a South Indian.

    In 1996 the objection was that they were about to start Revolution in the JNU campus, so Jyoti Basu cannot be the PM.

    Now this idiot is saying on ideological ground he is objecting to Pranab Mukherjee, however he has no objection against Prativa Patel or Ansari; are they very Red?

  8. Grizzly says

    Anna for Vice President!

    If Anna wants to achieve something he should go for the post of Vice-President!

    Then he can push his lokpal agenda from within!

  9. Johan says

    Observing keenly from half the globe away, I find this remarkable analysis providing a most interesting glimpse into the Indian political life.

  10. says

    Perfect paid “party liner” of Rediff dot com! Shame on you! Why don’t you people release many comments made by various people? What is your nexus with these bourgeois cummies? Let us know dear Rediff team.

  11. says

    The article is biased. CPM is not composed of only Keralites. There are many stalwarts (whose works and lives are disregarded now by the neo-bourgeois cum pseudo-communist comrades) in other states, particularly in West Bengal. Neo-bourgeois “party lines” led by a bourgeois chief allow comrades to adopt:
    1. bourgeois culture;
    2. culture and habit of taking bribes;
    3. lavish life styles;
    4. promoting real-estate business (many of the party members are directly linked with promoters and some of them are promoters);
    5. culture of personal gains from businessmen;
    6. pseudo-secularism activities (particularly muslims are favoured for their votes);
    7. culture of colonial dictatorship within the framework of independent India by way of regimented, self-coined rules of this pseudo-Marxism and communism;
    8. indulgence of corruption and hooliganism;
    9. culture of defunct local and state administration and usage of paid “party-workers” (many of them are hard-core criminals) for the administrative purposes;
    10. half-baked and illiterate idiots to take the primary membership of CPIM (many of them abuse, even I had heard Dr Ashim Dasgupta during one election to abuse policemen using slang language in front of public).

    Jyoti Basu didn’t have any ideology of Marxism and communism in his lifetime. There are many others in this era of globalisation who enjoys luxury cars, multiple very well-furnished houses without working in any sector. How do these people earn their bread and enjoy such a lavish life while they do not have any source of earning? Can neo-bourgeois “comrades” and their neo-bourgeois chief answer please? A party full of opportunist, neo-bourgeois people has emerged after Pramod Dasgupta, Saroj Mukherjee, AK Gopalan.

  12. Ahi Sen says

    Minus revolution of Workers, peasants and the proletariat, some people sitting in corporate like AC chambers from 10AM to 5PM with a mid day break for one to two hours for lunch and post lunch nap may be called anything but not communists. Kerala had produced both good and bad cadres and present inner bickering reflects its degeneration. Its strive for using the neigh usurping of Bengal party’s achievements are glaring in using funds raised there and taking benefit of Withdrawal of the support to UPA I, on an non issue to the common people, led to defeat in elections and sacrifice of many lives in West Bengal. This decision to support Pranab Mukherjee is not a largesse to him but a calculated step to come out of the mess created by faulty decisions of the PB taken in 1996 and six months before the last Parliamentary election. Indian parliamentary democracy is bourgeois democracy, It has its own rules of play. Once you accepted it you will also have to play accordingly. The writer should give up pretensions and come out open by admitting that the signboard may be of Communist party but inside it is not different from other non communist parties.

  13. R S Chakravarti says

    What does Prasenjit Bose think of Onchiyam and Idukki?

    What do you think of them?

  14. sudhakar kunder says

    Communists are highly strung. Whether on violence as in Kerala and WB or on extremity of views. Does communism allow participation in Parliamentary democracy? If yes, then the rule book will also need amendment.

  15. B K BHADRA says

    Is it to be believed that Mr Prasenjit exhausted all avenues available for airing his dissent for a debate within the CPI(M), which has lakhs of dedicated and seasoned members and leaders spread over the entire country ?
    If he is a true communist he would have pursued his reservations on the party’s decision to support Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for the post of the country’s President.
    at various fora available within the party set up.
    He has to put forward his point of view to the highest policy making body of the party and try to get them to endorse his ideas based on the hard realities of the political situation of India, as the party has clearly accepted the democratic set up of the country. Taking a hasty decision to give up the primary membership of the party after being a part of the party for 15 years is unfortunate and unwise.

    Mr Prasenjit should reconsider his decision as a person like him with a commendable grasp of the tough economic situation of the country can still contribute a lot in taking the party forward towards its avowed goals.

  16. aus ant says

    All these commie bufoons need to strung upside down from the nearest lamp post.

  17. K.Sreekumar says

    Communist are known for their strong commitments towards society. But times we have seen how these parties fool their own cadres. Should one rememember that few years back during a hartal agitation one communist commrade was shown as staining own shirt with fellow commrades blood- an attempt to become political hero. This hero didnt know that TV cameras are behind him. Last communist in kerala government had withdrawn over 600 criminal cases agaist anti socials- Including eight agaist the then Home minister’s son. Now every big leader in Marxist party has blood stains on their hands. The recent revelations about CPM killing a Muslim youth and blaming RSS to create a possible communal disturbances to gain political milege does not surprise any one here.

  18. deleted says

    CPI(M) is not at all a Communist Party though it claims itself to be. Communists cannot killed a fellow Comrade (latest example being the killing of the Brave Comrade T.P. Chandrasekharan) whatever may be the reason for provocation. Communists cannot kill poor farmers who refuse to give their lands (which is the only livelihood of theirs) to Big Industrialists (Singur and Nandigram), Communists cannot support a Congress (a bourgeois party) led Government for 5 years, Communists cannot support a BJP (Communal party) led Government (in 1977), Communists cannot ask for the votes to the killer of their MLA (Comrade Ajit Sarkar of Purnea in Bihar).

    They are the example of worst type of opportunists.

  19. Narayana Kurup says

    A very good write-up purely based on facts. Now a days, irrespective of Party ideologies, politics have become too cheap and dirty. The leaders will find all sort of excuses to defend their wrong doings. The masses support a political party based on the ideology in which they believe but it is regrettable to note that the very leaders who opposed a particular Party during election will support the same Party on certain issues. It means they are making the people fools. Ideological politics have lost its charm long back and what is happening now is sheer opportunism, may against some material gain.

  20. anurartha venkataraman says

    Luminescent comrades are all duplicitous people and so many bright young minds have been ‘killed’ or found dead for the sake of asking the right questions. Austerity and all these embellishments of rectitude are subjective and have nothing to do with intellectual acuity. A yogi will also have to practice this austerity [if you need to get on the super highway to realisation] , so what is the big deal? The point is that great comrades do not like dissent nor do they accommodate any countervailing opinions and when a belief becomes a cult or a dogma its end is not far away.

  21. ashambani says

    Has rediff suddenly become leftist?

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