“…I am sure, thousands like me will be shocked by the Nandigram incident. Please, please have some regard for those who feel that socialism is not terrorism, but humanism; and misrule by gun will not be the rule of the Left in State authority.”
V.R.Krishna Iyer in his open letter to Prakash Karat.
Beat the squares with the tramp of rebels!
Higher, rangers of haughty heads!
We’ll wash the world with a second deluge,
Now’s the hour whose coming it dreads.
Too slow, the wagon of years,
The oxen of days – too glum.
Our god is the god of speed,
Our heart – our battle drum.
Is there a gold diviner than ours
What wasp of a bullet us can sting?
Songs are our weapons, our power of powers,
Our gold – our voices – just hear us sing!
When did the Communist government in Bengal forget to sing, when did the lover of Marquez and modernism start writing his whim around the echo of a bullet shot, why did the communist lose his vow of burning patience. Every excuse of governance from the Writer’s Building notwithstanding, the bottom line is a democratically elected communist government opened fire on its own people, killing them. A left front government used the brute force of state machinery to repress its own people. This is unprecedented and shameful.This is not revolution through parliamentary democracy, this is not ‘struggle and governance’, this is the mother of all nightmares and this will haunt the leftist struggle in India for years to come. This is sad.
Buddha could argue citing the metaphor that Agricultural Bharat met eyeball to eyeball with Industrial India in Nandigram. He could argue that rapid industrialization is key to India’s growth with the agricultural sector growing at one third the rate of industrial growth and that a failure in Nandigram and Singur will have national implications. But try explaining the Hindu growth rate to the farmer and the farm labourer who is wedded to his soil -its hard ; but then, thats why we need communists and them compassionate.
Buddha could argue citing the facts that the rule of law had to be brought back in Nandigram, that a chief executive has to make hard decisions, that the Trinamool, fringe left and Muslim groups in Nandigram and across Bengal are dangerous and he had to act, that the villagers in Nandigram are under siege by external elements. But why can’t a democratic communist government with its roots in the hearts of Bengalis talk with its own people, convince its own people. If Trinamool and the Naxals are able to convince the villagers, why can’t the Communist party do it. A progressive movement which is impotent to talk to its own stakeholders, be it due to the arrogance of power or reactionary influences on the people will be in due course of time be relegated to its rightful place in the waste paper basket of history unless it changes its course.
Buddha needs to understand that we live in an India where state violence in Bengal and Naxal violence in Chattisgarh are both called Red Terror. The removal of this Indian cataract will be a long and painful journey, in which songs will be more effective than bullets. Being the darling of capitalist enterprise might be hailed by the media which believes in gulping rather than savouring, but the leftist struggle in India draws its energy not from the news cycles but from the ground realities which are strangled by the news media. The Indian news media never asks what the Naxalites want, then the Naxalites are terrorists.
The Buddha government and the party in Bengal needs to go through a process of self-critical analysis on what went wrong. The decision to accept the peoples’ verdict on Nandigram will be the first step towards that. The damage that has been done will take time to heal, but the ‘astounding arrogance’ of the CPIM will have to be cured now. There are a lot of difficult questions that will haunt CPIM for long, Buddha better have some answers or else the humility to ask for forgiveness. Millions of Hindutva sympathizers died exactly five years before in Gujarat, a lot of Indian communists died on March 14th in Bengal. The death toll is rising, maybe, Buddha should go.