Millennium Post

A prairie fire reduced to charcoal

The national media’s lack of interest about the day-long seminar at the auditorium of School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University on 5 October, captioned Voices of Naxalbari and The Way Ahead, under the aegis of Communist Party of India [Marxist–Leninist] Janashakti group despite the presence of legendary personalities like 95-year old Mujibur Rahman and octogenarian Khokan Majumdar [real name Abdul Hamid], Shanti Munda and Khudan Mullick proves that the ‘prairie fire’ of 1967 is reduced to a half-burnt charcoal. They were next to Charu Majumdar [CM], Kanu Sanyal, Souren Bose and Jangal Santhal but the ‘spring thunder’ [coined by Radio Peking] is now an inaudible cry.

Majumdar [82], who left Naxalbari three decades back, has a speech problem following a cerebral stroke. He admitted that barring a ‘mass line’, peoples’ movement can’t be effective. He snapped fingers at CM for the slogan, China’s chairman is our chairman. Indeed, CM, exhibiting almost a kind of canine subservience to the chairman of Communist Party of China Mao Zedong, ‘I am the member of the Communist Party of China, of the West Bengal Unit’, [he quipped when his proposal for celebrating the anniversary of Chinese Revolution – 1 October 1963 – inside Dum Dum Jail was turned down by all other pro-CPC comrades of undivided CPI, but CPC through
Jen-min jih-pao
[Peking Review] on 5 July 1967, greeted the Naxalbari revolt with the following words: ‘This is Mao Tse-tung’s road, the road to victory for revolutions of all oppressed nations and people.’ An inspired CM, the first general secretary of CPI[M-L], had his slogan embossed in graffittis all over eastern India in 1969 and early 1970 – ‘Our victory is certain, since the Chairman of China is our chairman and the path of China [Chinese Revolution] is our path is victory’.

So when Bose, returning from China in late 1970, meeting Mao and the Premier Zhou Enlai, next to Mao in CPC, told CM what the CPC leaders said through Zhou [According to them, Chairman of China is our chairman is a wrong line. More than that, they do not approve the line of annihilation of class enemies. They endorse the direction of our line but said that we should rectify these errors], CM was stupefied and said, ‘Strange! On the other day, they supported the politics of annihilating class enemies through Radio Peking’. This conversation is vividly narrated by Ashok Kumar Mukhopadhyay in now-serialised novel in Bengali A
t-ta Nawtar Surya
on the genesis and decline of the Naxalbari struggle.

Asked CM, ‘What did the sahibs say?’

‘Not congenial, Charuda’, said Souren.

‘Why? What happened? Tell me.’

CM’s face was reddened. Jyoti Basu, in his two-volume biography, Jyotibabur Sange [Along with Jyotibabu], based on interviews for days together with the late Biplab Dasgupta, former CPI[M] MP and CC member gave a snapshot of CM’s blind pro-Mao line inside the jail. One day CM suddenly said, ‘I would feel proud if we declare our party as a constituent of the Communist Party of China and chairman of Communist Party of China as our chairman’. I reacted saying straight, ‘Look, after these words from you, there is no point in discussing politics with you. But as we are in jail, we will discuss movies, weather but not politics’.

Unfortunately, all the variants of CPI[M-L] are still enamoured of eight documents of CM. In the second one, CM blasted inner-party democracy by distorting Leninist principles of democratic centralism, ‘The Marxist truth of democratic centralism is that the party directive coming from higher leadership must be carried out.

Because the party’s highest leader is he who has firmly established himself as a Marxist through a long period of movements and theoretical debates. We have the right to criticise party decisions; but once a decision has been taken, if any one criticises it without implementing it, or obstructs work, or hesitates to implement it, he will be guilty of the serious offence of violating party discipline. This petty-bourgeois sort of thinking inside the party leads the party on to the verge of destruction. And this is the manifestation of petty-bourgeois thinking inside the Party.’ Nowhere did Lenin misinterpreted democratic centralism this way, leave alone Marx. CM’s mindset suited often to ‘barrack communism.

Various CPI[M-L] factions have in their state and central offices photograph of CM alongside Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Personality cult is still a feature of naxalites/maoists. Small wonder, naxalism is confined to the Jawaharlal Nehru University. None from the CPI[M-L] liberation’s student front, AISA, was present at the seminar. Someone from them could present a bouquet to those nostalgic revolutionaries. Was it because they are with Janashkti group of CPI[M-L]? AISA behaves more like a party unit than a mass front. What impression did this abstention made on veteran political theorist such as Prof Randhir Singh, Delhi University professor Saroj Giri and PUCL leader Gautam Navlakha? The act of splitting communist parties reflects petty-bourgeois revolutionism.

Sankar Ray is a Kolkata based veteran journalist.
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