Friday, September 30, 2011

Comrade's Introspection!

After the fall of left in West Bengal and Kerala, no man is as worried as A.B.Bardhan, the General Secretary of CPI. Today he is restless at the age of 88, despite the fact, that his party did well comparing other left parties. But this legendary Comrade needs no excuse…he is man at work now with new framework to retrieve the CPI as well as left parties much essential ground touch, also eyeing to enter in the crucial psyche of great Indian middle class and youth. Recently we had two hour straight long conversation at historic Ajay Bhavan in Delhi…sitting in at his office {probably his last year as top rank of CPI}, he shared future roadmap of left politics in India and also spoke on many new issues …excerpts…
Q: - How CPI is reconciling with the situation emerged out of the recent poll debacles in West Bengal and Kerala?
A: - Election results in West Bengal and Kerala was very disappointing but for different reasons. In Kerala, power has been almost alternatively won either by the LDF or UDF. This time, it was the turn of UDF, but as you know, the LDF felt short by only three seats. Those three seats, we lost by the very narrow margins. In West Bengal, it was truly a debacle, later we have analyzed the scenario and told openly, why the left front lost so badly after being in power for thirty four years. In a way, the voters in the State have mandated the left front to seat in the opposition for this term. I think, we should work like a true constructive opposition allows the new people learn from their experience about this new coalition government and retrace our links with the masses. The sense of alienation must be allowed to change.

Q: - Which factors are blocking the potential integration of Communist parties?
A: - The last four-five decades have seen the growth of many divisive factors, such as communalism, casteism, regionalism and so others. Parties have up exploit these factors and divert the attention of peoples. We have not been able to overcome these divisive factors and rallying the working peoples behind us. This is especially true in the vast Hindi belt. In particular, I am refereeing to our weakness among the rural masses, which are decisive in elections. We are working to overcome these hindrances by decisively turning our faces to the rural India. Cast vs. cast requires a sensitive approach to the problem of castes, particularly with the oppressed castes and the marginalized sections. As I think, there has been erosion in many of our old existing rural bases, therefore expanding and consolidating such rural bases is our priority task. Taking up these issues like land, water, employment and a stand against the price rise will be start of our fresh struggle, which have badly affected the already miserable access to food, health and education. The CPI is in the process, now of holding conferences at branch, Anchal, District, and State levels culminating in the All India Party Congress by March/April 2012. In all these conferences, the issues mentioned will be top in agenda. We are also working toward joint work and action between the two major Communist parties rallying along them all other left oriented parties and movements for strengthening left unity. Communist unity will be the core of left unity; only then, we can advance towards setting of left and democratic unity which can be the framework of a real alternative to both the major bourgeoisie parties, namely Congress and BJP. Such a combination will be the true secular and democratic front. Any other adhock combination, solely based on electoral arithmetic will not inspire confidence among peoples. In my view, the time is right because, the credibility of the Congress and BJP are at low level; people are looking forward to an alternative to replace them. Mobilisation of all these forces requires also the development of unity and united action among the mass organisations. The overarching coming together of all Central Trade Unions, whatever will be the political colour of leadership, is a case in point. They have taken up the issues confronting for the common peoples all over the country. Kisan organisations are also moving in that direction.

Q: - On many occasions, CPI has made intuitive in this regard, but those didn’t worked out by the denial of CPI {M}, why such inhibitions are growing among the fellow Comrades? In the past, CPI leaders, including Chaturanan Mishra tried to unify the progressive Trade Union Movement but that couldn’t be substantially materialised. In this direction, do you see any constructive development in the days ahead?
A: - The CPI is committed to the goal of Communist unity but this cannot be done in hurry. It’s true, the reaction to our moves have not been very positive but issues like, the programme, the organisational principles and the tactical line requires to be discussed and agreed upon. Afterall we have to fight back the legacy of a split that kept us apart for more than four decades. However, it’s a welcome sign that the perceptions of the two Communist parties are almost the same on national and international affairs, also on economic and political issues. This, I think created a good atmosphere though a sense of rivalry still persists. As far as the ideology is concerned, both the parties are committed to Marxism/Leninism and to the goal of socialism. The point is to apply the scientific theory in the complex and changing Indian and world conditions. As far as Trade Union Movement is concerned, we are working together now and very closely…it’s making good impacts. Things will be more visible very soon…

Q: - Why CPI’s stronghold in Bihar and Jharkhand is receding consistently? Once way of life in north Bihar, now Communism is becoming an alien ideology, don’t you think, CPI failed to forward the next generation leadership after Comrade Bhogendra Jha and Chaturanan Misha?
Q: - Bihar has been a relatively strong support base of CPI, this base was built through tremendous struggle and sacrifices led by Comrade Chandrashekhar Singh, Indradeep Sinha, Suryanarayan Singh, Bhogendra Jha, Chaturanan Mishra and many others. Have already said,; that erosion took place when this base was subjected to the caste politics, in Bihar ugliest caste politics was led by Lalu Prasad Yadav and others. The communal politics of the BJP and so not to be mention our own failures and shortcomings equally accounted in this fall. Bihar is a State, where huge mess of agricultural and marginal workers is on the one hand and land lords on the other. There is still huge scope and need for a class struggle between the two and to implement the land reforms. The so called Land Reform Commission has already detailed the issue of this struggle for land redistribution, land for house sites etc. The government and also some of the opposition parties have to do nothing on this core issue, it’s for the Communist’s to lead the battle of class vs. class and take the focus away from caste vs. caste.

Q: - Why Communism is still being determined by the texts rather contemporary contexts? Why not, CPI should follow more the Marx’ progressive line rather of Lenin’s technical programme?
A: - The world has changed but imperialism and capitalism continues exists; what we see today is a big crisis that has overtaken capitalism. It can’t solve the problem of unemployment, poverty and even illiteracy and disease. India is also changed in the course of last six and half decades since the independence but facts reveals that the capitalist path of the government, that’s being pursued and the so called new liberal policies of privatization, liberlisation and globalization have only aggravated all our problems. Disparities between the super rich and affluent section, which is only 10%of our population, and the overwhelming mass of poor and vulnerable sections has deepened and widened as never before. They talk of growth but if development means that, all sections are benefitted, we find that there is actually no development for the majority, particularly SCs, STs, minorities and the most backward sections are excluded from all this talk of growth. That’s why, we find outburst of discontent, indignation and so forth. This is the socio-economic basis of many of ours that afflicts us today. The free market, the so called trickledown theories have all proved to be for the benefit of the top layer, while mass remains excluded. No wonder, we have price rise, high level corruption and so called left wing terrorism which the government describes as the biggest security threat. Today, mass of the peoples have alienated from the present system and its governance. The more of the talk of law&order, the more alienation takes place, the more the indulging repression and denial of democratic rights, the more is the mass outburst. In this scenario, text and contexts, both are equally imperative for us.

Q: - AITUC has introduced labour class movement in India; it has been doing remarkable work over the years albeit new conditions after the market reform now necessitate policy changes. What framework CPI has to go deep to both the conventional and neo workers?
A: - I am happy to say that AITUC has taken the initiative in forging all in unity of Central Trade Union organisation and I am glad that the objective situation has forged all of them towards united action. We should first know that government has virtually banned any Trade Union or association among IT/ITES and many other sectors, their workers are being kept isolated. But I am confident, this moves by the government and corporate houses will be defeated soon rather than later.

Q: - What’s the CPI’s official position on market reform? Is there any possibility that CPI will support the reform with progressive clauses?
A: - There is confusion about markets. Markets existed even before capitalism and there will be markets even under the socialism. The point is under which system that markets operates? The so called market economy that’s functional today is a naked devise to extract and maximize profits; profits without limit by foreign and indigenous corporate houses and big businesses. It’s an instrument of imperialism for exploitation of the developing countries and of capitalist exploitation of the poors within each country. To call this reform, is not only misnomer, it’s a cruel joke.

Q: - Didn’t allowing Jyoti Basu for Prime Ministership in 1996 wasn’t a “historic blunder” for Communist parties as well as for the Indian democracy?
A: - As you know, he has himself called it a “historical blunder”, I agree with him.

Q: - With left parties, UPA-I was a different political coalition, after yours departure, series of scams became incessant-why not left parties should fight all the Loksabha seats and move forward for a strong alternative coalition at Centre?
A: - I think, left parties by themselves are not in a position to contest all the Loksbha seats, that’s why we want left and democratic unity, which will take along with the left and all other secular democratic parties, forces and individuals. Moreover, what we needed is electoral reforms, which will save the electoral process from the grip of money/muscle power. As you know, the left parties have been talking of the Proportional Representation system , which will do away with the First Past the Post System prevailing presently in which moneyed individuals uses all tricks to get elected, even with minority votes.

Q: - In the coming days, will CPI accommodate many sidelined issues in its agenda? How CPI will draw the attention of middle class and youth, whose roles have become substantially vital in all sphere?
A: - The middle class has proliferated considerably. But it’s not homogenous. While the upper layers hope to reach out to the top, the lower sections are subjected to corruption, price rise and are the victims of exploitation. However, on the whole, it’s a great opinion builder and therefore Communist and the left have to re-orient them to work among the large sections of the middle class and make substantial inspiration to draw the middle class towards progressive and democratic causes.

Q: - How you are viewing the current stand of Indian foreign policy? Have our stature strengthened in the world after twenty years of liberalisation programme?
A: - India’s foreign policy, unfortunately moved away from its anti-imperialist and the solidarity with countries fighting for democratic advancement to a policy of increasing strategic partnership with the U.S and developed west. But India is a big and assertive country, today there are no issues in international relations which can be solved without the participation of India and China. The combination of BRIC, BASIC and SCO, which have brought together India and China, Russia, Brazil and the South Africa, is a very important development. India can secure a stable strategic place in world affairs with being part of these alternative international formations instead of getting its position fixed as piggyback of international forces.
Atul Kumar Thakur
September 30, 2011, Wednesday, New Delhi


  1. Very indepth and impressive introspection. Congrats...Varsha Singh

  2. A.B.Bardhan is a living legend.This interview truly justify last many years,I haven't seen such detailed interview with him anywhere...