Despite their unquestionably perfect ideology of an equitable State, unfortunately the communists world over have always been dictatorial. Dictatorship, though, is not the way Marx wanted his ideals to be propagated worldwide. However, for the communists, the typical formula has been to come to power by appealing to the humane instincts of mankind – by speaking of equality – and then retaining power through brutal force (though any good work done would’ve got every communist regime in the world back to power democratically as well). The story has been the same in West Bengal. Years ago, the great Maratha swadeshi leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale is believed to have said of this very State that “What Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow.” Yes, West Bengal boasts of the most intellectuals in this country thanks to years old tradition of literature, art and culture. She boasts of the three great Nobel laureates of India, Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen as well as India’s only Oscar winner for lifetime achievement , Satyajit Ray. No wonder that they were in the forefront of thought leadership during India’s freedom struggle and they were the first to embrace communism as an ideology in this country. After the initial pro-poor policies of land distribution in the State, the story though has been quite different. West Bengal today ranks amongst the worst States in India in terms of most social parameters including access to health and education.
One must be wondering then what is it that has continuously brought the communists back to power? Well, it is called the art of scientific rigging, done shamelessly and brutally election after election, which gives the man in question, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya (in the middle of the Nandigram fiasco) the power to say that he will win the forthcoming Panchayat elections again, by not talking of the farmers this time but by talking about the industrialists. Of course you will my supreme dictator, if you can shamelessly orchestrate the killings of helpless, poor and unfed women, children and farmers and get away with it, if you can have so many of your party people win elections year after year with a ludicrous 90% vote (in any democratic process such a result is virtually impossible), if you can orchestrate the State police machinery in a manner that more than 90% of the SHOs are your party cadres, if you can terrorise the people, the media and intelligentia in such a way that they get reduced to mere spectators while you have your naked blood-soaked dance of dictatorship in ‘starched white dhooti- panjabi’ – the clothes of a bhadralok – you sure will win the Panchayat elections and much more. First, the facts. At least four days before the Nandigram massacre we had reports coming in of a huge build-up of camps all around Nandigram with the CPI(M) cadres and anti-social elements taking their positions for what perhaps is independent India’s equivalent of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – even that perhaps was not planned as much in advance or in as much cold blood as Buddhadeb planned this shameless bloodbath. Then started the build-up of State police forces. Eye -witnesses said in horror that they had never seen such a sight in their lives . . . they saw police vans loaded with police men going, and behind each van there went an empty truck (all carefully planned to take away bodies and make them disappear). On the day of the massacre, there were at least 2,000 policemen, many party cadres dressed in police uniform and more than double the number of plainclothed party cadres, all ready for the well-planned bloodbath. The media was stopped 20 km from Nandigram. And as the brutes entered,
they faced resistance from the women and children there. And what did our communists under the cold-blooded leadership of Buddhadeb do? Well, instead of backing out, they started firing – firing at poor, underweight, malnutritioned women, children and farmers who stood there to protect their land – their only source of one pathetic square meal in this nation cheated, betrayed and raped by its inhuman politicians for more than six decades now. They not only fired, they fired as they were fleeing (victims had bullet injuries on their backs). They raped the women who did not die of the firing. As per eyewitnesses, they picked up little children by their legs and tore them apart before throwing their bodies into the running river by the side.
The history of the communists worldwide is replete with such incidents. But there is a big difference. World wide it has always been centralised State power crushing dissent with the help of the Army and the police. Never in history has there been such an incident where, within the boundaries of a sovereign nation, inside a State, a similar action has been taken; not with the support of the nation’s Army but with the help of State police machinery. Unimaginable is the word. The next day the Left Front members claimed ignorance of the entire build-up beforehand. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sitting here in Delhi, I knew of it four days in advance but sitting in Bengal they didn’t know??? Well, nothing could be a bigger lie. They all knew and lent silent support. So did our well read intellectual Prakash Karat and his otherwise fiercely outspoken wife (who sees herself as the voice of women of India). Neither did I read her condemnation of the entire episode (I was expecting it especially because it’s the women and children who suffered the most) the next day nor did I see any tough stance by the party head Prakash Karat – who is otherwise known for his righteous tough stance. After initial talks of a most required President’s Rule in West Bengal, the Congress party also decided to remain mum – after all it has political compulsions, and how do the lives of a few hundred hungry villagers matter? The official toll hilariously still stands at 14. The reality will never be known but it would definitely be upwards of a hundred. Sixty-four children alone are missing from Nandigram, the river must’ve swallowed the torn pieces of their bodies by now.
When Bengal goes to elections the next time – be it Panchayat or State – the people of Bengal should overthrow this brutal totalitarian regime. They need to understand that this government’s heart stopped being red long time back. It’s their hands which are red today instead, with the blood of the same farmers who brought them to power. Shame on you Buddhadeb . . . unlike your predecessor Jyoti Basu (who would have never done such cold-blooded and murderous foolhardiness), you certainly are no bhadralok. You are a cold-blooded Hitlerian.
- 01 April 2007 |
- Arindam on Indian Politics