Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dreamers of people’s rule no more in India

Dreamers of people’s rule no more in India
Syed Ali Mujtaba

I was involved in a conversation with a gentleman on left politics in the country and the name of left radical leader Charu Mazjumdar came in for scrutiny and my friend in an impromptu manner dubbed him a left ‘Jihadi’ and showered heaps of abuse on him that triggered a wave of thoughts in me.

I was not a witness to that era but I heard and read about this left ultra leader was that in 1960s, he inspired a whole generation. A lot many people read his revolutionary ideas and were inspired by them. Some left their homes to live with the peasants in West Bengal to put Mazjumdar’s revolutionary theories into actual practice.

So what was so attractive about Charu Mazjumdar’s theory? According to Charu Mazjumdar, a semi-feudal, semi-colonial society like India can only be transformed through a protracted peasant war. At the end of such war the triumph peasants would ultimately seize the state power and establish a "new democratic revolution."

Charu Mazjumdar suggested forming a guerrilla unit to wage protracted peasant war and elaborated this in the "murder manual" how to launch "annihilation campaign."

The "annihilation campaign" would produce the new man who will defy death and be free from all thought of self-interest, professed According to Charu Mazjumdar.

In today’s context such ideas could at best be described as abrasive rhetoric and fetish but in 1960s it inspired many to sacrifice their lives to chase Charu's Mazjumdar’s dream.

This led to the creation of a utopian space called Naxalbari in West Bengal that became a social laboratory to test Charu's Mazjumdar’s hypothesis. A lot youth from well to do families attracted by the romance of brining a revolution in the country, plunged into organizing peasant revolution in the country.

With this began an era of violence, bloodshed and martyrdom unprecedented in the country. The breeze that blew from ‘Naxlbari’ shook the edifice of the Indian state

A surgical operation was done to extinguish the voices of dissent. It was Siddhart Shanker Rey, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, who at the behest of Mrs Indira Gandhi, virtually hunted out those revolutionary dreamers.

Was such a harsh measure necessary, instead, if those revolutionary youth may have been rehabilitated, they may have contributed to the growth of the country in some way.

Now a last point. At a time, when our country is totally wedded to the capitalist mode of production, where are the thinkers like Charu Mazumdar gone, can any one point out a name that can match his appeal and aura in the contemporary India.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist, based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com

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