Social Scientist. v 17, no. 188-89 (Jan-Feb 1989) p. 84.


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PRAKASH CHANDRA UPADHYAYA*

7s there an 'Indian Form of Communism'?'

T.J. Nossiter, Marxist State Governments in India, Politics, Economics and Society, Printer Publisher, London, 1988.

The dominant tenor in most writings about the role of Communists in India is a prejudiced one. Even some writers with 'leftist* leanings and a 'Marxist* orientation have been busy establishing their 'intellectual* credentials by attempting to interpret Gandhi and Nehru in a more radical light, giving them a greater revolutionary stature than the Communists in India. Communist parties and individuals are referred to, in some writings, not only as the legitimate inheritors of totalitarianism and as enemies of democracy, but also as conspirators and betrayers of the nationalist cause both in the past and the present. Not only the official version of the colonial state, viz. the Congress party and the independent Indian state, but the ruling class opposition and the 'independent' media have also contributed their bit in validating most of these prejudices against the Communists in India. Not satisfied with this, the American- inspired behaviouralists and their followers (Indian and foreign) go to the extent of arguing that Communists in India have played the caste and communal card. And, there are also writings which suggest that the Communists in India were never revolutionaries, i.e., 'genuine* Communists. In fact the typical argument with regard to the Communists in India, in day-today talk, has been that: ' there is nothing communist about Indian Communists' or that 'nothing is Indian about Communists in India*. While the prejudice against them exists because they are Communists, yet the status of being so is also sought to be denied them. Thus the events of the present as well as the past have been interpreted with one kind of bias or the other. Whether it be the issue of the Indian national movement and the anti-colonial struggle, or anti-fascism during 1941-45, or the contemporary crisis in Punjab, Assam, Kerala and Gorkhaland, the Communists have been held guilty of either chauvinism of some kind or nihilism (of an atheist variety).

Where there exists no pocket of Communist presence and influence, this image of Communists is propagated, reinforced and perpetuated

* Department of Political Science, Deshbandhu College, Delhi University



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