How to Study Indian Communism with Minimum Reading
ROMESH THAPAR (Ed.), SEMINAR 178, THE MONTHLY SYMPOSIUM devoted to MARXISM AND INDIA, Delhi, June 1974.
THE problem, as posed by the editor, is this :
Relating Marxism, or Marxism-Leninism as it is now described, to the Indian context has been an elusive process. Ostensibly, conditions all over the country seem ripe for revolutionary change. But the parties who declare their adherence to Marxism and Leninism, seem struck by an incapacity to evaluate the situation, leave alone lead it.1
He is not satisfied with this denunciation of India's communist movement. "The history of the communist movement," he adds, "as the main purveyor of Marxism in the country, reveals a vaccilation bet-ween blunders and irrelevancies, both accompanied by a unique courage."2 It is to substantiate this proposition of the journal that five contributors have been brought together with their respective views of the development of Marxism in India.
One of these, K Damodaran, is a long-time activist of the Com-munist Party of India who, at the time of the split, went over to the Right Communist Party, but subsquently became so disillusioned and frustrated with active political work that he has now turned an academic, working as a Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The rest are academics. The absence of any present-day active leader of India's communist movement—either of the Communist Party of^ India (Marxist) or of the Right Communist Party—from the list of contributors is significant. Equally or still more significant is the fact that the list of books and articles for "further reading,"3 suggested in the journal, does not contain such authoritative documents of either the Right Communist Party or of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as their programmes, reports and resolutions of party congresses and committees and so on. Is it suggested that the subject of "Marxism and India" can be