Social Scientist. v 27, no. 316-317 (Sept-Oct 1999) p. 18.


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SOCIAL SCIENTIST

IRFAN HABIB*

The Envisioning of a Nation: A Defence of the Idea of India

It is a matter of great honour for me to be asked to contribute an address for the A.K.G. Centre's seminar commemorating Comrade EMS Namboodiripad. I must render my sincere regrets and apologies for not being able personally to present what I have written, especially since, as in the case of most people in the Communist movement, EMS has been a living influence in our lives. His firm linking of the freedom struggle with the fight for socialism, his steadfast adherence to Marxism in the most difficult circumstances, the precedence he gave to the interests of the people of the country as a whole, his painstaking contribution to the implantation of Marxist ideology in his beloved Kerala, and, above all, his undaunted opposition to all forms of chauvinism, are elements of a legacy from which all of us will draw inspiration for a long, long time.

In his last days, Comrade EMS showed great concern over the growth of the communalist virus spread by the Sangh Parivar, and over the BJP's advance to a position of power in the country. He thought that a new stage had arrived in the political life of the country which demanded an appropriate adjustment in the strategy of the Left and democratic forces.

It is in the light of this perception, which Comrade EMS bequeathed to us, that I venture here to submit for your consideration a study of the growth of India as a country and nation, and some reflections on how the nation itself is in danger of subversion by the ideas and actions of the Sangh Parivar. If the study goes into certain details or takes more of your time than it should have, I beg to apoligise for it in advance.

In history nothing has existed from all times; and countries form

* Formerly professor of History at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

Social Scientist, Vol. 27, Nos. 9 - 10, Sept. - Oct. 1999



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