Communism in India

overview of communism in India

Communism in India is represented by several political parties. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (abbreviated CPI(M)) is the largest communist party in India. The party emerged from a split from the Communist Party of India in 1964. The CPI(M) was formed at the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta from 31 October to 7 November 1964. As of 2018, CPI(M) is leading the state government in Kerala and having elected members in 8 state legislative assemblies including Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan. It also leads the West Bengal Left Front. As of 2016, CPI(M) claimed to have 1,048,678 members. The highest body of the party is the Politburo.

Quotes edit

  • Uncompromising opposition to Gandhi and his cherished Hindu convictions meant that communists were cut off in a considerable measure from the mainstream of the patriotic struggle.
  • The world revolution will pass through Shanghai and Calcutta.
    • Lenin, as quoted in Oriana Fallaci. (2011). Interview with Indira Gandhi, in : Interviews with history and conversations with power. New York: Rizzoli.
  • During the great national upsurge of 1942, the Communists acted as stooges and spies of the British Government… Mr. Joshi (of the Communist Party) was placing at the disposal of India the services of his Party Members… Joshi had, as General Secretary of the Party, written a letter in which he offered ‘unconditional help’ to the then Government of India and the Army GHQ to fight the 1942 underground workers and the Azad Hind Fauz (INA) of Subhas Chandra Bose… Joshi’s letter revealed that the CPI was receiving financial aid from the British Government, had a secret pact with the Muslim League
    • Majumdar, R.C. History of the Freedom Movement in India, 2d rev. ed., Calcutta: Firma (1971), Volume III, 569. quoted in Rosser, Yvette Claire (2003). Curriculum as Destiny: Forging National Identity in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. University of Texas at Austin
  • Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history, is but the history of the successive intruders who founded their empires on the passive basis of that unresisting and unchanging society. The question, therefore, is not whether the English had a right to conquer India, but whether we are to prefer India conquered by the Turk, by the Persian, by the Russian, to India conquered by the Briton.” England had to fulfill a double mission in India: One destructive, and the other regenerating - the annihilation of old Asiatic society, and the laying of the material foundations of Western society in Asia. Arabs, Turks, Tartars, Moguls, who had successively overrun India, soon became Hinduised, the barbarian conquerors being, by an eternal law of history, themselves conquered by the superior civilization of their subjects. [According to him the British were the first conquerors who were superior, and therefore inaccessible to Hindu civilization. They destroyed it by breaking up the native communities, by uprooting the native industry, and by levelling all that was great and elevated in the native society. The historic pages of their rule in India, report hardly anything beyond that destruction.] “The work of regeneration hardly transpires through a heap of ruins. Nevertheless, it has begun.
    • Karl Marx about the history of India, in: “The Future Results of British Rule in India”, vide The Newyork Daily Tribune, 22 July 1853, cited by D.P. Singhal in his Presidential Address to the Indian History and Culture Society, 1981, Proceedings, P.155. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • The communists ... reject 'Congress dictatorship' but would welcome a strong state which would crush the communalists, esp the Hindu ones.
    • Gerard Heuze, Ou va l'Inde moderne. p 65ff. in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 713-4
  • [Marx thought that Hinduism] “was the ideology of an oppressive and outworn society”; he “shared the distaste of most Europeans for its more lurid features. (…) he was as sceptical as his Hindu followers were to be of any notion of a Hindu ‘golden age’ of the past.”
    • Tom Bottomore: Dictionary of Marxist Thought, p. 203, paraphrasing K. Marx: The First Indian War of Independence, Moscow 1959 (a compilation of Marx’ columns on the 1857 Mutiny in the New York Daily Tribune), p.156. , quoted in Elst, Koenraad (1999). Update on the Aryan invasion debate New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • [When asked in 1963 that "now that there is Communist government in Kerala, what would happen if communists came to power at the Centre?"] - Communists, communists! Why are you all so obsessed with communism and communists? What is that the communists can do what we cannot do and have not done?... Why do you imagine the communists will ever be voted to power at the Centre? The danger to India, mark you, is not Communism. It is Hindu right-wing communalism.
    • Jawaharlal Nehru in : (Jawaharlal Nehru, a Biography; by Sankar Ghose, p 180.)
  • I turned inevitably with goodwill towards communism, for, whatever its faults, it was at least not hypocritical and not imperialistic. It was not a doctrinal adherence, as I did not know much about the fine points of Communism, my acquaintance being limited at the time to its broad features. There attracted me, as also the tremendous changes taking place in Russia. But Communists often irritated me by their dictatorial ways, their aggressive and rather vulgar methods, their habit of denouncing everybody who did not agree with them. This reaction was no doubt due, as they would say, to my own bourgeois education and up-bringing.
    • Jawaharlal Nehru, Autobiography
  • The contrast with the Communists is striking. The Communists stood exposed as traitors in 1942-47, when they informed the British government (a Soviet ally) about Quit India activists and served as a mercenary intellectual vanguard for the Muslim League by propagating economic and other secular-sounding arguments for Partition; once more in 1948-50, when they supported the separatist Razâkâr militia in Hyderabad and subsequently started an armed uprising of their own; and yet again in the run-up to the Chinese invasion of 1962, when they clamoured that “China’s chairman is also India’s chairman” and accused India of having started the war with China. But they were always back on top within a short time, fully respected members of the democratic political spectrum. Better still, they managed even to make other parties implement much of the Communist agenda, from the nationalization of the banks to an unnecessary degree of hostility to the West, upheld by Congress and Janata governments alike. Such are the results when you make it your priority to control the ideological air space, rather than the ground level of work among the masses.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001)
  • In this context, one should know that there is a strange alliance between the Indian Communist parties and the Muslim fanatics. In the forties the Communists gave intellectual muscle and political support to the Muslim League's plan to partition India and create an Islamic state. After independence, they successfully combined (with the tacit support of Prime minister Nehru) to sabotage the implementation of the constitutional provision that Hindi be adopted as national language, and to force India into the Soviet-Arab front against Israel. Ever since, this collaboration has continued to their mutual advantage as exemplified by their common front to defend the Babri Masjid, that symbol of Islamic fanaticism. Under Nehru's rule these Marxists acquired control of most of the educational and research institutes and policies.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India, (1992)
  • Ever since, they have supported every antinational cause: the crushing of the Quit India movement (1942), Partition (1947), the Razakar terror campaign to prevent the merger of Hyderabad with India (1948), the Chinese claims to Indian territory (up to 1962: “China’s chairman is also India’s chairman”). As late as 1997, Communist leader Sitaram Yechury refused to admit that China had been the aggressor in 1962. In the 1990s, they have threatened secession of the states they control in the event of a Hindu-nationalist election victory. It is a different matter that by the time this victory took place, in 1998, the Communist movement had become too weak and grey to hazard such action.... This kind of wild allegation has to do with the Communists’ bad conscience about their collaboration with the British against the freedom movement in 1941-45.
  • For those unfamiliar with modern Indian history: the Marxists, already pushy for acquiring as much power in the institutions as they could grab, were handed a near-monopoly on institutional power in India's academic and educational sector by Indira Gandhi ca. 1970. Involved in an intra-Congress power struggle, she needed the help of the Left. Her confidants P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan packed the institutions with Marxists, card-carrying or otherwise. When, during the Emergency dictatorship (1975-77), her Communist Party allies threatened to become too powerful, she and her son Sanjay removed them from key political positions but, in a typical instance of politicians' short-sightedness, they left the Marxists? hold on the cultural sector intact. In the good old Soviet tradition, they at once set out to falsify history and propagate their own version through the official textbooks. After coming to power in 1998, the BJP-dominated government has made a half-hearted and not always very competent attempt to effect glasnost (openness, transparency) at least in the history textbooks. This led the Marxists to start a furious hate campaign against the so-called 'saffronization' of history.
    • Elst, Koenraad.Ayodhya, the Finale (2003)
  • Indian Marxists have the power but lack the numbers, so they have cultivated alliances with all actual or potential enemies of Hinduism.
    • Elst K. Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, (1999)
  • Since some ignorant dupes of these Marxists denounce as “McCarthyist” anyone who points out their ideological inspiration, it deserves to be emphasized that “eminent historians” like Romila Thapar, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib are certified as Marxists in standard Marxist sources like Tom Bottomore's Dictionary of Marxist Thought . During the official historians' Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute in 1991, the pro-mosque team's argumentation and several other anti-temple pamphlets were published by the People's Publishing House, a Communist Party outfit. One of the recent textbook innovations most furiously denounced as “saffronization” was the truism that Lenin's armed seizing of power in October/November 1917 was a “coup d'état”. And in early 2003, while they were unchaining all their devils against glasnost , the Marxists ruling West Bengal deleted from a textbook a passage in which Mahatma Gandhi's biographer Louis Fischer called Stalin “at least as ruthless as Hitler”. Such are the true concerns of the “secularists” warning the world against the attempts at glasnost in India's national history curriculum.
    • Elst, Koenraad. The Problem with Secularism (2007)
  • To dissuade them from anarchic terrorism against British individuals, the authorities gave them Marxist literature in prison, because orthodox Marxism believes in mass violence once the revolution arrives, but not in stray acts of violence. The British would take care that the great revolution never came, and meanwhile the terrorists-turned-Marxists would remain physically harmless. That is how Bengal as the hotbed of revolutionary nationalism became the centre of Indian Marxism.
  • Nehru’s daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, carried her father’s game much farther. In her fight for a monopoly of power, she split the Congress Party, and made a common cause with the Communists. Well-known Communists and fellow-travellers were given positions of power in the ruling Congress Party, in the Government at the Centre as well in the States, and in prestigious institutions all over the country. The Muslim-Marxist combine of “historians” had already captured the Indian History Congress during the days of Pandit Nehru, and many honest historians had been hounded out of it. Now this combine was placed in control of the Indian Council of Historical Research and entrusted with extensive patronage. The combine took over the National Council of Educational Research and Training also, and laid down the guidelines for producing school textbooks on various subjects. The Jawaharlal Nehru University was created and financed on a fabulous scale in order to collect Communist professors from all over the country, and form them into a frontline brigade for launching all sorts of anti-Hindu campaigns. The smokescreen for this Stalinist operation was provided by the slogan of Secularism which nobody was supposed to question, or examine as to what it had come to mean. Its meaning had to be accepted ex-cathedra, and as laid down by the Muslim-Marxist combine. In the new political parlance that emerged, Hinduism and the nationalism it inspired, became blackned as “Communalism”. Small wonder that the word “Hindu” started becoming a dirty word in the academia as well as the media.
    • S.R. Goel in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Vol. II
  • During the 1920's and 1930's young radicals like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Bose and Jayaprakesh Narayan were straining at the leash: they fretted at the patient and peaceful methods of the Mahatma. The Indian communists dubbed him a charismatic but calculating leader who knew how to rouse the masses but deliberately contained and diverted their revolutionary ardour so as not to hurt the interests of British imperialists and Indian capitalists.
    • B. R. Nanda, Gandhi and his Critics, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1985, (p. viii).
  • [This ideology was] “more Eurocentric than regular imperialism. It used radical slogans but its aims were reactionary. (…) Marx fully shared the contempt of the British imperialists for India. He fully subscribed to the theses of colonial scholarship that India was not a nation, had no history and was meant for subjugation. Marxism was Macaulayism at its most hostile. It blackened Indian history systematically. It gave to [the] Indian social and political system its own format, the one it had learnt from its European teachers. It saw in Hinduism not (…) a great spiritual civilization but only communalism.”
  • The US State Department's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has found that going by the number of terror attacks and the number of killings of innocent citizens every year from 2012 until now, the big-five terror group consists of the IS, Taliban, Boko Haram, al Qaeda, and the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
    • Vivek Agnihotri - Urban Naxals The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam (2018, Garuda Prakashan)
  • Indian philosophy, Mao tells Kissinger, is ‘just a bunch of empty words’. ‘India did not win independence,’ Mao tells Kissinger, ‘If it does not attach itself to Britain, it attaches itself to the Soviet Union. And more than one half of their economy depends on you...’ In his important study, Garver reproduces a poem of Mao in which India is represented as a helpless cow with a bear—the Soviet Union—astride it. Garver cites the ‘Maoist exposition’ of the poem which explains the reference to India as follows: ‘Chairman Mao’s use of the cow as a metaphor for India could not be more appropriate. It is no better than a cow... it is only food or for people to ride and for pulling carts; it has no particular talents. The cow would starve to death if its master did not give it grass to eat... Even though this cow may have great ambitions, they are futile.’
    • About Mao's views on India. quoted from Arun Shourie - Self-Deception _ India's China Policies_ Origins, Premises, Lessons-Harper Collins (2013)
  • Readers would be surprised to know that we also got books on socialism at government cost. The government thought that they would be able to divert the minds of political prisoners by making them interested in socialist ideas, which they thought were a lesser evil than ‘terrorist’ actions such as the murder of oppressive British officials. Thus, the government had some hand in making political prisoners in the Andamans interested in socialism. They had unknowingly sowed the seeds of communism among political prisoners detained in other jails as well.
    • Subodh Roy, Chittagong Armory Raid: A Memoir, LeftWord, 2015. quoted in Sanjeev Sanyal - Revolutionaries_ The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom-HarperCollins India (2023)

The Mitrokhin Archive edit

Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin - The Mitrokhin Archive II - The KGB in the World-Penguin (2018)
  • The Third World country on which the KGB eventually concentrated most operational effort during the Cold War was India... After the elections of February 1967, the KGB claimed, doubtless optimistically, that it was able to influence 30 to 40 per cent of the new parliament.
  • Oleg Kalugin, who became head of FCD Directorate K (Counter-intelligence) in 1973, remembers India as ‘a model of KGB infiltration of a Third World government’: ‘We had scores of sources throughout the Indian government – in intelligence, counter-intelligence, the Defence and Foreign Ministries, and the police.’ In 1978 Directorate K, whose responsibilities included the penetration of foreign intelligence and security agencies, was running, through Line KR in the Indian residencies, over thirty agents – ten of whom were Indian intelligence officers. Kalugin recalls one occasion on which Andropov personally turned down an offer from an Indian minister to provide information in return for $50,000 on the grounds that the KGB was already well supplied with material from the Indian Foreign and Defence Ministries: ‘It seemed like the entire country was for sale; the KGB – and the CIA – had deeply penetrated the Indian government. After a while neither side entrusted sensitive information to the Indians, realizing their enemy would know all about it the next day.’
  • India under Indira Gandhi was also probably the arena for more KGB active measures than anywhere else in the world, though their significance appears to have been considerably exaggerated by the Centre, which overestimated its ability to manipulate Indian opinion.
  • In the early 1970s, the KGB presence in India became one of the largest in the world outside the Soviet bloc. Indira Gandhi placed no limit on the number of Soviet diplomats and trade officials, thus allowing the KGB and GRU as many cover positions as they wished. Nor, like many other states, did India object to admitting Soviet intelligence officers who had been expelled by less hospitable regimes. The expansion of KGB operations in the Indian subcontinent (and first and foremost in India) during the early 1970s led the FCD to create a new department. Hitherto operations in India, as in the rest of non-Communist South and South-East Asia, had been the responsibility of the Seventh Department. In 1974 the newly founded Seventeenth Department was given charge of the Indian subcontinent.
  • The greatest successes of Soviet active measures in India remained the exploitation of the susceptibility of Indira Gandhi and her advisers to bogus CIA conspiracies against them.

See also edit

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