Daya Varma


The  article “The Emerging Left in the Emerging World” by Jayati Ghosh presents a frank and penetrating analysis of the present and the future of the left. However, Ghosh is an eminent Indian political economist and one could have expected her to deal in somewhat greater detail with the condition of “the emerging left” in India. Perhaps her reluctance to do so is because she belongs to the left fraternity and does not wish to confront what is most dear or of most concern to her.


It is generally recognized that the organized communist left did not face the same defeat or decline in India as it did in the rest of the world, especially in Soviet Union and Europe until the defeat of the Left Front in West Bengal elections a few years ago.  However, the steady decline in the communist movement ushered in by the 1967 Naxalbari uprising was obvious from the changing political line of its descendents from 1970 onwards and the transformation of some of its true followers into roving armed bands under the name of “Maoist” parties.  The decision of the Nepal Maoists to abandon armed struggle and adopt a parliamentary path was part of this very phenomenon as is the insistence of an insignificant breakaway faction to hold on to its past.


It is obvious from the recent turmoil in political circles in India that the Indian communist movement is unable to adjust to the emerging realities in India. The leading Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM is deep in the mire of constructing another non-Congress, non-BJP third front. This attempt failed miserably 5 years ago and has already failed again; whatever of this is left has gone under the leadership of the decadent and opportunistic Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav whose opportunism on all fronts has become obvious in the short period of one year since it came to power in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).


In the run up to the Parliamentary elections due in a few months, CPI, CPM and CPI (Marxist-Leninist) could not agree upon a united course of action. CPI (ML) wants to contest in twenty seats including one in Bihar’s Jehanabad district where it can never win but can ensure the defeat of CPI. Nor does CPM acknowledge that its influence in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala is due to glorious struggles led by CPI before 1964 when CPM was formed. Similarly, CPI(ML) refuses to recognize that its influence increased in Bihar because it was a bastion of CPI until it was wrecked by left adventurism.


The leaders of the breakaway communist parties are not the only ones responsible for the overall and steady decline of the communist movement in India. The process appears so far to be unstoppable as is the decline of the left movement.  It would have been more appropriate if Jayati Ghosh had dealt with the disappearing rather than the emerging left in India.

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