Skip to main content

Why Marxists didn't install Bhagat Singh's statue in Tripura? Lenin was a tyrant, a despot: Top historian Guha

By Our Representative
One of the most prominent names in modern Indian history, Ramachandra Guha, has qualified the act of pulling down VI Lenin's statues in Tripura as the "price of dogma" paid by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M), wondering, "What if the CPI(M) had installed statues of Bhagat Singh in Tripura? Would they have been vandalized by the BJP cadre after the CPI(M) was voted out of power in that state?"
Even as saying that "the triumphalist supporters of the BJP who brought down those statues of Lenin in Tripura are worthy only of contempt"', and insisting, he does not share "the BJP's xenophobia", Guha says, he also disagrees with the BJP justification for bringing down Lenin's statues because he was a "foreigner."
According to Guha, "Great human beings transcend national boundaries. I would be happy to have statues of (for example) Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Václav Havel installed in our cities and towns. But living as I do in a democracy, I would draw the line at dictators."
"The problem is not that Lenin was a foreigner, but that he was not a democrat", Guha says in an article in a top daily, adding, "Lenin was a tyrant, a despot, who first subordinated his country to his party before subordinating his party to himself. He had his enemies and rivals killed, placed curbs on the freedom of intellectual and artistic expression, and paved the way for the even more brutal dictatorship of Stalin."
"Lenin, incidentally, would have been a super-troll in the Age of Twitter", argues Guha, adding, "For he was a vindictive man, abusive in his writings and in speech. His hatred was not reserved for the bourgeoisie; socialists who disagreed with him were savagely set upon as well. Among those who attracted Lenin's ire was the German Marxist, Eduardo Bernstein, who had rejected violent revolution in favour of peaceful democratic change."
Underlining that Bhagat Singh's statue would been a better option than that of Lenin, Guha says, "Bhagat Singh was both an Indian and a Marxist. Yet, because the official Left had largely forgotten him, he was being resurrected and praised by Hindutvawadis."
Noting that there are two reasons why the CPI(M) venerates Lenin and Stalin far more than Bhagat Singh, Guha says, "Having been brought up from an early age to worship them, they cannot think of doing otherwise. Just as boys raised as Vaishnavites can never see anything good in any other god but Vishnu (or his avatars), so devout Marxists stay dogmatically with their childhood Gods as they grow into adulthood and beyond that into dotage."
"The second reason why Bhagat Singh remains a minor figure in the CPI(M)'s pantheon is that the party traces its origins to the undivided Communist Party of India, and the Sikh radical was not a member of the CPI. He was, rather, part of a different formation called the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA)."
Taking a historical view of things, Guha says, "The CPI had a base among workers in Bombay and Calcutta. The HSRA, on the other hand, was more active in northern India. So, although Bhagat Singh was a Marxist, since he was from the HSRA and not the undivided CPI, the CPI(M) may be reluctant to put up his portrait at party conferences."
Pointing towards how has the Leninist dogma harmed CPI(M) in the recent past, Guha says, "Since the Great God Lenin had so long ago mandated that Leninists should not work alongside other parties, the CPI(M) did not join the Manmohan Singh government. They have paid for this error. And the people of India have paid for it too."
Underlining that those who sought to have Lenin's statues erected _evoke pity and sadness", says Guha, adding, "Bhagat Singh, living in Lahore in the 1920s, had no way of knowing of the perversions and horrors of the regime that Lenin and Stalin had installed in Russia."
It was only in the late 1930s, the forced famines, the deaths in the camps, and the violence unleashed on political rivals were all well documented, says Guha, adding, "In 1956, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself denounced Stalin. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and Lenin was at last comprehensively rejected in the countries over which he had once ruled. Yet, through these decades, our own communists forgot nothing and learnt nothing."

Comments

Shabnam Hashmi said…
How was Lenin a tyrant? Don't agree with Guha
Pravin Mishra said…
A bit harsh but very good read.

TRENDING

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Drèze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Skewed sex ratio 'behind' ban on rural Thakor girls' mobile use, inter-caste marriage

By Jharna Pathak*
On July 14, 2019, the Thakor community of 12 villages of Banaskantha district in Gujarat announced a ban on the use of mobile phones by unmarried women. Simultaneously, they imposed penalties on inter-caste marriages. The family of any girl of the community marrying without the consent of her parents would now be fined Rs 1.5 lakh while that of a boy marrying a girl from other community without his family’s consent would be penalised with a fine of Rs 2 lakh.

Were JVCs, rock cutters 'reinforcing' Statue of Unity base on dry Narmada riverbed?

By Kevin Antao* 
Having seen photographs and write-ups on the world’s tallest Statue of Unity, constructed and assembled off Narmada dam in South Gujarat, I always wanted to visit the site and see for myself the great marvel that it was being made out to be.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt promotes low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Sardar Patel's 'notable' achievement on J&K: Insertion of Article 370 in Constitution

By Shamsul Islam*
One of the "truths" manufactured in the boudhik shibirs (ideological training camps) of the RSS is that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who forced Article 370 on India while Sardar Patel, the first home minister of India, was opposed to it. The RSS leaders both inside the Modi government and outside ceaselessly keep on blaming Jawaharlal Nehru as the sole architect of Article 370, giving Kashmir special status.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

J&K curbs 'violate' International Covenant on civil, political rights: Letter to Modi

Counterview Desk
The International Federation for Human Rights (IFDH), a Paris-based human rights NGO with global presence, has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the decision to “reconfigurate” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), remove its special status and impose a “complete lock-down of the region” violates Kashmiris’ “fundamental right to self-determination and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives.”