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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.