Follow @southasiaanalys

Kanhaiya Episode in JNU –The Alliance of the Marxists with the Separatists has a history

Paper No. 6097                               Dated 08-Apr-2016

By R. Upadhayay

Godless Marxists and the Islamic Separatists:

Despite the fact that the Godless Marxists and Islamist separatists are poles apart in their world view, the tactical alliance between their student wings in Jawaharlal Nehru University during an event celebrating the death anniversary of an Islamist terrorist Afzal Guru on February 9 is not only a repeat of their ideological hypocrisy exposed during Pakistan Movement but is also indicative of their frustrated attempts to arrest the sliding decline of leftist ideology in the country.

The Slogans and the assortment of Groups:

Active involvement of Marxist students under the leadership of JNSU President Kanhaiya Kumar of All India Student Federation, the student front of CPI in the event in which slogans like ‘Har Ghar se Afzal Nikalega’, ‘Bharat ke tukde tukde honge- Insha Allah Insha Allah, “Bandook se lenge Azadi” and “Kashmir ki Azadi tak Jang chalegi-Jang Chalegi, Bharat ki barbadi tak Jang chalegi –Jang chalegi” is similar to the involvement of the CPI leaders who had organised processions and demonstrations in favour of Pakistan in earlier days before independence.

‘In mid forties E.M.S. Namboodaripad led processions of Muslims along with A.K.Gopalan (both of them were leaders of the CPI) shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Mophlastan Zindabad’. No wonder, therefore, that Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, himself a leftist, had to say that India was killed by the CPI which provided the Muslim separatists an ideological basis.’(S.K.Datta and Rajeev Sharma, Pakistan: From Jinnah to Jehad, 2002, p.18).

Like the outcome of the political machinations of Communists-Muslim League alliance when the latter successfully used the former as their points men for the creation of Pakistan, the separatist students from Kashmir also took shelter under the Democratic Students Federation, a Maoist student front in JNU and in the process also used other Marxist student groups for celebrating the death anniversary of the terrorist who was awarded death sentence for attack on Parliament for which he was executed.

Marxist History:

It is a known fact of Marxist history that ‘once the Marxist bug bites a person, he dumps nationalism and cuts himself off from his civilisational heritage.’ It is no wonder that the Marxist bug bitten students of JNU behaved in a similar fashion. It is sad that these small group of students who have given a left-liberal tag in public perception to the JNU ever since its inception in 1969 has also been a political stable of the Marxist and the Maoist students namely the All India Student Federation (AISF), Student Federation of India (SFI), the student fronts of the mainstream political parties namely CPI and CPM respectively along with All India Students Association (AISA) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF) student fronts of ultra-Marxists and Maoists. Sadder still is the fact that these groups have consistently been maintaining their hold in this university with the patronage of some like minded members in the faculty.

Unfortunately, it looks that the Islamist separatists of Jammu and Kashmir have also infiltrated their student cadres in DSU and successfully mobilised the leftist, secularist and casteist political forces in the country in organising the death anniversary of Afzal Guru for being judicially killed for his role in the attack on parliament in 2001.

Ambadkerite Students Roped in:

It was curious and even contradictory that the JNU Marxists even tried to enlist even the Ambedkarite students also in their observation of Afzal Guru’s anniversary.

Marxists are known for speaking in many voices and if it suits their interest do not mind in joining hands with anyone no matter whether they hate communism or not. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar had condemned the ideology of the communists. Speaking before the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 he said, “Everyone except the communists will embrace this Constitution because the foundation of the Constitution is parliamentary democracy, the ideology of the communists want to seize power by violence”. (Indian Express dated March 7, 2016).

Pre Independence History of Communists and the Muslim League:

People of the country may be puzzled with the Godless Marxist students joining hands and supporting the cause of Islamist separatists of Kashmir. To understand such strange tactical alliance between the two we should look into the role of the CPI during Pakistan Movement in the forties of the last century when this party wanted to convert the freedom movement into a ‘people’s war’ in alliance with the Muslim League against the nationalist forces. The CPI came closer to All India Muslim League (AIML), when the latter emerged as a mass organisation of the second largest religious community in India. Its support to the Pakistan movement was in fact a support to the ideology of Muslim separatism. With a hate-Hindu campaign as a common link they targeted the nationalist forces as a “common enemy” on the dictum of enemy’s enemy is a friend.

Contrary to the Marxist dictum – ‘religion is the opium of the people’, the Communist Party of India had supported the communal demand of All India Muslim League for truncation of the sub-continent on the basis of religion. The CPI’s resolution which was adopted in its central committee meeting in September 1942 confirmed the conviction of the party on the communal division of India by floating the multi-national theory as it provided intellectual support to the two nation theory of the All India Muslim League. The resolution said: ‘Every section of the Indian people which has its contiguous territory as its homeland, common historical tradition, common language, culture, psychological make-up, and common economic life would be recognised as a distinct nationality with the right to exist as an autonomous state within the free Indian Union or federation and will have the right to secede from it if it may so desire.’(Mushirul Hasan, Legacy of a Divided Nation 1997, page 113). Even the then All India Student Federation members of the Aligarh Muslim University joined hands with the All India Muslim Students Federation.(Ibid.).

‘Since 1940 the CPI had tried to ‘placate’ the Muslim League, equating it with the Congress party as India’s two mass political organisations.’(Bhabani Sen Gupta, Communism in Indian Politics, Columbia University Press, 1972). The nationalist forces led by the Congress on the other hand evaluated the communists as ‘anti-nationalist foreign agents, who followed the ‘just’ demand of the Muslim League for Pakistan. (See the pathetic situation of the Congress now in West Bengal joining hands with the Marxists, thus throwing their ideological and historical roots to the winds!)

Intention: Break India into various Ethnic and Linguistic Nations:

Non-participation of the communists in the Quit India Movement was opportunism of the worst kind. Even their tactical alliance with Muslim League was apparently to ‘precipitate nation-wide disintegration’. Their desired objective was not only to break India into Hindu India and Muslim India but also into various linguistic and ethnic nations with sovereign political entity. The main obstacle of the CPI was the Indian National Congress, a nationalist party that had a strong mass following during the freedom movement. Therefore, it described the Congress as a party of the Indian National bourgeoisie and preferred a tactical alliance with All India Muslim League (AIML) which too it had described earlier as a party of Indian Muslim bourgeoisie.

The CPI infiltrated its Muslim members into AIML with a view to weaken the greater bourgeois Congress by supporting the smaller bourgeois. ‘The most grotesque decision was to send its (CPI) Muslim members to enter the ranks of Muslim League.’(Tariq Ali, Pakistan: Military Rule or People’s Power, London 1970, p.31). ‘The CPI had entered the Muslim League in order to strengthen the bourgeois faction in the League against the feudal landlords, a plan perfectly in keeping with Stalin’s theory of revolution by stages. …The manifesto of the Punjab Muslim League was written by a well known Indian Communist lawyer, Daniyal Latifi ’ (Ibid. p.32).

The Role of Communists in the Second Word War:

The CPI, while supporting the division of India even appreciated the Muslim League’s co-operative attitude towards the British war efforts against Hitler which it had earlier termed as the ‘Imperialist War’. For the CPI loyalty to Soviet Russia then was more important than to free the country from the British. Their support to British war efforts was actually a response to the call of Soviet Russia to communists all over the world following Hitler’s attack on it. Even the Aligarh School of Muslim orthodoxy that supported British imperialism against the forces of Indian nationalists also took CPI as a natural political ally due to its support to the war efforts of the colonial power.

Fate of Communists in Pakistan:

India was partitioned but the CPI failed to get any dividend to establish the dictatorship of proletariat. Instead, the party cadres were badly treated by the Muslim League Government in Pakistan and were uprooted from there. ‘Pakistan dealt with Communists very sternly. Dr Ashraf and Mr Sajjad Zahir who went to Pakistan from India to give a momentum to communist movement there landed up directly in jail. It took those Indian Communists years to get out of jail and they chose to return to India.’!(Hamid Dalwai, Muslim Politics in India, p.58).

The CPI did not take any lesson from the treatment its cadres received in Pakistan. Instead they adopted a new strategy to reiterate the dangers of Hindu nationalists in post-partition India and induced a fear in the Muslims, who stayed back in this country. They carried forward the legacy of their alignment with AIML and launched a systematic campaign to mould national opinion to justify the communal grievances of the Indian Muslims by maintaining a hard attitude against the cultural tradition of India.

Taking advantage of Nehru’s benevolence and shelter in his ‘secular’ umbrella, the Communists infiltrated their red cardholders into the Congress to help the Muslim orthodoxy revive their movement for communal separatism in the name of religious identity. This attitude of the Communists also helped in obstructing the assimilation of Muslim masses in the national mainstream.

Communists and Islamists:

A comparison between Communists and the Islamists suggests that both are internationalist in character.

* If the communists attempt to ‘ape Russia and China’ for everything, the Islamists are found emotionally attached to Persio-Arabic socio-culture with Saudi Arabia as their international centre. It is said that if there is rain in Moscow or China, Indian Communists would open their umbrellas.

* None of them have ever opposed collaborative relation between China and Pakistan, which was basically to precipitate chaotic conditions in secular India.

* None of them believe in the concept of a common nationalism. For Communists, Indian nationalism is bourgeois nationalism but Russian/Chinese nationalism for them is proletarian nationalism. For Islamists, Indian nationalism means religious nationalism of Hindus whereas Arab nationalism is true Islamic nationalism for them.

* The Communists called the nationalist leaders of the freedom movement as ‘Hindu bourgeois’ whereas the Muslims called them Hindu leaders. The communists believe only in the state that is the legal and geographical association of people.

* Being the limbs of the International communist movement the communists do not recognise the national boundaries of India. The Islamists too believe in pan-Islamism in which there is no place for the motherland.

* The patriotic association that imbues a nation with a common heritage and culture in which hearts and minds move in one direction is not acceptable to either of them. For one, the concept of Indian nationalism is synonymous to Hinduism and to the other a symbol of the bourgeois nationalism. Therefore, they opposed the efforts of nationalist forces to promote its spirit among the countrymen during freedom movement.

* The communists described the nationalist movement for freedom as collaboration of national bourgeoisie with ‘fascism’ and therefore supported the war efforts of ‘British Bureaucracy’, which they had earlier called ‘British Imperialist’. The Muslim League too supported the war efforts of the British.

* The Communists floated the multi-national theory in support of the two-nation theory propagated by the Muslim League. Theoretically, both of them believe in social equality but in practice they purge their opponents once they are in political power. Both believe in social equality but consider their own concept on this issue as perfect.

One could go with many more common practices of both the communists and the Islamists.

It was not a historical coincidence that the Communist movement followed the Muslim communalists’ movement for separatism launched during the freedom struggle against British colonialism. Ever since the Communist Party of India was born in the mid-1920s it had been trying to keep the Muslim mind confused over the pre-Islamic past of this country.

Controversial historical accounts worked as lifeline for Islamists in their movement for a separate national and political identity. Both of them continued to “run down” the pre-medieval past of Indian civilisation,. M.N. Roy, one of the founder members of Communist Party of India (CPI) said that Indian masses oppressed under Brahmanical orthodoxy facilitated the Islamic invaders and ‘readily rallied under the banner of Islam which offered them social equality if not political equality’. He added, ‘the Mohammedan power was consolidated in India not so much by the valour of invaders’ arms as owing to the propagation of the Islamic faith and the progressive significance of Islamic laws’.

Historically, Stalin formulated the strategy to spread the hegemony of communists over West Asia to neutralise the influence of America in the region and wanted the support of Israel but the latter did not respond favourably. The followers of Stalin in India therefore started supporting the Muslim world against Israel. Had Israel accepted Stalin’s proposal, the CPI might have taken a different stand on this issue. They opposed Israel’s occupation of West Bank and Gaza but never raised any voice against Chinese occupation of Tibet or Russian occupation of Baltic countries. Similarly, they never raised the issue of Russian presence in Afghanistan.

Is the past legacy being revived and continued?

Against the backdrop of their historical role during Pakistan Movement and systematic campaign to mould national opinion to justify the communal grievances of the Muslims, the Indian communists are continuing to carry forward the legacy of their alignment with AIML. The sliding decline of leftist ideology particularly after the loss of their power in West Bengal and their reduced number in Parliament after 2014 Lok Sabha election appear to have caused so much frustration that they found the “Kanhaiya episode as a ‘godsend’. The alliance of the Marxist students with the separatist students of Kashmir has to be seen in this historical context.

None in India will be more aware of the historical nexus and machinations of the Communists and the Islamists in pre independence India than the Congress. They had then evaluated that the communists as ‘anti-nationalist foreign agents, who followed the ‘just’ demand of the Muslim League for Pakistan. But they seem to have supported the separatist sloganeers in JNU. This is a short term gain for the Congress but a serious departure from its ideals and for which many of their senior and respected leaders have given their lives for the party in the past.