[On the eve of commencement of birth centenary of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary, SUCI(C), an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era, great leader of the proletariat and our leader, teacher and guide, we are giving below a free translation of a paragraph from the recently published work of his in Bengali titled ‘‘Biplabi Jibon-i Sarbapekhsha Maryadamoy’’ (Revolutionary life is most honourable) based on his discussion in a School of Politics in Kolkata in 1974.
Responsibility of translation error and inadequacy of expression, if any, lies with the Editorial Board of P. Era.]
‘‘Right from the formative days of the Party, we had given utmost importance on the development of character of the leaders and cadres. We had given special emphasis on the ethical side of the communist character. Without that, the firm base of communist ideology does not evolve. Now I feel that giving importance on character was correct but the emphasis has been one-sided. What we observe today is that many in the Party wish to give more emphasis on this only. But let me place before you what I have been thinking on this. My view is that there cannot be any slackening on the imperativeness of character building. But now we are no more in our earlier stage. Time has come to advance to a higher stage. Previously, our Party was a propaganda nucleus or unit. At that time, the task incumbent on the Party workers was to throw an idea and propagate it with all their might and utmost dedication. They had been trying hard to disseminate a particular thought or idea among the masses. We have now crossed that stage and are on the anvil of the second stage. At this second stage, it is not enough to remain confined to creating some organized belts in certain select pockets. It is a stage when we need to take initiative extensively to develop mass movements and spread our organization on a massive scale. Because, now time has come to transform the Party into a mass party. At this juncture, it is not prudent to devote maximum time on character building. Now we need to shoulder another higher responsibility pending which we shall not be able to save character also. The vigour of our character will not be sustained if we do not organize the masses. What is important for us today is to increase political initiative, stay with the masses, plunge into movement on any mass issue without waiting for anyone’s call and thus be at the forefront by dint of our prompt individual initiative and action. Though our workers possess character, yet, comparatively, this ability is lacking very much in them. This is the main weakness. Seventy five percent of our problems would be solved if this weakness is removed in right earnest. Can executives who are able to shoulder the responsibility of building up organization in various fields, who are competent to provide political and organizational leadership, be produced simply by conducting study classes? The present executives are also the product of a movement. But at that time, the movement was mainly in the form of propaganda. So, such executives could be created by conducting study classes and through personal association. But that would not suffice today. Now we need to learn how to work with and within the masses, how to take initiative to jump into movement, how to work preserving our distinct identity, character and political ideology despite negative criticism from the opposition forces. If efficiency is not developed in this regard, the executives and cadres needed for steering the process of transformation of the Party to lead the mass struggles competently, would not be created. Now the Party has become big. It is participating in many actions and is involved in various mass activities. So, the scope for close association with that kind of properly trained and developed leaders is either less than before or nil for many of the comrades. This is the first point. Some cadres will always be created. Though these cadres might be refined in character but when it comes to political initiative it would be found that they have not acquired that acumen, and are not capable of fulfilling the immediate requirement of the Party. When appraised based on one yardstick, they would be found to be dedicated, selfless; their concept of life, fighting zeal, capacity for sacrifice -all this is for revolution. They are having that mindset. But they cannot stay with the masses. Even if they stay, they only argue or preach sermons. They try to be so over-educative that people fight shy of them. If people come across any of such argumentative comrades, they think that now a priest has come to lecture them. The present generation do not want to listen to so many things. So, we are to learn what they want, how to stay with them, when and in what way things are to be explained to them. It is not that since the masses are to be educated, we would explain everything in one go, starting from what is socialism, what is the value of life to what is known as character, while people would scratch their heads and scarcely respond. What would happen next? Whenever those persons would see us from afar, they would start running in the opposite direction for fear of being lectured again. And after two or three days in such a lecturing mode, we shall find people avoiding us. So, we would conclude that it is pointless to make people understand. We are trying so much but no one cares to lend an ear to us. No one has a mind to learn. I say what is the use of trying to make them understand so many things at a time? Live with them, remain with them and you yourself stay unperturbed. They would understand slowly. So, you should have patience and explain the things slowly so that they can grasp what you say. There is an old proverb: ‘Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet’. If we remember this, we shall be able to function effectively.
In this regard, we need to know another thing. Otherwise, everything would be convoluted. Our understanding would also not be proper. It cannot be that a revolutionary worker would speak like a revolutionary, raise revolutionary slogans but conduct himself in a non-revolutionary manner. A current is going on in favour of what is improper and unjust. In such a situation, a revolutionary goes against the current even if he is alone. His mindset will be to go against the tide. Human beings have two different bents of mind. Common people, the mediocre, have a tendency to move in the way the wind blows, to rally behind the dominant trend. In this way, all boys and girls become victims of fashion. …This tendency to imitate is harmful because it allows copying culture to infiltrate. In that event, people would hardly remain unpolluted. If people continue to bask in imitative propensity, what worth would they have? That is why, the Communist Party of China (CPC) in its Tenth Congress has said that there are two kinds of people. One kind who do not blindly follow an emerging trend but move with proper understanding and evaluation. The general mental faculty, the bent of mind or style of action would be such that one would go against the current. That does not mean that if a worthy current surges forth, one would go against it. No. If we confuse between the two, we would not be able to accept anything positive. In the Tenth Congress of CPC, this point has been mentioned to explain a general faculty. But because of inappropriate putting, it might appear that possession of such a bent of mind has been underscored irrespective of condition. If the emerging tide is worthy of acceptance and conducive to revolution, should one oppose that? Surely not. The CPC has also not intended to say so. In the Tenth Congress, it is stated that to go against the current is a Marxist-Leninist principle. It is not only a Marxist-Leninist principle. The bent of mind of all great men of all ages had been to go against the current. There are two kinds of men—one simply copies while the other creates something new. One only takes from the society while the other gives something back to the society. Both these kinds of people exist in the society. Those who always want to give something to the society have a bent of mind, a mental trend to go against the current. They do not fall victim to the current. This is what the Tenth Congress of CPC has said beautifully. From this, one should not conclude that if there arises a tide of revolution, a tide of struggle, then the Marxist-Leninist principle is to go against it, and we should turn away from that current.
It is a wrong understanding. When a revolutionary tide arises, people jump into that in rows. So many of them become martyrs. Some also emerge as leaders in course of this struggle. At this hour, if the party which provides leadership does not fight blindness at every level, fails to educate the masses, then blindness and many ill tendencies would lurk amidst that tide. In that event, even if revolution is successful, many difficulties would arise afterwards. But there is nothing to fear. The leadership which is alert to apprehend such tendencies beforehand is the correct revolutionary leadership.’’