[The speech delivered in English online by Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C), on 13 August 2021 on the occasion of observance of 45th Memorial Day of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary of SUCI (C), our leader, teacher and guide and an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era.]
Comrade President, Comrades and Friends,
On this occasion, I will begin with reading a few words from a speech of our great Leader Comrade Shibdas Ghosh. ‘‘…When this Party was in the formative stage, we had nothing- no money, no hands, no place to stay. Nobody knew us. How old were we at that time? I was then quite a young man, a person of very young age- and I was telling that there was no genuine revolutionary party in India. Such a party was needed here. After hearing our logic, some people said: ‘Yes, such a party should be built up. Your logic is correct. But only a mad man can think of this. Is it easy to build up a Party? So many big parties are there. They are failing to keep their parties intact. Those are breaking up. So many things are occurring within them. In such a situation, you – who are completely unknown, have no experienced persons with you, no famous leader with you, no publicity is there in favour of you — how would you do such a thing?’ Whenever we talked of building a genuine communist party, people used to taunt us. They laughed at us, calling our thinking as utopian. I did not also go for arguments with them. Rather I used to put questions before them. ‘Okay, I accept your point that nothing could be done. I would not be able to do anything; then you suggest, what am I to do? Should I be a servant of this system; be a bootlicker of this system? Should I sell my conscience? Shall I act, going against my conscience? I cannot do that.’ My words to my colleagues were: ‘Those of you who are ready to struggle along with me can stay, but those who cannot fight like that are free to leave me. If I go without food and die on the streets, I shall die but die with honour, die raising my head high. When I shall die on the street from hunger, then too, I shall be able to protest against any injustice. I can be killed with bullets, but I cannot be bought. But the truth I have understood is that if a new revolutionary Party is not built, whatever sacrifices and bloodshed be there in course of traversing along the wrong path, all would go in vain. Emancipation of the masses would not come by. So a real or true ideology and genuine revolutionary party are necessary. Now I have two paths before me to choose from. Even after knowing all these, I can remain silent, and do nothing and thereby sell my conscience, degrade myself, give up fighting, fail to jump into struggle. Whether I shall win or face defeat, I do not know. Only history would tell that.’’ These words are from a valuable speech of our departed great leader and teacher, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh. The speech is yet to be published.
Arduous struggle of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh during Party building
Comrades, these were the feelings and words of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh in the years of 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947 and 1948. That was a period of historic struggle to build up this Party. Now, today, we can claim with pride that history has answered correctly. Today, in about 28 States of India–– thousands and thousands of Party members, supporters and sympathizers are paying their homage to this great Marxist thinker, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh. History has indeed answered.
Comrades, we know from history that in every epoch, at every critical hour, at every turning point of social development, when necessity arises for emancipating humanity from the yoke of old obsolete order, a new great leader emerges responding to the historical necessity, and with a great revolutionary ideology. That happened in the case of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh also. He is a product of a historical necessity and based on scientific revolutionary philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, he determined the path to change history too. Most of you know that Comrade Shibdas Ghosh joined the freedom struggle at a most turbulent period of our country when waves after waves of movements were rising and then receding, again rising and again subsiding. At that time, as a teen-aged school student, he joined the freedom struggle. He joined a revolutionary group which was known as Anushilan Samiti. There had been some groups of revolutionaries in India, like Anushilan Samiti, Jugantar, Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, erstwhile Gadar Party and many others. From the very beginning, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had a mind, a keen desire, a thirst to know truth, to acquire knowledge, and to know the life struggles of all the great men of history. Learning from their teachings and life struggles, he used to determine his own future course of struggle. From the very beginning, he was very truthful. Whatever he had found as truth, he was determined to pursue that in his life struggle. He never vacillated, never compromised. And he studied the life struggles and teachings of the pioneers of Indian renaissance, leaders of the freedom struggle, particularly struggles of the revolutionary leaders, struggles of all martyrs. Deriving lessons from those life struggles, he began his struggling life. While he was active in Anushilan Samiti, he came in contact with the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism. It attracted him very much.
He came from a very poor lower middle class family. And as the eldest son, he was the only future hope of that family. But his unbound love and profound feeling for the common people, particularly for the poor oppressed people, touched and roused his conscience, and he decided to leave family life to join the freedom struggle in the later part of his school days. He said that, when he left his family, he even prepared his mind that one day he might find his parents begging in the streets. He asked himself what then would he do? And he himself answered that when ‘thousands and thousands of fathers and mothers are begging in the streets, crying in the streets. I owe my responsibility to them as their son. So, I cannot go back’. In later life, when his parents were in the midst of much suffering, one of his earlier colleagues of the Anushilan Samiti, provided monetary help to Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s family without informing him. And he said to his parents that the money had been sent by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh. Otherwise his parents would not have accepted it. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was not aware of it. When he came to know of this, he told his friend: ‘You must not help in this way. With me there are some other comrades, who have also left their family. Can you also undertake the responsibility of all those families? If you can, only then, you can help my parents. Otherwise you must not.’ His friend became angry and told him: ‘You are an unusual person. You are a cruel person.’ But we know that he had profound feeling for all the parents of the poor people of this country and also world over. We know, he said: ‘‘Revolutionary politics calls for nobler feelings of heart’’ meaning revolutionary politics is a higher emotional cult. And his life struggle reflected it in the best way. When he was imprisoned and discussed about formation of this party, many political prisoners called him a mad man. During that time, his age was hardly between 19 and 22. He had no formal education beyond school level. In the jail, there used to be group readings on Lenin’s works. A professor used to translate from English to Bengali. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had always a very keen and critical mind. One respected Comrade Shashadhar Ghosh, who was older than Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, was in that group study. He told me that sometimes Comrade Shibdas Ghosh used to raise some points and asked the Professor: ‘‘You again translate it. Because I feel that Lenin would not say like that.’’ And they were astonished to find that Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was correct.
There was another incident in his jail life. There was an old prisoner, who was a scholar of Vedanta philosophy. He loved Comrade Shibdas Ghosh very much. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was not acquainted with Vedanta philosophy at that time. And that professor of Vedanta philosophy, knowing that Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had joined Marxist movement, tried to convince him about the Vedanta. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh requested that scholar to explain Vedanta philosophy to him. He did it. Listening to his points of Vedanta philosophy, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh placed his arguments to prove where the Vedanta was wrong. The professor could not answer him. But as he believed in the Vedanta and existence of omnipotent Brahma, he amazingly tried to prove that Brahma indeed existed by telling Comrade Shibdas Ghosh: ‘‘You are the proof that Brahma does exist. Because without the power of Brahma, you could not argue in such a perfect way.’’
There was another interesting incident. Some non-communist people said that communists do not and cannot know music and such other things. Comrade Ghosh differed. And he learnt to play Sitar instrument without the knowledge of many in the prison. When some prisoners were to be released, he said ‘‘I will play the Sitar in their farewell function.’’ Everybody became astonished. He played, and he played well, only to prove that Communists can do everything. That was the first and the last time. He never touched that instrument again. So it was an all-embracing struggle on his part. In jail, there were prisoners of different political parties. Most of them were older than him. He respected them, discussed and argued with them.
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s analysis of CPI proved correct
But how could he conclude that the united Communist Party of India (CPI) was not a real communist party? Why was there a necessity to develop a real communist party on the Indian soil? He critically studied Marxism-Leninism and applying his understanding of Marxism-Leninism, he examined the history of the CPI. You know that great Stalin, considering the CPI as a real communist party, had told its leaders in 1925,: ‘‘The fundamental and new feature of the conditions of life of colonies like India is not only that the national bourgeoisie has split up into a revolutionary party and a compromising party, but primarily that the compromising section of this bourgeoisie has already managed, in the main, to strike a deal with imperialism. Fearing revolution more than it fears imperialism and concerned more about its money-bags than about the interests of its own country, this section of the bourgeoisie, the richest and most influential section, is going over entirely to the camp of the irreconcilable enemies of the revolution, it is forming a bloc with imperialism against the workers and peasants of its own country. The victory of the revolution cannot be achieved unless this bloc is smashed. But in order to smash this bloc, fire must be concentrated on the compromising national bourgeoisie, its treachery exposed, the toiling masses freed from its influence, and the conditions necessary for the hegemony of the proletariat systematically prepared. In other words, in colonies like India… The Communist Party can and must enter into an open bloc with the revolutionary wing of the bourgeoisie in order, after isolating the compromising national bourgeoisie, to lead the vast masses of the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie in the struggle against imperialism.’’ (The political tasks of the university of the people of the East, 1925)
This was a very important guidance on the part of Comrade Stalin. You see, he said that the national bourgeoisie was divided into two sections-compromising and uncompromising. At that time, Indian capitalism had developed so much–not the comprador bourgeoisie, but the national bourgeoisie itself and they were compromising with imperialism to get the state power. And they were against revolution. Stalin advised the Indian Communists to isolate the compromising national bourgeois leadership from the freedom movement, form a bloc with the uncompromising section– that is, the petty bourgeois revolutionaries. And who represented petty bourgeois revolutionary line? All the scattered revolutionary groups and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
What is the history of undivided CPI at that time? They could not understand and hence did not follow this guideline of Stalin. Instead of forging unity with these uncompromising forces, they developed unity with the compromising forces. They did it when a serious struggle between the compromising forces led by Gandhiji and the uncompromising forces led by Netaji Subhash had ensued. The Congress, at that time, was a platform, not a homogeneous party. The Socialists, those who believed in socialism, communism, revolution, the forces who believed in non-violence, forces for violence-all were there within the Congress. At the Presidential election at Haripura conference, Subhash Bose was elected as Congress President uncontested. At that time, the aspirant Indian national bourgeoisie could sense the danger for them in Subhash Bose. After being elected as President, Subhash Bose hailed Soviet Union as a friend of Indian freedom struggle. Subhash Bose asked the workers and peasants to join the freedom struggle. Subhash Bose raised the slogan of ending Zamindari system. All these frightened the national bourgeoisie, British imperialism and the compromising section of the Congress. So in the next presidential election of the Congress party, Gandhiji had put up Pattabhi Sitaramaiya as his candidate against Subhash Bose. But, all uncompromising forces of India, particularly the revolutionary youths had unitedly supported Subhash Bose. So, Subhash Bose defeated Pattabhi Sitaramaiya. At that time, Gandhiji said: ‘Pattabhi’s defeat is my defeat.’
Then a conspiracy was hatched to weaken the newly elected President, Subhash Bose. Govind Ballav Panth, a Gandhite, moved a resolution that henceforth the Congress President would take any decision only with the approval of Gandhiji. Earlier, according to the Congress Constitution, the President would have nominated the Working Committee. But the new resolution suggested an amendment to that clause. As per the suggested amendment, the Working Committee would be nominated only with the approval of Gandhiji. This resolution was drafted to weaken the hands of Subhash Bose and strengthen the hands of Gandhiji and his followers. The CPI and others opposed Subhash Bose by supporting the resolution, which was then accepted. Afterwards, Gandhiji also did not cooperate with Subhash Bose. A stalemate was created to compel Subhash Bose to resign. So, Subhash Bose had to resign from Congress Presidentship prematurely. After that, Subhash Bose had given call for a movement against British imperialism. But the Congress Working Committee took a decision that since Subhash Bose had called upon the people for a movement against British imperialism without the permission of the Committee, a disciplinary action was to be taken against him. Subhash Bose was suspended from the Congress. In the language of Subhash Bose– ‘it was not a suspension, it was an expulsion’. Then, Subhash Bose tried to unite all the left forces of India, to develop an alternate leadership. He invited the CPI to join Ramgarh Conference with that objective. And he told the CPI: ‘If this left consolidation can be done, it will pave the way to prepare the ground for the development of Communist movement in India’. But the CPI did not join. They sided with Gandhiji.
Next, there was an uprising in 1942. In that uprising, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was also a participant. He was imprisoned at that time. The Second World War had then broken out and the Soviet Union had to align with Great Britain, against fascist axis of Germany, Italy and Japan. Without understanding the implication of this alliance in that given context, the CPI blindly opposed 1942 uprising and supported British imperialism. This caused a misunderstanding in our country as if this opposition was according to the advice of Stalin. But Stalin never advised the CPI to do this. Rather in 1951, when a delegation of the CPI went to meet Stalin, he asked them: ‘What did you at the time of the War?’ They answered: ‘We supported Britishers.’ Stalin rebuked them for that. That was the stand of Stalin. So, this stand too of the CPI was non-Marxist.
Netaji Subhash Bose organized the INA utilizing the contradiction among the world forces in the Second World War. Actually, after secretly leaving India, he first sought help from Soviet Union. And Soviet Union told him that, at that point of time, such a help or support to him was not possible for them since it was in alliance with the British against the fascist axis. Then he went to Germany, from Germany to Japan, and took help from Japan –– surely not to allow Japan to occupy India. He was a patriot. This was a tactical line. Whether this tactical line was right or wrong might be a point of argument. But then the CPI openly branded Subhash Bose as an agent of Japan, a quisling (traitor). In this way, the CPI maligned Subhash Bose and the INA’s struggle for India’s freedom.
The CPI also supported formation of India and Pakistan through partition of the country based on religion. They advocated a queer theory – the Hindus represent one nation, and the Muslims represent another nation. By observing and studying all these things, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh came to the conclusion that from the very beginning the CPI did not reflect Marxist-Leninist outlook. It was and is not at all a Marxist Party. He said: ‘Those who founded the CPI were honest and dedicated. They had made many sacrifices. I respect them. But they could not understand Marxism. Like Kautsky and other leaders of the Second International, they only studied the works of Marx and Engels but did not assimilate the essence of it. Plekhanov had studied the works of Marx and Engels. Once, Plekhanov was even the teacher of Great Lenin. But in applying the teachings of Marxism-Leninism in real life, they proved themselves to be non-Marxist. They failed to apply Marxism-Leninism correctly because they studied Marxism just like scholars or pedants but not as a living theory. Knowing the postulates of a theory or ideology and applying that ideology in life and action are totally different things. And here, they failed. They could not accept Marxism as a philosophy of life and hence failed to apply Marxism in all aspects of life.’
Lenin’s teaching on Party formation
Here I shall quote some of the important teachings of Lenin to prove how Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had applied those teachings creatively. And in course of that, he even further elaborated and enriched them. Regarding formation of a Party, Lenin said: ‘‘To establish and consolidate the Party means establishing and consolidating unity among all Russian Social Democrats’’. (Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra) When Lenin said Russian Social Democrats, he meant Communists and ‘‘and for the reasons indicated above, such unity cannot be brought about by a decree. It cannot be brought about by, let us say, a meeting of representatives, passing a resolution’’. (ibid) Note this! According to Lenin, unity to form a Party cannot be done only by a decree, or by passing a resolution in a gathering of representatives. ‘‘Before we can unite and in order that you may unite, we must first of all firmly and definitely draw the lines of demarcation.’’ (ibid) Among those who are there to form the Party, where there are differences, those lines of demarcation must be drawn. ‘‘Otherwise our unity will be a merely fictitious unity which will conceal the prevailing confusion and prevent its complete elimination.’’ (ibid) Then he said: ‘‘Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.’’ (What is to be done) And Comrade Shibdas Ghosh understood it. How was this CPI formed? Merely some self-proclaimed communists, or at best I can say, communist-minded people, some such persons, some such groups, staying in different parts of the country, contacted with each other, gathered together, and formed the party. Just like a representative passing a resolution and bringing out a decree, they founded their party. They did not follow Lenin’s teachings at all.
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh developed and enriched Leninist concept of party building
Here, regarding ‘revolutionary theory’ of Lenin, Comrade Ghosh said, while elaborating it further: ‘‘By revolutionary theory, Lenin did not mean just the political programme and policies of a Party.’’ (Why SUCI(C) is the only genuine communist party in India) Note this point. Not only programme and policy of the Party. Here is the elaboration made by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh– ‘‘He actually meant a complete epistemological category developed by the Central leadership of the Party by dialectically coordinating the understanding and experiences of different branches of knowledge, including science and covering all aspects of life. …Only through correct application of the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism, in concrete conditions, and thereby continuously elaborating, concretizing, developing and enriching its revolutionary theory, can revolution be really organized and be victorious in different countries.’’ (ibid)
So, following Lenin’s teachings, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh elaborated: ‘‘What are those primary conditions essential for the formation of a Communist Party? First, those who have taken the lead in forming the Party would have to lay the foundation of ideological centralism.’’ Lenin said unity of ideas. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s expression is ideological centralism. I am continuing to read from Comrade Ghosh’s works: (they) ‘‘…would have to lay the foundation of ideological centralism – first among themselves through a socialist movement, based on dialectical materialism, covering all aspects of life including the minutest details of their personal lives…. Secondly, unless ideological centralism-that is to say – one process of thinking, uniformity of thinking, oneness in approach and singleness of purpose has been developed, the concrete conception and personified expression of collective leadership within the Party cannot be made possible at all and unless this condition is fulfilled, it is to be understood that the time has not yet come to give a final organizational shape to the Party.’’ (ibid) This is the elaboration of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh of Leninist teachings. He further added :‘‘Thirdly, through a relentless and painstaking struggle, a band of professional revolutionaries are to be developed from among the leaders and cadres – who have taken up the cause of formation of a revolutionary working class party. Professional revolutionaries are those who constitute the most advanced section of the militant and conscious proletariat, who, through a Socialist movement, not merely in economic political fields, but in all aspects of life had been able to embrace Marxism Leninism, that is a revolutionary ideology as the proletariat, in such a manner that they are capable of engaging themselves constantly in the very many complex battles of the revolutionary life gladly, unwaveringly and without any reservation, rising above all their personal consideration, needs and difficulties and who can unhesitatingly and happily, submit everything personal to the Party in the interest of the revolution. If the leadership of the Party at different levels is constituted from among such professional revolutionaries, then only, can a Party acquire the character of a real communist Party. Only when all these three conditions are fulfilled, can the formal Constitutional shape be given to a real communist party through a Congress.’’ (ibid)
Next, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh said: ‘‘In the present era, by eliminating individualism and individual leadership, from the internal democratic life of the Party, collective leadership can be established only when the collective knowledge of the leaders and members of the whole Party derived through struggles and interaction of ideas, knowledge and experiences, has been personified and concretized in the best manner in a leader of the party.’’ (ibid) Regarding the three conditions, these are the elaborations provided by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh of Leninist teachings. So, following Lenin’s guideline, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh enriched and elaborated it further, and in that course, he founded our Party.
Marxism is a guide to action in a concrete situation
Again I quote Lenin. He said: ‘‘We think that an independent elaboration of the Marxist theory is especially essential for Russian Socialist- for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which in particular are applied in England differently from France, in France, differently from Germany. In Germany, differently from Russia.’’ (‘Our Programme’, SW, Vol. II) There is a general international guideline. But the situation differs from country to country. So Marxism-Leninism is to be concretized in the concrete situation of a country. It was the teaching of Lenin. It was not followed by the CPI. They blindly copied either Moscow or Beijing leadership without caring for concretization of Marxism-Leninism in Indian condition and thus went against the advice of Lenin. But Comrade Shibdas Ghosh concretized the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism on Indian soil and also concretized the general guideline of revolution in the concrete condition of India. Here also, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh correctly applied Lenin’s teachings, whereas the founders of the CPI failed. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh also highlighted another thing very much. He said: ‘‘Marxism is a noble revolutionary ideology. Consequently, the essence, the kernel of this noblest revolutionary ideology too lies ingrained in its cultural and ethical standard.’’ [Why SUCI(C), SW, Vol. II ] Then, Comrade Ghosh said, ‘‘Without acquiring the proletarian culture, which is much superior to, and nobler than bourgeois humanist culture, one can neither have the ability to grasp a revolutionary theory properly, nor apply it correctly.’’ (ibid) In this regard also, the CPI leaders failed. They could not believe that there is a necessity of proletarian culture, which is completely different from bourgeois humanist culture. First, the necessity of proletarian culture is to be felt. Then it is to be developed and acquired. This struggle is necessary. This is also an important elaboration and contribution of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh.
Some valuable teachings of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh
In this way, this Party was built up as a real communist party in our country. There was an arduous struggle on his part to build this Party. I have already read out from his works on this struggle in the beginning. There was a notable incident. In Anushilan Samity, he had a respected leader named Charu Roy whom he and others obeyed strongly. When he heard about the formation of a new party by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, he vehemently opposed it. He warned Comrade Ghosh, ‘Do you know if you disobey me, what will be the consequences’? Comrade Shibdas Ghosh answered smilingly ‘Charuda, you have taught us even to face death for truth.’ That leader became silent. And how adverse a situation was faced in those days of Party formation. I myself witnessed it when I joined the Party towards the end of 1950. Though most of the comrades know this saying of Comrade Ghosh, still I am repeating it to rouse our conscience. ‘‘I can still recollect those early days when we started building up the party there were very few people to support us; we could not even arrange a room as shelter and, day after day, in our fierce battle to build up a new party in the midst of severe obstacles and a completely adverse situation, we had to strive hard even without food, but we had no grievance for all this. For years together we shared a grass-mat only, and so many winters we passed like that. Our old friends will bear it out even today. They will relate that never could they trace any lack of composure in us. How many days we went without food, but we felt ashamed to tell about it! That we could not arrange our provisions, we could not collect even the minimum was considered to be our own failing. What was there to be proud of? How could it be the height of ‘sacrifice’? Even to spell it out was a matter of shame to us.’’ (ibid)
‘‘When I started this Party with just a handful of compatriots, everybody laughed at us. Then, the CPI, then an undivided Party, ridiculed us. They taunted us saying that we have sprouted like a mushroom. They derided us by saying that ‘if SUCI is a Party, then a bat also is a bird. How is it that they too would sit with us.’ The Forward Bloc, RSP, RCPI––every party said that the SUCI was not a party at all- it was just a club. Even sitting with us’’ – means with the SUCI, ‘‘could not be contemplated. I endured all this silently. I ignored all these ridicules, and just proceeded along with firm resolve to build up the Party.’’ (Mass Movement in India and Tasks of the Youth) How did he feel at this phase of struggle? ‘‘A real revolutionary has sacrificed nothing. On the contrary, in place of what he has left behind–a house, a car, some money and means, property and wealth, comfort and luxury, he has achieved something a million times greater; he has regained dignity. The wants and privations, thousands of sufferings and oppressions which the revolutionaries have to put up with may seem very painful to common people, but the peace and happiness which the revolutionaries enjoy, even being in the midst of an apparently painful and constantly struggling life, cannot be fathomed by those who live in comfort and security.’’ (ibid) That was the feeling of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh at that time.
It is an honour to be a member of SUCI(C) today
But today, there are many comrades, many new comrades, students and youths who are in the Party. And when they are joining the Party, they are finding that it is comparatively a big Party, having organization in many states. There are mass and class fronts, many forums. But think of those days – how Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, with firm determination, indomitable spirit, undaunted in pursuit of objective and, what will I say, boundless emotion for the oppressed people, firm commitment to revolutionary cause and unwavering conviction in Marxism-Leninism conducted a firm determined struggle– a struggle of life and death to lay the foundation of the Party. That it was a struggle of life and death was evident from his own words: ‘I can even die’. With perseverance, patience and all out struggle, he built up this Party. Today, being a member of this Party, today being a leader of this Party, makes one an honourable person among people. But we must recall those hard days when our great leader faced so many obstacles to found the Party.
Objective situations of Soviet and Chinese revolutions were different from Indian condition
We know great Lenin and Mao Zedong also faced hurdles while they were engaged in founding the revolutionary parties in their respective countries. But the nature of obstacles were different owing to difference in objective conditions of their countries with all their respective particularities and peculiarities. When great Lenin differed with Plekhanov and Kautsky whom he once considered as his teachers, they were no more Marxists. Lenin correctly understood that they had deviated from Marxism. He differed with the Second International. He differed with the other RSDLP leaders and conducted relentless struggle for 12 long years to form a new Bolshevik Party. At that time he also started with a handful of his associates. So, that was a great struggle on the part of Lenin. That is also an example before us. But the situation was different for Lenin. That was a unique struggle, no doubt. But Lenin built up the Bolshevik Party at a time when he was himself a leader of the RSDLP (Russian Social Democratic Labour Party). He also got some leaders of RSDLP who joined him in the formation of the Bolshevik Party. But, at that time, bourgeois propaganda posed a tremendous obstacle before organizing the first Socialist Revolution. There was a very powerful propaganda that Marxism was wrong, utopian, unrealistic, and there could never be any Socialist Revolution. So to organize a Socialist Revolution in those circumstances was a very difficult task. But historically Lenin proved that Marxism was correct and Socialist Revolution was also possible.
Lenin himself said that the First World War situation had created a favourable ground for revolution, because Russian people were exhausted in the War. They were opposed to continuation of war and wanted immediate end of war and establishment of peace. Famine had broken out. People asked for bread and the peasants demanded land. People also wanted liberty. These slogans were very popular at that time, which made the call for revolution popular. The bourgeoisie who came to power through February revolution in 1917, did not fulfil these aspirations of the people. So the people supported the Bolshevik Party in November1917.
Moreover, the imperialists were at loggerheads with each other during the war and so they could not unite against revolution. And also at that time capitalism was not much developed in Russia. In agriculture, feudalism was dominant. Some industries were developing here and there. But that was not the dominant feature. And the Czarist rule was a most oppressive feudal rule. But capitalism was developing. Revolt of 1905 was a bourgeois democratic revolt. February revolution of 1917 was a bourgeois democratic revolution. So, in that situation, bourgeois humanism and bourgeois humanist culture had a relative progressive role. It also helped the revolution, just like it helped our freedom struggle. The usual answer of the freedom fighters at that time was– first, the interest of the freedom struggle, second, the interest of my family. Family interest was there, but that was secondary. This was the humanistic culture at the time of our freedom movement. In Russia also, that was the slogan. This relative progressive role of bourgeois individualism also helped Comrade Lenin. In pre-revolutionary Russia, there was no existence of full scale parliamentary democracy. Duma was there, but only for a brief period. Trade union movement was developing mostly with a militant character and was not much corrupted by economism, legalism and opportunism. So Lenin did not face that powerful parliamentary illusion among the people, corruption among the workers. Degraded Second International also could not pose that much obstruction to Lenin. After the successful revolution in Russia, Lenin established the Third International in 1919. Success of revolution helped to establish Lenin’s ideological leadership in the international arena as well. In China, which was a most backward and illiterate country having no communication system, it was a gigantic task to organize revolution. You know about the historic Long March. Great Mao Zedong himself had to travel 12,500 kms, either on foot or riding on horse or by a boat. He had to travel in this way. So it was also a very difficult task. But China was, at that time, in the midst of bourgeois democratic revolution. People’s Democratic Revolution means Bourgeois Democratic Revolution led by the proletariat according to Mao Zedong’s words.
It was very difficult to educate, to impart the scientific thoughts of Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese peasants and workers who were mostly illiterate. He also had to face differences with the leaders who fell victim to both left and right deviations. His leadership was ultimately established after 13 years of struggle. He had to lead a few decades long civil war, not only against Kou-Min-Tang regime but also against both Japanese and US imperialism. He had a good number of leaders with him. He did not face parliamentary illusion among the people as there was no parliament. Trade union movement was in incipient phase. He enjoyed full support of the international leadership excepting few months. Moreover, bourgeois individualism also had relative progressive role as China was in the phase of bourgeois democratic revolution. But here, in our country, the conditions and difficulties were altogether different.
Blunders of undivided CPI
The undivided CPI, all through got support from the Soviet Party and Chinese Party. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had to face this question from the CPI people who asked him: ‘Do you accept Stalin as your leader? Do you accept Mao Zedong as your leader?’ Comrade Shibdas Ghosh answered: ‘Yes. They are my leaders; they are my teachers.’ Then they said: ‘They consider our party as a communist party. But you don’t accept our party as a communist party. So you are not following Stalin and Mao Zedong.’ Many left minded common people also raised this point. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh answered: ‘They are my leaders. But they do not know the real character of your party. You misinformed them and due to that, out of wrong understanding, they are giving support to your party.’ That was the answer. Many honest people supported Marxism-Leninism and Communism. Particularly after the success of Soviet Socialist revolution, many intellectuals, educated people, considered Communism, Marxism as a great ideology and considered the CPI as a communist party as it was supported by the Soviet Union and the Chinese party. So, they joined the CPI, supported the CPI. The CPI was a big party at that time. So, it was very difficult a struggle to prove that the CPI was not a real communist party. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh lived until mid-1976. He never got support from any international leadership. In spite of that, being loyal to the international leadership, he followed Marxism-Leninism correctly. Moreover, in India, bourgeois parliamentary politics had long tradition of influencing the people’s mind. Trade unions had been guided by the bourgeois parties and social democratic CPI and later the CPI(M) for long. This made the workers opportunist, non-militant, victims of economism and apolitical. Bourgeois individualism which had become most reactionary made people morally degraded, self-centric and indifferent to social obligations. While building our Party, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh had to face all these serious problems. Regarding the attitude to internationalism, I can tell you what Lenin had said: ‘‘…the Social-Democratic movement is in its very essence an international movement. …movement …can be successful only if it implements the experience of other countries. And in order to implement this experience, it is not enough merely to be acquainted with it, or simply to transcribe the latest resolutions. What it requires is the ability to treat this experience critically and to test it independently.’’ (What is to be Done) It means only being acquainted with the experiences of other parties or blindly follow those is not internationalism. That means–you must have a critical attitude to study it. And you must have the ability to subject it to independent test. In other words, you should not accept it blindly. Stalin also said the same thing.
There is a dialogue between Romain Rolland and Stalin in ‘Voyage to Moscow’. Romain Rolland advised Stalin: ‘‘You are quite in the know of how the millions of the Western people regard the Soviet Union. They envisage incarnation of their hopes and ideals on the Soviet Union. But sometimes their thoughts and ideas are very self-contradictory and confused. They expect that the Soviet Union will sort out all of their misgivings.’’ Romain Rolland suggested that Stalin should guide them. Stalin answered: ‘‘You said, we should chart out the programme for our Western friends,’’ – meaning Western Communist Parties – ‘‘I can’t help saying that we hesitate to take up this responsibility. We cannot do that as it is very difficult to ascertain the duties and responsibility of those who live in a completely different milieu of circumstances. Every country is special in its ambience and characteristics. It amounts to an audacity on the part of Moscow to suggest ways for the people of other countries. We restrict ourselves to general discussion.’’
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh warned of mechanical thought process in international communist movement in 1948
That was the approach of Stalin. But, in reality, what had developed internationally in the case of relationship of other communist parties with Soviet and Chinese Communist leaderships? When he was almost a street-dweller, Comrade Ghosh pointed this out way back in 1948 in his historic writing titled ‘Self-criticism of the Communist Camp’. With his extraordinary Marxist analytical outlook, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh forewarned: ‘‘While acknowledging with just pride and deference the very many achievements and successes and glorious sacrifices of the world communist movement, we have not failed, even for a moment, to point out the serious shortcomings in it …. These serious shortcomings and defects are largely due to the fact that the present leadership of the world communist camp is, to a very large extent, influenced by mechanical process of thinking …. Whereas it is an accepted Leninist principle that the general international line of revolution in the background of the prevailing international situation, should evolve through interaction of ideas between the communist parties which had developed in different countries on the basis of the concrete social, political and economic conditions pertaining there we, however, have been noticing for a long time that instead this dialectical process being followed for evolving the general international line of revolution, there has developed a practice, a habit, to accept without critical examination the analysis of the international situation by just one or two leading communist parties as the general international line of revolution. This has virtually led to the negation of the necessity of conflict of ideas in the matter of developing the concept of ‘international leadership’. The result was obviously disastrous for the communist parties of different countries.’’ He pointed out another shortcoming in that article, ‘‘So far, the communists of different countries have mostly put stress on one-sided routine work of organization without showing any regard to coordinating it with questions of ideology.’’ Then he had shown the real path. ‘‘We possess the Marxian science of dialectics – these provide us with the means by which we must test the leadership – be it the Soviet or the Cominform.’’ Otherwise, he said, it would weaken the leadership and make the followers blind. And I can say, from the very beginning Comrade Shibdas Ghosh taught us to respect great Stalin and great Mao Zedong as our teachers. He also considered them as his teachers. But he never followed them blindly. Whenever he felt there were some mistakes on the part of Stalin or Mao Zedong, he pointed out those maintaining full respect for them.
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was first to point out revisionist outlook of Khrushchevite leadership
I can tell you, when in the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956, Khrushchev attacked Stalin, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh was the first communist leader internationally to protest instantly. All other communist parties remained silent and confused. They were in disarray. It was the single voice of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh who criticized Khrushchev that without placing everything in the international forum, he could not evaluate Stalin because, Stalin was not only the leader of Soviet Union, he was also the leader of the international communist movement. Even in that speech, he pointed out the danger that, ‘‘No doubt, this observation of Khrushchev is sure to generate the trend of reformism-revisionism in the communist movement of different countries.’’ (On the Report of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU). Subsequently, this was proved to be correct.
Further Comrade Shibdas Ghosh said, ‘‘Stalin’s understanding of Leninism is the correct understanding of Marxism-Leninism.This understanding has brought the communist movement to its present stature. … Indeed like his predecessors Marx-Engels and Lenin, Stalin also is an authority on Marxism-Leninism. To blackout Stalin would have the inevitable result of disowning his authority and consequently of rejecting his interpretation of Leninism, which is the present day understanding of Marxism-Leninism. … It would mean invitation to all sorts of counter-revolutionary ideas to pass for Marxism-Leninism and the ideological foundation of the communist movement would suffer a setback.’’ (On steps taken by the CPSU against Stalin)
Damaging effect of Khrushchev’s attack on Stalin
The present generation of the comrades cannot imagine what was the damaging effect of Khrushchev’s attacks on Stalin, not only in the Soviet Union but internationally as well. After great advancement of socialism in the Soviet Union, defeating all external and internal attacks, particularly after the glorious victory of the Red Army over the fascist forces in the Second World War, Stalin enjoyed tremendous respect and popularity not only among the communists, but also among the peace-loving humanists and anti-imperialist fighters world over. So, the sudden slanderous attacks on Stalin by Khrushchev delighted the imperialists-capitalists and at the same time baffled and confused the communists as well as the progressive minded people throughout the world. As our Party was too small and unknown to many at that time, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s bold, resolute and timely fight in defending Stalin against Khrushchev’s slanderous attacks could not reach them. At that time, next to Stalin, Mao Zedong was considered an authority in the international communist movement. Had he played the role as Comrade Shibdas Ghosh did just at that point of time, definitely the situation would have been different. But the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) first supported Khrushchev’s criticism, in the main, only with the comment that Stalin’s merits were more than his demerits. Then after seven years, the CPC came out openly against Khrushchev’s revisionism. But it was too late. By that time, most of the communist parties blindly accepted Khrushchev’s revisionist line and got degenerated. Open conflicts started between the Soviet party and the CPC and the world communist movement was divided into two camps – ‘Pro-Moscow’ and ‘Pro- Beijing’. Then counter-revolution first destroyed socialism in Soviet Russia and East Europe. Mao Zedong, in his old age, had struggled to resist it in China by organizing the historic cultural revolution. But his death deprived him of continuing this struggle and ultimately the capitalist-roaders were successful in dismantling socialism in China. Eventually all the powerful communist parties in different countries, who had a long tradition of struggle and who were divided between pro-Moscow and pro-Beijing lines became disintegrated in utter confusion and frustration. Our Party was never pro-Moscow or pro-Beijing. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s teachings prepared our mind for these sad developments. We were not frustrated or confused. Our Party not only remained stable but grew speedily.
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh braved so many odds to build up SUCI(C)
So, Comrades, while building up this Party, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh faced many obstacles. Some of those might be comparable with what Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong had faced, while some might not be comparable as conditions were different. To some extent, they had set up examples, to some other extent Comrade Ghosh also had set examples. But among these leaders, Lenin’s role was the most important. He saved the revolutionary soul of Marxism by exposing and defeating the renegade leaders of the Second International and developed, enriched and brought the understanding of Marxism to a new height in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. This development and enrichment is called Leninism.
You must understand how our Party was formed by successfully applying Marxism-Leninism on the Indian soil. The new generation should know all these things. Otherwise there will not be any proper education. Today, joining the SUCI(C) is a privilege. It is an honour. In West Bengal and in some other states, the Party is very much appreciated, respected and admired by the people. But ordinary comrades are not educated properly. People say: ‘Your Party is honest, your Party is sincere, your Party is struggling and your comrades are very good in nature, character, and behaviour. But many comrades fail to answer why we are honest, dedicated, sincere, why our Party is fighting and protesting against injustice and oppression. What is the source? The source is Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s teachings. The source is Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought. Are the parties whom they take to be communist parties because of the media publicity, i.e. the CPI, CPI(M), real communists? No. Are they real Marxists? No. We are the real Marxists and real communists. And from that point of view, we are the only struggling left, militant left force. The parties named above don’t even reflect leftism in the truest sense. Often our cadres miss to point out these cardinal aspects. But to put it correctly, why today the CPI(M) are found to be so opportunist and why do they avoid struggles? Is it accidental?
Degeneration of CPI, CPI (M)
Actually they were never a Marxist Party. Earlier, they were honest. Sometimes they had joined movements also. The mistakes they had committed earlier during the freedom struggle were due to wrong understanding of Marxism. But those were honest mistakes. But today we cannot say that the CPI or the CPI (M) are committing honest mistakes. Earlier, though they were social democrats, they were militant. Today they have lost even that character. The CPI (M), CPI, have become out and out election-oriented parties. This process started when they were saddled in power in Kerala in the year 1957. That was the beginning and it happened because they are not real communist parties. They are social democratic reformist parties.
The undivided CPI government in Kerala behaved just like a bourgeois government. They had opened fire on the cashew nut workers in the interest of the Birla House. In West Bengal, up to 1966, first the CPI and then the CPI (M) had joined militant left movement. After 1967, when the United Front government came to power, there was a radical change in their approach. Sharp differences developed between our Party and the CPI (M). Lenin taught that the communists should join bourgeois parliament so long the people have illusion about parliament. That participation would be to make people disillusioned about the parliamentary system and expose the futility of bourgeois parliament. At the same time, Lenin advised to develop class struggles and mass movements outside the Parliament. But Lenin did not come across a situation where the communists could get a chance to form a government in a bourgeois set up. So the question of providing guideline in that respect did not arise at his time. It became the historical task on the part of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh to enunciate the guideline, the correct line to be followed by the communists, as revolutionaries as well as militant leftists, while running the government. He said there must be a difference between the bourgeois approach and our approach in running a government. The bourgeois approach is to ruthlessly suppress and crush class and mass struggles in the name of maintaining law and order.
Our approach must be completely opposite to it, i.e. encouraging and defending all class and mass struggles even if those are not legal but legitimate. So, police must not be allowed to intervene in and suppress these struggles. But the CPI (M) leadership differed with us. Then Comrade Shibdas Ghosh told them: ‘We will not join the government. You form the government. We will support it conditionally from outside to prevent a Congress-led government’. At that time, the people of West Bengal were very much left-oriented. The cadres of the CPI(M) were also very much militant. The CPI M) leaders felt that with this argument, if the SUCI (Communist) did not join the government, there would be problem for them. So, they had to accept it, thinking it would only be on paper but would not be implemented.
They allotted Labour Ministry to our Party, considering that the SUCI (Communist) would be unpopular as there would be labour unrest. From the Labour Ministry, being guided by Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Comrade Subodh Banerjee declared the historic policy that the United Front government would not allow police to intervene in the legitimate democratic movements. As a result, there were waves after waves of movements in West Bengal. Visibly perturbed, the industrial barons pressurized the CPI (M) and others to remove the SUCI (C) from the Labour Ministry. At that time, they could not oblige the industrial barons. But next time, in 1969, they did it and we were allotted the PWD ministry in the second United Front government. But still we remained in the government to implement the policy and to fight for the policy. In 1977, on the eve of the election, Jyoti Basu, the CPI(M) leader, declared in his radio speech: ‘If we form a CPI(M)-led front government, there will be no more movements, disturbances and turmoil. There will be peace. Earlier, at the time of United Front governments, the SUCI (Communist) was there. They created all these problems. Now the CPI(M) has no unity with the SUCI(Communist).’
Whom was he assuring? The people? Had the people demanded it? No! He was assuring the industrialists, big business and reactionaries who, in turn, helped the CPI(M) to ride to power. The CPI (M) also, in turn, fulfilled their commitment.
CPI (M) no less responsible for rise of communal BJP
During the 34 years of their uninterrupted rule in West Bengal, whatever the CPI(M) did, they did in the interest of the multinationals, industrial houses, and the big business and thus made leftism unpopular. West Bengal was the soil of leftism since the days of freedom movement. Communism was also very popular here due to revolutionary tradition of freedom struggle and the impact of Soviet socialism. During their 34 years of rule, the CPI (M) maligned leftism and communism here. They became so unpopular that people of West Bengal now consider the BJP which had no existence earlier in the state, as the alternative to the TMC.
The CPI (M) is not in viewed as the alternative. Let me recall how Comrade Shibdas Ghosh in 1969 gave a warning to the CPI (M) about the rightist upsurge. ‘‘In this situation … religious fundamentalists like the Jan Sangh (predecessor of the present day BJP) are waiting in the wings. As soon as whatever attraction the people still have towards left movement will be undermined, they would come out in the open. The ruling CPI(M) leaders are not conscious of this danger … They are thus pulling down the prestige of communism and maligning it.’’ (Some Aspects of United Front Politics and Party Work)
Wrong formulations of CPI, CPI (M), Naxalites
Another point also I want to mention here. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, from the very beginning, had pointed out that with achievement of political independence, power was transferred from the British imperialist rulers to the Indian national bourgeoisie through compromise. He also characterized independent India as a developed capitalist state. So, he enunciated that stage of revolution in India is that of anti-capitalist socialist revolution. The undivided CPI, then the CPI(M), and the Naxalites still harbour their wrong theoretical line of people’s democratic revolution. Although, as a matter of fact, the word ‘Revolution’ is now forgotten by them. According to their formulation – the main enemy is imperialism and feudalism, while the national bourgeoisie is progressive and an ally of revolution. But the fact is that Indian capitalism has not only developed monopoly capital but has even given birth to finance capital and multinational corporations. It is exporting capital to other countries. Indian monopolists, Indian multinationals are setting up industries in other countries also through export of capital. Thus India has become an expansionist power, an imperialist power. But the CPI (M), CPI, Naxalites still cling to their old concept and prattle the slogan of People’s Democratic Revolution.
How secularism has been distorted by CPI(M), CPI
At the initial stage, it was a mistake on their part. Now, it is their tactics, anyhow to find progressive bourgeoisie, either in the Congress or in other parties, to enter into alliance with them. Even they had in the past combined with the BJP also. Can they deny the reason why and how religious fanaticism and communalism could raise their ugly heads? Is it only because of the RSS-BJP? Yes, the RSS and BJP are no doubt responsible. But the Indian National Congress is mostly responsible. The Congress not only compromised politically with imperialism and shunned the path of armed revolution, they, in the field of culture, compromised with religion as well. In fact, ours was a religion-oriented freedom struggle. Gandhiji was like a religious prophet. The Congress did not follow the uncompromising trend of Renaissance of our country, which was initiated by Rammohan Roy and carried forward further by Vidyasagar. The National Congress did not fight medieval orthodox feudal tradition and culture. That is why the soil has not been freed from Hindu sentiment, Muslim sentiment and caste sentiment. So-called lower castes, or dalits did not join the freedom struggle. They combined with the Muslim league. Because the movement led by the Congress was considered by them as an upper caste Hindu movement. When Congress came in to power, they engineered communal riots on several occasions. The Congress Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, arranged to open the gate of Babri Masjid to initiate Rama puja. Can all these be called secular acts?
RSS-Hindu Mahasabha opposed freedom struggle and supported British rulers
The RSS is a diehard Hindutva-oriented organization. Many people do not know that the RSS opposed the freedom struggle because it was not for establishing a Hindu state. Even the RSS characterized the freedom movement as reactionary and held that the freedom fighters were not patriotic. I can quote from M S Golwalkar, the RSS theoretician, to prove that. Can the RSS- BJP deny that they opposed the 1942 August uprising and 1945 Bombay Naval Mutiny? Can they deny that Mr. Savarkar, another RSS theorist, had sent mercy petition to the British rulers from Andaman jail with the assurance to serve the British Empire and, on being released, had appealed to the Indian youths to join the British Army which was then ruthlessly crushing freedom struggles while Netaji Subhash Chandra was fighting against the British government? Was it not Mr. Savarkar who first demanded partition of the country, which was later endorsed by the Muslim League and followed by communal riots? Now they are distorting history and camouflaging themselves as patriots.
RSS-BJP do not represent Hinduism either
The RSS was and is opposed to Indian Renaissance. The Indian Renaissance was initiated by Rammohan although he believed in Vedanta. But, at the same time, he said, ‘studying Vedanta will not help younger generation, because Vedanta does not recognize the objective world. So science should be studied’. Rammohan said further: ‘Sanskrit education pushed us back by thousands of years. So, Sanskrit learning should not be there. English education should be introduced.’ Vidyasagar went further ahead and boldly declared: ‘Vedanta and Sankhya are false. Western materialist philosophies are to be taught to prove before the Indian students that Vedanta and Sankhya are false systems of philosophy.’ The RSS is opposed to this. It highlights these religious philosophies and encourages Sanskrit education. Thus the RSS is opposed to Renaissance also. The RSS does not even practise real Hinduism. If you accept Chaitanya, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda as Hindu religious preachers, you should accept the fact that none of them demanded Babri Masjid to be demolished considering it as the birthplace of Rama. Tulsidas’ ‘Ram Charit Manas’ has no mention of Babri Masjid having been built being at the birthplace of Ram. Even Valmiki Ramayana which is stated to have been written before Ram’s birth, did not indicate any specific site as birthplace of Ram. Chaitanya embraced all – Hindus, Muslims and people belonging to all castes. That was the appeal of Chaitanya. Ramakrishna went to Mosque to offer namaz, had prayed in church. In a simple way he said, ‘We say JAL, Christians say WATER, Muslims say PAANI– all are the same. So is God, Bhagwan or Allah. There is no difference among them.’ Vivekananda even said: ‘‘If I had a son, …. …It is very natural that simultaneously with full freedom and without having any conflict, my son could be a Buddhist, my wife a Christian and myself a Muslim.’’ (Message and writings, Volume III) Vivekananda further said: ‘We respect all religions. To me both Krishna and Mohammed are the same.’ If Chaitanya, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were Hindus, then can you say that the RSS-BJP are preaching Hinduism?
Cause of development of communal forces
But how could the communal ideas and forces develop in India? Firstly, the Congress is responsible for this as I said earlier. The united CPI too did not fight communalism– casteism. A cultural movement was necessary at that time against feudal obscurantist ideas and religious approach. Neither the Congress nor the CPI ever launched this movement. Rather, they supported partition of the country declaring that the Hindus and the Muslims belonged to two separate nations. Moreover, a movement of the students and youths had surged forth like a tide in 1974 under the banner of ‘Navanirman Samiti’ against the Indira government. This movement had started from Gujarat and gradually spread all over the Hindi belt in Northern India. After some time, Jayaprakash Narayan joined this movement. From then onwards, it was called JP movement. Demands were democratic and large number of democratic minded students, youths and people participated in that movement. The RSS-Jan Sangh also joined the movement to exploit it to reap political advantage. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh then appealed to the CPI and CPI(M) to join the movement, as Lenin had joined the movement led by priest Gapon in 1905, knowing fully well that the leadership was in wrong hands.
But he joined the movement as the demands were legitimate, democratic and there was people’s participation in that. But when Comrade Shibdas Ghosh told the CPI(M), CPI: ‘Let us join the movement. We shall isolate the RSS-Jana Sangh and raise the banner of Leftism,’ they did not respond. The CPI then openly supported Indira Congress while the support for Indira Congress by the CPI (M) was covert. So they refused to join the JP movement raising an argument that Rightists were there. Comrade Ghosh answered: ‘Rightists are there because we Leftists are not there.’ We criticized the CPI(M) on this point.
Thereafter, the CPI(M) had broken unity with us because we had criticized them, pointing out that they were avoiding movement against Indira Congress. But what happened later? Though they did not join the JP movement on the plea of the RSS-Jana Sangh being there, yet, when in 1977 election was announced and the Janata Party was formed with the rightist parties like the Congress (O), RSS, Jana Sangh, Lohiaite Socialists etc., the CPI(M) felt that they could win in the elections if they would combine with the Janata Party. So, they did not waste time and joined hands with them for electoral gains. Then, they supported Morarji-led government, knowing fully well that Vajpayee, Advani from Jana Sangh had been in the ministry. Next time, when VP Singh, a Congress dissident, assumed power dethroning Rajiv Gandhi, both the BJP and the CPI(M) unitedly supported VP Singh. At that time, a meeting was held in Calcutta Maidan, addressed by both Jyoti Basu and Vajpayee. Moreover, the CPI (M) won Calcutta Corporation election with the support of the BJP. This is history. Was it a fight against communalism? Or it was, indeed, sheer opportunism.
CPI (M)’s opportunistic vote politics
In this way, the CPI (M) prepared the ground for the BJP to come. What happened in the last parliament election in West Bengal? When the CPI (M) felt there was no chance of their victory, they advised their followers to vote for the BJP. ‘‘Now, Ram, then Bam (Left)!’’– that was the slogan. The people of West Bengal know it. Here ‘Ram’ means the BJP. ‘Then Bam’ – means ‘next would be the Left’. They felt if the BJP was victorious against the incumbent TMC, they would have a chance to win in the next election. In this way, the BJP secured a good number of left votes. Many CPI(M) followers rallied behind the BJP. What did the CPI (M) do in the last assembly election in the state? Not only had they combined with the Congress, they discovered a new ‘secular’ ally in a Muslim cleric named Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui who floated a new Party ISF just before the election. So, they formed a ‘secular’ front with the Congress and the ISF branding the latter also as a secular outfit. The sole objective of joining hands with the ISF was to secure Muslim votes. So, now, the CPI (M) has become an out and out vote-oriented party, just like other bourgeois parties.
They have become an out and out nationalist party also. This time they have decided to hoist the national flag on 15th August. They inaugurated their new Delhi office also on Gandhiji’s birthday. They observe Ambedkar Jayanti. Their only line is how to win some seats in the Assembly and Parliament by aligning with all other bourgeois parties who are in opposition.
The Congress is a trusted party of the ruling bourgeoisie. This is known to all. Other parties are regional, casteist or parochial parties. The CPI(M) is their ally. Are they secular? Is the Congress secular? What is secularism? Does merely being anti-BJP make one a protagonist of secularism? It is true that a real secular force is definitely anti-BJP. But it does not mean that those who are opposed to the BJP only to win elections are secular. Secularism, in proper sense, means that religion will not have any connection with politics, education, cultural and social affairs. It will remain only a personal affair. Do these parties practise these things? No, none of them. They also indulge in religious practices, casteist and communal practices. But the CPI, CPI(M) are branding them as secular. Because it suits them; it suits their electoral purpose. Who are backing the CPI(M), CPI? Go through the newspaper. Corporate sectors are contributing crores of rupees to them. Yes, the corporates contribute more to the BJP and the Congress than to the CPI(M), CPI. But they do contribute. Is it for organizing revolution against them or to serve them? That is the point.
World capitalism has no clue how to stave off growing insolvable crisis
Comrades, internationally and nationally, we are placed in a very grim situation. Present day capitalism is not only decadent but in its moribund stage. It is dying capitalism. Dying does not mean it will die by itself. No social system dies by itself. It is to be replaced by revolution. That is the law of history.
World capitalism is writhing in the grip of ever deepening, ever-lasting, ever expanding recession. Throughout the world, lakhs of industries are being closed down, crores of workers are being retrenched. Crores of people are unemployed. Crores of people are begging in the street. There is no solution, because maximization of profit of the monopoly capital and the multinationals have caused maximum exploitation of the people. Purchasing power of the people is squeezed. So, there is no market. Bourgeois economists are practically in the doldrums. Even some are suggesting to apply Keynes’ theory i.e. employing some workers to dig a pit, and then again engaging some other workers to fill up the pit. Thus, unemployment will be reduced and purchasing power of people will increase. That is the suggestion (!). Some are suggesting to give three to five thousand rupees to everyone to boost their purchasing power for a year, or for a few months. Can the State provide this amount of money for all the time? No. These are all absurd suggestions.
So, bourgeois economy is sinking. Neither any homeopathic, allopathic, ayurvedic medicine, nor any quackery can save it. Workers are mercilessly exploited, permanency of job is almost abolished. Instead, a contractual system has been introduced. Migrant labourer is a new term which was unknown earlier. Outsourcing i.e., capital running to the areas where raw materials and workers are cheapest, has been introduced. There are bonded labourers and child labourers. There is no time limit for work. There is no fixed wage. Nothing of the sort. This is the picture of the entire world. Militarization of economy is going on in full swing. Why? Because, as consumer market is squeezed, they have been artificially boosting militarization of economy which, in turn, enhances taxation and pushes up price line further. All these are happening. Politically there is no democracy, no liberty, no freedom. Liberty, freedom, democracy are there only for the monster capitalist class to exploit the people. They are enjoying unbridled liberty. But there is no liberty for the people. Parliamentary democracy has become a fascist autocracy. There is no question of ‘by the people, for the people, of the people’. It has now become ‘by the moneybags, for the moneybags, of the moneybags’. The bourgeois leaders are hypocrites and fraudsters. They befool the people. They mislead the people.
Cultural degeneration engendered by crisis-ridden capitalism
And the most severe is the attack on the domain of ethics and morality. Capitalism is immoral. Religious morality is no more there. The morality that developed at the time of freedom struggle is also no more there. The rulers are destroying the thinking faculty of the younger generation, intellectual faculty of the younger generation so that nobody can raise any question, nobody can organize any protest. They are being turned into something like animals, or even worse than animals. So, they are encouraging alcohol and drug addiction. They are promoting blue films and sex-perversion. Why are these things happening? Why is there a spurt in rape, gang rape and murder? Even a six month old girl, six year old girl, or ninety year old woman are not spared. Who are creating these criminals? Are they human beings? In physical appearance, they might be human being but in conduct and behaviour they are worse than animals. Even in the animal world, there is no rape and gang rape. These rapists and criminals are products of capitalism. Capitalism dehumanizes them, destroys human essence and morality in them. There is no peace, no mutual understanding in family life. Married life is breaking down due to conflict between husband and wife. Where is that sweet home? Children are being ruined. They are not getting fatherly or motherly affection. In Western countries, a trend has developed among a section of women to not become mothers. To them it is a botheration. Instead of married life, a good number of the younger generation, in particular, in Western countries prefer to stay in live-in relationship. ‘Let us be in a live-in relationship; Let us enjoy sex’-that is the mindset. They are habituated to enjoy life in night club. Who has been encouraging all these? Capitalism. Psychological disease, psychosis, paranoia, depression, mentality to commit suicide–all these are increasing. The entire human civilization is dying.
Danger of global warming and air pollution
Another disaster is also taking place. Yesterday you might have seen a report in the newspaper about global warming being caused by excessive emission of greenhouse gases. What is going on? Fossil fuel energy utilization is going on beyond permissible limit causing severe air pollution. Because of global warming, sea water level is rising and swallowing land. Temperature of sea water is also rising. Thus, this very planet is being endangered by capitalism. The capitalist-imperialist rulers are not ready to lower greenhouse gas emission. So, there are more rains, more floods, more droughts. Glaciers are destroyed, icebergs are melting. All these are due to capitalism. What a danger it has posed before mankind! Profit greedy capitalism does not bother at all for all such destructive activities!
Capitalism is responsible for deadly spread of corona
There is still a question about the place of origin of corona pandemic. That is to be investigated. But how did it spread? It is due to capitalism. The disease sprouted in Wuhan, China. When it was detected first, had there been a decision to cut off Wuhan from the entire world by suspending all to and fro traffic, the disease could not have spread this way. But Wuhan is a business hub of all monopoly houses and multinationals. So there was no suspension of traffic. And so the pandemic has spread throughout the world. And there is no joint effort to contain it. The capitalist-imperialist countries are spending huge amount of money for defence build-up. Had they decided to stop all military production, taxed all the monopoly houses more to garner huge amount of money and allotted the entire money so collected to employ all scientists and medical persons to discover and produce medicines for Covid-19 disease, the situation would have been different.
Only Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought can bring about desired emancipation
So, capitalism is the worst enemy of mankind. Who can save the mankind from this unprecedented crisis? Again, the only solution comes from Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought, from socialism. True that socialism has been dismantled. There are definite reasons for that. For its final victory, a new system, a new ideology takes much time. For example, it took hundreds of years of struggle for religious movements-whether of Hinduism, Christianity or Islam-which were perceived to be carrying the message of God, to achieve victory. Likewise, starting from Renaissance to the advent of Parliamentary democracy, it took about 350 years for bourgeois democracy to score final victory. And socialism is a system to end all class rules. Class rule started from slavery. From slavery to capitalism, class exploitation has been continuing. Only the forms have changed. So, class exploitation has been there for thousands of years. Socialism, which is to end class exploitation for good, existed for 70 years only and then suffered a reverse which is temporary. Marxism never claims that once socialism is established, the possibility of going back to capitalism again is ruled out. Marx himself said that ‘socialism, the first stage of communism, is a transitional phase between capitalism and communism. It can proceed to communism or it can go back to capitalism. That is why dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary.’ As time is short, I will not elaborate on this question.
Humanity is now placed in a situation where either more crisis, more destruction, more impoverishment, more deaths, more beggary, more starvation, more suicides, more retrenchment, more unemployment, more splitting of families, and extinction of love, affection, finer human feelings will continue or all these maladies, aberrations or injustice should end. Entire humanity is crying for emancipation which only can be brought about by socialist revolution. Again it is the question of correct application of Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought and developing a socialist movement. That is the urgent need of the hour. As Lenin took lesson from the Paris Commune, and made revolution successful in Soviet Union, we should also take lesson from the crises and fall of socialism in Soviet Union and China. We should build up socialism and guard it in such a way that restoration of capitalism does not happen.
My next point is that once Lenin raised the banner of Marxism when it was in crisis following degradation of Second International. Lenin saved Marxism, developed and enriched it further with new contributions responding to the new needs of the new epoch, i.e. the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. And then he made socialist revolution successful in Russia. And that revolution was protected by Stalin. Stalin was a leader next to Lenin. He defined Leninism as Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. All the great men of that period, starting from Romain Rolland, Bernard Shaw, Einstein and in our country, Rabindranath, Saratchandra, Subash Bose, Bhagat Singh, Premchand, Subramania Bharati and others hailed Stalin as a great man. And what socialism contributed in the Soviet Union in seventy years was extolled by them. Rolland said, if Soviet Socialism is destroyed, human civilization will plunge in darkness. After visiting Soviet Union, a man like Rabindranath who was not a communist said: ‘‘…had I not come to Russia, my life’s pilgrimage would have remained incomplete… I see the shape of a new era for mankind in that hermitage (Socialist Russia) and so I became full of joy and hope…nowhere else in the history of mankind did I observe such a permanent cause of joy and hope’’ (‘Letters from Russia’ and ‘letter written to Amiya Chakraborty in 1939’) What Romain Rolland said, we are witnessing that today.
We should remember that what was once done by great Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong is now to be accomplished by us. History has bestowed that task upon our Party, the Party founded by great Marxist thinker Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, to save the nobility of Marxism Leninism, as interpreted by Shibdas Ghosh, to save the nobility of internationalism and to save the nobility of socialism. We can do it by strengthening our Party and by helping the real communists of other countries also.
Some notable incidents of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s struggling life
At the end, allow me to tell you some of his teachings and acts which are known only to a few comrades and mostly unknown to many others, with a view to rousing the conscience of mine and you all. When in 1974, our senior leader Comrade Subodh Banerjee was hospitalized in serious condition, preparation for holding a school of politics was complete. In the West Bengal Party secretariat meeting, difference developed as to whether to hold or cancel this school of politics. Comrade Shibdas Ghosh heard about this difference and intervened with these words, ‘When you are in revolutionary battle and if at that time you find me dying, will you stop the battle’? When he was addressing the condolence meeting after the death of Comrade Subodh Banerjee, which was published as ‘Revolutionary Tribute to a Revolutionary Character’ it was felt by us that not only he was discussing on Comrade Subodh Banerjee, it was also a speech along with his last appeal to prepare the minds of the comrades to face boldly when his death would take place. Discipline of grief-stricken funeral procession of Comrade Subodh Banerjee was highly admired by the people. But Comrade Shibdas Ghosh observed some minor lack of discipline among a group of newcomer villagers in the procession. Next day, he told me: ‘When you would organize next funeral procession, you should depute some volunteers among the newcomers’. Instantly, I felt he was advising me how to organize his funeral procession in future. What a great revolutionary he was! He had identified himself so much with revolution and revolutionary party that he could contemplate how even his funeral procession should serve revolution and the Party!
On 21 June 1975, he addressed the delegate session of a youth conference in West Bengal. That was his last public speech as on 26 June emergency was clamped down by Congress government. His speech was published as ‘Mass movement and task of the youth’. At that time, he was feeling that his days were numbered although his age was merely fifty two. For the first time he said: ‘‘I am not very old. But my health has already broken down from working untiringly to rear up party workers and develop the party. But all this has been for the sake of advancing the cause of revolution itself in this country. …I have been actively involved in political movements for long forty two years. Out of that, for thirty years I strove working tirelessly to build up the SUCI as a new type of party, a genuine Marxist-Leninist party on this soil.’’ At the end he had to say, ‘‘I am unwell and short of breath. I feel very tired. I cannot continue with the speech any longer. The rest will be explained to you by your leaders.’’ We never heard this type of comments from him. In fact, not only had he addressed many public meetings, gatherings of Party workers, he also used to have individual as well as group discussions with the comrades, every day, for long time.
Another incident I am to tell. At the time of emergency, I was invited by one intellectual Mr. Bharat Jhunjhunwala to attend a group meeting in Bangalore. I was hesitant due to my poor knowledge of English language. But Comrade Shibdas Ghosh encouraged me. I went there and on my way back I dropped at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh to have a group sitting in a slum area. When I was discussing, all of a sudden, all of us were arrested by plain- clothed police. I felt danger, not for me, but for those newcomers who would be implicated in false charge of preparing bombs and other crimes. At that moment, I recalled Comrade Shibdas Ghosh’s teaching to remain calm and apply intelligence tactfully to handle the situation. I did that and was successful to release all of them. I was very delighted. When I came back to Kolkata, I reported the incident to our leader Comrade Sachin Banerjee in the morning at our Party office. In the evening Comrade Shibdas Ghosh came to office. Already he had heard about the incident from Comrade Sachin Banerjee. He told me with affection, ‘You have done well’. I answered: ‘If we get you for at least ten more years, we will be able to win the entire country’. He looked at me intently and then said, ‘What I have done, would you not be able to take that forward?’ I answered, ‘Yes comrade, we will.’
On 1 August 1976, just four days before his death, there was a group talk in the morning at Tala commune in Kolkata. Incidentally I was present there. He was discussing on music, how tune of music touches a man. Suddenly he said, ‘You can read my speeches, quote from those and audience may applaud you. But my dream will not be fulfilled if those do not come from the core of your heart based on the feeling for the oppressed people, as those came in my mind.’
On 5 August 1976, the day of our profound grief, we, few leaders and comrades, along with the doctor, were by the side of his bed. From morning to evening, he suffered several heart strokes. But he endured silently in spite of severe pain. When he felt that there was no more time, and the doctor was weeping, he put his hand on the doctor’s back to console him and then looked at all the comrades surrounding him with a silent appeal to carry forward his mission. Then he breathed his last.
Comrades, these things are always haunting my mind and asking my conscience how much I am carrying forward his revolutionary mission. On this occasion, let us collectively take the vow that up to the last drop of our blood, we will continue to struggle hard to fulfil his dreams by educating and remoulding ourselves based on his revolutionary teachings. That will be the only real homage to the great Marxist thinker, leader of the proletariat Comrade Shibdas Ghosh.
Red Salute to great Marxist Thinker
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh!
Red Salute to all other comrades!
SUCI (Communist) Zindabad!
Workers of all countries unite!