D. RAJA, General Secretary, Communist Party of India
The Communist movement in India is almost a century old now and remains an important actor in the Indian political scene. From fighting the British imperialists to the inequalities of the Indian society, the Communist Left is one force which was at the forefront of these struggles and gave it a progressive ideological shape. After Independence too, through its leadership of the working class, peasant, youth, students and women’s movements it continued to be a major progressive force and simultaneously some of the most outstanding interventions in parliamentary politics were made through stalwarts like Indrajit Gupta, Bhupesh Gupta and Geeta Mukherjee just to name a few. In these hundred years or so, Indian society has undergone major churnings and our future program should be based on the constantly evolving political situation around us.
More than seven decades after independence, poverty and extreme inequality continue to plague the country. The situation has worsened in the last few years and India has seen a sharp decline on almost every development indicator, including fundamentals like the Hunger Index. The concentration of wealth at the top of the society is taking alarming proportions while millions suffer in penury and deprivation.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the unequal nature of the much- trumpeted growth. The whole country was haunted by the plight of migratory workers walking thousands of miles but at the same time, some capitalists managed to gain billions benefiting from the crony-capitalist nature of the BJP government at the Centre. Our struggles thus, should focus on the distribution of wealth and compel those in power to invest more and more in public health and educational infrastructure to enable judicious use of resources and lift the masses out of destitution.
Religious and caste-based distinctions have flourished under the BJP-RSS regime and have done great harm to the prospects of harmony in the country. The RSS and its affiliates continue to polarize the society on communal lines for vote bank politics and create an atmosphere of fear, hatred and divide. The Manuvadi RSS is full of contempt to the idea of Annihilation of Caste as propounded by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and continues to represent the Brahmanical ideology of caste hierarchy and discrimination. Under the exclusively upper caste leadership and mindset of the RSS, attacks on Dalits and tribals have increased manifold. Caste hierarchy remains one of the most important issue even in our times due to the inaction in taking up the radical agenda of Dr Ambedkar. The Left should combine its struggles with anti-caste forces to deal with all issues comprehensively.
Caste created disabilities have serious consequences for the holistic development of the society and treatment meted out to those belonging to so-called lower castes under the Hindutva hierarchy is ignominious. Ironically, the right-wing forces led by the RSS are seeking fertile grounds for recruitment in the same castes by preaching the unity of all Hindus. We should expose the hollowness of these claims and the Brahamanical outlook of the RSS-BJP. Similarly, the institution of patriarchy is getting strengthened under the same Manuvadi agenda which looks at women as inferior beings and obstruct their participation in the working of the society preventing the all-embracing development of the country. Our agenda should include gender issues and struggles should include women in larger numbers in leadership roles. Our comrades like Geeta Mukherjee struggled against these practices and it is on us now to carry the baton.
To sum up, all the grave issues the country is facing today are being aggravated under the RSS-BJP regime. Whether it is poverty, inequality, caste discrimination, communalization or gender disabilities, the RSS-BJP are on the side of the aggressor emboldening and protecting them. Our struggle should combine forces with all progressive, secular, democratic sections of the society to uproot this discriminatory regime and cleanse the society of the hateful ideological influence of the RSS. Only Left is equipped to play that role and as such, it is our historical responsibility.