People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 30, 2007
Build A Better India!!
People’s Democracy wishes all its readers a very happy new year.
This is usually the occasion to take stock of the developments that have taken place in the year gone by and to brace ourselves, to face the challenges that these developments have engendered, in the coming year. Of the many important developments that have, indeed, taken place, we shall focus on three, which, in our opinion, will significantly impact on the future of India and its people in the coming year.
Last year, through these columns, we had anticipated that the BJP, till then unable to come to terms with its electoral debacle in the 2004 general elections, will seek to sharpen communal polarisation in 2007. This, we had then said, was the only way that the BJP would be hoping to regain some of its lost popular support by seeking to consolidate the Hindu vote bank.
Alas, this prognostication turned out to be true. 2007 began with a spate of incidents of communal violence occurring in various parts of the country. In January, the RSS ostensibly observing Golwalkar’s birth centenary unleashed communal disturbances in Bangalore, Mangalore, Gorakhpur, Jabalpur, Tirur in Kerala, Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh etc. The year is ending with the organised attacks on the Christian minorities in the Kandhamal district in Orissa where 15 churches were burnt down and properties of Christian educational institutions destroyed. The targeting of religious minorities by the RSS tentacles like the VHP and Bajrang Dal has been on the rise for quite sometime now. The inhuman torching to death of the Christian missionary Graham Staines continues to haunt the state.
These attacks come soon after the Modi-led BJP victory in the Gujarat assembly elections. This victory gives a powerful impetus to the trend that we had noted in these columns last week, i.e., the RSS/BJP’s return to its basics. Advani describes the Gujarat victory as a `turning point’ signalling the BJP’s imminent return to power at the centre. Earlier in the year, the BJP loudly declared, during the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, that the road to Delhi is, “via Lucknow”. This is conveniently forgotten following their electoral debacle in the state. The BJP was reduced to its lowest levels of performance in the last two decades. Now they are seeing hopeful signs that the road to Delhi this time would be “via Gujarat”. So, they likewise thought at the end of the year 2003 when they won the assembly elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh unseating the Congress governments. This led them, with the arrogance of “Shining India” and the “Feel Good Factor”, to advance the 2004 general elections. They are yet to come to terms with that defeat and yet to explain with any rational reasoning the causes for their defeat.
Nevertheless, it remains a fact that in the year 2008, their aggressive communal polarisation is bound to intensify. Apart from the usual issues used to inflame passions, they are currently focussing on the Ram Sethu controversy (which in the first place is a project that was cleared by them when in government) and vehemently opposing any plan to improve the welfare of the minorities following the Sachar Committee recommendations.
Hence, the battle to safeguard the secular democratic foundations of the modern Indian Republic is bound to intensify in the coming year. All those who celebrate India’s diversity and plurality will need to strengthen their resolve to meet this challenge. This, however, can only be done when economic policy measures aimed at improving people’s welfare are implemented in right earnest. The UPA government must heed to the Left and the growing popular struggles in implementing the pro-people content of the Common Minimum Programme. If this is not done, the consequent popular discontent will, surely, be exploited by the communal forces for electoral gains. In order to prevent this, the coming year must see the intensification of popular struggles to implement such pro-people policies.
Secondly, as anticipated by us last year, this year saw the intensification of US imperialism’s efforts to draw India into its global geo-political strategy as a subordinate ally. The readiness of sections of the Indian ruling classes to accept such a status was reflected in the eagerness to conclude the Indo-US nuclear deal. It is only the committed persistence of the CPI(M)-led Left that has kept the deal from being operationalised so far. There is no need to repeat the inherent dangers to India’s sovereignty and independent foreign policy that have been exhaustively discussed in these columns throughout the year. Needless to add, the resistance to such imperialist pressures and any domestic capitulation need to be strengthened in the coming year.
At the global level, imperialist globalisation continues to impose greater misery on vast masses of world’s population. The data in the Human Development Report, 2007/2008 confirms the growing inequalities – between countries as well as within countries – between the rich and the poor in the phase of current globalisation. 40 per cent of world’s population living on less than $2 a day accounts for 5 per cent of global income while the richest 20 per cent accounts for three quarters of world income. More than 80 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening. Around ten million children die each year before the age of 5 and around 28 per cent of all children in the developing countries are undernourished.
Given this, the growing global popular struggles against imperialist globalisation need to be strengthened. Further, the growing popular resentment against US imperialism’s continued military occupation of Iraq and the unprecedented imposition of human misery, criminally surpassed probably only by Hitler’s Nazi fascism, needs to be merged with the anti-globalisation struggles into a mighty global anti-imperialist struggle.
Finally, the manner in which the CPI(M) and the Left steadfastly upheld the interests of the working people and the poor in India while uncompromisingly safeguarding our country’s sovereignty and independence have brought together the most unprincipled and opportunistic alliance of disparate elements in an anti-Left offensive. This is sharply exposed in the orchestrated opposition to the CPI(M) in the Nandigram developments. The anatomy of these developments have been examined in these columns very elaborately. Suffice to note that forces ranging from Muslim fundamentalism to the RSS/BJP supported by their NDA allies alongwith the Trinamool Congress and sections of the Bengal unit of the Congress party, foreign-funded NGOs and sections of corporate media have all joined together to provide patronage to Maoist activities in Nandigram targeting the CPI(M).
Reasons for such a grand alliance are not far to seek. The CPI(M)’s principled position is not permitting imperialism to proceed ahead with its strategic interests with the Indian ruling classes. The opposition of the CPI(M) has forced the UPA government to put on hold many a “reform policy”, ranging from the privatisation of the pension funds, further privatisation of the public sector, the banking, insurance and financial sector reforms, FDI in retail trade etc. Foreign capital and Indian big business are, naturally, upset that the opportunities to reap superprofits are not being permitted. The communal forces see the Left’s unflinching support to secular democracy and its crucial support sustaining the UPA government as the major roadblock for their advance. Both the foreign-funded NGOs and the Maoists have a pathological ideological agenda of opposition to the CPI(M). It is these factors that bring them all together to mount this offensive against the CPI(M).
If all these forces are harbouring any illusion of success in browbeating the CPI(M) into shifting from its principled positions on all or any of the above issues, then they are sadly mistaken. The events in Nandigram itself, with the highly successful CPI(M) rally held as we go to the press shows, the resistance to such a grand anti-CPI(M) alliance will succeed in defeating it.
As this year draws to a close, battle-steeled CPI(M) reaffirms its commitment to safeguard India’s sovereignty and independent foreign policy from imperialist pressures; to uphold modern India’s secular democratic republican character from the challenges of the communal offensive; to protect India’s economic self-reliance from being undermined by imperialist globalisation; and to strengthen popular struggles against policies that impose greater economic burdens on the people and policies that undermine democratic rights and civil liberties.
Come, join us to strengthen these struggles in 2008 to build a better India.