People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 12

March 21, 2010

Prof Hobsbawm Clarifies Position


ON March 2, 2010, The Telegraph (Kolkata) and soon after a few other papers ran a story, quoting an interview by eminent Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, to the New Left Review of London. According to these stories, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had told Hobsbawm that the party could lose the next elections in West Bengal.

Immediately after the publication of such stories, Prakash Karat had issued a three-para reply, rebutting the insinuation and giving some salient points of his telephonic talk with Hobsbawm.

Now we have received a message from Hobsbawm himself, in which he has clarified the position and we hope this would lay the whole matter at rest. 

The message read:

"I was in hospital for the last few weeks. After being back at home, I find that my comments on the CPI(M) in a recent interview to the New Left Review have caused some controversy in India. 

The CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had not told me that they are going to lose the next elections. On the contrary, he had told me how the party is under attack by the Maoists and other forces and how they are facing the situation. I am aware that the setback suffered in the parliament election is temporary and recoverable. As I point out in the interview elsewhere, Bengal is one of the places in India where the communists have mass support." (INN)