Published fortnightly from Kolkata
Vol. 51 No. 24 August 01, 2018
In this issue
Long Live Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought
SUCI(C) strongly condemns deliberate exclusion of the names of bona fide Indian citizens from the draft NRC in Assam and demands immediate inclusion of the same in the register
SUCI(C) severely condemns declaring Israel a “Nation State of the Jewish people” by Zionist Israeli regime
Beastly lynching spree : Which way to put an end to this barbarous trend
Government forced to bring back Pass-Fail system under pressure of people’s movement
NEWS & VIEWS
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought
[Fifth August, Two Thousand Eighteen. On this occasion of 42nd Memorial Day of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the great leader of the Proletariat and the Founder General Secretary of our Party, SUCI(C), the Proletarian Era decides to republish a selected portion of his immemorable speech on The Cultural Movement of India and Our Tasks delivered as far back as in May 1969 and has been included in the Volume II of his Selected Works.]
“However, much you may try it, you cannot keep a particular advanced standard of ideal, culture and sense of values arrested at one particular level. Be it the cultural standard of Saratchandra, Nazrul or Rabindranath, be it a theory or the ethical concept of Buddha (Gautam Buddha, great preacher and teacher of Buddhism), Jesus, Shankaracharya (great Vedantist philosopher of India), Mohammed or even of Marx, Engels or Lenin, all these are bound to become reactionary one day should one seek to arrest them at a particular stage. One must either advance or slide back; it is impossible to remain stationary. Let us discuss another point for better understanding. What do we mean by mental make-up? What are thoughts and ideas? We know that ceaseless conflicts and contradictions go on between an individual’s brain and the objective world around, on the one hand, and between the brain and a given social environment, on the other. Thoughts, ideas and the mental faculty of an individual are the products of, and they develop through these two contradictions. It is through the process of scientific generalization and integration of the thinkings of the individuals of the whole society that the social mind grows and develops — what we call in a word the social thinking. Through the process of internal contradiction of the human brain with this social thinking on the one hand and its contradiction with nature and the external world around, on the other, man’s intellect and his spiritual world grow and develop continuously. Nobody can keep this contradiction confined at a particular point. Had it been possible to arrest these two contradictions in the domain of thinking then it would have been also possible to keep man’s spiritual world at a standstill. But there is no way to stop anywhere. If you try to make any thought and idea eternal, however progressive these may be at a given point of time, by arresting them at a point, then an altogether different thing happens — they become reactionary in character.
As we discussed it a little earlier, motion is of two types — that which takes us forward, i.e. progressive, and that which pulls us backward, i.e. reactionary. Today, a particular ideology may reflect the most advanced standard of social consciousness in the sense that it conforms to the social necessity and is conducive to progress. But with change of conditions or, in other words, with change of the means of production or the way of life, new necessities arise. What happens if we fail to change and advance our thoughts, ideas, sense of values, or ideology to keep pace with this change? In the changed situation, at a later time, the progressive ideology of one time turns out to be reactionary in the perspective of the newer necessities of life. Naturally, it pulls us down continuously. This is how an ideology should be evaluated. Man’s thoughts and his spiritual world have thus grown and developed stage by stage, each stage superseding the preceding one — from those of the primitive society to the advanced modern thoughts and concepts of today. If you do not accept this view, then none of you, I think, will be able to answer a question. For example, we all know that great men like Buddha, Jesus Christ, Sankaracharya or Mohammed emerged at different periods of history. The religious-minded regard them, of course, as prophets or sons of god, the messiahs. But the humanists or those imbued with modern ideas regard them as great men, men of outstanding personality. These personalities stand head and shoulder above those whom we off and on laud today as big. In their times, they had left unmistakable marks of their genius. In our times, how many of us would stand in comparison to them ! But we cannot lose sight of the fact that even the intellect of such geniuses as Buddha, Jesus, Sankaracharya and Mohammed could not create the modern thoughts and ideas which we very much cherish today. Even with their high intellectual standard they could not propound the modern thoughts and concepts.
For instance, think of the modern thoughts, concepts and ideals like democratic consciousness, democratic principles of life and society, secularism, secular humanism, etc., and the new sense of values, namely freedom of the individual, emancipation of womanhood, liberty and freedom which all developed along with the change of the productive system centring round the industrial or capitalist revolution. Even school students today are more or less acquainted with these. But these thoughts and ideals could not be conceived even by geniuses like Buddha, Jesus, Sankaracharya or Mohammed. It is not that they were lesser geniuses or were incapable of high thinking. It happens because the material condition of human thoughts and ideals appears first and then, on this base, develops the world of ideas. Herein lies the limit of the relative independence of the power of thinking of man. I would ask those who would not accept this truth to answer a question. Why could not the lofty ideals and modern thoughts and concepts which we have produced today be conceived by those great men ? Those who believe in absolute freedom of thinking and hold that it is this free thinking that has given birth to this spiritual world centring round the intellect of an individual will have to answer this question clearly. Faced with this question they may realize that the concept of absolute freedom of mind is only a myth. In point of fact, the thinking of an individual has its relative independence and its limits, too. And those limits are the limits of the material condition.
What do we find then ? Say, your thoughts or those of Ajoyda’s (Ajoy Mukherjee, the then chief minister of West Bengal, present at the meeting), or of mine — what are these really ? How does the individual thinking grow ? To comprehend this we have to understand first what ‘social thinking’ really is. By ‘social thinking’ we mean a distinct ideological-cultural category within which there are constant conflicts and contradictions between opposite trends of thinking, ideas and concepts. There may be different theories concerning how and why this struggle, why this conflict, why this contradiction, but there can hardly be two opinions on the existence of the various trends of thinking within a particular category of social thinking. A category of social thinking, as we mean it, comprises diverse thoughts and ideas and their conflicts and contradictions in a given situation or context. The thinking of any one and of all individuals is nothing but the personification of social thinking. This personified social thinking is what we call individual thinking. This is how the thoughts of Sankaracharya developed. The thoughts of Jesus or Mohammed, the thoughts of Raja Rammohan, Rabindranath, Saratchandra, Nazrul and also of the political thinkers of different periods developed in the same way. There is no escape from it. The material entity, the physiology, the brain physiology and the contradiction between the human brain and social environment and nature — all these set a limit on it. So man’s spiritual world, that is his world of thoughts and ideas, has grown out of the material condition and in accordance with the environment. It exists in contradiction with the material condition. But it is not that as the means of production and mode of living change, thoughts and ideas of man undergo an automatic change. Such a notion is wrong. It is not mechanical like that. The relation between the two is inter-dialectical. Although the spiritual production of man, the spiritual world and the social thinking develop as the superstructure of the material production the spiritual production, spiritual world and the social thinking, in their turn, are continuously influencing the course of change of the material conditions. However, under no circumstances can man’s spiritual world supersede the limits of the given material condition. This is why none of the great geniuses of the past could conceive the modern thoughts and ideas. …
Almost all ideologies preceding humanism were founded on the spiritual values in the sense of religious values. All men were regarded as sons of god; therefore, love and compassion for all human beings were the basic tenets of all these ideologies. Certain sense of values came from recognition of god which we term, in the language of philosophy, a priori values. But the sense of values germinating from humanism, or bourgeois humanism, developed mainly around man. Recognition of social necessity and social consciousness was its focal point. It is this humanism which brought along, for the first time in human society, secular and democratic concepts, thoughts and values against the sense of values which grew out of religious beliefs and belief in a super-natural entity. Secular means worldly, pertaining to this world. Therefore, all secular concepts start from non-recognition of any supernatural entity. But in India, the term secular state has been reduced to mean equal patronage to all religions. This, no doubt, goes to the credit of statesmen, ‘theorists’ and political leaders of the country. But we are either erring from ignorance or have deliberately lost sight of the fact that the concept of secular state developed with the object of freeing the state, the social and economic life, the political and cultural movement from the influence of the church and religion. This is the very foundation of the secular democratic concept of life and secular humanism. It is not difficult to understand the role of the Congress leaders and the bourgeois intellectuals, but what is amazing is the concept of secularism betrayed in the idea, behaviour, everyday conduct and in-creasing patronage to religious ceremonies of many so-called Marxist and communist leaders. To what all these leaders together have reduced the meaning of secular state, cannot but naturally give rise to a question in the mind of all right thinking men: If Pakistan is called an Islamic state, a theocratic state, because it patronizes the Islamic religion, can India which patronizes and encourages all religions be called anything but a multi-theocratic state?
What are the principles of secular democracy, of secular democratic way of life ? None would perhaps deny that education plays an important role in developing the secular concept and secular principles of life. It is but natural then that education in a secular state should always uphold the secular values against the religious values. If we want India to be a really secular state, education must be completely freed from the religious tutelage. But what do we actually find in our so-called secular state? Far from making education free from religious influences, the influence of religion on the education system, observance of religious rites in the educational institutions and even religious preaching through textbooks are very much there and steadily on the increase. That is why those who are now conducting movements over demands for democratization of education should clearly understand two things before anything. First, education has to be freed completely from the religious tutelage. Secondly, it has to be examined whether the outlook which guides the educational reforms is conducive to the political, economic and social struggles of the working class and other exploited masses now going on in the society for emancipation from the capitalist exploitation. And it is with these two yardsticks that we shall have to judge whether a movement for educational reform and democratization of education is progressive or reactionary. Many a commission have been appointed in our country for educational reforms. These commissions have all produced voluminous recommendations running into thousands of pages on details and niceties of educational reforms. But they have not been able to strike at the root of the problem. That is why none of the leaders are able to identify the real cause of the moral degeneration in the country. Many intellectuals and political leaders believe that we are not conducting ourselves properly; hence this depravity.
I wish to bring home a point to those who are honest and are really trying to grasp the problem but who believe that people are not conducting themselves properly. True, there is no personal code of conduct today — neither in politics, nor in the educational institutions, nor in administration. Everyone feels it, so do we. But why is it so ? Just some years back, during the freedom struggle, you, the leaders, used to call the students the ‘flowers of Bengal’. They threw themselves into the freedom struggle, giving up everything, paying heed to nothing else, and sacrificing their careers. In those days, the students looked on their teachers as their ideals. Why don’t they do so today ? Where are they lost ? Are we to conclude then that god was pleased with us in those days, so blessed us with those worthy sons. But as god has become cross now, he is picking up and sending the bad lots. Surely none of you would share this view. Why then has the standard of morality gone down ? Why is it declining ? Is it not true that we all desire elevation of morality ? Are we not exhorting the people to be honest, to work hard and to save the nation ? But the more we urge them, the more the people are becoming pragmatic in the crude sense of the term. But why ?
Here I wish to discuss another point. I note that now-a-days in every field of political activities as well as in the cultural movement of our country the influence of ‘pragmatism’ is gradually growing. But this ‘pragmatism’ is totally alien to the concept of necessity which Marxism and science espouse. This influence of crude ‘pragmatism’ which we witness today in every sphere of life might have stemmed from vulgarization of Marxism. Because, this depravity, as I have noticed, is more pronounced among the so-called progressives, the Marxists and the socialists. Many a Marxist have turned pragmatists while they apply the Marxist theory of necessity. They do not bother about whether the immediate necessity reflects the real necessity of mankind, that is whether it helps the revolutionary consciousness of the proletariat to develop and is conducive to social progress and revolution or not. The concept of necessity that Marxism advocates, the necessity that science espouses, is that necessity which is necessary in the interest of social welfare and progress.
The concept of necessity that is conducive to the real progress and development of an individual in the course of continuous development of his revolutionary consciousness through growth and progress of the class struggle in society is, according to Marxism and science, the true ‘recognition of necessity’. Quite often contradictions arise between this necessity and the necessity of an individual. Contradictions may also arise sometimes between the immediate necessity of a political party and this social necessity. In the case of such contradictions we have to subdue such necessity of the party; we have to surrender such necessity to social necessity. The influence of pragmatism which is increasingly gripping every aspect of political and cultural movement today can be said, in a word, to be necessity of the worst kind. Nowadays, many pundits are heard to comment: ‘They are too utopian — their approach must be a little more pragmatic’. It appears to me that either they do not know that ‘pragmatism’ is a vulgar type of idealistic philosophy or else they are deliberately committing such errors. In simple political terminology ‘pragmatic consideration’ means ‘opportunist consideration’. In fact, they have confused ‘practical’ with ‘pragmatic’. They ought to have known that what is considered ‘practical’ in science is totally opposed to pragmatic approach. Pragmatic consideration does not reflect real necessity, it is a reflection of wrong understanding of necessity’. This pragmatism is spelling disaster today. It is making men more and more self-centred and eating into the vitals of mass movement.
In fact, the purpose of drawing these points into my discussion is to find a yardstick to correctly ascertain the problems facing the cultural movement. From all this it is clear that we are apt to commit mistakes if we proceed, depending solely on personal realization to determine whether a movement, cultural or political, is progressive or reactionary. We shall have to judge in the light of history and scientific reasoning, and integrating the same with the experience we gather on the basis of history, science and logic……”
SUCI(C) strongly condemns deliberate exclusion of the names of bona fide Indian citizens from the draft NRC in Assam and demands immediate inclusion of the same in the register
Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) has issued the following statement on 31 July 2018 with regard to publication of draft NRC in Assam :
We are awfully shocked to learn from media report that the final draft of National Citizens’ Register (NRC) published on 30 July 2018, does not contain names of over 40 lakhs of bona fide Indian citizens mostly belonging to the religious and linguistic minorities. Such a massive exclusion is totally incompatible with all earlier surveys and scrutinizing exercises undertaken even by the AGP-led state government itself particularly the ones carried out since 1985. In this connection, it bears recall that although neither of those surveys and scrutiny works of 1985 and afterwards was free from racist-religious-lingual bias and had arbitrarily and conspiratorially classified a large section of genuine Indian citizens as D-voters depriving them of their fundamental right, yet the number of such controversial D-voters did not exceed 3.7 lakhs. In this background, the figure of more than 40 lakh exclusions is not only unbelievable but, as was being apprehended, smacks of a well-knit conspiracy stemming from racist and communal hatred in preparing the list. Though it is pretended that there has been an extensive exercise to identify illegal migrants or trespassers branded as ‘foreigners’, the fact is that this declaration of such a huge population hitherto an integral of the country’s citizenry as persona non grata by virtually a stroke of the pen is a strong-arm coercive bandwagon of the BJP-run state and central governments, promoting and abetting racial-communal-ethnic-religious divide and hatred with alacrity in subservience to heinous bourgeois class design in dividing people in as many ways as possible. In no other state of India, and for that matter, nowhere in the world, one has seen or heard of any such fascistic exercise where the government has chosen to rob the citizenship of its own people and that too by giving it a full-proof legal stamp without caring what an enormous humanitarian crisis such an action would entail when these hapless roofless toiling masses would be forcibly uprooted from their homeland, turned stateless and left to shudder at the nightmare of an impending doom.
Such an inhuman act is befitting only to a government—administration which has fascistic intentions of subverting fundamental right of a targeted section of citizens through conspiratorial means and this drill of preparing NRC for Assam has been orchestrated jointly by the BJP-led central and state governments and extremely chauvinist forces from that objective only, pushing most of the excluded people who are extremely poor and helpless to total ruination. By dint of this sinister move, the BJP-led central and state governments have clearly intended to thwart the growth and development of mighty united movement of all sections of the toiling people of Assam irrespective of caste-religion-language on burning demands of their life.
We strongly condemn this fascistic conspiracy woven in subservience to the heinous interest of the communal-chauvinist forces of Assam and strongly demand immediate inclusion of the names of all genuine Indian citizens seemingly dropped from the draft NRC from a definite mala fide intention.
We also call upon the right-thinking well-meaning democratic-minded people of Assam as well as of the entire country to rise up to the occasion and develop sustained united powerful movement to force the BJP-led to give up this sinister conspiracy.
SUCI(C) severely condemns declaring Israel a “Nation State of the Jewish people” by Zionist Israeli regime
Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI (Communist), issued the following statement on 22 July 2018 :
The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) severely condemns the fascistic move of the Israeli Parliament passing a bill on 19th July declaring their country as “Nation State of the Jewish people”. This bill defines the country as the homeland of the Jews — asserting Jerusalem as the capital, Hebrew as the official language and that the right of national self-determination is “unique to the Jewish people.”
People of different religious faiths, different languages and different ethnic back ground live in Israel. In such a condition explicitly declaring by law and official fiat that the country is a state of a particular community will rob the constitutional rights of equality from the remaining communities. It will establish Jewish supremacy to the detriment of the Non-Jewish people.
Arabs make up about 20 percent of the country’s 9 million people’
The Arab legislators in Israel’s parliament and the Palestinians whose territories were taken away from them in 1948 called this law as “Racist” and legalization of “Apartheid”. It is noteworthy that a considerable saner section of the Jewish people also opposed this nefarious design. That was why bill was passed by merely a slender majority of 62 votes out of 120. Even the European Union voiced concern and urged that the rights of the minorities to be respected in Israel.
World has seen last year when Trump declared that Jerusalem was capital of Israel it was rejected by the U.N.O. with thumping majority. Not caring for this opinion of the U.N.O. the U.S. government shifted their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This audacity now emboldened the Israeli autocratic government to pass the recent bill.
We urge upon the Indian government to bring pressure on Israel to rescind this law and appeal to all democratic minded people of the whole world to voice their protest condemning the fascistic move of the Israeli government.
Beastly lynching spree : Which way to put an end to this barbarous trend
A country which is sick with sky-high price rise for common people, soaring unemployment, brute atrocities on women and children, ever-widening gap between rich and poor, an abject dearth of governance at all levels from the national to local and so many other maladies, is being rocked for some time by a parallel spasm from barbarous incident like lynching. Lynching, whatever be the pretext, is nothing else but cold-blooded murder by a frenzied irate mob, mobocracy being a term coined and used by the media and the court to denote it. Lynching has not been a rarity in this country particularly in the form of witch-hunting among certain communities. But since Mohammad Akhlaq, a villager from UP was dragged out of his home and lynched for allegdly consuming beef and storing it in his house, in September 2015, only 60 kms away from the national capital of Delhi, amidst Prime Minister Modi’s canvassing for Digital India in full voice from there, it not only showed the darkness beneath the lamp; it gave birth to a horrible countrywide agenda with a definite design of cowing down people and keeping them in leash, the agenda taken up by the forces in power. Soon there emerged a pattern.
The pattern behind lynching
First, an analysis of violence recorded until June 2017 (Source: First Post 03-06-17, India Today-26-06-17 and Hindustan Times 28-06-17) showed that as many as 97% of lynching incidents were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi heading BJP-RSS combine came to power in the Union government in May 2014. He promised achhe din (good days), and what was it like? In these achhe din since April 2017, there have been 46 lynching cases. Of late, in just over a month since the end of May 2018, there have been at least 19 cases of lynching, including ghastly killing of 5 persons together in Dhule of Maharashtra and brutal killing of 3 persons in Tripura within a span of just two days. So, it was neither usual nor isolated.
Second, the lynching incidents ranged from north to south, east to west of the country. Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal—every state has been witness to such barbarity. But in this countrywide spread, about half the lynching incidents took place in the BJP-ruled states, namely UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Tripura, etc. Is it a mere coincidence?
Third, in all cases, barring a few isolated ones, the assailants belonged to explicitly Hindutvawadi forces, namely the BJP-RSS combine or their varied outfits, like the VHP, Hindu Sena, Bajrang Dal and such others; they congregated into or led frenzied mobs of any number and the victims hailed from the minority communities, particularly Muslims, or the Christians as also the dalits, irrespective of age, sex or social position. Incidentally, in most cases the victims are poor people, even daily wage earners. So there was an equation of x and y: particular kind of assailants targeting particular kind of victims. And the trigger was plain and simple communal hatred against the minorities and highhanded casteist attitude of the higher castes towards the dalits. However, the Frankenstein was out. And more recent incidents of lynching, as will be made clear later, were not confined to such victims. It could be anyone suspected to be an offender. And what was the offence triggering the lynching?
Fourth, lynching continued on varied pretexts available ready at hand or precipitated issues and even rumour mongering. Assassination of rationalist individuals was a supplementary offshoot of these lynching incidents. As said above, Akhlaq and his family were accused of beef eating, a claim that was proved to be false, and though cow- slaughter was banned in UP, beef-eating was not. In fact, beef eating or ‘love-jihad’ or even ‘forced conversion’ were chosen as the issues to begin with. A number of lynching victims were truck drivers or cattle traders, even carcass-cleaners (scavengers) attacked for carrying carcasses or meat, most often of buffaloes and within their business or livelihood rights. These apart, in one case, a Muslim boy was stabbed to death and his two brothers injured in Ballabhgarh, Haryana by a mob on an altercation over train seats in a EMU coach. It was clear that the goal was singular: attack the minorities. When these incidents perpetrated by cow-vigilante groups shouting slogans like “gow mata ka apman, nahi sahega Hindustan (India will not tolerate any disrespect to cow)” became too well-known and condemned not only in India, but even outside, there was a change in selection of pretext.
Fifth, in this latest turn of events, the social media, the fond means of the prime minister of the country, play a devastating role. Most of the lynching cases were preceded by a campaign widely using SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for transmission of images, videos and text messages to propagate that child-lifters or cattle-stealers had entered the locality and been active for some time. That many of these circulated images, videos or texts were fake or morphed was clear from a number of cases. Particularly significant was the fake video that had led to the spread of the rumour of child-lifters in the area and thereupon, killing 5 innocent men in the said Dhule incident. The video showed rows of children’s bodies and the Hindi narrative stated those were used for harvesting their organs. But the video was neither from Maharashtra, nor even India; it was of children who died in a nerve gas attack in Syria five years ago.
Sixth, how dangerous has been the menace of rumour–mongering and to what extent of brutality it has reached, could be gauged from the following few instances. As said, in each case lynching was preceded by rumour of child-lifters or cattle stealers being active in the area. In Tripura, one victim was an official entrusted on behalf of the administration with making people aware of rumour-mongering on social media. Compelled by the circumstances, the BJP government of the state had to ban mobile and internet for two days. (Source: Outlook India, 2 July 2018). A Facebook post circulating that child lifters have come to Assam, led to tragic lynching of two youths, around thirty, one a sound engineer and the other a businessman, who had gone to a picnic spot in a remote area in Karbi Anglong in Assam to capture the sounds of nature and collect some ornamental fishes which are found in abundance there. The area had neither electricity nor mobile connectivity. On their way, they had asked for directions to reach the spot and while they were returning some villagers pulled them out of their car and lynched them, overriding requests from other villagers. One of the attackers even recorded the entire act of barbarism on his mobile and circulated it on the social media, which showed the sound engineer pleading for his life, revealing his identity. He was an Assamese from Guwahati. A member of a village defence party first informed the Dokmoka Police Station which is a 30-minute drive from the spot of lynching. By the time police arrived, one of the youths was dead and the other gasping for life. Their vehicle was also badly damaged. In Assam, in two more incidents, six persons were narrowly rescued by the army and police personnel, after they had been attacked following WhatsApp rumours of “child-lifters” in the area.
At Bidar in Karnataka, an IT employee was lynched in July, when he along with his friends fondly offered sweets to children in the native village of one of the friends. A WhatsApp media video, purportedly describing Hyderabad techie Mohammed Azam and his friends as child lifters, led to his lynching. Others were eventually saved at police intervention. Two contractual labourers were lynched in Chennai over rumours that they were trying to kidnap a child. The case emerged after a video of the attack surfaced on social media. At Obanapalle village in Andhra Pradesh locals thrashed a mentally unsound man to death on a rumour. In the same Alwar region of Rajasthan, where in April last year, Pehlu Khan was lynched by the cow-vigilantes, another man from Haryana Rakbar Khan has been lynched brutally by the cow-vigilantes only on 20 July this year for transporting two cows, with his friend narrowly escaping. So, the cow-vigilantism remains alive, has even turned into extortion racket as Alwar locals have alleged, with child-lifting and cattle-stealing cropping up alongside. The action, brutality and the effect remain the same! Sum and substance is that pretexts do not matter. There has to be lynching in any case.
Seventh, such horrid instances did not work deep upon the conscience of the police- administration and governments, if they have any. It is true, they acted in some cases and arrested some accused. But there is not a single case where stringent punishment was meted out to any of the culprits. The Prime Minister who claims to speak out his mind now and then on the wireless, has not let his mind open his mouth firmly and convincingly on this ghastly issue, where even legally speaking, irate mobs are defying, rather mocking at the laws of the land. They even infringe with impunity on the freedom of people on what they should eat, what business they should legally carry out, what livelihood they should take up or whom they should tie marital relationship with. There are stray meek criticisms or even public roaring against the killing from some minister or leader, but that far and no further. Rather, a powerful section of the monopoly-controlled media, the government’s propaganda machinery and some motivated Hindutva protagonists kept on releasing an orchestrated high-pitch campaign in social media to instil in public mind “how the cow has always been holy and revered by the Hindus.” The more intense became this campaign, the more frequent and diabolic were the lynching attacks. As mentioned, the social media also circulate fake news, videos etc., to spread rumours. The governments raise occasional voice against fake news, but do little effectively. Instead, a recent incident casts an ominous spell. One Alimuddin Ansari was hacked to death in Ramgarh in Jharkhand, on suspicion that he was transporting beef; his vehicle was also burnt down. Eight among those arrested as being part of the lynching mob with obvious BJP-RSS link, were convicted by a lower court, but got bail recently from the High Court. They were not acquitted of their crime and the matter is still sub judice. Even then, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, himself a Delhi IIT and Harvard University alumnus, felicitated the ‘convicts’ and garlanded them as they came out on bail. His act gave out a clear signal that lynching is an innocent prank in the BJP-RSS ruled India. The minister justified his action as within the law, when by law, somebody granted bail is never proven as acquitted. Reportedly in Bihar, another Union Minister paid visit to the residences of a number of VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders accused of engineering communal riots and lamented that those who had been working for maintaining peace were being harassed by the police. The same message is conveyed when one of the eighteen accused who had murdered Akhlaq in Dadri, UP, died of renal and respiratory failure and his body was draped in the national flag and his family was likely to be awarded a compensation of as high as Rs 8 lakhs, courtesy the local BJP MLA. On the other hand, social media have been filled up with vicious ‘trolls’ and rumours, overt and covert justification of such lynching, all these creating a frightful ambience. This ground reality of this spree of lynching and vicious campaign is coupled with assassinations of well-known radical thinkers and rationalists like Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Dr Govind Pansare, Dr. M M Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh among others, who stood firmly against religious fundamentalism and bigotry-superstition. Together those are bringing devastating conse-quences in the society.
The alarming proportion in which recurrent incidents of lynching and mob violence are taking place, has even prompted a 3-member Bench of the Apex Court headed by the Chief Justice, to assert recently that “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to become “the new normal” subvert-ing the law of the land. Reportedly, the Bench passed a number of directions to the Central as well as state governments to ensure “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to deal with the lynching incidents. How far the BJP government will pay heed to these directions of the Apex Court, it is yet to be seen. Already there are ominous signs. Reportedly the BJP-led Centre is going to send directives to the state that it is the state administration who should decide upon and deal with lynching cases. But, as said before, lynching is most rampant in BJP-government run states and the recent Alwar lynching case shows it carries on without respite, proving how these bourgeois governments at the Centre and states have turned into heartless demons, deaf and dumb towards these brute inhuman acts. Besides, as mentioned earlier, the cases of a minister felicitating lynching accused simply because they got bail and others mentioned above, certainly do not speak well of the attitude of the Party in power or of any prospect of any effective remedial efforts. The country has still the memory afresh of the ghastly Nirbhaya case of Delhi and the consequent and subsequent trumpeting of framing laws against rape and enacting them fast. How far it worked, the country knows it well; the poor victims of Kathua, Unnao, Mandsaur and other places have also known it at the cost of their life. So, common people without any major force to guide them as to what is to be done and having lost all faith in the governance-administration and implemen-tation of law, only wait for the destiny. But, certainly that cannot be the way.
Lynching torments thinking people
The enormity and brutality of these lynching incidents lead to certain questions. Those include questions like: How could such lynching incidents go on unabated? On one side, why are frenzied people allowed to take the law into their own hands so vindictively and even feel no qualm in ghastly killing of the targets and even dare to upload live videos of such lynching on social media? Taking for argument’s sake that there had been cases of child-lifting, could that be the plea for a mob to take the law into their own hands and kill the victim merely on suspicion? Could not he or she or they be handed over to the police to confirm if there is a crime or not? Is it not a fact that even in bourgeois jurisprudence, it used to be held that “Let a hundred guilty be acquitted, but one innocent should not be convicted”? Then how could the governments allow these incidents to go on unabated? Besides, is not this mobocracy a sign of people losing faith in governments and administration, or the latter losing command over the people or even pulling the trigger from behind? On the other side, why are people being dragged into this dangerous situation, in which it is becoming difficult even to go to an unknown place for a genuine cause? Is it not a fact that without anybody to lead them and direct them how to face the situation, people stand helpless? Parents of the affected families fear to send their children outside home even for their studies or earning livelihood; even a 42 year old Muslim male engineer from Aligarh, hid himself in a burqa, scared to go alone to Delhi to visit an ailing cousin; a fortunate survivor of a lynching attack submitted in disgust “They should declare a Hindutva state and kick us out. It would be better than killing us off like this one by one”. A section of people, under the influence of rising communal hatred may presently take the incidents as something happening to ‘them’, the minority community people or the dalits. But if and when the Frankenstein is let loose, it will carry in it the danger to affect any people of any identity in near future, sparing none. The two youths lynched on suspicion in Assam is an eye-opener in this regard. And the social media, the smart mobile phone are playing havoc through circulating fake news, images, videos and text messages. Of course, one may question, how could they be held responsible, when there are cases going viral where photos are doctored to suitably place the image of the Prime Minister to catch people’s imagination and win them over. The moot question is how could such a situation develop in which an unknown and unwarranted danger haunts people, to start with outdoors, but creeping towards the doors, even getting indoors to encroach upon the minimum safety, security, freedom and peace? How could such an abject cultural degradation, on the one hand cruel barbarous mass frenzy, swayed simply by a rumour floated in the air, and on the other, inert, totally self-protective, silent, fatalistic submission to the course of events — how could these overwhelm the social life of virtually the entire country and its people? Certainly, one cannot think that god has suddenly become adverse and rude to us, the people of this country, to push us into these ordeals. Then what could be the reason? How could a stop be put to these incidents? Sociologists, social activists, columnists and others suggest a bunch of reasons. Even there are elements of truth when it is said that “technology is only an easy medium, there is a deeper story here about anxiety, polarisation, a besieged rule of law, and the social production of hate …. there is a certain moral framework that drives this violence, which makes the perpetrators think their brutality is justified. They want to teach a lesson, or take revenge”. (The Times of India, Kolkata, July 22, 2018). But, as it appears, there remains still more to say beyond these.
The root lies in severe cultural degradation
It was great Karl Marx, who had long back shown how capitalism has been exploiting the common toiling people, not only economically but in every respect. Once capitalism entered into the decadent moribund stage, this exploitation has been more and more ruthless. In order to sustain its crisis-ridden obsolete exploitative class rule, the ruling capitalist class and its servitors are fostering all sorts of rotten polluted thoughts, seeking to destroy people’s finer emotions and human essence, making them them more and more self-centered and aloof of social problems, dispossesed of fellow feeling. This attack of capitalism in the mental sphere is making people frustrated, leading to withdrawal into passive helpless selfishness, even to suicidal tendencies, and at the other end leading to mindless hatred, aimless desperateness and extreme cruelty.
People of this country are already suffocating over decades from increasingly throttling, slowly poisoning and cunningly alluring measures that only help ruthless capitalist exploitation continue without hindrance. Over and above that, rabid communal hatred and arrogant casteist enmity have already been fanned up with by the RSS-BJP combine and their various outfits, using which individual killings of radicals and common people belonging to religious minority or dalits are being carried out, while communal frenzy leading to gruesome attacks on minority community people are being whipped up by those forces intermittently, though despite all their efforts, people of concerned communities do not get involved en masse in such incidents. In any case, the ambience is vitiated with vertical cleavage between the communities going deeper down into the society. In that background, lynching is a still different and more vicious phenomenon, in which frenzied mob actions, called ‘mobocracy’, take place which are totally bereft of the minimum sense of humanity. It appears all the subtle treasures of mind, compassion, sympathy, sense of right or wrong, good and bad, just or unjust, all these vanish like anything. Such an ambience cannot but create an unbearable turmoil in right-thinking personalities. Restless and clueless, they search for the answer to what could be the cause of such a horrendous situation to come up. The question is not just pertinent, it requires immediate probe. Any attempt towards that, towards finding the desired answer, would lead us to conclude that notwithstanding all economic-political, even communal onslaughts, no less critical and severe, rather lying at the root of all these evils is the severe cultural degeneration designed to wipe out even the vestiges of all ethics and moral values from people’s life and society. Already, families have been breaking down, love-compassion- friendliness- modesty- rationality- accepting superiors without hesitation, all these are vanishing not only from social ambience, even within the confines of family. Thus, a husband does not hesitate to kill his wife or vice versa simply for bestial self – satiation. Father rapes his own daughter; son kills his mother on flimsy ground. Parents are being thrown out on the streets, with their lifelong dreams about their children shattered. Even affluence is not being able to provide happiness and peace. Life is losing charm. There is no security of job, or even of life. The future appears too bleak to generations growing-up to face life. And the more these are happening, the more people are trying to escape from the hard life, and instead get into the shell of self-centrism, individual life, hoping to find solace and solution there. But alas! That is never going to happen. When the entire society is in the grip of degeneration, the shell of self-centrism proves too thin to protect one’s self. The entire vicious cycle rotates on and on. And this cultural degradation is being promoted and fanned up by this moribund capitalism of today, which from their fear-complex of working class revolution and their limitless craving for power and pelf, are out on the prowl to turn the oppressed people into dehumanized beastly creatures bereft of any humanity, any values and ethics.
Here it is essential to recognize certain glaring truths. As far back as nearly five decades, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the great leader of the proletariat and Founder General Secretary of the SUCI (Communist), the revolutionary Party of India left these indelible words : “….the kernel of any noble ideology lies in its ethical and cultural standard. If the ethical and cultural standard is not high, then the ideological content of a noble political ideology in reality turns out to be like a lifeless body. A body devoid of life, even if beautiful to look at, is useless, and if left to rot it becomes harmful for society, similarly if one speaks for a great ideology but does not reflect a high ethical and cultural standard then that too becomes degenerate and harmful for society. (Quoted from: Fascism and Moral Ethical Crisis in Left Democratic Movement: SW IV). Imbued with this kernel of its revolutionary politics, SUCI (C), the revolutionary Party of the country, has relentlessly tried to fight the growing cultural degradation in the country amidst the entire picture of cruelty, dismay, design and frustration prevailing in the country. In course of that the Party always carried another invaluable teaching, which Comrade Shibdas Ghosh raised as an alarm while addressing the country’s youth: “Remember, this abysmal cultural degeneration eating into the vitals of the society owes its origin to the reactionary capitalism in the main. It is not only that we have to go without food, without job, or that the standard of education is constantly declining, but the gravest evil is the all-pervasive moral and ideological crisis now gripping the people, the youth in particular. Fostering this all-pervasive degradation in the social life and using it as a handle, the ruling class, the exploiting bourgeoisie wants to break the moral backbone of the entire nation. Because, if people have high moral and ideological standard only then can they stand erect like men worth the name, with head held high even in the midst of unbearable miseries. And if that high standard is absent then men, though remaining men in their outward features in reality behave like beasts, like animals. The bourgeoisie not only exploits but is also engaged in conspiracy to pander to all the base instincts in man, such as greed, fear, cowardice, cowardly tendency to strike others from behind, aimless desperation, and all that.” (Quoted from: On Cultural Degeneration and Unemployment Problem—Whither the Solution: speech of 1973: SW III, p 301)
Clearly this invaluable teaching of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh provides precisely the ideological base upon which people concerned with the present trend of lynching could recognize its root and get organized and united to uproot it by developing powerful people’s movement.
Neither inaction, nor vote politics would prevent lynching; situation demands cultural movement based on higher culture-morality-ethics
It is natural that to develop such movements people will look forward to the political parties, because they were and are meant to represent people’s views and aspirations. But what do they find when they fail to recognize the Party which really represent their interests, as it has been the case in reality?
People go after big parties and the latter go their way to befool people and one finds lynching is going on unabeted. Now, the drumbeats for the ensuing parliamentary elections have already been sounded. Be it in the Parliament or in mass rallies, the bourgeois- petty bourgeois parties and their leaders, national or regional, big or small, are spending hours on the theatrics to make people laugh or be infuriated or raise hands or slogans in support of their routine agenda of mutual slandering – accusations and self–patting. Hardly ever, if at all, they recall that such grievous incidents as lynching are taking place in the country with death incurred almost every day. In course of all their theatrics, it may suddenly occur to them that they should spend a few words and that they do only for playing to the gallery. This is really not unexpected with them. It is because, being bourgeois, petty-bourgeois parties they only aspire for power in this system and for amassing pelf from it. So, let alone shunning their position of subservience to the system, they themselves are doing everything to destroy the moral backbone of people. It is a daydream to expect them to take a firm stand against the cultural degradation that the capitalist system and the ruling capitalist class is pushing through with a definite plan. But what is more striking is the role of the parties known as the major leftists or their accessories. In course of their political activities these parties, being guided by prospects of vote-based politics, are shamelessly practising opportunism, pragmatism, with carrot and stick policy, keeping people engaged in searching for who provides them with maximum privilege. Had those left parties been sincere enough to recognize the bitter truth of the bourgeois design being carried out by bourgeois, petty bourgeois parties towards destroying people’s moral backbone, they would have also recognized that the only way to thwart this design was to launch mass struggles of people on the burning problems of their life and livelihood, one after the other, and develop those step by step based always on the edifice of higher ideology and lofty culture –morality and ethics. Only that way the new loftier culture-morality-ethics could have been established to guide people in their life and provide strength, courage and conviction to stand against evils such as lynching. This was the crying need of the hour. But what is found in reality? Instead of fulfilling this crying need at this critical juncture, the major leftist parties or their accessories have solely taken to follow the bourgeois line of vote-based politics and so are doing nothing but uttering some mumblings against this growing menace of lynching or such others that instantaneously thin out into the vicious trouble-torn air. So, by their inactions or dubious actions, they, in effect, let things carry on in their own course, let the perpetrators of the crime carry out their design in their own way.
In such a situation, it requires a reiteration of what people have before them as imminent task. At this critical juncture, taking full advantage of the all-pervading cultural degradation they themselves have fanned up, the ruling class is spreading throughout the country the venomous tentacles of heinous acts of lynching along with many such others. At this juncture, the crying need is to release a counter cultural movement. That movement, a people’s united and organized progressive cultural movement, has to be based on higher ideology and lofty culture-ethics-morality which can prove strong enough to uproot the vicious thoughts and trends of reaction the ruling class and its agents are trying to implant in the society. Only such a movement can change the ambience in the society and imbue people with lofty sense of values and culture. No doubt, that will add strength to the movement against the pernicious trends of lynching or the sorts and thwart such enemies of humanity with all might. The situation outlines this task to people and demands their positive response for the sake of saving humanity in the country.
Government forced to bring back Pass-Fail system under pressure of people’s movement
Right from the day, 37 years back, the CPI (M)-led Front government of West Bengal announced abolition of Pass-Fail system making spurious arguments, our Party guided by Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought could understand how disastrous would be the consequence of such an outright anti-education policy. So, we brooked no delay in strongly protesting the decision and decided to build up an organized sustained movement in demand of revoking the decision. Taking up the cue from this in the National Policy on Education (NPE’86) framed by the then Congress government a few years later, abolition of Pass-Fail system was prescribed for the primary stage in one of its sections and up to class VIII in another. That the very motive of the ruling bourgeoisie and its subservient governments was to dilute the standard of education, pave way for prohibiting access of the wards of common people to higher education and thereby, in a word, deny due enlightenment to these children from toiling families, was further exposed when the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre introduced with much fanfare the most deceptive Right to Education Act (RTE) where ‘No Detention Policy till class VIII’ was implemented for government-run and government –aided schools. And the present BJP-run government continued with the same policy once it was saddled in power in 2014.
But, our movement continued and gradually stepped up to create a stir throughout the country, and education-loving, conscious personalities not only came out in wholehearted support but became actively involved in the movement. Sensing public pulse and under pressure of movement, the central government at last has been compelled to pass in Lok Sabha an amendment to the Right to Education Act on 18 July last, doing away with the No-Detention Policy albeit with a rider that states would hold a regular examination at the end of Classes V and VIII. However, it has been left to the state governments to decide from which class they would re-introduce Pass-Fail system.
Though this is a significant but partial victory of the long-drawn education movement, there is no scope for relent till the No-Detention is abolished right from class I. Our Party is pledge-bound to continue the movement till this demand is met.
NEWS & VIEWS
AIAIF condemns Zionist Israel’s move to deny civil rights to Palestine people
All India Anti-Imperialist Forum (AIAIF) also in a statement, dated 26 July 2018, strongly condemned the Israeli ‘‘National State of the Jewish People’’ enactment which effectively denies the civil rights of the Palestinians living in Israel, reiterated its solidarity with the Palestinian people fighting to realize their just demands and called upon all the freedom-loving people of the world to rise up in protest against Israel’s heinous acts, abetted by USA in league with other imperialist powers.
Country-wide protest for immediate reintroduction of Pass-Fail System from Class I
Protest in Delhi by SUCI(C)
In order to reverberate the voice of the countrywide movement for bringing back Pass-Fail system right from Class I before the parliament SUCI(C) organized an impressive protest rally from Mandi House to the Parliament Street in Delhi that was followed by a meeting on 18 July. The meeting was addressed by Party leaders from Haryana, UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi. Comrade Satyawan, Member, Central Committee, and Haryana State Secretary, SUCI(C), was the main speaker. The speakers questioned the intention of the Central Government to introduce Pass-Fail in only classes V and VIII and criticized it saying it will not make any difference in the high rate of drop-outs. They also asserted that another fall-out of the No -Detention Policy is that the educational atmosphere i.e. (the teaching – learning process) in the government-run and government-aided schools has been severely jeopardized that has also been corroborated from time to time by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). With the rapid fall in standard of education in these schools, the guardians despite being proverty-stricken are compelled to send their wards to the private schools that make hefty profit through much higher fees. The speakers urged upon the central government to review the policy and re-introduce the Pass-Fail system right from class I. A delegation of the Party leaders later handed over a memorandum to the Human Resource Development Minister at Shastri Bhawan.
Kolkata and Siliguri, West Bengal
On 19 July, thousands of Party activists and supporters gheraoed the Raj Bhawan, Kolkata, from all the sides raising slogans for immediate introduction of Pass-Fail system from class I and thereby prevent further degeneration of primary and secondary levels of education and for that matter, the entire education. The gherao continued for about an hour and all the passers-bye who had not seen such a courageous programme of democratic movement wholeheartedly extended their support with admiration. But, then the TMC-led West Bengal government like its predecessor CPI (M)-led government as well as all other bourgeois governments ordered the police to pounce upon the peaceful demonstrators upholding a just cause and resort to indiscriminate baton charge causing grievous injury to 117 activists including many women activists. 18 of them sustained serious injuries. Many were arrested. But, the Party is determined to continue this movement and escalate it to higher phase if the government does not accede to the demand of abolishing No-Detention right from class I.
It is worth recalling that the Party last year undertook a widespread campaign in favour of this demand and witnessing overwhelming public response, gave call for a Hartal and General strike on 17 July 2017. Sensing that the strike was going to be a total success despite all attempts and coercive measures on the part of the government, the state Education Minister contacted the Party State Secretary and gave an assurance in writing that once the central government gave clearance, the state government would re-introduce Pass-Fail from primary stage. Hence, he requested to withdraw the strike call. Responding to his request, the Party withdrew the call but made it clear that the movement would be sustained in different forms till this most legitimate demand is met. But, now it is found that the TMC government also under this or that pretext is dilly dallying over the matter and thereby reneging on its promise. So, the people have no other alternative but to step up the movement to wrest the demand.
AIUTUC expresses concern over Union Government’s move towards selling of shares of IDBI Bank
Comrade Sankar Saha, General Secretary, All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), issued the following statement on 18 July 2018 on the contemplated move of dilution of majority stake by the central government by way of sale of shares of IDBI Bank to the LICI.
“With deep concern we have noticed several reports in various print, electronic and social media about the central government’s contemplated move to privatize the IDBI Bank. We strongly protest the central government’s move to sell its majority shareholding in IDBI Bank to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LICI) thereby making the LICI holder of more than 51% stake in the Bank. We firmly hold that it is a disguised move of backdoor privatisation of the Bank, since LICI may later decide to offload its stake in the Bank to private corporates. This move of the central government, if not resisted, will lead to similar move to privatize other PSU Banks.
We call upon the working class fraternity in general and employees and officers of the IDBI Bank in particular, to launch a protracted resistance movement against this heinous move so as to compel the central government to immediately halt its plan of backdoor privatization of IDBI Bank.”
Protest movement by All India Save Education Committee
Under the auspices of the All India Save Education Committee (AISEC) comprising eminent educationists and right-thinking prominent intellectuals, the movement with the same demand for immediate re-introduction of Pass-Fail System from class I, has been continuing in the different states under the auspices of the respective state units of the organization. (AISEC) observed all India Protest Day on 26 July throughout the country in support of the demand .A few such programmes are mentioned here.
Thus, AISEC Tripura State unit submitted a memorandum to the Joint Directors of Elementary Education on 15 June demanding pass-fail to be re-introduced from class1. A seven-member delegation met the Director pointing out that abolition of Pass-Fail system was one of the reasons behind the alarming decline in the rate of pass in the Madhyamik Examination in the State this year.
AISEC Delhi unit held a meeting against No Detention Policy on 8 July, with eminent educationists like I C Dhama, retired Education Officer; Mrs. Madhu , Mrs. Sharada Dixit, Mr. Anand Prakash-retired Principals; Professor Dr. Mukesh (IGNOU) Principals Sri. Avdhesh Jha, Sandeep Mor. Girwar Singh- Delhi AISEC Secretary, in his address elaborated the movement against the No Detention Policy.
AISEC units of Moradabad (UP) and Patna (Bihar) also conducted similar protest rallies on 26 July.
AP-Telangana AISEC unit submitted a memorandum to the Visakhapatnam Joint Collector on 26 July,
Madhya Pradesh AISEC unit submitted a memorandum addressed to the Union HRDM through the District Collector, Sagar on 26 July
Tamilnadu AISEC unit had held earlier a demonstration jointly with the AIDSO on 19 July 2018,
Study Class for Sikkim AIDSO activists
Under the auspices of Sikkim State Organizing Committee, AIDSO, a Study Class was organized on 14 and 15 July in Siliguri, West Bengal. Discussions in the Class centered round such vital issues like: Why is the problem of commercialization of health, education etc. taking place? What is Globalization, what sort of changes it has brought in the socio-economic life of the country? What is socialism? Is socialist revolution possible in India/Sikkim? Is revolution possible without a revolutionary organization? What is the relationship between culture and revolutionary movement? Participants took active part in the discussions. Comrade Sourav Mukherjee, member, SUCI(C) West Bengal State Committee conducted the class.
Successful Bandh in Karnataka
Widely responding to the call given by AIDSO, AIDYO, AIMSS, on 21 July, students from various districts and taluks in the state boycotted the classes demanding free bus rides for all students and made the bandh a grand success. Despite the Government’s attempt to frustrate the movement create pressure by issuing orders for conduction of classes compulsory through the Collegiate Education Department, Public Education department, PU Board etc. Police were also deployed in front of colleges so as to prevent students join the boycott. However, the students did not back out, rather foiled the government’s efforts and boycotted classes. AIDSO, AIDYO and AIMSS leaders like Comrades Ajoy Kamath, Aswini KS, G S Kumar and Shobha, respectively congratulated the student community as well as parents, teachers, principals and all education-loving people for making the bandh a complete success. It was also declared that a more militant movement will follow if the demands are not fulfilled.
All India Save Education Committee and AIUTUC extended their support to the movement and K Uma from AISEC and MN Sriram from AIUTUC congratulated the organizers of the bandh.