I welcomed the downfall of CPM in the recent assembly election in West Bengal. This is not the first time; every time, I saw communism going downhill, my ecstasy knew no bounds. Am I anti-communist? It is up to you to judge when you finish reading this article. Anyway, this is first part. Communism as an ideology has been evoking interest from across the globe and down the generations. It would be too simplistic to put my thinking or any discussion thread for that matter into one article. You can call me a walking parliament, representing both the warring groups, arguing on both sides with same élan [Of course wearing one hat at a time]. You have right to do that but I would also request you NOT to step into the shoes of TOM who walked off the cliff but did not look down so had not fallen (a common scene in Tom and Jerry Show: When it looks down, it has a free fall).
I was born to a family who always voted for the Congress party. I chanced to find books on Russia when I was very young. My father used to buy Russian magazine published in Bengali. As far as I remember, it used to be sold at Gorki Sadan, Calcutta. I started reading it not knowing much about what it was intended for. I still remember one photo where one grand old man was surrounded by his 80-odd family members. My interest grew. I waited with a bated breath for each issue – one thing got registered in my mind: people live happily in groups, they help one another; well, quite contrary to the nucleus family setup we find ourselves in nowadays. Then I found a book on Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. I went through the book but could not make out the economic impact or the jargons but one thing I understood: Commune, a body of people living together and sharing. As I grew up, I learnt the meaning of egalitarian society. I learnt how investment in social sector can bring about good benefits to the people of any country in general.
I have a deep-rooted belief that a child has a right to live, no matter where she is born, what family she is born to, she should live her life; she has every right to have a roof over her head, proper nutrition, a reasonable level of education that would qualify her for a job and a job at the end of it to ensure she should live. She was born to a poor family. Was it her fault? She did not do anything wrong. Why was she destined to live the life of a beggar when other boys and girls would enjoy luxury? Does this happen owing to the sins she committed in her previous birth? Her soul if at all that exists should have been imprisoned in the hell then, not have been allowed to be born. A popular belief goes that a child can remember her deeds in her past life till the age of five. Well, she has to carry the baggage through the rest of her life without knowing it. This is gross injustice. Was it God’s punishment? It might not be as God cannot be so cruel as to decide someone’s fate in this manner. Probably GOD gives this judgment. I say “Judgment” and “Judgment” is not decision; law is interpreted and judgment is given. So I will defy such judgment and flout the law which opposes a child’s right to live. I did not read Das Capital or Communist manifesto but it is this form of communism I have learnt through those books and magazines. I have come to believe that communism has the answer to this evil through implementation of egalitarian society.
Over a period of time, perspective has changed. I saw people around me who associate communism with eternal struggle against the other –isms: imperialism, capitalism etc. They associate communism with fighting against the rich, shedding blood, and revolution. The communists represent weaker or poorer sections: peasants, laborers. Does this mean that peasants and laborers are born to live a disgraceful life, work for a mere pittance? Communism is there to snatch the money from the rich people and make peasants and laborers smile. No way. Are we not going on the wrong course? I have read “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. I fully agree to the fact that a person can become rich because he has the ability to earn money in a different fashion that others may not have or for that matter, the ability may have lain dormant in their mind. I have also seen distortion in other areas. CPI (M) leadership in west Bengal opposed the introduction of computers citing that it would do work in a second rendering thousand people jobless. Going by this logic, we will do things manually, spend days in doing repetitive jobs what can be done in an hour. The earning obtained through this process is distributed among the people. This form of communism is not allowing a company to grow, its management or owner to make profit, even limiting the potential of the people communism claims that it represents for but ensuring that no one can earn more. So by limiting what a person can do, closing down the avenues which can potentially transform the economic state, this form of communism espoused by erstwhile leadership of Bengal, ensures that everybody remains poor. So egalitarianism is maintained and struggle against the rich, imperialism, capitalisms continue. I hate this form of communism.
Going back to my example of two groups of boys and girls representing rich and poor people, I would like to rephrase the same question from a different podium. A child born to a poor family cannot enjoy the luxury of life. True. It is not their fault. A child born to a rich family can enjoy all amenities. They would have everything they desire, even something which they have not thought to own but are given unasked. Those little boys or girls have not earned it. They are getting it because their parents are rich. It is not their fault either.
Probably the answer lies in the good governance, making the best use of resources to bring about the benefits to the people, providing the platform or a level playing field to the weaker section so that they can grow learn the ability to compete and strengthening the platform to the stronger section so that they can redefine the benchmark.
Do –isms really matter? What do you say? I will carry forward this argument in my next post; try to come up with more “For & against” stuff………