Is Left, left in India?
The point is, why perpetuate the fraud of leftism, when, in reality, all that is left, of left, is pure and simple, self-centrism, writes Dr HC Pande
Socialism and communism are the ideologies,considered left of center. The two stalwarts,Jai Prakash Narayan and M.N.Roy,have been the pioneers of these movements in India.Their integrity,their intellect, and,their dedication to the cause was reflected in their conduct and their living.What a sea-change now!
Over the last few decades the leadership of these movements has changed,and,as of now,we have Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sitaram Yechuri et al, representing the left,or,whatever is left of the leftist ideology.The fact remains that all of them have fat bank accounts,live in decadent capitalist comfortable style,and,launch agitations so that the proletariat can go to jail.The latest to join this motley crowd is Rakesh Tikait,a blue blooded Kulak,owning hundreds of acres,and,several petrol pumps besides.
Socialism and communism are not just treatises to be expounded in public meetings,and,once the slogan shouting is over,put back on the library shelves,but a way of life,a mode of living,to be adopted in the personal lives of the adherents.But then,this is the age of virtual reality,and,what is important,is that you should appear to do,what,in fact,you are not doing.It is the shadow play and not the substance which matters.Interestingly,if one thinks about it,virtual reality is nothing new to us,as our sages,had declared,ages ago,that Sansaar is all Maya.This,of course,is high thinking but,several levels down,the plain thinker is convinced that political ideology is plain Maya in India.
As of now,the entire left regiment in our country,is not only well groomed,well dressed and well heeled but well up in stocks and shares and well versed in the real estate business.There is nothing wrong with that.Lenin had remarked that,once they come into power,gold bricks would be used to pave the roads.And generations down,his followers have made a decent start,by lining their own treasures chests with gold bricks,surely roads can wait for a while.The heads of state,Nicolae Ceausescu,of Rumania,and, Walter Ulbricht of East Germany,are glaring examples,who had tonnes of gold stashed in Swiss banks.India being a poor country the gold standard can not be applied,and,we have to lower our sights.The entire leftist brigade of academics,political leaders,and journalists are nothing but,Coffee House communists,Bar revolutionaries and Scotch socialists.In the early nineteen hundreds the universities were the cradles of social conscience with the academicians not only lecturing the students on high thinking and simple living but setting examples by their own conduct.In the early days of B.H.U.,the eminent paleo-botanist Birbal Sahni ,would draw his salary from the counter of the Accounts office and put half of it in the donation box of the university, and, instruct the Accounts officer not to tell anyone,including Pandit Malaviya,about it.Also,there were faculty members,who as a routine,would be moving about in the city of Benares,on every Sunday ,seeking donations for the university fund,from businesses,shop-keepers and the people in general.This was the spirit of nation-builders of pre-independence India.Pandit Malaviya drew no salary as Vice-chancellor.The teachers were living examples of what they expounded.In the post independence period this spirit is is conspicuous by its absence though the bottled variety is available aplenty.
The citadel of leftist thought is,arguably, the Jawaharlal Nehru university.The cost to the national exchequer for each student,the young socialist,at JNU,comes to around 8 lacs of rupees per year.A four year stay at the university amounts to 32 lacs of rupees,an amount equaling the life time earnings of a junior staff.The graduates of this university,who apparently,are rearing to lend their shoulder to uplift the country out of the morass of injustice,inequality and rural neglect,unfortunately always decide to go for cushy jobs with postings in metro cities.
You can not blame them,they only emulate the living examples around them. Alas,the likes of Pandit Malaviya and Birbal Sahni,are no longer around.Ideologies are to be expounded in the class rooms,but not practiced in real life,is the basic tenet of the left intellectual elite at JNU.It is doubtful if any JNU faculty has ever organized a,long term,study camp in a remote rural area and experienced the hardships of the villagers first hand.Their studies of rural issues are based on computer software only,perhaps the software ,developed in some U.S. University.
At the national level, it is interesting to note, that, after shedding copious tears, day in and day out, for the rural poor, our honorable representatives of the left block, continue to support, bills to raise the salaries, allowances and perks of the M.P.s. The bills are adopted with not a single vote of dissent by any leftist member. Yes, there has been one exception, way back, that of A.K.Roy. It is said that exception proves the rule.
The point is, why perpetuate the fraud of leftism, when, in reality, all that is left, of left, is pure and simple, self-centrism.
(Dr H C Pande is Vice Chancellor Emeritus, BITS, Mesra)