Kanhaiya Kumar should seek azadi from factual and historical howlers too.
Azadi from historical untruths and factual howlers will hopefully figure among the many azadis that Kanhaiya Kumar wants in India. On his release from jail on conditional bail, Kanhaiya received a rousing welcome on the JNU campus and delivered what many thought was a stirring speech.While he fiercely attacked the Modi government, understandably so as he chants 'lal salaam' and subscribes to the ideology of the Left, the JNU students' union president also made quite a few references to history.
He said, for instance, that Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted not just political democracy but social democracy in the country . He was right there, but only partially . What Kanhaiya did not state was that while advocating social democracy, Ambedkar strongly disapproved of the idea of 'revolution', Kanhaiya's favourite word at least at present (cries of 'kranti' and 'inquilab' frequently punctuated his speech).
The way to bring about change in independent India, Ambedkar said, was by adopting constitutional methods.Decrying “the bloody methods of revolution“, Ambedkar was of the view “these methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us“.
Kanhaiya also said, taking a dig at Modi for the PM's reference to Stalin and Khrushchev during his parliamentary speech, that the 'guru' of Hindu nationalists, M S Golwalkar, had met Mussolini during the Fascist leader's reign in Italy.Here he was completely wrong.
No meeting ever took place between Mussolini and Golwalkar. Kanhaiya may have an acute dislike for Golwalkar as this second sarsanghchalak of RSS and leading Hindutva ideologue positioned himself far more aggressively against socialism than the first sarsanghchalak, K B Hedgewar but he has mixed up things here. It was B S Moonje, president of the Hindu Mahasabha in the late 1920s and RSS backer, who met Mussolini in March 1931 on his return from the Round Table Conference.
Moonje was much impressed by what he saw as the 'discipline' of the Fascists. Hedgewar set great store by Moonje's views, and we have reason to believe that he was influenced by Moonje. Just three months before that, in December 1930, Mahatma Gandhi had met Mussolini and praised him as a “great personality“ for his “care of the poor“, “opposition to super-urbanisation“, “his efforts to bring about coordination between capital and labour“ and “his passionate love for his people“.
The admiration was mutual: Mussolini described Gandhi as “a genius and a saint“. The other big Indian leader who met the Italian dictator after Gandhi (Rabindranath Tagore had met him earlier, in 1926) was Subhas Bose, who even got Mussolini to agree to a declaration in favour of independent India in 1942 (the other Axis powers rejected the idea). Kanhaiya heaped praise on Lenin during his speech and got plenty of cheers rom the assembled JNU crowd when he quoted Lenin on democracy . But the myth of Lenin as the 'good revolutionary' was completely shattered by historians after Russian archives were opened post-1991.Lenin was no upholder of liberal democracy but saw it as a system of the hated bourgeoisie. He was in fact the man who paved the way for Stalin's excesses.
Stalin was not the 'betrayer of the re volution', as Communists would have us believe; he was merely carrying forward what Lenin had initiated: a ruthlessly dictatorial one-party state, a secret service that would eliminate political adversaries, concentration camps, and a system that stifled dissent, muzzled the press and intimidated non-conformist intellectuals, and that in every way signified the word Lenin himself used terror.
“It is necessary secretly and urgently to prepare the terror,“ Lenin wrote in 1918. He ordered the hangings of 100 welloff peasants, labelled as 'kulaks', in the same year: “Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks.“
And here's how Lenin wanted the Russian Orthodox Church looted and the Russian Orthodox Church looted and the clergy executed: “It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds, if not thousands, of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables with the most savage and merciless energy, not stopping (short of) crushing any resistance ... The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.“
The historian Robert Conquest, who called Stalinism “a natural evolution of Leninism“, famously wrote a poem that read: “There was a great Marxist called Lenin Who did two or three million men in That's a lot to have done in But where he did one in That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.“
Much more can be quoted, but that is not the point. The point is that Lenin and Ambedkar's points of view are inherently and utterly irreconciliable, and Lenin is in the same tradition of Hitlerism that Kanhaiya Kumar was so bitterly critical of in his speech. If India is to have Leninism, the next step to look forward to will be Stalinism which tramples upon everything that is human, and not the constitutional morality that Ambedkar wanted every Indian citizen to develop.
Mar 11 2016 : The Times of India (Hyderabad)
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