While inaugurating the statue of Swami Vivekananda at the Jawaharlal Nehru University on 12 November, it was appropriate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell the staff and students that the nation is far greater than a political ideology. This was particularly necessary as the JNU has been surcharged with leftism, socialism and Marxism.
There has been a lack of balance even in ideologies. With warm blood flowing in their veins, some students go much beyond their ideology and in their excitement, go on to wish their country ill.
Why wish and loudly threaten Bharat ke tukde tukde? How has the country harmed you? It is the extension of your home; it is your greater home. If you really dislike it, go somewhere else; do not threaten its wholeness. In 1947, a similar craze broke India into two.
I say craze because in 1971 Pakistan, after perpetrating untold brutality upon its eastern wing again broke into two. And what have the people of Pakistan gained except poverty, terrorism and possibly further breaking apart?
The Pakhtoons, Sindhis and Balochs are all getting ready to follow the example of the Bangladeshis. It was way back in 1887 that Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan of Aligarh University fame first declared at Meerut that Hindus and Muslims are separate nations. Mohammed Ali Jinnah finally scored his goal and at the same time divided the Indian ummah into two and later into three.
At JNU, the hot blood of young students has brought the Islamists together with communists despite the two ideologies being the antithesis of each other in almost every way.
There is probably not a single communist left in Pakistan although Partition was actively supported by the Communist Party of India.
In fact, the party began by wanting and propagating to cut up India into 16 nationalities. Yet the Reds and the Greens are very friendly in India. When I was in Parliament, a communist leader and I sometimes chatted at random in our free hours.
Once I happened to raise this Red and Green contradiction with him. His answer was that it was a purely tactical line. If the Hindus unite, with their majority in the country, they would crush us communists, whereas the Muslims, being a minority, could not do so. They are therefore useful allies against the Hindu right, was his reasoning.
Going back to the Prime Minister’s point about the nation being greater than ideology, among Marxism’s postulates when the ideology began is its firm belief that the nation is an instrument in the hands of the bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat and the peasants. Karl Marx hoped that one day the State would wither away, certainly when the workers of the world would have united. This world unity was the central strategic objective of communism; and nations were the difficult obstacles.
Leon Trotsky therefore, wanted the red movement to pursue a “permanent revolution” as its strategic goal. By permanent he meant continual, I suppose. Trotsky has his faithful followers in India in the form of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
Yes, one factor is common between the Reds and the Greens in that they both believe in their respective ummahs and do not waste their sentiments on their nations or countries.
There is a corollary of this factor. Those believers in an ummah do not hesitate to abuse their nations in order to pursue their personal ambitions. This is precisely what Xi Jinping is doing with his country China.
The notion that he is the latest emperor of the historic Middle Kingdom or the centre of the world has evidently gone to his head. In pursuit of his glory Xi has made enemies, adversaries or bitter critics across the globe. President Donald Trump has openly accused China of having spread the Covid-19 virus from the Wuhan province. Xi has been repeating that Taiwan is a part of China and must get ready to merge. Since the communist revolution which ended in 1949, Mao Zedong claimed that Formosa (later named Taiwan) was a part of Mainland China. There was intermittent bombardment with artillery from the mainland. Since 1954 Taiwan has been the beneficiary of a defence treaty with the USA. Between 1895 and 1945, Taiwan was a Japanese colony after it was officially handed over by China. Earlier it had been a Spanish colony.
However, after seeing how Beijing has treated Hong Kong, it is unlikely that anyone would like to come under the Chinese umbrella. Coming to ideology, with the advent of Deng Xiaoping to supreme power in 1978, China is semi-capitalist, although the façade of communism is maintained. Deng’s famous declaration was ‘the colour of a cat whether it is black or red does not matter as long as it kills mice’. The sum of the substance of ideology was thrown to the winds for the pursuit of prosperity.
Josef Stalin had also abused Marxism-Leninism for pursuing his own power and glory. He had to settle for what he called ‘socialism in one country’.
It is true that World War II was thrust upon him by Adolf Hitler but after peace returned in 1945, if the Soviet Union had satisfied itself with being a great European power, as it had been for over two centuries, all would have been well.
Instead Stalin assumed all the trappings of a superpower like the USA and troubles began for the Soviet economy which could not cope with American competition.
Eventually, Soviet Union collapsed and broke up into 16 republics in 1991. Was it not the abuse of his power, and the country by the vainglorious Stalin and his successors?
Ideology is a European concept. Till date, there is no Asiaborn theory of the kind except the outline of Hindudom or Hindutva. Until about the 17th century, monarchs turned to the high priests of Christianity for guidance if and when they needed it.
There was no idea of ideology other than from religion. With the emergence of secularism and the advent of nationhood, nationalism sprouted, which was a construct beyond merely the monarchy.
Meanwhile, at the economic level, capitalistic ideas grew along with the establishment of manufacturing and factories. Then arose the feeling of factory workers being exploited.
In response sprouted various socialist theories and these were followed by Karl Marx and his great thesis of the materialistic interpretation of history. The need of every person is about the same he said; in his words ‘from each according to ability to each according to his need’.
To combat Marxism, those who believed essentially in capitalism, innovated fascism. Benito Mussolini of Italy spoke of ‘class collaboration’. Capitalism had been accused of exploiting the working class but this collaboration was a middle path.
Mussolini used this ideology to grab power in Italy and also dragged it into World War II along with Hitler, whose ideology as well was fascism, albeit a more extreme version of fascism.