Wake up, Rip Van Winkle...

Have been wanting to put in my two cents on this for ages now - I'm so glad the Left finally got its comeuppance, after 4 years of causing nothing but trouble and preventing any and all development from happening. Am also glad to note that Manmohan Singh's spine is intact and straight - had started doubting it after all the 'accomodations' to the Left in the last few years.

Ok, here's the deal. Anyone who doesn't believe in communism/ socialism while they are in college is bereft of any shred of idealism. I mean, the ideal is so beautiful - everybody is equal, everyone will share everything...their anthem should be John Lennon's Imagine! But the point is, at some stage you outgrow it, because you realise it's an impractical dream, much like Nehru's Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai. There's a wonderful story in one of the William books ( for more info on William, read The Hungry Bookworm) about how William's brother and his friends all decide to found a socialist society...Only catch is William and his friends decide to found one too, and to help themselves to their brothers' goods so as to be equal...and that's the weak spot.

Quite apart from the impratical nature of it, India's commies haven't realised that just because Karl Marx wanted to liberate the factory workers in an industrializing Germany, there is no reason to apply the same narrow definition of 'worker' to an agrarian society like India. The only thing the Left parties have ever done is promote unionism, while being oblivious to the plight of India's real workers - the millions who eke out a precarious living in the cities or on the farms. Every reform that could address this teeming mass has been turned down by the Left in order to favour the factory worker who comparatively is doing ok. Be it the airport privatisation or modern retail, the Left rabidly objects to anything that might actually result in livelihoods or greater convenience for millions of people, choosing instead to focus on a select few.

Meanwhile, thanks to Union troubles, private industry has been leaving the Left-controlled state in droves. The agrarian economy of West Bengal is amongst the poorest, prompting thousands of poor people from the state to migrate in search of a basic living. If the Left really cared about the poor, wouldn't you think West Bengal and Kerala would be more prosperous? If the Left really cared about the people, how did Nandigram happen on land controlled by them?

And then there's the whole rabid fear of America which the Left not only fails to realise is not reflected in the minds of the average Indian, but which is a relic of a past in which the world was bi-polar. Russia today is busy sucking up to America, and China is eager to be friends with them while our anachronistic jhola-wala friends sit wringing their hands at India's friendship with 'the Great Satan'. It's an attitude that has more in common with that of the jihadis in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The problem is that the Left parties haven't grown up. They haven't woken up and smelled the coffee. It's as if Rip Van Winkle went to sleep in the '50s and woke up in the noughties and preserved the same attitudes and way of thinking that he had gone to sleep with. I for one am not a complete capitalist and would be happy if Capitalism could be made to temper its goals with humanism, and it is in that sphere that the role of the Left could become useful to society. There needs to be a system of checks and balances which ensures that everybody gets a share of the pie, and that is the area in which the Left could provide the necessary arguments. But unfortunately the party seems so steeped in Stalinist-era rhetoric and its narrow definition of the 'proletariat' that it has ended up being insignificant even to the very people it claims to represent.

Comments

Suki said…
God, girl, that feels like a body-blow. The immature, corrupt, selfish attitude of the Left affects us in every step of our lives, and YES most of us are just dying to get out of here. Kolkata has its charms, its beauty, its humanity.. but I would sacrifice that in favour of some honesty and efficiency.
The sad part about the Leftists I see here is that they put Party before State. When a govt standing for 30 years does that.. daal mein kuchh kalaa hai.
bird's eye view said…
It's so true Suki - the left seems to have lost track of what or whom they are representing and focus only on the party.

PS. Though I haven't tagged you, would like you to do the tag from my book blog - http://thehungry-bookworm.blogspot.com on top 10 fictional characters

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