Of Leftist Ideology In The Indian Context

V.S. Ravi

Sep 11, 2021, 03:53 PM | Updated 03:53 PM IST

CPI leaders Brinda Karat, D. Raja, JNU students, professors and CPI party members at JNU campus in 2016 (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
CPI leaders Brinda Karat, D. Raja, JNU students, professors and CPI party members at JNU campus in 2016 (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
  • What is perhaps obnoxious is that this brand of socialism is being encouraged by bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers and judges, who think that advocating Marxism is a mark of intellectual manhood.
  • Even more obnoxious is that their professed support for Marxist thought and expressions of sympathy for the plight of the starving millions, is in glaring contrast to their aristocratic style of life — the most blatant demonstration of hypocrisy and double standards.
  • It has been noticed in recent times. that a well-orchestrated propaganda is being made in our country by certain sections of our educated population.

    It manifests itself in the form of a theory, that a leftist ideology, social activism and affirmative action (suited to our country's needs) are the only means by which India can lift itself from poverty, and set right all social evils.

    In order to understand this new disturbing trend of thought, it is necessary to first go into the historical evolution of Marxism in general.

    Marxism is the illegitimate offspring of German Hegelianism and French Socialism.

    Its fundamental concept is that of historical materialism. Marx followed Hegel in the interpretation of historical development on the basis of an irresistible, irreversible, ‘dialectical’ process; Hegel found in this development the manifestation of the ‘Universal Spirit.’

    Marx saw only economic forces.

    To Marxist socialists, the economic impulse provides the mainspring of human aspirations, and it alone shapes consciously or unconsciously, actions, judgments, institutions, and society.

    Religion, art, systems of philosophy are "ideological veils", the emanations of, or escapes from, primary economic factors, and the crises and transitions of history are economic in their real significance.

    Further again, accepting the Hegelian doctrine that the historical process is dialectical (i.e., the product of continuous tension between "opposites'), Marx saw the development of history through continuous conflict, or tension between opposing economic classes.

    History was to Marx a perpetual class warfare, and the historical progression from ancient to medieval, from medieval to modern was the record of the destruction of the oppressor and the liberation of the oppressed economic classes.

    To Marx, the time seemed ripe for the final war between capitalism and the proletariat.

    The immediate programme then was to bring about the class war, to educate the proletariat in class-consciousness and the recognition of their capitalist enemy, to enlighten them as to their destiny, to prepare them for their inevitable triumph and that of their disciples, to incite to revolution.

    Die-hard Marxists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly disclose that their ends (of removing glaring financial inequality) can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions of inequality — between prosperous and poor nations, the rich and the poor within nations, and the privileged and the under-privileged.

    Let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic revolution.

    However, history has shown that the main assumptions on which Marxism had been founded are baseless and incorrect. Several other factors have shaped history — not just glaring financial inequality or exploitation — real, or imaginary.

    Marx's whole case rests mainly upon the assumption that capitalism and proletarianism are true "opposites", whose tension will produce the next synthetic historical development.

    But history is showing that modern industrial development, with its growing complexity and variety, is producing out of Capital and Labour not ever-diverging opposites but ever- coalescing groups whose differences and 'tension' are being reduced by a rising common standard of living, philanthropic interest, and the growth of a wage- earning class with capitalistic investments.

    Thus, an independent labour-capitalist society has already emerged, a complex economic and financial organisation of wage-earner, share- holder, manager.

    The philosophy, personality and contributions of enlightened and extraordinary men, particularly great scientists have shaped human history improving the quality of life on the planet — a factor Marxists do not appreciate and hence do not take into consideration.

    It is therefore ironic that when other nations have given up Marxism as a "God that failed" our wonderful home-grown Marxists/communists/social activists want to bring about a revolution such as Marx had conceived of, to set things right in our country.

    They are literally going back in time in making the rather erroneous assumption that the wheels of history will stop at the fulfilment of the proletarian revolution.

    What is perhaps obnoxious is that this brand of socialism, and social activism with a leftist bias is being encouraged by many educated, self-professed leftists like bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers and Judges, who think that advocating Marxist ideology is a mark of intellectual manhood.

    Even more obnoxious is the fact that their professed support for Marxist thought and cause and expressions of sympathy for the plight of the starving millions of India, is in glaring contrast to their aristocratic style of life — their taste for the rarest of vintage French wines, costliest Scotch whiskey, finest Belgian chocolates, most exquisite Swiss cheese, and exotic Haagen Daz ice creams, and a desire to go on foreign jaunts frequently and savour the best of all the affluent west has to offer — the most blatant demonstration of hypocrisy and double standards.

    Another trait noticed in some of these journalists and bureaucrats is the unabashed manner in which they enjoy abroad, the hospitality of not only their old friends settled there, but also students who have gone there to pursue their higher studies or have secured a job only recently.

    They also expect them to "take them around" to see places of interest which very often include picnic spots, places of historical interest, shopping malls and restaurants.

    It is the gullible host who incurs the entire expenditure for all these visits — expenditure for which he can never expect reimbursement.

    I have myself heard about this from at least 10 students who had been taken for a ride in this fashion. There must be many more who endure the agony silently.

    There are innumerable cases of leftist bureaucrats seeking and getting lucrative assignments in various organisations of the United Nations, and obtaining plum positions for their sons in multinational corporations abroad.

    Of course, I am not referring to those brilliant officers of extraordinary merit who are identified and chosen by the various international organisations (like the United Nations) or those sent to those organisations by our government on the basis of their outstanding performance as civil servants throughout their career.

    I can readily think of at least two such officers (who may not like to be named) who have served the World Bank in Washington and the World Trade Centre in Geneva, with distinction.

    But they constitute a minority. In any case, they don't pontificate about the greatness of Marxism or the desirability of India embracing its principles to solve its political and economic problems!

    These self-professed leftist groups, who proclaim themselves as champions of the downtrodden, also express their support for affirmative action — which, in their view is another sign of their intellectual manhood.

    Affirmative action programme in India has its merits and pitfalls. While it has brought economic and social democracy to socially disadvantaged sections, it has also played into the hands of divisive politicians playing identity politics.

    Dr. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, considered the affirmative programme of India more as a crutch which should be forgotten when the society turns healthy than a constant vote-fetching ploy of politicians.

    Incidentally, Dr. Ambedkar himself was a strong conservative rightwing economist who was also of the view that human development should be both spiritual and material.

    Labelling Marxists his ‘traditional enemies’ he considered the aim of their philosophy to be to ‘fatten pigs as though men were no better than pigs.'

    Karl Popper, the famous philosopher of science, considered Marxism to be as much a pseudoscience as astrology.

    That being so, the lip sympathy expressed for affirmative action and leftist ideology by the four above mentioned groups, while at the same time securing lucrative assignments in international organisations going on frequent foreign jaunts/sending their children abroad to study in prestigious foreign universities can only be viewed as the worst kind of hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty in the entire catalogue of human folly.

    V.S.Ravi is a distinguished and highly decorated IPS officer having served both the Government of AP and the Government of India, for 35 years. He retired in 1998. He is a scion of the Alladi family, being a grandson of the Late Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, one of the Chief architects of the Constitution . Sri Ravi is one of the foremost authorities on Shakespeare in the country. He has contributed articles on Shakespeare to the Hindu and News Time Now. He passed Physics (Hons) with distinction and he has kept himself in touch with the latest developments in science and technology.

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