Thursday, January 11, 2007

Changing Identities.

At times the wayside onlooker joins a group of people. The group of people, all strangers to him, but still he walks along with them, his head held high in pride, enjoying those few moments of self given importance. The group finally reaches a junction, where they take one way, leaving the onlooker at crossroads. His moment of transient importance is now over. he wanders about and becomes an onlooker again.

The onlooker in question is not on the roads anymore but, now everywhere we see them in our lives. In essence all comrades leaning left in India are in a way such onlookers or they have been reduced to that effect due to certain grave ideological differences in the way the common good was perceived. Communism itself has had a number of stages of change according to the people who patronized this struggle or revolution for "Common Ownership" of the means of production. The ideas and thoughts changed each times according to the then current need, right from Lenin to Stalin, Karl Marx to Mao Zedong, Trotsky and so on. That should only improve the basic ideology but that has seriously suffered at least in the case of India.

Take, for instance the Singur issue in West Bengal. It is an important step, which a surprisingly progressive CPI government took, for the industrialization of West Bengal which was suffering due to lack of investment, and issues of unemployment. This step which could have been a breakthrough found opposition from farmers, the very farmers who are supposed to be represented by this party, with the Sickle in their flags. With some members within the government and the party themselves opposing the move, the comrades of India suffered a major identity crisis. Either they had to be for development or upliftment of the poor, but Singur is in the very sense, a perfect deadlock.

It is at this stage that we ask ourselves why did Communism fail in India while it could catapult China`s position aggressively. Where is it that Indian Communism failed? Are there no dynamic thinkers left or is it totally in a mess. The truth is that we learned the lesson wrongly. We forgot that with "Common Ownership" there comes "Common Responsibility" as well. We forgot that work is the primary identity and that ideology comes afterwards. This is perhaps best illustrated in the situation in Kerala, which despite having the highest literacy rate and good living conditions is still dependent on rubber and tourism to make a mark of it`s contribution to the entire nation. The reason, is of course simple, because they romanticized the revolutionist aspect of Communism. The primary identity of a farmer or a labourer was pushed backstage.

Now this is not merely a political rant and neither is it that I abhor Communism. It is plainly that often the beauty of thought and ideals is lost in it`s application and Communism in India serves as a perfect example. The trend of changing or rather losing identities is seen even in the case of Social Activism. There is no more that silent persistent movement for social change as in the likes of Mahashweta Devi or Aruna Roy. Today instead we have Medha Patkar who first claimed her identity with the cause of Narmada Valley. She has been seen everywhere and has been leading these people all this while through protests and hunger strikes, but do we see a positive development of the issue?. When the media ultimately lost interest in the same, she now runs over to Singur to lead the farmers there against the government. So what will happen to the Valley and it`s people. Are their troubles over now or is it because the camera men have left Narmada ?.

As long as there are issues there are people swarming in to spearhead their campaign, but how many of them really make a difference or are they too mere onlookers who sense this sudden opportunity to shine in their moment of glory. This is again not to discourage people who have a genuine intention of making a difference, but show us the difference first, hit the headlines later.!

There is no dearth of problems in India. There are farmer suicides in Punjab, there is the ULFA attacks in Assam and the list goes on. We do not need onlookers, in search of temporary identity, we need the grass root workers. We need land for the farmers, work for the labourers. Once they find their primary identity, the problems shall disappear by themselves. On the contrary if they selflessly lose their identity to provide an identity, a claim to recognition for these so called 'activists' or politicians there shall remain no winner eventually.


Sunil Parmar said...

Very truly said and very thought provoking.

I would like to add here that we all know about the famous quote:"United we stand, divided we fall". but in India its Divided-still we stand.
The threat to our country is not our neighboring countries but our own people. that is Hindu's are fighting Muslims..ULFA,LTTE,Kashmir Issues, People in Punjab and Haryana are busy killing their own daughters and when they don't have any they kill other children{Noida killings}.

To make our country a better and safe place change must start from us-our people. coz the problem and solution both are here itself.

starry nights said...

A very thought provoking post. we need unity and have to stand together and thats the only way we can help each other.

Deepak said...

A good post indeed.
Your take on communism is not very different from my view.
Only that I hate communism in Kerala (due to some personal reasons)
That's not personal hatred; it's hatred of the ideal.

About Medha Patkar, I disagree with you in that she is not trying to hog the limelight. She goes where the camera is, because there is no hope of any change without the public knowing about it.

iamvisheshur said...

consider this how will our country be if we had a dictator who based his rule on socialism??
i think that would be much better considering that politics wouldn't become a easy job people are lost inbetween the parties.if you want to have an idea about the condition of our people try going and talk to the autowalas you will know they are gullible and get lost because of this.
a good bet would be to say we are going to have an revolution soon.

Sreejith Kumar said...

The moment people and politicians (in particular) realise that their ideas and activities need to be assisting the welfare of the public, the world would become a better place...

Marutham said...

Welcome back srijith,
An excellent post ... Very thoughtful & so true.Every word!!

I just wish the governmnet & also other bodies realise their responsibilty & make INDIA a better place! We area all, already workign towards that- hope they join us!
Great post Indeed,srijith!

Srijith Unni said...

@Sunil: Yes..! Well said, Sunil! The change must start from us. We must take on responsibilities as eagerly as we claim our rights, thereby if we remain committed towards unity, then there`s no stopping us.

@Starry: Yes, we must stand together despite what hindrances we may encounter. Our nation needs an exercise in this.

@Deepak: I actually used to like communist ideals, but in the long run in India at least it lost steam and became like any other political party. It has been a success in China, which should be taken positively however.
About Medha Patkar, let me tell you, I respect her work very much, that is why I was disappointed when she rushed to Singur, because there the people`s concern was already very much in the limelight thanks to Mamata and it did not seem to have any direct impact on the NBA problem.

@Vishesh: A revolution seems interesting at most times, but the fact is that there is a lot of loss which we will have to incur as a country if that happens now. Democracy is good, what we really need is responsible citizens who think beyond party lines and for the common welfare of the nation.

@Sreejith: Yes.. I think we can surely play a more active role in this regard, in spreading awareness.. What say..?

@Marutham: Thanks a lot.. That sums it up well. We are all doing our best. Let everyone join us..! :)