Time to Think Afresh
Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 15th August, 2020
When India gained political independence 73 years ago, Prime Minister Nehru declared from the ramparts of the Red Fort that the pain of the Indian people has ended. He declared that the long suppressed soul of India has been liberated. He passionately called on the people to support the project of ending poverty, ignorance, disease, inequality and wiping every tear from every eye.
Today, when Prime Minister Modi speaks from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he will use his oratorical skill to speak passionately about a new India which is allegedly being built. He will blame all the problems we face on the long years of Congress rule. He will repeat the promise of a self-reliant India where there will be development for all.
From Nehru to Modi, every prime minister has been trained in the art of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite. They are skilled at promising what the people want, so as to deceive them and manipulate their best sentiments to serve narrow vested interests.
Jawaharlal Nehru marketed the Bombay Plan formulated by the Tatas and Birlas as a project to build a socialistic pattern of society. What got built was state capitalist industry and infrastructure, to assure cheap supply of vital inputs for the private business houses. The big capitalists grew bigger and richer while the workers and peasants remained poor and super-exploited.
Today, Prime Minister Modi swears by aatmanirbhar (self-reliance), while the government he heads is opening up all sectors to foreign capital, including banking, insurance, coal mining, defence production, electronic communication and retail trade. The public sector of industry and infrastructure, built with the sweat of the working class, is being broken up and handed over to private profiteers, Indian and foreign.
It is the big capitalists and their foreign allies who have been setting the agenda throughout the past 73 years. The task of the prime minister has been to market this agenda as if is in the best interests of the people.
Independence from colonial rule was achieved due to the struggle by people of all regions, who united irrespective of differences in religion and caste. They united in spite of all efforts of the British Raj to keep them divided. However, divide and rule has remained the preferred weapon of successive governments in post-colonial India.
After the communal bloodshed which accompanied the Partition, Nehru declared that it would not happen again. Prime Minister Modi made the same promise in 2014. But communal violence has been unleashed again and again, with increasing frequency and ferocity.
“Unity in Diversity” is a slogan that has been turned upside down in practice. It is a slogan which corresponds to the long cherished aspiration for an India where the cultures and languages of all the diverse peoples would flourish and their rights would be protected. However, peoples who fight for their rights have been treated as enemies of “national unity and territorial integrity of India” and suppressed by the armed might of the central state. This has led to the alienation of Kashmiris, Punjabis, Manipuris, Nagas and others from the so-called nation building project of the Indian ruling class.
Every prime minister has hidden the truth from our people that the transfer of power in 1947 did not end the system of oppression, exploitation and plunder which the British rulers had established. The Constitution adopted in 1950 did not represent a break with the political system which the colonialists built. Political power was transferred into the hands of the big capitalists, allied with big landlords and other traitorous elements. Brown sahebs occupied the seats vacated by the white sahebs while the people remained powerless.
Far from becoming the malik of India, which was the aim articulated by the Ghadaris of 1857, the people of our country do not have decision-making power. . We do not have the right to govern our society. We only have the “right” to choose which party of the capitalist class will get the chance to manage the existing oppressive State and exploitative economic system for the next few years.
Anyone who protests against the unbearable conditions is imprisoned and branded as being “anti-national” or a “terrorist”. It is no better than how the British Raj treated our patriots.
The capitalist class has used the political power it gained to enormously expand its wealth and private empires. From being subordinate to the British bourgeoisie under colonial rule, this class has developed over the years into an imperialist bourgeoisie with its own global expansionist aims. To gain access to foreign markets, this traitorous class is willing to let foreign capitalists penetrate Indian markets and interfere in our internal affairs.
Workers and peasants who produce the wealth of India continue to remain among the poorest in the world. The vast majority of people continue to be the victims of an oppressive State that deprives us of our rights. We continue to be plagued by caste discrimination and communal persecution. Our rich and ancient civilization is being torn asunder by the divisive politics of the ruling class.
Successive governments have been carrying out jingoist warmongering propaganda against Pakistan and China, while systematically strengthening a strategic alliance with US imperialism, the most aggressive warmongering power and chief sponsor of terrorism in the world. Agreements have been signed for permitting American war planes to use Indian bases for refueling purposes. The Anglo American imperialists have their claws deep into all the institutions of the Indian state, including the intelligence agencies, the bureaucracy, the major parties in Parliament and various think tanks.
The ideas promoted by the BJP appear to be very different from the ideas promoted by the Congress Party. One is called communal while the other is called secular. However, results on the ground show that they are two sides of the same coin. They both serve the same vested interests. They propagate different forms of bourgeois ideology, aimed at deceiving the people and enriching the capitalists, headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and other monopoly houses.
Times are calling on the people of India to break with the old idea of political independence without a revolutionary transformation in the economic system, the state apparatus and the laws governing society. We need to think afresh, rejecting all variants of bourgeois ideology, aimed at perpetuating the loot of our labour and resources by native and foreign exploiters.
We must dare to lay the foundation of an economic system and State committed to ensure prosperity and protection for all.
We need to make a clean break with the colonial legacy of defining the Indian people as consisting of a “Hindu majority” and various religious minorities. We must fight to establish a new Constitution which explicitly recognizes that Indian society consists of numerous nations, nationalities and peoples, each with their respective economic, political and cultural rights. It must guarantee that all democratic and human rights are protected and not violated under any pretext.
We need to envision and fight for a political process in which people do not hand over all decision-making power to their elected representatives. People must have the right to select candidates for election. They must have the right to recall their elected representative at any time. They must also have the right to initiate legislation and the right to approve or reject major public decisions through referendums.
An empowered people can and will reorient the economic system to provide prosperity for all, instead of being geared to fulfill capitalist greed. The wealth produced by our workers and peasants can then be used to uplift the living conditions of the entire population. India will then emerge as a modern democratic country free of the baggage of its colonial past.