I am writing to thank you for reprinting the paper entitled 'The Last reform: Breaking with the Past', in the August 15-31, 2015 issue of MEL. This classic paper by Com. Hardial Bains was written 18 years earlier and represents a profound theoretical contribution to the field of the theory of liberation for India. This paper, in a succint fashion, puts forward in the highest tradition of Marxism-Leninism what phenomena around us are revealing and therefore is a contribution in the sphere of philosophy, and in the true tradition of Marx who stated that the point of philosophy is not just to understand the world, but to change it.
What then are the crucial features of this paper which makes it so compelling for us to read, as India struggles today in all spheres, when the encirclement of the bourgeoisie is complete? What are the central features of statecraft which makes the bourgeoisie the ruling class, and what are the instruments of its state power? Central to obtain an deep understanding is the recognition that the state institutions are those that were left behind by the British in 1947.
The purpose of the state institutions that were created by the British ever since 1660 was to serve the interests of the British manufacturing class and the East India company and their economic system.
The main philosophical point raised by Com. Bains in this paper is that this needs to be broken, and what is required is a fresh start. Therefore, all those who are interested in a future for India and its people must necessarily contend the points raised in this paper.
A brief bullet point summary of the points are that one of the greatest defeats for the people of South Asia are that the British left behind their insitutions and caused a partition, and this is the source of all the tragedies that beset the people,and also that there is a continued danger of a world war that imperils the peoples of the region due to the superpower desires to conquer the Indian Ocean, that the Constitution of India rather than rejecting British outlook consolidated this outlook and put in place a system that would differ as little as possible from the colonial institutions (and indeed it is not very different in Bangladesh and Pakistan), and that the Constitution does not enshrine the sovereignity of the people that the summation of the first 50 years after independence (and one might today add that this continues to be so into 68 years),is based on a complete break with all experience of statecraft from antiquity up to 1857, and that the notion of the state as it stands today is opposite to what its conception was until now, and what it is today in all the South Asian states, that Indian political thought even today (and even belying the practice of Indian statecraft) has in its kernel the dual notions of raksha and sukh as the primary purposes of the state (while finding a mention in the Directive Principles of the Constitution do not find a mechanism for their enforcement), that the British established their state, primarily to plunder the colonies and eventually carried out a transfer of power, and that the aims of the state were also to ensure that their Raj was beneficial to them,and produced several theories including liberal democracy, conservatism,social democracy etc., as part of the justificiation of their rule, that the countries of South Asia have capitalism democracies, and this representative democracy merely carries out rule of capitalists by organizing itself as political parties that vie for power between successive elections, that this past must be broken at this time, as it blocks both the present and the future, that the liberals claimed using the theory of "white man's burden" that the benefits they enjoyed could also be delivered to the colonial people, and that a version of such a theory came to the doorstep of India through `privatization and liberalization', and that there is the profound notion of 'trusteeship' where the President as trustee heads the state as a trustee of the people, which is content is a hoax as it completely disempowers the people, that the conclusion at this time is that people of South Asia will emerge as truly independent only when they determine which kind of economic and politial systems they want to have, and that there must be a struggle against what is anachronistic and that there is an urgent need for renewal among the countries of South Asia.
This said, all readers of this profundly stirring paper should go forward and take up the call for this renewal and the call for the break with the past as a clarion call to action, especially in the sphere of political theory, and as one to overthrow the shackles of slavery of the mind.
The profound defeat that the people of the region suffered in 1947 need not be a permanent defeat. Let them break with the past, and put forward the agenda of what their future must be. They must be the makers of their own destiny.
A. Narayan, Bangalore