Distortion of Com.T Nagi Reddy’s views is not the way to pay real homage to him
How fragile is India’s Constitution, and how illusory are its claims of sovereignty, independence, democracy, secularism and socialism has been noticed repeatedly over the last 70 plus years after 1947 August. RTI and Article 370 were the most recent shocks to some people who were hoping against hope.
Much was made out, recently during nationalistic debate on Article 370, of India’s First war on Pakistan in 1947 regarding Kashmir. And the ‘iron man’ was valorised – the ‘iron’ was made in UK. The sham of independence and patriotism of India and Pakistan was exposed so soon after the mid-night event of August 1947.
Nothing can be more unique and ironic than this :
“The presence of the British commanding officers on both sides made the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 a strange war.
The two commanding officers were in daily telephone contact and adopted mutually defensive positions. The attitude was that “you can hit them so hard but not too hard, otherwise there will be all kinds of repercussions.”
Both Lockhart and Messervy were replaced in the course of war, and their successors Roy Bucher and Douglas Gracey tried to exercise restraint on their respective governments. Roy Bucher was apparently successful in doing so in India, but Gracey yielded and let British officers be used in operational roles on the side of Pakistan. One British officer even died in action.” (Wikipedia)
It should be noted that British military officers on both sides were replaced, but again by Britishers only.
That was why Communist Revolutionaries led by DV Rao and TN always held that 1947 marked only a transfer of power. It was mere political power, that too limited and formal. It was more a formal than real independence. They thus declared in (1971) the Special Court constituted to try them for sedition and Conspiracy to overthrow the Indian state.
( Emphases added.)
DV Rao told the Special Court :
“ Imperialism transferred power to prevent the National Democratic Revolution from its consummation. Thus it could transform political independence into a formal one by depriving it of the foundation of economic independence…The Big Bourgeoisie and landlords who assumed power with the consent of the imperialists on the basis of serving their interests, are trumpeting ever since that the imperialists left India and that we won real political independence. Thus they have been concealing the economic, military and cultural domination of the imperialists.” (PDR 1971. p.57)
He said it is in fact a world-wide strategy of imperialists and quoted Lenin (PDR 1971. p.55) on the tasks of revolutionaries:
“ The need to constantly to explain and expose among broadest working masses of all countries, the deception systemically followed by the imperialist powers, which under the guise of politically independent states set up states that are wholly dependent upon them economically, financially and militarily.” (Lenin, CW. Vol 31, p.150)
Com. T. Nagi Reddy told the Court :
It is Indian Bourgeoisie’s Despicable Betrayal… It is clear that the bourgeoisie did not want a decisive victory against imperialism. He likened it to European experience and quoted Karl Marx :
“Thus independence was proclaimed. The Union Jack was hauled down. The tri-colour was hoisted…
“At last the bride was brought home, but only after she had become a prostitute. ” The national leaders “sought to cheat destiny by constitutional cunning.” (Karl Marx. “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.”)
How sham was India’s independence was explained by him thus:
“As a matter of fact, the same British Governor-General (Lord Mountbatten) continued, the same British Commander-in-Chief was the Head of the armed forces (General Boucher continued for two years after August 15, 1947), the same Secretariat and Heads of departments as in the case of British were functioning, with all the glory and power.
Similar treason against… the peasantry, the working class, and the middle class was never committed in history.”
“Thus it was that the transfer of power was an insulting compromise between the Indian bourgeoisie and the Imperialists to safeguard India for their joint and agreed exploitation.”
(India Mortgaged,Chapter I)
Indian Big Bourgeoisie-Landlord Government Strengthened Landlord Base
That is the title of a section in India Mortgaged, the classic work by Com. TN, written in 1971. Fundamental changes and social relations in the rural areas can be achieved only through an agrarian revolution, he asserted.
The present article deals with certain questions of India’s political economy and its evolution. It is with reference to an article by Battini Rao that ‘criticises’ com T.Nagi Reddy’s views, despite the above theme in TN’s works. An attempt is made here in such a manner that things are clearer, even to new and younger readers,even to those who did not follow the question earlier. It is not confined to refuting what is contended by Rao, as given below.
“This is the only way to pay real homage to Com.TN”, thus concluded an article by Battini Rao (Convenor, PADS) in countercurrents.org published on August 6, 2019, and it says:
“Com. TN failed to recognize the Capitalist nature of the Indian state and society, consequently failed to recognize the fact that India is in the stage of anti-capitalist socialist revolution. This is the devastating failure of the official communist movement of India in which com.TN is also a part and is paid for it’s mistakes with thousands of lives.”
Battini Rao begins with mentioning certain facts in a correct manner :
He (TN) served as the convener of the “Andhra Pradesh Coordination Committee of the Communist Revolutionaries” and subsequently as a member of the Central Committee of the Unity Center of the Communist Revolutionaries of India (Marxist-Leninist) based on the programme of Peoples’ Democratic Revolutionaries opposing the adventurist tactical line (of Charu Majumdar etc ). He was arrested and faced ‘Hyderabad Conspiracy Case’, which had 42 accused including veteran communist leader DV Rao on charges of Sedition and Conspiracy….
It should be added TN (1917-1976) was the co-Founder of UCCRI-ML, along with Com DV Rao ( 1917-1984), veteran of Telangana People’s Armed Struggle-TPAS,1946-51), who was its General secretary. TN and DV were close comrades-in-arms, sharing one and the same line, until TN died in 1976 July.
Com DV wrote and made a separate statement, on behalf of nine accused leaders including TN, and read it out in the Court from Dec 14 to 18th of 1971. This classic work of DV was later published in book form as People’s Democratic Revolution(PDR), An Explanation of the Programme, 1971 (of around 370 pages). Together the companion volumes served, as intended by the then imprisoned authors, as authentic text books and Hand Books for three generations of communist revolutionaries, with repeated reprints, unique in India’s revolutionary literature.
(See on TN on Bourgeoisie and the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution, and other related links.
See Veteran Communist Revolutionary DV Rao Remembered and other related links.
Battini Rao (Rao) mentions India Mortgaged, the magnum opus by Com TN that was originally presented as his Defence Statement in the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Hyderabad, who conducted the trial of the famous Hyderabad Conspiracy Case 1970.
And there Rao trips into distorting TN’s views.
Obviously, Rao does not agree with the line Com TN espoused in that well-documented book of 430 pages (in Royal Demy, First Edition of 1978), reprinted several times,in several languages, later on also.
There are so many, including communists, who do not agree with TN’s views. They have their own lines too, and presumably pursuing the same in their own ways. It is up to them.
Why then drag TN’s name into what they differently believe and practise? And where is the need for misinterpreting Com TN’s views?
“It must be said with all sincerity that a real revolutionary movement need genuine criticism and self-criticism of its past and present to step in to future,” says Rao.
But for that sake, “with all sincerity”, why distort and misrepresent Com TN’s views, 43 years after his death? This is not the way of “genuine criticism and self-criticism.” Nor the way to pay real homage to him.
The article is of full of misunderstanding, and /or misinterpreting Com TN’s views.
The crux of Rao’s article is as follows:
“Com. Tn failed to see the capitalist nature of the Indian state and its policies e.g Unification of princely states, abolition of intermediaries, tenancy reforms, ceiling on land holdings, major Irrigation projects, self reliance and five year plans, role of Banking finance to rural and industrial sectors, growth of large scale industrial- monopoly houses, price movement since independence, rise of unemployment – its nature, commercialization of entire rural economy, domination of capitalist relations (wage labor)in the production system etc.”
Did Com. TN fail to see the capitalist nature of the Indian state?
Did TN indeed fail to see Indian state’s policies, and the evolution of “commercialization of entire rural economy, domination of capitalist relations (wage labor)in the production system etc.” ?
TN and DV explained India is a state controlled by the Big, Comprador Bourgeoisie, along with Landlord classes and is sub-serving imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, as Lenin defined. They asserted and established that it strengthened rather than weakened the Landlord Base.
See what TN wrote in India Mortgaged, 1971:
Labour without land is a growing phenomenon today. The growing capitalist relations and commodity production ruins small production, reducing petty cultivators and tenants into landless agricultural labour creating a rural proletariat without the means of production. He is left with his own labour power and nothing else to sell in the market for his living.
As Lenin had said in his book “Development of Capitalism ‘in Russia”:
Machines lead to the concentration of production and to the practice of capitalist, co-operation in agriculture”, and ‘where the employment of machines is particularly wide-spread (Novorossia) is also distinguished by the quite considerable size of its farms’. The systematic employment of machinery in agriculture ousts the patriarchal ‘middle’ peasant as irrevocably as the steam power loom ousts the handicraft weaver”.
Thus the growth of commodity production in agriculture, growing capitalist relations in the countryside, concentration of production, and the increasing employment of machinery, ousts small and middle peasants from the land increasing the numbers of landless labourers.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the policies being adopted by the ruling big bourgeois – landlord classes in India is also increasing the army of the rural proletariat. This is clear from various studies on the impact of the ‘new agricultural strategy’ in India.
(India Mortgaged, 1971. Chapter XIV. All extracts given below are from the same, unless otherwise stated. Emphases added.)
We should remember that TN wrote India Mortgaged in 1971and he died in 1976 July.The effects of Green Revolution of later 1960s were yet to come out clearly.Still, the keen observer that he was made the above statement.
It is not that “Com. Tn failed to see”, but Rao failed to see the clear analysis made by TN. Or he did not want to see or tell his readers?
TN further wrote : “”The percentage of landless agricultural labour has, thus, been increasing during all the years of developmental planning.” He mentions impact of the ‘green revolution‘ after 1963-64. TN even goes deeper, sees changes in rice and wheat areas too, and lists some districts where these changes were faster and greater. TN even identifies areas where changes were coming :
“The states where the percentage of landless agricultural labour households to agricultural labour households is greater than the all-India percentage of 61.2, are Andhra Pradesh (72.7), Gujarat (86.3), Maharashtra (71.4), Mysore (69.0), Punjab (85.5), Tamil Nadu (7 1.0). and West Bengal (62.2).”
TN even goes deeper, sees changes in rice and wheat areas too, and lists some districts where these changes were faster and greater :
“In West Godavari (AP) district about 60 per cent of agricultural families are actually farm labourers.” (Mainstream, December 27, 1969). “The largest portion of agricultural population in Palghat district (Kerala) – about 85 per cent – are farm labourers.” He mentions Ludhiana dt.(Punjab), and to some pockets of UP and Bihar too.
Rao’s article mentions “domination of capitalist relations (wage labor) in the production system.”
What was TN’s observation ? “The basic feature to be noted here is the greater dependence of the agricultural labourer on agricultural wages in 1963-64 than in 1956-57.”
Elsewhere DV and TN used the word semi-proletariat also for this class of people, apart from rural proletariat used here.
People’s liberation , only through an agrarian revolution
Notwithstanding any changes in the administration and political economy, in the concrete reality of India, they believed and asserted, Indian people’s liberation can be achieved only through an agrarian revolution. Why ? TN explained :
Even after the transfer of power from the British to the Indian comprador class, no fundamental changes in the economic, social and administrative spheres had been achieved. Even to this day, the character of the Indian economy has remained essentially semi-feudal and semi-colonial.
Forms in some respects have changed, but fundamentally caste has remained the same. The system of Panchayat Raj, the growth of green revolution, the growth of commodity production in the countryside, have only helped the ruling big landlord and the big business class to increase their domination through the revivalist and obscurantist social ideology based on castes.
The primary condition for lifting agricultural workers from this horrible state in which they have been forced to exist is the elimination and extermination, of landlordism. Fundamental changes in the agrarian structure and social relations in the rural areas can be achieved only through an agrarian revolution.
TN explained how semi-feudal and semi-colonial system operates in India in myriad ways, with umpteen manifestations. How the rural poor are victims of pre-capitalist exploitation, he explained. He says:
Thus the attached labourers are characterised by debt bondage, caste restraints, tie-in allotments of land, indicating prevalence of pre-capitalist features of employment of labour. Attached labourers are tied down by loans, repayment of which were practically impossible.
Moreover, in many cases the employers give the attached labourers house-sites and land sometimes on a share-cropping basis. In South. India large numbers of farm servants known as padiyala, pannaiyala, pulayas, paleru, jeeta, etc., work year after year, if not generation after generation for the same landowner families.
Such a medieval system of bond slaves, according to the Second Agricultural Labour Enquiry Report, is on the increase. …
Apart from low wages and inhuman living conditions, the agricultural labourers are victims of unemployment and underemployment… Even according to the note submitted by the Central Statistical Organisation to the All-India Seminar on Agricultural Labour in 1965, they are employed only 200 days a year.
Then, TN goes into socio-economic relations, with a sub-heading Untouchability
The agricultural labourers are not part and parcel of the village. They are forced to live outside the main village, in separate ghettos, under horrible conditions, without any common facilities such as wells for drinking water, roads, street lanes, etc. They are mostly illiterate.
When such are the conditions, and they are becoming worse with feudal appropriation and exploitation taking open forms of violence against agricultural labour (many more instances were given later in this chapter)…
The problem of untouchability is inter-related with the problem of rural land relations. The extent and magnitude of the problem of untouchability is the reflection mainly of the economic lot of the scheduled castes, and a reflection of an economic society, with feudal social and economic relations which are still strong. The economic relations in the countryside are such that they are entirely dependent on the high caste landlords.
The problem of untouchability can be solved only by a hundred per cent democratic revolution capable of smashing to smithereens the feudal landlord hold in the rural areas, under the impact of mass uprisings, by total elimination of landlordism.
(Then TN quotes Gunnar Myrdal 🙂
Due to the “increasing power of, what is called in India the ‘rural elite’, “the caste system is probably stronger today than it was at the time when India became independent. Caste is so deeply entrenched in India’s traditions that it cannot be eradicated except by drastic surgery.” (Asian Drama, Page 279)
Rao mentions “abolition of intermediaries, tenancy reforms, ceiling on land holdings, major irrigation projects, self reliance and five year plans, role of Banking finance to rural sector ” etc. And says : “Com. Tn failed to see them, and the capitalist nature of the Indian state.”
Com. TN failed to see them? He dealt with each of them. So did DV Rao.
Mere Contents list of India Mortgaged gives an idea :
Chapter XIII Feudalism and Land Reforms has the following sections :
Land Reforms Enactments; Indian Big Bourgeoisie-Landlord Government Strengthens Landlord Base; Growing Concentration of Land; The Land Ceiling Acts have Served No Purpose; Armed Landlords and their Gangs in Rajasthan…( Bihar, AP, Tribals etc discussed in later chapters.)
Chapter XIV on Agricultural Labour has the following sections :
Growing Rural Labour ; Landless Labour; Average Income and Agricultural Labourer; ; Untouchability; Scheduled Castes and Tribes in India; The State of Harijans; Violence Stalks the Rural Scene; Desperate Fury Inevitable
Development of Capitalism in Agriculture: Capitalist Landlordism.
The above, not in small print, is the title of a detailed section in the companion volume (PDR) by DV Rao. Further, India Mortgaged also has a Foreword (1978 July) by DV Rao which discusses these questions pointedly in two sections. The Foreword quotes Lenin and goes into theory about reforms by ruling classes :
Lenin says the following about the significance of the reforms which are introduced by the ruling classes in general:
“A reformist change is one, which leaves intact the foundations of the power of the ruling classes and is merely a concession leaving its power unimpaired. A revolutionary change, undermines the foundations of power”.
(Collected Works, Volume XXII, Page 344)
Elaborating this, it says among other things :
There are a good number of intellectuals who claim that there is no feudalism in India. They have their own anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist theories in support of their contention.
But the real situation obtaining in India does not confirm their theories.
Abolition of princely states and zamindari system is but abolition of the specific forms of feudal relations but not the content of feudal relations in the main.
The land concentration with the class of landlords is the main form of feudal relations and other forms (tenancy, share-cropping, forced labour, usury) are interlinked with it. The author has provided facts and figures and drawn conclusions to this end. Neither the developments during the sixties nor those of the seventies indicate any substantial change, not to speak of a basic one.
Then there is discussion on : The capital expenditure incurred by rural households is in the main, the investment on farm equipment , on irrigation facilities and so on: “ But then, it is limited to the top strata of the farm households i.e., landlords and rich peasants.”…The study, further says: “There was a marked decline in the proportion of households reporting capital expenditure in farm business in almost, all states over the decade.
About the Land Ceiling Acts and their implementation, the less said, the better. Here is what an editorial by the Indian Express says:
“The total surplus on the basis of present ceiling laws, which will become available for redistribution adds up to a paltry 4.2 million acres. Even if all this surplus is actually acquired and distributed, which is doubtful considering past performance, it will be hardly enough to satisfy a fraction of the vast masses of our land hungry agricultural labourers and poor peasants and will not bring about any significant transformation of land relations in the country-side.” (May 19, 1978).
Does it mean that there are no changes what-so-ever?
Asks DV Rao and says: Yes, there are changes. The abolition of zamindari system and princely states is a change. The abolition of bonded labour system is a change. Enacting Land ceiling legislations is a change. Introduction of machinery, fertilisers, seeds of high yielding varieties etc., is a change.
But the cumulative effect of these changes is not the development of capitalism, replacing feudalism. Land reforms meant reform of landlordism, rather reform of its more brazen forms, and not its content.
On the contrary, a new type of class of landlords is being developed, who are in power at various levels, who are appropriating the major part of the allocations from State and Central budgets including foreign loans. As a part of this feature, capitalist relations have developed to a margnial extent. Instead of understanding their highly limited nature, they are being embellished, only to relegate the task of agrarian revolution into the background.
The capitalism is in a chronic crisis. There is a recession all over the world including India. Its impact on agriculture is serious. There is a glut in the market of food grains. Those who have surplus to sell (landlords and rich peasants) are not getting remunerative prices. The same is the case with commercial crops except the tea.
As such even the marginal capitalist relations are in crisis. Then how can we expect that there is a scope for capitalist development in future? Obviously not.
Then the Foreword quotes Lenin and goes into theory :
Lenin says the following about the significance of the reforms which are introduced by the ruling classes in general:
“A reformist change is one, which leaves intact the foundations of the power of the ruling classes and is merely a concession leaving its power unimpaired. A revolutionary change, undermines the foundations of power”.
(Collected Works, Volume XXII, Page 344)
India is a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country…The reforms being what they are have not changed the foundations of the Indian society in general and the ruling classes in particular. Hence there is imperialism; there is feudalism and semi -feudalism. There is no change in their foundations of power. To think that there is no imperialism, no feudalism, no semi-feudalism is not to accept the reality.
Virtually all these measures and reforms basically strengthened rather than weakened landlordism, as well as evolution of the neo-rich classes.
Capitalist development in the West and India
See 2015 data for Europe: Around 10 million people worked in agriculture in EU-28 (28 countries of EU), and they accounted for 4.4 percent of total employment (Eurostat-2017). In US, UK, Germany, Sweden etc, they are less than 2 percent. Only 4 out of 28 have it above 10 percent. That is how capitalist development looks like.
Now compare : Almost 70 percent of India’s labor force continue to live on agriculture, 50 years after TN wrote India Mortgaged. That is `capitalist development’ in India!
Semi-feudal and capitalist landlordism have no China wall between them.
Land concentration is the continued, key aspect of India’s landlordism.
Combine the above data with this: Despite claims of Land Ceiling Acts, even today top 10 percent of rural population control 40-50 percent of cultivated land, in all the states. And bottom 50 percent are landless peasants. About 40 to 70 percent , depending on areas, land is cultivated by small tenants, while absentee landlords / rich farmers get the product and profit. Almost nowhere in India, Tenancy Acts have benefited the poor and landless peasants , the real cultivators or tillers, who continue to lead lives of serfdom. (Combine this with Oxfam data given at the end.)
Land concentration is the key aspect of India’s landlordism. This is the ground reality, partly acknowledged by official agencies also. In such a context, all investments on irrigation, agriculture, and all panchayat raj institutions strengthened rather than weakened landlordism.
Major Irrigation projects have strengthened the neo-rich, while pauperizing the poor peasantry who had their small plots of lands alienated. Landless poor, constituting 50 percent or more of rural poor , have nothing to gain from these subsidies, schemes and institutional credit, rehabiltation and compensation packages etc.
And TN establishes that through concrete analysis. Semi-feudal landlordism and capitalist landlordism have no China wall between them; they are not mutually exclusive; in fact they operate side-by-side, and in tandem. Often the same landlord family has both features.
Despite the above situation, Battini Rao says : “all the basic problems of life are emanating from capitalism and the primary contradiction in our society is between Capitalism and working people. The main enemy of our revolution is Capitalism and Capitalist class….”
That is grossly inobjective. And amounts to exempting , thus saving, the landlord classes from an agrarian revolution that alone can pave the way for people’s liberation and then their onward march to socialism.
Even where capitalism in agriculture is there, see the reality :
India has about one crore acres under plantations, which are exempt from Land Ceiling Acts. And they employ over 20 lakh workers – most of them SCs, STs, women, illiterate – living on below-subsistence wages, and their living and working conditions are too bad. 80 percent tea is produced by MNCs and corporates, but their workforce are more like agri labor than industrial workers. These are explicit examples where corporate farming, capitalism and semi-feudal relations co-exist, despite all labor laws.
Let alone capitalist landlordism, even bourgeoisie itself in India has no anti-feudal edge, it collaborates with landlords, and together they share and swindle the state. There is a feudal bourgeoisie as part of Big bourgeoisie, both being Comprador in character, as established by TN and DV in their works.
Hardly 7 percent of India’s labor are in the organized sector. This also is not a feature of capitalism.
Broad-basing landlordism : New political dynasties
One change, derived from the things mentioned by Rao above, has been the development and consolidation of rural elite sections from among all castes, the neo-rich, including BCs, OBCs, thus broad-basing landlordism, thus saving and strengthening it.
The emergence of kulaks, the neo-rich classes, and new political elite including political dynasties (other than Nehru-Gandhi family),particularly post-Green Revolution, strengthened rather than weakened landlordism, semi-feudal as well as capitalist.
The non-Congress ruling parties that emerged after 1967, and 1977, General elections are basically representatives of these sections. Janata Party was a conglomerate of such forces and gave birth to parties like Lokdal, BKD, Janatadal, INLD, BJD, JDU, SP, RJD, Apnadal etc in the North, and the JDS, DMK, ADMK, DMDK, PMK, TDP, TRS,YCP etc in the South. They are all representatives of the neo-rich. Each of them are led by billionaires (yes, not millionaires). Parties like Shiv Sena, Akalidal are no different. Almost all of them are controlled by new political dynasties. BJP has its own dynasties.
Incidentally, what would be the effects of Parliamentary democracy built on a semi-feudal foundation was envisaged by BR Ambedkar in the speech he delivered at the concluding session of the All India Trade Union Workers Study Camp held in Delhi from 8th to 17lh September 1943 under the auspices of the Indian Federation of Labour. (That did not however prevent him from becoming, at a later stage, a part of and party to that. ) He was quoted by Dr KS Sharma :
“Parliamentary Democracy, not withstanding the paraphernalia of a popular government, is in reality a government of a hereditary subject class by a hereditary ruling class.”
(For BJP’s own dynasties : See Modi on Emergency, Democracy and Mandate, By Countercurrents Collective, June28, 2019, and comments there of.
All these parties are in the service of landlords on the one hand, and big business and MNCs on the other hand. You cant name any with different , pro-people politics.
Earlier eras had seen feudal landlords and zamindars from out of Brahmin, Baniya, Kshatriya, Bhumihar, Rajput and such other communities. Recent decades saw so-called intermediary castes throwing up the neo-rich, and new political dynasties. The class differentiation became so acute that new terms like MBCs (Most Backward Communities) and ati-sudras are added to the political lexicon.
Even dalits, though to a lesser extent, witnessed cultivation, with state support, of an elite class out of them. There are a few billionaire dalit political families in India today: G.Venkata Swamy of Telangana/AP, Jagjivan Ram, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Ram Vilas Pasawan, are among such families. Mayawati has recently promoted her kin to lead her party; her brother Anand Kumar, who reportedly has Rs 1300 crore plus assets, is now the Vice President of the BSP. The formations like Dalit Chamber of Commerce of India (DCCI) are another manifestation.
Electoral politics, and state subsidies etc, like caste-based institutions of caste-based financial support systems (like SC/BC financial corporations) are one major factor that strengthened rather than weakened semi-feudal landlordism, and new political dynasties.
The landless peasants, agricultural labor and artisans including most of the SCs and STs were left behind, and they continue to be exploited and oppressed.
TN and DV based themselves not on China line but on concrete study of Indian situation
Their classic and comprehensive woks mentioned above are both detailed, voluminous books, dealing with the concrete situation of India, in all its aspects. They are unique in the almost hundred years of Indian communist movement. Instead of studying them, Rao indulges in loose, irresponsible, comments.
Battini Rao even discovers ‘reasons’, if only wrongly, and in a subjective manner:
“ The reason why this program (PDR) is being wrongly adopted is because of the strong impact of the Chinese revolution and its path on the then revolutionary movement of our country is the reason for wrong adoption of this program…This is in toto the military strategy of the Chinese revolution. Com. TN’s analysis on the specific conditions of our country during his desperate efforts to frame up an alternative programme while fighting right and left deviations in the movement led him to ignore some of the vital aspects of his own observations about Indian reality. ”
He added: “we must have an unflinching commitment towards truth in order to avoid dogmatic extremes, cold scholasticism, or isolation from the masses.”
One must say to Battini Rao : Physician, heal thyself, and don’t distort facts and truth.
He had the temerity to say : “TN is also a part and is (sic) paid for it’s mistakes with thousands of lives.” The fact is TN and DV had opposed the wrong line from the beginning as admitted by Rao himself : “From the beginning he disagreed with Charu Majumdar’s extremist line.”
To put things in proper perspective, it needs to be noted:
Unlike some CPI-ML groups, who copied or borrowed from China, and vulgarized Mao’s Thought, TN and DV studied the concrete situation of India and wrote their significant works by 1969-72. Those were days when China’s People’s Daily had published an article on Spring Thunder, of Naxalbari etc. Many of those leaders had even said : `China’s Chairman is our chairman’, though later on it was chided by Chinese leaders (including Mao) and was given up.
They also blindly copied slogans of Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and destroyed some statues of Indian personages like Tagore. They hailed Mao appointing Lin Piao as heir-apparent, and groups in India wee named after the latter!
They had advocated armed struggle as the only form of struggle. But DV and TN opted for tactics that were for adopting all necessary forms of struggle.
But TN and DV, though were for learning from China, always opposed all such and other slogans, even while defending people’s struggles, including Naxalbari and Srikakulam, in spite of Left adventurist mistakes including so-called annihilation of class enemy. They were not overwhelmed by the article on Spring Thunder, and criticised Left adventurism in a scientific and concrete manner. They had rather adopted revolutionary mass line, based on India’s experiences, mainly those of Telangana(1946-51). And left behind their imprint on movements and organizations, which are alive to changes, and rooted in masses of people and their struggles.
They were for learning from anywhere, more so Russia, China etc. But TN and DV were rooted in Indian experience. By 1972-73 they wrote and published criticisms of dogmatism, Left adventurism etc., not to speak of Revisionism and Right opportunism. And they practised what they advocated.
DV Rao in fact was an advocate of Andhra Thesis of 1948, i.e., written before China’s revolution succeeded. Andhra communist revolutionaries including TN were for it. Related questions were discussed by DV Rao in early 1970s.
DV Rao himself wrote a document, 1949 itself, based on Andhra Thesis, discussed in party units of Telangana and Andhra, in which he said: “ The experiences we had in Telangana Armed Struggle have shown a NEW PATH for New Democratic revolution in India. ”
It had some common features with China but he spoke of a NEW PATH.
(Refutation of Wrong Trends Advocating Withdrawal of Telangana Armed Struggle. This was published in English and Telugu in 1982.)
Battini Rao says :
“TN failed to recognize the Capitalist nature of the Indian state and society… This is the devastating failure of the official communist movement of India.” and adds: “The aim of this (PDR) revolution is to overthrow and abolish the rule of foreign imperialism and feudalism, but not to abolish capitalism; The enemy of this revolution is not capitalism, but foreign imperialism and feudalism.”
Not only Rao, but a few academics and political forces also have such views. They are free to have them. But there is no place for misreading and misinterpretation of the views of Com TN and DV. But that is what Battini Rao indulges in.
In the concluding chapter of India Mortgaged, TN says : “ Which class holds power decides everything : Upto now, the State power is held by the Big Bourgeoisie in alliance with imperialism” and landlordism. And he speaks of revolutionary overthrow and capture of power.
What is meant by Big Bourgeoisie in alliance with imperialism ? Are they not chief representatives of capitalism?
TN and DV were indeed for an “anti-capitalist Socialist revolution”, but NOT at this stage of PDR.
The enemy is indeed capitalism, but at this stage they differentiated and targeted “Big Bourgeoisie in alliance with imperialism”. Imperialism is monoploy capitalism, the highest stage of capitalism. And they established how they formed a nexus with landlordism, in controlling and plundering the state resources, the Budgets at various levels, apart from exploitation of India, its people and its resources.
The latest survey, well-known, by Oxfam says :
Last year, one billionaire was created every two days. This is the biggest increase in the number of billionaires in history and a whopping 82% of all of the wealth generated between the second quarter of 2016 and the corresponding period last year went to the top 1%, according to the latest survey by Oxfam. There are now 2,043 dollar billionaires worldwide.…approximately two-thirds of that wealth is the product of inheritance, monopoly and cronyism…
India’s top 1% of the population now holds 73% of the wealth ( it was 58% an year ago), while 67 crore citizens, comprising the country’s poorest half, saw their wealth rise by just 1%.
Top 9 billionaires of India have wealth equal to that of bottom 50 percent Indian population.
(PTI and BusinessToday.in January 30, 2019)
This data is well known, but not so well known is what it implies:
India’s top 1% of the population means 130 lakhs. It must include obviously not only big business but also big landlords. That is why the revolution needs to have a limited target NOW, in the form of “Big Bourgeoisie in alliance with imperialism and landlordism” not all capitalists. 130 lakhs is not a small target.
Unless rural poor, who constitute 70 percent of India’s population, are mobilized, no revolution can ever succeed. And it is that section that turns into urban poor and feeds migrant urban labor, un- and under-employed in villages for several months in an year, also considerable in numbers in recent times. And they need to be, and can be, mobilized for PDR, only with the slogan of comprehensive, thorough-going, agrarian revolution with land to the tiller as its axis. And that in alliance with a United Front of all Revolutionary classes, led by the proletariat, i.e., its ideology and all its forces and resources.
Only such a revolution would comprehensively educate, unite and organize people, the rural poor included, irrespective of caste and creed, in a revolutionary and scientific manner, and that alone can provide a sound basis for struggle against casteism, communalism, chauvinism, obscurantism, fascism, and for real secularism. In the absence of that, all struggles would be verbal, and confined to media.
That is the message of life and work of TN and DV Rao. Working in that direction is the best tribute to them.
Rakakrishnan is a political observer