On the Third World Colonialism

by Guna


Bryan Pfaffenberger and his stock are continuing the Western traditions of confusing or at the least misunderstanding the life in South Asia, its various nations and cultures, as also the values, and make much ado about the ‘Fourth World Colonialism’.1 We are to encounter many apparitions which the myth-making of the Western scholarship has unleashed in the conceptual forms of the ‘Aryan’, ‘Dravidian’, ‘Hindu’, ‘Hindustan’, ‘Indian Nationhood’ and the like, and the communalisation of the subcontinent’s politics on the basis of these fantasies.

China’s ‘Three World Theory’ appeared to have, adopted this European tradition. In terms of this theory, the super- powers, USA and USSR formed a ‘First World’. The other West European economic imperialists, together with Japan, compri- sed the ‘Second World’. All the rest-the sundry states in Asia, Africa and Latin America-formed a ‘Third World’.

The essence of this theory is that the oppressed peoples and classes in these Third World countries should not struggle against their own oppressive rulers, and instead subordinate their national or class interests in order that it facilitates the alliance of the Third World with the Second World to fight the hegemonistic designs of the First World. This theory had its roots in the polemics that grew into a cold war, and then into a few bouts of border clashes between the USSR and China. In brief, the theory rose out of the propaganda needs of the exter- nal policics of China which was on the search for a pretext to give up its past support to the national liberation movements. Note that the phraseology ‘national liberation movements’, in fact, connotes only the struggles of the oppressed nations against the neocolonialist designs of the US imperialists, but not those against the USSR or those of the oppressed nations like the Nagas in India, Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka etc., fighting the ‘Third World’ states. For instance, Afghanistan’s resistance against the Russian export of revolution and aggression is gene- rally not being referred to as a national liberation struggle by the ‘progressive’ world.

Moreover, in its preoccupation of its conflict, the national liberation struggles of the ‘progressive’ with the USSR, China had virtually become a bedfellow of the US imperialists and is ironically being branded as a ‘semi-ally’ of the USA. Mao’s China was once a good friend of national liberation movements. But its present leadership does not support the cause of national liberation of the oppressed nations any more. This is the logical outcome of its compromise with an imperialist capitalist super- power in USA as against a social imperialist USSR, which was busy subverting the immediate national interests of China.

Not content with this limited deviation, by extending this recon-ciliation with the US, China has forged an unsigned alliance with it. It is but natural for that country to distort its earlier conceptualization of the ‘Three World Theory’ and gradually give it up in the wake of its half-alliance with the US. It has finally pigeonholed that theory.

In this context, the oppressed peoples in this Third World have to do some homework on their own if they are to reassess properly their position in relation to the said ‘Three World Theory’. The ‘Third World’ has been organised into a Non- Aligned Movement, with the biggest exclusion in the People’s Republic of China.

The common features that characterise ‘Third World’ states are:

1.Most of these ‘Third World’ states were welded into multinational states, when colonial states were formed by the Western imperialists.

2.As the countries of the ‘Third World’ are mostly multi- national states, they cannot be called as ‘Nation States’ as is the case with most of the West European nations like France, Germany, Italy, etc. These ‘Third World’ states have one or two ruling classes which are often in partnership with the comprodor capitalist interests in the the oppressed nations. Sri Lanka, for instance, has the Sinhalese as the ruling nation. Strangely, the ruling nation is often culturally backward than the subjucated nations. The ruling classes of the ruling nations survive on the extent of their subjucation and exploitation of the other nations and nationalities, which have been forcibly annexed and held under the hegemony of a State which is unitary in character and spirit. The inability of such ruling nations to find any role in the world market, or their being a puny junior partner of the imperielists of both the First and Second Worlds, leaves them no option but to intensify their exploitation and assimilation of all the other national ities which are under their hegemony.

3.These ruling nations of the ‘Third World’ often try to hide the fact that they are multinational in character; and absurdly claim. that they are a ‘single nation’ and form a single nationality. India, for instance, has various nations and nationalities under a centralised state. Some of them are openly in rovolt to wrest back the right of self-determination. Sri Lanka is trying to oppress the Tamil nation through the genocidal kill- ings by its military and organised thuggery.

Ethiopia is waging a war on Eritrea, notwithstanding the seve-rity of continuous drought condition. It fact, Sudan has its non – Arab and non-Muslim nationalities in the south. Indonesia has its East Timor. Yet these ‘Third World’ states create some non-existent ghost nationalities like the ‘Indian’, ‘Sri Lankan’, ‘Ethiopian’, ‘Suda-nean’ and ‘Indonesian’ nationalities. Iraq and Iran, though at war, are paradoxically united in the object ot annihilation of the common enemy, the Khurd nation. You may find Tamil and Sinhalese nationalities in Sri Lanka but not a ‘Sri Lankan’ nationality. Yet they talk of a ‘Sri Lankan’ nationality!

Similaly, one may come across nationalities like the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalee, Bengalee, Punjabi, etc., in India, but not an ‘Indian’ nationality, which the India’s ruling nations and classes have concocted. Such concoctions are inconsis-tent with the reality that one nation is ruling over ano-ther, often many other nations. This farce could be at the cost of projecting the identity of a particular ruling nation as the common identity of all the nations, including the oppressed ones which suffer under an arbitrarily imposed an unitary state.

4. These ‘Third World’ states can seldom afford to have an independent economic life. It means that they can- not have an independent economic life. It also means that they cannot have an unfettered development of their economy, particularly of their native capital and market. They are condemned to produce semi-finished goods or sometimes even selective items of finished goods deploying their own cheap labour, their own raw materials and the infrastructural facilities. Their pro- duction units and plants are either wholly owned by the multinationals or transnationals, or jointly owned by them and the bureaucratic state; or by native capita- lists under agreements of ‘collaboration’. Their political independence therefore has to be within certain specific amplitude that does not offend the imperialist and multinational interests of the First and Second worlds.

5.These ‘Third World’ states are overtly and covertly very oppressive. This makes the ruling coterie of these states to often lumpenise the native politics on the one hand, and indulge in demogogic ‘socialist’ verbiages by donn- ing camouflaged postures of fighting imperialists on the other. The ideology both of the ruling coterie and the bourgeois parliamentary opposition is simple and pure demogogy and dsception. Many of these ‘Third World’ states are either pro-US or pro-Soviet. In certain cases, like India, they are always ‘at love with the US in their heart of heart, yet flirting with the USSR for immediate gains’. They are oppressive to the extent that their human right violations far excel the records of the imperialist states of the First and Second worlds put together; or even the oppression under the haydays of Western colonialism.

The Fourth World

In this backdrop, we clearly see a ‘Fourth World’. This Fourth World is comprised mostly of the oppressed nations and nationalities within the ‘Third world’ states. These oppressed nationalities distinguish themselves as already being nations or budding nations which are struggling to achieve nationhood through the demand for the right of self-determination. These are the nations, which form into a category which was derisively termed as the ‘non-historic nations’ by Hegel and Engels.

This national oppression on the ‘Fourth World’ nations characterise the ‘Third World Colonialism’. These ‘Third World’ states have their own ruling nations and classes, as said earlier. These ruling nations or classes have split themselves into the ruling party or parties on the one hand and the bourgeois oppo- sition on the other. Both these formations-the ruling coterie and the vociferous opposition- are aggregate in aggressively asserting that their countries are not multinational but single nations whose ‘unity and integrity’ are something sacrosanct and inviolable. They have a strange unanimity to protect their unitary constitutions by mechanistically forcing a sort of ‘unity’ based on the socio-political interests of the ruling nation. The fiction of a single nation is sought to be made into a reality by unashamedly denying that their’s is a multinational state. Their bogey of the ‘forces of disintegration’, is only a pretext to hide their blatant efforts to culturally absorb and assimilate the oppressed nationalities into the ruling nation’s culture. Such glib talks are freely indulged in only to cover up the exis- tence of the ‘Third World colonialism’. This ‘Third World colo- nialism’ is the creation or rather the legacy of the former Western colonialism. There is no sense in the ‘Fourth World’ nations getting distracted by abstract internationalism or be carried away by absurd formulations like the ‘Three World Theory’, for these are the instruments that try to veil or rather silently justify the enslaved status and the ensuing exploitation of the ‘Fourth World’ nations by the ‘Third World’ states. Such preoccupa-tions would actually subserve the imperialists’ inte- rests rather than redeeming them from the immediate oppres- sion and exploitation by the ‘Third World colonialism’, through which the imperialism of the first two worlds function. On the contrary, it would only perpetuate their enslavement.

We infer that the imperialists of the first two worlds sense the threat to their economic and political strangleholds over the ‘Fourth World’ nations, if these nations rise up against hege- mony of the ‘Third World’ states. It has already despatched a few of their intellectuels in the ‘progressive’ garb to these ‘Third World’ countries; and they are motivated to subvert the emerging national movements in the ‘Fourth World’ nations. They do so by attempting to confuse issues by over-playing the internal contradictions in the ‘Fourth World’ nations -like the ones like the caste apartheid and untochabi-lity, tribal and clan loyalties, ethnic distinctions, class struggles, etc. These ‘prog- ressives’ may be right when they tell that these are the contra- dictions at the base level-that is, the ones between the basic social units-in the ‘Fourth World’ nations. But they may not realise or accept the fact that these base level contradictions could not be solved unless and until the national oppression on the ‘Fourth World’ nations, as such, is brought to an end.

The reason is that the Fourth world nations are being oppressed and exploited by the ‘Third world colonialism’, irrespective of one’s caste, tribe, clan, religion,ethnicity, class, etc. Giving a primary stress on these base-level contradictions in the ‘Fourth World’ nations would only throw the cart before the horse. A mess up of this sort will, in fact, be a pretext to perpetuate the ‘Third world colonialism’, through which and which alone the imperialist of the first two worlds operate by sustaining the class/caste categorisations at the base.
India and Sri Lanka are classic examples to explain this ‘Third world colonialism’.

India as a Third world colonial power

Two instances would suffice to explain this ‘Third World colonialism’ as practised by India. One is the Sikh question, and the other is its approach to the Tamileelam’s national struggle.

India, like any other Third world state, is brutally aggres- sive at home in suppressing the national aspirations and strugg- les of some non-Hindi nationalites. It has deployed, large hordes of its army and keeps most of the nations in the North East and North through its oppressive military might. The ‘Gandhian’ state is notorious for its torture techniques, silent elimination of the suspected youth through false ‘encounters’, mopping up operations, counter insurgency, strategic hamlets and so on. On the other hand, it never fails to voice its hypocritical concern over the violation of the human and democratic rights in its neighbouring countries with some of which it has to be perpe- tually at cold war.

The root of this split-behaviour is the former British colonial rule. The British colonial administration was mainly responsible for distorting the national question in the subconti- nent. They had wantonly portrayed India as an entity either of peoples based on religions or as of different ethnic groups. They seldom accepted the fact that there are various nations and nationalities under the yokes of the India’s multinational state. The national question in India was perverted by the Euro- pean scholarship which interpreted the subcontinent’s history in terms of certain fantasies like the Aryan-Dravidian dicho- temy, and the myth of a ‘Hindu Nationhood’. The Brahman- Bania interests to whom they could transfer the power in 1947, perpetuated the British colonial institutions and the ‘Indian’ myth of magnifying the seeming unity seen through a few cultu- ral similarities. They got into the boots, which the Britishers left, and became the new colonialists for the oppressed nationa- lities in the sub-continent. This Brahman-Bania interests evol- ved themselves into a ‘Hindi-Hindu’ power centre, while two super powers were on the rise after the end of the Second World War. These superpowers recognise the importance of India’s evolution into a regional imperialist power. They had to prop up this position of India to rule over South Asia by proxy and it subtly help its geo-political stratagic and logistic interests. India is a sub-imperialist power, if the world as a whole is taken; and is an imperialist power for the whole South Asian region. This role has bloated up India’s ego to the extent of assuming for itself that it is an unquestionable power to aspire to the exclu- sive overlordship in the Indian ocean region. In the circumstan- ces, the nationality question in the Indian State assumed serious dimensions. Notable among them is Punjab national* question.

The Punjab national question cropped up in the form of a demand for a Punjabi Suba. This demand was calculatedly and consistently perverted over years into a ‘Hindu-Sikh’ con- flict by the ‘Hindi-Hindu’ imperialist rulers in New Delhi. But the very same ‘Hindi-Hindu India’, which has now done the crafty mask of ‘secularism’, raised a hue and cry when the Punjabi Mus- lim State of Pakistan unleashed a genocidal violence on the Bengali nation, formerly called ‘East Pakistan’. Having taken this as a pretext, India assumed the role of a ‘liberator’, infiltra- ted into the former ‘East Pakistan’ and finally invaded. A ‘Bangladesh’ was created at the end

Whereas, the very same India has been committing more outrages on the oppressed non-Hindi and non-Hindu nations of the Nagas, Mizos, Meiteis of Kangleipak (Manipur), Kash- miris, Tripuris, Punjabis, etc. It is a cruel irony that the same India has all the pretentions of strongly supporting the just struggles of the non-Punjabi nationalities in Pakistan, like the Baluchis, Sindhis, etc., which are demanding the right of self-determina- tion! How are we to understand this double standard?

The Shiromani Akali Dal under the leadership of Master Tara Singh was not as communal as the former Hindu Maha Saba or its later transformations in RSS and Jana Sangh. It is but natural for a minority religious group to be more defen- sive in their social psychology, and as a consequence be better organised and militant. It is no unknown fact that the very Punjabi Suba demand was as old as the ‘Pakistan’ demand which putforth by Jinna’s Muslim League in 1940s. It is a riddle in history that the Sikhs opted to go with the ‘Hindu State’ with a ‘Secular’ constitution.

The demand for a Punjabi Suba was raised as early as the forties of this century, surprisingly by G. Adhikari, a Maha- rashtrian theoretician of the Communist Party of India, through his pamphlet entitled Sikh Homeland.2 The havoc played by the partition of Punjab on the ‘Hindu-Muslim’ basis badly distorted the Punjab national question as such. Punjab and Bengal were the nations which were the first two victims of the Britishers, who used the pretext of religion to axe these two nationalities into religion-based states.

There were no basic or major frictions between the Punjabi Muslim (now mainly in Pakistan) and a Punjabi Sikh, or a Punjabi Hindu and a Punjabi Sikh. They are culturally, ethnically and historically one single stock as a nationality, and should have naturally allowed to form into a Punjabi nation. The Hindu imperialists were the ones who were the first to com- munalise the just demand for a Punjabi Suba. The demand was not only for the Sikhs but also for the rest of the Punjabi population. A quote from the March 4, 1960 resolution of the Shiromani Akali Dal on the Punjabi Suba demand would clearly reveal it. It was then raised under the leadership of Master Tara Singh. It read:
“The Akali Dal feels that the Sikhs have been left without other alternative but to get rid of the domination of the suspicious majority. The principle of linguistic states had given a chance to the minorities to wriggle out of the brute slavery of the majority. Redistribution of lingustic states, on this principle has been effected throughout the country, with the only exception of the Punjabi language. This sort of a plain discrimination leads us directly to the conclusion that the Congress Government is dominated by communal elements who prefer to distrust the Sikhs and refuse to carve out the unilingual Punjabi-Speaking State, simply because the Sikhs would form a majority in that State. To veil its own narrow communalism, it is trying through the press and propaganda to dub the Sikhs as communalists. If in a linguistic State the Hindus are in a majority, it is ‘nationalism’, and if the Sikhs come out in majority, it becomes ‘communalism’. What a strange logic! With this sheer illogical and haughty attitude, the Government is not only committing excesses upon the Sikhs, but is giving them bad name too.

“The Shiromani Akali Dal is still more perturbed to find that some ministers of the Govenment have taken to threats in place of reasoning. One of the Punjab minis- ters has come out to say that the Sikhs are being turned out of Tarai because the Punjabi Sikhs demand Punjabi Suba. Is it not a plain confession that turning out of the Sikh from Tarai is sheer injustice to them? And that this is being done to crush them and to compel them to accept permanent enslavemenent? Hence, the Akali Dal reminds this Zalim Government to look to the past of the Sikhs; and declares that the Sikhs may be cut joint by joint, but never would they yield to these threats and Zoolum.

“Now or Never!

“The Shiromani Akali Dal has recorded this with pleasure that the whole of the Sikh Panth has taken it to feel that Punjabi Suba is ‘life and death question’ for them. This was the reason that in spite of all sorts of temptations, threats and Governmental influences, the Sikh masses crowned the Akali Dal with an unparalleled victory. The situtation, which has now been created, demands that the Sikhs should be ready to lay down their all for achiev-ing the Punjabi Suba. Any further delay in the matter means to die in dishonour. It is now very clear that ‘now or never’ time has come. So the Shiromani Akali Dal calls upon all the Sikhs to sacrifice their all for the protection of the Khalsa Panth and the Sikh Religion.”3

The demand for reorganising the former punjab into linguistic states-one Punjabi-speaking and the other the Hindi- speaking-was outrightly branded as being communal by the ‘Hindi-Hindu’ state in New Delhi. The aggressive ‘Hindi-Hindu’ interests, which had regrouped into the former Bharatiya Jana Sangh, was on its heels to denounce the Akali Dal’s resolution. It held out the bogey that the very demand for Punjab’s reorga- nisation on linguistic lines was ‘anti-national’. The ‘Hindi- Hindu’ interests were blunt in refusing to apply the very same principle applied to reorganise the former Madras and Bombay Presidencies and the erstwhile State of Nizam on the linguistic basis. They were totally illogical in this respect, all on the pretext that they would not allow another partition on Punjab on the linguistic basis. After all, an aspiration for a separate linguistic state (not a sovereign independent state) can never be branded as a threat to India’s unity. The August 27, 1960 resolution of the Jana Sangh could be a pointer to know the extent of the pressure built in the ‘Hindi- Hindu’ imperialist minds. The resolution said:

‘The Akali separatism, which was born out of the introduc- tion of separate electorates for the Sikhs in 1919 in pursuit of the British policy of ‘divide and rule, and which could not fructify into an independent sovereign Sikh State’ then, has now, thirteen years after freedom, assum- ed threatening proportions. It is trying to coerce the Government of India to agree to a further partition of Punjab, which in effect means another partition of India on purely communal lines. The thin camouflage of lan- guage with which the Akalis had been trying to cover their real objective has been nearly worn out. The so- called Punjabi Suba of their conception is nothing but Akali Suba. The Akalis who constitute less than 25 per cent of Punjabi population are trying to pose as if they only are Punjabis and the remaining 75 per cent have no stake to or say in the future of Punjab.

“It is the considered opinion of the Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha that any further partition of Punjab on communal basis as demanded by the Akaiis would be anti-Punjab and anti-national. It is also undemocratic because all the non-Akali Punjabis unequivocally are opposed to this demand. The Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha hopes that the entire nationalist India will stand by the nationalist Pun- jab in fighting this undemocratic and unpatriotic move of the Akalis to further vivisect the already truncated Punjab and India.”4

The position of the Communist Party of India, before its split after split, was quite sober initially on the Punjabi Suba demand. The party, and its off-shoots, gradually got ‘Hindui- sed’; and they now stand for the very same ‘Greater India’ (Akand Bharat) which the Hindu fascist forces emotively voice. The sobriety in its approach to the Punjabi Suba demand lasted till the sixties. Its June 9, 1960 resolution reads as under:

“The demand for a State of the Punjabi speaking people whose borders should comprise the Punjabi-speaking areas of the existing State, including Kangra, is a legiti- mate and democtatic demand”5

It added:

“The Akali Party’s propaganda and mobilisation of the Sikhs alone for the Punjabi Suba has strengthened the suspicions of the Hindus while the Hindu communalists and vested interests have roused communal passions to oppose the legitimate demand altogether and have gone to the extent of repudiating Punjabi as their mother-ton- gue.”6

The Punjab Government was at the behest of the ‘Hindi- Hindu’ interests. It was prompt in branding the demand for reorganising former Punjab into two different linguistic states, that too well within the Indian Union, as ‘communal’, and arrested Master Tara Singh.

On the contrary, its May 25,1960 communique issued on the arrest of Master Tara Singh under the Preventive Detention Act had the stink of communalism, when it said:

“For the attainment of Punjabi Suba on communal basis, Masterji has been indulging in such activities so as to arouse religious sentiments of the Sikhs against Hindus.”7

The struggle for a Punjabi Suba continued until the Delhi imperialists could institute a commission under the chairman- ship of its Parliament (Lok Sabha) speaker, Sardar Hukum Singh to go into the demand. When the Delhi rulers learnt that Sardar Hukum Singh is going to make a report in favour of the Punjabi Suba, they were alarmed at it and preferred to abort it by urgently convening a Working Committee meeting of the ruling Congress Party and passing a resolution to partition Punjab on linguistic principles.8 The new States of Punjab and Haryana thus came into existence.

But ‘Hindi- Hindu’ interests were relentless in their mis- chief-making. They chose 1961 census as ths base to reorganise Punjab on linguistic basis.9 They did it purposely as the said census was based on religious identities rather than on natio- nalities or languages.

Worst of all was that it preferred to take tehsils as units but not villages to effect the said reorganisation. The ‘Hindi- Hindu’ interests had misled the Punjabi Hindus to declare that their mother tongue is not Punjabi but Hindi; and that was the reason for their choosing the 1961 census as the basis for Punjab’s reorganisation.

It is the ‘Hindi-Hindu’ interests which have been consistently communalising the Punjab national question. Action and reaction must indeed be equal and opposite. The rise of the Sikh fundamentalism was Punab’s reaction to the spliticism of the Hindu politics. Such manipulations and New Delhi’s policy of cultural liquidation of the Puujabi nationality through the diabolical use of religion lay at the bottom of the Sikh funda- mentalism.

It resulted in the phenomenon of Bhindranwale. His martyrdom has strengthened the Sikh fundamentalism many folds. The Sikh masses, and in particular the Sikh youth, are swayed by it. The Sikh sentiments are repeatedly being woun- ded. The Hindu Siva Sena, which the New Delhi rulers subtly conceived of, organized and nursed is of no match to the mili- tancy of the Sikh youth. Moreover, the Sikhs have a martial tradition, besides their religion being democratic to the extent that the priests are secondary to the Sikh traditions, and the elected Presidents of Sikh shrines are stronger than the priests.

The ‘Hindi-Hindu’ state may stealthily induct some trained commandos into the folds of the Hindu Siva Sena. But the Punjabi Brahman-Bania bodies and minds are very inept for the use of guns, however liberal are their patrons in New Delhi dump those guns on them. So Khalistan is sure in the making not because it does have a growing support from the Sikh masses but because the state terrorism of New Delhi is beefing it up.

With so much of human rights violations in its sacks, as it suppresses the national aspirations of the non-Hindi natio- nalities, India goes unashamedly all around to tom-tom about its grave concern for the outrages of the white racism in South Africa, as also on the question of independence to Namibia, when its own apartheid in the form of castes and untouchability are giggling from within.

Passing on to Sri Lanka, we could clearly see the depth of the anachronism in India’s stand on the national struggle of a ‘Fourth World’ nation of Tamil eelam. We also see the piti- able predicament of India in deciding on whether to be or not to be a ‘liberator’ of the ‘Bangladesh’ model again. But for the Punjab tangle, India would have by now repeated a ‘Bangla- desh’ in Sri Lanka. But the reverses it suffered by foolishly unseating N. T. Rama Rao, the Telugu Desam Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, by Indira Gandhi’s regime had aborted the plan, it is said.

India as a ‘Third World’ colonial power would be at stake if it supports the Tamileelam demand on the basis of the principle of the right of nations for self-detemination. It has always feared of its fall out in Tamilnadu, which may cause the Tamil national question to erupt in a militant form. It knows, that the Tamileelam demand could be side-tracked if a political solution were to be sought strictly within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. So it tried to play the card of Amirthalingam of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). It is the only election- oriented, Tamil bourgeois party. India could not do it with the other libertion organisations ,which are waging armed struggle, and were quite aware that accepting a settlement within the framework of a single two-nation state would mean the giving up of their very basic demand on which they took up guns. The Indian ruling classes therefore devised a trap for those militants. It was a Chanakya move on their part to have invited the mili- tants for the Thimpu talks to discuss directly with Jayawar- dane’s brother, who was representing the Sri Lanka side. All the liberation organisations waging armed struggle had shifted their very primary leadership to Tamilnadu quite long ago. This is something which no organisation involved in armed struggle for national liberation has ever done. Their dependence on the mysterious and uncertain, ‘Indian support’ had foreced them into a situation whereby they had to participate in the Indian- managed talks in Bhutan’s capital.

The participation of the liberation groups in the Thimpu talks was a feather in the cap for the armed liberation groups for the following reasons:
(a) India for the first time recognised that only those mili- tant organisations which are waging armed struggle are to be taken into serious account if there were to be any solution to the strife in the Sri Lankan island.
(b) The armed liberation organisations had arrived at a consensus to place a common four-point charter on the basis of which they intended talking with the Sin- hala fascist state.
The four-point proposals were:
1. Tamileelam Tamils’ form themselves into a nation;
2. therefore, they have the right of self- determination;
3. Tamils of Tomileelam have a traditional territory of their own; and
4. all the Tamils in the island should have equal right of citizenship.

The presenting of the four-point basis for talks was a very great achievement for the the Tamil liberation organisations. It was natural for the ruling Sinhala nation to reject these pre- conditions. Moreover, the Sinhalese are used to such damands voiced by them. What appears mysterious are the causes for the abrupt break of the Thimpu talks and India’s expulsion of the shady persons with strong U. S. links, Messrs S. C Chandra- hasan and Satyendra. The expulsion of Dr. Anton Balasingham of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) may be for a diffe- rent reason that his organisation has been taking an unrelen- ting position in relation to the said talks. The emotions were built over the expulsion and the mid-air drama of Chandra- hasan. It resulted in the Indian Government’s withdrawal of the deporation order served earlier on him. The mysterious colluding around those chain of incidents lead us to presume that the Indian Government had its hand in abruptly breaking the talks. The reason may be that the four-point conditions putforth by the liberation organisation had equally emba- rassed the Government of India, as it feared that its acceptance may have a strong bearing on its own problems with the natio- nalities under its subjucation.

That is why India has been meticulously careful in des- cribing the Tamil question in the island either as in ethnic conflict or a conflict between two religious or linguistic groups or as the one between the minority and majority communities. It has a vested interest in not portraying it as a conflict between oppressor nation and oppressed nation.

The liberation organisations waging armed struggle were tactically pushed up by India to the level of participants in direct talks with Sri Lanka, obviously with the intention that they could be pushed back at the right time. The Thimpu talks had kept aside the bourgeois moderates in the TULF in the back- yards. The plan worked. The collapse of the talks had again pushed up the TULF, and the militants have gone to the back bench.

It is not Amirthalingam, who was having parleys with the Jayawardane government on behalf of TULF since the break down of talks at Thimpu, but it is India which was indul- ging in permutation and combination not only with the propo- sals of TULF but also that of Thondaiman of the Ceylon Wor- ker’s Congress. It was india which is negotiating on behalf of the Tamils through its former Foreign Secretary, Romesh Bhan- dari and Mr. P. Chidambaram in Rajiv’s cabinet.

Many things come out clear in the course of this analysis. It is that New Delhi will always take an emphatic stand that any solution found has to be strictly within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, and that too only though the political means. This ‘political means’ connotes that such a solution could only be the one that is imposed by India on both the Tamils and Sin- halese. It should be clear that India at no stage would like the Tamils of the Tamileelam attaining nationhood through their exercising the right of self-determination.

The brinkmanship of Jayawardane, in fact, provides an ideal atmosphere if the Tamils are to achieve a Tamil State. Jayawardane seeks a military solution, thereby causing much of discomfort to India. India feels that Jayawardane is not dependable in spite of its behind-the-curtain assurances given to him that it is not in India’s interest to allow the emergence of an independent, sovereign and socialist Tamileelam within the liimits of its sphere of influence; and more over as it would sure have fall out in its immediate vicinity, that is, Tamil nadu.

Side by side with these exercises for a political settlement, India has to plan, at the same time, a military intervention, which by force of events would have taken place in mid-June 1986.

But countings do fail. Some of the armed liberation organisations have sensed the hegemonistic game of India. Meanwhile, the pro-US lobby in the Tamil ranks represented by Mr. S. C. Chandrahasan, aided ably by Messrs. Subrama- nian Swamy, C. Subramaniam A, B, Vajpapee and their sort, have gone very restive. They are full-throated in crying that India should lose no time to militarily intervene. Euphemisti- cally, they do it in the guise of an appeal to stop the genocide in Sri Lanka. Then came that tragedy. A least political and indisciplined organisation fostered and trained by the highest intelligence organ of India, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was nearly eliminated. It is no secret that this orga- nisation, which also has firm connections with the shady quar- ters of Mr. Chandrahasan, was to be used as a cat’s paw if India militarily intervenes. LTTE aborted the game through an all out attack on the camps of the India-made militant outfit. Moreover, the liberation organisations could temporarily force the Sinhala forces to abandon their all out offensive on the Jaffna penisula. The time and circumstances favoured them in the form of India protesting over the offensive of the Sinhala forces, and as the U. S. and other Western powers also exerted pressure on Sri Lanka through their diplomatic channels.

India’s predicamant regarding the Tamil’s struggle is that when it is forcing a political solution on the Sinhala ruling nation on the basis of the principles of autonomy and federa- lism, it has to brutally refuse similar autonomy and federal framework to its own colonies which are ironically called as ‘States’. India’s concept of federalism in terms of a statement of Dr. B.R Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly on Novem- ber 4, 1948 is a good piece worth quoting. The statement reads:

“In the normal times, it [the Indian Consititution] is fram- ed as a federal system. But in the times of war$ it is so designed as to make it work as though it was a unitary system. Once the President issues a proclamation. the whole scene can become transformed and the state becomes a unitary State.”10

If India’s efforts to arrive at such a political solution fails, there is no option left but to militarily intervene to avoid the emergence of an independent Tamil State in the island’s north. India fears that the emergence of a Tamileelam would in course Samas in India’s east and north, as also the Theosophical Society in the south? They may be unmindful to the fact that a sizable chunk of Lenin’s writings are on the nationality question in old Russia. They could atleast, repeat their plagiarism by slavishly aping the Russain model of solving the nationality question. But they are conscientiously avoiding a discusssion on it. A serious probe into the anachronistic silence and appro- val of the socialist countries towards the Tamileelam liberation struggle has helped us to identify the existence of the ‘Third World’ Colonialism.

The ultra-‘left’ among them have a record of floating many human rights organizations as cover organisations for opinion- making against the state terrorism on the Naxalites. But these organisations seldom dare to examine the equally worse state terrorism on the oppressed natianalities in the North East India, which dared to fight New Delhi’s colonialism. They do not voice so much on the State-instigated orgy of genocidal violence on the Sikh folks when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. It is no small a fact that the RSS ideology of a non-state agency, a few decades ago, has now been enthroned as the ideology of the ‘Hindi-Hindu’ state in New Delhi. All the ‘national’ (to be pre- cise, the all-India) bourgeois political parties have become wed- ded to the ‘”Greater Hindu India’ dogma of the RSS now.

The ultra-‘left’ splinters in the subcontinent seldom give up any formula once they adopted. They are little capable of identifying the changes in situations and therefore miss concep- tualizing them. They blindly continue analysing everything as being either ‘pro-Soviet’ or ‘pro-Chinese’. They are yet to see that China has already become a ‘semi-ally’ of USA, as said earlier. To be ‘pro-Chinese’ means to be indirectly an ally of the US imperialism. Moreover, the present Chinese leadership has given up its polemics with the USSR, which was based on the essentials of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Ze-dong’s thought.

China could be alleged of of committing the same sins of revision- ism. Moreover, China is damn faster than Russia in relinquishing socialism. It is, therefore, ridiculous on the part of the ultra- ‘left’ to view the Tamileelam struggle or its organisations as being either ‘pro-Soviet’ or ‘pro-Chinese’. It would be a vein exercise if they try to fit the Eelam struggre into such a fitment formula. We cannot help them if they doggedly stick on to a non-dialectical approach.

A greater and better understanding of the ‘Fourth World’ nations in relation to their oppressor ‘Third World’ states has to be deeply studied. The ‘Fourth World’ has to find ways and means to present its case to the world at large, however insen- sitive and indifferent it is towards them and however feeble their voice would be at present, as if in the wilderness.

The superpowers and other economic imperialists are alert enough to submerge the groanings and roarings of the ‘Fourth World’ nations and the oppressive mechanics of the ‘Third World’ colonialism. They have their counterparts in the ‘progressives’ who are often found as ideological appendages of either Russia or China; and many times they are Trotskyites. Their thinking is not only Euro-centred and Enro-concerned, but also ‘Aryan’ and Sanskrit biased.

The Fourth World should not, therefore, get disheartened or demoralised just because Russia, China and the Trotskyites do not sympathise and sup-port their just struggle against the ‘Third World’ colonialism. After all, Russia itself has its Afgha- nistan and the colonised East European nations; China has a Tibet; and Vietnam blatantly invaded and colonised Kampu- chea and Laos. We had seen a few of the Eelam fighters running after the USSR with the fond hope that it would support them materially and morally. But to their sad disappointment, noth- ing has come out of the USSR, not even its making some verbal noises in their favour. These Eelam groups were bluntly told that the Soviet Union would look at the Eelam struggle only through the blinkers of India, it was learnt!

What makes the imperialists to concede the South Asian region to India’s influence? It is, no doubt, the tacit, unwritten and customary principle since the world map was redrawn at the end of the Second World War, based on the perspective that there has to be certain balance in the influences of the Western and Eastern power blocks. This principal had, in course of time, caused the emer-gence of two of the superpowers. This is called the ‘principle of spheres of influence’. It is the division of the world into two hegemonistic zones. The USA reacted wild when the Soviets could make instrusion into the US influence in the Caribbean island of Cuba. The World was nearly on the brink of a break out of a Third World War. The United States was upset when the balance of a forces was sought to be changed through India’s invasion on the former ‘East Pakislan’. It has its parallels in the Russain military interventions in Hungary, Czechoslavakia and Poland; and USA had to just stop at sabre rattling. And we see that US is conceding a similar minor sphere of influence to China in Korea, Indo-China, etc. True to the spirit of this principle of the “spheres of influence”, the superpowers could assign India a subsidiary sphere of influence of its own in the South Asian region. This is the factor that has allowed a smooth evolving of India into a regional power. This ‘Third World’ colonical power of India has to maintain the geo- political balance of forces within its sphere of influence, in order that its role as a regional power would subserve the interest of both the imperialist superpowers.

The Fifth World*

It is also true that the Fourth World nations have their own internal contradictions, which are, in the final analysis, based on the class/caste conflicts and that of the rights of their national minorities. These internal contradictions are prima- rily based directly on the productive relations. A ‘Fifth World’ Could thus be envisaged.

We have to understand the question of the class/caste emancipation in the Fifth world in relation to the cause of natio- nal liberation in the ‘Fourth World’. What is common between the ‘Fourth and Fifth’ Worlds is that both are under the yokes of the ‘Third World’. This ‘Third World’, in turn, is in the grips of the first two worlds. In this pyramidal structure of world imperialist system, it would help only the imperialists, if we opt to first solve the class/caste contradictions and then solve the national question. Because these class/caste Fifth World and the Fourth World of the oppressed nationalities are enslav- ed and exploited together by the Third World colonialists.
These could be the principal contradictions generally seen in a ‘Fourth World nation:

1. between the oppressor nation and the oppressed nation:
2. between semi-feudalism and the people;
3. between the comprodor bourgeoisie and the native bourgeoisie;
4. between the national bourgeoisie and the working class; and
5. between the peasants and workers, and so on.

The non-antagonistic contradictions, either between the national bourgeoisie and the working class or between the wor-kers and peasants, may be the ones at the base level. But, if one were to assume that one of them has to be the principal contradiction, which has to be solved first, it would only confuse the issue; and may lead to perpetuating the staus quo than help- ing a change in favour of the peasants or workers. The dialectics of handling the contradiction is that of solving one (non-anta- gonistic and non-principal) contradiction through another (antagonistic and principal contradiction). Similarly, the problem of the ‘Fifth World’ could be solved only through solving the problem of the ‘Fourth World’.

If the national question is taken up by the basic class/ caste interests, the problem of the emancipation of the ‘Fifth World’ through the struggles of the ‘Fourth World’ could easily be solved in the dialectical sense of solving one through the other. All other approaches would be metaphysical and lead us into the Trotskyite quagmire of simultaneity and lead us into blind and abstract internationalism. Abstract internationalism is in fact counter-revolutionary, as it perpetuates not only the ‘Third World’ colonialism but also sustains the world-wide imperialist system and exploitation. ‘Third World’ colonialism is thus complementary to the imperialist neo-colonialism. None could hide the fact that the imperialist exploitation is based not at the level of the ‘Third World’ but at the level of the ‘Fourth World’, and therefore has to be primarily fought at that plank.

June 3, 1986

Published in Free Nations for Self-Determination (monthly) dated June-October 1986.


1. Bryan Pfaffenberger, Fourth World Colonialism, Indigenous Minorities and Tamil Separatism in Sri Lanka, article in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, No 1. 6, No. 1.

2. Mohan Ram, Hindi Against India-the Meaning of DMK, Rachna Prakashan, New Delhi, p 14.

3-7. Documents on Indian Affairs, 1960. ed., Girja Kumar ane V. K. Arora, issued under the auspices of the Indian Council of World Affairs, Asia publishing House,1965, pp 296-97, 302, 209, 300 and 298.

8-9. Sardar S. Hukum Singh, Betrayal of Sikhs: Conflict in Punjab – Causes and Cure, published by the Transtlantic India Times, London SW 19,1983 and reprinted by Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Banga- lore-560 008, pp 21-22.

10, Anil Chandra Banerjee, The Constitutional History of India, Vol III, 1919-1977, Macmillan Company of India Ltd, 1978, p 409.

Guna is a political activist


Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News