Sunday, September 23, 2018

India After Naxalbari: Unfinished History by Bernard D'Mello - for debate

By Harsh Thakor

I recommend everyone to read this classic book titled "India-50 after Naxalbari" by Bernard D'Mellow that most analytically assesses the impact of Naxalbari, Maoist movement and emergence of fascism in India. It does ample justice to the genuine revolutionary movements of India particularly that of the Maoists and most illustratively and vividly describes the ruthlessness of capitalism in India and the hypocrisy of secularism and democracy. Salute this great piece of work by Bernard D'Mellow. Hope readers will help circulate and publicize it. A major contribution to igniting the flame and enriching the treasury of works of the legendary Naxalbari movement that turned the destiny of india more than any event. Bernard does ample justice to the heroic struggle even if critical of the Maoists and proves the revolutionary democratic essence of the movement. Very deeply penetrates the merciless exploitation of the capitalist classes and the inequality. In great detail he summarizes how dictatorial or autocratic the Indian state has behaved which he accurately terms as semi-fascist and how the rights of dalits and minorities have been trampled. He explains how fascism can permeate even through the parliamentary system incorporating bourgeois parliamentary institutions of power and political parties. Also vividly describes the ruthless attacks waged by the police-corporate-government combine on various sections of the working class and their heroic uprisings. The book does great justice to the historical movements of the peasantry from pre-independence era. Summarizes post-1991 liberalization and globalization with great depth and the consolidation of Hindutva fascsim. The book gives a great insight into what the future of India could be. Hope book is circulated well abroad. I feel it can reach out to even those not so familiar with leftist politics. The work is a thorn in the flesh for the Hindu saffron brigade and pro-cooperate intellectuals, shimmering the torch of truth. Significant book launch was held in the very egg of imperialism-'Mumbai' where many a journalist has become a mere pawn or tool in the hands of the corporates. Salute Bernard for his most intellectual and courageous effort when the Hindutva ideology and pro-corporate policies are tightening their noose on genuine people's movements as never before.

He has virtually devoted 2 chapters doing justice to the great achievements of the Maoists and the mass organizations led by them. He makes a balanced appraisal of the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War Group narrating how if any revolutionary democracy was attained in tribal regions it was because of their sustained struggle. Also highlighted the importance of Ambedkar and importance of studying caste movement. He has revealed great originality in his thinking and most significantly touched on neglected aspect of revolutionary humanism. A great piece of research from a historical point of view. Book is divided into 10 chapters like an epic novel with each chapter a logical sequel to the previous one. Chapter 1 on 'Naxalite Spring thunder phase' where he recounts the history of the naxalbari uprising. Chapter 2-'1968 India as history'. he recounts the brutal state repression unleashed. Chapter 3-'Unequal Development and evolution of the ruling bloc' describing the principal undeveloped capitalism highlighting the state-corporate nexus. Chapter 4-'Naxalite Spring thunder phase11' narrating the events from 1978-2003 doing describing the mass movements of the Maoists in light of worker-peasant alliance and women liberation. Chapter 5-'India 1989' which sums up the financial autocracy and phenomenal disparity prevailing in total contrast to progressive capitalism. 'Chapter 6' The far'-India's rotten liberal democracy narrates how fundamental rights are violated and how it is an integral part of the bourgeois Indian state and how parliamentary democracy only protected the vested interests. Chapter 7-'Maoist,Spring Thunder phase 3' studies the movement after the formation of the C.P.I.(Maoist) throwing light on the guerrilla army Chapter 8-'Rotten at the heart -Secular state' vividly describes how essentially the state violates the rights of minorities being responsible for some of the bloodiest communal riots ever perpetrating violence on Sikhs and Muslims. Chapter 9 -'Little man ,What now' sums up the semi-fascist nature of the Modi regime and the aspect of sub-imperialism. Here he draws an analogy of the Nazi regime of 1930's with the Hindu fascist agenda. Chapter 10-In "History. memory and dreams' he elaborates the concept of New Democracy in term of it's  workability.

Arguably there were flaws on his describing India as backward capitalist instead of semi-feudal as well as underestimating potential of protracted peoples War. He may have been over-critical of the Maoist actions in Jungal mahal in Lalgarh against CPM .There is also hardly any mention of the positive work of other revolutionary streams like T. Nagi Reddy or Chandra Pulla Reddy groups and hardly any depth in reviewing crucial aspects of weakness in massline which prevent genuine base areas developing. Hardly reflects deep understanding of the conditions prevailing in India that are subjectively suitable for launching protracted peoples War and the Comprador nature of the state.

In the book launch held in Mumbai press club hall on September 18th the author beautifully introduced the topic narrating all the important aspects of his book and what prompted him to write it. Professor Manoranjan Mohanty very accurately described how authoritarian state was becoming when even compared to emergency period and contrasted the Indian brand of semi-feudalism or landlordism to that of pre-Socialist China. He also summed up the impact of the Naxalbari movement on all walks of life. John Mage of Monthly review in great detail explained how The Nazis stole the reichstag soon after gaining power threw parliamentary means and made an analogy with the current BJP government and it's ideology. He narrated the similarity with how the 5 intellectuals were branded as plotting against the prime minister. He praised the book as an outstanding reference to any researcher creating solid ground for taking the oppressive policies of the state to task. The meeting was chaired by Stephen Rego ,a former leader of Naujwan Bharat Sabha in Maharashtra. It was addressed by Bernard de Mellow, Professor Manoranjan Mohanty and John Mage. It concluded with a good question and answer session. Although only about 70 people attended it was qualitatively an event of great relevance when fascism is at it's helm. I recommend everyone to see the YouTube. or see it below.

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