Indian Left and the Hyperbole of Hypocrisy
Accuse the Indian Left of anything, but no one can say that they lack in the hyperbole of hypocrisy. From being the conscientious objectors to nuclear weapons, the CPI(M) and its hangers-on have in the best traditions of the Left arrogated the role of being the protector of India's sovereign right to test nuclear weapons. Sounds contradictory? That's because it is.
But that's not the only thing that smells funny in the Left corner. Forgive for the moment the left's antipathy for the US. They have every right to it. It's their ideological identity to oppose America.
But can you forgive the plain balderdash the Left has been handing out about protecting India's nationalism that is under threat from the nuclear deal for the US? Whatever be the merit of that perception, it's really odd that that the Communists are trying to protect Nationalism! Here is a quick refresher course for the Comrades. The socialist anthem is the Internationale. The driving principle for the Communists is 'Workers of the World Unite'. Not workers of India or England or Germany or the United States of America. The revolution, when it comes, has to break down the bourgeois boundaries and encompass the entire world. Marxist theory is very clear on this: nationalism is antithetical to Communism. In fact, for any self-respecting communist, nationalism and capitalism feed off each other. So on which side of the fence do our comrades stand? They can either be protecting nationalism or being Communists. Can't have two faces at the same time. Hang on - you can, if you are the CPI(M) or one of its lackeys. Because you can 'support' a government without joining it and then demand you be consulted, considered and cajoled for every policy decision. And because the UPA government simply does not have the gonadal gumption to call their bluff.
The entire drama of attacking the UPA government for going ahead with the nuclear deal is another chapter in a glorious tradition of political opportunism. The Left has been allied to the UPA for three years now. The nuclear deal was set into motion before the UPA came to power. For three years the Left had the opportunity to raise objections. The Hyde Act that is now the newest four letter word in the Left's vocabulary has been around for the last nine-odd months. But it chose to push head at a time when the deal is in the process of being finalised - maximum impact with minimum effort.
The same Left that's now fighting to keep India's sovereignty and security in virginal white made the issues out of the weirdest things, like opposing the joint Indo-US exercise at Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal and the docking of US warship Nimitz at Chennai. No matter that joint exercises are routine, as are the docking of US warships in Indian waters.
But the hypocrisy goes further. For all its public opposition to America, West Bengal - the shining red star of the Left - routinely pushes for investments from the villainous United States. It's industries minister virtually lives out of a suitcase between Kolkata and New York. He is headed there again in the next few weeks.
And it's been as ridiculous from the beginning of this alliance. Recall the utterly ludicrous objections in 2004 the Left's 'intellectual' brigade had raised to consultants in the Planning Commission. The objection: imperialist consultants will threaten India's independence and sovereignty. When the Left was told that almost all the consultants were Indians, some living abroad with Indian passports, the answer was ready: they are agents of the imperialists. (At that time Jyoti Basu had dimissed Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia with a characteristically curt "He's World Bank's man".) The convenient omission was that West Bengal's own government was using the same 'imperialist' agencies to find ways to kickstart its own economy. And in an irony that the Left prefers to leave unseen, it's most vocal supporter on all of this is enemy number 2: the Sanghis. So how do you tell the two apart?
Instead of creating conspiracy theories, the Left needs to concentrate on implementing the many good ideas it has. There is unlikely to be another such situation in the near future where the Left gets an opportunity like this. By trying to force the situation and push its agenda through will be a "historical blunder", to paraphrase Comrade Jyoti Basu. Going by recent precedence, the Indian electorate is getting less and less patient with parties who try and blunder their way through history.