On August 15, India will celebrate 74th Independence Day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Many powerful ideas emerged during the freedom movements, which ended on August 15, 1947, and after. The first three decades (1885-1915) of the Indian National Congress were dominated by moderates or liberals who advanced freedom movements by pursuing constitutional methods largely without violence.
Since the 1920s, some segments of the freedom movements mischievously diverted some of the mainstream political leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru towards the ideas of socialism and communism by underestimating the liberal principles of India centric decentralized ideas advocated by V.S.Srinivasa Sastri, P.S.Sivasamy Aiyer, Gandhi, Rajaji, Patel, etc.
Thus, soon after independence, the ideas of liberal society which nurtured freedom, liberty, decentralization, and free enterprises, however, were subsided by the domination of socialists and communists’ centralization across the public spheres. It was so imbibed that, it took several decades to realize the grave danger of both communism and socialism not just in India but also in the rest of the world. Further, it took decades to accept the fact that only economic freedom with social and political stability would produce wealth to distribute among the community by themselves or through the State.
Some people now think especially the youth that after decades of economic reforms and moving away from shackles of command and control regime, where is the question of socialism or communism in contemporary India? Alas, even after three decades of liberalization of the economy, the ideas of socialism and communism continue to thrive on different flames in most political parties, academia, media, publishing industry, N.G.Os and policy-making domain no matter which political party rules the country.
For example, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has a question in the application for National Youth Award (2017-2019) that whether persons or organizations applying for the awards had worked towards the “popularisation of nationally accepted values like national integration, democracy, socialism, etc”. When did we nationally accept the word “socialism” in India as true democracy? And why is the current Union Government indoctrinating the country’s youth and forcing them to popularize the toxic terms like “socialism”?
Indeed, it was so paradoxical to forcefully insert the word “socialism” into the Preamble of our Constitution during the BLOCK days of emergency by Indira Gandhi government through an amendment in 1976. Originally, the Constituent Assembly had rejected the moves to add the words like “socialism” and “secular” in the Constitution after a long debate. Even B.R.Ambedkar had strongly warned against the move to insert the words “socialism” and “secular” in the Indian Constitution which according to him should not force future generations to believe any particular ideology and also not conducive to Indian democracy.
Keeping these in mind, Rajaji had perceptibly warned the people in India against the communists who strive always cleverly to brainwash the youth, college students, working-class community, and labourers including farmworkers towards the empty promises either to envy the landowners or wealth creators like private enterprises. Rajaji also wrote repeatedly that Indian communists were always played through gangs of underworld mafia for the distraction of democracy, national unity, and cultural values of people.
In 1955, the Cultural Books Limited, Madras (now Chennai) had published a slim book titled “The Indian Communists” by C.Rajagopalachari or Rajaji, as he was called famously. The book was printed by Swathanthra Press, Madras, and is a collection of speeches of Rajaji as Chief Minister of Madras State, delivered from 1952 to 1954 both in the Madras Legislative Assembly and on the public platforms. Rajaji was one of few Congress leaders who understood not only the communism around the world but also the real nature of Communists in India.
In the postmodern world, there is a very thin line between the idea of communism and socialism. Both ideas have never had consistency with values of freedom and liberty. Rajaji warned that “there is a permanent and inherent conflict in the Communist jargon…The communists believe in the method of producing a dictatorship if possible without violence, but if necessary through violence.” He also warned that “the intellectual instability of the educated classes is used and exploited and that is what gives Communist its strength.”
Perhaps, in the history of independent India, Rajaji was the only sitting Chief Minister who publically declared that “to save my country from the traps and the dangers of the Communist Party. That is my policy from A to Z. I consider the Communist Party a great and dangerous trap, a trap not only because of the inherent qualities and policies of the Communist Party but also because of the condition of our country.”
He further went on to say that “the illiterate man is often more educated than the very literate man. There is a large amount of ignorance in our country. I consider the Communist Party, therefore, is a great danger to India, greater danger than to any other country…. I place my cards on the table. I tell the Communist Party, “You have to take me as your enemy No.1. May I say you are my enemy No.1.”
Rajaji was an astute reader and prolific writer both in English and Tamil languages for several decades. According to him, the communists play very dangerous tactics to confuse the people on public policies and brainwash poor people. He vividly noted that “What is the policy of the Communists Party? Every difficulty in the country, every discontent in the country, every complaint in the country must be taken up, interpreted in the language of opposition to the status quo and to the Government, expanded, exaggerated, repeated, added to and rolled on and made to grow like a snowball so that the Government may get a bad name….Every kind of contradictory satisfaction to every kind of discontented men. This is the technique of communism in India.” Largely, this has been the case of Indian communists and socialists in both pre and post-independence.
Rajaji also understood the maligning method of human psychology used by Indian communists. He noted that “the Communists are humble in the beginning, how they are smooth and oily and get into every group and try to get first the G.C.M. as I would call it and then by multiplying it by a convenient figure get the L.C.M. ”.
He further beautifully observed that “the Communists first find out the Greatest Common Measure of everybody who have grievances and take possession of the G.C.M. and then multiply it by a factor which I call exaggeration and the exaggerated G.C.M. becomes the L.C.M. the Least Common Multiple. This is the arithmetical formula of the Communists. I have not discovered it here. It has been discovered during the last few decades to be the process by which Communists are operating in Eastern Europe…The formula has not been discovered by the Communist Party here. It is the result of long research in human psychology. They know how to work on human psychology.”
Across the world, the “Communism works through this G.C.M. method, it gets hold of the people and the industries, and then everything is changed. Let me warn the country and the people as to what will happen in any country where Communists are to rule. After all, the fruit is the test of the tree” said Rajaji.
Most of the regional political parties in India survive with vote banks by instigating one or other issues of language, religion, caste, class conflicts, and street politics of hate speeches with violence. Rajaji observed that “the communists, the Communist theory, the Communist policy. They believe that class conflict is necessary and inherent in the present day civilization… It is inherent in the present civilization and now that must be ended –the inherent class conflict –by the transfer of the means of production to national ownership and that is to be attained by force and revolution.”
Any coherent societies are not designed by men with intensions of particular types but they emerge through omnipotent spontaneous order which evolves among the community on its own by social co-operation. Rajaji observed that “Humanity has found from time immemorial that social co-operation must be also added on to this urge of selfishness. Otherwise, no happiness is possible and no life is possible. Now social co-operation and mutual co-operation are contrary to the spirit of selfishness, and how then are we to bring these together? The communists believe that compulsory dictatorship will bring about that social co-operation.”
According to Rajaji, the communists “do not believe in the magic of property to which the old economists were wedded.” He further profoundly stated that “if we wish really to increase production of food in our country, we must allow the producer of the food a free market for what he produces and what he achieves by way of production. If we strangle him by restrictions and regulations which he cannot bear, if we make him walk about, like a prisoner of a thief, carrying his own produce in order to sell in surreptitiously he cannot have an interest to produce food.” He had foreseen “the danger of over-centralising our resources” in India.
In September, 2019, many were shocked after reports emerged that communist parties in Tamil Nadu such as Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) received Rs.15 crores and Rs.10 crores respectively during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections for an alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam which failed to disclose during the elections. Both CPI and CPI (M) had won four seats to lower house of the parliament.
This is not something new. The Communist parties in India were serial sabotages of democracy for quite a long time. Rajaji spoke openly about how the communist parties won the elections in 1952. Rajaji said that communists “had only two seats then (in 1947) in the Assembly. Now we have got 70…. That is what Rs.2 crores did. They were underground or in hiding somewhere and this Rs.2 crores made them come into the Assembly. I say, that this Rs.2. crores was well spent, even if it had produced nothing but the present attachment of the Communist Party Parliamentary methods.”
The above two incidents show the real face of communists in India who always pretend that they are transparent and criticize others for disproportionate use of money power in the electoral processes. Every word uttered by communists’ especially Indian communists has to be taken cautiously because they would always inject some hidden agenda of either dictatorship or violence by masticating the name of poor people or plights of some marginalized community.
IndianLiberals.in is an online library of all Indian liberal writings, lectures and other materials in English and other Indian regional languages. The material that has been collected so far contains liberal commentary dating from the early 19th century till the present. The portal helps preserve an often unknown but very rich Indian liberal tradition and explain the relevance of the writings in today’s context.
The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.