‘Communalism needs to be contained unitedly’
KARACHI: The General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), A B Bardhan, said here on Thursday the communists made a compromise with the Congress and formed a coalition government in India because it wanted to contain communalism led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
If communalism flourished in India it would not only affect 800 million Hindus and 140 million Muslims of that country, but would also strengthen communalist forces in Pakistan, he said. He added communalism strengthened fundamentalist forces in both the countries of the subcontinent, so it was all the more necessary that progressive and enlightened forces joined hands to fight the menace unitedly.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the Joint Left Front, comprising the Communist Party of Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and Communist Mazdoor Kisan Party and Karachi Union of Journalists, he said the BJP government was ready to succumb to US pressure and send Indian troops to Iraq, but the pressure exerted by the two major communist parties of India did not allow it to do so. He said had the US succeeded in pressuring India, Pakistan would also have sent its troops to Iraq.
Similarly, when the US suggested that the Indian Election Commission sent its staff to Iraq to assist in elections, we made it clear that India is not a banana republic and there is no need to assist “bogus elections.”
Bardhan said if a small country like Cuba under the leadership of Fidel Castro could resist imperialism and help other countries, why a country of one billion people like India could not resist pressure. He said the United States created situation like that of Afghanistan and Iraq wherever it intervened.
He said it was true that disputes that persisted between Pakistan and India for the past 57 years would not be resolved in 57 days, but the progressive forces would continue to support the peace initiatives. He added he would report to his coalition partners about the discussion he and CPI-M leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet had with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz during their stay in Pakistan.
He said it was up to the governments to resolve issues like Baghliar Dam but war, tension, proactive or pre-emptive action or deployment of troops would not resolve the problems faced by the people of India and Pakistan. He said the CPI and the CPI-M welcomed people-to-people dialogue between the two countries. He said the peace process should continue and should not be one step forward and two steps backward.
Bardhan said while in Pakistan he talked to leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan People’s Party (SB) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, but he felt closest to the left parties of Pakistan and urged the latter to unite. He regretted that he met a large number of people here who introduced themselves as being part of the left parties in the past. He said he could not do more than to urge the left in Pakistan to unite, but essentially it should be their own decision.
Pointing to veteran Pakistani communist leader and writer Sobho Gian Chandani who was also present at the meeting, he said communists never retired and it was their commitment with the masses that kept them youthful.
The CPI leader said he was not surprised that there were several left parties in Pakistan because in India too there were many left parties, but four major parties in India had forged unity and had not only been staying in power (through elections) in West Bengal state for 26 years, but they were also deep rooted in local bodies and panchayats. He said former Indian prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi never liked communist rule, so a communist government in Kerala was dismissed after two years. He made it clear that it was not true that everything in India was fine and everything in Pakistan was bad and one should realise that there was bourgeois rule in India.
Bardhan said the main force behind the BJP was the RSS and it identified Muslims, communists and Christians as their enemies. He said only the left forces which had the science of Marxism-Leninism at their disposal could fight communalism. He said communalism led to fascism, adding whatever happened in Gujarat was not surprising since it was expected.
He said previously the Congress had 145 seats in parliament, and now was reduced to 112 whereas with 61 seats the communists in India were the third largest political force. He said the Congress could not form government without aligning themselves with communists. He said communists were not against foreign investment, but it should not come in sensitive areas and in the domain of security.