BJP men in Tripura heard their leaders loud and clear.
The day after the election results in Tripura were announced, a wave of attacks were orchestrated by the BJP against the Left specifically targeting the CPI(M). Till the evening of March 5th, 514 CPI(M) cadre and supporters were injured in assaults by BJP men, 1,539 houses were attacked, 196 houses were set on fire, 134 party offices were attacked and 208 party offices were captured. Many mass organisation offices also were attacked and captured. The attacks are continuing. These figures were given to the police authorities in Tripura and to the central government. In the 25 years of its governance, there is not a single instance of any office of an opposition party being burnt or captured or the kind of mass attacks on supporters of the then opposition as Tripura is witnessing today. It shows the hollowness and hypocrisy of the claims made by BJP leaders that while they believed in democracy, the CPI(M) did not.
The ideological victory claimed by Modi over communists was sought to be sealed by bulldozing the statue of Lenin which had been installed in Belonia town in South Tripura in 2013. It was not a spontaneous action. A group of BJP men used a bulldozer to bring it down. It was beheaded and it is reported that these men kicked the head around like a football. Those educated on texts written by their ideological forefathers like Savarkar and Golwalkar who glorified Nazi Germany and considered it a model worth following, acted as they were trained to, knowing that such loutish acts had the support of their leaders. The first to tweet his approval was RSS leader Ram Madhav. This was followed by the Governor of Tripura who said "one democratically elected Government can undo what another democratically elected Government did and vice versa." So according to a person who holds an important constitutional post mandated to uphold the law, the hooligans who brought down the statue were representatives of a "democratically elected government". What further evidence is required that their are patrons behind this action?
The Russian revolution in 1917 led by Lenin which overthrew the despotic regime of the Tsar and challenged the might of imperialist powers who almost strangulated the revolution in its infancy had the most profound influence on all nations striving for their freedom including India and its freedom fighters, from Gandhi to Nehru, from Bhagat Singh to Rabindranath Tagore. Bhagat Singh was deeply influenced by the Russian revolution, reflected in the manifestos of the several organizations he led from the Naujawan Sabha to the Hindustan Republican Association which later transformed into the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. A biographer of Bhagat Singh wrote that at his last meeting with Bhagat Singh, the freedom fighter said that he was reading about the life of Lenin and that he would like to finish it before he was hanged ("The Man and His Ideas" by Gopal Tagore) Rabindranath Tagore visited Soviet Russia after Lenin had passed away. He was a great admirer of Lenin. "If I had not come to Russia," wrote Tagore, "life's pilgrimage would not have been complete." Nehru wrote of the "great Lenin" that "although under the leadership of Gandhi we followed another path, we were influenced by the example of Lenin."
The RSS and the political fronts it set up have never been part of this history, never been part of the national freedom struggle to know what the Russian revolution had meant for those dreaming and sacrificing their all for India's independence.
The newly-elected BJP government in Tripura should repair Lenin's statue and put it back from where it was removed. It should put an end to the violence unleashed against Left supporters. Statues can be destroyed by force, not an ideology.
(Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha.)
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