Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Mobile Downloads
Text 67333
Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this Article

Home > News > Columnists > Rajeev Srinivasan

Nandigram: Communism as fascism - I

April 02, 2007

Related Articles
India's great rush for SEZs
There is nothing in the way the Communists of West Bengal conducted themselves at Nandigram that should have amazed anybody. There have been enough instances of Communists demonstrating that despite all their pious propaganda about the rights of the common man, in practice Communism is mostly about self-aggrandisement and the growth of the State at the expense of the populace.

The classical definition of fascism, in Mussolini's own words, includes the following (I am relying on the Wikipedia entry at

Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value....

I am hard-pressed to see how this differs from how the Communists have conducted themselves in Nandigram; and Singur, and indeed, wherever they have managed to gain power. The same tendency to trivialise the average individual can be seen everywhere: those 'small people' do not matter once they have provided the cannon fodder for the 'leaders' to come to power. They are to be trodden on with jack-boots.

This has been obvious in West Bengal and in Kerala through anecdotal evidence for a long time; there is also empirical evidence that the ascent of Communists has coincided with a decline in the living standards of people. I used data from the Economic and Political Weekly in a previous column of mine Reservations, The Economic Factor to show how the least-privileged slid further behind in Communist-ruled States.

A study by two economists from the US Federal Reserve (A Tale of Two States: Maharashtra and West Bengal by Amartya Lahiri and Kei-Mu Yi) shows how the two states, among the richest in the country in 1960, have diverged dramatically. Bengal, which had a per capita income of 105 per cent of Maharashtra's in 1960, has managed to bring it down to a mere 69 per cent of Maharashtra's by 1995! The authors conclude that this is directly correlated with Communist control of Bengal.

On a grand scale, the scale of man's inhumanity to man is most visible in those countries unfortunate enough to come under the sway of Communists: we all know about the Gulag Archipelago in the Soviet Union, the atrocities visited on Tibetans by Chinese thugs, and the casual way in which people were wiped out in Tienanmen Square in China.

But few know about that most unlucky nation, Cambodia. In Phnom Penh, I went to the infamous Tuol Sleng prison camp and the 'Killing Fields' where black-shirted, teen-aged cadres -- girls and boys -- butchered innocent civilians as though they were vermin. A lot of it is so horrifying that it is almost unbearable to be there. There is, for instance, the tree against which young children were regularly swung by their legs by the Khmer Rouge, smashing their heads against it and splattering their brains all over it.

There is a tower built around a pyramid of 10,000 human skulls at the 'Killing Fields' just outside town where they also have the shallow graves full of childrens' bones. Back at Tuol Sleng, incongruously an old public school in a quiet residential suburb, there is row after row of black-and-white photographs of those killed. The Khmer Rouge kept meticulous records of all those who were about to be murdered by them: young and old, staring into the camera just before they were dispatched with a blow to the back of the head, often after torture and forced confessions about 'ideological waywardness'.

An entire generation of Cambodians has been scarred by this experience, and about a quarter of the entire population was murdered by the Khmer Rouge, most especially those with any education; an ancient and glorious Indic civilisation -- these are the people who built Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world -- was almost wiped out.

This is precisely what the Communists have in mind for Nepal and India as well, the tyranny of the uncivilised and unlettered. There are minor distinctions among the Communists, as some worship China as their fatherland, while others are totally nihilistic. But at the end of the day, they are barbarians within and without, as in Will Durant's famous quote: '...civilisation is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying from within.'

Needless to say, they have to be resisted. The UPA government, playing footsie with these thugs in Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, not to mention West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, is sowing the seeds of disaster as the entire 'Red Corridor' has become ungovernable. The comrades have already captured Nepal, and their intent is to capture the entire belt between the Terai and the Deccan. There is no point reasoning with them: all they understand is the power of the gun, and they understand it very well indeed.

Comments welcome at my blog at

Nandigram: Communism as fascism - II

Rajeev Srinivasan