Kerala, a small coastal state in India has a unique claim to fame. It was the first place in the world, were the communists were voted to power through democratic elections. Their timing was impeccable. The Zamindari (landlord) system had solidified the caste system in Kerala, and if you were poor, and landless, you were destined to be an indentured labourer for life. Through the brilliant use of rhetoric, and rousing songs, and street-plays, communists captured the popular imagination, and they were elected to power, soon after the state of Kerala was formed. Through extensive land reforms, large chunks of land were removed from the hands of the landlords, and redistributed, given to the peasants who cultivated the land. The poor people in Kerala had a fresh lease of life, and they were able to capitalize on that. Today, instances of starvation related deaths is almost non-existent in this state.
Everything sounds rosy. So why do I hate the communists who made this possible?
What the people in Kerala had to learn the hard way, was that there are no free lunches. All they had done was replace one tyrant with another. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the communist philosophy, the communists are all about revolution. Initially they revolted against the British hegemony. The British were overthrown, by the active involvement of the Indian National Congress, and Mahatma Gandhi. Then they revolted against the caste-system and the landlords. The entire system was demolished. And then the problems started.
During a communist rally in Kerala. Looks less political party and more para-military
Whom do you revolt against, when there are no more enemies? Without revolution, without violent rhetoric, the communist party was lost. And like all tyrants, the ultimate aim of the communist party was power. Not welfare of the public, but power. Now that they had power, they discovered that keeping themselves in power was a whole different ball game. It was easy in China and in Soviet Union, because there was no opposition. But India being a democracy, they had to win in the elections. They could not force people to vote at gun-point. So they chose another weapon – guilt. They started canvassing the poor people in the state. They reminded them that their freedom was a privilege, not a right. There was a massive recruitment of poor people, who were later to become the back-bone of the party.
They made sure that discipline among the party cadres was absolute. If a person defected from the party, he was most likely killed anonymously, but everyone knew why he was killed. The message was clear – defection is not tolerated. Once you were a card-carrying party member, you were in it for life.
Indentured labour was replaced by indentured minds…
TP Chandrashekhar was killed for revolting against the Communist Party, and forming a renegade faction.
There was an incident a year ago, where an ageing communist leader confessed during a press conference, to having ordered the death of a party member who was unfaithful to the party. He recanted the statement later, but the damage was done. The police have registered a case, but it should come as a surprise to no one that justice will not be served.
Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.
– Mao Zedong