If you thought that the Left was near-finished after its 2009 Lok Sabha election drubbing followed by Mamata Banerjee’s sweeping victory, think again. It’s political fortunes have truly gone to hell but remember it was Satan who proudly proclaimed that he’d rather be Number One in Hell than be Number Two in heaven. And so although the Left’s political prospects have grown bleaker and bleaker, its evil intellectual tentacles have remained pretty much powerful and pervasive as before.
The latest example is how Mamata Banerjee, who on April 6 thundered that she’d banish Marx from high school history textbooks, softened a little in just three days and said that Marx & Co were not “untouchables.” This softening is what illustrates my note on the Left’s evil tentacles remaining pervasive even now, and even in a state where Didi has all but decimated it.
But history rewriting is just one, but very significant part of the whole story.
Even at a political level, the Left’s hold remains significant in numerous and seemingly-insignificant ways. Recall the AMRI tragedy? As horrible as it was, as callous it got, and as irresponsibly as it was handled, it isn’t the whole story. We can have a glimpse of the whole story by observing exactly one phenomenon. For some reason, only bad news seems to be emanating from West Bengal ever since Mamata took over in 2011. It appears that for 34 long years, West Bengal was a land of milk and honey, which Didi set about poisoning upon coming to power. Unbelievable because it is unbelievable. Because it is a Big Lie perpetrated by the Left, which has its stooges scattered widely across the media spectrum. And so the image of Mamata we get is that of a troublemaker, rabble-rouser, ruckus-creator, spanner-thrower, and generally a nuisance with whoever she aligns. Mamata might be all this and worse or some of these or none of these at all but this image has been firmly imprinted in people’s minds. Mission accomplished.
There’s also another important reason why the media is going hammer and tongs against her. The Marxists are having nightmares at the rate at which Mamata has been going about dismantling its ugly legacy—in fact, the legacy of her political opponents in Bengal. And one of the ugliest facets of the ugly legacy of the Left is, indisputably, history. One of the ugliest, and one where they’ve still managed to retain a lot of clout. And one, which in a way, can be described as the backbone of the success and longevity of their vile ideology post-Independence. We can only imagine the kind of pressure that would’ve been put on someone like Mamata Banerjee, which finally got her to soften her “erase Marx” stand in just three days.
Anything anybody writes about the Left’s near-irreparable damage to Indian history pales in comparison to Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians. That book should, in my opinion, be made required reading as part of their Class 11 & 12 curriculum across all academic disciplines. The Left’s singular “contribution” to Indian history is its systematic dismantling of the true Indian history by peddling half-truths, distortion, and open lies as historical facts. One of the sorry results of this wretched “approach” to history is the fact that a public road in Delhi is named to honour an Islamic zealot: Aurangzeb, the Gold Standard of secular Islamic rule, whose crimes are justified because kaffir Hindus deserved their deaths. Not very different from how the cold-blooded murder of kar sevaks aboard the Sabarmati Express was justified.
It’s perhaps this nation’s fortune not to mention the spirited fight that scholars like Sitaram Goel put up that we were still able to rescue the true history of India from 30+ years of relentless assault by the Left. The damage they did nationally—through the NCERT and ICHR—brainwashed at least three generations of Indian children. If this is their national record, one can not even imagine the kind of mind control they exercised in their bastion of three-plus decades: West Bengal. It’s nothing short of a colossal tragedy that most of today’s scholars who have their roots in that state hate India because some really stellar nationalists and patriots during the freedom struggle emerged from West Bengal.
That this willful deception was in the service of a murderous ideology makes it even worse. And the Prophet of this murderous ideology was an absolute ignoramus as far as India was concerned. Despite the long-ago rejection of this Prophet of Darkness even by the most vocal Leftists around the world, the Indian mutants continue to feed Marxnamah to unwitting kids of West Bengal schools. This is also known as Marxist Educational Jihad. But then, it has paid them rich dividends as we’ve seen. And Mamata’s very welcome decision to boot him out of the history syllabus is therefore laudable. Remember that people like Somini Sengupta, Pankaj Mishra, Salil Tripathi, and the rest of the pack expand eloquently about Indian history based exactly on a history education they received, whose foundation and ultimate aim is the imposition of Marxism in India.
This kind of history writing has ensured that at least three generations of Indians hate their native culture and indeed, take pride in denigrating it. This kind of history writing has made the word “patriotism” a term of abuse. This kind of history writing has made millions of Indians hate the things about their culture they should actually feel proud about.
All this said, I’m not in favour of Mamata obliterating Marx completely from the history textbooks. What makes more sense is to tell the real truth of Marx’s violent ideology, how it played out in actual practice, and the staggering instances of genocides committed by its followers.
Mamata Banerjee might be headstrong and whimsical but this “whim” of hers has our hearty approbation.