It isn’t a mere social media mock when one hears about Indian Communists opening their umbrellas when there is rain in Moscow or China. Indian Comrades still look up to their foreign mentors as much as they accuse BJP of looking up to Nagpur for ideological inspiration.
It’s only natural to emulate one’s mentors. With the Chinese government imposing a ban on fasting during Ramzan, I was curiously watching which way Indian Communists will go. Going by their penchant for things Chinese, one would have expected them to make some noise about Indian Muslims keeping fast! After all, as Karl Marx said, ‘religion is the opium of people’ and Ramzan represents one of the most overt displays of masses getting high on that ‘opium’!
Frankly speaking, I didn’t expect them to barter their ideological cap for a skull cap so easily! But then in the days of vote-bank politics, who cares for ideological sincerity. Though Indian Comrades work overtime to show how they are against religion, they often give in to the lure of its political dividends.
They always find cheap ways to be seen as pro-Muslim while pretending to be anti-religion. Take the curious case of what happened when West Bengal CPM stalwart Abdur Rezzak Mollah wanted to go to Haj pilgrimage a few years ago. All ideological resistance evaporated when Mollah threatened to tell his constituency (read Muslim voters) of the ideological opposition of the party to Haj. He was allowed to go after a not-so pious manipulation of making it look like a fun-trip to Mecca rather than a pilgrimage.
The harsh fact is that Mollah not only performed Haj, but also openly proclaimed that his devotion to the faith he was born into and the almighty is always hundred per cent.
Does it signal a readiness to smoke the opium pipe? Or is it just another case of speaking in many voices for political expediency? Unfortunately, the later was the case. The keenness to relax the ‘no religion in the cadres’ norm seems to be driven by pure vote-bank politics. The intellectual hypocrisy was further exposed when a party senior from the same state was reprimanded for being seen around the Tirupati shrine!
Last year when the Left parties debated whether they should attend Sonia Gandhi’s iftar party, the contention was less over whether Comrades are ideologically allowed to be pro-religion and attend iftar parties, but more over whether they should seen as pro-Congress! Pro-Congress, they already are. Pro-religion, they don’t have the courage. Nor are they ready to pay the price of denouncing it totally. That explains why they are seen swinging between crying foul about Yoga Day or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s spiritual Olympics and putting on a skull cap for the next iftar party.
It will be foolish to expect CPM boss Sitaram Yachury’s much talked-about pragmatism to go much beyond ignoring the Beijing diktat for the sake of appeasing Indian Muslims. The chances of him daring to talk against the Chinese ban look as remote as him embracing Bharatiyata by turning up for Yoga Day or chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Looks like India Comrades take Leon Trotsky seriously, albeit with a twist. The end may justify the means as long as there is something to gain politically.
M Rajaque Rahman