Let us suppose you were to pick up a newspaper today and the lead story says that a number of people who operate pro-ISIS social media accounts have been raided and rounded up by the government for questioning. And that the police suspect that there might even be an ISIS plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of India.
Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine the tone with which this story would be reported. Never mind that many / most / all of those arrested could just be ISIS sympathizers who have not committed an actual crime, such as an act of violence or a direct incitement of violence. Only a court of law can decide that but you know well how the media and the people would talk about the event. That it would be seen overall as a major triumph of counter-terrorism operations.
It makes sense, right? ISIS is a very dangerous terrorist organization. Anybody who sympathizes with them could be up to no good. Better to take no risks, better to interrogate them, to comb through their history. And keep them in jail for as long as possible.
Now let us think about the government crackdown on Communist sympathizers yesterday, from Ranchi to Pune to Mumbai. Think about the reaction of the media, the chattering classes and perhaps even your own. Is it any different? If so, why?
Is it not true that large swathes of Indian territory have been forcibly occupied by violent Communists? What separates the Communist insurgency in Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh from the insurgency of ISIS and Taliban in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan? Then, how come we have been conditioned to believe that Communist sympathizers are somehow “different” from ISIS sympathizers?
Let alone ISIS or Taliban, the average person on the street is generally delighted when Income Tax officials raid a powerful politician. Because we tend to assume that they are guilty. More often than not, we all know that the politician ultimately gets acquitted by the courts. When that happens, people generally express their frustration at a system that won’t let the “guilty” be punished.
Because it makes sense to us. How else would certain politicians amass their huge wealth, numerous farmhouses and thousands of acres of land?
Communists in India are running a violent, armed insurgency with the stated aim of overthrowing the Indian state. Doesn’t it make just as much sense that they would want to assassinate the Prime Minister of India? In fact, it would be surprising if they didn’t.
The greatest trick that the left pulled on us is conditioning us to believe that Communists are intellectuals. Sample this tweet from a blue tick Twitter account of an “intellectual”, from a person educated at Yale.
Just think about that for a moment. A terrorist organization is not only equated but considered morally superior to the legitimate Indian state, run by a democratically elected government.
What are the credentials of India’s Communist insurgency? Who made them the voices of the “powerless”? Does this intellectual believe that she has a right to decide who speaks for the powerless? Doesn’t sound like she is giving the “powerless” much of a voice here, no?
However, views like this are distressingly common among the intellectual class. At its core lies the failure of modern civilization to stigmatize Communism for the great evil it is.
Speaking of “violence of the powerful,” the Communists are notorious worldwide for carrying out industrial-scale massacres wherever they are in power. Be it Soviet Russia or North Korea. The total number of people killed by Communists is often estimated to be around 100 million … or 1000 lakh. A body count that boggles the mind. And yet, the dictators who carried out these massacres, from Stalin to Mao, are considered patron saints of dissent, free speech and democracy in India. Their pictures are prominently displayed by alleged “dissenters” and paeans are sung to them. The red flag under which Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot massacred people by the million … so-called “intellectuals” gather under the same banner to tell us that modern India is not democratic enough?
Mao Zedong had his own personal collection of child sex slaves. Defenceless children that he raped on a regular basis. So what? Doesn’t stop our intellectuals from making him an icon of the “powerless.”
What is next? The Ku Klux Klan to lead the fight against racism?
It all comes back to the same core problem. Because we gave the leftists the keys to the universities, the horrors of Communism were edited out of history and shunted out of public discourse. That is how you get people who show up on our TV screens with the red flag with the bloodcurdling hammer and sickle and lecture us on democracy.
I wonder: Do Communists even believe in democracy? The giant cutouts of Stalin that dominate their public events would seem to suggest otherwise.
The other day I happened to read the “origin story” of one such Communist intellectual, on how he found his calling to Communism. It turns out that as a kid in the seventh grade, he received a biography of Stalin as a prize at school.
A biography of a mass murderer given as a prize to an innocent schoolboy, possibly with nobody to interpret and explain to him the amount of evil that Stalin did in the world? This is what happens when we normalize the Communists.
That boy who began with reading a biography of Stalin is now a grown-up Communist, reaching out and spreading the same ideology among others. His name is Anand Teltumbde and he was reportedly one of the people raided yesterday.
It all began with an unthinking school administration that decided to give the biography of a mass murderer to an impressionable child. This is the price we pay for normalizing Communism.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.