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Pokhran: CPIM supported North Korea being a nuclear power, but not India

Think about that for a second. For Communists, North Korea occupies a higher position on the world stage than India. They care more about protecting North Korea than about protecting India.

Are you proud of India being a nuclear power? Of course, you are. A nation of India’s standing in the world cannot settle for anything less. This image was one of the defining moments for kids of my generation, after the Pokhran test.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, George Fernandes and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam after Pokhran tests

The nation will always remember this.

It may sound unbelievable today, but not every Indian was happy to see India take one step towards claiming its rightful status among nations of the world. Among them, the Communists.

Archive article by Indian Exrpress

At the time, the CPIM’s excuse was of non-proliferation and all sorts of supposed humanitarian concerns. Quite comparable to the rhetoric that you see today against the abrogation of Article 370.

The hollowness of the CPIM’s argument was most clearly exposed almost a decade later, when North Korea carried out nuclear tests.

Archive article by Indian Express

According to the CPIM, mouthpiece, North Korea had a legitimate right and a legitimate need to carry out nuclear tests, but not India.

Think about that for a second. For Communists, North Korea occupies a higher position on the world stage than India. They care more about protecting North Korea than about protecting India.

Will it be so unfair now to say that the Communists are anti-national?

In case you think the CPIM’s concern for North Korea was a one time thing, it was not. Sympathy and admiration for North Korea is very systematic in the Communist Party. This is Kerala’s Communist Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressing his party in 2018.

Economic Times article

Such fraternal love for the brutal Communist dictator Kim Jong Un. You might be interested in knowing that  V S Achutanandan, the previous Communist CM of Kerala, had mocked Dr. Kalam as a man who plays with cracker rockets.

Now you tell me : where does CPIM’s loyalty lie? With India or with North Korea? 

In 2006, the CPIM condemned an international rally in Brussels to highlight human rights violations in North Korea, calling it a “smear campaign aimed at tarnishing the image of the DPRK.” Now think about all the times that CPIM has accused India of committing human rights violations! (see recent example here)

Let me repeat the question: Will it be so unfair now to say that the Communists are anti-national? 

There are two reasons I am telling this story today. The first is that we should never forget history. Especially, we cannot afford to forget who Communists are. The second reason is that the contours of the debate from 1998 are almost the same today.

The CPIM wasn’t alone in being unhappy with India’s nuclear tests. Their point of view was faithfully amplified by the liberal ecosystem at the time.  Most opposition parties seemed to be saying much the same. Here are the words of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Report by India Today

To remind you, the 1998 nuclear tests were named Operation Shakti. So is Sonia ji saying India should not have performed those tests? Does she want India to be a nuclear power or not? Will Congress clarify?

The Opposition pretending to have all sorts of supposedly humanitarian concerns and accusing the ruling BJP of showing off hyper-nationalism. At the same time, the world appearing to gang up against us. Sound familiar?

The hand wringing over Article 370, over CAA and NRC, has followed much the same path. But the history of Pokhran tells us what the future holds.

Nobody questions the Pokhran tests today. The nuclear tests are now a cherished moment in our national memory. Those who opposed the test at the time would be embarrassed today if reminded of it.

A decade or so later, the abrogation of Article 370, leading to the complete and total integration of J&K, will become another such cherished moment in India’s history. So if you feel overwhelmed by the liberal cacophony, take a deep breath and relax.

And smile. Because we are going to prevail. But what liberals are saying now will remain floating around on the internet, like ghosts. A decade later, liberals will be haunted by what they have said today.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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