This thought seems more and more poignant as I reminiscence the first democratically elected Communist government in India—of the stature of a legend called E. M. S. Namboodiripad. A communist Govt. elected democratically in one of India’s most literate state, Kerala, was however unnerving to the Western powers. So unsettling that it would involve the first direct involvement of the CIA in the internal matters of India all along denied by the establishment, until the then Ambassador admitted to the aggression later in his book. The reason cited was the growing insecurity among them commonly symbolized as the Domino Theory
which I would rather term as a psychological disorder; the euphemism for neo-colonization.
And the list of firsts goes up exponentially, sadly.
It became the first instance of the Emergency Rule being promulgated in free India.
It is also the first incident when the Congress Party had openly gone against its own preaching to the peasants it had made during the pre-independence times.
More than 50 years has passed since that first communist Govt. was brought down by Article 356. And yet, as one glance at the reformation principles of the late EMS, one’s forced to ponder as to how these problems are relevant even in today’s Indian set-up.
The revolutionary Land Reforms Act speaks volume of the courage needed to lock horns with India’s powerful feudal system. An upper ceiling on agricultural land holding was imposed and excess land was sought to be distributed equally among the landless laborers who had toiled those lands for centuries.
Ah! Never was such a potent tool for an egalitarian society in India seen before. It ensured better wages for the farmers with the principle of local self-governance being promulgated for the first time. Millions of starving destitute farmers got a land of their own. The Medieval system of feudalism was on its deathbed.
In enters the I-know-everything US for whom democracy equals Capitalism. Together with the renegade landlords CIA hatches the perfect conspiracy to unleash mayhem in the state. Keeping up with its fetish for euphemisms they name the protests as “liberation struggle”. As the infantile Govt. found it too harsh to confront the powerful forces, Kerala went under Article 356 promptly dismissing India’s first communist Govt. There are strong indications of Indira Gandhi playing the conduit between the CIA and the anti-state actors. The then-PM Jawaharlal Nehru is doubtful of orchestrating it, considering his long-standing beliefs in Socialism.
To witness such a progressive Govt. giving a free hand to industries during its later tenures was however disheartening. Birla Industries’ Grasim plant wreaked havoc in Kerala during the later decades. The Chaliyar Agitation gained momentum even as the Communist Govt. forced itself to be a mute spectator. Opposition and environmentalists have spilled venom lampooning that the Govt. was blind to its own ideologies.
As I analyze though, the later Communist Govt. in Kerala was only a name per se. After all, it had learnt its follies and had become just another political entity in the democratic set-up. Olle Tornquist rightly pointed out that it just wanted ‘to exist’ without another Article 356. And it did so quite well; devoid of its backbone nevertheless.
The Red rising sun had been engulfed by the wings of the Bald Eagle. In its shadows, the poor and the landless continued to languish.
Do I see one? None, at the moment.
But the eagle shall perish; the sun however is perpetual…