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the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Those who pulled down the statues of Lenin in India have no right to be called patriots Featured

 

 

 

The recent incidents of vandalism targeting the statues of Vladimir Lenin - a towering Communist leader of the Bolshevik revolution - in India by supporters of the ruling Hindu right wing Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have captured international headlines.

This followed the defeat of the Marxists in the recently held assembly elections in Tripura state, where the Communists were in power for the past 25 years. Though outgoing Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was known for his integrity and secularism, he was unseated in the election that resulted into the victory of the BJP led coalition which won 43 out 59 seats in the legislature, ending the communist rule.

Not only did mobs of BJP supporters pull down two statues of Lenin in the state, some BJP leaders took to social media to applaud these acts of vandalism.

In Belonia town, one of the two statues was brought down with the help of an excavator. While this was being done, the miscreants chanted a patriotic slogan, “Long Live Mother India.” As the statue fell, its head was dismembered from the body.  A Marxist activist alleged that the BJP supporters were seen playing football with it.

One of the local BJP leaders claimed that this was the result of people's anger with the left government. Describing Lenin as a “foreigner”, who according to him, had nothing to do with the native population, he questioned why was the statue built with taxpayers’ money?

Some senior BJP leaders went to the extent of welcoming these incidents unashamedly. Not to be left behind, Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy tweeted: “What one democratically elected government can do, another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa.” This is despite the fact that he holds a constitutional post. Yet, he is known for his political affiliations with the BJP.

Another BJP leader H. Raja posted on Facebook: "Who is Lenin and what is the connection between Lenin and India? What connection India has with Communists?”

 

The entire episode obviously reflects very badly on the BJP, which has shown its true colours of being intolerant. But this also shows the hollowness of its so called nationalism and disconnect with the freedom movement. 

 

India, which remained under British occupation for almost two hundred years, was liberated by the efforts of both pacifist and revolutionary freedom fighters. The founding fathers of the ideology of Hindu India, which is greatly cherished by the BJP, remained away from both camps. With an aim to establish Hindu theocracy, they either openly or discreetly served the interests of the British rulers. 

 

Instead, the Hindu extremists who are often glorified by many BJP leaders, were involved in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi – the world renowned leader of the passive resistance movement. He was murdered for standing up against Hindu zealots who terrorised Muslims and treated “low caste” people as untouchables. 

 

Contrary to these enemies within, Lenin became a guiding light for the Indian revolutionaries who were invited to Bolshevik Russia to learn how to liberate their motherland by organizing mass movements. He stood for the Indians who were fighting for the right to self-determination.

 

The BJP is trying to impose its own brand of patriotism, while doing nothing but scapegoating minorities, both cultural (read Muslims, Christians and other minority communities) and ideological (read left and secular parties) to polarize Hindu majority for political survival. Lenin is just one soft target they have picked to create divisions and re-frame the narrative of domestic nationalism. Every Indian should be indebted to Lenin for standing up for those who actually fought for our freedom rather than falling into the trap of the defenders of Hindu India, something that was strongly despised by Gandhi and the revolutionaries who fought for a secular republic which had no place for bigotry. What we need to recognize in these difficult times is the beauty of Lenin's internationalism, which can truly save humanity from falling apart, and bringing all of us together while at the same time embracing all nationalities without any malice or discrimination.   

 

 

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